They knew they had more research to do on the green flame brazier but they decided to check out the vault door and chamber before heading back to the surface.
The doors and walls had many dwarven runes on them but even to the ones who could read dwarven, they made little sense other than being references to Dumathion, the dwarf god of secrets and miners. Reva and Hetty looked for any notches to put items in or secret areas and/or doors but they did not find any. They headed back up to the surface to ask Ranaer some questions. Ranaer was still surprised as to what was below his family’s mausoleum but was able to answer most of the questions they asked. They asked to see the first mausoleum, the one that was locked and they did not enter when first exploring, the Hall of Celestial Statues. Ranaer warned them that they might be a little freaked out by what was in there. He unlocked the door and inside they saw that each grave was marked with a statue of the deceased rendered as if they had been reborn as a celestial: Wings, glowing eyes (by way of persistent spells), and halos are common. One is carved as if they were an Empyrean – although the statue is life-size, it is surrounded by faceless, miniature people suggesting that its true scale is much larger. Others are accompanied by couatl, pegasi, and the like. As Ranaer showed them around they entered a larger open area. He said this is where things can be unsettling for some. The statues in this chamber began to sing as the group drew near. Over the centuries, however, this enchantment is fading and the voices fade and cuts, creating an unsettling and atonal melody. Ranaer said maybe we should have the enchantment updated but it really has not been on our list of things important to do. We have focused on other areas for upkeep such as my grandfather Uld’s crypt and where Anri has been relocated. Pixel indicated she wanted to go back to Anri’s crypt to check on the dice that they had found on the floor there. They all went. Ranaer said it would not surprise him that these dice were his father’s but there was no way to really know. Pixel walked over to them and gave them a bat and they rolled a 4 and a 6. Jaspar used prestidigitation to turn the dice back to double ones in hopes of scaring his friends. Heinrich saw him do it so it really did not work on the way he planned. At first, they were going to return the dice to their double ones but decided to keep them on the 4 and 6 and would come back later to see if the dice had changed positions. They then decided to put them on a 6 and 1 to add up to 7 thinking that there might be significance to the most common roll as opposed to the least common (2, tied with 12). They were thinking that Lord Neverember may come back to check on the Vault and perhaps there was another entrance to the Vault that he was using that the group had not found.
They asked Ranaer about Kolat. He said there is a set of towers in the Southern Ward called Kolat Towers. A couple of brothers lived there some 100 years ago or so. Do not know much else about it. Volo would know more.
They said their goodbyes to Ranaer with the understanding once they found the green brazier they would need to be able to enter the mausoleum once more. He said he’d know where to find me and he wished them luck and went on his way.
They went to see the Towers themselves. They were easy to spot. They towered some 75ft in the air towering over the houses that make up the Southern Ward. Heinrich went to knock in the tower door but found that he was blocked by a force field of some kind. The group went to a nearby house and asked the woman there about the tower. She pointed out the force field and the lights that were always on coming from the windows on the higher areas of the towers. She said no one had been in the towers for years. They thanked her and set out to find Volo.
They went to the Yawning Portal to see if they could find Volo. He was not there but Durnan knew of Kolat. Two brothers, Duhlark and Alcedor, both mages and both quite eccentric. No one had been in the tower for years since one of the brothers disappeared and the other died. They had set up a force field around the tower so you would need pass-amulets to get passed the force field. He described the pass-amulet as a silver disc with the initials “DK” written in runes on either side of a small, central blue gemstone. Someone holding a pass-amulet, or touching someone holding a pass-amulet, can simply walk through the force field as if it wasn’t there. But he was not sure they even worked anymore. Durnan had not seen one of the amulets in a very long time and was not sure how to even find one. The group mention Xoblob. He said it cannot hurt to ask him as he had a lot of items come in and out of his shop. It was dinner time so they had a meal before going to Xoblob’s. In Xoblob’s they looked around for trinkets for themselves before asking him about the pass-amulet. Xoblob did not have one but he knew someone that may be able to get their hands on one. But it would not be cheap. They were looking at least 500gp including finder’s fees for Xoblob. They agreed and Xoblob said he would be in touch either way. They decided to split up to do research. Jaspar would head to the Mages Library to see if he could learn more about the Kolat Towers and the brothers. Hetty would go to the Order of the Gauntlet’s genealogy records to do the same. They would meet back to discuss any findings in several hours. Hetty found that the brothers were not from Waterdeep and they did not seem to have any known relatives in the area. There was little known of them before they arrived in Waterdeep some 150 years ago. They were well known around town and used to give pass-amulets to their close friends. At some point, they both became recluses with one dying after so many years with the other disappearing from the city. Jaspar found out that Duhlark was known for creating magical statues that were used mostly for defensive measures. He looked for info on the green flame brazier but did not find anything. He found evidence of Teleporter Rings that may be used to enter the force field but there was even less information on them than the pass-amulets.
