Early hours of the 30th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess
Jean Luc, Gamora, and Osrik discuss the several options before them. They agree to interrogate Varram in the morning but debate if they should return to the Tomb of Diderius to investigate the chamber Cora and Reven found or head North to the Sea of Moving Ice to search for Maccath the Dragon Lore expert.
Gamora suggests waiting until after they speak with Varram in case he has new information.
Jean Luc suggests if it is worth trying to take the White Dragon mask from Talis.
Cora, expresses her disapproval of Jean Luc contacting Talis, “She has learned far more from us than we have learned from her. This will give her an advantage if she moves against us. The mask is safer in her possession, she will be able to hold off anyone who tries to take it from her. When the time comes if we need it we know where to find it. The other masks should be the priority.”
“She’s dangerous,” adds Gamora, “But she’s dangerous to the Cult too.”
“I keep hearing these mask are powerful,” asks Osrik. “Do we know what they do?”
“They do two things,” says Jean Luc. “Augments a warrior much like any magic item, but I believe it’s a necessary component to the ritual to free Tiamat.”
“There is no way to destroy it,” ask Gamora.
“Oh there must be,” says Jean Luc. “Though I’m drawing a blank on how to do it at the moment.”
“Would destroying just one mask prevent her return?” ask Gamora.
“That…would be ideal,” says Jean Luc.
They discuss on possible solutions and spells to hide the Black Dragon Mask in their possession.
Xenara rather exhausted from the previous battle turn interrupts, “Could we possibly, um maybe discuss this over breakfast. I am only able to process every other word being said.”
“You do look pretty bad over there,” says Gamora
“I’m… I’m fine.” She replies.
“Well you took a nasty tumble, we all did. It was a pretty bad day,” says Gamora trying to reassure her.
“Thank you, for the reminder,” says Xenara.
With that the tiny hut is dispelled and they make they begin to retire for the evening.
Jean Luc grabs a bottle of liquor and heads to Leosin’s room. Seeing no signs that he is awake he decides to leave it for another time. Jean Luc instead returns to his room and begins looking over the Mulhorandi book titled, Transubstantiality across Potentialities which he found in the Tomb of Diderius. The manuscript reads like a journal of an individual who had visions through time and space. The idea of probable time, multiple futures and pasts, and co-existing universes are all rather interesting.
Osrik returns to his room and continues his studies on Morndinsamman rites, history, and lore. There is a knock on the door and Reven is standing in his doorway.
The half-drow makes a rusted battleaxe appear in his hand. “So this is Hew, I found this it a long ago when we fought a green dragon,” he begins. “It has the ability to destroy anything made of wood. It’s a little rusty, but you know… I figured a little rusty axe for… yeah you get it.”
Osrik takes it and looks it over. “It’s beautiful,” as he notes the Dwarven design and magic runes on its blade.
“I’d like you to have it,” Reven says.
“I appreciate that, thank you very much,” says Osrik as looks over the axe.
Reven returns to his room and begins to meditate forging a weapon bond with the black blade called Raven. “So, here we are… It was a tough fight, but you’re beautiful. Hope it’s worth it, so show me what you can do.” There is a moment of silence and there seems to be no response from the blade. Reven dismisses it in the pocket dimension and goes to bed for the evening.
Cora spends time meditating with her bow and praying to Solonor Thelandria.
Gamora crashes in bed and falls asleep her head aching from the events of the day.
Riane returns to Vera’s room and lies down. “I’m done. This place is boring. I’ll leave the rest to you.” Rianne’s purple hair shifts spectrums into the vibrant green color. Vera returns in control of her body.
Vera takes a deep breath and concentrates using powers to cast divination asking, “Will we be successful in interrogating the White Wyrmspeaker?” A moment later there is a knocking on her window, three times as she sees a white sparrow fly away. Troubled by this omen she ponders its meaning until she falls asleep.
Jean Luc wakes for his medication at nearly 8 in the morning. A far later rise than he is used to but it can’t be helped. He locks his books away in his footlocker and begins to start the day when to his surprise Xenara knocks on his door. “Hello, do you happen to have an empty book laying around?”
“Yeah, I think I have something.” He takes an empty spellbook and hands it to her. “Will this do?”
“Yes, I think it will do for now, thank you.” Xenara says.
“Are you working on more diagrams?”
“I’m not sure,” she says.
“Well, whatever it is, I’m excited to see it.”
“Can I use your desk?”
