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  #61  
Old Sep 25th, 2021, 12:03 PM
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Simon-Christophe Gautier
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The last few days had been absolutely exhausting — mentally, physically, even spiritually — to the point that, almost, Simon dared not to venture out from the read: ramshacklehumble confines of their newly acquired estate. Almost. But there was just too much time to kill, and not enough to do here on the homefront that would entertain his vainglorious flights of fancy.

So, yes, indeed, youthful spirit and zealous ambition win out o'er all! Verily, the brash vigilante thought twice about it and decided to make use of the time on offer...




And where does a rambunctious, full-of-himself young buck go to flaunt, frolic, and bleat his own praise? Why the local tavern! Of course! Where else? It matters not how near or far — whatever hive or hole has the most busy bees or rolled-up rats — for that was where Simon would be drawn; where there would be ample opportunity to drum up the right kind of attention.

It started simply.

Simon sauntered into the nearest den of drink, one particularly rife with drunkards and merrymakers (the real lively sort), a bit too high on his own supply, with intent only to regale or carouse... and so it went. At first.

The wine and ale doth flow, the conversations are plenty — some good, some middling, a select few very... +2 Contactsvaluable — but nothing in the not-yet-a-hero's life is ever without complication; there can be no step forward without a half-step back, or so he would come to learn.

Little did he know that half-step would be an all too familiar one.

Corinne Darkwater, about a half-step shorter than Simon, but a dozen-dozen larger when it came to charm and personality, just so happened to be a patron at the same establishment on the very same night that her ex-counterpart decided to go gallivanting there. And for the first few hours, by some miracle, they had yet to collide; in fact, they were both rather keen on giving one another space enough to preen and peck as they pleased. But, as though compelled by some sort of otherworldly magnetism, once the eve drew near and their cups runneth over, the star-crossed lovers could not help but unite — antagonistically so.

It started innocently enough: a drinking contest here, a few shots there, a rematch over their last board game (which Corrinne simply couldn't let go; and Simon ruined by spilling a tankard over the table), darts, flip-mug, Dwarven hitch-pool, the ancient and honorable game of Orcish hip tossing, even the amusing Underdark favorite known simply as An evil eye / staring contestUmber Glaring — it was all typical affair for young, half-drunken and raucous tavern goers.

Until Simon took it a little too far after being deemed the inferior gnome tosser.

"You cheated," he growled, while thick bit of slurring took out any bite that he hoped to get across. "You always cheat! Can't.. — can't you just do one thing honestly? You don't take anything — anything seriously, do you? Tch, typical! That's just like you, isn't it?"

Very sour, and drunk off his gourd, Simon stormed off before the fiery (and equally inebriated) minx could protest — for the best, likely, as the lady doth have a mighty fine penchant for protesting.

Corinne chased after him, visibly livid.

"Y-You big idiot," she snapped back over the boisterous crowd, pushing her way through to try and catch up. "What in the Hells do you know about honesty anyway? All high and mighty, full of yourself, full of is more like it! You're not fooling anyone, y'know! Nobody buys this hero crap you're selling!"

But when she was finally upon him, halfway outside the tavern and stuck in a back alley doorway, ready to deliver a solid punch to the back of his head, Simon spun about, wrapped her in his arms, and pressed his mouth to hers.

She resisted. At first.

What happened thereafter was but a blur of flesh, bickering, and unrequited love finally requited, now that all their illusory walls had been torn down by a storm of raw, alcohol-induced emotion.

Simon woke up the next day in his room on the third floor of Trollskull Manor, with nary but a splitting headache, a few inches of love-marked flesh, and golden wedding band to remember the evening by.

So very, very complicated.

Such is youth.



OOCResults of Downtime Activity: +2 Contacts, 1 Complication - a surprise marriage!


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Last edited by Chylopan; Sep 25th, 2021 at 12:11 PM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 02:55 AM
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Downtime
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Yelena rapped her gloved knuckles smartly on the heavy oak door. After some time, the familiar face of none other than Renaer Neverember peered out.

"Morozovska?" he said, suprised. "What are you doing here? You sound hoarse, is everything all right?"

Yelena smiled as best she was able.

"Is Margaster, now," she corrected him. "Not everything is all right, no, but I am not under any trouble if that is your meaning. I was at rehearsal, and my voice is tired from the singing, you see."

There was an awkward pause, and Yelena peered around the door into Renaer's stately home. "May I... enter?"

Renaer nodded and without a word, unhooked the chain on the door and ushered Yelena into his parlour. She sank into the familiar plush leather divan she'd sat in the last time she'd been here. Renaer disappeared into the adjoining chamber and returned with two crystal glasses. He raised one towards Yelena in a questioning sort of way, and she smiled her acceptance of the offered drink back at him.

They said nothing for a time. Renaer's back was turned as he fixed whatever drink he was making. There were no sounds save for the clinking of ice against glassware, and the croak of a cork against the neck of a bottle. Yelena suddenly felt foolish and out of place, like an understudy who has stumbled into the wrong room full of people. She smoothed the pleat of her skirt and looked around for something to take her mind off her nerves. The possibility of him saying "no" had not really occurred to her until that moment. Yelena smoothed the pleat of her skirt again, and hesitated before quickly undoing the top button of her blouse.

Renaer turned around, drinks in hand, as Yelena tried very hard to look casual and unconcerned. She accepted her drink with a smile and Renaer sat down opposite. He fixed her with a curious look as he waited for her to elaborate. Yelena took a deep breath.

"Well, is simple matter, really. I am having two questions," she said, holding up her pinky and ring fingers to denote the number 2.

"First is, when we found you and then found Floon after, he is telling us about Stone. Stone of... Glory, or something." Yelena frowned, not quite able to remember the word "Golorr". "Was not Glory but similar word. But, Volo suggested you are perhaps knowing something about it. Is maybe to do with your father, yes?"

Renaer leaned back and opened his mouth to reply, but Yelena held up a hand to cut him off.

"Second question: After we met Volo he is giving to us deed to old Trollskull Manor, and we are killing a hag there, with great difficulty. Is twice now in as many weeks that I am brushing shoulders with Death. I was happier before, like carefree child who now has responsibility and chores. Any ways. Second question is, I am just coming from rehearsal, is woman there of House Crommor who hates me, and I am needing a night out. But, away from usual haunts. Will you take me somewhere?"






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Yelena prided herself on being a good judge of men's intentions, but she found Renaer difficult to read. She'd caught him glancing at her chest once or twice, but whether undoing that button had swayed him was unclear. Yelena didn't get a flirtatious vibe from him. He was warm and genial but guarded, and Yelena wondered if this was how he'd been when they were young together or if something had changed with him. Or was it her? Had she done something to make him keep his distance?

