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…