City of Splendors

Adventure Recap: Season III, Episode XIV

A rumbling cacophony shook the foundations of Thann Manor from beneath. At that moment, the four adventurers had gathered to rendezvous and plan their next steps, but they quickly learned that they were not the only interlopers at the Reclamation Day Ball.

The night’s musical act, a quartet of skilled bards, revealed their true identities. Three transformed into fearsome were-creatures while the leader of their motley crew assumed command of the terror-stricken ballroom. The mysterious woman demanded Lady Thann give up her relic, but Cassandra stood resolute in the face of danger. Her son Danilo would not be so stoic, as the wicked bard placed him under a magical charm, pressing him to reveal the location of the key that would unlock the relic’s vault.

Entranced by the spell, Danilo led the werewolf to the master bedroom, where he had previously been searching — until Aystra and Havard had interrupted his plot. That duo took advantage of their Aura of the Unremarkable to slip out of the ballroom unnoticed and tail Danilo. With stealthy swiftness, they took the beast down, leaving Danilo in the safety of his mother’s room.

Meanwhile, Vyurek and Zerg remained with the hostages in the ballroom, attempting their own subterfuge. Zerg began to sneak away but was soon noticed by the Wererat. Insisting he was only going to ensure the fires in the kitchen were under control, Zerg was accompanied by the henchman down the hall. Vyurek attempted a magical vanishing act, but was likewise unsuccessful in his attempts at stealth, which drew the Wereverine toward the dining hall. With both henchmen isolated, the party’s muscle moved to eliminate the were-creatures individually.

Aystra and Havard would slip down to the manor’s cellar where they met Malvar and appraised him of the situation. The doppelganger chief informed them of the much more pressing issue — a second group of infiltrators was currently attempting to crack the safe and steal Cassandra’s mask while the bards upstairs distracted the crowds.

Despite their best efforts to quietly eliminate the henchman, Zerg and Vyurek’s battles soon spilled into the ballroom. In an attempt to distract and demoralize her foe, the band leader cast a spell on Vyurek to modify his memories, making him believe that Havard had murdered Danilo in the ballroom minutes before, to protect the secrets of the relic, then vanished with Invisibility magic. Seeing a pressing need to draw out his enemies, Vyurek cast Stinking Cloud over the ballroom, rendering the guests, and the intruders, disgustingly ill. The smell was atrocious, but it allowed Vyurek and Zerg to finally vanquish the invaders and join their companions in the cellar.

When they finally confronted the would-be thieves, the party realized they had been foiled by the diversion. The Eye’s crafty rogue had successfully broken through the safe’s defences, and invoked a dimensional teleportation spell to flee with the mask before the party could stop the theft, leaving them to battle with a plague cleric and her soldiers. In an encounter that had become characteristically defined by sickness and pestilence, the party delivered swift justice to the criminals. When only two soldiers remained standing, one threw down his weapons and surrendered, while the other suffered a knock-out blow by Aystra’s hand. The thug confessed that he and his colleagues were prisoners of war, enslaved as soldiers by Colstan Rhuul, forced to fight under The Eye’s orders. As the party regrouped, they now found themselves outmaneuvered by the criminal syndicate, with one of the Relics of Shoon now in enemy hands…

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Adventure Recap: Season III, Episode XII
Party Crashers

Thann Manor stood at its brightest on the night of the Reclamation Day Ball. As the Sword Coast’s most powerful and influential flocked to the gala, few realized they would soon be joined by a quartet of interlopers.

Taking advantage of Firaq’s ties within Waterdeep’s upper circles, Aystra and Havard arrived through the manor’s front doors as guests, while Vyurek and Zerg donned disguises and slipped in as part of the kitchen’s expanded staff. While the well-dressed duo made their rounds mingling with other party guests, the team’s muscle did their best to blend in under the onerous demands of the eccentric Gourmand Bernart Anzeray.

Despite his best intentions, Zerg was soon flustered by the gourmand’s array of demands, leaving Vyurek to put his weeks of culinary research to the test. After nearly ruining the soup at the moment Anzeray burst through the doors, the quick-thinking Illumian spiked the broth with a bouquet of exotic spices, transforming the dish into a meal that left even the gourmand himself stunned and impressed.

