Recap October 3, 2020

Vedra cast Stone-Shape fusing the rock around the door. They ran into the secret cavern and began to search for the dire troll and its boars.

Hetty cast Pass without a trace and they started down the main path in the secret cave system. They spotted one of the troll boars, but it did not seem to see them as it went up the adjacent path heading towards where they had just come from. They moved quickly staying as close together as they could so that Hetty’s Pass with a trace would continue to aid in their stealth. They entered the larger part of the cave system and out of the shadows stepped the dire troll. It ran towards them baring its teeth and whirling it claws. It tore into Pixel in her scorpion form and teeth and claw attacks and attacked Vedra with even more attacks. Henrik moved to attack the troll boar that had passed them earlier. As he approached to attack the boar, it turned to face Henrik as if it knew that he had been there the whole time.

Henrik could not hit the troll boar. But the troll boar could not hit him either. Kataract assisted him getting a few rapier and hand crossbow attacks in. Vedra healed herself and prepared for more attacks from the troll. Reva and Hetty concentrated their attacks on the trolls. Jasper cast Fireball on the dire troll using Sorcery points so his allies would not take damage from the explosion.

The dire troll did not take any fire damage either.

They were stunned briefly until Reva shouted, “Use acid on it!” Hetty had several vials of acid that she got out of her pouch. She kept one but attached another to one of Reva’s crossbow bolts. Reva loaded the acid bolt into her heavy crossbow and took aim. Pixel had taken a lot of damage so she shape-shifted out of the scorpion form and into her cat form healing herself to full. She gave a flick of her tail casting Polymorph on the dire troll turning into a caterpillar. Hetty and Pixel contained the caterpillar troll while they figured out what they would do with. They had an hour to decide. Meanwhile, the others focused on the two troll boars.

Henrik could not catch a break. He just could not hit the troll boar in front of him. Luckily, the others could. Jasper used Chromatic Orb to do acid damage and Reva shot her heavy crossbow taking it out. Hetty scooped up the caterpillar in one of her alchemy vials. Vedra looked around for a small nook that they could put the troll in. They realized any amount of damage the caterpillar took; it would revert to the dire troll. They realized that they had a grenade of sorts. It could come in handy if they needed a diversion as they escaped the city. They pushed Oppal and Glauron towards the secret cave entrance. Henrik took up the rear making sure everyone was out before he followed.

The rope was still hanging there. They climbed up the rope while Hetty ran up the cliff face beside them to aid anyone that might need assistance as the climbed. When they reached the top, they did not see any extra guards coming out of Castle Never. They moved to an alley to plan their next moves.

Pixel needed to pick up her kittens. She had contacted the local Acquisitions Inc franchise and had arranged for the kittens to be taken there. When they were ready to pick them up, they would drop by its location near the Board Laid Bare a no-frills restaurant near the northeast gate. She should ask for someone named Rosie. Pixel and Reva would head there to get the kittens before meeting the rest of the group as they all left Neverwinter. That was after they had picked up the item that Omin had asked them to retrieve. As Pixel and Reva made their way across the city, the others talked to Oppal about the package. Oppal told them that Omin’s treasures are held in a silk bag that has been placed in a false tome titled “A Laypersons Book of Common Knowledge”. Oppal hid the book in a vault beneath the Hall of Knowledge- the local temple to Oghma. god of knowledge, invention, and inspiration. Like much of the city of Neverwinter, the Hall of Knowledge is currently under repair. Although some of the temple was damaged by the volcano, portions were spared the destruction of the lava flow, including an underground chamber called the Vault of Tomes. That Undercroft contains some of the most rare and valuable books in Faerun outside Candlekeep and is one of the most secure locations in the city as a result. By disguising herself as an acolyte, Oppal was able to place the false tome in the vault. She had done her part and now it was their turn to do what Omin had asked. Her part was over and if they wanted to alter the deal, they would need to contact Omin. When told she would go and get the package, she refused saying she only wanted to get out of town. They were wanted, and she was doubly wanted for murder and now prison break. At least she had not killed any of the guards. Kataract was not happy and it took him and Henrik using Intimidation to get her to at least speak to Acq Inc Headquarters. She did not like it, but she did it in hopes that she would get out of things. She did not. HQ told her to help the group as best as she could. She agreed and they made the following plan. She had entered the Hall of Knowledge to put the book in the Vault disguised as an acolyte dedicated to Oghma. If she could get another set of robes, she could do that again. But they did not trust her to go by herself so they agreed that Kataract would disguise himself as an acolyte to go with her. Hetty had her monk’s robes and Oppal being a shapeshifter knew she could wear those. They would stop by a shop to get another set of robes for Kataract. Kataract meanwhile disguised Glauron, Hetty and Vedra (is that correct? I think he disguised around half of you all). Glauron was ready to leave the city. He wanted his items that were back at Castle Never, but he had his life and for now that was enough. He thanked the group for getting him out of the execution. He then called Vedra over for a brief one and one conversation. He said that he left the temple for a specific reason and that the head cleric of their order knew what that reason was but had made a promise not to reveal that to anyone else. Glauron then asked for one more favor from Vedra. She agreed. He said do not come looking for me again. She reluctantly agreed and they said their goodbyes. He then went for the southwestern gate to leave Neverwinter.