An answer was not immediately forthcoming, for the night soon became a blur of faces. A few Yelena recognized, but most were new. Many names she recognized—names of noble houses and a rather who's-who of Waterdhavian upper society. Dressed as she was in a blouse and skirt, Yelena felt self-conscious among the ball gowns and exquisite pantsuits.

Dinner was similarly exquisite. Quail's eggs on a bed of rice pilaf and grilled vegetables, and the warm company of Anna Ulbrinter, a friend of Renaer's. Anna was beautiful and interesting and funny and eloquent and Yelena felt awkward and clumsy every time she tried to be part of the conversation. She opted instead to stay mostly silent, listening to Renaer and Anna. What was the nature of their relationship? Were they ex lovers? Old friends?

For his part, Renaer seemed to have standing invitations all over town. Wherever they went, he was greeted with open arms and friendly smiles. Yelena found herself standing at the bar being plied with champagne by a chiseled-looking son of House Moonstar named Hadrien. She recalled laughing into her glass before being led confidently around the dance floor by Hadrien's powerful arms. Renaer stood at the side of the room speaking quietly with a small group of humans but Yelena noticed he kept part of his attention on her whereabouts.

The waltz ended with a kiss on the hand from Hadrien and Renaer whisked Yelena off to a small gathering at the Thann estate, where Yelena was delighted to make the acquaintance of their daughter Ingrid, who was bright and enthusiastic and had seen Yelena on stage once. Yelena found herself doing the lion's share of the talking this time, as Renaer made the rounds about the house party and she answered a seemingly endless stream of questions from Ingrid. Yelena didn't mind so much, though; Ingrid seemed genuinely interested in all the nitty-gritty details of a stage production and Yelena offered to give her a backstage tour some time.

As the night went on, it seemed to Yelena that the champagne and other cocktails began to catch up to her and the hours began to blur. It seemed simultaneously like an eternity and an instant before Renaer took her firmly but gently by the arm and escorted her home.

Yelena woke up the following morning with a screaming headache.

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Last edited by Astra; Sep 26th, 2021 at 02:58 AM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 01:11 PM
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The day had started mostly the same as any other day, except for the fact that she'd come into the Dock Ward from Trollskull Manor and not from the waters of Deepwater Bay. She'd spent a fitful night trying to sleep off the after effects of her encounter with the hag, and the chill touch of the creature's servants. She'd never been comfortable sleeping on land; it just felt so heavy, like there was nothing to counterbalance the tug of gravity. Beneath the water sleep was like floating, like the whole body was free of touch and weight. Add to that the effects of the weakness and cold she felt, the unfamiliar environs and what she was almost sure was snoring from somewhere, and the night had left her worse for wear.

She made her way into the Dock Ward at the usual hour near dawn, perhaps a few minutes early. She took a moment to reach the ocean and scrub the worst of the dirt out of her Watch uniform, before the draped it over her body and affixed the insignia of her rank. For now, she was Sergeant Aqua, watchwoman. She found Captain Blackbrook in their usual meeting spot and was greeted with a raised eyebrow, an unspoken query as to the direction she was coming from. There was the usual warmth and by the time she slipped in beside him and matched his stride, things felt comfortable again. "Captain," she said quietly, but received only a curt nod in return as they started into the dilapidated parts of the Dock Ward. It was always unusual, always different, always unexpected as the night revealed its secrets to the sun. They passed the many guildhalls along the docks, crossed Nut Street and on towards the terrace in front of the shipwright's home before finally turning towards the Blue Mermaid tavern and the broad curved street that eventually ended up spilling into Fish Street.

It was quiet at first, and after the events of the past few days Aqua was quite happy to not say anything, even though, as her mind started racing with question of Zhentarim and Xanathar's Guild, she was burning to ask questions. Here and there activity started to increase and the last miscreant stumbled from the Thirsty Sailor and the wagons and carts started to roll up and down Fish Street. They took the road towards Sailor's Inn when they found their first signs of something amiss. A woman, sitting with her head buried in between her knees, not asleep, not dead, but broken. Captain Blackbrook knelt beside her, a quiet touch alerting the woman to his presence. "She is gone," the woman croaked, before bursting into an avalanche of tears. In between sobs it transpired that the woman's daughter, a girl name Cerine Laydon, had disappeared the night before with little trace. Her mother had been searching for most of the night until eventually collapsing from exhaustion and despondency. Captain Blackbrook had given her a knowing look, charging Aqua with the investigation and the care of the girl's mother.



The morning quickly got busier, as did the afternoon until Aqua stumbled back up towards Trollskull Manor in the early evening. She hadn't intended to do much other than check in on mainly Vesper. and Yelena as the day's activities were foremost on her mind. Cerine Laydon was the daughter of rather unassuming hauliers, the father currently being away from Waterdeep on a journey towards Thundertree and environs. The disappearance fit the characteristics of a simple run away - an open window, hastily packed belongings, no signs of forced entry. The only unusual thing had been the fire place which had somehow scattered its ashes all over the floor of the bedroom. Enhance ability with Fox's CunningIstishia's blessing had given her some additional insight and she'd managed to find some half-burnt fragments of paper in between the ashes. Unfortunately they'd not revealed their secrets. The mother knew nothing, or wouldn't tell, and she'd not managed to get very far with the girl's closest friend, a rather lowlife ruffian of the Dock Ward called Castus. Or, like the mother, he wasn't talking either.

The manor looked much the same as the evening before, and while Vesper appeared to be really busy, it was what Aqua called 'shifting rubbish from one place in the room to another'. Yelena and Simon-Christophe, she was told had not been seen, whereas there were rumours that Wag was performing in the neighbourhood. Though perhaps not all the time. One could imagine that his performances were more suited to later in the evenings, and certainly not for children. "I'm fine. Mystery of the job," she'd told Vesper on a cursory questioning, but had quickly made excuses to return towards Tharqualnaar. She owned Antinua a visit, but she wasn't sure if she was up to it this evening. She'd barely managed to absorb the events of the day, let alone the past few days, and her newfound friends and home. And that was the tip of the mountain, as the events of Waterdeep's gang war were an altogether bigger fish. So she'd rushed towards her secret cove where she'd retired into a more restful sleep.