“By all means,” Jean Luc tells Xenara. She sits and immediately starts scribing into the book. Jean Luc observes her work and is fascinated. From her own memory she is scribing arcane formulas. He realizes she is scribing a spellbook. He observes her style and it seems the equations have a hybrid elven and Nethrese influence but some very modern structure designs. The work is structured, condensed, and more advanced than his spell formulas, but despite this he can tell she is writing the fly spell.
Jean Luc goes through his collection and finds a tome in Netherese. “Xenara, I certainly can’t read all of these immediately and I thought you might be interested in this.” He puts the book into her bag. She looks up, not wholly engaged. “In your spare time, I thought you might enjoy it,” he says.
“Thank you,” she says. “Though her focus is largely directed to her writing.”
The party meets later in the day over brunch. Everyone except Xenara is present.
Jean Luc says to Reven, “You know what’s very interesting? The practice we were talking about the other day? Your sister’s doing it right now. She asked me for an empty journal and then sat down to writing a relatively complex spell in her own book.” Jean Luc smiles rather impressed, “I’m willing to bet you are under the impression she has not spent a lot of time training to do such things.”
“Correct. She hasn’t made it known she was doing such things. I find that interesting,” Reven confirms.
“Yes, so do I,” Jean Luc says, laughing. “She seemed very focused and I was going to bring her a plate. Do you know what she likes?” Reven hesitates not knowing how to respond.
“Everybody likes eggs,” says Gamora.
“I don’t like eggs,” retorts Jean Luc.
“You’re insane,” says Gamora.
“Well, maybe,” Jean Luc allows. Gamora stuffs her face. Mags disturbed Gamora’s gorging picks up a plate and walks out.
“You bring up an interesting question,” Reven says, “Because I’ve been so focused trying to figure out my sister’s fighting styles and other things about her, that I never asked her simple questions like ‘what do you like to eat’ or ‘what do you even like at all.’”
“Let’s experiment,” Jean Luc says, and makes a variety of plates for Reven’s sister. They take the food to Xenara, who has worn out one of Jean Luc’s quills and gone through many pages of the spellbook. He peeks over to see that she seems to have finished the Fly spell and is now working on Lightning Bolt. She seems to be writing the spell in an exceptionally efficient, compressed way, an attribute found in writings of archmages. He leaves the food at the edge of the table.
“Is that all things you already know, or things you are experimenting with?” Jean Luc asks Xenara.
“Its things in my head. I’m trying to get it out so it’s not just floating there,” she tells him. She sees the food, including fruit, meat, breads, eggs and grabs some fruit with one hand. Xenara bites into the fruit and continues working with her other hand.
“So she’s a fruit person,” Reven comments.
Jean Luc nods, “Reven, as we did have plenty of time on our extremely long journey to the Serpent Hills, I had time to think about why I failed previously with Featherfall. And I would like to give it a second chance, if you’re up for it.”
“Absolutely!” Reven agrees. Jean Luc takes Reven to the roof.
Vera goes over to Gamora, who is stuffing her face with eggs.
“Gamora,” the druid starts, “You asked me if I could teach you the thing that I was doing when I healed everyone earlier…”
“You said I should teach you that trick someday.”
“Oh with the switchies?”
“Huh? No, no. When I healed everybody.”
“Oh yeah, that’s cool,” Gamora says, recognition on her face.
“What did you see?” Vera asks.
Gamora shrugs. “Her…” she says softly.
“You saw her during it?”
Gamora looks confused as she chomps a mouthful of eggs. “You’re going to have to be more specific.”
“Okay, well next time, you tell me,” Vera says.
“Oh, I will,” Gamora says spitting out some egg particles. “Or maybe I just need nourishment.”
Back in the war room, Herold enters carrying a fresh supply of arrows for Cora. She asks him, “Has anyone seen talked to the prisoner? Where are they keeping him?”
“He is being kept in the dungeons and….” he starts but is abruptly cut off by an excited Vera.
“Oh! I cast divination last night and asked about interrogating…A white bird showed up pecking at the window…I don’t know if it means yes or no. If it’s worth our time. Anyone got a feel for these things?”
Herold betrays a small amount of annoyance at the small druid. Cora turns to her clenching her jaw, “What do that have to do with the question, whether anyone has talked to him?
Vera looks confused, “I just want to know if it will be worth it for us.”
Cora sighs making a show of dismissing her ramblings. She turns back to Herold, “Has anyone talked to him yet?”
Vera deflated, “Okay.”
Herold continues, “Not yet. We are letting him. Sweat-it-out, as they say. He is in chains and his undergarments.”