Henrik, Jasper, Hetty and Vedra would buy picnic supplies and head to the park near the Hall of Knowledge for a midday meal while Oppal and Kararact would attempt to get inside the Hall of Knowledge. As they walked, Oppal told him to follow her lead. She also said if we get separated, follow these directions:

Once you get inside the Hall of Knowledge, you will need to go to the Printing and Binding section on the ground floor. There are guards posted at the doors to this area and they only let priests, acolytes, or special guests in. Once you are in, go down to the 1st basement and into the Print room. Take the door leading northwest, cross the Print Room and take the stairs down to the 2nd Basement and into the Private Archives 1. Go east into the Vault of Tomes (Restricted area). These doors may or may not be locked. But she said, if all goes well, we will be in and out really quick and we can get out of this gods forsaken city before we are recaptured and the city will have their execution tomorrow as planned.

Meanwhile Pixel and Reva found the Acq Inc franchise. The only mark that let them know that they were at the right place was the Acq Inc symbol hanging above the front door. They entered and Reva would do the talking. The building seemed larger on the inside. It was a mix of loving room and store front. They did not see anyone, but they heard a woman’s voice from somewhere say “I will be right there. What can I help you with?”

Reva replied that they were here to meet with someone named Rosie.

An elderly halfling came out of a doorway and said “I am Rosie. How can I help you?” Reva saw a sparkle in the halfling that reminded her of Hetty. Reva addressed her as Auntie Camellia just as Hetty had mentioned to do with elder halflings. Rosie smiled and said I see you have learned the conventions of my people. It does this old woman good to know such things are passed on. Reva said that she had a friend, named Hetty that Rosie reminded her of. Pixel who had been perched on Reva’s backpack jumped down and spoke to Rosie. We are here to pick up my kittens. Are they close by?

Rosie’s demeanor changed. She went into business mode. She said to Pixel, “so glad to finally meet you. And both of you, welcome to the Acq Inc family. I hope you all have better luck in Phandalin than the last group. Such a shame. I hear that the old major domo was hired by you guys to continue…Gildha is very good at what she does. Pixel agreed. Gildha had been in a bad place and even though she was tempted to retire to Waterdeep, she knew that she belonged in Phandalin working with Acq Inc. Rosie then asked about Talantha and if she had been seen or heard of since the attack. They had not seen nor heard. They knew that she had used a magic item to teleport away but were not sure where she had gone. Talking with folks in Phandalin they learned that Talantha had mentioned that a friend of hers, named Wizzy, had spoken frequently of how awesome the headquarters is of the Acq Inc franchise he is a member of. She had said it was way up north somewhere along the coast. No one in Phandalin remembered if she ever mentioned its name.

Rosie then said “Omin would never say this to you but he cares for those who run the Acq Inc franchises. And he like me wants to know if she lives. If so, maybe we can get more information on what happened. I ask this as a favor from me. If you have any leads, please follow them, and see if you can figure out what happened to Talantha. It would ease my mind to know that she is safe. Now let us get you to your kittens.

She led them through the doorway into a kitchen/den. Over by the large fireplace the kittens were hanging out surrounded by 5 or 6 saucers of milks and a few bowls of meat. Two of the kittens were playing while the third just glared at Pixel. Pixel and Reva got them into their carrying case and we about to leave. Rosie said as a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother but I have said too much I get it. You two be careful. Something big happened not too long ago at Castle Never. Pixel matter of fact that was probably us. Rosie looked like she was going to ask and then thought better. Reva then asked her if someone wanted to cause a big distraction where would one do that? And hopefully do something to bring some harm to Neverember. Rosie said the best way to do that is to cause harm to buildings that are owned by those who pay him taxes. You hurt them; he suffers. Perhaps the market district, you know where the bakers and forges are. Reva said that she did not want to harm that area. Hetty would never forgive her if any damage was done to the baker with those cronut – bear claw hybrid pastries. Rosie shook her head and then said “The Banking District. It is just across the three bridges in front of Castle Never, just down the street from the Hall of Knowledge. Reva said that would work. She continued, “if you are able, come down around the park near the Hall of Knowledge and she would likely see something exciting”. Rosie said she would try if her work allowed her. That is when they noticed that they had not seen anyone else in the building. Rosie told them that at one point there had been at least 6 franchises in Neverwinter but this one was the last one. Neverember had made things difficult for the franchises here and one by one they left.

Reva and Pixel thanked her and then set off towards to southwestern gate by way of the Hall of Knowledge. They would make on stop near the old cemetery and on the signal from Hetty, she would fire an arrow with the troll grenade attached to it. She would make it look like it had been fired from Neverdeath. Once chaos had happened, the entire group would move as quickly as possible to the southwestern gate and outside of the city. They would walk slow to give Oppal and Kataract time to do what they needed to do.

