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…