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Recap October 9, 2020

They stood there for a moment not sure what to do next. Reya was taken back but was soon asking the others what was that movement just outside where the city once stood. They rode closer and saw it was citizens of Elturel. As they got closer they realized it as not as large a crowd as they had thought. There was maybe 50 people. They did mention seeing others that had not gone down with the once holy city. Reya and the group discussed their next moves. They needed to get these and any other survivors to Baldur’s Gate. Reya and the few other Hellriders rounded up the 50 survivors and they got on the road to Baldur’s Gate. She asked the group to head down to the remains of the city to look for any signs of life and see if they could find any clues as to what happened. They said their farewells and Reya told them that once they reach the city, to look for her at the Elfsong Tavern just inside the city walls. Enter at the Basilisk Gate and it is around 5 blocks away.

It took an hour to get to where the city once was. There was only fragments of the outside walls left. They decided to ride the perimeter to look for survivors. They started clockwise and went slowly to make sure they did not miss anything. They found 3 more survivors. They gave them food and water and healing but they were more psychologically damaged than physically. The survivors were put on the backs of 3 of the horses and they set off to Baldur’s Gate. They rode for 6 days and then they saw the outer walls of the city. There was also a large crowd outside the walls and it looked like they were not letting people in or only letting a few in at a time.

Welcome to Baldur’s Gate, a veritable nest of rats and vipers clinging to the rocky slopes overlooking the Chionthar River. From their high perches in the Upper City, the local nobles-known as patriars - gaze down with veiled contempt upon the common rabble in the grimy Lower City, which hugs the foggy harbor. The whole of Baldur’s Gate reeks of blood, crime, and opportunity. One can easily fathom why pirates and traders are drawn to this place like flies to a carcass.

The patriars pay a mercenary army called the Flaming Fist to protect their interests in Baldur’s Gate, and by extension, the city itself. As you come upon the Basilisk Gate, dozens of Flaming Fist soldiers are trying to control an angry mob of commoners eager to leave the city. The Flaming Fist has sealed the city’s gates to staunch the flow of refugees. No one is allowed in or out.

A fight breaks out between soldiers and commoners, and you spot a one eyed man you can identify as a captain. He wades into the fray and begins throwing punches. Just another day in the City of Blood.

The fight ends quickly and the group moves forward as the crowd around the Basilisk Gate disperses. They talk to the captain”

“The influx of so many refugees from Elturel,” says Captain Zodge, “has stoked fears that Baldur’s Gate might suffer the same fate as Elturel, of which nothing remains but a hole in the ground , apparently. Our Grand Duke, Ulder Ravengard, was visiting Elturel on a diplomatic mission when the city was destroyed . Coincidence? I think not. Unfortunately, I cannot let you into the city. So, leave now or you will get the same beating as those lowlife just now did.” They agree and as they are turning to leave they hear Zodge yell out: Nym Ludi? Back already? Wanting your old job back, I am guessing. I am afraid that is not an option. But I will do this for you and your “friends”.5 gold. Each. I’ll let you in.” “And by the way, if you come across any members of the Hellriders, let me know. I will make it worth your while.” They had never identified themselves as Hellriders but they have not hidden the fact that they were. Perhaps Zodge was that dense or maybe he know and just did not care. They all agree and soon they are within the city walls. There are a lot of people in the city and there is an air of panic not only with the people but through the city itself. Zodge had told them to follow the main road bearing right and they will see the Elfsong Tavern. They find the Elfsong Tavern but they do not find Reya at first. They find her a side room with another woman. She rises and greets them as a simple tray of bread, cheese and ale is passed around. They update each other what has happened over the last tenday. Reya tells them “Before the Flaming Fist closed the city gates, I and and a handful of others managed to sneak inside, but we didn’t get far before a group of Flaming Fist soldiers confronted us. The refugees scattered, and I soon found herself cornered by a Flaming Fist thug. I wounded the soldier with my longsword, fled down an alley, and stole a cloak to better conceal my armor and weapons. I does not know if she killed her, the solider that is. I’ve been a wanted fugitive ever since. If you couldn’t tell, this town is a cesspool of corruption with death lurking around every foggy corner. I feel it in my gut that is it the influence from the Cult of the Dead Three. It seems that there has been an influx in Baldur’s Gate by the Cult of the Dead Three worshipers if Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, the evil death gods. I have reason to believe that these purveyors of fear and death are responsible for the destruction of Elturel. Tarina here has information on where some of these cult members May be located. She told me she would not talk until you all had arrived. Tarina nods and asks them to come with her. She leads them upstairs past several gambling tables and into a private dining area. Reya orders a hot meal and ale for them all and Tarina tells them what she knows. “Several blocks northwest of here is a public bathhouse with a walled garden and frolicking nymphs carved into its front gates. Followers of the Dead Three have been seen coming and going from the bathhouse, and I’m told there’s a secret door inside that leads to a dungeon. That’s where your killers are hiding.”

They wondered out loud if this was the same bathhouse mentioned in the letter from the former cult of the dragon member gave them.

