Eleint 26/27 (after midnight): In the aftermath of the battle at the Temple of Tiamat, the “(Party)” discusses their options. Lord Korras Anteos is unconscious, Favria is out to the Red Enclave (the Thayan Embassy in Waterdeep) to inform her employers of the alliance between the Cult of the Dragon and the renegade Red Wizards, young Torst Kettlesmith is found alive, and as for Steve, Silver Fang’s father…
Some debate starts about his fate. He wants to go back to the Wormsnapper orc tribe he’s been living with, now leaderless, to “remind them what true orcs live like”. Silver Fang wants him cured of the werewolf curse. At the end, Steve agrees to accompany the “(Party)” and adventure with his estranged son for at least a couple of days; if by Eleint 30 his lycanthropy hasn’t been cured, he’ll leave the city on his own.
The group exits Downshadow and heads to Rottenham Hall, where Cymril (Dame Corlinn’s sister), Blayne Rottenham (Civilar of the City Watch and Tristell’s twin brother), Mabella Rottenham (matriarch of Dame Corlinn’s adoptive family) and the Rottenham’s butler, Mr. Grichton, are apparently waiting for them.
There they learn that Mabella orchestrated the whole adventure: she learnt that Lord Anteos was up to no good and, through Mr. Grichton, ensured the “(Party)” knew of it and investigated it. Now that Lord Anteos has been found to be a member of the Cult of the Dragon, Blayne wants him detained and brought in front of a Magister, but Mabella has other plans: she wants to use this revelation to extort a letter of recommendation from House Anteos, in order to enter House Rottenham into Waterdeep’s nobility.
(Five votes from as many Noble Houses are required to enter this selective club. Through the years Mabella had secured four, including the Corlinn vote through Cymril’s marriage with her son Tristell. This would be the last one she needs.)
The “(Party)” objects, as does Blayne; but Cymril tells the group it’s prudent to let Mabella get away with it, for now. She reveals herself to be a member of the Harpers at Twilight (also known as “Those Who Harp”), a secret organization dedicated to promoting good, preserving history (including art and music of old) and maintaining a balance between civilization and nature. She also notes she’s got powerful allies who can make better use of this night’s revelations than the City Watch, anyway, and sets up a meeting between them and the “(Party)” for the following night.
The “(Party)” reluctantly agrees to leave Lord Anteos under house arrest in his own manor and is paid by Mabella for their services, even if they didn’t know they were working for her at the time; as for Esvele and Torst Kettlesmith, Mabella pays them enough to move out of the city and settle down in Baldur’s Gate, away from house Anteos’ or the Cult of the Dragon’s retribution.
Eleint 27: The “(Party)” spends the day resting and resupplying in town. In the evening, Silver Fang, Steve, Vi and Dame Corlinn meet with Rasolk at the Dagger’s Rest Inn. There, the wererat tells them his story (from his point of view, of course): he’s the leader of the Neverwinter branch of the Dead Rats, a group of wererat thugs. The organization’s headquarters are in the town of Luskan, to the north, and the leader is a woman known as Skaven. Rasolk introduced Kieran, Vi’s big brother and whom Rasolk “loves as if he were (his) own son”, to the organization shortly after Vi and Qelline Alderleaf left Neverwinter for Phandalin. Kieran “was delighted to be a part of it”, including the part about becoming a wererat, apparently.
A couple of years ago, Skaven wanted one of the Dead Rats to infiltrate the Xanathar Thieves’ Guild in Waterdeep, and Kieran was chosen for the role. But the young halfling stopped giving signs of life shortly after arriving in the big city, and was presumed discovered and dead. Until just a month or so ago, when he sent a letter to Rasolk in his own handwriting saying “Need help. I think they know. Always watched. Further messages at the Yawning Portal. Hurry.” (the Yawning Portal is an inn in Waterdeep, popular amongst adventurers because it contains a passage into Undermountain). Rasolk tried to convince Skaven to mount a rescue party for Kieran, but she refused, smelling a trap.
Undaunted, Rasolk lied to his men in Neverwinter and told them that Kieran had “discovered the location of a secret cache of the Xanathar Thieves’ Guild” and that Skaven had ordered them to go to Waterdeep and steal it. They went along with him, but as time passes, they’re becoming more and more suspicious of the halfling’s motives. Rasolk thinks they’re about to openly mutiny against him…
Rasolk received a second letter from Kieran saying “Need extraction. Eleint 28 midnight. 4 lvls down, NE until serpent crypts. Trust Tonya. Bring muscle.” and is hoping the “(Party)” will go with him to protect him from his own men, and to help him rescue Kieran from whatever trouble he’s in. The group accedes, if only because Vi needs to know what’s going on with her brother.
Meanwhile, Selsior, Therenden, Puddleduck and Silamen meet with Cymril at the Blackstaff Academy. There they are granted an audience with the much revered Laeral Silverhand Arunsun. Once known as one of the Seven Sisters and the wife (and later widower) of the archmage Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun, Laeral Silverhand is now famous in her own right as the Lady Mage of Waterdeep, a very powerful and savvy wizard, and one of Waterdeep’s political movers and shakers. She listens to what the “(Party)” has to say about the Cult of the Dragon and the renegade Red Wizards of Thay attempting to bring Tiamat back into the Mortal Plane and decides the matter is important enough to bring one of the Harper’s “big guns” into the fold: the archmage Elminster Aumar, also known as the Sage of Shadowdale.
Elminster is summoned to the room and is updated on these events. He agrees with all present that the matter is very serious and will investigate further, and involve the “(Party)” in the process; he gifts Puddleduck with a Sending Stone in the shape of a rubber duck she can use to contact him.
Laeral also promises the group a reward for their efforts: horses, which they can collect when they leave the city. The group then asks the mage if he knows who “Nana Pamyla” is (the misterious “old woman” who stole Daggy’s beard). He doesn’t, but Laeral remembers an old play she once saw in Silverymoon, many years ago; a “silly little murder mistery” on which a man was stabbed multiple times in a mansion. Turns out that “all of the man’s guests did it” because he was an evil person who’d “done something terrible to each of them”, and they wanted revenge; Nana Pamyla was one of the characters in the play. In fact, she was one of the murderers…
Therenden has some questions for Elminster about his magical amulet and the revelations given to him by Lonni, the Night Hag they fought near Amphail, and the mage confirms it’s a very powerful item that was probably crafted using some very powerful blood magic. As for whether the visions of his parents being drow are true or not, all Elminster has to say is “be careful if you start pulling on that thread, lest you don’t like what you find at the end”.
Eleint 28: In the afternoon the “(Party)” tries to get more information about the Xanathar Thieves’ Guild from Lucero, the young thief who participated in the theft of Daggy’s beard, but cannot get anything new from him.
Just before midnight, they meet with Rasolk and his were-rats at the Yawning Portal inn and proceed down to the dungeons under Mount Waterdeep, following the directions left by Kieran in his message. During the way they are attacked by two gelatinous cubes, which they defeat without losses — except for two of Rasolk’s men, who fall to them.
To be continued!