“Very well,” says Cora. “Please inform us if anyone speaks to him before us.”
Vera apologizes to Herold as he departs. Cora stares at Vera for a long moment. “Should…should I leave?” she asks.
“No. I am concerned about the flow of information,” says Cora. “As nice as Herold is, I would rather if you know or learn anything that information should stay with us. I suggest being more cautious about the information you let be known in front of other ears. So now tell us about this divination.”
Vera nods, “So we asked about interrogating the White Wyrmspeaker. If that may or may not be successful, and the response I received came in the form of a white bird, pecking at the window several times.”
“What does that mean,” asks Cora.
“I don’t know,” replies Vera.
“Is he still in his cell?” asks Gamora with a worried tone.
“What did the bird do when you saw it,” asks Osrik.
“It pecked at the window, three times I think and then it flew away.” she says.
“What kind of bird,” asks Cora.
“A white sparrow I believe,” says Vera.
“Birds fly…” says Osrik.
“We need to check,” says Cora. The four of them make their way to the dungeon fearful of the omen’s meaning and hoping that they are not too late.
Meanwhile standing on the edge of one of the west towers, Jean Luc and Reven stand looking at the splendor of Waterdeep before them. The cold winter wind blows and Jean Luc excite says, “As a scholar and historian I am very excited about how things are put together and understanding how it works, but for the practical user understanding magic is not something you need to know. Let me explain what you need to know,” he pauses and looks at Reven. “Write it down…”
Jean Luc begins to explain how to write and understand magic script on a very practical and basic level, at times almost elementary level. Reven swallowing his pride listens and intently takes notes and follows Jean Luc’s instruction.
Rusty, Cora, Gamora, and Vera make their way to the entrance to the dungeons, and a guard named Steve escorts them down into the dungeons, they walk down a tight stairwell that opens into a bitter cold dark labyrinth. Steve’s torch is the only source of light and heat that provides mild relief against the frosty cold moisture. He walks through the darkness with no landmarks to show the way. He eventually turns down a tight corridor and finds a steel door which he opens and locks behind him as he continues. This leads deeper into the dungeon and down another path. After some time there is torchlight in the distance and Steve leads them to metallic door guarded by two other sentries.
Cora opens slides the viewing window and looks in the cell to find Varram chained and wearing a sack cloth garments. The Wyrmspeaker sits on a small wooden stool and makeshift table eating some scraps. His eyes raise to look at the Cora’s eyes and he smiles.
Cora turns to the guards, “Who gave him food?”
“Um… he requested food. He was hungry…” said one of the guards.
“This isn’t a fucking hotel! Open the door!” says Gamora.
“No,” says Cora. She places a hand on Gamora trying keep the situation under control.
Gamora angrily turns to the guards, “I thought we told you to keep him gagged!”
The guards look at each other confused.
“Fucking idiots,” curses Gamora.
“Sorry, ma’am,” says one of the guards. “We can gag him now if you like.”
“No, wait,” says Osrik looking inside the room. He begins to gather his magic to cast a spell to strike Varram, but Cora grabs his arm.
“Stop, what are you doing?” she says.
“It’s just going to jolt him,” he says.
“No,” she says frustrated. “Just stop, wait.” Osrik stops casting.
Vera whispers, “He can hear everything we say.” They wait a moment in silence and hear Varram’s humming a tune as he continues his meal. Vera motions to Osrik to cast Silence.
Osrik complies and casts the spell on Varram’s stool, the Wyrmspeaker looks confused at the supernatural silence but continues to eat.
Cora turns to the guard and shouts, “Why did you open the door?!”
The confused guard stammers, “What do you mean?”
“Who gave him food?” she asks.
“It wasn’t us, it was the last shift.” He says. Cora demands to know where they are but he simply replies they are resting.
Gamora asks the names of the other guards to which the guard replies, “Adren and Joe were the last watch.”
“And who are you,” asks Gamora. “I’m Hill and this is Capper,” says the armored guard.
“You better hope Adren and Joe aren’t dead now,” says Osrik.
“His mouth needs to be bound or he will convince these idiots to open the door,” says Cora.
The guards look at each other a bit frustrated at the insult.
“Does anyone have a needle and thread?” asks Gamora.
Vera asks, “How do we interrogate someone without talking to them?”
Osrik considers using spells to restrain him, but it’s not long before Gamora loses patience and bursts into the room. She finds Varram sitting in the corner facing the door sitting in a submissive position raising his arms up in the air showing he is unarmed. Gamora grabs his food plate and throws it out of the cell.