Reya was about to speak when the tavern is fill ed with the ghostly lamentation of the elf spirit known to haunt the place. And they hear a female elf singing in elven:

“O sing a song of Elturel Of water, woods, and hill The sun dawns on her ruddy cliffs And fields green and still. This land of long-abiding joy Home of the strong and brave Renowned by all, across the realms, And never once a slave.

O sing a song of Elturel When foes are at her door Her fields torn by cloven feet From some infernal shore. Arise the mighty Hellriders Take up your swift, keen swords Then charge into the hellish fray And scatter devil hordes.

O sing a song of Elturel And when the night does fall Sleep safe beneath Companion’s light Until the dawn does call. Were bound by mortal covenant That only ends with death And so we’ll sing of Elturel Until our final breath.”

They looked around but could not figure out where the singing had come from. Reya was surprised but it was Tarina that was more surprised and even seemed shaken. She told them that the elf always sings of a long-lost lover and never of anything else, let alone Elturel. They sat in silence and were startled when there was a knock on the door. Tarina went to get it while the others made plans.

Over a hot meal and cold ale they made the following plans. Reya will try to lay low and will be to search for the Dead Three cult at other places within the city. She would take the the refugees to the High House of Wonders, the Temple to Gond within the city. She would also see if she could locate any of the other refugees that had scattered when she had been attacked.

The group would also go to the High House of Wonders to get a good long rest and the next morning they would head to the bathhouse that Tarina spoke of.

The High House of Wonders welcomed them and asked for an offering of only what they could afford. They all had a simple bed and a simple meal but it was good to sleep inside and not on the cold ground.

The next morning they headed to the bathhouse. It was located not too far from the wall separating the Upper city and the Lower city.

The bathhouse is a one-story stuccoed building with stained-glass windows and clay roof tiles. Ten-foot-tall walls enclose a large courtyard outside the southeast corner of the building. The closed wooden doors to the courtyard are engraved with images of smiling nymphs dancing and fro licking in water.

The wooden doors were not locked and they entered a courtyard.

This L-shaped courtyard features a trimmed lawn and nicely manicured shrubbery. The yard is decorated with white marble benches and stone fountains, each in the form of a smiling nymph tipping a jug that spills water into a circular stone basin.

They walked over to the main doors and gave a knock. They heard someone from inside. “Come in. You do not need to knock. Please, welcome to our bathhouse.

The doors are opened by an androgynous person who gives them a short tour of the bathhouse.

The walls of this twenty-foot-high pillared chamber are adorned with frescoes of bathing royalty. Natural light streams through stained-glass windows, creating colorful patterns on the tiles of polished blue marble that cover the floor. Three shallow, sunken pools contain scintillating perfume-scented water. White marble benches bearing stacks of dry towels are situated near the pools, each of which comes equipped with a pair of brass faucets.

St. Calmers asked if they would clean off the dirt from him. Of course, we do not see many of your kind but we are trained in all forms of cleaning. Here have a seat. Jockrates disrobes and gets into the pool while St Calmers has a seat on the bench at the end of the pool. The masseuse returns and begins to clean St Calmers feet and legs.

Meanwhile Tharja walks over to check out the room at the back and to the north. Jazulon walks around the other pool room. Jazulon does not find anything and then heads outside to check out the courtyard. Tharja knocks on the door and a woman masseuse opens it. Tharja asked for a massage and the woman welcomes her and then introduces herself as Qurmilah. Tharja lays down on the table and almost immediately spots an irregularity on the stone wall in the northwest corner of the room. She finishes the massage and then takes Qurmilah to meet St. Calmers. While she talks to St. Calmers Tharja and Jazulon return to the massage room and she find the secret door that they had been searching for. He points it out to Jazulon and then they return to where St. Calmers and Qurmilah and finishing their conversation.

Jockrates slipped under the water to look for any secret doors. He sees a tight-fitting stone plug at the bottom of the pool keeps its water from draining out. Numerous tiny drain holes near the tops of the sunken pools prevent them from overflowing. He came out of the pool and asked about massages. Jabaz says yes, come with me to my massage room. They are in there for 15 minutes or so.

St. Calmers thanks Qurmilah for the conversation and then goes out the courtyard and “drops” his silver badge. They would come back right before the bathhouse closed at midnight to ask about the missing badge. They group regathered and left the bathhouse to plan the rest of their day. They headed to the Hall of Wonders, not to be confused with the High House of Wonders. The Hall of Wonders was a museum of the city and of the wonders of Gond. Some of the more impressive exhibits that they saw were: A precision water-clock.

The fanchair, which when rocked, allowed a seated individual to be cooled by fans.

The pump of Gond, a water-pump powered by the physical effort of only one person.

One of the first-ever farseers ever crafted.

Gondsman Leonardo’s helical aerial wonder.

A gold-filigreed astrolabe that was carved from coral.

The steam dragon, which was used to convey heavy objects or rather large loads of goods.

