Recap January 19, 2019

The group had one more question to ask Dalakahr using the Speak with Dead spell. They asked what the Stone of Golorr was needed for. He responded to find the hoard of dragons secreted somewhere in Waterdeep. That had been their guess but now they were sure. They then used another Speak with Dead spell to find out who the mysterious elderly woman was that no one could identify. She was part of an old real estate rich but cash poor family that lived in the North Ward. She had just been out for a walk when the explosion happened. She did not know the attacker(s) and had never seen Dalakhar or any of the other victims.

They thought about what to do next when Kataract said didn’t the wealthy woman who was at the Tiger’s Eye detective agency mention some kind of puppet shaped man she saw on the rooftops? They discovered that there magical constructs called nimblewrights that marched every year on the Day of Wonders, a festival sponsored by the local Temple of Gond. They set out to the Sea Ward and the Temple of Gond, The House of Inspired Hands.

As they were approaching the temple, they spotted a nimblewright on the highest spire of the temple. It released something from its hand and the thing began to fly around in a circle and then started to head directly at the group. They all got into a defensive stance. Kataract cast Shatter and the mechanical sparrow exploded into a many pieces. They were able to salvage enough pieces of it to know what it used to be.

They entered the great hall of Gond. In the Main Hall were two dozen marble pedestals. Each one bears a prize-winning invention or a miniature model of some other extraordinary creation. Among the displays are several that stand out:

A 4-foot-tall working model of a clock tower rings at the top of every hour. It is made of wood. iron. bronze, and glass, with brass bells and delicate hands formed from solid gold.

• A wooden flying machine has wings that flap when it becomes airborne.

• A miniature model of a mechanical dragon turtle has a brass plate affixed to its pedestal that reads, “Big Belchy. Sank in Deepwater Harbor on the Day of Wonders in 1363 DR.”

• A functional “waking helmet” equipped with small, articulated metal arms and hands that gently slap the wearer if he or she falls asleep.

• A miniature model of a red submarine shaped like a manta ray has a brass plate affixed to its pedestal that reads, “The Scarlet Marpenoth. Lantanese submersible. Launched in 1489 DR.”

They were greeted by Valetta, a dragonborn priest of Gond with bronze dragon ancestry. She welcomed them to the temple gave them a little tour of the main floor. They then told her why they were there. She assured them that all of their nimblewrights were accounted for. They then mentioned what happened just outside with the one on the spire and the mechanical sparrow. She was not happy and asked them to follow her up into the temple into that spire. She told them about Nim, the Nimblewright they had seen. It was gifted to the temple by a Lantanese wizard and it was named Nim. They entered an attic area and onto a long staircase. They arrived at a door and it would not open. Valetta noticed a new lock had been put on the door. She was not happy. She knocked on the door asking Nim to unlock it and let them in so he could explain the bird incident. Hetty said she could pick the lock. Valetta said that was fine but just do not destroy the door. While Hetty tried to open the lock Kataract tried his best to get Nim to open the door. Nim never did. Hetty finally got the lock open and they went inside. Nim understood Common but could not speak it so he developed a sign language to communicate with Valetta. He was hiding and Valetta had to find him. He emerges and admits (through gesturing to Valetta) that it built the other nimblewright to ease its loneliness. But then Nim’s creation Red in confused terror a month ago. and Nim hasn’t seen it since. In light of this revelation, Valetta angrily orders acolytes to remove Nim’s tools and unfinished inventions from the attic, while she forces Nim to look on.

As the acolytes are removing items a strange object catches the group’s eyes, a 1-foot-long copper contraption with an umbrella-like metallic protrusion at one end. Kataract determined it was magical. Valetta asked Nim what this contraption is. He gestured to Valetta that he built this device to find the errant nimblewright and tried to seek it out, only to discover that Nim couldn’t leave the temple grounds. He then explained how the nimblewright detector worked. Valetta gives the nimblewright detector to the group.

