Recap July 27, 2018

Everyone was hanging around the Manor House one morning when a raven flew into the compound and landed on one of the tables. It boldly hopped closer, a flat parcel wrapped in oilskin strapped to its belly. It then spoke in a familiar voice.

“Sildar sends his heartiest greetings! Please use the gift this bird brings to meet me in Waterdeep as soon as possible.”

Mason looks at the oilskin and discovers a number of teleportation scroll inscribed with the portal key for Waterdeep. Beneath the scrolls was as note to the group. You will be met by Reidoth the druid from Thundertree when you arrive at Waterdeep. He will bring you up to date as to what is going on and then take you to meet me.

Everyone gets there things together that they want to take with them and they use the scroll to get to Waterdeep. They end up in the basement of the Cellarers’ and Plumbers’ Guild. The portal led into a 20x20 room with a door only slightly open to the north. The door opened and Reidoth steps in with a elf woman dressed in various shades of green following behind him. Reid welcomes them and then gets straight to the business at hand.

“Friends, you have been invited to the Council of Waterdeep to discuss the growing threat of the Cult of the Dragon. It is known that many of you have had run ins with the Cult and the Council is wanting to hear your first hand knowledge of the Cult and what it may or may not be up to. Sildar is one of the Council as well as leaders from all of the great cities on the Sword Coast including Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate and of course Waterdeep. There will also be members of most of the factions of the Sword Coast, Lords’ Alliance, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave and the Harpers. I am not sure if anyone from the Zhentarim will be there today or not. We will know soon enough. Lord Neverember of Neverwinter is leading the Council but there will others that may have questions. Come let us go to Castle Waterdeep. The Council awaits.”

He pauses and it seems he is waiting for the group to agree that they will go. They agree. Mason is curious about the elf woman in green. Reid responds she will tell her tale when she is ready. She nodded and remained silent.

They made their way out of the ellarers’ and Plumbers’ Guild’s basement and as they are leaving the front door:

A sudden shift in the wind brings with it a strange sense of unease. The feeling is akin to the drop in air pressure before the approach of a deadly storm, or faint tremors felt from a landslide or earthquake far away. You’re not the only ones who have noticed. The city around you goes unnaturally quiet suddenly. No dogs bark, no birds squawk. Even the street vendors have gone silent.

The silence lasts only a moment before the normal sounds of Waterdeep return to mask the unexplained sensation. In the future when any of the group was in a quiet place they could hear the and feel the shift. It especially bothered Eridanus and Nameless.

They made their way through the streets of Waterdeep and in about 10 minutes they arrived at Castle Waterdeep. They were allowed in and escorted by one of the guards down a long pathway. Suddenly the guard had them stop and pressed a panel on the side of one of the walls. A wall closed in front of them and another close behind them. The room began to move and they found themselves dropping as if they were on an elevator. About 5 minutes went by and the room stopped and one of the walls opened up to reveal another passageway. They could hear conversation at the end of it as they moved down the hall. They reached a large gathering area with many galleries packed with nobles in deep conversation and guards wearing livery from city-states across the North. They came to a set of large doors. Reid says this is where I leave you. I am not a part of the Council but I have been told of its agenda. It is my understanding that though the factions are all nominally committed to stopping the Cult of the Dragon, none of the delegates have made substantive pledges yet. Too much mistrust still burdens the factions, and not enough is known about the situation. I think the leaders need someone to show them the right path—heroes who will lead the forces of the Sword Coast with certainty into the coming darkness. I and others believe that you adventurers have a chance to be those heroes. However, each faction will weigh every word you say and scrutinize every one of your decisions. What pleases one group might anger another, and it will be incredibly difficult to make all parties happy.

They were led into a large conference room. In the center was a grand table with a good number of men and women of all races sitting around it. A man rises and greats the group:

Welcome. I am Lord Neverember of Neverwinter. Please have a seat. As they enter the room they see almost every person they have ever adventured with even those they thought had been left behind at the Manor House. Nameless sees Shortlock sitting beside Sildar. He would like to sit with him but there are no chairs available and it seems he will be sitting with Eridanus and Mason. Neverember continues…

As many of you know, the Cult of the Dragon is not new. It has been around for centuries worshiping dragons and looking for ways that dragons can once again rule Faerun. For years they focused on finding decease dragons and attempted to turn them into dracoliches. Information has told us that this has been put on hold as the Cult is now set on finding a way to bring Tiamat. goddess of chromatic dragons back to the prime material plane. Our spies have stories of groups of Cultists searching for The Dragon Masks and large amounts of treasure in order to perform some kind of ritual that will allow Tiamat to break through and return. I do not think it is an understatement when I say we must use all at our disposal to stop this and at all costs. We were able to capture Skyreach Castle, an ancient magical flying castle built by storm giants that they Cult was using to transport allies of the Cult and their accumulated treasure. We lost many in order to get the castle. It is not yet safe. We will need a small force to go to the castle to make sure it has been rid of its old inhabitants. This will allow our non-combatants to go in and see what the castle can provide for us in the coming Cultist conflict. It is magically chained just outside of the Village of Parnast under guard by members of the Purple Dragons of Cormyr.