The group came back together and shared the knowledge they had each learned. Heinrich asked the Stone of Golarr in hopes of filling in any information that they have missed. They asked about the Teleporter Rings.
The Stone replied: There are two that you know that has one, a he and a she. The stone then rambled on with more information about Faerun: …although the war is referred to as the Goblin Wars, goblins only made up a fraction of the army, most of the fighting being done by the Orcs. They went down their list of people they had encountered. They came to Agorn and his mother. They went to the Dock District and found that the houseboat was gone. Reva found the street urchins she had taught to make snowballs. They said that the boat had been sold to pay for the woman’s funeral expense. They had not seen Agorn and that the rumor was that he had done it. One of the kids said his mom believed it was Agorn’s girlfriend who had done it. They remembered Amath the cleric in the Yellowspire Tower. The Stone confirmed that Agorn and Amath each had a Teleporter Ring.
The Stone started to speak as if in the middle of a conversation: Although history has long-maintained that the dark elf Ilythiiri attacked the smaller kingdom of Orishaar (moon elves) on the thinnest of pretenses to begin the Second Crown War, it turns out that the Orishaari actually betrayed the Ilythiiri at a wedding which was to unite their two people and slaughtered most of the Ilythiiri royal family. The knowledge of this was wiped from history. leaving the official histories to record only that the dark elves went to war “in supposed retaliation for Aryvandaar’s aggression against the Miyeritari.
Reva was taken back by this account of the second Crown War. She had always been told that the evil dark elves had been the instigators of the war which led to many deaths for all surface elves. Yet, the Stone had never told them information that was not true. She would think more about this later.
The group had given Amath’s body to the City Watch so they headed to the Castle Ward City Watch station to see where she may have been taken. Hetty brought some of the tavern’s nice rare ale as a gift to the City Watch. He thanked her and said that Amath was at The House of the Homeless, a vast, two-story mausoleum in the City of the Dead with a row of low steps leading to its high metal gates. Look for Anacaster’s Gate, an opaque energy-filled arch at the end of the echoing, empty entry hall, that leads to an apparently endless labyrinth of underground caverns. Here lie all the dead of Waterdeep who do not merit, or do not own (by purchase or membership in a noble or wealthy family), a place in any other tomb. They thanked him and went to see if they could find Sir Ambrose to learn more about the House of the Homeless.