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Castus had turned up dead two days later, cementing his place in the mystery. It was a simple enough killing. A blade through the chest and dumping the body into a corner of a darkened alley. But the mystery had deepened when Aqua had found traces of ash and burnt paper on his clothing and boots. Something that was unlikely to have clung there for two days but the state of the body meant it had been recently slain. Of the girl there was still no trace and the mother was becoming frantic. On more than one occasion Aqua had been forced to stand through a verbal, abusive tirade, much to her chagrin and the amusement of the watchmen she had with her. Being a genasi was sometimes not easy and she was sure that her reputation in the Watch would suffer as a result. She needed a win; she needed to find Cerine Laydon.

By the time half a tenday had lapsed Aqua was growing frustrated with her progress and work was piling up in other areas as the Dock Ward was rarely a quiet place at the best of times. The Watch Post under Captain Blackbrook was busier than usual when she stepped out on her way toward the Queenspire. She hadn't been back to Trollskull Manor in a couple of days, but she'd seen the tell-tale signs in the water of a merfolk summon her to the court of Antinua Reefsilver. Her avoidance of her friend was not something she could delay any longer, particularly not if Antinua actually wanted to see her. She suspected mild concern more than anything else, but she knew Antinua knew her better than most and would know that the delayed absence meant Aqua was concerned. As a result, she skirted the edges of the Queenspire in the early evening darkness, steering clear of the main buildings to stow her belongings before quietly sinking beneath the waves and swimming towards Tharqualnaar.

Tharqualnaar appeared through the dark gloomy waters, it's lights like a thousand deepsea angler fish converging to catch their prey. The guards on the outskirts of the city barely glanced in her direction as she swam into the confines of the city proper. Lavish coral statues and stone caverns adorned Tharqualnaar, though the palace of the Reefsilver family was another sight altogether. Towering spires of sculpted pearl and coral, painted with the crest of the Reefsilver family, were an imposing sight in the surrounding darkness. Permanent lights adorned the exterior of the palace, the radiance causing a sparkle of pearl in the luminescence. Aqua smiled to herself as she drew nearer, a tinge of excitement building at the thought of seeing Antinua again. She had her own room on the outskirts of the palace, and was a familiar face to the city guards, but she still went through the formalities of requesting an audience with her friend.

"Aqua!" Antinua explained when she was finally admitted. Antinua's voice was regal and commanding, if only slightly high pitched, perhaps excitement or evidence of youth. In Aqua's view, Antinua was beauty personified, both in appearance and personality. Her pale blue skin sparkled in the light, her fins were lanky, sleek and elegant. She was everything any merfolk would want to aspire to. They embraced each other, sharing in the comfort of their friendship. "It's been too long, Aqua. You know I don't like it when you stay away so long. I like it when you're here." Antinua smiled at Aqua, her face alight with joy at seeing her friend. "I'm sorry, Antinua. There is much to tell. I've met some friends, and then there's the Watch..." Antinua almost giggled at Aqua's revelations, gripping her arm firmly and pressing into her skin. "You've met people? Friends? Not in the Watch?" Aqua displayed a moment of embarrassment before sharing in Antinua's happiness. "Then it's a good thing you've come back. So you can tell me all about it and I can make sure you keep them!"

Aqua spent a long time telling Antinua about her friends; about Vesper and Ember, Yelena, Wag, Simon-Christophe, the latter which got more than his fair share of frowns. She didn't detail much of their adventures, fearful of Antinua's concern for her safety, instead concentrating about what she knew about her newfound allies. About Vesper's tenderness and her hidden powers, about Wag's jokes and the goodness of his heart in not killing, about Yelena and her shoes, and her friendship with Renaer, about Simon-Christophe and his bravado. Antinua puffed and heaved, giggled and frowned, shifted and jumped around. It was a moment of joy, of tenderness, of friendship growing and growing stronger. And when she finally told of Trollskull Manor and how she was now an owner of property, Antinua made her promise that she would always call Tharqualnaar home. "My home is here, Antinua. You and your family have my heart and my loyalty. Always. In anything." When she finally retired to her little room in the early hours of the morning, Aqua felt refreshed, loved, at home. And her dreams would be free of Zhentarim, Cerine Laydon, hags or creature that took one's mind. She would sleep in peace.


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Old Sep 29th, 2021, 03:30 AM
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Wag's 1st Trollskull Alley Performance
"... And that is how you successfully dislodge a chicken from a codpiece. Let's give our brave volunteer some applause!"

As the man limped back into the crowd with a red face and cheers - and some jeers - erupted, Wag grinned. It had been a great impromptu performance for the neighbourhood. He had started off relatively tame with the old favourite story: The Clinging Vines. He had opted for the tamest ending where the maiden is rescued from the vines by a wandering ranger and they end up living happily-ever-after, as opposed to the more macabre ending where she never escapes or the somewhat contentious version where she frees herself. After lulling them in with the traditional story, the jokes started. First, some puns ("Did you hear the story of the orc that broke up with his giantess girlfriend? He couldn't believe it was all ogre"), then some more raunchy ones ("You ever noticed how many tiefling bards there are..."). By that stage, some of the more uptight neighbours had walked off - usually shaking their heads or muttering something in annoyance. This is when Wag began the more physical performances: starting with Simon's favourite the Miracle of the Infinite Scarves. By the time he had wrapped up with a few unfortunate volunteers, it was getting towards dusk.

"Well, that's all there is for today everyone. Consider this an introduction to your most colourful new neighbour in Trollskull manor. Please, no coins this time - but you'd better bring them the next. Re-building that place is not cheap."

With a final few chuckles, the crowd began to disperse. Wag hopped down off the impromptu stage he had constructed out of a few boxes and walked over to the two individuals he had marked as definitely not being from around here.

"The Gralhund family are supplying the Xanathar's Guild with gold,"" he read off the pamphlet the woman was holding. It was pretty easy to see as she was a halfling and even Wag towered above her.

She was an older woman with lined deep brown skin, and dark curly hair with streaks of gray. She gazed up at wag confidently with a surety about her that was clearly not derived from the large Hobgobling standing next to her.

"Mind your business, fool." The Hobgoblin said. He was well-dressed with a ring on every finger, but still distinctly out of place here. Wag noted that while he had expected the hobgoblin to growl a warning, his statement had been said calmly and in a very neutral tone - but just enough authority that Wag could detect that this hobgoblin could and would cause the jester trouble if he needed to.

"Easy there Artemus," the halfling woman said with a smile. "Going by his repertoire, this one is probably not a stick-in the mad. Or was that story about hiding from the town guard in a pile of cow **** just that: a story?"

Wag couldn't help but double-taking when the halfling so easily cussed while keeping her grandmotherly smile. He laughed.