We have also destroyed several dragon hatcheries that were filled with dragon eggs of all types of chromatic dragons. Much discussion has occurred about the eggs and and should have or should not have happened to them. Members of the Council begin to speak all at once. Most delegates respect a decision to destroy the hatchery, accepting that having fewer dragons to deal with later on is an advantage. However, the Harpers would have preferred the eggs to be kept for ransoming back to their parents, potentially keeping those dragons from cooperating with the cult. The Emerald Enclave is firmly against any dragon eggs being destroyed, believing that the chromatic dragons are a part of the natural order and that killing their young upsets the balance of that order. Taern Hornblade and Lady Laeral Silverhand think there might have been a way to leverage the eggs as ransom, but both recognize that they would have been dangerous to hold onto—and even more dangerous to return them.

But first we must talk of current events. Lady Silmerhelve?

A middle aged woman rises and begins to speak: “We all heard and felt that strange disturbance less than an hour ago. That disturbance has been sensed across the Sword Coast, not just here in Waterdeep, is the Draakhorn— an ancient device whose sounding alerts dragons across Faerun that great events are unfolding. It’s impossible to say what the sounding means, but the dragons hear it clearly and they will eventually answer its call. ”

She sits but a few of the members of the Council have questions for her. Ulder Ravenguard of the Flaming Fist of Baldur’s Gate and Ambassador Connerad Brawnanvil, a dwarf and former king of Mithral Hall are suspicious of her as she refuses to tell anyone the source of her knowledge. Other, take this in stride and do not question her secrecy.

Lord Neverember says that they is another event that has happened. I will let Remallia Haventree tell of it. Remi?

Remi sits in her chair. “The Cult of Dragon has done something that I am sure they do not realize the consequences of their actions. The Cult assassinated Arthagast Ulbrinter. Not only was he my husband, he was also a Masked Lord of Waterdeep. In my grief I have sworn to destroy the Cult. And as word of my husband’s assassination has spread across the Sword Coast opposition has grown. It was I that begged for such a Council as this to meet and I am relieved to see it come to be. But there is much to be done. We must act now, our time is limited as the Cult has had a head start of months if not years in their bidding to bring back Tiamat. The time to act it now!

Lord Neverember says we will act but we still need to listen to what these adventurers can tell us about their dealings with the Cult. The group tells of all of their run ins with the Cult; from the attacks at Thundertree, to the cultists selected to have augmentations done to them, to the dragon shards that are somehow connected to the Dragon Masks, to the alchemist doing experiments on greemn dragon eggs that were stolen from their mother and the adventurers helped rescue. Several members of the Emerald Enclave comment that not all chromatic dragons are for the return of Tiamat. The council believes that this green dragon may be beneficial to the cause. Nameless is not sure where she is currently but knows she was looking for a bard friend of his named Beauford. If we find him we may find her. Eridanus and Mason also tell of traveling back in time and even in those old days the Cult was of the same mind. This plan to raise Tiamat does not seem to be as new to them as it is to the Council.

The Council listens to all of this and is quiet as they take in this new information.

Remi speaks again. The Harpers are out looking for any signs of the Cultists. We have come across information that one of the Dragon Masks has been lost, perhaps even stolen. The White Dragon Mask is missing and Varran the White, its owner is now searching for it in hopes of locating it before the leadership of the Cult realizes it is missing. Varran would be dead if they knew. We feel this is our best lead so far and as soon as Varran is found we will let the Council know.

Neverember nods in agreement. He continues; Are we all in agreement that gaining more information is prudent before we move forward? Good, please plan to do so. Before we adjourn this meeting we must discuss who will check out Skyreach Castle.

All of the Council looks towards the adventuring group.

We need a small group, of 3 to 5 folks who can get out, take care of any enemies that may remain, find out any information on the castle and get out. Eridanus, Mason and Nameless agree to go to the Castle while other members of the group will start to look for information on the Cultists and see if they can assist in looking for Varran or any of the other Dragon Masks.