Meanwhile, Aystra and Havard began to investigate the manor’s various rooms and chambers, trying to track down clues that would lead them to Cassandra Thann’s mystery relic. They crossed paths with her son Danilo, who turned on his charm in an effort to woo — and seemingly distract — Aystra from his own activities in the library. However, the charismatic bard’s performance gave Havard the opportunity he needed to uncover valuable information about Cassandra’s research into the Shoon Imperium. The two soon found themselves in Danilo’s guest chambers, where they learned of his true motives to locate his mother’s relic himself.

As the dinner hour struck, the gourmand summoned the partygoers to the manor’s dining hall for a grand presentation. A towering crystal sculpture of coupe glasses loomed over the ball as sparkling wine cascaded down in an effervescent display of magical light and colour. As the show reached its climax, the glasses shattered, bringing the facade crumbling down, and sending the gourmand fleeing the room in shame.

In the distraction, Zerg and Vyurek pursued the chef to the cellar, where he broke his own facade and revealed himself as Malvar, the leader of the Doppelganger smuggling ring in Undermountain. His faction had also learned of the relic’s existence, but more pressingly, of an impending attack from the Eye’s soldiers. Malvar’s spies had uncovered a plot by the Eye’s general, Colstan Rhuul to take advantage of the night’s revelry to break into the manor and steal the item for his organization’s own ends.

Aystra and Havard continued their investigation of the manor’s private quarters, where they collectively gathered further information about Cassandra’s research. While shedding light on her studies into the lineage of emperors and their relics, they learned of Shoon I and the court mask he had commissioned in the likeness of his ancestor, Akkabar Shoon the Elder. The mask was said to give the power of influence and persuasion to its wearer, which Shoon used to control his royal court. They further learned that Cassandra now possessed the item, apparently keeping it secure in a hidden area of the manor behind a locked door.

The adventurers met up during the grand ball itself to compare notes and piece together what they had learned. As Lady Thann welcomed her guests and delivered her speech on the history and heritage of the momentous occasion, a rumbling blast from below suddenly shook the manor on its foundation. For the adventurers, this party was only just getting started …

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Adventure Recap: Season III, Episode XI
Noble Intentions

Durnan was eager to hear the party’s news. Since returning from their mission to infiltrate the Eye compound, they had left the Yawning Portal owner with little information. After tying up other loose ends around Waterdeep, the adventurers hurried to the inn to share what they had learned about Ellithral and his employer.

However, their allegiances were now fraught. They recognized that revealing Errya’s secret to Durnan would betray her trust, but eventually agreed that they owed Durnan and Jurisk much more. They explained Errya’s claims of being a double agent working for the Eye to exploit their resources and gather the relics for herself, which was met with cautious skepticism from both men. While Durnan was apprehensive about dealing with any member of the criminal syndicate, Jurisk suggested working with Errya could play to their advantage, regardless of her own true goals. If she truly intended to take down the Eye from within, he said, mutual cooperation could benefit both parties in the long run.

Moving to more pressing matters, Durnan invited Firaq to join them in the cellar of the Yawning Portal, when he revealed they had tracked down another relic. Moving on the information given to them by Master Floshin, Firaq explained the “Cassandra” in question was none other than Lady Thann, Matriarch of one of Waterdeep’s oldest and most influential noble houses. An avid patron of Waterdeep’s cultural heritage research and a collector of historic artifacts, Firaq believed Cassandra possessed one of these items — whether or not she was aware of its true power.

Firaq suggested that the Thann’s upcoming Reclamation Day Ball would present an ideal opportunity to gain access to the manor and investigate. The adventurers discussed possible tactics, from a stealthy infiltration, to a diplomatic dance of deception. With the ball three weeks away, they would have plenty of time to prepare with Durnan’s crew.

Before exiting the Portal, they crossed paths with Ellithral, who arranged another meeting with Errya to discuss their next steps. Ever inscrutable, Errya seemed unfazed to learn the party had shared her secrets with Durnan and Jurisk, suggesting the Red Sashes were of little threat to her. Instead, she pressed the party to share the details of their upcoming mission, eager to secure another relic. Errya promised to strategically leak information of the artifact to Avaereene’s forces, suspecting that her colleague in the Eye would not be able to resist inviting herself to the party.

