Tyranny of Dragons

Council of Waterdeep

Season 3, Session 1 (part 2 of 3)

21st day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

Downstairs, Gamora impatiently asks Jean Luc when it is time to go. Osrik returns and offers to play cards with her to pass the time.

Cora approaches Jean Luc asking him for some help identifying some magic items. She begins with the Black Dragon Mask she pulled off Rezmir, and tells him she thinks it is the mask she promised Bog Luck. Jean Luc can sense a phenomenal amount of magic in the mask and he explains its properties to her.

Next she gives him he cousin’s scimitar, but when she hands it to him the second sword she purchased from Jokal vibrates angrily and flies out of its scabbard and spins wildly around Jean Luc’s neck until the two blades are within arm’s reach and clash on the floor. A thin bead of blood drips from his neck from where the second blade cut him.

When he casts identify on one blade he senses the properties of the second. He determines that the blades are not in sync and something is hindering its full potential, as a result he can’t understand their enchantments. When he casts Identify again, touching both swords at once, he realizes that the sword she received from Jokel, the one with the dragon head charm, has a conditional enchantment that will trigger in the presence of a dragon.

Cora considers handing over her bow, Providence to Jean Luc but decides against it, feeling this is part of her own journey to discover. Instead she pulls out the silver-blue dragon scale. Before handing it to him, she says, “I don’t know how much of this I can explain without sounding crazy. I don’t even know if you’ll be able to touch it. But you can try.”

Jean Luc reaches out to touch the scale but feels a strange vibration as his hand passes through it. The phenomenon utterly confuses him, but he finds it rather intriguing.

Cora asks, “On another subject, I wanted to know, what are your thoughts on time travel?”
“Well,” Jean Luc tells her, “I wondered about that when the lad answered the riddles for us in the vault. But I’m not sure if I’ve ever read anything on time travel before.”

“Do you think it’s possible?” she asks.

“Probably. I mean, I think there are celestial beings that exist outside what we understand as time. But I don’t know if it’s as easy as planar travel. So… is that what you think this is? Out of sync with time? Is that why I can’t touch it? That’s fascinating.”

“I hope we’ll keep this between us," Cora says, "Because as you can imagine this knowledge in the wrong hands might prove very dangerous.”

Jean Luc agrees. He asks Cora to hold the scale out again. He places his hands underneath hers but does not feel the vibrations, and touches Cora’s hand. He rotates his hands around hers to lay over hers where they phase through the scale and he feels vibrations. “What do you feel?” he asks.

“I feel the scale in my hands and your fingers in the same place,” she says.

“I’ll look into it,” he says. “And don’t give that mask to that creep.”

Cora ask, “How do you destroy magic items?”

“That’s an excellent question,” he tells her, “Because I know some people who think you can’t destroy magic items. Anything else?”

“No," says Cora. “Thank you.”

As they head back downstairs the city guards show up asking for Jean Luc. Reven stands up and claims he is Jean Luc, but Gamora ignores him and points out the real Jean Luc. The guards explain they are the group’s escort and asks them if they are ready to head to Castle Waterdeep.

Vera turns to Cora, “Should I actually be going to this?”

“Well, you might not actually have any testimony to give,” Jean Luc says, “And I am under the impression this might be some secret material.”

“Leosin advised that all party members currently involved in the investigation should attend,” says a guard.

Jean Luc tells the group, “This is a moment of some decision-making. If you’re in, everyone we’re about to meet are going to expect us to be in until this is over.”

Cora turns to Vera, “You are here to find Harlin. I think perhaps it’s best for you to stay here.”

“You don’t think I should…” Vera says a bit taken aback.

“It could be a great adventure,” Jean Luc interjects.

“Who knows, Harlin may be at this meeting,” Osrik adds.

“It may be dangerous,” Cora warns sternly, cutting off the others. “I don’t think Harlin will want to get involved in this. You probably don’t want to…,” Cora says.

Vera interrupts, “Wait. Your aunt – the house – the Cult. There is a connection, isn’t there?”

Cora pauses and simply nods.

“Then I will go," Vera says. {**}

The party leaves the Flagon Dragon and head down the road to Castle Waterdeep. The path towards the castle travels uphill through various checkpoints as they wind up the mountain upwards. When they finally make it to the main gate they enter into a large busy courtyard. The guards lead the group through double doors into a grand hall where several individuals are already gathered and mingling. Leosin is among them and he breaks away from a dark-haired moon elf maiden and makes his way to the party.

He is glad to see they have arrived and is introduced to Vera and Reven. He asks about Dru whereabouts, and shares a mix of regret and relief, suggesting the council may have had reservations about Dru’s participation. He asks the party if they are ready.

“Is there something you want us to say?” Jean Luc asks.

“You’re best off just being honest and mindful of the situation,” Leosin answers.

“What’s the situation as it currently is?” Osrik asks.

“Political. Highly political. Do your best, try not to yell if you don’t have to,” Leosin says.

Gamora snaps, “What are you all looking at me for?”

Leosin suggests the party store their gear and weapons for safekeeping. They are assigned a steward, a castle guard named Sgt Herold Ward. The party reluctantly agrees and allow Herold to store their gear.

Vera approaches Leosin, "We heard that someone was killed recently. Was that someone who was supposed to be needed here today?” Leosin looks at her cautiously and hesitates. “Just for our… awareness,” she finishes.

“Let’s not talk about that now. Keep a neutral frame of mind, and do your best to not lose your temper. Please follow Sgt Ward to store your items. I will see you inside.” He looks at Jean Luc, “See you, friend.”

“See you," says Jean Luc

“Please follow me if you will,” says Sgt Ward. “And you may call me Herold.” He leads them to a secured room where he secures the party’s inventory individually.

“Herald, I will hold you personally accountable if my shit goes missing,” Gamora threatens.

“It won’t,” he says as he secures the metal locker. “Though why are you threatening me?" he mutters quietly, "This is literally my job.”

Once everyone has secured their gear they make their way to the meeting room. There are less people gathered in the grand hall. As they make their way Osrik, Jean Luc, Cora, and Vera notice a very lovely white-haired human woman with piercing hazel eyes in a simple black dress. She makes eye contact with those that notice her and smiles a warm greeting as she makes her way out of the castle.

An imposing man dressed in noble clothes is engaged in conversation with a fancy robed individual. Cora and Reven recognize the man as Lord Dagult Neverember, leader of Waterdeep and Neverwinter. He breaks away patting the robed man on the back as he heads down the hall to the meeting chamber.

The robed man noticing the party turns towards them and looks at Reven, Vera, and Cora. “Ah. Hello. How are my three favorite people?” he greets them.

Cora turns to Reven, “Who is this? Have we met?” Reven stammers.

“You forget me so soon,” The black haired man says. “Selvriane, what a pleasure. And Mister Reven. Where is Mister Harlin?”

The three of them realize after a moment the man is Iarno Albrecht, a wizard bandit once known as Glasstaff, Leader of the Red Brands who they arrested ten years ago in Phandalin. They had arranged for him to have a trial in Neverwinter in return for information.