The Council adjourns. Lord Neverember tells Eridanus, Mason and Nameless to meet with his people who will give them teleportation to Parnast. Also, if they are in need of any equipment, mundane or magical, please ask and it will be given for their use, all within reason of course. Eridanus, Mason and Nameless leave the council chamber and meet back up with Reid and the elf woman in green and the all head out to find gear. They update Reid on what went on at the Council. Reid says that he has been instructed by Remi Haventree to be the group’s contact person. After gathering some provisions, they receive the teleportation scroll to Parnast. They are told to meet a War Wizard of Cormyr once they have arrived at Parnast. He will get them onto the Castle. He will be with at least two Purple Dragon guards a few yards away from where the teleportation scroll will take them. They say their goodbyes to Reid and the elf woman in green and head off to Parnast.

They arrived and were welcomed by the mage. He cast a magic rope ladder up to the castle courtyard and they climbed up. Skyreach was huge. It was carved from opaque ice magically reinforced to be hard as stone. There was a foggy cloud that hovered around the castle at various places but it was not completely covered. The rooms were 30ft high and all of the doors were 1ft thick ice and tough as stone but only half the weight of stone. The castle had two layers, Lower Courtyard and Upper Courtyard. They arrived at the entrance to the lower courtyard.

A lowered drawbridge spans a foggy moat. Beyond the drawbridge is an open portcullis, and beyond the portcullis is covered gateway leading into an open courtyard. Large figures loom in the gateway but you can’t quite make them out.

They moved forward towards the gateway. As they got closer they saw:

A heavy oak and iron portcullis is drawn up just behind the drawbridge. Two life-sized statues of 18ft tall cloud giants – one female lays on the ground broken in many places and one male – which is standing just behind the portcullis. He is facing where the other statue may have once stood.

Mason moved forward to investigate. He did not get far before the male statue looked down at him and began to attack. It was a stone golem! And it was mad they were on his territory. It attacked with great strength doing big damage when it hit but it was slow so the three companions could move much quicker than it. It took a barrage of spells to finally take it down. They moved on into the Courtyard.

Walls of solid ice enclose this courtyard. Another courtyard partially overhangs this one. It is held aloft by sweeping arches of ice that soar to a height of over 100 feet. Doors of sculpted ice fitted with iron hinges lead to various outbuildings and main keep on the far side of the courtyard from the gate towers. Mason looking around spotted something just across from the main gate. Hidden in shadows is an opening that leads to a spiral staircase made of sculpted ice. They decide to take the staircase. Inside the staircase are bodies of ogres, guard drakes humans and elves. Some were Cultists, others were members of the various factions the group had met at the Council. They made their was to the closest outbuilding. It was a kitchen. Inside were the bodies of 20 kobolds dressed as chefs. Looking closer each one resembled the kobold ninjas they had fought before. There were no other bodies in the kitchen. Looking up Mason spotted what looked like a nest. Eridanus cast Fly and went up to check it out. It was empty and he could not tell what kind of creature had been using it. He could tell it had been used recently, perhaps in the last week.

They moved to the next building. It looks like barracks. As they entered they smelled unwashed bedclothes. There were 14 beds as well as several chests of clothing, table and chairs. Several more kobold bodies were in this room. All were sliced or bludgeoned. They next stopped at the stables. It was obvious it was stables because of the design but it was not until they got inside that they saw it was a stable for flying animals, wyverns. Luckily there were no wyverns alive left in the stables. On the body of one of the dead wyvern they found a fine wyvern bridle embellished with jade and mitral bits. It was able to fit in Nameless’ Bag of Holding so they took it to sell.

The next building had several rooms. The first was a bedroom. In the middle of this frost-glazed room stands a nine foot tall table carved of stone surrounded by three giant-sized chairs, also carved from stone. A fat iron cauldron etched with runes rests upon the table. On the floor in the far corner sits a large iron chest. There were two bodies of stone giants, one male and one female laying on the floor. They moved around them to check out the room. Eridanus and Nameless looked at the chest while Mason investigated the cauldron. In the chest they found 32 gems and masonry tools made for stone giants. Mason realized that the cauldron was magical. When it was filled with water or some other liquid, the cauldron substituted for the normal material components needed to cast the Augury spell. It too was able to fit into the Bag of Holding.

The next chamber was locked. It was the locked door they had come across so far. Eridanus was able to open the lock. Opening the door they saw a large rug covers the icy floor just inside the door of this 10ft high room which is lit by a brazier of hot coals. A large bed rests in one corner, a desk in another. Resting atop the desk is a handsome, iron banded chest secured with a sturdy padlock.

