City of Splendors

Episode Recap: Season III, Episode VII

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…

Episode Recap: Season III, Episode VI

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…

Episode Recap: Season III, Episode V

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…

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…

Episode Recap: Season III, Episode III
Into the Woods

The ancient timbers of the Ardeep Forest loomed over the adventurers as they pressed onward in pursuit of Floshin’s chalice. Before setting forth, the heroes took a moment to investigate the note discovered in Xedac’s coffin, revealing cryptic information of her mission’s purpose, and making reference to one Erelune Dyrr, a potential accomplice of the vampire. With their foes well ahead on their race to discover the House of Long Silence and its ancient portal network, the party knew the journey ahead would be perilous.

Moonlight cut through the towering woods in rays of wispy white while an eerie calm hung over the forest. Having little direction to go on save for the Ardeep’s well-worn, ancient trail network, the party found themselves relying on an elusive series of standing stones to help illuminate their path. After an hour’s journey into the heart of the forest, the sound of a melee broke through the trees, drawing the party in to investigate.

Havard scouted onward, discovering a small group of Wood Giants fighting a pack of Drow soldiers and their arachnid assistants. Recognizing their enemies, the party rushed in to assist the giants in battle. While the elven swordsmen attempted to slice away at the party’s resolve, Aranea lurked in the background, spewing sticky webs in an attempt to slow the heroes. The Underdark villains were subdued, and the Giants offered their thanks, and a word of warning of the dangers of the Ardeep woods.

Continuing onward, the adventurers came across a steep, eroded slope that proved treacherous. Opting to avoid tumbling to uncertain doom, they veered off course into an overgrown pathway blocked by a fallen trunk. While attempting to climb over, the group was attacked by an opportunistic Deadfall Scorpion who had made a home of the hollow log, awaiting its unsuspecting prey. Despite Havard falling ill to the overgrown arachnid’s poison, Zerg was quick to dispatch the bug, squashing it heartily with his massive axe.

Next, the party stumbled upon another group of Drow in the midst of being attacked by a sentient tree. The woody menace proved a formidable foe for the adventurers, utilizing its complex root network to subdue and savage its opponents one by one. Beaten and bruised, they finally took the hulking timber down, alongside the Drow monks. Before taking a moment to recover, Aystra found a journal in one of the monks’ bags and learned more about their mission. The last entry once again mentioned Erelune, and his service to High Priestess Zendayanna — leaving the party with even more questions as they pressed deeper into the dark heart of the Ardeep Forest…

Episode Recap: Season III, Episode II
The Mystery of Floshin Manor

S tanding over the ashes of their fallen foe, the four adventurers collected their wits in the dining hall of Floshin Manor. Master Floshin himself had been rendered catatonic by the breaking of Xedac’s spell, and while he gradually came to, the party discussed how best to proceed. Uncertain over the logistics of vampiric physiology, and well aware of the threat posed by this familiar fiend, they opted to divide the vampire’s ashes into four distinct piles, keeping them safe and separate for the time being.

Once Elorfindar Floshin had regained a modicum of sense, he attempted to explain the series of events that had led up to this fateful confrontation. Though clearly suffering from a form of amnesia as a result of Xedac’s curse, Floshin told the party of her arrival at the manor some weeks earlier, posing as a collector of curious antiquities. Upon being invited into the household, Xedac took control of Floshin and his servants, allowing a force of Drow mercenaries to search the premises for the object of their desire: a rare chalice of exotic origin.

While reluctant to reveal the object’s secrets to these newcomers, Floshin eventually explained that Floshin Manor served as a gateway to the House of Long Silence — a temple in the Ardeep Forest guarding an ancient Elven network of portals that connected Faerun and beyond — and that the chalice itself was a key to one of these portals. Despite the absence of the thieves since the party’s arrival, Floshin speculated that they would be well on their way into the woods, and that the party should pursue them.

Unfortunately, the invasion had activated the manor’s arcane security network. As a failsafe, the devices that had placed the manor on lockdown could only be deactivated manually, through a series of triggers and switches throughout the house. Floshin provided the adventurers with a key to the Library before retiring to his chambers to recover from his spell.

The Library would be the first in a sequence of brain-twisting riddles that would tax the party’s comprehension. After solving a sequence of puzzles that revealed some of the ancient history of the Floshin Estate and its relationship to the Conclave of Six, the party made their way to the ballroom. Here, they were forced to navigate a series of sliding grids, guiding a mannequin across the dancefloor to her long-lost partner while the room’s sentinels stood watch, ready to cut down any would-be intruders.