To activate the nimblewright detector, a character must hold down its trigger. When the activated device comes within 500 feet of a nimblewright other than Nim, the umbrella begins to spin, whir, and click. The spinning, whirring, and clicking accelerates as the distance to the target lessens, reaching maximum velocity and volume when a nimblewright other than Nim is within 30 feet of the device.

Valetta walked out with the group. She says that if they can find this rogue nimblewright, she and the temple will pay them 500gp to destroy it. The group was hesitant to destroy it but they said they would find it and if all possible bring it back to her for the temple to decide what to do with it. She agreed.

They made a plan to look for Nim’s creation. They would split into two groups one would see about getting more information on the incident in Trollskull Alley and the other would start the search fro the rogue nimblewright. One group went back to Trollskull Manor and the other started their search in the Sea Ward and traveled the main roads trying get as much of the area of the Ward they were in. It took about 6 hours to go from the Sea Ward down to the Dock Ward. They then traded tasks so they folks that needed rest could get their spells back and they other group could continue searching through the night. They started in the Trade Ward and made their way to the City of the Dead. Finding nothing they went back to the Sea Ward and locked around the few docks it had. There they got a hit on the nimblewright detector coming from at least two boats harbored there. They saw a few guards near the ships and they approached and asked about the ships. The guards replied that these galleons were the Heartbreaker and the Hellraiser, two ships part of the Sea Maidens Faire owned by Zardoz Zord. Zardoz Zord was on the Eyecatcher which was anchored in Deepwater Harbor. They would have to come back during the day to learn more about the Faire. The group thanked them and then went about their way. The group also noticed that the city guard and some of the griffon riders had been following them on their walk around town.

They went back to Trollskull Manor and rested.

The next morning they received an invitation to have lunch on the Eyecatcher as guests of Zardoz Zord. Zardoz would like to meet them. They accepted and made their way to the docks around noon or so. They approached the docks and showed the guards there the invitation. A rowboat came and picked them up and took them out to the Eyecatcher.

The dining cabin is bedecked with golden filigree, the purple curtains festooned with silken tassels, the wood paneling scented with perfume. A magnificent feast laid out on golden platters sprawls atop a mahogany table of exquisite craftsmanship. Even the doilies are something to behold. Standing behind it all with wine glass in hand is a well-built, scantily clad man, his scarlet apparel designed to accentuate his trim figure and bountiful chest hair. A flashy rapier hangs from his stylish belt. “Welcome aboard the Eyecatcher,” he says, flashing his pearly white teeth. “Zardoz Zord. at your service.”

They had a great meal and conversation. Seems Zardoz had heard of them and their new tavern and wanted to meet potential compatriots in the arts. The group learned the following about Zardoz, the Sea Maiden Faire and the nimblewrights onboard his ships.

The Sea Maidens Faire, owned and operated by Zord, is a seafaring carnival based in Luskan that travels along the Sword Coast. It provides good, wholesome entertainment in the form of fantastic street parades.

• The Heartbreaker and the Hellraiser are used to transport entertainers, wagons, and parade floats. The Eyecatcher is Zord’s command ship and private yacht. All three ships are built for comfort and speed.

• Zord visits the distant island of Lantan about once a year. During his last visit, he purchased four nimblewrights from a Lantanese wizard. He keeps two aboard bis flagship, and one aboard each of the other two vessels.

• When they’re not marching in a parade, Zord’s nimblewrights remain aboard his ships. “They’re perfectly harmless,” he attests, whereupon a nimblewright holding a decanter enters the dining cabin and quietly refills everyone’s wine glasses.

• “Every city has problems, l suppose. My job as an entertainer is to make people forget about politics for a while.”

He then said he had an afternoon appointment. They took that as their cue to leave. They thanked him for the meal and invited him to their tavern. He said he mostly stayed on his ship when he was in town but thanked them for their offer.