“Who the fuck is Selvriane?” Gamora asks. “What the fuck is going on?”

“Motherfucker,” Cora says anger burning in her eyes. “Last we met you were heading for your execution.”

Vera makes a flower for Iarno and holds it out to him. He takes it from her and kisses her hand with a wide grin.

“My execution? No, no, no," he says with a large grin. “My trial. And thank you, for were it not for your intervention I would never had been able to clear myself of those heinous and dishonorable charges. I have found myself fortunate to becoming the head ambassador to Lord Neverember. So all these fortunate circumstances that have befallen me these last ten years are all because of you.” Inaro’s grins widely, seeming very pleased with himself. "I thank you for this, my friends. I must repay you for all of your kindness.”

Vera leans over to Iarno and whispers, “Could you not use Selvriane? I’m going by Vera now.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. And where is your thief friend?”

“He’ll be here tomorrow,” Vera says, smiling at Iarno.

Cora gives her a death glare. “You do remember what he has done, right?”

“Allegedly done, my dear,” Iarno says. “And cleared of said charges might I remind you.”

“You do recall,” Cora insists, “we were there!”

“I was a man running for my life,” Iarno says, “extorted by a Drow elf trying to seize power. What could a poor man like me do? Obviously the council cleared me of all charges and found I was still worthy to act as a representative of the Lords Alliance. I am but a loyal servant to the cause and the people," He says with a glint of mischief in his eyes, "All because of you and I thank you so much for it. Now let me point out if you ever need anything, anything at all, I would be glad to help.”

“Cora, you realize he did help us out,” Reven says.

“And I’m so sorry about Syldar,” Iarno says to Reven.

“What happened to Syldar?” Vera asks.

“He passed away recently. He was deep into his fiftieth year,” Iarno tells them.

“Did he meet with an unfortunate accident?” Cora asks.

“No, he passed in his sleep,” Iarno says, then turns to Reven, “But it’s sad that you never made amends for that falling out seven years ago. So sorry.”

Reven and Cora seem confused, knowing that there was no falling out. Gamora steps forward and speaks up, “Listen, pal, if you’re done toying with my friends here, we’re going to move on to the next stage of this shindig.”

“Oh,” Iarno says, “So sorry. And you are?” Gamora brushes past him slamming her shoulder into him sending him staggering. Iarno after gaining his breath chuckles amused by the display, “Oh, I’m so clumsy. Have a pleasant day all of you.”

Vera pauses before moving on, reiterating to Iarno, “And… it’s Vera.”

“Yes, Miss Blackthorne,” he says with a knowing grin then continues on his way. A small rat crawls out of his robe and crawls up Iarno’s shoulder. It turns and faces Reven with what appears to be a mocking expression. Reven angrily reaches for the hilt of his sword and realizes it isn’t there. Cora rests her hand on his arm telling him to let it go for now.

The party is led into a large chamber with more than a dozen people inside. The room is filled with the chatter of the multiple individuals. As they pass through the threshold there is a spark of energy that is slightly discomforting. Inside the room they find a large U-shaped table with two rows of chairs facing the open side of the table. Those sitting here are clearly on display for those who sit at the main table. Leosin motions for them to sit at these seats.
One of the individuals by the larger table is Onthar Frume, talking with Mags. She sees the group enter and she makes her way over to them. Jean Luc asks her quietly, “Any advice?”
She quietly replies, “No, not really. Let’s try not to piss to people off.”

Reven turns to Jean Luc, “Did you feel that magical crackle? Is that some sort of defense barrier? Can you tell?”

Jean Luc begins to cast mage hand, discreetly, but Leosin shakes his head, warning him against that action.

Seated at the center of the table is the man who was talking with Iarno earlier. He has a glass, drinks from it, and slams it on the table. “Let’s get started already. Things are getting bad. Let’s get this all in order.”

Leosin stands, "For the purposes of those unfamiliar I would introduce the council.” He gestures to man in the center seat, “Lord Dagult Neverember, Open Lord of Waterdeep and Lord Protector of Neverwinter,”

To his left sits a dwarf in plate armor and a well combed brown beard, “Ambassador for Mithril Hall, representing the Dwarves of the North, Connerad Brawnanvil,”

To Neverember’s right is an elf with a brown tan and green hair. “King Melandrach of the Misty Forest, representing the Elves of the Misty Forest and the High Forest.”

An aged wizard with silver hair and robes to Brawnanvil’s left, “Taren Hornblade, representative for Silverymoon.”

“Onthar Frume, delegate for the Order of the Gauntlet.” The paladin of Torm sits to Hornblade’s left in his armor with a calm and relaxed smile.

To his left is a brown-skinned man with a short haircut in armor, “Marshall Ulder Ravengard, representative for Baldur’s Gate and the Lord Commander of the Flaming Fist.”

To the elf king’s right sits a nervous half-elf wearing animal furs. “Delaan Winterhound, representative for the Emerald Enclave.”

To Delaan’s right sits an aged human with graying hair. He wears ceremonial armor adorned with the markings of Lathander and with a purple cloak and a bone cane at his side. “Sir Isteval, representing Daggerford.”

To Sir Isteval’s right is a dark-haired moon elf. “Lastly, Remalia Haventree representing the Harpers.”

“I am Leosin Erlanthar,” he says addressing the council, “A member of the Harpers, and I have been working with this group of adventurers for some time.”

Neverember nods in approval, “Please Leosin, let us put names to faces.”

Leosin nods, “Thank you, Lord Neverember. Starting with the newer members, this is Ms Vera Blackthorne, Master Reven, and Lady Xenara.” The three stand awkwardly when their names are called.

“The main members who we are here to see are Gamora Dreadmoore, Osrik Ironborn, Cora Xain, Jean Luc Pierre Javert Robesbartemps,” he says a bit too quickly, “and Lady Yashira Reign.” He steps back.

They notice an elegant human noblewoman sitting next to the party though she is not addressed or introduced.

Neverember sips from his goblet before he speaks. “First of all, before we get into too much. Lady Remalia, my condolences for your husband. Know that your loss is a loss for all of Waterdeep.”

Remalia nods her head. “Thank you.”

“Here’s what we know so far.” Neverember begins, “The Cult of the Dragon has been causing some problems all over the land. Raiding, pillaging, killing our leaders, and doing all kinds of shit. Now, from what we’ve been told, you have firsthand experience in dealing with them.
This council has formed to see how we can best combat this situation and deal with the imminent threat. We would like for you to tell us what your experiences have been with the Cult of the Dragon and brief us on the situation thus far, in your own words.”
Jean Luc looks at his companions and steps forward. “My Lords and Lady,” he begins, “The five of us, by happenstance, were outside Greenest just before it was attacked. We engaged in combat there. And then, with instructions from Leosin, followed the trail to some treasures sacked from cities in the region. We went north to Parnast-“

Brawnanvil cuts him off. “What happened in Greenest?”