Two weeks later, the adventurers received word from Quilynn to meet her at Blackstaff Tower, where she had begun work with Tysha in the mages’ research lab. The two had decided their efforts were best utilized in tandem, and had spent the past few days delving deeper into the secrets of the Relics of Shoon. Together, they explained that each relic had been created by an emperor of the Shoon Dynasty, a signature of his rule. While many secrets still surrounded the artifacts, Quilynn and Tysha promised to continue their efforts to unravel the mysteries of the ancient set …

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode X
Moonlighting

With the deceitful wizard Randulaith in captivity and a shaken Quilynn at their side, the adventurers embarked towards the Monastery of the Sun. What should have been a simple trip of a few blocks through Waterdeep’s streets soon turned into anything but. Randulaith screamed for his life until he was silenced by the party, who had strapped him to a makeshift gurney. But even then, the stealthy mission was ambushed by a trio of mysterious attackers who seemed determined to see the wizard’s life ended.

Fighting back the aggressors and forcing them to flee, the party rushed with their payload into the safety of the Monastery. After some overnight recuperation, Aystra spoke with Quilynn to learn how she had ended up in Zhaeydan’s psionic prison. The cleric explained that she had come at the insistence of Jurisk Ulhammond, who was concerned with the party’s lack of proper debrief after their mission into Erya Eltorchul’s lair. When she arrived in Randualith’s home, she was attacked by Zhaeydan and entrapped within his powerful spell along with the party. Only once the group broke free of the magic were they able to force the conjurer to flee.

Randulaith demanded an audience with the party, insisting on his innocence. He claimed that he was an unwilling accomplice of Avaereene, the Eye’s officer of arcane arts, and that he was only acting in self-preservation. Unwilling to bear the shrill screams, Vyurek left the wizard to his captivity while they sent word to Blackstaff Tower of their progress.

Shortly thereafter, they were greeted by Blackstaff’s junior researcher, Tysha Andover, who had worked directly under Randulaith. The student was hardly shocked by her master’s story, and escorted the party through the city to speak with Lady Mage Laeral Silverhand herself.

In Silverhand’s chambers, Randulaith once again attempted to plead his case. He explained to the group that he had been approached by agents of the Eye, who saw value in his arcane knowledge, and demanded that he work secretly to aid Avaereene and her associates, under threat of his own life. Avaereene herself had been working in secret with Zhaeydan and the Amn emissary to sow discord in Waterdeep’s political structures, and exploit the Blackstaff to seek out and steal the very same relics the party had been hunting. However, Randualith claimed his shadowy employer reneged on her deal with Zhaeydan, refusing to be a pawn in the conjurer’s game, and instead ordered Randulaith to steal the items for the Eye instead.

Whether his claims were true or fabricated to protect his own well-being would be a question for the Blackstaff’s council. Regardless, it was clear that the threat to Waterdeep was now even greater than they had previously imagined, and the path ahead was clear: the adventurers now had the Lady Mage’s full support in pursuing and stopping Avaereene and the Eye…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode IX
Regret Me Not

An unending void called to the adventurers as they ventured onward, deeper into Zhaeydan’s Psionic Prison. Before them lay a narrow stone bridge spanning a black chasm, beckoning them to a floating stone island beyond. Encircling the alien plateau, eight identical cages made of otherwordly obsidian bars hovered just out of reach, tethered to eight rope and pulley mechanisms. On the far end of the island, a sphere of blinding golden-white light contained the faint image of Zhaeydan himself.

The cruel conjurer taunted the party as they investigated each cell, confronting their greatest fears once more. Zerg was the first to interact with the curious devices, reaching to throw the lever. However, he was suddenly cautioned by a voice unfamiliar to him, but immediately recognized by the others: their old companion Laire, the sardonic elf rogue.

Aystra, meanwhile, discovered her animal companion Luka trapped within one of the cages. Unwary of trusting the images before her in this strange dungeon, she quickly discerned the illusion before her, yanking the lever and sending it plumeting into the void.

Determined to overcome the torment of this dungeon’s final trap, Havard began to investigate the mechanical devices, unlocking the psychological locks at their core, discovering a method of focus to do away with the foul illusions without unleashing their emotional torment. As he worked studiously, Vyurek found a temporary ally in the image of their companion Edgar.

All the while, the aspect of Zhaeydan continued to torment the party, launching fierce magical strikes and raining hellish flames from above. Recognizing the mage’s shield was somehow tied to the cages, they set their sights upon the final cell, containing an imprisoned Randulaith.

