City of Splendors: Waterdeep

Following the unsung path

Following Felnarra’s track into the mysterious Ardeep Forest

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The first unveiling
Discovering new details about the ennemy

Upon their return to Waterdeep, the investigators quickly move to the shop that was seen by Petyr in his divination and identify it as the property of Galvin Barnabas, a very popular tailor among the nobility and an expert in costumes and masks.  This man is as close a commoner can be from nobility and is actually married to a minor noble.

Finding the store closed for the night, they start by inspecting the neighborhood for clues and notice nothing wrong.  As they argue about the next step in their investigation, Arya unlocks the door and moves inside cautiously but starts an alarm that quickly brings watchmen and later Red Rubies, confirming Barnabas' importance and wealth. Taking their leave, the group returns to the orphanage, promising to return the next morning to speak with the employees and learn more about the red haired man that Petyr saw in his divination.

Upon their arrival at the shop disguised as rich adventurers who are about to attend to a ball, they are able to speak with their main witness, Markus Briskol, the man in Petyr's scrying.  Barnabas' assistant quickly realize that the adventurers are not who they seem and reacts by asking them to leave but is stopped by Mersenne's magical music that forced him to cooperate.  He admits having witnessed the death of Doctor Jevasic and describes the murderer as a "hulking man in a dark full plate".  He also says that the mysterious man is an associate of his master and he sometimes uses the shop at night.  By asking questions about his role in the murder of the doctor, they quickly realize that Briskol is a cold and ruthless man obcessed with money and power and that when he would get his senses back, he would seek vengeance against them. At Rhivaun's suggestion, they teleported the still charmed Briskol to a small village near Waterdeep and returned, moving to Barnabas' residence to learn more about him as he seems to be the key to this mystery.  

While his partners were gathering some information about the villa and its occupants, Petyr went to the gate to meet with the guards, members of the Red Rubies led by an old rival of his, Sapphiredge. The tiefling learned a bit more about the mansion's owner and his reputation but unfortunately, he returned without much information about the mysterious killer in the dark armor.  Planning to infiltrate the house the next day, the investigators returned to Stardust Hall while Petyr and Mersenne started to search about the mysterious elvish poem "Voices of the Lost" at the Olamh.  Following a lead given by Vunik, the strange seer at Wyttman Institute,  Petyr also did a scrying on Felnarra, hoping to locate her.  The divination was successful and he found her in company of a tall man in dark armor and a woman with fiendish features, the same woman they had fought at the Thirsty Throat tavern before the Night of Chaos.  Using deduction and all the information gathered, the group had enough reason to believe that the tailor Barnabas was working with Lord Urmbrusk to use Felnarra and her oracular abilities to locate the magical poem for some nefarious plan. They would have to strike quickly to ensure Orkalion's safety.

Oddly enough, Barnabas moved first.  He sent an invitation to the group, offering them the chance to discuss with him in person at his mansion.  All felt it was a trap but they had no other choice but to accept.  

The next evening, the group met with the tailor Barnabas in his residence and strangely enough, the old man seemed as surprised by their visit and they were by his invitation.  After a long discussion, the group convinced Barnabas that they were not threatening his reputation and that, on the contrary, his association with criminals could only result in a loss of customers and in the end of his role as the man behind fashion in Waterdeep.At the end of the meeting, Barnabas secretly gave a bit of paper to Petyr, asking them to join him later that night in the Garden of Heroes.  Clearly, the man knew some important information that he was afraid of giving in the presence of his retinue.

 Afraid a quick return to the orphanage for a meal and some preparation, the group took a cab that brought them to the entrance of the large public park, completely empty at that late hour.  Waiting next to the future statue to Piergeiron the Paladinson, former Open Lord, the group finally met with Barnabas who revealed that he was indeed an associate of the mysterious man in the black full plate but that their was association was done unwillingly. 

At first, Barnabas had been hired by a group of nobles to design a set of masks for some type of secret society and the man sent by the nobles to collect the masks.  The impressive warrior then told Barnabas that he would sometimes need his tailor shop at night for some of his operations and clearly gave him no choice but to accept. Barnabas also told them that it was because of afraid of the "man in black" that he hired the Red Rubies. Before he had the chance to continue the discussion, a group of creatures charged the, forcing Barnabas to flee while the group protected his retreat.

The creatures, four unidentifable drakes and four small trolls were perfectly organized and, as the trolls were attacking directly the investigators, most of the drakes were trying to flank them while another was tracking the poor tailor. After a long game of cat and mouse, the heroes finally brought down the trolls and two of the drakes but the two remaining were getting closer and closer to their prey. Unfortunately, only Ayanna was close enough to protect Barnabas and she was engaged with one of the remaining monsters when the other one took a large bite off the tailor's side, killing him almost instantly.  

