Leosin walks over to Jean Luc and the others that are gathered, “The council has provided you with lodging here within Castle Waterdeep. It’s totally at your option, but they have dedicated a wing for all of you.”
Jean Luc sees points to a small room not far from where they are gathered, “Leosin, you want to join me over here?” He pulls off his robe and cloak handing them to Osrik, “Will you hold these for me?”
Osrik silently takes the robe and cloak not sure what to make of him. Jean Luc leads the way toward the room his elven chain shirt shimmering and a strong confident stride in his walk. If he didn’t know better he would confuse Jean Luc with a seasoned warrior rather than a scholarly mage. He watches as Leosin follows behind and the door close behind him.
Jean Luc grabs the Leosin tunic angrly. “Did you fucking know that I knew her when you sent her to die?!” he explodes.
“Well, I didn’t realize it right away,” Leosin says averting his gaze unable to meet his rage. “I was working with Brinthel Greyhammer, he assembled the team and recruited her.
Apparently they had traveled together for several years. I didn’t realize until after they came back because I didn’t check the team’s credentials.”
“Did she volunteer for anything else? Do you know?!”
“As of now, no. But, her knowledge is going to be invaluable,” says Leosin.
“Yes, I’m sure her knowledge will be,” he says releasing the monk’s shirt. “Please, for my sake, find a library or office, and instruct her to ‘knowledge’ things for you, for a few months. Or until the end of the world is averted, please.”
“I don’t think she would appreciate that,” says Leosin.“The amount of shit I have put up with that I don’t appreciate in the last six months,” he says shaking his head. Jean Luc looks at Leosin, “Your job is to make your agents do shit they don’t appreciate. She won’t appreciate, but get it done anyway.”
“Noted,” says Leosin. “She will need time to heal. I’ll keep her out of the field as long as I can, but she isn’t the type of lady who likes to sit behind a desk.”
“No shit,” says Jean Luc. He pauses takes a breath. “Cora’s is going to try to chat up our friend Onthar Frume at a bar later if you’d like to join us. I’m sure we have a lot to think about what we might need if this is going to work at all.”
“I don’t think it’s prudent to have these discussions in a bar, don’t you think? Then again, you’re the special investigators. You guys do what you want,” says Leosin.
“You understand that half of my team thinks there are just as many enemies in the room we were just sitting in as out there in the forests and valleys of the Sword Coast,” says Jean Luc.
“I can understand that. They are politicians. Everyone has their own interests at heart, and rightly so. And yeah, Neverember is an asshole but he’s good at what he does and we need him on our side. If they don’t protect their cities who will? Everyone wants the Cult of the Dragon stopped. Just no one wants to spread themselves thin to the point they are vulnerable, and others gain from their loss. Even the Harpers don’t know how much they want invest in this battle, we are still recovering and rebuilding the organization. If we put ourselves out there foolishly there will be nothing left of us. Everyone is trying to figure out who we can count on and how to survive this war.”
“What’s your takeaway on this Well of Dragons? Are they going to raise an arm big enough to give it a fight, or not?”
“No one’s committing we have no numbers. Right now everyone is deciding on if it’s worth throwing their forces together. They need someone or something to trust in this battle that pulls everyone together. Our hope is that your team would be able to do this.”
“Alright, so we’re going to work up a list of things we will need help acquiring, but you need to work up a list of things we might be able to do to sway some of their minds,” says Jean Luc.
“Hopefully everything you heard in the council will help you sway their minds. You need to show some results, some wins. Start with this dragon mask and the White Wyrmspeaker,” says Leosin.
“If we don’t see you out for drinks, will I find you back here later?” ask Jean Luc.
“Possibly, I could use a drink though,” says Leosin.
The door opens and Jean Luc walks out and takes his robe and cloak without a word. The looks on the group’s face show that they clearly heard Jean Luc’s outburst but no one brings it up.
Vera breaks the silence show Jean Luc the Gray Hand badge, “Scrying, right?”
“Maybe?” he says
“Cast Dispel Magic?” she asks.
“Maybe. Or Detect Magic until we have the proper spells prepared.”
“I mean, I don’t have to worry about it…” Vera begins. Then a voice echos in her mind. Stop telling everyone about your ring. It’s foolish to give away an advantage.
“Listen,” Jean Luc says to the group as a whole. “If there are enemies amongst the friends we just made. If they were overwhelming, we would not even be having this conversation. They knew where we were staying. They could have come and murdered us in our sleep last night or the night before. I’m saying that we need to extend a measure of trust to this institution for now because we can’t go forward assuming everyone we meet is a secret Dragon Cultist. They’re obviously out there, but I mean, we need allies.”
Cora says, “I think we should be cautious.”