"Well, I did notice you seemed to like that story. Personal experience?" he fired back.

"You two don't look like locals," Wag continued. "Maybe I can sponsor you a drink and you can tell me about that," he finished pointing at the pamphlet.

"We do not have time," the Hobgoblin apparently called Artemus started to say, but the halfling interrupted him.

"It's been a long day, I could use a drink and if someone else's gold is paying for it, so much the better."


Post-Performance drinks.

Some hours later, the trio was seated at the moderately-priced inn known as The Cliffwatch Inn. Wag had learned his companion's names: Frankie Frogsleap was the old halfling woman and the hobgoblin was Artemus Holmes. After a couple of drinks, Frankie had done most of the talking. She was from Skullport and was currently trying to get the community there to rise up and get the Xanathar's Guild out of Skull Port. Unfortunately, she had found several noble families in Waterdeep were funding the Guild's presence there in exchange for various illicit jobs that they needed doing: including smuggling contraband, blackmailing enemies and - in some cases - even paying for hits on their enemies. She had been heading towards where those families had some control to try to expose them or at least get them to possibly back off from their decision to fund the Xanathar Guild.

As far as Wag could tell, Artemus was mostly there as Frankie's escort. The Hobgoblin was polite and well-spoken and very precise in his language, but overall he did not say much. Wag did note that he had referred to him as "Wag" before they had even been properly introduced, but he had opted to not draw attention to that slip-up.

Wag didn't care an awful lot about things like the Xanathar's guild, but he knew Aqua at least was very interested in disrupting them so he did his best to get what information from Frankie he could. In addition, he found he genuinely enjoyed talking to the old halfling woman. It was clear why she was a community leader: with a personality that made one inclined to be comfortable and friendly around her combined with a matronly authority that far exceeded her physical stature.

"Well, well, well. Look what rat emerged from the sewer."

The voice was loud, confident and did not conceal the anger and disgust in it. Wag instinctively turned with a smile reserved for dealing with the town guard, but the woman did not seem to have any interest in him. Her light blue eyes were firmly fixed on Frankie.

The guardswoman had an imposing broadsword at her side - definitely not standard issue - and her watch armor was dented. Her features looked chiselled from stone and her blue eyes and long blond hair might have given another person a compassionate look, but in her unsmiling, glaring face such an interpretation was absent. A badge on her watch uniform identified her as "Captain Murr".

"Evening Tawyna," Frankie said with a smile, while Artemus began rising to his feet. The Captain said nothing but marched towards the table across the mostly empty inn. Wag noted the barman was suddenly very interested in inspecting his supply of liquor under the counter. As for Captain Murr, she did not acknowledge the greeting albeit only with a deepening of her glare. However, the woman seemed dead focused on her prey and had paid no attention to Wag at all. Wag... who had a nearly full tankard in front of him.

"Whooops," Wag said in his best imitation of a child pretending to make a mistake, as he tipped himself, his chair and the fill tankard of ale into the path of the watchwoman precisely as she was walking past - knocking her and the jester to the ground in a wet puddle.

"Get off!" the woman snarled, pushing Wag up who - with the practised technique of a jester - used the slippery puddle to trip and cling to her, dragging her down again.

"Oh dear. Terribly sorry," he apologized. Glancing out the corner of his eye he saw that Frankie and Artemus had done as he hoped and taken the opportunity to slip out the door.

Captain Tawyna Murr snarled again and this time her shove bodily lifted wag up and sent him slamming into the table - shattering it into kindling. The jester lay dazed for a moment as she took off in pursuit, then he staggered up - seeing stars - and quickly followed her.

Captain Murr was in pursuit of her targets, lagging behind somewhat but keeping their insight. Wag, without the burden of heavy armor, was a little faster. He grabbed her arm and pulled her back and faced her towards him.

"Madam, I must insist you pay for the drink you spilt and the table you broke," he said, putting on the best impression of his father he could.

For a moment it worked, the captain was caught off-guard by the upper-class voice, until she saw the scruffy jester was the one holding her arm. She turned and saw her quarry had escaped out of sight while she wasn't looking. Immediately, she spun back and slammed Wag into a wall.

"Little bastard," she hissed. "Do you know how fast I got here when I heard that halfling was in the North Ward?"

Her armored arm was crushing Wag's windpipe. The Jester's face began turning blue, but as it began to deepen he vaguely made out distant shouting. It seems the owner of the Cliffwatch Inn drew the line at property destruction by the city watch after all.

Captain Murr looked down the road at the shouting owner, then eased up on Wag's throat. As Wag drew a ragged breath in, she made a very quick movement with her other arm and Wag saw a flash of a particularly jagged looking knife being tucked into a concealed sheath and was dimly aware of a sensation of warmth on his right arm.

"I doubt I'll forget you, but here's something to make sure you don't forget me," she hissed. Then she turned to the approaching barkeep before he could get too close.

"You people really need to keep these buildings repaired," she yelled at the barkeeper as she approached him. "All the projecting timber and nails means people can get nasty wounds if they are not careful."

It was only as she said that that the pain kicked in. Wag looked down at his right arm and saw a particularly deep and unpleasant gash. Whatever she had cut him with, it was clearly meant to leave wounds that would scar. He felt slightly dizzy as blood dripped from his arm, but he had the wherewithal to tear a strip of his motley from his left leg to make an impromptu tourniquet. Hoping Aqua was home and could deal with this, he staggered back to the manor, a trail of sparse blood drops in a trail behind him


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Last edited by Arachobia; Sep 29th, 2021 at 02:14 PM.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 05:58 PM
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Home Improvement
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Vesper spends much of the week wandering around the manor making notes on what needs to be repaired, reconstructed, refurbished, and what just needs to demolished. Unfortunately, her list keeps growing longer and longer by the day. Each room she enters seems to harbor a whole host of problems: sloping floors, broken windows, holes in the roof, holes in the floor, and walls with gaping holes big enough they could be doorways.

Vesper sighs as she stares down at the page after page of notes listing the needed repairs. She had no idea what materials might be needed to even begin some of these repairs. The auburn haired young woman had never even had a room of her own much less a home and had no clue how to go about repairing this one, but this was her home and she was going to see it fixed up.

Vesper steps out of Trollskull Manor, a frown marring her face at the sight of the boards on the porch that are warped, several sticking up at one end, then turns left and begins making her way down the small street that is her new neighborhood. She shyly nods as she walks pass several people also making their way along the street. The grown-up street waif keeps ducking her head though, expecting any moment for someone to demand to know what she is doing here and to threaten to call the Watch on her. To her relief none of her new neighbors act on her fears and instead they mostly smile pleasantly as the auburn haired young woman walks by.