She storms over to Varram and wraps rope around is face gagging his mouth and ties it in place. She begins to leave, but turns and grabs both of Varrams hands and pulls back until she feels a snap of fingers. Varram drops to the ground in writhing in pain, his mouth open shouting in eerie silence. Gamora nods rather satisfied with her handiwork leaves the cell to rejoin the others.
“Alright, so I broke his fingers don’t know if anyone caught that,” mutters Gamora as she exits the cell. “Maybe he’ll be more friendly to someone who can unbreak his fingers?”
“You seem to know the most about him, maybe you should ask the questions,” Gamora says to Cora no shakes her head.
“What questions are we going to ask him,” says Cora.
Vera exasperated, “How do we even know if it’s worth it? I’m going to find Jean Luc. We don’t even know if this is worth the effort.” She leaves the others to their discussions.
As she leaves Osrik says, “Or I can just make him tell the truth.”
“You can do that?” asks Gamora.
“Heck yeah I can!” says Osrik. He discusses how the Zone of Truth spell works. Cora is concerned it would force them to tell the truth as well. Osrik concludes this can’t be helped, and adds, “If you are a really good liar you can find a way around it.”
Gamora says, “I’m concerned that he may be a really good liar.”
“It’s better than nothing,” says Osrik.
Cora turns to one of the guards and asks him to bring some fresh bandages and water. Steve nods and leaves returning some minutes later with the supplies.
Osrik and Cora walk inside the cell. Cora pulls the stool up to Varram and begins to silently treat his broken hands. He winces at the pain through his gag.
Osrik says, “Sorry about that.” Osrik casts Zone of Truth in the cell he realizes that the spell has no effect on Varram or Cora for that matter.
Varram replies through the gag, but it is incomprehensible. Cora after finishing instructs him to sit on the stool. He complies and takes a seat.
“Now,” says Cora. “We’re going to remove your gag. If you try any of your tricks it will be more than the gag we will be removing from you.”
Gamora slides open the window of the door her teeth visibly smiling menacingly, “Hi..”
Varram nods and looks totally willing to comply as Cora cuts off the gag he nods and says, “That is some very fine rope you have there. Really no need for all the excess force I am wholefully at your disposal.”
“What we you doing in the Serpent Hills?” Cora asks.
With a dramatic sigh Varram says, "What a sad tale. I’ll be glad to tell you. Well, sadly there was a scenario where something had been taken from me. That wasn’t very nice, but losing it is going to cost me my neck. So I went out looking for it. I can kind of tell you have an idea what I lost.”
“When did you lose it?” Cora asks.
“About three weeks ago. Well, anyway, I was enjoying my luxury suite, with some very interesting company I must add. And then all of a sudden I wake up and my property is gone. I have no idea how, who, or where.”
“Where was your suite?” Osrik asks.
Varram squirms a bit and says, “In my quarters…”
“… which would be located…” Osrik continues.
“in the Well of Dragons. It’s a hollowed out volcano with a lot of weird dragon stuff."
Osrik nodds, “I had an idea but I wanted to make sure we had an understanding.”
“Yes. Well anyway, I kicked out my two friends….well if you can really call them friends… we barely knew each other… and I discovered that someone stole this thing.
I quickly and quietly gathered some forces to try to hunt this thing down because once my boss figured out someone stole this out from under my nose, well that’s kind of not a good thing.
Well, I scoured some vast knowledge and I learned that this Tomb of Diderius, if you look into the pool and ask it a question, it answers it for you. Just when I was at my wit’s end with all these trolls around us – fucking Talis – for some reason, the pool filled up with water. I have no idea how it happened! And I was able to finish the ceremony. I did lose one of my men in the process, but hey, what are you going to do? And then I learned, now I know who has the mask. And well…"
“And who’s that?” asks Osrik.
“Let him finish talking,” whispers Cora.
“Sorry go ahead,” says Osrik.
“Ah..ha ha. Well the mask is no longer in my capable hands. So, I’m pretty much a dead man. If I go back, Severin will probably lop my head off, feed me to one of the dragons…” Varram trails off. “So, yeah… I’m at your disposal. Anything you want to know, as long as it keeps me alive.”
“Where is Severin?” Cora asks.
“Well, luckily when the mask got stolen, he had been on expedition. But he probably is at the Well of Dragons consolidating power and getting ready for the ritual.”
“When is the ritual going to take place?” Cora asks.
“Oh, when all the pieces are together,” says Varram.
“What pieces are needed?” asks Cora.