Jean Luc is initially thrown off by the interruption but then continues on, “It was attacked by a group of kobolds, a single adult blue dragon, and a group of mercenaries led by a skilled half-dragon warrior. It was an all-out assault – they killed everyone they saw and took everything that wasn’t nailed down. Greenest is supported by a large fortified keep in the center of town which the majority of the survivors took refuge in. It resisted attempts at being breached. The dragon was of questionable loyalty, having fled after a handful of volleys from a series of archers.”

“You didn’t kill it?” asks Brawnanvil.

“No, it was not killed. Ultimately, the fight came to a stalemate once the townsfolk were safely in the fortifications. The half-dragon commanding officer challenged one of our own to a duel and vacated the city after that was complete. We tracked them to a nearby valley.”

“A duel?” says Hornblade. “Why would someone accept a duel from an enemy under these circumstances? That doesn’t seem very smart.”

Onthar Frume asks, “What was the purpose of this duel? Why did you entertain the thought?”

“They had hostages. A family was offered in exchange for a duel. With the blue dragon gone and having razed a great portion of the city there was little left to gain. I am under the impression that the half-dragon commander was stroking his ego and wanted to challenge the group that had resisted in their plans.”

Onthar Frume asks, “So you’re saying you accepted the duel to free the hostages?”
“Yes. He offered them to us in exchange for the duel.”

Sir Isteval asks, “Who accepted this challenge?”

“It was Gamora,” Jean Luc answers, gesturing to her.

“After dealing with an all-night raid?” Isteval says. “That is very brave of you, young lady.”

Gamora blushes at Isteval’s comment. “Some say stupid, but I’ll take brave,” she says.

“A fine line between brave and stupid,” says Onthar Frume, which brings a chuckle to a few in the room.

“They were my people,” says Gamora. “I couldn’t very well let them die.”

“She was originally from Greenest,” Osrik explains.

Neverember takes a sip from his cup and looks at Jean Luc. “Please continue.

”We tracked that particular raiding party to a cave system nearby. They left about three days later. I think Leosin could probably tell you details…”

“We have been briefed by Leosin and heard his version,” says Neverember. “Now we want to hear yours.”

Jean Luc sighs and continues his tale. “We found three dragon eggs after the great bulk of forces marched out. They left a handful of kobolds behind, but it was not anything nearly as formidable as what attacked the city.”

Winterhound clears his throat and asks, “These dragon eggs, are they still in your possession?”

“No, they were all destroyed,” Jean Luc says. Some of the council members appear disturbed by this revelation.

“That is… regrettable,” says Winterhound.

“A dead dragon is a good dragon,” Gamora says.

Neverember shakes his head, “Not a wise choice. Dragon eggs fetch a lot of money in the right hands. Money which could have been used that to bolster our forces for this war.”

“Whose hands would you be selling to?” Cora asks.

“Multiple possible parties,” says Neverember.

“With all due respect,” Gamora says, “A dragon attacked my town. I wasn’t very well going to let one grow up to do it again.”

“It is against the natural order to kill creatures of nature. As long as there are metallic dragons there should be chromatic. Balance should be maintained,” says Winterhound.

“Ehh,” says Brawnanvil. “Then go out there and go killin’ some metallics and call it even.”

“They were demons and needed to be killed anyway,” says Onthar Frume clearly annoyed.
“Fuck all this talk of greed and profit.”

“Not everyone has church coffers to steal from, Frume,” says Neverember. “Money for the rest of us comes from business not from the handouts of the god-fearing.”

“You shitty bottom feeder,” shouts Frume. “How many people have gone hungry so that your cup can stay full tonight!? Don’t you make accusations of my church!”

“What’s done is done,” shouts Gamora. “The dragons are dead.” The room’s attention falls on her for a moment before it’s broken by Neverember.

“Yes,” he says. “The losses are regrettable but let us continue.” Frume and Neverember exchange a glance at each other and it is clear there is no compromising between the two of them.

Sir Isteval stands up. “Before you continue, Jean Luc, I would like to clarify something for the council that was not clear when we began. I don’t wish to interrupt but it must be said.”

“Sir Isteval. Your reputation precedes you,” says Neverember. “Of course this council will listen to anything you have to say.”

“I was introduced as the representative for Daggerford,” he says. “This is not the complete picture. The Lord’s Alliance did invite me here as a representative for Daggerford, though the city has little resources they can lend to this effort. As you know I am a Knight of Cormyr and will always be a child of Cormyr. The Cult of the Dragon is a threat has expanded to their shores as well. As such I have been tasked to speak on behalf of Cormyr as well as Daggerford. My dual allegiance is not something that will conflict with my position here. I just want my position here to be clear for the council. Thank you.” He returns to his seat.

Neverember laughs, “So you are a Cormyr spy now?”

The party notice a few of the leaders are off-put by Sir Isteval’s confession. Brawnanvil says, “This is supposed to be an alliance of the cities of the North. Last thing we need is more human nations and their armies getting involved.”

There is some bickering about this revelation between some members of the Lord’s Alliance. Remalia Haventree sits quietly watching the spectacle.

“A good spy wouldn’t very well announce themselves,” Osrik speaks up.

“The issue is that this is a closed council,” says Neverember looking at Osrik. “If Sir Isteval is representing outside forces, he should not be allowed to sit in this closed council. I vote that he is expelled from this council due to potential conflict. Anyone else agree?”

“Mithril Hall agrees!” Brawnanvil shouts.

“I don’t see a problem, let him stay,” says Onthar Frume, “This is a problem for us all.”

“Apocalypse doesn’t bode well for any nation,” Osrik says.

Jean Luc addresses Sir Isteval, “My lord, do you worship the Dragon Queen Tiamat?”

Sir Isteval looks at Jean Luc, “I am a Purple Dragon Knight. My god is Lathander of the dawn and sun. I have served others and traveled like you for many years. No, I serve no evil be it dragon or shadow or tyrant or death. I walk in the light.” He lifts up his bone cane and throws it on the table, “Those that know me would attest that I am no friend of evil dragons. If you wish me expelled, I will respect the decision of the council and the adventurers gathered here today. You may decide if my expertise is needed or not.”

“I say no, you must leave,” says Neverember. “This is not a matter for Cormyr.”

“With all due respect,” says Gamora, “Tiamat invading the world is a matter that involves everyone.”

“And we all have to take care of our homes and our people,” says Neverember. “Cormyr is not going to help us with our problems.”

“But if they have any information they are willing to share,” says Gamora. “That would be helpful to everyone, right?”

“Do you want him to stay? Is that what you are telling me?” asks Neverember.

“Yes,” says Gamora.

“Is that how you all feel?” Neverember asks the adventurers. They all agree that Isteval may remain.

“Very well,” concedes Neverember. “Sir Isteval, you may remain at this council. It is nothing personal, sir. Thank you all for your patience. Please continue.” He sits down.

Cora asks Neverember, “If you are concerned about spies and those who are untrustworthy in your presence, why do you surround yourself with known criminals?”

Neverember looks at her cautiously, “I’m sorry. What exactly are you referring to?”