After passing several buildings, Vesper sees a sign hanging over a doorway ahead, a simple overly large bent nail.

Well that looks like a promising place to start…maybe. I’m not sure about that bent nail. Isn’t that a bad thing in a builder?

Hesitantly Vesper enters the shop and is greeted by the comforting smells of sawdust, pine, and cedar. The shop is neatly kept, with tools racked and organized, wood stacked by size and species, and the floor neatly swept. A handsome half-elf stands behind one work bench currently carving delicate flowing vines onto the leg of a chair.

Vesper stands there not quite sure what to do next now that she finds herself inside the shop and the half-elven carpenter seems to ignore her while he finishes the careful work of detailing a single ivy leaf. Once the carving is done to his exacting standards, he finally puts down his tools wipes his hands off on a rag then turns to face Vesper and says,

”Can I help you? Are you looking for furniture? A crossbow perhaps? I have several on display and can also take commissions if there is something specific you desire.”

He smiles at Vesper, his green eyes causing her heart to flutter and her stomach to feel like it is suddenly full of a flock of swallows.

Vesper looks down at the ground, her cheeks stained by a rosy blush. She then manages to stutter out,

”Ahhh…well you see….ummm….we, well my friends and I that is, have just moved into Trollskull Manor….I’m sure you know it, it’s just down the street…and…well…you see it is kind of in need of some repair….and I saw your sign and I was hoping you might be able to help with that.”

Vesper finishes in a rush, peeking out from her lowered lashes at the half-elf carpenter, his hair dusted lightly with sawdust, his hands looking strong and calloused from his work.

Suddenly the carpenter begins laughing, a full-throated guffaw. Vesper’s cheeks light up an even bright shade of red, her eyes flash an angry green fire, and she clenches her fists in anger at being laughed at by this…this…handsome baffoon.

The shop owner sees her anger and gets a hold of himself, although laugher still dances in his lovely green eyes.

”No, no my lovely ginger flower…”

Vesper is unsure about the propriety of a shopkeeper calling a customer ‘my lovely ginger flower’ but no one has ever spoken to her like this and it does weird things inside of her. She suddenly feels very hot and flustered standing in the middle of this saw dusted scented shop.

”…I am not laughing at you. No I would do no such thing. It is only that it has been many, many years since I last was asked to work as a common laborer. These days my furniture is sought out by some of the finest collectors here in Waterdeep. I am sorry my flower, but I am going to say no. Now if you need some furnishing for you Manor…well then I would love to spend a few hours with you discussing what I can do with a four-poster bed.”

Vesper wasn't quite sure…that sounded naughty, like this strong, dark haired, wood scented carpenter was hinting at something more than the carvings on a bed, but she wasn’t certain. Maybe he was just trying to sell her a piece of furniture?

Vesper gives the half-elven carpenter another shy smile and says,

”Ummm…I’m sorry…ummm…yes when I’m in need of a bed you’ll be the first one I come to.”

Vesper stops frozen…did that just sound as forward and dirty as it did in her head now that she played it back? She had only meant she would come see him about ordering some furniture…didn’t she?

If it was possible Vesper’s blush flares even brighter, even her delicately pointed ears turning red.

”I..I…I have to go…I’m sorry I bothered you.”

Vesper rushes for the door back out to the street, the words ”It was no bother at all my flower…” chasing her back out into the daylight. The young sorceress doesn’t even pause until she’s safely back in the dilapidated darkness of Trollskull Manor.


In musty, dusty heaven...
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With some discomfort, especially after her last effort outside the safety of the shadows inside the Manor, Vesper had asked an elderly women that she saw sitting on her porch next door about a local bookstore or magic shop. She’d been directed, with a few curt words about “young people these days and their bad taste in books,” to the Book Wyrm’s Treasure.

Vesper carefully opens the door to the shop, afraid of making a fool of herself again, she slips into the shop, trying to draw as little attention to herself as possible. Very quickly Vesper forgets all her concerns and instead her eyes just widen at the sight of all the books. She’s never seen so many books in all her life. She can feel her fingers tingling just at the thought of touching the pages, of being able to read about so much, so many different topics. She momentarily forgets why she has even come to this wonderfully, musty place.

Vesper randomly takes a book off one of the shelves and settles into a nearby armchair, her feet curled up beneath her. She opens up the cover and discovers that she has selected a book titled An Ethnographic Study of Various Tribes of Kobolds in the Underdark. Vesper is immediately fascinated and begins flipping through the book, reading random passages.

She’s not sure how long she’s been there when she hears the sound of a throat being cleared right in front of her. Vesper looks up from her journey among the Underdark kobold tribes to see a bespectacled golden scaled dragonborn standing in front of her.

”Well you must be part mouse, for I never heard you even come in.” The dragonborn glances at the cover of the book resting in Vesper's lap and smiles. ”Ahhh…yes the Underdark Kobolds. A fascinating study, even if the author made most of it up. Still an interesting study in the mind of a human and how he views the scaled-kind. I’m Rishaal the proprietor of this establishment,” the golden dragonborn gives Vesper a slight bow, ”and how can I assist you this fine day? If you have an interest in kobolds there are several other books I can recommend for your consideration.”

Vesper just stares at Rishaal a smile of contentment and wonder on her lips. ”Oh, oh no I’m not here about kobolds…although they are fascinating. No, no I have something I was hoping you might be interested in buying.”

Vesper quickly digs around in the bag that had sat forgotten at her feet for so long. Pulling out the spellbook that she and her friends had recovered in the sewers, Vesper holds it out to the Dragonborn shop owner.

”My friends and I came across this spellbook recently and none of us can use it ourselves and I was hoping you might want to buy it. You do buy things like that don’t you?”

Rishaal takes the book from Vesper’s hands turns it over, noting the poor quality of workmanship in the binding, and then begins flipping through the pages.

”Well yes I do buy things like this…usually of higher quality than this….hmmm…I will tell you what…as you are a fellow book lover I’ll make you a deal – I’ll buy this one from you for…let’s say fifty-five gold talons…and if you and your friends happen to find some more of these or other books you have no use for, you bring them to me first to look at and to see if I might want to buy them from you. Deal?”

Vesper doesn’t even hesitate, fifty-five gold talons is more money than she has ever held, so she quickly bounces out of her chair and is shaking the dragonborn’s clawed hand enthusiastically.

