City of Splendors: Waterdeep

Saving the Garrulous Grocer

With new information, the heroes make a retributive strike against the Scarred Beasts

Using his contacts at the House of the Moon, Rhivaun accessed the great library of the temple, searching for details about the mysterious expedition that Moonmother Stardust led to the jungles of Chult before establishing Stardust Hall.  This expedition was considered a total failure and had led Moonmother Stardust to her self-imposed "exile" from the House of the Moon.  

With the help of Celenor, a old friend of the family working as one of the libary's curator, Rhivaun found a small journal written by Stardust as a report to her superior.  This journal confirmed that the priestess was not the sole leader of the expedition and that at least one lycanthrope was on the ship.  Elril Brokengulf, a member of the famous family of hunters and trackers and a natural lycanthrope was leading an hunting party joining the mission since his family was financing the project.

In the jungle, the group found a tribe of catfolk named "Tabaxi" and quickly gained their confidence through exchanges and diplomacy. The natives accepted to help Brokengulf's hunters to captures rare beasts in exchange of waterdhavian goods and better weapons.  In one of such expeditions to capture a exotic monster, Lord Brokengulf was ambushed by a creature, probably a black dragon, and horribly disfigured.  As a werebadger, he fell into a killing frenzy and slaughtered most of the natives before he was forced to flee in the jungle by Moonmother Stardust's templars.  The cleric never saw her noble partner again and returned to the city with less than a fourth of the explorers and the sole surviving tabaxi, a baby whom she adopted and named Ayanna.

Even though nothing in the journal confirmed the identity of the Grey Beast, Rhivaun was convinced that the leader of the Scarred Beasts was in fact Lord Brokengulf who had returned to Waterdeep.  The Grey Beast's apparent knowledge of the city, his sense of organization, his understanding of Waterdeep's traditions and politics could certainly fit for an exiled noble.

As knowing more about their enemy's leader was not enough, the investigators then worked on discovering the location of the predator's lair.  They already knew that the underground complex in South ward held a portal but Petyr was not sure about how to open it and more importantly, were it led.  Working in his master's lab for hours, the tiefling conjurer finally manged to understand a spell to analyze portals from Thoros' spellbook.

With this spell in hand, Petyr led his friends back into the underground complex of the Scarred Beasts hoping to understand the reasons explaining the presence of a portal in a street gang's hideout.  Casting the spell as his partners were guarding him, the tiefling discovered that the two-way magical gate was leading directly into Undermountain on a layer called Wyllowwood.  To Mersenne's knowledge, Wyllowwood was supposed to be a natural forest transplanted into the underdark by the Mad Mage. It was rumored to hold cults of the Gods of the Fury and more precisely one dedicated to Malar the Beastlord.  Using the same magical formula, Petyr managed to discover the password and the key to the portal in case they would need to investigate deeper into the gang's activities.

After a short rest while participating at the events of Waukeentide (and more precisely enjoying the events of Goldennight), the group resumed its investigation around South ward's second cell.  They started back where Mersenne had tracked one of the presumed member a few days before and were attacked by archers hired to kill any curious wandering around the boarding house.  The interrogation of the captured archers and the information gathered by Mersenne in the neighborhood led the party to another boarding house next to Grocer's lane.  

They quickly realized something was wrong when Rhivaun noticed the odor of one of the presumed thug outside of the building.  The traces in the street were leading directly to the Garrulous Grocer, South ward's most reputed grocery.  As he led his friends  closer, Rhivaun saw that the attackers had splitted in two groups, one going upstairs to the family's residence while the second one had entered into the shop.  Doing the same, the party separated with Petyr and Arya moving to the shop's door while Ayanna, Rhivaun and Mersenne climbing the stairs.  

Rhivaun's tracking was not mistaken as they found Scarred Beasts exactly where the cleric had said.  Three of them, including a werecougar were seizing goods from the store as two others were holding Sealamin Jalbuck hostage.  Almost immediately, the combat began and the young adventurers discovered quickly that the werecougar Magnus Svarlsson was also a warblade.  In one jump and one hit from his bastard sword, the martial artist killed the celestial creature summoned by Petyr to act as a shield for him and Arya.  Through team work and effective tactics, the heroes defeated the Scarred Beast party but a wounded Svarlsson abandonned his men and fled into the night.

After a quick but inconclusive investigation about the reasons of the attack and when they were sure the young Jalbuck was in safety, the victorious friends led their captives to Arkin's apartment in Trades Ward.  As they did with the other gangers they defeated previously, they wished to interrogate them far away from the watch.  This time though, the thugs would not answer to the usual threats and Petyr had to use more devious tricks to reveal the information.  The wizard used a spell enabling him to read thoughts as Rhivaun, Ayanna and Mersenne were asking questions.  With this tactics and patience, they discovered the cell official hideout, a tavern named the Full Cup.  They also discovered the reasons Magnus and his men had attacked the Garrulous Grocer.  First they had to collect foods to feed the gang.  Second, they were ordered to confirm if the owner of the Grocer (and Sealamin's adoptive father), Nindil Jalbuck, was one of the secret Lords of the city.  It seemed that this mission was done as a favor to one of the gang's allies.

After a few days of official work at the orphanage, the investigation took another direction as the companions visited the Full Cup.  There they met with presumed members of the Scarred Beasts and, acting as mercenaries, were hired for two jobs to prove themselves.  If the test was conclusive, they would work for the gang officially with all the benefits of a regular member.  This was the perfect way to understand the gang and to slowly work against it.  The first mission, for the less moral members of the mercenary band was to torch a small farm outside of the city.  The farm was owned by a friend of an agent of the Church of Selûne and was a message to the said agent.  The second mission, for the rest of the band, was to infiltrate a box inside the Goldenfields, Waterdeep's granary.

What were the plans of the gang's mysterious leader?  The only way to discover them would be to successfully infiltrate the Scarred Beasts.  The complicated part will be to do so without causing harm to the city or to a selûnite…

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