A steam-powered mechanical orchestra.The mechanical scribe, which was a sort of hand-powered printing press.

They left and had a late lunch at the Elfsong Tavern then headed back to the High Hall of Wonders to rest up for that evenings adventures.

They left the Hall of Wonders around 11:20pm and arrived at the bathhouse at close to midnight. St. Calmers gave a brief knock on the door while the others stayed back in the shadows. The door was not locked so he opened it and saw Qurmilah walking towards him.

Hello, Calmers! What are you doing here so late. We are almost closed. I was about to lock the door.

St. Calmers replied “I am afraid I have lost a silver badge that holds significant sentimental value to me. I have only been here and the Hall of Wonders and they did not have it so I am hoping that it is here.”

Qurmilah replied I have not seen a badge but give me a minute I will look. Wait right here.

While she was away, Tharja and Jockrates stealthed and hide in the bushes and behind one of the fountains respectively.

She comes back and says I did not see a badge. St. Calmers said Would it be okay if I came back in the morning to take a look myself? She said sure and the sun will be out so you can look outside and inside. He thanked her and walked away. She followed and closing and locking the door.

St. Calmers brough Jazulon and waited. The bathhouse door opened and they saw Tharja wave them in. They closed the door and locked in back. Jockrates joined them and the headed to the main doors. They were locked as well. Thaja used Mage Hand to go through the keyhole and the open the bar on the backside of the door.

They looked around. The bathhouse was dark but they could all see in the dark but. St. Calmers who held onto Tharja as they made their way to the north massage room. The door was not locked so Jockrates opened it. Standing on the other side of the table stood a necromite of Myrkul. He held up St. Calmer’s badge and said “Looking for this?” And then he attacked.

Tharja cast Fire Bolt, Jockrates moved to block the door. The necromite cast Claws of the Grave on Tharja and suddenly three Night Blades popped out of the darkness and attacked Jazulon, St. Calmers and Tharja. They hit all of their targets but one of them really injured Jazulon.

The necromite fell first then the night blades fell. They composed themselves and while Tharja opened the secret door, Jazulon drank the last healing potion. Tharja opened the stone door and instantly a foul, sewer-like stench greeted them. Behind the door, a staircase descends 20 feet to area DS, featuring smooth stone steps and brick walls. Two sputtering torches in wall sconces illuminate the staircase, but the dungeon below is dark.

The dungeon was hewn from limestone. The 5-foot-wide corridors throughout the dungeon have 8-foot-high ceilings. Rooms had 9-foot-high ceilings, often braced with wooden beams.

The chamber at the bottom of the staircase is empty, unlit, and flooded with foul-smelling water to a depth of around 2 feet.

They ignored the passage and room to the southwest and took the one on the eastern side of the room. It turned left and then back to the right and up a set of stairs. The corridor ended at a door. The door was made of damp, soft, rotting wood. Jockrates checked it and it was not locked. He opened it and walked in. The door slammed behind him and he found himself in a room with three doors, the one behind him (North), the one to his left (East), and the one directly in front of him. (South)

East Door. The face of this door bears a carving of Bane, the lawful evil god of tyranny, who is depicted as a tall, armored man wearing a bucket helm. His right gauntlet is painted black and clutches a set of shackles.

North Door. This door bears a carving of Bhaal, the chaotic evil god of murder. He’s depicted as a powerfully built, skull-headed roan with long, curved blades where his hands should be.

South Door. This door bears a carving of Myrkul, the neutral evil Lord of Bones. He is portrayed as a cloaked figure whose face is hidden under a cowl. In bis skeletal hands, be clutches a screaming human skull.

Tharja opened the door fearing the worst but he saw Jockrates standing in the middle of the room. They decided to go to the west corridor which did not have a door. Down 20ft they saw:

The back wall of this dry alcove is hung with a 5-footwide, 7-foot-tall tapestry. It depicts a grisly scene of four faceless figures ripping apart a fifth figure, who is screaming. It did not have any outward markings of the Dead Three but they could tell it had some kind of significance to the cult. They moved north:

Three wooden beams brace the ceiling of this flooded chamber, which features a stone altar covered with entrails in the northeast corner. Hanging on the wall above the altar is a three-foot-tall steel mask cast in the form of a frowning human skull.

They determined that the steel mask represented Bhaal, They moved to the west and found a floating face-down in the middle of this flooded room is the bloated corpse of a shirtless male human with knife wounds in his back.

Jazulon took a look at the body and determined that he had died from poison. The others felt it was probably the knife wounds but they could not convince Jazulon. Not seeing any other exits, they went back to the room with the Dead Three Doors. They decided to check out the door to the south. Jockrates checked it and found that it was not locked. He did not find any traps so he opened the door.

Lying on the floor of this otherwise empty room are the pale bodies of three humans in filthy black robes, arranged in a triangular formation. A lit torch lies between them. A rough-hewn staircase to the left leads down to another torch-lit chamber.

Jockrates moved into the room and suddenly the three pale humans rose up and attacked him.