The cowardly scholar pleaded for his life, insisting that he was more than an illusion, and that sending his cage into the depths would surely kill him. Holding off the strikes of the necromancer’s magic as long as they could, the party freed Randulaith from his bonds, leaving the scholar unconscious at their feet. With all eight cages disabled or destroyed, they prepared to do battle with the conjurer. However, a ninth cage materialized before them, entrapping the cleric Quilynn Dryadson within.

Aystra and Havard worked quickly to disable the cell’s mechanism, uncertain whether to trust the illusion, but knowing their duty to their friend transcended any foul trick. Unlocking the cage’s secrets, an unconscious Quilynn was thrown to the ground before them. This last act shattered the magical barrier protecting Zhaeydan’s form, and the four adventurers closed ranks to do away with the wicked wizard.

As they struck the final blow, the found themselves once again cast into the depths of an unending darkness, finally materializing once more in the very house in which they had stood. While Zhaeydan himself was nowhere to be seen, both Quilynn and Randulaith awoke from their foggy haze.

Quilynn explained she had been warned by Jurisk that the party had gone to confront Randulaith. Recognizing the danger in the task, she had rushed to their aid, only to become by Zhaeydan as she burst through the doors. Randulaith, meanwhile, pleaded his innocent in the matter, begging the party to reason with them. The adventurers had little patience for his claims, however, and quickly restrained the researcher, bringing him and their wounded colleague back to the Monastery of the Sun for recovery — and questioning…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode VIII
The Sum of All Fears

Randulaith was trapped. The party confronted the arcane scholar in his home, apparently in the midst of forbidden necromantic studies. Before they could confront him for his crimes, the mysterious conjurer Zhaeydan materialized in the room, demanding the return of his dark tome. Randulaith tried to bargain with his apparent ally, but found himself quickly imprisoned in a cage of blackest barbs. Moving to attack, the adventurers were engulfed in a sudden darkness, lost in a miasma of twisted horrors.

The four found themselves magically transported to an ancient stone temple, far removed from anything resembling Waterdeep. With some ingenious teamwork, the party began to unlock the room’s mysteries, pushing a quartet of twisted black statues down four identical hallways. As the otherworldly carvings locked into place, portcullises slammed down, separating the adventurers, surrounding them in darkness once more.

Zerg wandered onwards, emerging in a forest in the midst of the night. He stumbled across a campsite — a scene from his past immediately familiar to him. The half-orc was reminded of the night he and his brother quarrelled over a map that was said to lead to a wondrous treasure, resulting in Zerg murdering his brother in an overwhelming rage. In the present scene, Zerg was immediately confronted by the shambling corpse of that brother, taunting him for his fratricidal sin. Refusing to believe any of this could be real, Zerg cut the ghostly figure down as the great oaks collapsed around him.

Aystra found herself in a round room surrounded by stained glass windows, a familiar piece of furniture at its centre: the cabinet from which she stole her grandmother’s locket before running away from home. The image of her grandmother appeared as one of the windows shattered, shaming the cleric for her selfish choice to abandon her family. She then witnessed the scene of her young sister, wandering hopelessly through those same woods, searching for her in vain. The child was suddenly attacked by wolves, unable to defend herself. Aystra refused to believe the sight before her as anything other than an illusion, engaging the beasts nonetheless, emboldened by her prayers to Ehlonna. With the creatures slain, the woods around her vanished.

Havard awakened on a military cot, transported back to his past life as a soldier under the service of Duke Ravos Calantar. This was the day his commander, Bretti Overlock, had assigned him to officer’s duty, entrusting him with a perilous decision. The armies moving against Calantar had been spotted, presenting a valuable ambush opportunity in a nearby pass. However, other scouts had uncovered a slaver ring in the opposite direction, trafficking innocent souls. Haunted by his past decision to stick to the mission and condemn the slaves to their fate, Havard tried fruitlessly to change the course of the past, finding his words useless — no matter what he said, the scene played out exactly as it had in the past. The old soldier was suddenly beset by the undead spirits of those slaves, and no matter how many he tried to fight off, he could not escape the vision. Only when he rushed back to the barracks to discover a monstrous, massive snake was he able to defeat his past demons and escape the vision.