“Iarno,” she clarifies. “We have dealt with him in the past. He has proven himself of weak character and evil acts.”

“Do you have proof of these acts?” he asks.

“I was there,” says Cora. Vera and Reven support her claim.

“Excellent. Do you have evidence of his actions?” asks Neverember. “From what I understand, all charges were cleared. No evidence was found. No one stepped forward during trial. Unless there are new crimes, new allegations, and new evidence I don’t think it’s fair or even respectful to accuse a member of the high council of Neverwinter of crimes. And I believe this is definitely not the reason we have gathered here today.”

“Well, you have accused another here of spying,” says Cora.

“We have accused nothing of the sort,” says Neverember.

“You have called him a spy,” Cora insists.

“Young lady…” Neverember says.

“In front of all these witnesses, you have said these words,” says Cora.

“Yes, I have said these words,” he admits, mostly amused.

“You have done so without any proof, without any substantial evidence.” Cora says. “We were there in Phandalin.”

“Let me put this clearly,” he says. Neverember takes a drink from his cup and sets it on the table. “Phandalin is not why this council has gathered. This council is for the Cult of the Dragon and the imminent rise of the Dragon Queen goddess. If you would like to take this aside and discuss other allegations and criminal activity, I would accommodate you. But at this time keep in mind I am the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the Lord Protector of Neverwinter and when you speak to me it will be with the respect that I deserve for my position.

If you have problems with any of my council members it is a forum for another time. As you see, Iarno is not here or relevant to today’s proceedings. I expect this matter will be put aside for now.

The issue with Sir Isteval is not a matter of his character but a matter of his conflict of loyalty. The Sword Coast cannot be dependent on a foreign body for its defense or its protection. In order for us to remain independent cities and nations, we must function independently from our neighboring kingdoms. I trust we have an understanding.” Neverember picks up his glass. “We will have more discussion of character, spies, and loyalties as we progress. Jean Luc, sir, the floor is yours. Please proceed.”

Jean Luc takes a deep breath and takes up his recounting of events, “We were given instructions that the pilfered goods from the raids were making their way north. So we took our places as merchants and travelers and joined a caravan where we tracked a handful of suspicious packages from Baldur’s Gate up until Waterdeep, then across the Mere of Dead Men to Castle Naefytar.”

“If I’m not mistaken, you were hired in Waterdeep taking on positions as guards for those moving toward Carnath Roadhouse, correct?” asked Neverember.

“Yes,” says Jean Luc.

“Proceed,” says Neverember.

Jean Luc makes the realization that none of the events of the story seem to be new information to the council. It seems they are just confirming what they already know. “The roadhouse was a drop point for transferring the goods into the hands of Lizardfolk and Bullywugs who were moving them into the castle.”

“So you’re saying that the Cult of the Dragon had infiltrated the roadhouse,” Neverember interrupts.

Osrik speaks up, “Bog Luck had made a deal with them. They had constructed a tunnel from the strong room back into the Mere of Dead Men. The Lizardfolk and would then enter and carry the goods to the castle.”

“So you’re saying Bog Luck was involved in this,” ask Neverember.

“Yes,” Osrik confirms.

“And he was aware he was working with the Cult of the Dragon?” asks Neverember.

Jean Luc says, “That’s the impression we’re under.”

“Do you have proof or evidence of this fact?”

“He alluded to the fact that morality…” Jean Luc begins to explain.

“That favors were being traded,” Osrik cuts him off.

“And you had this conversation with him directly?” asks Neverember.

“One of our party, yes,” says Jean Luc.

“Thank you,” Neverember says grinning. The Open Lord makes eye contact with Onthar Frume who appears annoyed at this line of questioning.

“So, inside the castle was a teleportation circle which led to an arrangement of stones outside Parnast,” Jean Luc continues. “We interrogated a cultist we found there who had informed them of a flying giant castle. We proceeded to the city, fought our way on board, and took off on the castle.”

“I have a question, please,” says Taren Hornblade. “You don’t mind if I slow this down and go back a couple steps. As you may know, most of the story has come to our attention already. You say you teleported in through Parnast. You seem to have skipped over an encounter with a black dragon in the swamp? And rather, overthrowing the castle by turning the Lizardfolk against the Bullywugs, which strategically and tactically was very cunning I must say. It forced the Cult of the Dragon out of their base, which, I must also say, is information the council is very interested in hearing from your own mouth.”

“We want to know the capability of your team that has found their way into this situation. When you arrived outside of Parnast, I believe there was an encounter with this Cult of the Dragon member, who had some strong ties to a member of this group. Can you please tell me the reasons this person was not captured or killed? And for that matter what of her loyalties were to the Cult of the Dragon.”

“Her loyalties were not with the Cult of the Dragon any longer,” Jean Luc explains, “We were, frankly, pathetically outnumbered, and we were given safe passage by someone who seemed to be thoroughly prepared to reject the Cult’s mission.”

Brawnanvil says, “That seems a little suspicious. First you’re outnumbered, and then they don’t want to be a part of it? I don’t get it. What happened?”

“The incredible terror they were involved in became apparent. She had second thoughts about destroying the world,” says Jean Luc.

“That’s the thing about doomsday cults,” says Osrik. “They don’t realized they’re going too.”
King Melandrach looks over, “Now it is clear there is a doubt when it comes to loyalties. Was that Cult of the Dragon member not allied at one point with one member of your group?”
This is met with silence for a few moments.

Jean Luc says, “’Allied’ is an interesting word.”

Neverember looks through his paperwork before saying, “I believe the testimony that was given by Leosin, which you had briefed him on, states: Talis the White was once affiliated with Cora Xain.” Neverember glances over at Cora briefly. “The revelation of this affiliation resulted in a confrontation between your Drow teammate and Cora over her past connections with the Cult. Is this information provided by Leosin correct?”

“It is,” says Jean Luc.

“So, Ms. Cora Xain – would you like to clarify your alliance and loyalties to this Talis, and why it is that you did not kill or incarcerate her?”

Gamora says, “With all due respect, we are not the law. Incarcerating her is not our job.”

“Ms Dreadmoore, I understand your position,” says Neverember, “My question is why Cora Xain has never hesitated or negotiated with a Cult of the Dragon members until that point. So, I ask again, why is it that you decided not to kill or incarcerate her?”

“She has freely offered us information about the Dragon Cult,” says Cora. “And she has provided us with a safe place to rest as well as equipment and supplies needed for our journey. She had shown us that her loyalty is not with the Cult of the Dragon. There was no need to eliminate her. She may prove to be a force within the Cult that will likely aid in destroying itself.”

Osrik adds, “Talis also pointed us to other members of the Dragon Cult who were not allied with their goals.”

There’s a silence as some of the council seem to take in Cora’s words. Lady Remalia says, “Talis provided you reasonable and actionable intelligence that you used to move forward to the next phase of your mission, correct?”

“Correct,” says Cora.