”Yes, yes! It’s a deal! Thank you Mr. Rishaal.” Vesper smiles at him and then looks around the shop. ”I know this isn’t a library…but…well would it be ok if sometimes I came in here and read a few of these books?”

Rishaal gives Vesper a toothy grin as he hands over her coins and says, ”My dear I can see you love books almost as much as I do…so yes you may come and read some of my treasures anytime you would like…just maybe buy one from time to time.” Rishaal finishes with a wink.


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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 10:23 AM
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Trollskull Tavern - Morning on the 29th Day of Kythorn It had been an eventful first week in Trollskull Manor. Simon got married. Vesper had met some of the neighbors. So had Wag, but with wildly different results. Aqua was wrapped up in a missing person's case that brought her back to the Dock Ward, and Yelena had spent some quality time with an old friend. The operatist had also tried to pry more information out of Renaer regarding the Stone of Golorr. Unfortunately, that had led the man into a tirade about his father and yielded little information on the topic in question.

The five of them found themselves once more in the Trollskull Alley taproom, but the scene was an altogether different one. Much of the dust had been scattered by the constant goings about of the adventurers and the rambunctious orphan trio. The windows were thrown wide to let in the summer sun and heat. The no-longer serviceable tables and chairs had been pushed to the side, out of sight if not entirely out of mind.

To hear Lif tell it, the three urchins brought a liveliness to the delipidated estate that hadn't been there in years. They were underfoot as often as not, reveling in having a place of their own to stay. At first, Lif had attempted to recruit them to help clean the home. They had helped... For a few minutes before devolving into a game of their own making. Now, when talking about repairs and improvements that needed to be made, Lif knew to speak mainly with Vesper.

Kythorn was almost over. It was the weekend in Waterdeep. The Gathering of Quills was tomorrow, a somewhat drab festival where all the writers, scriveners, accountants, map-makers, and anyone else who had reason to put quill to paper came together. Barring that, none of the party had anything on the calendar for the first time in days. Perhaps they would have a leisurely day together as friends, working on the house and enjoying the summer sun.

The idea was tossed out almost immediately as someone knocked at the door. "Uhh, is this the right place," a voice said from outside. "Never delivered anything here before. Huh." The door eased open, and a young half-elven man with close-cropped hair and a pouch to hold letters appeared. He smiled and waved awkwardly.

"Hello all," he said, surprised by quite the procession of people who met him at the door. "And, uhh, welcome to Trollskull Manor. Been awhile since anyone lived here. I'm Bartholomew, Bart for short. I deliver the mail in this part of the North Ward. Got something for you."

The young mailman pulled a pair of letters out of his pouch and laid them on the table. " It's addressed to the house, so I guess it's for all of you." He shrugged. "Anyway, have a nice day, and see you around!"

Waving one more, Bart skipped out of the doorway, tripped on one of the boards sticking out of the landing, and narrowly caught himself before tumbling down the stairs. Then he was gone, leaving the party with a pair of mysterious letters.

The letter was, as he said, addressed to the house from one Remallia Haventree. Return address: Ulbrinter Villa - Delzorin Street - North Ward - Waterdeep. It was only a few streets south of where they were.

Letter from the HarpersRenaer tells us you are a good bet. He bought you tickets to the opera tonight at the Lightsinger Theater in the Sea Ward. If you are interested, meet Mirt at intermission. Private Box C. Formal attire is required for admittance.


Five tickets fell out for a showing titled The Fall of Tiamat. Yelena recognizes it as an opera sung entirely in Giant telling the story of the evil dragon queen's defeat at the Well of Dragons.

Before anyone can respond, a second message follows. Instead of coming through the door by way of a gangly young mail carrier, it appears as a shimmer of light in the air. While the shimmer has no face, no direction, it seems to be directed at either Aqua or Simon.

Spell of Sending from Force Grey"I am Vajra Safahr, the Blackstaff. Come to Blackstaff Tower in the Castle Ward at once. Bring your friends."


The light vanishes, and those of magical nature only then recognize it as a spell of Sending, apparently cast by one of the most powerful wizards in Waterdeep, Vajra Blackstaff herself.

Then, a third message. Through the open window darts a flying snake. With little fanfare, it dropped a tight-bound scroll on the table and made its exit through another window. Unrolling this parchment revealed a messily scrawled few sentences.

Message from the ZhentarimWant to be part of something big? Speak to Davil Starsong at the Yawning Portal.

Yigra.


All of a sudden, the party had become quite popular.


 
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 01:46 PM
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Wag scratched at his lower right arm, above the wrist, through his even more stained motley. Aqua had closed up the wound when she had seen it, but the scar remained and it itched frequently. Although he had been told several times now not to, he often caught himself scratching at it.

He made a face at the first invitation from Remallia Haventree. There were several people he knew who would be likely to attend an opera - his father or any of his friends, any of the Waymars.

"Ugh... Opera. The only people dressed like me you'll see there are going to be sing-weeping on stage. If only people would cut a few capers, bring some levity to the dull place. Er... no offence."

The last part was directed at Yelena as he had abrubtly remembered her profession.

Fortunately, the 2nd messenger showed up. Wag was fascinated by it, and applauded the disappearance.

"Hmm... I don't know much about magic, but being friends with a caster could help. Hmmm... maybe picking up a few simple tricks could help my performances..."

He became a bit lost imagining the sort of mischief he could add to his repertoire with a few of the more colourful cantrips.

When the final message arrived, Wag was clearly the most excited.

"See, this is right up my alley. Horribly scrawled messages delivered by flying snakes asking us to go to shady contacts? That I can handle. That gets my vote, with the mage 2nd."

He sighed.

"Though I guess if the rest of you REALLY want to go to the opera I can come. I'll have to change. I'll need about 8 hours and I might have to pick up some supplies."


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Old Oct 5th, 2021, 11:31 AM
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Vesper ponders the three oddly delivered messages and listens intently to Wag as he explains his preferences. As Wag brings up having to get ready to go to the opera, the auburn-haired sorceress looks down at her clothing. She only has the one outfit and while it is serviceable and the best she could scrounge from the odds and ends from the larger sized clothing donated to the orphanage where she used to sleep some nights, it is most certainly not ‘formal attire’…not even close.

Vesper’s cheeks are stained a rosy hue when she glances over at her seemingly always stylish friend, Yelena.

Even while sneaking through the sewers, she did it looking good and with panache. Look at me, I’m just a gutter rat from the Dork Ward…an escaped servant girl from a brothel…I could never be like her. I don’t belong in fancy dresses at something like the opera. The folk there would probably still smell the stink of the docks on me.