Once they exit Castle Waterdeep Jean Luc stands aside from the group and casts Sending. He reaches out to Dru saying, “I convinced a bunch of people you have the Cult of the Dragon’s Black Dragon Mask to protect Cora. Immediately regretted it, and am sorry.
There is no response. He walks towards Mags and says, “I’m sorry.”
“What, for lying?” Mags responds with little emotion.
“Yeah,” says Jean Luc.
“Oh I don’t care,” says Mags. “My recommendation is that you don’t stay in the same inn where the Drow attacked you last night. Find another place to stay.”
“We were invited to stay in the castle,” says Jean Luc. “It might be a good idea to take them up on that offer.” The group discusses the advantages and disadvantages of staying in Castle Waterdeep, but they mostly agree that it is the best choice.
“Herald,” says Jean Luc, “We will be staying in the Castle. Will you show us to our rooms?”
“Of course,” he says. “Please follow me.” The guard escorts them to the western most wing on the second floor. The entire wing seems to have been devoted to them. Jean Luck asks one room be modified into a war room with maps and other objects. “Of course, right away, sir.”
Osrik checks his room and turns to Jean Luc, “I have to head back to the Plinth. I’ll be back in a bit.”
“Do you want company?” Gamora asks.
“No, I’d rather be alone.”
“Hey Osrik, what did you learn?” asks Jean Luc, “From the Dwarf with the staff?”
“Oh! I’ve been worshipping to the wrong god the whole time,” says Osrik lightheartedly.
“So who do you worship?” he asks.
“Marthammor Duin,” says Osrik. Jean Luc nods.
“I need some ale,” Vera interrupts, “for special investigatory business.”
“A drink it is,” says Osrik. “I will meet up with you there.” Osrik says a brief farewell and
takes his leave.
Cora asks Reven, “So do we not want to pursue this thing with Iarno?”
Reven says, “We’ll talk about it after drinks.”
Jean Luc turns to Herald and spends the better part of ten minutes lecturing to Herald about the Dwarven god Marthammor Duin and asking him to have a shrine placed in Osrik’s room.
“Right away,” says Herald as he walks out to meet the specifications.
The party heads out of Castle Waterdeep to the Flagon Dragon. Onthar Frume was waiting for them by the gate accompanies them and they walk back into the city.
In the Flagon Dragon Vera tries to use her Gray Hand badge to get free drinks at the bar but the bartender doesn’t seem to not recognize it. She pays for her drink and tells him, “Next time, you will have to give me a refund.”
Cora sits next to Onthar Frume and asks him about Bog Luck. She tells him, “I know that he knowingly worked with the Dragon Cult. I don’t trust Neverember. Why was he so pleased about there not being evidence against Bog Luck?”
Onthar Frume says, “Bog Luck is a piece of shit. Neverember is just an asshole and politician, and a power monger. I don’t like him.”
“Could he have some ties to Bog Luck directly?” Cora asks. “I’ve heard he has ties to many organizations.”
“I don’t know. I’m not the one to ask,” he says as he finishes off his first drink. “Might want to ask Leosin he would probably know more about that stuff.”
“How many of those people did you know?” Jean Luc asks Onthar Frume.
“I know Leosin, Personally. Many others I know by reputation.”
“It’s pretty clear we made about half the people in the room very unhappy. Is it likely any of them will walk away altogether?” Jean Luc adds.
“It’s hard to tell. I mean, to be completely honest, the Order of the Gauntlet doesn’t even have all your backs. I have to do some major convincing,” says Onthar Frume.
“The council already decided what to do before we got there, right?” Vera asks.
“They had decided they would work with you unless they felt you all were unfit to work with. They wanted to see you with their own eyes and make their gut feelings so to say. Well, unless of course you all chose to do it on your own. In the end no one objected strongly enough to not move forward this this plan.”
“Well what could we have said that would have gotten us thrown out of the room?” Vera asks.
“Fuck you all, we don’t want any of your shit,” says Onthar Frume.
“Oh, so Gamora was really close,” she says.
“Probably,” he chuckles.
“I don’t trust them,” says Gamora.
“They’re politicians,” says Onthar Frume. “You’re not supposed to trust them. But, you’ve got to work with them.”
At the Plint, Osrik arrives and makes an offering. He casts Divination and asks, “We are going to track down the Cult of the Dragon members. Should we head to the bridge or to the north? What would be more beneficial to our immediate goal?”
He hears a voice speak: Immediate benefits for either task are not clear, but time is running out on one over the other. If you don’t seek the dwarf you may never find him.
Osrik says, “Thank you for finding me.”
In his heart he feels a warm glow and feels in his heart. I was always here. Thank you for seeing me.
After some time Leosin shows up and Jean Luc buys him a drink. He gives Leosin a list of supplies saying, “We need a way to teleport.”
“Done. What else?” says Leosin.