Their sleuthing eventually pointed them to the manor’s Gallery, where the clues gathered throughout the house culminated in a final riddle that would provide access to the depths of the mansion. Making their way down into the dingy cellars, they gained more insight into the intruders’ actions, while Zerg liberated a fine axe from a now-deceased former owner.
In the manor’s wine cellar, the group discovered an elaborate sequence of pulleys and levers that secured the way forward. While Zerg and Vyurek threw a pair of twin switches they believed would open the way forward, in doing so they set off a trap that encaged them within. Together, Aystra and Havard scoured the room for hidden switches until finding a pressure plate nearby. Rather than waste time and effort maneuvering a weight up and onto the plate, Aystra summoned a celestial leopard to sit on it like a good boy. Before taking her leave, she also uncovered a hidden alcove where Sundryl Floshin had been entombed for centuries. Clutched in his decaying hands was a journal, revealing the true secrets behind his betrayal of the Conclave and the fate of his descendants.

The room ahead was as cold as a crypt, and appropriately so. Within, they discovered the coffin of Xedac, which contained an encrypted note. Overlooking the fiend’s sleeping quarters sat a massive mechanical monstrosity, apparently the final guardian between the manor and the forest. Remembering the curious gear they had looted from Xedac’s ashes, Havard was able to deftly disable the clockwork device, securing passage into the deep, dark woods ahead…

Episode Recap: Season III Episode I
Good Manors

D awn broke over the City of Splendors, signalling a new season of opportunity for the intrepid adventurers. After some much-needed rest during a rare Sword Coast cold snap, the party reconvened in the Monastery of the Sun, summoned by their longtime ally, Quilynn Dryadson.

Quilynn had spent much of her spare time while the group had been off adventuring seeking answers to their nagging questions. Why had their late companion Gyudd longed for the Melairkyn crown, and why did he pay the ultimate price when the party was attacked by Drow assassins? Through her research, Quilynn had discovered several curious truths behind the crown’s origin. As it turned out, the relic was not of Dwarven origin at all, but a centuries-old symbol of power of the Shoon Imperium, a prolific Faerunian empire of days long past. The crown had been acquired in a territory war between King Melair VI’s refugee nation and Amahl Shoon IV, the Mad King of the Imperium. Though the Melairkyn were eventually driven back by the Shoon, the dwarves managed to slay the Shoon’s leader, seizing his crown as a trophy of their small conquest. Determined to keep their retreat from scarring the Melairkyn legacy, King Melair convinced his people the crown was their ancestral claim. While the legacy of his empire soon crumbled under the constant Drow menace, his story stuck, entrenching the relic within his people’s lore through the generations.

After their briefing from Quilynn, the party then proceeded to Blackstaff Tower to inquire to the mages within on the mysterious objects they had acquired on their journeys. Meeting with Randulaith of Mirabar, a journeyman scholar of arcane devices, they learned scant details that shed light on the spear and book’s origins. The weapon, he explained, was well over 1000 years old, and imbued with dark magics linked with the domain of death. The tome, meanwhile, was an ancient script of necromantic arcanery, written in Kadari, a long-dead tongue of the Necromancer Kings of Sahu. While the mages worked dilligently to decode its cryptic words, they had so far observed the word “Sumulael” — or, “Harvester of Death,” as part of the book’s title: “Sumul Vohamanah,” or, loosely, “Reaper Codex.” The book also made frequent reference to “Kazerabet,” or “Angel of the Dark” in a tone suggesting the tome may be an instruction manual of a necromancer in training.

Their minds swelling with newly acquired knowledge, the adventurers were abruptly summoned to a meeting by their colleague Ellithral the Golden, via his typically cryptic and overly paranoid delivery methods. That night, they would find him in the Dock Ward, where he led them through Waterdeep’s network of catacombs to meet with his shadowy employer once more. Again shrouded in secrecy, the employer explained what had transpired while the party were occupied in Daggerford. Another Drow attack had taken place, this time outside Waterdeep’s walls, on the private estate of Elorfindar Floshin. While they subdued and restrained the manor’s many occupants, no casualties occured, and only a single item was stolen: a rare chalice from Floshin’s private museum. Ellithral’s employer petitioned the party to investigate the theft and locate the chalice, believing it to be an object of great import well beyond any historic bauble.