Vyurek came out of the darkness into a familiar living room: the home of the late Gyudd Goldenbrew, their client and friend in their expedition to retrieve the Crown Adamant. Though his fellow adventurers were nowhere to be seen, he turned around to meet the Drow Assassin they had tortured that night. The elf taunted Vyurek, replaying that horrifying guilt he bore for his treatment of their prisoner, laughing as the Illumian tried to fight off the animate flames around him. Only when he recognized the trick being played on him did he understand what to do. Vyurek turned around and thrust his blade through the throat of the Drow, putting the foe out of his misery once again, leaving the Magus in the dark once again.

Finally reunited, the four adventurers found themselves back in the temple’s central chamber. However, a pair of ominous double doors had now materialized before them, inviting them deeper into the bowels of this twisted illusory dungeon…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode VII
The Quick and the Dead

Determined to cut through the lies and deception, the party infiltrated the lair of Ellithral’s mysterious employer, disguised as their Drow enemies. Finding the complex seemingly abandoned, the group was ambushed by a cadre of elite guards. As they defended themselves against their attackers’ unexpectedly light blows, a disembodied voice boomed throughout the room, responding to their Drow disguises.

The voice referred to Avaereene, believing the party to be thugs sent to take the employer down and expose her deception. With cutting words exchanged alongside jabs, the adventurers began to suspect they had misjudged the true intentions of their shadowy contact. Upon realizing the group’s true identities, she called her guards off, and summon them to a parlay.

While she remained enigmatic, the employer finally revealed her name: Errya Eltorchul. Recognizing her plot had been unwittingly exposed by the party’s invasion, she reluctantly admitted her role as a double agent for The Eye. Errya served the criminal syndicate as their chief officer of intelligence and recruitment. In secret, however, she had been exploiting their resources to seek out the strange magical relics the party had been chasing and acquire them for her own ends. She reasoned that, while she was not certain of their true power or purpose, she felt it wiser to keep them safe under her own watch, than to let them fall into the hands of the Drow.

The adventurers remained skeptical when Errya insisted they hand Floshin’s chalice to her. Aystra questioned how they could trust her after she had manipulated them henceforth, suggesting the relics would be safer in the party’s possession. Errya did not hesitate to point out their naivete, claiming that her enemies had placed a mole within Blackstaff Tower, and that the group had been handing over the relics to the wrong side. Bargaining that she would only reveal the mole’s identity if the party handed over the chalice, Zerg reluctantly gave it up to her and her guards.

Errya revealed that Randulaith of Mirabar, the senior magical researcher in Blackstaff Tower, was secretly working for Avaereene, the Eye’s officer of arcanery. Loyal to The Eye, Avaereene hoped to acquire the relics for the syndicate’s own ends, to empower the wicked faction and serve her own selfish goals. After paying the party their promised gold as a show of good faith, Errya once again parted ways with the party, promising to remain in contact as the mystery of the relics unravelled.

The adventurers rushed back into the city, checking in at the Yawning Portal to simply tell Durnan they hadn’t found anything of note in the complex. The next day, they arrived at Blackstaff Tower, demanding to speak with Randulaith. The mage was nowhere to be found, having only left his students in charge of the lab. A young researcher named Tysha Andover told them Randulaith hadn’t been seen for days, and had taken the arcane tome Sumul Vohamana with him, claiming he needed to “cross-reference” it with his own materials. Immediately suspicious, they went to the chambers of Lady Mage Laeral Silverhand to share their findings.

Ever proud, Silverhand stubbornly doubted their claims. She insisted that the Blackstaff was impenetrable, and that the mere accusation of corruption could bring shame to the prestigious institution. Insistent that she see reason, Aystra pushed Silverhand to allow them to investigate the matter in quiet. Admitting that Randulaith was not permitted to remove materials from the tower, she gave the party instructions on where to find him in the city, warning them to keep their search quiet.

The party made their way to Randulaith’s home on the outskirts of Waterdeep’s City of the Dead, where they found the door open. Inside, the house’s foyer was unkempt, scattered with notes, arcane materials, and clear signs of necromantic experimentation. A pile of bones arranged around a glowing sigil marked the centre of the room, and as they began to investigate, Randualith himself appeared from the upper floor. He vehemently denied their accusations, but the party proved too savvy. Just as they had him cornered, the room grew dark and foggy, filled with a grim electricity. At that moment, the mysterious cloaked figure they had seen in their scrying visions appeared, demanding the return of his grimoire…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode VI
Dungeons & Deception

Over the course of their travels, the party had made many allies, more enemies, and several contacts whose motives remained in question. Now, with multiple stakeholders vying for their allegiance, the adventurers examined their contacts to determine just who to trust in the City of Splendors.