“Scrying. If we’re going to find this woman who has been missing in the icy tundras for three years we are going to need to scry on a regular basis,” Jean Luc says.
“I think that’s already been done,” says Leosin
“Was there any luck?” he asks.
“You can talk to Lady Dalia if you want more information on that,” says Leosin.
“If we’re going to keep Varramzord alive we need a smith to build something to gag him and bind his hands. You don’t keep spellcasters alive, you kill them,” says Jean Luc.
“You could put him in a portable hole,” Cora suggests.
“It will run out of oxygen,” says Jean Luc
“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Cora says.
A red bearded dwarf pulls up a chair and sits next to the group. He drops his Warhammer on the table, “Well, if you treat a spell caster’s finger bones like walnuts, they can’t cast spells.” Reven and Cora both laugh at the statement.
Jean Luc shocked by the sudden appearance of the dwarf, but Gamora says, “It’s okay. This is Aeron, he’s making Osrik a new shield.”
Xenara comes over and gives Aeron a hug, “Hello, my friend. You seem to be everywhere aren’t you?”
“I try to keep folks on their toes. I have a few moments before I head up North thought I’d find you guys again.” Vera runs over and gives the dwarf a big hug, “Hi, kitty-cat,” he says with a great big smile.
“One time,” Vera says turning her attention back to the party, “there was a goblin, who only thought about escaping… he didn’t get very far.”
“Wait,” Gamora says, “how do you all know each other?”
Cora says, “We used to travel together years ago. Reven, Aeron, Harlin, Vera, and I. That was a long time ago. “
Aeron looks at Cora and nods, “Cora.”
“Anyway, didn’t mean to break up your pow-wow,” says Aeron. “I was here last night trying to talk to you two,” looking at Cora and Reven, “But you were so caught up in your little talk and just walked out.”
“Oh, sorry.” says Reven.
Aeron says to Reven glancing at Cora, “And this still happening. Congratulations? I don’t know. When you break up again, try not to put me in the middle this time.”
“You are not in the middle of anything, ever,” Cora says.
“Whatever,” Aeron says. “I’m going to let you do you. I’m going to be over there.” He reaches over and grabs a barrel from behind the counter of the bar, grabs a mug, and flips some coins on the counter and sits down reading a book.
Leosin says to Jean Luc, “Well, I might have something a bit more civilized if you like than breaking fingers. There should be something in the dungeons.”
“Do you know if Remalia’s husband was a Masked Lord? We heard rumors,” Jean Luc asks.
Leosin sighs. “Yes he was, though we try not to share that information.”
“But they did kill her husband, and it was supposedly a cultist.”
“It was a cultist, yes.”
“Were they able to gather anything past that?” asks Jean Luc.
“We are not sure why Arthagast was targeted if they targeted him knowing he was a Masked Lord, connected to the Harpers, or just because his business crossed paths with them I’m not sure. But one thing I do know for sure is killing him was the worst mistake they could have made.
Lady Remalia gathered the council because of this with a single message, if they could strike a Masked Lord of Waterdeep no one is safe,” Leosin smiles a little bit.
“Now they don’t feel safe themselves, so they have to move,” says Cora.
“Exactly,” says Leosin.
Jean Luc casts Detect Magic on his Gray Hand badge and his Harper pin. The Harper pin glows a faint abjuration aura. The Grey Hand pins have no magical aura. He shares this with the rest of the group. Jean Luc also notices that there is an aura on the official writ protecting the paper from standard elemental damage.
“How do they expect us to send reports?” Vera asks.
“Well, I’ve been getting reports,” Leosin says.
“Just Sending all the time?”
“Right, but the council will probably meet again after a few of your missions, and then we report and bring new information to light,” says Leosin.
“In the short term,” Jean Luc says, “I take it that magical brief conversations will suffice until we leave and come back. Is there anybody you trust as a second, in case the Cult of the Dragon assassinates you?”
“Well, let us do this,” says Leosin. He opens a bag and pulls out a blue sending stone, and gives it to Jean Luc. “If anything happens to me, there should be instructions that my benefactor will recover this stone.”
Jean Luc gets out his map and asks Leosin to describe where each of the council members have power, and where they can go for help if they are away from a city. He asks about where there are teleportation circles. Leosin tells him that he has clearance to let them use the Harper network.
“One other thought. Three of the council members walked away totally displeased. Ambassador Brawnanvil, King Melandrach, and Delaan Winterhound of the Emerald Enclave, see if you can think up something, even if it’s not connected to the Cult of the Dragon, that we might be able to do to win them to our side.”
“Okay, I’ll see what I can come up with,” says Leosin, “I think if you can bring back the White Wyrmspeaker and deliver him to the Brawnanvil you’ll at least have Mithril Hall on your side.”
“What are the crimes he has been accused of?” Jean Luc asks.
“I don’t know,” says Leosin.