Then the creature did the most horrible thing: he started to eat its victim!  As it had swallowed the head, the drake started to draw Barnabas' soul out of his body, swallowing it as easlily as it had done for the body. Ayanna finally managed to kill the last beast, horrified by what it had done.  In the minutes following the end of the battle, the watch arrived, alerted by the screams of the victim.

Rapidly, the situation evolved negatively as Rhivaun commented on the time the officers took to come to the rescue, calling them incompetents. Petyr, trying to protect his friend, used sarcasm on one of the officers who decided to arrest them, accusing them of insulting the watch and obstructing the law.  Mersenne, who was outraged at the tyrannical attitude of the officer, tried to convince him to change his mind, only bringing down the wrath of the watchman against him as well.  

While Rhivaun and Petyr were brought to the judge, Mersenne fled the scene, watchmen running after him.  The rest of the group returned quickly to Stardust Hall, alerting their superiors about Rhivaun and Petyr's arrestations.  

The night ended with Rhivaun and Petyr being sentenced for 3 days of jail and fined while Mersenne called for diplomatic immunity, revealing himself as a member of the tethyrian nobility to escape the judge.   

 

 

 

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Road Trip
Investigating the disappearance of an old antagonist

One month had passed since the group's last investigation and few events, with the exception of the Open Lord's funeral and the return of the Priestess of the High Moonlight Suaril at the House of the Moon, went in the way of disturbing the daily routine of the orphans that were slowly becoming South ward's heroes.

Recently returned from the evereskan front, Lady Suaril rapidly called all her priests to the temple to annouce her choice as the new prior.  With the dismissal of High Initiate Orkalion for medical reasons, the high priestess had to select a new second in command.  In front of many followers and all the selunite clergy of Waterdeep, she officially named Moonmother Stardust to the office, promoting her to the rank of High Initiate.  Immediately, the new prior announced her resignation as Stardust Hall's principal and the promotion of Moonsister Anika Dahlgren as vice-principal under Revered Mother Al-Fulani of Ilmater.  On the same night, holy to the Silver Lady, the clerics organized the Conjuring of the Second Moon, an important ritual that would summon two of the goddess' most powerful servants to serve the temple for one night.

After a beautiful and serene ceremony, two Shards appeared and performed the services that were asked of them before returning to the Gates of the Moon, bringing an old cleric with them to join their ranks.

The next day, the new prior called the Companions to her office at Stardust Hall, informing them that her predecessor, Felnarra Orkalion, had disappeared from the Wyttman Institute for the Mind, an hospital specialized in mental disorders and traumas, where she was treated for her mental breakdown after Morigard's death.  Rhivaun and his friends were tasked of investigating her disappearance since the details concerning it were strange.  The Church, a sponsor to the Institute, had been informed through magical communication, that the former prior had received the visit of a priestess who  performed the Conjuring of the Second Moonand then left, along with Felnarra, in company of two Shards. Doubting these informations, especially since the said priestess was at the House of the Moon that night, Vivian wanted them to discover the truth and bring Felnarra back to the temple.

Leaving the next day and heading south, the companions quickly realized,at the sight of many caravans transportig wounded or dead people, that the roads surrounding the City of Splendors were not as secure as they were in the past.  These sightings confirmed the informations concerning the increase of bandit and monstrous raids in the region.  Fortunately for them (or for the bandits), nothing happened and they rapidly reached the river Ardeep close to which was the Wyttman Institute.  Leaving the High Road to travel on a trail leading to the asylum, the coach transporting the agents of Selûne's church was forced to slow down when it entered a flooded zone.  An hour later, they came under attack by two aquatic monsters who saw the flooding of the road as a good opportunity to extend their hunting territory and who had selected their coachman as their prey.  Unable to save the poor man who sank into the muddy water, the group easily defeated one of the tentacled monsters using Rhivaun and Petyr's magic.  After a little hide and seek game in the marsh, they hunted down the second one before resuming their trip towards the asylum.

When they finally arrived at the Institute, they were politely but coldly welcomed by Strogg the dwarf, head of security for the Institute, and Doctor Heraldus, the administrator. After hearing a detailed resume of the events leading to the disappearance of High Initiate Orkalion, the investigators were given full access to the cells. While Arya was inspection Orkalion's cell with Rhivaun, the others started to ask questions to the patients, receiving insults and body fluids as answers.  Fortunately enough, one patient, a man named Carl Czmaska, told them he saw a "woman with many shadows" walking to Felnarra's room.  Questionning Strogg about Czmaska, the dwarf answered that the man wa addicted to Greenwort, a drug believed by many wizards to enhance the oracular abilities.  Petyr was convinced that the man had seen invisible creatures accompanying the false selûnite visiting the High Initiate.  