They went back to the tavern and had a meal. At the meal Ranaer visted them. He said he contacted some of his friends and found the following information:

The man Fala saw matches the description of Urstul Floxin, a suspected member of the Black Network.

• Another North Ward resident claims he saw Urstul enter Gralhund Villa, in the North Ward, shortly after the fireball incident. The resident reported him to the City Watch because Urstul looked suspicious.

• Two City Watch constables spoke to Lord Gralhund. He assured them that no one had broken into the estate and that everything was fine. The constables had no grounds to get a search warrant, so they didn’t pursue the matter.

The Gralhund estate was in the North Ward not too far from Trollskull Alley. They then started their search for the rogue nimblewright once more. This time they started in the North Ward and made their way towards the Gralhund’s. It did not take long until they had a hit on the nimblewright detector coming from inside the Gralhund estate.

They regrouped and came up with a plan. Hetty would go around the North Ward collecting money, food and clothing for the families of the victims of the fireball incident. She would then approach the Gralhund estate to ask for donations using the time with the door open to see if she could see anything odd going on inside. Pixel would go with her. Meanwhile Kataract would be on the other side of the house staking it out to see who was coming and going from the estate. In the few hours he was there he only saw a groundskeeper and several mastiffs roaming around the yard. He stayed hidden while Hetty and Pixel approached the front gate.

The groundskeeper and two mastiffs approached the gate and talked to Hetty. She explained why she was there and wandered if she could speak with someone from the house. The groundskeeper said he thought the family had already given but would ask to be sure. He then asked her to stay there and he would be right back.

She waited and waited. He did not return. Kataract saw the groundskeeper enter the house by the servant’s door. The mastiffs stayed outside.

Hetty touched the front gate and it opened. She crept her way to the front door and knocked. She got no response. She followed the path around the way the groundskeeper went and saw the mastiffs hanging around the back door. Pixel approached the dogs and they got defensive but did not attack. Hetty and Pixel left and went and found members of the City Guard and told them what was going on. The City Guard said thank you. It may be nothing but it is a good idea to check. Hetty stayed out of the way as several City Watch and City Guard tried to get into the front door. A griffon rider appeared above and ordered Hetty and Kataract to stay away from the estate. Hetty and Pixel went back to the Manor house to get the rest of the group. Kataract stayed behind and well hidden to see what was going on. More City Guard, City Watch showed up. At least 10 griffon riders were making rounds above the estate. The group arrived in time to see Barnibus Blastwind and Saeth Cromley accompanied by 20 constables. They acknowledged the group but did not give any information as to what happened inside they house. Shortly a constable came over the crowd that had gathered and asked them to go home. It took a little bit but the crowd thinned out. The group stayed behind for a bit longer. Saeth Cromley came over to them and told them the following:

• Officers arrived to find Lord Gralhund unconscious, Lady Gralhund in shock, and their half-ore bodyguard bloodied but unbowed.

• Apparently, the Gralhunds had been held hostage for more than a tenday by agents of the Black Network. Most of the Zhents were killed during a bloody revolt led by Lord Gralhund himself.

• The Zhent leader, Urstul Floxin, was among those who got away. He·s still at large. The Watch plans to step up its search for him.

• Of the nimblewright, there was no sign. According to the Gralhunds, the construct was delivered to Gralhund Villa weeks earlier. The family took it in, not realizing it was a Zhentarim spy. Lady Gralhund reported that it stole her necklace of fireballs.

The group was not so sure about some of what was discovered. They figured the best thing to do was to continue using the nimblewright detector to see if they could find the rogue nimblewright.

Meanwhile the story of the attack at the Gralhund’s Estate was plastered all over the broadsheets around Waterdeep. Dubbed the Gralhund Villa Bloodbath, the City Watch cracked down on the Black Network. Many arrests were made. Shops that were not known as connected to the Zhents were suddenly closed up with word that they had been fronts for the Zhent operations.