Looking down at the ground, her cheeks still red with embarrassment, Vesper speaks quietly and hesitantly,

”I…I…don’t think I’d feel comfortable at the opera. I…well I would be willing to go with Wag to talk to the Blackstaff or to…ummm…see what Yigra wants.”


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Old Oct 5th, 2021, 11:49 AM
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It was a fine day, and Yelena sat in the taproom in a state of disheveled undress, slumped over a steaming mug of coffee. Her hair was a tousled, tangled mess and she still had lipstick on from the night before. Despite the advanced hour of the day, Yelena had only recently awaken and still wore her nightgown which fell off one shoulder as she squinted blearily into the midday sun streaming in through the windows.

"... well I am not twenty one any longer," she was saying as the first of the three invitations arrived, "And I am having the hang over for more than one day now, like old woman."

She laughed mirthlessly just as there came a knock at the door. Yelena made an attempt at a pleasant expression as Bart introduced himself and delivered the letter, but whether she succeeded was of little concern to Yelena. As Wag began grumping about opera, Yelena winced.

"Please Wag, not so loud. Is like man shouting to be heard over roaring falls of Damara." Yelena rubbed her temples gingerly. "Anyways, is a nice opera. Libretto is written in Giant, but I am not speaking it so well enough to perform, I think. I am not so good at the gutter sounds."

Yelena frowned and looked over to Vesper.

"Is right word? Gutter?" she said quizzically, "Like when you are making the sound in the throat?"

Yelena closed her eyes and propped her head against the table with her arm. She inhaled slowly before continuing.

"In any means," she said, "Juliette Crommor sings the female lead in that. She is speaking Giant very well, so that is telling me some things about her, I suppose."

With a gesture towards the opera tickets, Yelena continued. "I am knowing Renaer a little bit from the childhood. He is a good man, with purer heart than mine. I am not liking very much the idea of flying snakes and their owners. But I am knowing nothing of magic, maybe would be good to learn more. I am thinking I prefer first and second option."

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Old Oct 7th, 2021, 10:04 AM
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Aqua had found herself quite happy to be back at Trollskull manor. It had only been a matter or days, but it felt a bit like coming home as much as returning to Tharqualnaar had been. Antinua's kind words and support had lifted her spirits and given her a new appreciation for the four people she'd met and worked with. Still, despite returning, the unsolved case she was following in the Watch was still gently tugging on her mind. She needed to find the girl when she had a moment to do so. And get to the bottom of Wag's injury. As she crested the stairs into the manor she glanced around to see that much had changed. She nodded with a hint of a smile to all those she could see, particularly Vesper, indicating that she appreciated her efforts. She secretly hoped that at least Vesper had managed to find a suitable sleeping quarters. "It's looks very nice," she remarked as she walked into the room proper, settling down to hear the others speak. Her eyes fell on Wag, her expression indicating a compassionate Don't scratch!, but she didn't say anything.

The messages caught Aqua off guard. She'd not expected them to come, and a small frown and creasing of her brow indicated that she was pondering what it was all about. Swatting away and errant patch of hair from her eyes, she listened intently as each gave their own voices to the matter. "I would be curious to know what Yigra has to say. The matters could have import for the case at hand with the Zhentarim and Xanathar's Guild. Though, in the same volume of water I would want to see what Renaer has to say. His father, and perhaps himself, are involved in this manner, through kidnapping or knowledge, some not shared."

She looked around. "I have never been to an opera. Certainly I would just get everything wet. The clothing and trappings of high society are wasted on me." She looked slightly uncomfortable with sharing that, but facts were facts. Water genasi just got things wet. No matter what they were. "Is there a way to attend the meeting but not the opera?" she asked, particularly looking at Yelena, who had a wealth of experience in these matters. "I do not know this Blackstaff. Did it ask for us, Simon-Christophe?" She wasn't sure, but it had looked like it had been directed at them both. "We could find the middle sand bank. The opera is this evening. We can see the Blackstaff and Yigra before then?"


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Old Oct 8th, 2021, 11:55 AM
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Makeovers anyone?
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Vesper nods at Aqua’s suggestion. Yes, they could at least see what each of their correspondents wanted without necessarily committing themselves. This solution made so much sense and it would allow them to decide to whom they would partner with more information than they possessed now.

Her friends were often so much wiser than she was, thinking through possibilities where she reacted instinctually, and if she was willing to admit it, too often out of fear instead of rational thought. Vesper feels lucky to have this group of people around her. To be able to call them friends…maybe even family.

They all had a home together now. Does a family make a home or a home a family? Vesper isn’t sure what the answer to that riddle is, as she hasn’t had either one of those in a very, very long time, but, either way, the young sorceress is beginning to feel like she just might have both now.

As Vesper considered each of the three messages, her brow furrows in thought.

I like Yigra personally…but she’s working with the Zhents and if this message of hers has anything to do with them… Vesper shudders at the thought, well I’d rather stick a knife in one of them then work with them. They take advantage of others and deserve a knife for that.

Vesper’s green eyes flash with emerald fire at the thought of the Zhents and their criminal enterprises that prey on the weak. Taking a slow breath, she calms herself and turns her mind to the second message.

I don’t know much about the Blackstaff besides what everyone knows, but to use a spell like Sending so casually…the magic she must have.

Vesper can a sliver of hunger for that kind of magic flare within her.

Someday perhaps I’ll be that strong…

Then Vesper thinks again about the first message, then one that she had so quickly tried to dismiss out of embarrassment. Her cheeks again stained with a rosy blush, Vesper slips up next to Yelena and says quietly,

”Umm…if we are going to go to the opera tonight…ummm…I…well you see…I don’t have anything to wear at all that would be nice enough. In fact this is really my only outfit…I do have an extra shirt, but…umm…it is more beat up than this one.” Vesper pauses, stares down at the ground, but then looks back up at her friend and continues in a rush, [b]”Would you be able to help me? I don’t want to embarrass the rest of you and you are always so pretty and stylish.”[b]


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Old Oct 8th, 2021, 01:36 PM
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Wag listened to the other's opinions, feeling more and more forlorn as they went on. He perked up at Vesper's comment though.

With a rare genuine smile, he addressed the young sorcerer.

"Don't worry Vesper," he reassured her. "You might not know it looking at my own visage, but the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers gives extensive classes on the application of cosmetics, accessories and costumes. I happen to have misplaced my own kit at some point, but I know where to get a new one. With the money we have made from selling that spellbook, I should be able to purchase a kit and even a suitably attractive dress. If I can spend an hour with you, I can make you shine far brighter than any of the high-class ladies at the opera."