With the conviction that nothing in Felnarra's disparition was linked to the will of the Moonmaiden, the group left the cells and started to interrogate the employees.  While talking to the nurses, Ayanna and Rhivaun noticed that one of them, Gyl, was actually hiding something.  Isolating her from the rest of her colleagues, the woman admitted that out of curiosity and religious fervor, she had spied on the visiting selûnite, hoping to see the Shards.  Questionned by Rhivaun about what she saw, she stated that the ritual that summoned the two servants of the Lady was very different from the one she had seen at the House of the Moon a few years earlier, confirming that it was an hoax.  Ashamed of herself and afraid that she would be fired for her indiscretion, Gyl pleaded for the group's silence, telling them about Doctor Heraldus' strict order to hide the truth to the investigators sent by the Church.

Tired from their walk in the marsh and their fight with the monsters, the companions asked for a place to sleep and were offered the office of Doctor Jevasic, a specialist in phobias who was acting as the Institute chief medical officer.  Unfortunately, their sleep was greatly disturbed by horrible nightmares that, to Petyr's estimation, might have been sent magically.  While Rhivaun, Arya and Petyr continued their investigation by questionning the doctors, Ayanna and Mersenne walked out to the guards' barracks, hoping to interrogate the dwarf Strogg who was on duty on the night of Orkalion's disappearance. 

The dwarf refused to cooperate, locking himself in his room and threatening the catfolk and the bard with an axe if they ever forced their way inside his quarters.  Strogg seemed afraid of something and accused them of endangering his job at the asylum.  The disappearance of one of the patients made him and his guards look bad and this could mean the end of a well paid job for the greedy dwarf.  It is only through guile and the use of Mersenne's bardic music that they forced the mercenary to cooperate, admitting that he was not clearly remembering the patient's departure in company of two selûnite angels.  He also had no souvenir of how the priestess left the building.  Foul play was confirmed.

Inside the Institute, a discussion with Doctor Jevasic shed some light on Felnarra's mental state and, while he could not say anythin more about the mysterious events, Jevasic confirmed that he had spoken to the priestess before her entrance in the cellblock, explaining that as a selûnite who had been away from the House of the Moon for long, he wanted the blessings of the goddess.  To him, everything was normal with the priestess even though he felt she was stressed.  Questionned about the Shards' departure from the asylum by Mersenne and Ayanna who had returned inside after their discussion with Strogg, Jevasic admitted that he did not remember actually seeing the angels leave but that he saw a group of people leaving towards the cliff.  He had assumed it was the priestess and that a boat was waiting for her.  He also admitted he had withheld this information because Doctor Heraldus had ordered him to. 

When confronted by the companions about these new details, Heraldus admitted he had ordered his staff not to cooperate with the investigators, fearing for the Institute's reputation.  He summoned Strogg to his office with the intention of ordering him to restart the investigation and offer his cooperation to the agents sent by the church but the dwarf did not answer.  Sending guards to the barracks, Heraldus also told them about the only witness that they had not questionned: a old man named Vunik who claimed to have been possessed by the god Oghma in the past.  His cell was next to Felnarra's and, after an intense fit of rage, was sent to the isolation block on the second floor.  

Authorized to visit Vunik, the companions discovered a very old with many unexplainable knowledges.  When asked about Felnarra, the man started repeating the same cryptic words, ignoring all their other questions.  With some deduction and analysis, Petyr suggested that the kidnapping might have been done by agents of Lord Urmbrusk using manipulated angels.  He also supposed that someone in the staff was helping the kidnappers.  When Doctor Heraldus came back into the cell, announcing that Strogg's body had been found in the marsh, the investigators' instinct told them to question Doctor Jevasic again.  As a specialist in phobias, he could have been responsible for the nightmares they had experienced while sleeping in his office and he had the reputation to be tyrannical with the staff and the patients.  

Confronted by Rhivaun and his friends, Jevasic admitted his participation in the kidnapping but, before he explained his exact part in it, he teleported.  Using magic, Petyr tracked down the evil doctor to Waterdeep, watching him enter a tailor shop.  Inside the shop, Jevasic talked to a redhaired man, clearly afraid.  The tailor invited him to the back of the shop but before he entered the room, Jevasic was attacked by a tall man wearing a black armor and wielding a maul.  The doctor was instantly killed, ending Petyr's divination.

Accepting the apologies of Heraldus, the party left Wyttman Institute, hoping to catch Jevasic's assassin and force him to reveal where was Felnarra.