The group gathered their effects and set out once more on the Trade Way south of Waterdeep, toward Floshin Manor. After a two day’s journey and a brief exchange with local merchants, the party arrived at the estate, where they were invited in by Elorfindar Floshin. The elven steward of the old family estate presented a stoic, almost vacant demeanour as he led them through the mansion and invited them to dine with him. Over a strange dinner of blood red wine and raw meat, Aystra determined that all was not well in the manor, and that Floshin was under the charm of a nearby creature’s spell. While Vyurek kept him distracted with idle conversation Aystra attempted to dispell the charm and free Floshin of his mental prison. The spell snapped the elf out of his catatonic state, but sent him into shock as the party were suddenly confronted by his captor: Xedac, the vampire who had attacked them weeks earlier at the Runestone in the heart of Undermountain. After a heated battle with Xedac and her vampiric slaves, the party cut down the hematophagic foe, leaving them to explore the abandoned manor and solve the mystery of the missing chalice…

Episode Recap: Season II, Episode XIV
In Sin and Error Pining

Hot on the trail of the missing carpenter and his wife, the adventurers followed their next lead to the Temple of Heironeous. Cheerful clerics and bustling acolytes bandied about the grand place of worship, preparing for the upcoming Feast of the Seven Lights. Here, they met Paragon Brookman, the head of the local temple and a close friend of both Yusef and Marika’s families.

Brookman shared their history together, suggesting that Marika might be located through a family heirloom. Her father, Arilos, had served for years as a bastion of the temple’s community, and had given each of his children a signet bearing the family sigil that could be used to locate them were they ever lost. Before the party departed for the Amcathra household to seek out the beacon, Brookman offered them a divine elixir to protect Marika’s newborn, should the rumours of his wicked origin somehow be true. In his efforts to retrieve the potion, a chain of slapstick mishaps played out, setting loose a furious pack of gremlins in the Temple’s workshop. As the mischievous beasts rained destruction upon the young acolytes’ workstations, the party fought them off, quickly gathering the elixir on their way to the Amcathra manor.

Upon their arrival at the nobles’ household, they found it mysteriously empty. Trying to find a way inside to locate the master of the house, they were met with a series of horrifying traps that tested their reflexes as much as their patience. Eventually they met Kelvin, the youngest member of the Amcathra family, who had snuck away from a family trip to Neverwinter and holed up in the household. Overhearing a pair of ne’er-do-wells wandering the neighbourhood and seeming like they meant to steal his family’s fortune, Kelvin set up a series of elaborate traps to thwart their efforts.

After clearing up the misunderstanding, Kelvin graciously lent the family’s sigil beacon to the party, recognizing how important it was to find his older sister. The adventurers shone the beacon at the spire atop the Temple of Heironeous, directing them to a scattered collection of farmhouses outside the city walls. They followed its beam and found the missing couple, but soon found that another party had pursued them to the stable as well.

In his mad paranoia, the mayor of Amphail had hired a trio of arcane assassins to ensure that Marika’s child did not bring the power of Hextor into the world. Unwilling to allow these aggressors to murder an innocent babe, the party boldly fought off the three attackers. No sooner had they defeated the foes than did Marika go into labour, revealing exactly what Mayor Herodotus had feared: the child had been touched by Hextor’s wicked power, entering the world a physically repulsive creature. The party swiftly anointed it with Brookman’s elixir, instantly transforming the newborn into his true self.

And that’s how the party saved Christmas. I mean — Midwinter.

Episode Recap: Season II, Episode XIII
Winter's Kiss

W ith the Battle of Daggerford behind them, the town saved from the wrath of the Black Circle orcs, the party journeyed back north up the Trade Way to Waterdeep. They were not alone in making the grand trek; the closer they came to the City of Splendors, the more displaced villagers and farmers had flocked to the great city in search of work in shelter in the wake of the war.

Arriving at the city gates, the party witnessed a group of displaced villagers banding around a large half-orc, shouting insults at him, convinced he was responsible for their woes. Aystra approached with her colleagues and spoke some sense into the angry refugees, prompting them to disband and leave the half-orc be. Offering his thanks, the imposing figure introduced himself as Zerg Cando, a mercenary fighter who had ended up among the Black Circle ranks, but defected upon witnessing their brutality. The adventurers invited him into their party in hopes that he may be able to offer useful wisdom about their enemies.

With a new colleague in tow, the group returned to the Monastery of the Sun. Here they found their friend Quilynn Dryadson, tending personally to the druid Carsys Dawntracker who had aided them in Daggerford, and sustained severe wounds in the skirmish. The allies shared stories of what they had learned from the battle and discussed their next course of action. The party shared a pair of curious relics they had looted in their journey: a vile, flesh-bound tome from the workshop in Red Fang Keep, and the imposing spear recovered from Black Circle commander Ulmuron gro-Khazlam. Quilynn offered to have the Monastery’s scholars examine the items, but the group collectively decided that they would be safer kept under the watch of the Blackstaff mages.

