Recap June 15, 2019

Everyone went with Catarak to report back to Mirt on the conversation with Maxeene. Yagra may or may not be a Zhent but she is at least working with them. And even with the crackdown on the Zhentarim, there are still operatives plotting and scheming within Waterdeep. Catarak was drunk when he made his report to Mirt. Mirt didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he found it amusing.

Yagra had not been spotted in the tenday that Catarak had been staking out the Yawning Portal. Volo is just as concerned as Durnan about the possible return of Manshoon. He mentions that there has to be a way to bring him down once and for all.

Mirt asked them to do another quest for the Harpers.

“Uza Solizeph is an old woman who sells books out of a narrow three-story building on Sorn Street in the Trades Ward. She claims to have trapped a monster in her shop and fears for the welfare of her books and her cat. The City Watch isn’t likely to lend a hand, given Uza’s propensity for tall tales, but the Harpers owe her a favor. You’ll find her sobbing at Felzoun’s Folly, a tavern on the corner of Sorn Street and Salabar Street. Make haste!”

They found Felzoun’s Folly and inside was a woman that fit the description Mirt had given them. She was sobbing into a glass of wine. Once she knew that the Harpers had sent them, she begged them to kill the “monstrous orb of many eyes” that chased her cat, Fillipa in her shop. The description she gave matched the gazer that they had fought before but it was larger making it probably a spectator. Uza gave them the key that would open the front and back doors and gave them the address to her shop.

The book shop was 5 or 6 buildings down from the Folly. Half of the group went to the back door, the others to the front. Hetty picked the lock on the back door and Jasper used the key on the front door and using the Messaging Stones given to them by Sir Ambrose, they coordinated and entered the shop at the same time. The ground floor was quiet and empty but there were signs of a struggle as books had been tossed all over the room. Tables and chairs were also knocked over as well as papers spread out over the countertop. They could hear bumping and moving on a floor above them. The second floor was in worse shape than the main floor but there was not a sign of the cat or the monster. Stealthily moving up the stairs, they saw that Filipa the cat was cornered by a spectator across the room from the stairs. The spectator turned and fired several eye stalk beams at them. Filipa found a place to hide while the battle took place. The floating eye put up a good fight but soon it crashed to the floor dead from the group’s attacks.

They took one of its eye stalks in case it could be used as one of the keys to the Vault of Dragons. They thought they would need one from a full beholder not from a beholderkin so they planned to go to Xoblob’s as well. They went back to the Folly and told Uza the good news. She thanked them and gave them a spellbook that she no longer needed. It contained four 1st-level and three 2nd-level wizard spells.

They returned to Mirt who gave them each 100gp.

While Catarak hung out at the Yawning Portal he had learned a few other things that he felt may come in handy.

Hrabbaz is the real muscle in House Gralhund. If anyone was going to retake the house from kidnappers, it would have been him. The Gralhund groundskeeper and his dogs, who had completely disappeared, are now back at the villa, in charge of things while the family is away.

The group decided to go by the Gralhund Estate to see if they could see the groundskeeper and maybe get lucky and have a word with him. They went to the estate and talked to one of the guards. They never saw the groundskeeper. They could easily tell that the estate had increased security after the kidnapping incident. Pixel roamed around the yard for a while but never saw anyone come to the estate or leave the estate.

Hetty went to visit the Cassalanters

The Cassalanter House was surrounded by a well-manicured lawn. A cobblestone path led from the estate’s exterior gate to both the front entrance and the entrance to the coach house. The villa’s grounds featured numerous deciduous trees and meticulously tended gardens. Once she identifies herself, the guard said that they are expected. Pixel has come with her as her pet. Lady Cassalanter is only available. Her husband is away on business. Hetty and Ammalia talk for about an hour on all subjects but mostly about the history of Waterdeep and the art that is found in the foyer of the Cassalanter House.

Meanwhile, Pixel decided to check out the rest of the house but did not get far. She ran into another cat that spoke to her in Common. Pixel believed that he was also an Awakened Cat or shapeshifter of some kind or gained these powers as a cleric. The cat also said that the Cassalanter House was more guarded than Pixel could imagine.

After the conversation, Hetty believed that Ammalia was not the Black Viper. She also saw no signs of children or of a twin sister to Ammalia.

Hetty went to the Order of the Gauntlet records department again and looked up the Cassalanters. She also went to see if she could find any information on the original Black Viper.

The original Black Viper of Undermountain was Alauneth Orrane, who was a notorious pickpocket, burglar, mugger, and assassin of Waterdeep who died in the late 14th century DR after a long criminal career.

The Cassalanters fell on hard times a few years back, but they have since reversed their fortunes and restored their lucrative banking and money-lending business.

Victoro and Ammalia’s eldest son, Osvaldo, disappeared three years ago when the family was on the verge of bankruptcy. They have two surviving children, young twins named Terenzio and Elzerina.