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A Ghastly Problem
Hunting down a necromancer disturbing the peace

A little less than a month after Morigard's death, the Companions of Stardust Hall were called back into action when a citizen asked for their help in getting rid of an undead menace around his house.  The man, Valorin, explained that his brother, who had died during the Night of Chaos, had returned and tried to killed him and his wife.  Valorin described his dead brother as a monstrosity covered in sores and pus who had two tentacles sprouting out of his hips.  Strangely, this description seemed to fit a Bonedrinker, a rare type of undead usually created by goblin shamans. 

Walking in the dark and hazy streets, the group fell in an ambush prepared by the bonedrinker and his ghast minions.  Prepared for a fight against the undead this time, the heroes succeeded in destroying all the living dead, realizing that all these undead sightings could be linked.  Ayanna and Rhivaun remembered that the Watch was actively seeking a necromancer and a tomb-robber they had nicknamed The Coachman for the only clue he had left on every site he visited was the tracks of a coach.  None of these tracks had ever been helpful in identifying the vile wizard and his crime spree had stopped suddenly a few month after it had begun.

Visiting the City of the Dead and the small chapel of Kelemvor, the investigators discovered that many unidentified corpses from the victims of the Night of Chaos had never been claimed and were placed in a single tomb by Kelemvor's clergy.  All the cadavers had been picked up by the Watch and by the Dungsweepers' Guild.  Questionned about the possibilities of grave-robbing, the cleric of Kelemvor admitted that some bodies might have never reached the cemetary.  This meant that the culprit might be a member of the guild, leading the party its office in Dock ward.

When they arrived at the place, the office looked empty.  Most of the guild's agents were on the streets cleaning and gathering the garbage.  Too curious to wait until the office hours, Petyr decided to enter the building using his teleportation magic.  Inside they found documents concerning the cleaning operation organized by the guildmaster Helberad and led on the field by one of its important agents: Nuchar, the guildmaster's son.  Leaving the office, they started to ask questions in South ward about the operation and learned that some of the carts transporting the corpses had been seen stopping at the Carver mansion before entering the cemetary.  This house, property of Ephraim Carver, a renowned sculptor and palbearer, was where the monument dedicated to the people who had died in the events of the 28th day of Tarsakh was supposed to be sculpted. Pretty sure that the answer to this mystery was in this house, the investigators sent their two more stealthy members: Aria and Ayanna to investigate. While the two girls were entering the building through a window on the second floor, the three guys walked to the front, passing for customers interested in purchasin a tombstone.

 Inside the two stealthy ladies discovered a serie of strange rooms that were almost inaccessible and that had not been used in a long time.  Some of them had old relics from the Carver family, a clan of artisans renowned for their fascination with death.  Already suspicious, Ayanna and Aria confirmed their doubts when they discovered an alcove in the library inside of which they found a tome of necromancy written by a follower of an old god of death, Myrkul.  Finally, in another room, they found the mummified remains of an unidentified man.  Convinced that something weird was happening in this house, they left the building, waiting for the return of the three men to report what they had seen.

Returning inside and forcing their way inside by intimidating and bluffing the staff, the companions discovered an elevator in a small room close to the kitchen.  Going down, they fell into a trap and the machine started to gas them.  To save themselves, they jumped or teleported out the elevator only to be attacked by a creature built using the parts of many species of devils and identified as a stitched devil by Petyr.  Defeating the devilish golem and, later, a fearsome undead known as a Blaspheme, the group finally reached the Coachman who appeared to be a gaunt creature wheeping blood from his hands and displayed some mental powers.  He was protected by Valmer, the Carver majordomo who was in reality a monk from the Order of the Long Death.

Destroying the undead Coachman and his bodyguard, South ward's heroes discovered a man hidden underneaht a pile of corpses in another room and, searching the subterrenean complex, discovered a cache of magical objects and an old set of items strangely looking like the ones that would fit on an Hidden Lord.  The also found informations about deals made by the necromancer and the Shadow Thieves but also possibly involving important citizens or noble houses.

On the same day, as they were walking back towards the orphanage, they heard the sounds of many bells in the city.  Changing their route to get to Castle Waterdeep before the announcement, the group arrived just in time to hear the Castle's chamberlain announcing the Open Lord's death.  As his little speach ended, a hidden lord moved forward and removed his helmet, revealing himself as Caladorn the swordsage.  This man would become the next Open Lord.  Would this bring back order in the City of Splendors?

 

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Aftermath
Tracking a new threat while mourning a friend

As the cleaning of the orphanage began, less than an hour after the discovery of Morigard's body, Thoros and his two associates returned, the two kidnapped victims in tow.  The wizard, badly injured, informed his pupil and his friends that Lord Urmbrusk would not become a lich and that his plans had been foiled thanks to the participation of his two allies, revealed to be the former Zhentarim leader Semmemon and his wife Ashemmi.  Saddened by the news of his friend's death, Thoros left Stardust Hall and returned to his home, leaving the job of bringing home the two victims to the Watch.