To that end, they made their way to Waterdeep Castle to meet with Lord Piergeron Paladinson and Lady Mage Laeral Silverhand. The dignitaries awaited them alongside General Obryn Ironfist, who debriefed them on the aftermath of the battle. Consolidating the group’s information with his own scouts’, Ironfist concluded that the orc threat had been stemmed for the time being, but that Amn’s involvement still made them a threat. However, he pointed out that a full-scale war would be in no one’s best interest, and that Waterdeep would remain on the alert until their neighbours to the south decided to take more direct action. Concluding the debrief, a gracious Silverhand took the party to Blackstaff Tower to deliver the book and spear to her mages for study, and to offer generous rewards to the adventurers.

A fortnight passed in the City of Splendors, allowing the party to rest and recover for the first time in months. As winter weather swept through the streets, Quilynn once again summoned her friends, requesting aid with a personal matter. Her brother Yuseff, a carpenter from the small village of Amphail, had set out for Waterdeep after being evacuated from his home. He had not arrived, and she feared the worst.
The group set out to investigate this new mystery, accepting a ride through the city from their old friend Oyin, the orcish courier. He told them of his latest exploits and delivered them to the Carpenters’ Guildhall, where Yuseff had contacts. Here, they spoke to Elemos Dunblast and Niko Santos, who had been in touch with Yuseff. Elemos revealed that Yuseff was not travelling alone, but with his partner Marika, who was now with child. Niko shared a rumour he’d heard, that Yuseff and Marika had not been evacuated, but exiled by Mayor Herodotus of Amphail, who had somehow become convinced that Marika’s child was part of a dark pact with the wicked deity Hextor.

With this curious new thread of information, the party regrouped at the nearby Jade Dancer festhall, discussing their leads and sharing their first real heart-to-heart over a round of frothy ales. Further hardened in their resolve to work together as a team, they decided to investigate the temple of Heironeous the next day in hopes of tracking down the missing brother and his family to be…

Episode Recap: Season II, Episode XII
Daggerford's Last Stand

W arhorns blared as the commanding army of Ulmuron gro-Khazlam marched into the heart of Daggerford. The orc warchief stood tall before the town’s defenders and declared his intentions. Those who surrendered would be spared, allowed to live under the rule of the Black Circle, or to flee with what they could carry. Those who opposed the orc army would be cut down.

The adventurers met gro-Khazlam face to face in Daggerford’s Cathedral square to hear his terms. To their surprise, he was not the savage, sadistic psychopath the tales had told of him, but he was no less terrifying in his stoicism. While the party traded barbs with the warchief, attempting to poke holes in his philosophy and illustrate the underlying fallacies in his motivations for war, the stubborn commander stayed resolute in his goals. Yet his second-in-command, Faltra Deadrage, high chief of the Eye of Jukha, showed little patience for parlay — she wanted the blood of as many men as she could spill. Growing tired of the talk, Deadrage gave the order to launch the attack, unleashing a barrage of catapult fire upon the Cathedral, where the wounded were being housed.

Together with their allies, the party pushed back against the invaders, sending Daggerford’s elite Wolves to engage with the siege engines while they confronted the commanders themselves. gro-Khazlam proved a mighty foe who did not shy from the heat of battle, while Deadrage cast complex and deadly spells from afar. The orc warchief fought with fury, wielding an exotic greatspear that seemed to suck the very light and life from anything — or anyone — it struck. As quickly as he cut down one of the Ehlonnan druids, he then waved the fearsome weapon over her body, weaving wicked magics in the fabric of existence to resurrect the druid as his dark servant.

Empowered by this horrific atrocity, their ally Carsys Dawntracker mustered every last ounce of strength to summon a mighty pillar of ice and snow to shatter the resolve of the orc attackers, turning the tables for the party and helping them vanquish their foes. Before the Black Circle commanders could unleash any more of their rage upon Daggerford, the adventurers cut them down where they stood. With their leaders fallen, the orc army soon broke ranks and fled, leaving the town of Daggerford gravely wounded, but standing united once more.

The town’s defense council offered their unending thanks to the group, while Lady Selyse Adarbrent invited them to a great celebratory feast at her private manor. The following night, while finally taking some badly needed rest, a mysterious figure materialized in Vyurek’s chambers. The cloaked being paralyzed the Illumian with powerful magic and attempted to steal the greatspear that the party had acquired, but was soon thwarted when Aystra, Havard, and Adarbrent’s guard burst into the room. The interloper vowed to return, and vanished in a flash of darkness, leaving the adventurers to question just how many enemies they had made…


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