On the other side of the rug were two bodies of guard drakes. Eridanus went into the room and as he stepped on the rug it rose up from the floor, grappling him and began to try to strangle him. The others leaped into action and soon the rug stopped moving. The moved to look at the locked chest. Eridanus with a few tries was able to open the lock. Once it was opened he could see that if he had not been more careful he would sprung a poison trap. Inside they found gems and jewelry.

The next room was not locked. Hundreds of horse skulls are nailed to the ceiling and cover it entirely. Thick carpets cover the icy floor and desks, chairs and lecterns are everywhere, some covered with books and scrolls, others with potion vials, bits of meat and fur and other things. Four hulking gargoyles are in the room. 3 of them lay in pieces scattered about the room. The fourth one stands frozen in the middle of the room. They noticed something about the far wall. When it was touched the wall would vanish and one could go out on a landing platform on the side of the castle. Looking about the room Mason sees a book on one of the lecterns. He cannot read what it says but Eridanus can. It is written in Infernal and describes various forms of devil summoning. The final chapter describes the use of massive summonings and the sacrifice of hundreds of souls to bring Tiamat bodily out of the Nine Hells and into the world. He tells the other two was he has found. They all agree they need to take this information back to the Council.

They go back to the spiral staircase and move up the upper courtyard. They emerged from a large mound like area with several towers and a mausoleum. On one side of the upper courtyard was a large tower. Another even larger toward stood on the other side. They went to the first tower. A staircase of ice leads from the tower’s ground floor to a high chamber, the walls and ceiling fo which gleam and glitter: jewels are everywhere in the room. You see glowing moonstones, thumb-sized emeralds, shining silvery mithral wands, and strange spheres covered in turquoise and gold, as well as dozens of copper levers and golden spheres embedded in the walls. After a moment the walls themselves seem to disappear, providing a perfect aerial view in all directions, as if there were no castle and no cloudstuff around. More than a dozen glowing white runes wink into existence, drifting about the room like snowflakes. They know instantly that his is the steering room. They move over to look closer at the runes but no one can read them. Nameless casts Comprehend Languages and soon he is reading the controls.

There are 18 command runes:

Alarm All-Clear Anchor Cast Off Drift Home North, South, East, West Rise Sink Spin Widdershins Veil Unviel Storm Calm

They study the runes and decide to use the All-Clear rune. As soon as Nameless steering mechanism they all hear a woman’s voice. “Is that you, Blagothkus? No, wait you are not him.”

Nameless responds “Who is Blagokthus?” She responds slowly, “He is my husband. I fear he has been taken care of like I was so many years ago. He was just here. Please tell me, have the cultists and other unsavory visitors to the castle, have they left?” They ask “who are you? What is your name? Esclarotta she says.

They all respond that most have but that they are here to clean the place of anything else. She says while you are doing that please look for my husband and tell him I am searching for him. They agree to look for him and then they leave and go to check out the mausoleum. They look and look but do not find an entrance. They decide to check out the crumbling tower.

This ancient tower seems to be crumbling. The windows have been sealing shut with ice and cracks have formed in the walls and roof cap. A balcony of sculpted ice hugs one side of the tower 75 ft above the tower base. They try the door at the base of the tower and it is will not open. They decide to look at the blue tower before attempting to get into the door on the balcony on the crumbling tower.

This tower of pale blue ice is the color of sky on a winter day. Its few windows shimmer like mirrored glass or crystal. This tower was also locked but they were able to pick the lock. Inside they find several ogre bodies and a few long coils of rope extending up towards the 90ft ceiling. Nameless flies up there but does not see anything. They leave and go to the largest tower at the opposite end of the courtyard as the Steering Tower. They find two unlocked doors on the ground level of the tower. As soon as they open one of the doors a bell rings and they wait for an attack but it never comes. A staircase of chiseled ice hugs the interior wall, connecting the bottom level with one above. The room has wooden furnishings including a table with four chairs. The walls are covered in murals depicting an army of hill, frost, fire, stone and cloud giants. On the floor are three ogres. All of them are wearing fancy plumed helmets. Eridanus takes one and puts it in the Bag of Holding. They take the stairs to the top floor.

The walls of this room are sculpted with icy mural depicting cloud giants riding giant birds. An enormous bed with a headboard of ice sculpted to resemble clouds dominates the room. Bear furs are heaped up on the bed and two large wooden chests are at the bed’s foot. There is a giant Morningstar leaning against the bed. It is much too large for any of them to use.