Leaving the clean up to Ashraf and his mercenaries, the group moved their prisonner away from the crowd and interrogated him, using Mersenne and Petyr's magic to break him.  The shade admitted his appartenance to the Shadow Thieves and revealed that the Scarred Beasts were actually a sub-group for the criminal organization, focused on removing the guild's business rivals and spreading chaos in the streets. Leaving him bound and gagged in the orphanage's basement for the night, they then moved to Thoros's tower to interrogate their other prisonner, Magnus Svarlsson.  

The werecougar, knowing too well that the Grey Beast would eat him alive for his last failure at the Thirsty Throat, accepted to give information on his gang in exchange for the group's promise that they would ask for clemency at his trial.  Svarlsson told them about the gang's leaders, habits and their links with some unidentified noble houses.  Clearly, the Scarred Beasts were pawns in the game of some of the city's powerfuls.

The next morning, the companions were awakened by Prunis who informed them that Morigard's assassin had been found dead in his makeshift cell in the orphanage basement.  None of the watchmen left to guard the place had anything strange to report and even though the officer in charge officially complained to Moonmother Stardust about the lack of security in the Hall, the investigation was quickly closed as no one really wanted to know who had killed one of of South ward's legends. The Watch filed it as a murder committed by elements of the Shadow Thieves wanting to silence him.

Taking a few days for themselves after months of adventure and action, the companions took some time to heal and grieve the man who had acted as their father for all their lives, preparing his funeral.  When Rhivaun received an invitation by Cynzia Wesberry, a sembian merchant and a cleric of Selûne, the group reunited and took a coach to travel to Fair Winds, the villa Wesberry had rented in North ward. 

As the coach was reaching the villa, they suddenly heard a scream into the night.  Investigating the noise, Ayanna quickly realized that their coachman was under attack by a group of shadows.  As quickly as the attack had started, the coachman was dead, his life sucked out by the undead creatures. Taken by surprise and not equipped to deal with the living dead, the group jumped or teleported out of the coach and alerted the nearest temple who was, luckily enough, the House of the Morning.  Rapidly, a legion of paladins and templars to the god of Dawn were in the streets, hunting for the shadows.  Returning to the site were the coach had crashed, they discovered that the body of their driver missed his left foot.  According to Mersenne, this was the calling card of the Shadow Thieves.  Taking this as an assassination attempt by the returning guild, the companions walked to Fair Winds, ready to meet with the sembian priestess.

Lady Wesberry was not alone in the mansion when Rhivaun and his friends entered.  Arkin Tossum and his pack were in the courtyard, living there since Arkin's appartment had been deliberately destroyed in a fire during the Night of Chaos.  The priestess revealed her association with Tossum's pack and her allegiance to the Pact of the New Moon, an allegedly heretical group of Selûnites dedicated to the destruction of evil lycanthropes and malarites.  The woman, using her function as a traveling merchant, was trying to bring more lycanthropes into the organization and had recruited Arkin and the others one year ago.  For her, the Scarred Beasts were the perfect example of ennemies that should be fought by the Church of Selûne.  She complained about the obcession about politics that affected many fellow clerics of the Lady.  Her objective was clear, create a large pack of New Moon hunters in Waterdeep to fight the rising influence of Malar in the region. She invited Rhivaun in the group but he politely answered that he needed time to consider the offer.  The Pact of the New Moon had been declared an heresy years ago and accused of link with the Church of Shar.  He could not join such a group without an investigation first!

One tenday later, the funerals of Morigard Dalrak took place in Stardust Hall's courtyard in presence of many dignitaries.  After an heart wrenching song by Moonmother Stardust and speeches by Petyr, Rhivaun, Mersenne and Commissioner Gundwynd, they moved the dwarf's body to the City of the Dead and into the Hall of Heroes, a tomb dedicated to dead watchmen and war heroes.  Later that night, the companions drank in the paladin's honor, returning to the orphanage at dawn.

Slowly after that, the lives of the companions of Stardust Hall settled and returned to normal, their investagations stopped by the lack of clues.  Awaiting new informations or the manifestation of the ennemy, they took back their jobs as teachers at the orphanage.  Soon however, another disturbance would force them back into the streets…

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Night of Chaos
The streets of Waterdeep are now in chaos...

Leaving the Thirsty Throat with their knocked out prisoner, the orphans were left with a dilemna about the next step in their investigation:  moving against Lord Urmbrusk or not?  Choosing the first option might be their downfall as an arcanist ready to turn himself into a lich would certainly be a challenging opponent.  However, choosing to avoid Favian Urmbrusk's mansion would signify the deaths of two innoncent citizens.