“We are missing two masks at this point. A handful of people, treasure, mages doing their thing, convergence of some sort of stars… I don’t really know, it’s not really my thing.”
Osrik says, “You said Severin was on expedition. Do you know where?”
“Ah gathering forces," says Varram
“Not a specific place?” says Osrik.
“He didn’t share with me at that point in time. But he’s been playing things close to the vest since, well, since there’s been some betrayals in the inner circle," says Varram.
“What’s been going on?” Cora asks.
“Complicated stuff over the last ten years," he says. "But you know, I’ll be really glad to talk about this and give you guys some more information–“
Cora cuts him off. “Where are the other Wyrmspeakers? Are they all at the Well of Dragons?”
Varram stammers. “Uh, one of them is here. I’m pretty sure I’m demoted. I wouldn’t say I’m affiliated with them much anymore. I’m probably on their hit list.”
Gamora asks through the door, “Who has the mask that you lost?”
“It was stolen, to be fair,” says the gold Dwarf.
“I’m sorry, ‘stolen.’ WHO has it?” Gamora asks.
“I’m sorry, what did she say? I can’t hear from there.”
Osrik says, “She was wondering who has the mask. We got a little sidetracked.”
“I apologize. Yes, Talis,” says Varram.
“Who is she?” Osrik asks.
“Ah Talis Katstra…no that’s not right. Something with a K I think.” Varram squirms more. “Well, she was… how do I say? She doesn’t like me very much."
“But you seem so friendly,” says Osrik smiling.
“I know right?” says Varram. "I might have unintentionally wronged her in the past.”
“Did you bone?” asks Gamora.
“Ugh, Half-elves, they’re just not my type,” says Varram.
“Spindly,” comments Osrik.
“Yes,” says Varram. He looks Osrik over and winks. “You are a man of taste I see. A bit meaty, aren’t you?”
Cora, not to be derailed, asks, “So, specifically – what is missing for the ceremony? The two masks, and?”
“Well, Rath Modar is really the one who knows everything about the ceremony. I just kind of follow orders and try to consolidate wealth and power, and keep myself comfortable.”
“Rath Modar? Is that the Wizard of Thay?” Cora asks.
“Yes, the Red Wizards of Thay," he says with disgust on his face. “He’s the one in charge of them.”
“That was going to be my next question,” Cora says. “How are the Wizards of Thay involved?”
“They’re the ones doing all the demon summoning to outfit our army,” Varram says.
“Are they at the Well of Dragons also?” asks Osrik.
“Oh, did you not know that? Oh, sorry. There are demons in our army. Well, it’s not my army anymore, sorry. Their army. Devils. I always get them confused. Devils in the army. A little bit more trustworthy that those demons.”
“You can make a deal with a devil. Demons are, well I wouldn’t advise it,” Osrik says.
“It’s problematic on either end, that is true. But you know, when you have a pact and a deal they kind of follow through,” Varram says.
“Well now, I don’t mean to be presumptuous and I’m totally glad of supporting your cause of thwarting the Cult of the Dragon and pretty much smashing their entire existence as it really benefits my lifespan. Um, I don’t mean to be presumptuous… what do I get out of this? Do I get to live maybe?”
“You get to keep your tongue for starters,” Gamora says.
“Well, that’s a bit harsh,” Osrik says. “That seems inhumane.”
“If you cut my tongue out,” Varram says, “I’m pretty sure it will be very difficult for me to give you guys the information that you’re asking for.”
“That’s why I’m standing out here,” says Gamora.
“If you continue to break my fingers, I can’t even write them down. So I think you kind of need my tongue.”
“Again,” says Gamora. “That’s why I’m out here.”
“You can kind of disregard some of that,” says Osrik, “she’s enjoys that."
“I can see that. It’s quite frightening,” says Varram.
“When?” asks Cora. She repeats, “When is the ritual going to take place? What is the plan?”
“Like I said, I’m not really in tune with that information,” says Varram. “That information is really more of the Wizard’s domain. Um, I can give you operational information, I can give you maybe some numbers based on the last time I was there – how many dragons have joined the cause.”
“Tell us who is at the Well of Dragons right now,” Cora says.
“Well, at the last count there were seventeen chromatics that had joined the cause with more coming daily,” says Varram.
The gold Dwarf continues, “That damn Drakkhorn. So hard for me to get some rest. Actually pretty glad I’m out of there. Blaring just awful.”
Osrik says, “You know, we could hear is here.”
“Really?” asks Varram. “That’s fascinating.”
“Who was blowing the horn?” Cora asks.