Osrik returns to the inn and joins in the drink and conversation. He says to Gamora, “I went to the church to pray for my memory to go away. I don’t need it. It was unsuccessful.” He and Gamora discuss this as Cora pulls Jean Luc away from Leosin.
Cora ask Jean Luc that they should meet tonight with Osrik, and he should use his hammer to destroy the Black Dragon Mask.
“You want to do that at the castle, though?” asks Jean Luc.
She considers what he says, “I want to do it as soon as possible. We should attempt to do it away from the castle because we don’t know what kind of effect can result in its destruction. And I would prefer not to be anywhere near the castle when that happens.”
Jean Luc points out that they will literally be heading towards a man searching for another masks and he is hesitant to bring one to him. “So what if we do it tonight?” he suggests. “We’ve got to convince Osrik to go with us.” They agree to meet at midnight.
Onthar Frume and Leosin plan to leave. Leosin asks which path they intend to go down so he knows what to prepare for. Jean Luc says, they will head for Boarskyr Bridge to follow the trail of Varram.
Cora asks Leosin about teleportation arrows. Leosin intrigued says he has never heard of them. Aeron overhearing this walks over to Cora asking about this.
She mentions to Aeron that she found a few of them and Aeron asks to see them. She shows him the arrow and his is very impressed with it. He offers to provide her a scroll in exchange for the arrow. She is unwilling to part with it, but he offers to study it to replicate the process. He offers to give her five arrows to her if he is able to replicate the process. She agrees and gives him the teleportation arrow.
Leosin confirms that they can use the teleportation circles but also promises to get them a scroll, in case of need. Osrik asks about the reliability of the Harpers and if they will know to help them. Leosin tells him that some of them will, but that those in the field may not be up to date with current events and may therefore not be aware of the alliance with the Grey Hands of Waterdeep.
Reven talks to Aeron about needing a new shield. Aeron scolds him for losing a shield he gave him before but Reven doesn’t seem to remember this. He tells him he can work on something after working on Osrik’s shield.
Jean Luc speaks to Osrik away from the rest of the party. “When I told the council about the mask, I don’t know if you noticed that I was making that up. I know where it is, and if you’re amenable, I want to sneak out tonight and destroy it. And I want you to come with me because I think we might need your powerful hammer.”
“I’ll take a swing at it,” says Osrik.
“We’re going to meet at midnight at my room,” says Jean Luc.
“Sounds ominous,” says Osrik.
At midnight, Cora and Osrik meet in Jean Luc’s room. They formulate a plan wherein Jean Luc casts feather fall on himself and sits in a blanket and casts Fly on Cora and Osrik. They hold the blanket and fly out the window. They realize they have less than an hour to find a location, destroy the mask, and return to their rooms.
As they fly out the window, the guards at Castle Waterdeep spot them and send them to arms. This draws the attention of some of the party including Vera and Reven. Luckly Herald shouts, “Hold your fire! It’s the special investigation unit.”
The flying trio are soon bet by a pair of griffin riders who escort them out the city. They land outside the city wall in the woods and find a flat rock.
“Moment of truth,” Jean Luc says.
Cora takes out the Black Dragon Mask. Its wooden features perfectly carved like the face of a black dragon. She places it on the flat stone. “You ready?” she asks Osrik.
“Yup. You should back up a bit,” Osrik says.
Osrik takes a moment and casts Death Ward on himself and Bless on the three of them. He grips his shield defensively and transforms his hammer into a Warhammer. “Yep,” he says, “You should back up a bit.”
He strikes the Black Dragon Mask and there is a crack and a burst of green light that flashes making Osrik’s hand a bit numb. The flat rock is instantly destroyed and mostly a pile of dust, the Black Dragon Mask is unharmed.
Tossing his shield aside he transforms the warhammer into a maul. Gripping the massive hammer with two hands he grunts and he swings with all his might. As the hammer strikes the mask there is a thundering boom and green energy bursts up Osrik’s arm sending an acidic burning pain up both arms under his armor and his hammer is covered in green acid.
Jean Luc, frustrated casts fire bolt on the mask. The spell reflects back at him and he feels the acid burn in his palm. The mask does not catch fire.
Cora picks up the mask realizes it is unaffected by their efforts, “So, what now? Any other ideas on what would destroy it?”
“Well,” says Jean Luc, “I’ll have to think about it. I’ll try not to think about it out loud where other people will hear it. Rusty, I lied because I thought there was no way we could put a good face forward, if they found out we were holding one of these things. But I didn’t particularly want to hand it over to somebody else. How do you feel about keeping this secret for now?”
“You think it’s for the good?” says Osrik.
“Yes, but, if you’re not comfortable with it, I will understand.” says Jean Luc.
Realizing they are running short on time the three of them hurry back to the castle and rest for the night.