Unfortunately, the choice was made for them when a patrol of the Watch, alerted by the sounds of battle, stumbled upon them while they were still close to the tavern.  Using guile, they succeeded in convincing them that they were not involved in the incident at the Thirsty Throat and moved away.  Hearing the sounds of many Guard and Watch patrols, the investigators realized that something was wrong.  The Watch would have been much more thorough in their questionning.  Their fear was confirmed when Petyr received a magical call from his teacher, Thoros, ordering him to his tower with his friends.  The sound of his voice was clear: the grumpy wizard was afraid.

When they arrived at Thoros' appartment, they found him in company of two cloaked individuals.  He was equiped with wands and magical trinkets like Petyr had never seen him before. After locking the prisoner in a room, Thoros explained why he was so nervous and had called for help:  one of the many enemies of the city has strucked that night.  Many buildings were in flames and a few personalities, including the daughter of the Open Lord, had been assassinated.  The information that transpired was that the Scarred Beasts were the ones responsible and that they had done the job on behalf of the Shadow Thieves.  

Fearing for the orphanage, Thoros asked them to report to Morigard and help him in the protection of Stardust Hall.  The old mage feared that the institution would be targeted for its link with the Church of Selûne and the presence of Morigard, an old enemy of the thieves' guild.  He would, with the help of his mysterious partners, engage Lord Urmbrusk and free his victims.

Returning to the orphanage, they quickly discovered that Thoros' fears were shared by the Stardust Hall's staff as they were in the process of moving the children to the basement and secure the windows and doors with wood.  Everything was efficiently organized and under the supervision of the old dwarf paladin Morigard while Vivian was busy arguing with her superior from the House of the Moon, Felnarra Orkalion.  The orphanage's principal disapproved Felnarra's presence in this time of crisis, considering her too important to remain in the danger zone.  The prior argued that a vision had sent her there and that she would not leave. Ending their argument, the two women, accompanied by the orphanage's administrator, returned inside to prepare themselves in case of an invasion.

The invasion came during the night.  At first, it looked like an eartquake but soon, the defenders saw some strange creatures looking like stone scorpions emerge from the ground.  Identified by Mersenne as Stonesingers, these aberrations immediately tried to destroy the defenses of the building while singing a strange song.  As soon as the singers were killed, another wave of monsters attacked the courtyard of the Hall.  This time, the attackers were humanoid insects identified as Vivisectors.  These ones gave a lot more trouble to the defenders than the scorpions and the fact that they were able to fly facilitated their capacity to penetrate the defenses and even move inside the building. Finally, as two waves of attackers was not enough, a group of barbarians clearly sent by the Scarred Beasts pulled down the doors and moved in.  

Using all this combat as a decoy, another ennemy climbed the wall and entered the orphanage, followed by a large wolf.  Using their combat skills and luckily receiving the help of Ashraf Al-Jabari's mercenaries, the young heroes moved inside, tracking the tall ganger and his wolf.  On the second floor, a few battles were involving Vivian, Morigard and the others, each in a different place in the building.  The group had to face the ganger, later revealed to be the leader of the operation, his worg companion and a few vivisectors.  When they finally reached the sector were Morigard was, the found him dead.  At first, it seemed as if he had died defending the prior Orkalion from the ennemies.  A closer inspection revealed that he had been stabbed in the back while fighting a large specimen of vivisector.  The murder weapon was at the feet of a babbling Felnarra, lost in an intense and maddening vision.

Again thanks to Arya's elven eyesight, the saddened adventurers noticed the escape of an assassin and went to his pursuit on the roof.  It finally ended in the alley next to the orphanage when Petyr caught the culprit in a web.  The man, disguised as a scarred beast ganger was in reality a professional assassin with shadow-related powers close to what the Shadovars displayed.  

Brought back to the orphanage in chains, Morigard's killer would be interrogated very soon.  Then the would avenge the dwarf's death.

 

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Hounding
A race against time to find the two kidnapped victims before the deal between the Scarred Beasts and a candidate for lichdom is done

Fearing that the kidnapped victims might be delivered to the vile nobleman, the party decided to move quickly against their enemies, leaving Stardust Hall at night to scout the surroundings of the Thirsty Throat.

The place was being watched by junior members of the gang under the command of a werebat archer.  Using disguises and trickery, the heroes successfully neutralized the watchmen and their lycanthropic boss, getting access to the warehouse next to the tavern.  Finding nothing inside, they then moved to the other warehouse identified as Waukeen's Wares, property of the mercenary Orlen Grageon.  This time, Arya had harder times unlocking the door but inside they find exactly the same thing as in the previous warehouse: nothing. After a quick examination of a sewer grate at the back of the building, Rhivaun and his friends were considering moving to the sewers when Arya instinctively found a secret door on the second floor that seemed to connect to the Thirsty Throat.