Continuing their information gathering, they sought out Firaq in Castle Waterdeep to deliver Master Floshin’s message. The old elf was in the midst of a training session with the City Guard’s neophyte soldiers, but he gladly took time to speak with them. Upon hearing the foreboding warning of a mysterious “Cassandra,” Firaq became guarded and stoic. He assured the party that he would investigate the matter, and would contact them if he required their assistance in the future.

Vyurek continued his quest to acquire a powerful magical item to assist him in his journeys, but the Illumnian’s deadpan persona once more befuddled his effort. With Aystra’s assistance, however, the group sought out their old contact, Wase Rydel, who was easily able to track down a Ring of Protection for the party’s Magus. While browsing the market, Havard was approached in secret by a shadowy figure who summoned them to the Yawning Portal Inn at Durnan’s request.

Before the meeting, the party checked into Blackstaff Tower in hopes of learning more about the mysterious magical items they had left in the care of the arcane research team. Senior researcher Randulaith of Mirabar was in the midst of decoding the Sumul Vohamanah when they arrived, and seemed agitated by their presence. While the adventurers attempted to garner more information from the mages, Randulaith hurriedly excused them from the room, insisting they were impeding his progress. Confused by his terse countenance, Aystra requested a meeting with Laeral Silverhand at her earliest convenience in hopes of gaining some guidance on what to do with these strange artifacts.

Arriving at the Inn, the stocky and jovial Durnan greeted the party with cheer. Accompanied by the same figure from the market, who introduced himself as Jurisk Ulhammond, Durnan took the four to the cellar of the Portal to speak in secret. Here, Durnan and Jurisk revealed their findings that Ellithral, the party’s frequent contact and employer, had been working with questionable figures with connections to The Eye — Waterdeep’s underground criminal syndicate.

Durnan cautioned the party to watch their backs and be wary of Ellithral’s motives. Jurisk, however, insisted on a more direct response, offering an entry into the suspected lair of Ellithral’s employer. While Durnan worried such drastic action would lead to a war in the streets among rival factions, the party reasoned that the Eye had attacked them first, and infiltrating the base would be a retaliatory measure at most.

Heeding Durnan’s advice regardless, the adventurers devised a plan to cover their tracks and protect their allies. Prior to launching the mission, they sought out a local spellcaster to magically disguise them as Drow soldiers in hopes of pinning the blame on the dark elves should they be discovered. Come nightfall, the group rendezvoused with Jurisk in the Dock Ward and made their way through Waterdeep’s sewer network to the hidden base. Poring through each room, they found the hideout strangely empty, totally devoid of life. As they made their way into a large storehouse, the lights around them fell into blackness, as the sounds and shadows of imposing figures surrounded them…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode V
Keep Your Friends Close...

Flames engulfed the Houes of Long Silences. Moments after their foes fled into the night, our heroes were left standing in the ancient temple as heat and smoke poured through its cathedral windows. The Ardeep Woods cried out, and the adventurers sprung into action in an attempt to extinguish the blaze.

With the aid of the Forest Giants, Vyurek conjured grand walls of ice to hold back the heat, while Aystra summoned an army of water elementals to fight the raging inferno. Their efforts together created enough opportunity to escape into the dawn, sparing the forest the wrath of the fire.

Upon their return to Floshin Manor, the adventurers met with Elorfindar Floshin, still recovering from his spell. He asked for the chalice’s return, but the party insisted he share its true history. With some reluctance, he revealed that the ancient artifact acts as a key to the portal network of the Ardeep Woods, hidden for centuries within the old temple. Those portals, like the ones throughout Undermountain, function via link to the Outer Planes. While travel is typically limited to a pair of portals’ direct links, their planar designs could open a backdoor to nefarious interlopers — in turn, allowing otherworldly foes to gain access to the material world, wreaking havoc and sowing chaos as they saw fit. Because of the danger inherent, Floshin insisted on his bloodline’s duty to protect the chalice and prevent such a catastrophe from taking place.

The party argued that the drow attack itself brought them dangerously close to such an outcome, convincing Master Floshin to accompany them on their return to Waterdeep, and to hand over the chalice so they could ensure its safe keeping. Upon their return to the City of Splendors, the old elf bid them farewell, and asked them to deliver a message to his old colleague, Firaq: “Be wary of Cassandra, for she knows not the power she wields.”