Sir Ambrose showed them where the House of the Homeless was located. Inside there were signs that pointed out where people were buried. To the left were folks that full names were known. To the right were those whose first names were only known. He confirmed their suspicion that the burial area was its own dimension or plane. He said they should have no problems just as long as they did not go at night. They went straight there to see if they could find Amath. Following the signs, they found the area quickly. Their hopes dropped as they saw the niches did not contain bodies but instead held urns with ashes in them. They followed the passage to a newer area and coming around a corner they saw a figure half inside one of the niches. Reva and Hetty crept closer but the figure heard them and came out of the niche and ran in the opposite direction. They tried to follow but it suddenly disappeared. Reva took a shot but the arrow bounced off the wall in front of her. They went to check out the niche and found that it was indeed Amath’s burial spot and her body was intact and had not been cremated yet. They found a ring on her hand and some costume jewelry. Jaspar Identified it and it was one of the Teleporter Rings they were looking for. They had a way into the Kolat Towers. But would they need the pass-amulet? They were not sure. Contacting Catarak at the Trollskull Tavern, Xoblob had not left a message for them. They headed back to the Tavern to wait for nightfall. They would then teleport into the tower from the Reva’s aerie on the top floor of the tavern. It did not work. The Ring messaged to Jaspar that they would need to be closer to the Towers. They headed to the Southern Ward and found an alley to try the teleport once again. The Ring told them that the portal was open but only for about a minute. They looked and saw a 10ft square portal open within the force field and a door just beyond on the side of the tower. They ran through the portal and it closed behind them. Kolat Towers looked different on the other side of the force field. The towers were only 20ft high and there was a complex of smaller buildings as well as the two towers. The door was locked but Hetty was able to pick it. Heinrich opened the door slowly and saw the room was dark and it was just a bit warmer than outside. Pixel cast Darkvision on him and he saw a number of crates around the walls of the room. Checking out the crates he saw they were all stamped with the seal of the Fellowship of Salters, Packers, and Joiners and they all were all packed with meat. Knowing the guild, they assumed it was full of the jerky that the Fellowship of Salters, Packers, and Joiners were known for.
After a brief conversation, Jaspar cast Light on a pebble so everyone could see the room. There were several frosted over windows but not from the cold but from magic. They were able to wipe the frost away and see outside and beyond the force field.
They went to the door to the north. Opening it up, they saw three Zhents in black armor sit around a stone dining table, playing Three-Dragon Ante. The table is set with silver. Eight moth-eaten banners hang from the walls. Each bears an arcane sigil that represents a different one of the eight schools of magic. A woman that looks to be in charge turns towards the door and says “Well, what do we have here. Get them, boys!”
Hetty and Heinrich rushed forward to attack the Zhents while Reva used her bow to fire shots at those already damaged. Pixel provided healing and summoned two lions to give support to the front line fighters. Jaspar cast Sleet Storm as a Careful Spell so that Heinrich and Hetty would not fall prone on the ice on the floor. The Zhents and the lions were not so lucky as they spent the rest of combat falling down and getting back up. The Zhents were able to fire their heavy crossbows doing minimal damage but soon they were all defeated. They found another Teleporter Ring on the woman Zhent and they determined that the silverware could be sold for a good amount of gold.
They went to the door to the east. They could hear humming/singing on the other side of the door. Opening the door they saw a portly halfling stands atop a stool and cooks at an iron stove. A green, ghostly hand floats above a trellis table, holding a knife and cutting carrots and celery. A staircase curves up one wall. The halfling stopped his humming and first says “Get out of my kitchen when I am cooking”. Turning his head towards the door he yells “Wait, you don’t belong in the tower!” and he begins to cast a spell. Hetty was not sure what to think of this halfling that was part of the Zhents. She tried to reason with him but it seemed he liked the situation he was in. They surrounded him similar to what they did in the previous room. But he was able to misty step to the northeast corner of the room and cast Cone of Cold getting everyone in the blast area but Pixel. Hetty was hit the hardest. They refocused and soon the halfling mage was defeated. He was also wearing a Teleporter Ring. They also found a bottle labeled assassin’s blood on the shelf with the spices. Jaspar recognized it as an ingested-type poison that could be deadly if applied in the correct situation. They took the stairs up and saw a burly half-ore clad in black leather armor sitting in an overstuffed chair in the northernmost corner of the room, reading a book. Heinrich saw that it was a copy of Volo’s Guide to Monsters and it looked to be a signed copy. Large framed pictures of cities and landscapes hang on the walls, and a worn, blood-spattered rug covers the floor. Other furnishings include a pair of rocking chairs, a couch, and an ottoman. They could still smell the leftover stew from the kitchen below. The half-orc nodded and welcomed them. They talked for a little while about the tower. The half-orc had never seen nor heard of a green flame brazier. He knows there are other parts to the tower but he has never been there. They feel he is not a threat so they leave him to read his book and they went to door to the west. Opening it up they saw three single beds are bunched less than an arm’s length apart beneath a staircase that leads up. At the foot of each bed is a wooden chest. Investigating they learned that the chests were all locked with a simple lock. Hetty was able to open them all with little effort. Inside each chest were a set of common clothes, a spell component pouch, candles, ink, pens, paper, and a small amount of gold. Each chest also held a spellbook that each had identical spells, to begin with, but then each had other spells (see email for details of the spellbooks). Going up the stairs Heinrich saw a long room with a door to the east and a door to the south. A half-dozen staves of various styles are hung proudly on the walls at the top of the landing. Each staff is different in construction and style: a twisted birch branch, a sturdy oak dowel, a glittering haft of stone, a steel pole carved with blue runes, a dimpled copper staff topped with a copper crescent moon, and a blown-glass cane capped with a black marble orb.