“Well, we lost a couple people when they were trying to blow the horn. One of the Red Wizards got a little creative.”
“There was some blowback, you would say?” Osrik says.
Varram guffaws. “That’s a good one. No, no seriously. I believe one of the Red Wizards had summoned an air elemental that just keeps blowing all day. Quite a frightful thing to be blown for that long. But seriously, no, yes, there is an elemental that is forcing air through the horn nonstop.”
“Seventeen dragons, what else?” Cora asks.
“Pretty much 85% of our forces are gathered there. Mercenaries, devils, Red Wizards.”
“How many wizards?”
Varram thinks. “Well, most of the rebels were about thirty I think. Maybe more. They keep trying to pull more people in daily. A lot of the resources are still spread out as they’re bringing in more loot for the ceremony.”
“How many members of the Cult of the Dragon?” asks Cora.
“About eight-five percent or so. You’re looking at about 600.”
“How many devils?” she asks.
“It all depends on how many they summon. I’ve seen as many as fifty on the ground patrolling." They can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the Cult of the Dragon’s united forces.
Meanwhile Vera had returned to the war room looking for Jean Luc to no avail. “There outside,” comes a voice. Mags in the war room sits reading a book. She points upwards, “The tower.”
“Thanks,” says Vera and heads upstairs. She makes her way up the tower to find Reven focused on writing in a book. She breathlessly starts asking Reven for Jean Luc, but he simply puts up a finger as he is writing.
Jean Luc wandering the tower’s lookout sees Vera and joins her. She tells Jean Luc about her divination and asks if he can make out the omen.
Jean Luc notes that a some symbology and divination texts he read he believes the white sparrow is a rare songbird and brings with it wealth and positivity. It was probably a good omen, but he’s not sure why it was pecking at her window.
Reven looking over at the two of them suggests they talk to Xenara as she might have some more knowledge on omens. The two agree and leave him to his work.
When they return to Xenara they find her several dozen pages into her spellbook. Jean Luc is amazed at her progress. He notes that she has eaten nearly all the food they left for her as well. Xenara seems a little confused by their questions and apologizes that she doesn’t really know much about omens, and apologizes that she needs to finish her work.
Understanding they leave her to her studies. Jean Luc asks where the others are and Vera mentions that they are interrogating Varram. Jean Luc and her head down into the dungeon, without Steve it take some navigating but Vera eventually finds the path that takes them to the others.
Jean Luc and Vera arrive to see Gamora looking into the door through the view window and three other guards at the ready. Jean Luc turns to Gamora and says, "What are you doing?”
“I’m not allowed in,” says Gamora, “Because I would probably rip out his tongue and that won’t help our cause. Want to go in?”
“Turns out this is a good idea,” Vera says.
“Well, yeah," Gamora says. “He’s singing like a freaking canary.”
“Which is not a white bird by the way,” Jean Luc says to Vera.
“Birds,” says Gamora, “They all tweet.” She opens the door for them.
As they enter Cora asks Varram, “Do you know who stole the mask?”
“Oh! We have new guests. Hello! Hello!” Varram says.
“Hello, I’m Jean Luc and I’m having conflicting feelings about my estranged wife who I just saw for the first time in ten years,” says Jean Luc as he enters the Zone of Truth. “Oh, I don’t know where that came from.”
“Oh! I can’t relate,” says Varram. He puts his hand out to shake Jean Luc’s but Cora smacks it away. “Sorry, habit.”
“It would be bad for our hand,” says Cora.
“Do you have an idea of where you are?” Jean Luc asks.
“I have my suspicions,” says Varram, “A dungeon obviously.”
“When rumors began to spread that we were pursuing you, we were approached by somebody who was interested in seeing you suffer,” Jean Luc says.
Varram laughs. “My boy, that could be quite anyone! Who are we talking about?”
“I want to know, in a realistic sense, what do you hope happens next for you?” Jean Luc asks the gold Dwarf.
“Ah, well, in a realistic sense, it would be nice that me helping the forces of god in the North and the Council of Waterdeep help rid of all kinds of evil things, a full pardon would be fantastic,” says Varram. “And maybe with a small stipend so I can have a little hut somewhere where no one knows where I am.”
“Well you are assisting the forces of good. You have said you are no longer on the side of helping…“ says Osrik.
Cora cuts him off. “That is not what he said.”
“Let the man finish, please,” says Varram.
“How do you know we’ll help you?” asks Osrik.
“Because they’ll kill me,” says Varram. “Anyone who helps me is pretty much my friend at this point. And, let’s be fair, I’d rather not go to a Dwarven execution.”