After recuperating at the Monastery of the Sun, the party rendezvoused with Ellithral to report the success on the mission his employer had assigned them. While Ellithral was eager to retrieve the chalice for his employer, the adventurers showed reluctance, insisting they needed time to consider how best to keep the item in safe hands. The elf’s candor suddenly changed. Now curt and indignant, Ellithral cautioned the party of his employer’s patience before excusing himself from the tavern, uncharacteristically leaving his four colleagues to settle the tab.

At last, the adventurers met with Quilynn back at the Monastery where she revealed more findings on her research into the strange objects they had recovered. In recent days, she had turned her attention to the medallion the party recovered months earlier in the tomb of Barrus Yeldoon, and which had allowed Aystra to control — and eventually overload and destroy — the magical Runestone in Undermountain. The insistence with which Yeldoon’s nephews refused to take back the heirloom, gifting it to the party through Ellithral, had always seemed odd. Delving into local history tomes, Quilynn discovered a striking resemblance to an amulet worn by the mad mage Hallaster in old portraits. Considering Barrus Yeldoon’s reputation in life as an unsavoury dungeon raider, she speculated that the amulet had come into his possession by illicit means. Knowing the paranoia that defined Hallaster’s arcane activities, she posited that the medallion may have instilled a curse upon Yeldoon, dooming him to his posthumous fate as a reanimated tomb guardian.

Stranger still, the brilliant red gem inlaid within the medallion could not be identified to any commonly known minerals. Quilynn recalled from the adventurers’ tales that the stone seemed to resonate with certain magical crystals in Undermountain, including the Runestone itself. From her research into the Crown Adamant, she had discovered another curious piece of historical trivia that offered an enigmatic coincidence. Alchemists of the Shoon Imperium were said to have experimented with the art of transmuting arcane energy into a physical form. While the art was abandoned as a “technological dead end” centuries prior, it remains an obscure form of alternative arcane energy channelling to this day.

The group parted ways with an exhausted Quilynn, leaving her to tend to her duties within the Monastery itself. While such a revelation presented the party with much to consider, they were now left with even more questions and riddles, and more colleagues to contact on their quest to uncover the truth behind these strange relics…

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Episode Recap: Season III, Episode IV
Deeper Into the Woods

The perils of the Ardeep Woods had taken their toll on the party. After stumbling into a confrontation with a group of Drow monks and a carnivorous tree, respite would not come easy. As they made their way through the perilous forest, the line between flora and fauna blurred, and they were once against attacked by a Hangman Tree and its symbiotic Assassin Vines.

The deciduous dastard clouded the minds of the party, releasing spores that hypnotized all but Aystra into seeing it as nothing more than a harmless sprout. Its woodland charms lured the party in while the valiant Cleric did her best to break the spell. Eventually, the adventurers shook off their photosynthetic funk long enough to ignite their foe, immolating the surrounding swamp’s methane gasses, making charcoal of their wooden foe.

Finally approaching their destination, the four adventurers took a moment’s rest in an ancient shrine to Ehlonna, the goddess watching over these woods. It would prove to be a much needed blessing for the challenges that laid ahead in the House of Long Silences.
The presence of their enemies was immediately apparent as they approached. The temple’s ancient doors had been smashed in, their voices echoing clearly from within. Havard would scout ahead in an attempt to gain insight into the Drow plans, only to discover that Erelune Dyrr and her accomplices had little idea how to use the spoils they had looted. Chalice in hand, the Drow commander made her way to the center of the chamber and placed the relic upon a random pedestal, opening a portal to another realm.

She would immediately discover the error in her ways, though, as a hideous creature phased into existence before them. The massive arachnid set to attacking anything in its range, confused and enraged by its unexpected teleportation. As the adventurers and Drow soldiers alike tried to fend off the beast, Erelune narrowly escaped with her life, abandoning the chalice in favour of her own survival.

Seconds ticked away as the party were left to defeat the beast, who was suddenly sucked back into the portal from whence it came after Zerg valiantly retrieved the chalice. Their victory would be short-lived, however, as smoke began to pour into the temple, the surrounding woods set aflame by the retreating Drow soldiers. While the party had the item they set out to retrieve, the Ardeep Woods now beckoned once more, their ancient timbers fighting against the immediate threat of wildfire…

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