“The choice was difficult, but wise none the less,” Remalia says. Neverember, Brawnanvil, and King Melandrach don’t seem to agree with Lady Remalia’s estimation. Gamora senses that Neverember is trying to manipulate the testimony to steer it away from some topics, but it’s unclear why.

Neverember turns to Hornblade and says, “Is this satisfying?”

Hornblade responds, “It will do for now. Thank you.”

Neverember then says, “And you made it to the castle.”

“We did indeed,” Jean Luc says continuing the tale. “The Cultists had made some sort of bargain with the giants who controlled this castle. But we were left with the impression that the giants weren’t entirely happy with the deal. After disposing of the cultists the party was surrounded by the giants and met with their leader, Blogothus. After meeting with him it was made plain that if we were successful scrubbing the forces of the Cult of the Dragon out of his castle, they wouldn’t look at us with displeasure. The Cult had also brought an adult white dragon named Glaciel, as well as a vampire and some thralls with them, and Blogothus wasn’t very comforted by this fact.”

“Amongst the couple dozen Cultists we met there was a lieutenant named Rezmir.”
Gamora interrupts, “Who had a dick sword, by the way.”

“Rezmir, the Black Wyrm Speaker?” asks Remalia. “One of the five leaders of the Cult of the Dragon? Do you mean to say you engaged and defeated her?”

“Indeed we did,” Jean Luc confirms. “She had her company, a handful of interesting figures including one Red Wizard. We were left with the impression that the Red Wizard, Rath Modar, escaped, and we followed him to a wyvern pen which was shy one wyvern. We did not see him again. After we killed Rezmir and the vampire, the white dragon Glaciel attacked and killed Blogothus and the giants. We killed Glaciel, but the castle was damaged and crashed into the mountainside not far from Loudwater. We traveled to Loudwater and were approached by Leosin a few days later.”

It’s clear some members of the council are unhappy to hear the fortress crashed, including the Marshall Ravengard and Brawnanvil. Neverember looks at Jean Luc and says, “Thank you, we’ve heard everything we wanted you to tell us, unless you have anything more to add.”

“Yes, on a personal note,” Jean Luc says, “I had been given what might have been a vision when I came in contact with a tome that had driven a friend of mine mad. It left me with the impression that the steps for bringing Tiamat back involved piling up treasure, a sacrifice of blood, finding the correct geographical location, an altar, palace, or fortress, and a collection of masks.” He looks at his allies. “I cannot say if what I experienced was an illusion, or something clever to hassle my mind, but I cannot shake the feeling that it was… true.”
Onthar Frume appears frustrated that Jean Luc said this. “So you’re saying that you had a vision related to the dark goddess Tiamat. Is there some sort of connection between you and Tiamat? That needs to be shared with this council?”

Jean Luc says, “There was a day I would have said there is, but there is not.” A still silence falls over the council. Gamora stands closer to where Jean Luc stands.

“Can you elaborate? I believe the council needs to understand who they are working with,” says Onthar Frume.

“I collected from my coworker, after he passed, a tome that I believe had driven him mad and possibly led to his passing. I was under the impression it might be important to research. When I read it, I became cursed, and I received suggestions from an entity I believed was Tiamat.”

Hornblade asks, “What happened to this book?”

“It was obliterated by the breath of Vorgamanthar, along with a very lovely gnome girl,” says Jean Luc.

“Yes,” says Neverember, “I noticed there was very little information provided about the gnome who had traveled with you. What was her name, Jamna Gleamsilver?”

“I’m not entirely sure what her motives were. She befriended us, stole the book from me, and slipped away from us at the Carnath Roadhouse. We tracked her down in the swamp mere moments before she had come across Vorgamanthar and we watched her die.”

The room is quiet. Then Neverember asks, “Now, I believe there was a Drow traveling in your group. What happened to her?”

“She had personal ties to a criminal organization in the city of Loudwater and she had to leave us so that our conflict with that organization didn’t mean a price on our heads,” Jean Luc explains.

“So you are not affiliated with this criminal organization?”

“Only in the way that two opponents are affiliated,” says Jean Luc.

“Does the council have anything else to add or any other questions?” Neverember asks.

Osrik is able to notice that Neverember is controlling the tempo of the meeting. Jean Luc turns to Leosin, who indicates that Jean Luc is fine, and to keep going as he has been.

“What will happen as a result of this meeting?” Vera asks.

“That will be decided soon,” Neverember says.

Cora asks, “What information have you found out about the Cult of the Dragon?”

“One thing at a time,” says Neverember dismissively.

“Is now not that time?” Osrik asks.

“No. The council must first decide the level of support we will provide you,” says Neverember.

Taren Hornblade leans over and says, “You mentioned the masks. And you mentioned Rezmir was killed. My understanding from the intelligence that has been provided on the Cult of the Dragon, there are five Wyrmspeakers, each of them in possession of a relic mask of some sort. If Rezmir was a member and leader, was there a mask that you recovered from her.”

The group is silent for a moment while Hornblade looks at them. Osrik speaks up first, saying, “There was a mask in her possession, but where it is now, I do not know.”
Reven raises his hand.

Neverember says, “Yes?

Reven asks, “Am I free to speak?”

Neverember looks at him and asks, “What is your name?”

“My name is Reven.”

“Reven… Reven… Reven what?”

“Reven Nightbreeze.”

Neverember looks at Reven, recognition on his face, “You were in Neverwinter about a decade ago, were you not?”

“I was.”

“I remember you at the rifts. You fought very well. Thank you for your service,” says Neverember.

“You are very welcome. You’re too kind. If I may inquire, what do these masks look like?” asks Reven.

“Well we’re not sure,” responds Hornblade, “But we’re told that they look similar to chromatic dragon faces. That is what we were led to believe.”

“Thank you. That is all,” says Reven.

Neverember speaks again, “So there is no knowledge of possession or the location of these masks.”

Jean Luc casts Sending to Cora and telepathically communicates, Give me one good fucking reason why I shouldn’t tell these people.

She responds in his mind: Because we don’t trust Neverember.

Hornblade looks over at Jean Luc after the long silence. “So you are not aware of the location?”

“I have a suspicion,” Jean Luc says.

“Do you care to share that with us?” Hornblade asks.

“Our ally, who is not here any longer,” says Jean Luc.

“The Drow?” Hornblade asks.

Jean Luc nods in confirmation.

The elder wizard strokes his beard a moment and says, “I believe it important to recover this as soon as possible. Insuring that the mask remains out of the Cult of the Dragon’s possession should be a top priority. If possible it should be destroyed.”

“Definitely destroy it,” blurts out Gamora.

Jean Luc asks, “How would we do such a thing?”

“Oh there’s ways to destroy magic items,” says Hornblade with a smile.

Neverember says, “I’m getting hungry. Are there any other topics we would like to poke holes at?”

Lady Remalia turns to Reven, “You said your name is Nightbreeze? Is there any relation to Ash Nightbreeze?”

“Yes,” says Reven.

“What relation is that?” she asks again.

“He is an uncle that my side of the family has cast away in shame,” says Reven.

“So that would make you the son of Zalanthar Nightbreeze?” says Lady Remalia.