They quickly realized that they were not alone as two creatures looking like small elves and armed with scimitars appeared out of nowhere with an angry look in their eyes.  The creatures, identified by Petyr as bralanis, were eladrins, extraplanar creatures usually serving the good elven deities.  However, those were clearly agressive and were theatening anyone moving close to one of the doors.  After an intense fight with the bralanis as well as with a ghost and a horde of drunken men, the adventurers succeeded in moving to the locked down room only to be greeted there by lightning bolts.

Inside the room were two persons, one man and one female waiting to conclude a deal.  Two large chests stood next to the lady who was actually the one shooting the spells.  The man in the room was Magnus Svarlsson, their old enemy.  The werecougar was now disfigured, a punishment imposed by the Elders of his gang for his failures.  He knew that his superiors would not tolerate another one.  He was fighting to the death as the lady wizard, probably representing Lord Urmbrusk, was trying to flee with the help of her bralani bodyguards.  

After a few attacks from Petyr, Mersenne and Arya, the magician was knocked down but her eladrin servant, grabbing her and using his flying abilities, helped her flee the scene, leaving the werecougar alone.  He was finally brought down alive but not before bragging that his rivals had failed and that the two victims were now in possession of Lord Urmbrusk.  

Time was of the essence. They had to move to save the kid and the old sailor before the evil malconvoker becomes a lich!  But how  could they succeed in moving against a rich and powerful noble?

 

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Pure souls
Without clue to continue their hunt on the Scarred Beasts, the investigators try to find two residents of South ward who disappeared on the same night

After Magnus' escape, the group realized that they had no other clue to find him.  They had to wait until he would manifest again. Unwilling to return to their regular jobs while mysteries remained unsolved, the party decided to follow another lead: the attack against Nindil Jalbuck.  With the grocer's authorization, they searched through his house, hoping to confirm the rumor that he was a masked lord. 

They indeed found a secret passage leading within the walls and to a secret basement but the place was filled with traps. After successfully moving through some of them, Mersenne and Ayanna were hit and Ayanna was teleported out of the building.  Fearing for the youngsters' lives, Jalbuck ordered them to leave.  They finally found Ayanna alive at Stardust Hall.  Again, without more information, the investigators were stucked.

The next day, on the 26th of Tarsakh, they noticed something in the Daily Trumpet.  Two citizens of South ward, a young boy and an old sailor, were reported missing by their respective families.  The two victims did not know each other.  Without hesitation, the heroes started a new investigation, suspecting the Scarred Beasts of this new crime.  After a quick investigation in the neighborhood and a discussion with a conspiracy theorist named Cletor, accusing demons, they finally found something about the two missing persons in a small dive where the old sailor went to drink.

Buying alcohol for all the patrons in there, the group rapidly became popular with them, getting an easy access to information about the missing sailor.  After a while, they were invited by a smiling man who claimed to have information about the kidnappings.  This man, Rhuul, was only asking for a bottle of 1358 arabellan brandy and some information in exchange.  He was clearly knowing the investigators.  Accepting the deal, the party answered some questions about the Scarred Beasts and their lair in exchange for the name of the ones responsible for the kidnappings.  

Rhuul identified the Scarred Beasts as the culprits, confirming the doubts of the heroes.  He however told them that this job was done for someone else.  Someone who wanted two pure souls for a vile necromantic ritual: lichdom.  Petyr,who knew that a noble, a conjurer named Favian Urmbrusk had previously pruchased vile magical components for a similar ritual, suspected the noble of being behind the kidnappings.  Rhuul also informed the group that the Beasts were just working for a more important organization: the Shadow Thieves.  The guild had returned and was using the gang as brutes to remove business rivals and to bring chaos in the city.  The gang leader, the Grey Beast, was actually the Silhouette of Thugs for the guild.

The mysterious informant finally sell them the location of one the Shadow Thieves former hideout, a tavern in Dock ward named the Thirsty Throat.  They knew he was telling the truth since they had previously met Scarred Beasts in this establishment.  Suspecting the victims to be there, the heroes prepared themselves to raid the tavern the next day.

Would they arrive on time to save the two victims?  Would they finally remove the Scarred Beasts once and for all from Waterdeep or would they make another enemy, this time a powerful noble? 