They check out the wooden chests. The chests are both unlocked and are loaded with silver and gold. They also find a Bag of Holding which Mason takes. There are also bars of solid gold and silver. They leave not sure what to do next.

They decide to head to the Crumbling Tower. They will all have Fly cast on them so than can reach the balcony. They fly up and just beyond the icy parts of the balcony. They enter a large room with a coffin in the middle of the room. Suddenly four ice blue creatures emerge from the ceiling. Other than being blue in color they look exactly like vampire. Mason Turns them and they run to the far end of the room. Nameless, Eridanus and Mason pepper them with ranged attacks and spells. One falls but the other are still up. One of them breaks the Turn Undead and moves back towards the group but the group is not missing and soon they are all destroyed. Suddenly the coffin burst open and a female vampire floats above them and settles down on the icy floor. It moves to attack flying up to meet Nameless where he has been flying. Eridanus moves to the far back of the room near the entrance they came in. Mason casts Spiritual Weapon and Guardian of Faith doing a good amount of damage to the female vampire but it kept pressing the attack. She would get a scratch her and there but was never able to get any solid hits. Soon she turned to mist and tried to escape the tower. The three of them blasted her with spells and finally the fog dissipated and the vampire was no more. They decided to burn the coffin using Eridanus’s Magical Pigments.

They want to get into the mausoleum but not know how. They return to the Steering Tower and ask Esclarotta what to do. She says. The Blue one…Say my name.

They run over to the Blue Tower and say her name. They are suddenly inside the mausoleum. The ceiling is 30ft high and lined with icicles, and bits of broken ice surround a massive white marble sarcophagus situated in the middle of the floor. The lid is sculpted into the likeness of a female giant with long flowing air. It is Esclarotta’s resting place. As they explore the Mausoleum they find a hidden passageway leading down into the castle itself. It was winding passage that keeps getting larger and larger the further they go. The walls of blue ice are partly transparent, revealing various things embedded in the ice all around, including coins, helmets, livestock, a handful of kobolds, and an ogre or two. Frost coats the tunnel floors and crunches underfoot.

All tunnels seem to lead to a central core, a glittering cavern of ice with jagged walls and icicles the size of stalactites. This grand vault is split into two level; an egg shaped upper level with a sheer edge overlooking a sunken level 30ft below where a massive pile of treasure rests beneath an icy glaze. Next to the hoard is a dragon, its claws gripping ice but it is not moving. Could it be sleeping? Eridanus casts Invisibility and moves in closer. The other two follow. Soon they see the wounds that brought the great beast down and they sigh with relief. They use fire to remove the treasure. It was not as large as it first seemed but did include a +1 longsword, +1 leather armor, a Giant Slayer hand axe and other items.

They make their way out of the tunnels and back to the mausoleum. On a hunch Mason says Blagothkus and suddenly they are back in the Blue Tower. They hear a low man’s voice and rush out to see a cloud giant landing in the courtyard. He looks down on them and says you must have been the ones who said my name. I had been magically ported away and could not return until someone said my name in at my wife’s grave. Thank you for what you have done. But I must apologize. I though that I could get the upper hand with these cultists. I was going along with them and once we reached the Well of Dragons I would turn on them. But they are more powerful than I thought they would be. So, I would like to offer my services and the services of Skyreach to those who join to defeat the Cultists once and for all. Let us go to the Steering Chamber and visit my wife.

They head to the Steering Chamber. Esclarotta is happy to see her husband again. She agrees that they will join those who would defeat the Cultists. The group explains that there are folks that want to help repair the Castle. They are waiting in Neverwinter. After getting the War Mage to remove the magic chains, Blagothkus takes the controls and lowers the castle to the ground. There are few folks waiting to work on the castle but others arrive over the next few days. The group teleports back to Neverwinter and gives an update to the Council. They are thanked. As they are leaving Reid approaches and says I have some news you may want to hear.

The Harpers have learned the possible whereabouts of Varram the White. The Harpers sent a friend that could get into such places easier without causing too much of a stir. But I will let her explain, The elf woman in green steps forward and begins to speak. Nameless recognized the voice immediately as V the green dragon that they had helped rescue her eggs from the Cultists. V says I have seen the dwarf Varram the White in the trade settlement of Boareskyr Bridge, near the Serpent Hills. Reid continues that with the Harpers’ already spread far and wide on their intelligence-gathering missions,I feel that you all are a perfect choice to pursue the wyrmspeaker. V nods her head in agreement. She then says but you will need more than just the three of you. He is not alone and I imagine he has some of his most loyal minions with him in his search for the missing dragon mask. Reid says But now, go rest. You have earned it.