“No, Zalanthar was my uncle,” says Reven stumbling in his lie.

“So are you related to Ash Nightbreeze?” Remalia asks.

Reven pauses for a moment and sighs. “Yes, he’s my father.”

“This council should be aware we have the son of the first human king of Myth Drannor in our presence.” This statement comes as a surprise to some. King Melandrach expression grows darker than before and looks at Reven with distaste. Osrik asks Jean Luc what Myth Drannor is but he indicates to ask later.

“But,” says Reven, “May I pose this question? How many years ago was that?”

“Over a hundred years ago.”

“So then how could I be the son?” He says trying to discredit himself.

“Half-elves live for a very long time,” says Lady Remalia. “Thank you, Lord Reven.”

Brawnanvil leans over and says, “I don’t buy half the bullshit you guys have been selling.”
“I don’t buy your bullshit either,” says Gamora.

“Who gives a fuck? If you want the Dwarves and the North’s help-“

Gamora cuts him off, “You wanna save the world, it’s yours to save, too. We shouldn’t be the only ones responsible.”

“I’m not clear on what kind of support we might actually be getting,” Vera says.

“None,” says Gamora as she makes her way to the door. She tries to open it but it’s locked. As she raises a fist to break it open Leosin tries to tell her to stop and wait.

Onthar Frume says, “I’ve had the experience of meeting these fine people, and while slightly temperamental and unrefined, their hearts are in the right place. They fought to protect Greenest when there was no gain for them. They could have ran, but chose to fight to help others. They could have just turned tail and left but they did not. They traveled far and wide to stop this plot. And even in Loudwater, when they knew that they had to travel here, they stopped a Drow threat as well as overthrew a Bone Devil that had been in Loudwater for many years.”

Neverember says, “And they could have killed 3000 dragons! Stories are nothing with facts. Do we have any testimony on this Bone Devil?”

Mags stands and makes her way front and center before the council, “I am giving testimony that we killed the Bone Devil. It had long rooted itself in Loudwater and attempted to make an alliance with our group. While we did listen to the information it offered, we did not allow it to remain. We killed it and banished it back to the Nine Hells.

Neverember smiles and says, “Miss Reign, was your father not killed here in Waterdeep several years ago?”

“My father and mother were both murdered on the streets,” she replies.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” says Neverember. “There was word that a noble of the Iron Ring was found murdered several years ago. We were not aware that you were orphaned in that event. If we had known we would had made every effort to return you to your family.”
“I appreciate your condolences, but I was well taken care of,” she says with polished grace. Then after a moment her steeled gaze falls on Neverember. “But if we may, sir, can we please get on with this?”

“Yes,” says Neverember thrown back by her glare. “The threat of the Cult of the Dragon is something that is affecting all of us. This entire region is threatened and we must do what we must. The council has listened to your testimony and heard the reports from Leosin. As rough around the edges as you all are, we find that while we all have obligations to our own organizations, cities, things of that nature, we need an independent party to head up and eliminate this threat. And the council has agreed – begrudgingly agreed – to allow the support of Waterdeep and the nations of the Sword Coast represented by this council in your continued efforts to stop the Cult. Do you agree to this support?”

“What is the nature of this support?” Osrik asks.

“The nature of this support is that we will be granting this group, this party of adventurers, emergency investigation powers of Waterdeep, granted by the authority of the Open Lord of Waterdeep, on the condition that your actions are lawful in nature and under complete oversight of this council. Basically, anything you do must be reported to this council. If you agree, then we will deputize you all and give you our full support. We will brief you on the intelligence that has been gathered against the Cult.”

“Would you permit us a day?” Gamora asks.

“No. It is now or never. Time is of the essence.”

Cora asks, “What information do you have?”

“The information is private to this council,” says Neverember, “And members of it.”

“Do you need our signatures?” Jean Luc asks.

“Just your agreement,” says Neverember.

“I don’t think anybody here is about to back out,” says Jean Luc.

“Ms. Dreadmoore,” Neverember addresses the half-orc, “just a minute ago you were about ready to smash that door down.”

“Still am,” she says, “I don’t particularly know any of you well enough to trust you, and I don’t trust you.”

“Well, madam, as with politics, and life, there’s no need to trust,” says Neverember, “We just do the best that we can and see how we can rely on others.”

“Sometimes the best we can means smashing someone’s face in until their brains are all over the floor. And you want me to act within the laws and tell you about every single little skull I crack? Not into that,” says Gamora.

Vera asks, “What does emergency investigation powers actually get us that we couldn’t already get through potentially less lawful means?”

Jean Luc answers, “Say it’s necessary to search a building or interrogate somebody, and they won’t let us in. Instead of picking a fight, we can go get the city guard and have fifty more on our side.”

“But this is just limited to Waterdeep?” Vera asks.

Neverember explains, “By the council’s agreement, you will have authority within all of the regions represented here in this room. You also have the support of Waterdeep and Neverwinter if you require transportation, basic supplies, and resources of the factions present. We will back you as best we can. This is the fate of the Sword Coast, and possibly, the world. We’re not going to be stingy. But if you decide to work on your own, we will respect that and we part ways here.”

“Do you expect to give us direction?” asks Vera, “Or simply to receive notification?”
“No,” says Neverember, “It is up to you to decide how you want to handle this threat.”
Vera turns to Jean Luc, Gamora, and the others, “If they will give us supplies, transportation, resources, intelligence, and all they want in return are reports of what we’re doing, and they aren’t telling us what to do, what is the loss?”

“The requirement to report every action and every item,” Gamora says bitterly.

“They want a report of what we’re up to,” Vera argues, “I don’t think they need every small detail of what we’re doing.”

Sir Isteval looks at the group and says, “We understand you are adventurers.” He says with a smirk as if this says it all.

“My problem is we are essentially trying to hunt down items that could potentially bring Tiamat back,” says Gamora, “And I want to know that those will be destroyed because I will not let them out of my sight until I see it done.”

“The council asks for oversight, the council is not directing you toward an action,” says Neverember. “We mostly agree that your intention is to stop the Cult, and whatever action you believe is best, the council will support. So, are we in agreement?”

“Even Gamora’s in,” says Jean Luc.

“Excellent. Now, are we ready to go to the next phase?” Neverember asks.

“Before we continue,” Osrik asks, “What’s our title?”

Leosin walks over to Neverember and takes something, then walks over Jean Luc. Leosin opens a box with eight badges, iron with a shield and a hand on it. Each member is given one.

Neverember says, “The Grey Hands are a special unit that protects the interests of Waterdeep. We will be granting your emergency investigative powers under the writ of the Grey Hand forces of Waterdeep.” He gives them a scroll with the individual seals of the Lord’s Alliance and the names of the faction leaders present. “This is permission granted by every member of the council here granting authority to operate within their lands, with respect to their laws, and so on.” He nods in approval, “Excellent, with that formality done, and before we have lunch, any questions from all of you?”

“What do you know?” asks Vera.