“I could imagine,” says Osrik. “But you were originally with them in wanting to summon Tiamat?”
“Oh, no no no. That idea seems crazy.”
“But that is what they are working on now.”
“Yes, definitely. But you know, it paid the bills. No one thought he’d do it or actually be capable of it. It’s like they say, cults are fun to join, even better to be a leader. Great money in it.”
Jean Luc says, “So, as you can imagine, a full pardon is a steep hill to climb. However, we are already in the middle of climbing a steep hill. Your cause will be buoyed by any information you can give us. So I take it from all these notes my friends have written, you have already loosely described the forces inside the Well of Dragons.”
“Oh, the best I can yes."
“Alright, then we need two other things from you,” says Jean Luc. “A list of individuals or forces outside the Well of Dragons. Where they are, or when they might be expected to be in specific locations. And a list of anybody like yourself who may not be on board with summoning Tiamat.”
“Oh, I believe I can provide you that information. There are quite a few defectors. Especially those that follow the old ways.”
“The more information you can give us, gives us more leads to follow, and the longer I can make a case that you are good to keep alive,” says Jean Luc.
“Well,” says Varram, “I do have some provisos, minor details, that needs your attention.”
“We can certainly try," says Jean Luc.
“Well, first of all, if they find out that I am captured and have turned to your side, very likely they will try to kill me. As you know, and my first statement was that I am very averse to this scenario. So you may want to plug the leak within the council.”
“Well,” says Jean Luc, “That ship might have sailed, but we could take other precautions.”
“Do you know who the leak is?” asks Cora.
“Yes, I do. There is a succubus that has infiltrated not the council per se, but is canoodling with some of the aides of the council members,” says Varram. “I’m not sure exactly which one, but I do know that she’s there, talks to whoever she needs to, gets the information from the aides and covers her tracks pretty well.”
“Do you know any aliases she went by?” asks Jean Luc.
“No, she’s pretty much independent. She reports to Rath Modar.”
“Do you know what she looks like?”
“They’re shapeshifters,” says Varram.
“Are you under the impression that she is located at a specific place?” asks Jean Luc.
“I’m sure she’s here in Castle Waterdeep.”
“There we go. I was waiting for you to make a guess," says Jean Luc. "Alright. Well that’s an extremely vague lead but we can certainly look into that.”
“I hope so," says Varram.
“Do you have anything else right now?” asks Jean Luc. “Someone we can pursue outside the Well of Dragons? So we can make the case that you’ve already been useful?”
“Well, I thought I’ve been useful,” says Varram. “I don’t know if I have any actionable information I can give you right now. The only thing I do remember is Neronvain had taken to the Misty Forest.”
“Neronvain?” asks Osrik.
“Yes, he’s the Green Wyrmspeaker. He more of a hands-on guy. He’s leading attacks in the Misty Forest, raiding, pillaging, doing all that fun stuff. You know, things that psychopaths generally like to do.”
“How big is the force he travels with?” Gamora asks through the door.
“Do you want to just come in?” asks Osrik.
“I’m not allowed because I might break him more,” the half-orc replies.
“Valid,” says Osrik.
“Well, he does have small forces that he travels with, but he generally doesn’t trust them,” says Varram. “No no no, he’s much more connected with his Green Dragon friend.”
“Wait, that means you have a White Dragon friend?” asks Vera.
“Me? No, no. They hate me.” says Varram.
“Then how did you get the… no, never mind,” says Gamora.
“That’s part of the reason Talis kind of wants to kill me,” Varram says, his voice breaking. “But no no no, seriously. I’m not affiliated with dragons much. Is that enough to grant me maybe at least a week of air?”
Jean Luc says, “Possibly. We will make the case for you. Although, now it’s tricky. We can’t confess what we’re pursuing knowing that you think it will get back to our opponents’ ears quickly. We’ll make the case for you and we will try to keep assassins out of your bed.”
“Well,” says Varram, “I appreciate your honesty.”
“Alright, well I’ll get you some stew. And a bucket. Maybe a blanket,” says Osrik.
“That would be of the absolute most fantasticness. Thank you. I don’t care what they say about you and your group,” says Varram, “You are great people.”
“I care,” says Jean Luc. “What do they say?”
“Well, that you’re a resolute bunch, very tough-as-nails,” says Varram.
“What do they know about us?” asks Cora.
Varram says, “Well, I can tell you this much. Since your actions at Skyreach Castle, the lens has focused in on your little band. At least last I was there. And of course, killing our top assassin, well that also doesn’t exactly exclude you from notice.”