Heinrich took a closer look at one of the staves and suddenly all of them animated and suddenly there are now 13 staves moving about the room. Heinrich stays on the top of the stairs to keep the staves from the others. Hetty and Reva shot their bows at the staves they could see. Pixel sent the lions in the room to attack. The staves were stubborn but they eventually were defeated. There was one that was tougher than the others. They made note of it and put all of the staves in their Bag of Holding. They went to the door to the east and could hear voices. Opening the door they saw furnishings include four beds, a small table with four chairs, and tattered window curtains. Four Zhent thugs relax here-one trying to rest, two others playing cards, and the fourth sitting on the edge of a bed, re-stringing a heavy crossbow. He sets down the crossbow he is working on and picks up another one beside him and raises to fire at Heinrich. Heinrich shuts the door. He hears 4 solid thumps on the door as the bolts slam into the door. Jaspar concentrates and casts Sleet Storm into the room with the Zhent thugs. The group hears cursing and a number of thuds. They set up the battle site for their favor. Heinrich would open the door, Hetty would roll in from the right and attack whatever was there. Reva would fire at whatever came through the door. Jaspar and Pixel would provide support, Jaspar casting Ray of Frost and Pixel providing healing. These Zhents also spent much time on the floor trying to get back up from the icy coating that the Sleet Storm had made. They soon were defeated. They went back to the room with the staves to check out the door to the south. The door to this room has a narrow, barred window set into it. The door was locked. A raspy voice called out from beyond the door. “If you be good, let us rid these towers of evil’s stench. If you be evil, open the door so we may battle, and my eternal boredom can end.” Beyond the door’s barred window, Heinrich could only see what looked like a statue sitting in a stone cell. Knowing that Duhlark was known for making magical statues they were leery. They heard the voice again from inside, “Well…come on then.”
Heinrich opened the door and tripped a trap and suddenly he was deafened but no one knew it had happened. The statue was a gargoyle with a woman’s face. She stood up and said, “my name is Lady Gondafrey and who may who be?”
They introduced themselves and then asked about the green flame brazier. She had not seen one but she knew that there were secret areas accessed in the tower that she had not been to. They asked who she was talking about thinking it was one of the Kolat Brothers. She said his name starts with M. I do not like to say his name. Manshoon Jaspar said. The M’s on the Teleporter Rings made sense now. Gondafrey explained that not only would the rings get them past the force field, they could also be used to get to a secret area through a teleportation circle. They told her that they had fought some Zhents and she said did you find rings? Then you have defeated some of his lieutenants. They asked if Manshoon had turned her into this. She said no, it was Duhlark. I was a member of the City watch and after identifying Duhlark Kolat as a suspect in several local disappearances, I came to investigate. It seemed her memory was affected by the transformation but with the history of the city and just having looked at timelines Hetty felt that this had occurred during the Year of the Lost Keep which was 1379DR, 113 years ago. Duhlark was not happy to see me and turned me into this. Then at some point, he died. Do not know the particulars. Manshoon arrived sometime recently and has kept me in that cell since. She asked for weapons and armor. The armor did not fit too well over the stone skin of her gargoyle appearance but she was able to wield two maces. Geared up she was ready to go. The group decided to finish a short rest to regain health and some of their abilities. They were tempted to leave and come back when back at full strength but they decided to stay and explore as much as they could.