“Give us the information. Where is the Dragon Cult headed?” asks Cora.

“Are you ready to talk about secret stuff, or…” asks Jean Luc.

“If you are ready,” he says. “Would you like a small break?”

“No,” says Cora.

“Let’s get this going,” says Jean Luc.

Neverember says, “We have testimony being brought here before the council and the special investigators. Lady Dala Slimmerhelve if you please.”

The woman sitting with the party stands. She is dressed in an elegant, yet plain, dress with her brown hair braided elegantly. She is simple in dress and form, but Dala is clearly is a noble.

“Greetings, members of the council and special investigators. I come before you to discuss matters of recent events. Over the last two days, there have been tremors that have been felt all along the Sword Coast. These disturbances are being caused by an ancient dragon device called the Draakhorn. Its sound is used to alert dragons across Faerun that events are unfolding. It is impossible to say what the sounding means, but the dragons hear it clearly and will eventually answer its call.”

Osrik leans back and asks Mags who is standing near him, “Did it sound like anything to you?
“I’m not a dragon, idiot,” she says.

“You have a familiarity that others do not share,” he replies.

“You have a familiarity with ale,” Mags retorts, “Doesn’t mean you are a keg.”

Ambassador Brawnanvil asks Dala, “How do you know all this?”

“I have sources,” she says plainly.

“And do you care to share those sources?” says the Ambassador.

“No, I do not,” Brawnanvil grunts his disapproval but Dala continues, “There’s an expert in dragon lore and dragon relics. Her name is Maccath the Crimson. She was a member of the Arcane Brotherhood and former Waterdavian who went on an expedition three years ago and has not been seen since. I recommend, if the special investigators want to learn more about the Draakhorn and its significance they can learn this through Maccath. If you wish to pursue this option I will make my information available to you.”

“Is she still alive?” asks Gamora.

“She went missing recently and there has been no contact. No body has been found. It’s entirely possible that she has perished. But we believe that her last location was in the Sea of Moving Ice, in the north. Her intention was to study dragons a little more closely.” Neverember thanks her and she sits back down.

Leosin stands up and says, “We also have another testimony for the investigators as well as for the council. It seems that the Cult of the Dragon has fortified themselves in a location in the south and is using an old base referred to as the Well of Dragons. We discovered this information a little over two weeks ago. An expedition was sent with a very skilled team with a very remarkable track record. Unfortunately, the group had failed and encountered the defenses of the Well of Dragons. Only one member of the team survived the mission, Lady Vilia Fatedancer.”

A small tremor goes up Jean Luc’s spine and everything goes numb. The door opens and a beautiful moon elf enters the room. Her white hair seems to almost float in the air as she walks. Her arm is in a sling, apparently broken, and she has several bruises on her face and several fresh cuts. On her side is a silver longsword and she wears a finely crafted blue and silver robe. She pauses next to Jean Luc and gives a half grin simply saying, “Kalyondu.”

“Vilia,” says Jean Luc.

As she walks past there is an icy exchange between the two. She gives testimony to the council that she and her group of seven went to the specified location for reconnaissance. The team tried to enter the Well of Dragons which was a dire mistake. They foolishly they thought they could avoid the force protecting the fortress with a small skilled team. The Cult of the Dragon had hundreds of mercenaries and demons protecting the fortress. Dragons larger than any she had ever seen guarded the Well of Dragons. It was suicide and they didn’t even make it to the walls. She survived only because she was able to teleport herself away before she herself was incinerated. She watched all her friends die in the process. The only way to access the Well of Dragons would be with an army of considerable force which would possibly create an opening for a smaller team to break in.

The council says nothing. The description of the Well of Dragons leaves no room for doubt and a sense of dread falls upon the council. Sir Isteval stands, thanks her, and offers his condolences. She nods and walks away, stopping before she exits to turn and say to Jean Luc, “Unless you have any questions, special investigator.”

Jean Luc says, “I cannot speak for everyone in my group, but if the council thinks that they can raise an army capable of taking on the forces Ms. Fatedancer describes, I will be there when you seek to do it.”

Neverember says, “While I am definitely in favor of supporting an army to help combat this threat, Waterdeep and Neverwinter are both stretched to capacity. I would rely very heavily on this coalition to provide support.”

Sir Isteval says, “I speak for Cormyr, that if there is an army, there will be support. The Purple Dragon Knights will heed the call.”

Ulder Ravengard leans forward and says, “Baldur’s Gate will not run from a fight. But, the fight must be worth having. Throwing our men into harm’s way will leave our cities defenseless. There has to be a chance of success. If the army is worthy you will have the Flaming Fist at your side.”

Ambassador Brawnanvil says, “You’re damn right about that! No Dwarf blood is going to be spilled to protect all these other cities, unless we’ve got a fucking fighting chance. If anything, we’ll hide in our mountains until these damned dragons are done with. We need a chance of success – that’s where you come in.”

“What do you suspect is at the Well of the Dragon,” ask Cora, “What used to be there?”

“We’re not sure,” says Leosin, “But there might be a chance to find out.”

“How?” asks Gamora.

“Our last bit of intelligence that we have to share with you,” Remalia says. “Varramzord, the White Wyrmspeaker – we have information on his location. Rumor has it that Varram has lost his mask and is searching for it abroad. The Boareskyr Bridge is where he was last seen. This information came to us very recently, and we recommend that this be the first place you will want to check.”

Cora asks, “How did he lose his mask?”

“We don’t know all those details. But we hope that you will be able to investigate this and provide some actionable intelligence.”

“How did this information come to you?” asks Cora.

“They have an agent on the inside,” Jean Luc suggests, “Who they are not willing to release to us. That’s okay, we don’t need to know every spy’s name.”

Cora says, “Is that it?”

“That’s irrelevant,” says Remalia.

Gamora asks, “If we come across this person, is there a way for us to understand that we should not kill them? A password, a phrase that they may know, in case we come to blows…”
Jean Luc says, “Well, we’ll be in touch, if you can develop something.”

“Here’s all that the information you need for now,” says Lady Remalia. “The White Wyrmspeaker may have very useful information. If you’re able to bring him back alive, or interrogate him, it may be very beneficial to us. The Cult of the Dragon works in shadows and have many secrets. It is very hard to gather reliable information on their plans. This may be the only opportunity you have to get the answers that we need and possibly recovering the White Dragon mask.”

“Do we know what Varramzord looks like?” asks Jean Luc.

“He’s a gold Dwarf,” Brawnanvil says, “And if you bring him back alive, we would like him as well. After he answers your questions he will be made to pay for his crimes, in Dwarven fashion.”

“Well,” Gamora says, “We make no promises. So in the event we need to deal some Dwarven-fashioned punishment, how would you prefer it done?”

“People like this need to be made an example. We would look upon it favorably if you provided him to us.”

“Well, I think that’s all we have for today,” says Neverember, “Thank you for your time and efforts. Good luck.”

Reven rolls his eyes, “Well, that was a short meeting.”

Cora asks, “The Red Wizards, what do you know of their involvement?”