Lord Victoro Cassalanter is the only living heir of the late Caladorn Cassalanter, a former Masked Lord and Open Lord of Waterdeep and a hero of the North.

Over the years, the Cassalanters had founded a number of philanthropic societies and made generous donations to temples dedicated to good-aligned deities. They are known to worship Siamorphe, a demigod whose ethos is the nobility’s right and responsibility to rule. Ammalia is originally from Neverwinter and only has brothers, no sisters.

They had not heard from Vincent Trench so they decided to check in with him and see if he could find more information on either the Black Viper or the missing eldest son of the Cassalanters.

Vincent told them the following:

Floxin thought he was in charge at the Gralhund villa but he underestimated the family. Floxin had been poisoned by one of his own toxins that he created without having an antidote. Floxin is rumored to be the leader of a renegade Zhent faction called the Black Network. They see themselves as the True Zhentarim. Another splinter group of Zhents called the Doom Raiders, see themselves as the True Zhents. The groups have worked together to further the causes of the Zhentarim in the past but something has recently happened causing a further divide. A warrant has been issued for Floxin’s arrest, but his current whereabouts are unknown. Even magical scrying has failed to reveal his location.

When asked about Osvaldo, the missing son of the Cassalanters, Trench said that he was one of several investigators that had searched for him. They found no trace of him. Osvaldo was to study in a faraway city but never made it there. Disappeared on the trip. Trench believes he is dead. Others speculate that he may have disguised himself and had joined a crew that was sailing out to sea.

When asked about the Black Viper he said he did not believe that the original one had returned. The new one did not fit the same M.O. as others had said including that it seems like this new Viper is staying around long enough so folks would see him/her but not get caught. The original Black Viper left calling cards after her jobs. She was finally caught and retired from her life of crime dying from old age some years after.

Henrik and Pixel went to the Wazoo Gazette to talk to the publisher about more proof of his fight and defeat of the necromancer in the City of the Dead. The editor said please bring more witnesses, at least Sir Ambrose. Pixel and Henrik used poor ventriloquism on the editor and the editor did not seem to know what was going on.

Jasper went to see about getting the spectator and the flying black snakes stuffed. He found Fembrys’ Taxidermy who could do the work and not charge crazy prices. The snakes would not take long but the spectator may take most of a tenday to complete. Fembry also gave him a contact to talk to about commissioning artwork for Trollskull tavern and to possibly paint a portrait of a dwarf miner for them to be one of the keys to the Vault of the Dragon. The contact’s name is Eatiel who owns the shop called Three Moves Ahead, a gaming and collectables store. Eatiel, an elf, is an artisan and well-known craftsman and collector.

Jasper and Catarak went back to see Mirt. Catarak asked Mirt what other information that could be found about the Black Viper. Mirt told him to meet up with Maxeene in the morning and she would have more information. The password was barley.

Catarak met with Maxeene. She said that his contact was Long Jack and he could be found at the Muleskull Tavern. Catarak went in separate from the rest of the group and found Long Jack. Long Jack told him that the current Black Viper was sloppy as he/she kept getting spotted. Even with that being the case, several Thieves’ Guilds were trying to recruit the new Viper. Long Jack did not think that this current one was the real Black Viper either.

Jasper went to the Lords’ Alliance to see if he could help them with anything. Jaelester, his contact at the Alliance said yes.

“Harko Swornhold, an evil adventurer who was exiled three years ago for attempting to bribe a city magistrate, has returned to Waterdeep illegally. We think the Xanathar Guild is using him to incite violence. He was last seen recruiting kenku in the Dock Ward. Find him and quietly put him to the sword.”

They went to the Order of the Gauntlet’s crime records division and doing some research, they found areas in the Dock Ward where Harko had been frequenting since his return. He was concentrating in a 5 block area within the southernmost part of the Dock Ward.

They waited till after dark and went to see if they could find him. They got lucky and found him but he had several kenku companions. After a strong fight, Harko lay dead on the street. He had some magic items on him.

Henrik used the Stone of Golarr to ask questions about the current Black Viper. The present day Black Viper’s name was Esvele Rosznar. Esvele Rosznar was currently in Waterdeep. The Rosznar Family were lesser nobles that were once banished (over 100 years ago) from Waterdeep for smuggling, slavery, and other crimes. They are now trying to overcome their dark past and disgraceful reputation by focusing on legitimate business ventures such as wine-making and gem trading.

Henrik also used the Stone to ask where the Beholder was that dreamed the spectator into being that they fought at Uza’s BookShop. The Beholder was in Waterdeep. Then the Stone gave a long list of honorifics ending with “the advanced elder orb known as Xanathar”. His last known residence was in Skullport, also known as the Port of Shadows, a teeming hive of evil lying deep beneath Waterdeep.