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Wounded Beast
Receiving new informations from an unsuspected source, the heroes track down some hidden elements of the Scarred Beasts

After a briefing of the recent events to Moonmother Stardust and a quick rest, the investigators resumed their research about the mysterious leader of the gang, Grey Beast and the possible lairs and associates he could have. After witnessing the plans of the gang and their allies for the city, the Stardust Hall heroes were more determined than ever to remove the murderous bandits from the streets.

Later that day, they received a visit from Beren, Arya's eldest brother and known associate of Elaith Craulnober, who informed them that someone holding information about their enemies was waiting for them in a warehouse in Dock ward.  Back there, they found a bound Tamarra, the werefox that had escaped them at the Full Cup.  Clearly the elf had been captured by agents of The Serpent, interrogated and then delivered to them.  She confessed her crimes and offered her full collaboration in exchange for protection.  She had previously asked protection to Craulnober but the pragmatic elven crimelord, realizing that she was not really an elf but a cursed human transformed into an elf by the werefox curse, turned down her offer.  

The penitent werefox told them about the motivations behind the attack on Nindil Jalbuck the grocer, about the way the gang operated, about their leaders and their mysterious informant, an elven diviner named Casrah.  The diviner was not a member of the gang but an associate of the Elders. She also informed them about a feasthall that was often visited by high ranking members of the gang to negociate with other criminal organizations and with decadent nobles searching for muscles-for-hire.  This place was the Lucky Cat in Trades ward.

Leaving Tamarra in the care of clerics of the Moonmaiden, the party then planned their visit to the feasthall, posing as mercenaries.  After a fight against mechanical gladiators to pay for the entrance fee, they were able to meet the owner, a cormyrean expatriate with a passion for cats.  They also met some of the patrons, from a Red wizard from the thayan embassy to  two lovely aasimars dealing in illegal magical components.  On the second floor, they found an old enemy: Magnus Svarlsson.  he was in company of two other men, playing a card game.  One of them was an haughty noble, Balthus Amcathra in company of a beautiful lady who seemed to be able to see through Rhivaun's cat form.  The third player was a mysterious and unamed man flipping a platinum piece between his fingers.

At the end of the card game, Svarlsson left the gambling hall in company of two of his men and returned to their former lair under Coachlamp's Lane, taking the portal to the Wyllowwood.  Not wishing to follow the werecougar in his lair, the heroes trapped the portal room and left, angry that the warblade had eluded them again.

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Infiltration
Undercover, our heroes try to get accepted in their enemy's pack

Motivated by their success in convincing the cell leader, the party headed towards the Golden Fields to deliver a mysterious package to one of the priests there.  The place was a serie of vast fields perfectly tended by devoted priests of Chauntea the Earthmother.  They met there Harvestmaster Felstun, a passionate man who loved apple pies. 

Opening the box, the priest found one of his favorite treats which passed all tests to confirm that it was not poisoned or cursed.  After a delectable meal in company of the enthusiastic cleric, the adventurers left Waterdeep's granary and walked in direction of the farm of Graven Silverkin, a sheep herder supposed to be a friend to an important selûnite (Arkin Tossum).  Not wishing to kill the friend of Arkin, they warned the man in advance to leave the farm so they could burn it and pass their initiation within the gang. As the were getting close to the farm, they quickly realized that they were watched: many foxes were following them, probably animals sent by the lycanthropes masters of the malarite gang.

After setting fire to the small farm and neutralizing an angry neighbor, the "Scarred Beasts applicants" returned to the Full Cup to inform the cell leader of their success. Unfortunately, someone has informed Erb and Tamarra of their real identities.  Almost as soon as they walked in the briefing room, they were attacked by a wereboar, a werewolf and a flesh golem under the command of Erb who revealed himself as a wizard. With some efforts and tactics, the party successfully dispatched the two lycanthropes, the golem and his master but were unable to capture the waitress who was in truth the cell leader, a werefox.

Before he was killed, Erb gloated about how the gang had tricked one of their enemy in doing their dirty job and helping them release a virulent disease in the Golden Fields.  Fearing the man was telling the truth, the young investigators left the Full Cup burning and ran to the House of the Moon, asking the clerics for help.  Fearing contagion, the selûnites isolated the group and tested them while warning the authorities about a possible outbreak.  It was later confirmed that some fields were showing traces of infection but the clerics and their attendants were fine.  A more thourough research revealed that the disease, affecting only plants, was brought in the temple by the investigators.  Nothing was in the mysterious box.  It was just an excuse to make them enter the walls of the garanary.  The disease, dubbed Talona's Rusting Kiss, was created in a lab in the basement of the Full Cup by an alchemist who was following instructions from a book written by clerics of the Lady of Poison. Immediately, the selûnite started working on an antidote while the group was moving back to their plan to remove the Scarred Beast threat from the streets forever.

 

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