He gave one more encouraging smile, and then his demeanour changed from "helpful drama student" to "crude jester" quite quickly as he turned to the others with a dramatic sigh.

"Unfortunately, this just means I will not be able to attend the opera in formal attired as stipulated. Unlike the lovely Vesper, it is plain from my down-trodden and motley appearance that I would not be able to suitably attired myself in time if we are to visit everyone. How unfortunate. I will stoically hold down the fort while the rest of you attend, however."


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Old Oct 10th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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Simon was, for lack of a better word, incredibly hungover after last night's affair; in fact, the events of which were so murky to him that the headache causing a pounding in the front of his mind could only be compared to that of an army's war drum — throbbing and persistent. Even the hag's charm from the night before had not clouded his skull so much. It would seem this side of town really did have a monopoly on the good liquor.

And, again, given his slight stupor, the early morning happenings seemed to be coming all at once and all too fast.

A busybody postman.

The sudden and blinding manifestation of light whose message could have been just as easily been scribed on pen and paper — less annoying that way.

And... was that a flying snake barging through their window? Alright, that was simply too much! The straw that broke the camel's back!

"Just what the in the Hells is going on around here," the youth bleated, palming the side of his head where the alcohol had settled. "First orphans and now flying snakes? I've had quite enough of this. We're getting a dog — a mean dog; a dog with... mange or rabies or something!"

He first stormed his way over towards whomever had the letter, bullying it out of their hands.

"A rendezvous at the opera? Tch, how cliche. Trite!" And, yet, already the party was thinking of how to make all of these appointments work out, including the trite one. "Well, if they think I'm dressing up like some sort of clown — no insult intended, Wag — just to meet with these Harpers — whomever they are — then they're sorely mistaken. I'm many things but a fan of the arts isn't one of them. Besides, it's too posh for me." Pause. Realization. "Sorry, Yelena."

To Aqua now, matter-of-factly: "Can't say that it's any more clear to me, but at least her theatrics are real. I'm intrigued. I have no objections to this meeting." However, on the flip side... "Although, I'll be blunt when it comes to Yigra: I don't trust her in the least. And I haven't a clue why some of you have taken to her so. Regardless, it could be interesting to see where that thread leads."

A drawn-out sigh escaped him.

This day was going to be damnably long!

"At any rate, I'm sure those of us not fitted for the opera can find something to do thereabouts to bide our time."





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Old Oct 13th, 2021, 07:50 PM
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The Yawning Portal - Midmorning on the 29th Day of Kythorn
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Unable to pick just one, the party decided to speak with all three factions before making up their mind. First on the list: Davil Starsong of the Zhentarim, to be found at the Yawning Portal.

With their destination set, the five adventurers heaved themselves from the rickety chairs of Trollskull Manor and wandered out into the summer sun of Waterdeep.

Twenty minutes later, they arrived at the scene of their first act on the road to adventuring stardom. Even early in the day, the city's taverns had their share of patrons and the Yawning Portal more than most. They were met with a smattering of applause from those regulars present for the fight with the Troll the week prior. Among their admirers was Bonnie, a redheaded Tethyrian barmaid, and Mattrim "Threestrings" Marrig, the bard. Even Durnan gave them a nod and a grunt.

Before any heads could grow too large, Yigra caught the eye of whoever walked at the front of the party and nodded to a table tucked away near the unlit fireplace. A head of long, red-gold hair poked over the back of a cushioned chair from across the room.

Rounding the chair and taking seats (or not), they came face to face for the first time with Davil Starsong, a handsome sun elf with a square jaw and narrow, azure eyes that were accented by the blue of his stylish vest. A black snake was stitched into the breast pocket of the jacket, almost like a watch insignia. He picked a bit of meat from his teeth with a slim dagger, letting them settle before he introduced himself.

The elf twirled the dagger and slotted it into a sheath at his hip. "I'm Davil Starsong, leader of the Black Network's Waterdeep division. I was here during your little... escapade last week. Quite intriguing turn of events, what with you jumping in to help Yigra against those Xanathar thugs, then the population at large against the troll."

Davil flicked a lock of hair away from his face. "Not many would spring in like that and help people in need. And the Zhentarim? We're all about helping people in need." He paused, letting the declaration hang in the air, tantalizing, for them to ask about. "For a price, of course."

"Your stunt impressed me enough that I'm willing to take a bet on you. What with... everything going on in the city," Davil waved a hand in a limp-wristed circle, "We're looking for talented new members. And by you showing up here, I know you're interested in us too."


 
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 05:38 AM
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Aqua regarded Davil Starsong curiously as he spoke following brief introductions. There was a hint of arrogance, perhaps a sign of one being too self-assured. A touch of greed perhaps. How genuine was the Black Network's desire to help? Or was it merely a ruse to further their own interests? A long gamble that placed one positively in the eyes of the people. Aqua wasn't sure. Particularly because the Zhentarim apparently had factions which was never a good sign. Much like the City Watch, really. Too many factions, too many after their own interest and nothing good for the city itself. She reminded herself that she still needed to follow up on Wag's interests, though the issue of rank would be problematic. And Captain Blackbrook would not be willing to help. A problem for another time.

"It would help if we knew what we were letting ourselves in for. The Zhentarim are split. They're at war with Xanathar's Guild. The city is seeing a tumultuous time not seen for many years. What is the Zhentarim's involvement here? What are they doing to stop this mess?" She probably came across a little angry, perhaps not choosing her words carefully enough. but she didn't care. She wasn't wearing her Watch uniform and this was her business. They were fair questions, either way. If they were asked to become members, they needed to know the stakes. And perhaps the stakeholders. She glared intently at Davis Starsong, feeling uncomfortable, but driven by her desire to know more about what was going on here.

"Information will go a long way to make up my mind. Good Zhentarim. Bad Zhentarim. What's the difference? We, and the city, deserve to know. We don't want to be become the latest recruits in any gang war here in the city. The war needs to be stopped, not throw more bodies into the streets." Her passion shone through as she spoke, despite the hints of frustration and irritation. A man so debonair should reveal more of himself than just the trappings of his exterior. She reached for a glass of water at the table. For a moment she was tempted to summon her little water dolphins to put her at ease. Had she dumped them all into some mess now? Doubt crept in. She wasn't used to talking to people,. but she needed to know. Like eating and simply breathing. Raising her eyes again from her drink, she looked at her allies first, and then finally settled back on Davis Starsong.


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