Jean Luc says, “Did the letters we found bring any helpful insight?”

Leosin says, “We’re still trying to find a little more insight on that, but it seems there is indeed an alliance between the Red Wizards and the Cult of the Dragon as you discovered. These individuals seem to be outlaw faction of Thayans in exile. At least that’s the connection we’ve been able to figure out. We’re looking to see what other connections we can make, but definitely this Rath Modar individual you’ve uncovered is a threat and quite possibly involved in this ritual you’ve mentioned. So we’ll see what we can discover, but the council is considering options that we don’t want to explore unless we need to.”

“Do you know the location of any of the other Wyrmspeakers?” Cora asks.

“Not at this time,” says Leosin. “But we are making them a top priority.”

“And the loot that we were following, do you know where it was being delivered?” she asks.

“No. We assume it might have been the Well of Dragons,” says Leosin.

“Is that where you suspect the ritual will take place?” asks Cora.

“That is speculation we have absolutely no information to confirm with,” says Leosin.
Jean Luc asks, “Varramzord, is he a spellcaster?”

“There are reports that he uses magic. Well, any other questions?” Leosin asks.

“For supplies and whatnot, who should we talk to?” Jean Luc asks.

“Leosin is your handler on this mission,” Neverember says, “You can discuss with him and he will coordinate what is needed. Good luck, special investigators, and may the gods be with you. This council is adjourned.”

Gamora darts out the door to get her things and yells, “Herold, get me my sword!” Herold leads her to the storage chamber.

Reven goes to talk to Onthar Frume, but is intercepted by Ravengard who walks up to him and stretches out his hand. They shake and Reven says, “Thank you for this opportunity.”
Ravengard looks at Reven and nods. Reven says, “Look forward to working with you.”
Ravengard says to the party, “Best of luck to you all. I hope you have great success.” He leaves.

Onthar Frume says to the group, “Oh you fucks. You guys are making it hard for me to sell this!”

“Sell what?” asks Cora.

“I’m representing the Order of the Gauntlet, and I’m putting a lot of faith in you guys. The Order is to throw everything behind you if you are true of purpose. So next time don’t be talking about demon possessions or shit like that.”

Jean Luc says, “We’ve been just sitting here all day. You could have sent me a letter or something.”

“Well you guys ignore me nearly every time you see me! ‘Oh, Leosin, hi…’ No love for good old Onthar Frume.”

Cora offers, “Could I perhaps buy you a drink to make up for it?”

“Aye, that’d be fine,” he says with a grin.

Lady Remalia is talking with Leosin while each of the council members slowly departs. Taren Hornblade shakes Jean Luc’s hand on the way out of the chamber, and says, “Good luck, my boy.”

Jean Luc says, “It is my great honor, sir.”

“And mine as well,” he says.

“Any advice?” asks Jean Luc

“Don’t die,” he says with a grin.

“I’ll try,” says Jean Luc studying Taren Hornblade’s face for a moment before letting go of the handshake, trying to become familiar with him for the sending spell.

Taren looks him over and smiles, “It won’t work, son.” He leaves the room.

Ambassador Brawnanvil, King Melandrach, and Delaan Winterhound leave without interacting with anyone. Sir Isteval patiently waits for the others to leave.

Cora goes to talk with Lady Remalia. As she approaches, Remalia and Leosin stop talking,
“Yes, Ms Cora?”

“I’d like to offer my condolences for the loss of your husband,” Cora says to Lady Remalia.

“Thank you,” says Remalia quietly.

“I can relate to the pain of losing loved ones, especially to the Cult of the Dragon. This might be too intrusive, but was this related to the investigations that are being conducted?”
“It’s hard to tell the motivations of the Cult of the Dragon and why they do what they do.”

“What was he targeted? Are you safe?” asks Cora

“We’re not sure if he was targeted or it was a coincidence,” says Remalia. “I am fine. There is no need for concern.”

“I just was wondering if he might have been targeted specifically for something that he’d known, or an agenda that he was pushing,” says Cora.

“No, there’s no information to lead toward that conclusion,” says Lady Remalia.

“But you know for sure it was the Cult of the Dragon assassin?” asks Cora. Remalia reaches down and pulls out of her pocket a talisman that the group saw before in Greenest. Cora takes this from her and asks, “Was this the only item found? It’s not like them to leave anything behind.”

Lady Remalia says, “If they escape. This was found on the assassin’s corpse.”

Gamora in the storage room tries to get Herold to give her the others’ weapons but he refuses. She says “Come on Herold, you’re disappointing me.”

Herold asks, “Would you approve of me releasing your belongings to someone else?”
After a moment Gamora nods, “I like you. Well done sir.” She walks back in to the chamber with her weapons and asks, “Why are you guys taking so long?”

Reven asks, “So, Sir Frume, where is the finest ale around here?”

“Oh, I don’t know. All ale is good ale.” Onthar Frume says.

Gamora asks, “Any word on my dad?”

“Nothing yet, when I have any information I’ll let you know.” Leosin says.

Sir Isteval comes over to the party and says, “I think you handled all the scrutiny it very well.”

“Thank you, sir,” says Jean Luc.

“Can I see your cane?” Vera blurts out.

“Of course,” he says. He leans a bit on his good leg to hand her the cane. Vera walks next to him and offers her shoulder as support.

“This is really cool!” she squeals.

He looks at her strangely and says, “I’m glad you find this enjoyable.”

Vera shows him her armor, “Look!”

He evaluates her armor and says, “A youngling?”

“Yeah,” Vera says.

“This one was much bigger,” he says taking back his cane. “Well, if you ever need anything, I would be glad to share any of my experiences with you.”

Cora says, “Can I ask you a question? How is it you even got on this council without Neverember knowing that you’re a knight of Cormyr?”

“Ah, my former ties with the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr are well known. They were not aware that I was asked by the crown of Cormyr to report and represent their interests to the leaders of the Sword Coast. The Lord’s Alliance adopted me as a member representing Daggerford, which has very little resources. But it seems they were interested in my expertise and experience with dragons and the Cult of the Dragon. I may not be able to fight by your side, but I believe I have a lot to offer in other ways.”

Gamora grins admiring the old knight, thinking of things that he could offer her.

“I would be very interested in hearing about your dragon fight and how you defeated him,” Cora says.

“Maybe one day I’ll be ready to tell it. You have my support. Let me know how I can help,” says Sir Isteval.

Jean Luc says, “Sir Isteval, may I ask a somewhat insulting question?”

“I hope not,” he says.

“Cormyr is governed by men and women such as these,” says Jean Luck. “When the chips are down, are they more likely to send genuine aid or simply take advantage of those who have suffered?”

Sir Isteval gives Jean Luc a very serious look and says, “When the Purple Dragon Knights rally, we fight to the last and fight to win. If Cormyr backs you, it will be with all they have.” He turns and walks away.

Next: Season 3. Episode 1 (pt3) – Hammers, Ale, and Bedsheets

Previous Season 3. Episode 1 (pt1) – Bonds of Unity

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RaoGung

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