“Which one was the top assassin?” asks Jean Luc.
“Oh, that would be Rezmir,” answers Varram.
“Do you happen to know the name of the succubus?” asks Osrik.
“No,” says Varram.
“I appreciate your honesty,” says Osrik. “So we’re going to go, talk to the guards, and get you those things.”
“Fantastic,” says Varram, eyeing Osrik. “Thank you. Thank you all for your time.”
“Sorry about your fingers,” says Gamora.
“That’s quite all right. I totally understand,” says the gold Dwarf.
The group leaves the room. Osrik follows through on asking the guards for the items he promised Varram.
Steve asks them if they are ready to leave. The party agree and follow him through the lower dungeons.
Once they leave earshot of the cell Osrik curses, “I hate being nice. I was trying to do what Jean Luc would do…”
Jean Luc says, “We may be able to hire a paladin to find this succubus.”
Vera and Osrik both think they would be able to track the succubus tomorrow with their spells. Steve leads them out of the dungeons and they make their way back to the war room.
Reven completing his work makes his way downstairs and notices that Xenara is still hard at work. He sees Mags sitting along reading. He sits next to her and excitely says, “Mags, I did it!”
“It’s Yashira. My friends call me Mags,” Mags says.
“Okay, well I did it,” says Reven.
“Yes, I think we learned that last night,” says Mags.
Reven laughs. “No, you don’t understand,” he says, “I had it written, I wrote it in the book, I thought I got it, I took a cat, I brought it up the tower, I tossed it off. I’m not sure it made it, but the second thing was a goat. That one I think made it. But I think I got it. Wait, that wasn’t your goat, was it?”
“You’re sick,” says Mags. She walks out of the room. Reven hears the door slam shut and the bolts click into place.
“Featherfall,” he whispers to himself, grinning. The others walk into the room at this point.
“What are we celebrating?” Gamora asks.
“Oh, did you get it?” Jean Luc asks.
“Featherfall!” Reven exclaims. Jean Luc jumps but the effect is imperceptible. Reven says, “it worked, trust me.”
Jean Luc shakes Reven’s hand. “Congratulations, sir!”
Xenara walks into the war room and hands Jean Luc his ink back though most of it is gone. She motions to the book. “I can keep, this, right?”
“Absolutely, it’s yours,” says Jean Luc. “however, like I said – anything really interesting that you come up with I would like to see.”
“Of course,” she says. “It would be my pleasure.”
“Sorry for bothering you earlier,” Vera says.
“No, that’s fine,” says Xenara. “It’s just nice to have all my spells in one book.”
“I know you don’t remember a whole lot,” says Gamora, “But do you happen to know anything about," she looks around and whispers, "succubi?”
“Oh my!” Xenara blushes a little bit.
“No! No, no,” says Gamora, “I’m just, you know, we’re trying to figure something out, and I was wondering if you knew anything about them. I didn’t mean to upset your sensitive sensibilities.”
Vera asks what she missed when she went to find Jean Luc. Osrik recounts the interrogation bringing everyone up to speed.
“So our next step is to take out the succubus?” Vera asks.
Osrik hears a ringing in his head and then Aeron Glitterstone’s voice. “Yo buddy! Your shield’s ready. It’s quite a beauty. How do you want me to send it to you? Should I ship or you picking up…”
Osrik replies, “We’re currently in Waterdeep if you can make it here.”
Another ringing, and Aeron’s voice through Sending again says, “So you haul your ass up north and pick it up yourself, or I send it out with the next shipment to Howard, you know…"
Osrik thinks for a moment and replies, “Hold on to it for now. I’ll give you a Sending shortly with an update.”
Osrik tells the group his shield is ready.
“Is there something only you and Leosin would know to prove that he is himself?” asks Gamora. “Because now I’m beginning to question everybody.”
“It’s a difficult thing to do a test like that because if they are the impostor and you did it wrong,” Jean Luc says, “you could tip them off. I would say, as awful as I feel about it, it’s just a question of how we talk about sensitive stuff. However, I would still make a case for who I must say is easily the most adorable villain we’ve fought for far. But if we’re going to keep him alive, we have to give them something. And I don’t know what that should be, because we don’t want to give them the truth.”
“If we say anything he’s given us and they perceive that as a threat,” says Gamora, “They know where to find him.”
As group discusses their options and their next move. Reven says he wants to go back to Seven Swords Mountain. He says they have a portal system that they might be able to use and he needs to understand why more about his visions.