One morning one of the workers of the tavern came to them asking them to please go to the front door. They went and saw a flying black snake with a message in its jaws. They took the message and it flew off. The message read:

I would like to know more about what happened at Gral· hund Villa. If you can spare the time, meet me at Ahghairon’s Statue in the City of the Dead at highsun tomorrow. You ‘ll be paid generously for your time and trouble.

They agreed to go. The next day at the City of the Dead:

Ahghairon’s Statue is a well-known landmark in the city’s parkland cemetery: a tall, marble sculpture of a bearded. robed wizard standing atop concentric steps and facing west toward the skyline of Waterdeep, his hands out· stretched and a broad smile on his face. At the foot of the statue stands a female dwarf clad in plate armor.

They looked around and were pretty sure she had come alone.

She spoke to them:

Istrid feared being arrested by the City Watch. Although she wasn’t involved in the matters concerning Gralhund Villa, she is worried that the Watch will uncover her illegal currency-lending operation in the course of its investigations. She offers the characters 10 pp just for meeting with her and promises another 40 pp if the characters agree to help her lie low for a tenday.

They agree but want to ask her some questions during that time. They head back to the manor and over the time she is there they learn:

• Urstul Floxin was not some big shot in the Zhents. He was an up and coming but sounds like he was trying to make a name for himself and move up in the Zhent organization.

• There is no way that Lord Gralhund did any fighting at his estate. Istrid made clear that Lady Gralhund wore the pants in that family. If anyone did any fighting it was their half-orc bodyguard.

Istrid did chores around the tavern but the longer she stayed hidden there, the more testy and demanding she became. With only two days left in their agreement she announces she must go. She paid them what she owed them and tells them thanks but she is getting antsy and best she move on. She says it is also best she not tell them where she is going. She used her disguise kit to change her appearance and she left.

They decided to check out the Zhent warehouse down the Dock District where they had found Ranaer. Sure enough the nimblewright detector began to spin as soon as they got close to the warehouse. They easily hopped the fence and saw that there was a new lock on the front door. It was easily picked by Hetty. Entering the warehouse the nimblewright detector’s spinning increased. They had not explored the upstairs so they went directly there. Hetty found the alarm spell she missed the first time. She disabled it and they looked around the rooms. It was an office area but it did not get much use. They did find a box of paper birds, magical items that could deliver messages of 50 words or less and as long as the person being contacted was on the same plane of existence, the message would go through. They did not find anything else but the nimblewright detector was not spinning as fast as it had been before they entered the offices.

They went back downstairs and saw a pile of junk over on the far side of the warehouse up against the wall. That pile had not been there the last time they were here so they approached. The nimblewright detector began to spin faster and faster. They saw a shiny bit of metal the same color as what Nim had described his creation being. They called out to the rogue nimblewright. It stood and unsheathed its sword and attacked.

The battle did not last long. They search him and found a folded-up map depicting the Field Ward of Waterdeep. “Thrakkus’’ is written by an X on a map. They do some research and learn that a dragonborn Thrakkus has a butcher shop in the Field Ward. They decide the next day they will visit him to see about getting some meat for the tavern.

They find an old converted windmill as their destination in the Field Ward. A red wooden sign carved to look like a butcher’s cleaver hangs above the door of Thrakkus’s butchery, which occupies the westernmost room of the west wing. They entered the butcher shop. The butchery is ice cold and reeks of meat and blood. A bloodstained chopping block dominates the room, and shelves of cut meat wrapped in bloody parchment line the walls. The floor is streaked with blood and covered with bits of gore. There is a locked door on the east wall of the room. They talk briefly about buying some extra meat for their tavern. He has some venison and some beef that fresh. Meanwhile Kataract is looking around the outside of the windmill. He sees several doors. All three of them have padlocks on them. It is a busy street during the day so it was hard to not draw attention to himself. The others come out of the butcher shop and they all decide to come back to the windmill later that night.