Kataract and Oppal approached the Hall of Knowledge. Kataract saw the damage that had been done to the grand building, but it was not as bad as some areas he had seen. The majority of the building had been spared and the areas that had been damaged were now being repaired. There was a group of dwarves doing the repairs and they were moving slow, for some reason. AS they got closer, they could hear a conversation from somewhere. Two voices were arguing about the work on the building, well it was more of a discussion that was building into an argument. Around a bend they saw an ancient high elf in a heated exchange with a dwarf. They quickly moved past as not to get involved. Oppal went to the front door and talked to the guard/clerk who had a table set up. She said

“Hello. Do you remember me? I am Cressida. I was here a few days back and I have come back to check in with Arne in the Printing and Binding Office. I hope that the issue has been resolved. Well, we shall see. Oh, this is my brother Pollux. He has come to give me moral support. Yes. Thank you. ‘

They moved quickly into the Printing Office and down the stairs to basement one. They walked into the Print Office and she pointed to a door and said that is where we are going. But first, I need to do something. She walked over to a man at a desk and they started being gibberish. It sounded like Common, but it was not correct. Kataract guessed it was Thieves’ Cant. This Oppal was full of surprises. She lowered her voice and said “I am leaving town and not coming back. Just too much heat with everything and all. I will see you around. Where will I go? Somewhere to lay low and get some of this heat taken off. Perhaps I will go to Ten Towns. And they both laughed. She gave Arne a wave and turned to leave.

She moved to the door and down the stairs to the second basement. Kataract followed her into Private Archives 1 and then east into the Vault of Tomes (the Restricted area). The doors were not locked, and they walked in and Oppal went to a shelf and removed a book. It was titled “A Laypersons Book of Common Knowledge”. She handed Kataract the book and said:

“The diamonds are held in a silk bag inside this false tome. On Omin’s instructions, I hired a wizard to place a glyph of warding, I am assuming explosive runes, on the false book to keep it from being opened. Also on Omin’s order, I do not know how to bypass the glyph. I feel confident that hat Omin will be able to access the diamonds once the false tome was in his possession.

Kataract hid the book as best as he could, and they left. They walked a little quicker but not too fast. Up the stairs and towards the front door.

Oh, said Oppal, I meant to tell you who that old elf is. That is Grand Scribe Spivey Liethennson. As you can tell he is frail and unpleasant elf. He is a strict taskmaster and does not suffer fools gladly. He has been arguing with the dwarf artisan Kollette Kwarter for weeks and she has finally grown tired of the elf’s constant griping and badgering. It seems that the dwarves have walked off the job saying that they can get better paying jobs and they do not need this anymore. This has been several weeks in building up.

She approached the guard/clerk and said “Well, this is it. I was not absolved so I have been asked to leave. I know we really do not know each other but you were the one constantly nice person to me during my time here. Thank you again.

At first Kataract thought that she was trying to get away from him, but he realized that she was following through with the con. They left the temple and Kataract sent a message to Hetty who let Reva and Pixel know to head towards the southwestern gate. Kataract said he wanted Jasper to look at the box to make sure it had what Oppal was saying on it. They met up and Jasper did a quick Identify and saw the evocation runes and along with the signature for a glyph of warding. He said it appears to be as she says. He said can we shake to make sure something is in there? Jasper said that my not be the best idea. The ward may go off and we do not want that. Kataract wants to be sure that these diamonds are in the box. Jasper as the Documancer says that we were asked to bring the book with no explanation as to what was inside. If Omin had told us what it was we were to find inside and it was not there, then he could have an issue. As it is now, we are to deliver the book and our task is complete. Kataract just did not trust Oppal.

They made their way to the Neverdeath statue. Reva stood at the L between the Pauper’s cemetery and the old cemetery. She took out the troll grenade arrow, knocked, took aim, and let it loose. It was not long before they hear screams and shouts of help coming from the Banking District. They picked up their pace as they headed to the southwestern gate. Suddenly they saw a group of guards running right at them. They gave a small pause and realized the guards were running to the commotion that was building behind them.

They came to the gate and after a pleasant conversation with the guard about Neverwinter cookies and the cronut-bear claws, he let them through after Hetty had declared the 3-dozen cronut-bear claws that she had bought.

They met up with Gundren and then walked about 20 minutes out of the city. Oppal said well, this is where I make my leave. I must say, that was exciting, but I hope to never see you all again. There was some laughter from everyone. She continued, seriously though, you all saved my life, and I will not forget that. It is just that at times I can come across like a cruel bitch, because well, I am a cruel bitch. But you all have done something for me that I can never truly thank you for. She turned to Kataract and said, Kataract, you have true talent. You disguised more than half you group, the disguised yourself and only take a few cues from me was able to follow my lead and play the con. If you were a shapeshifter, you would be dangerously good.

Kataract said Do you know how I can turn into a shapeshifter? No, I do not. I have always been a doppelganger and I do not have memories of being anything else. But you all are going to Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. It may take a while, and it may cost a lot but if there is a way to turn into a shapeshifter, that is the right place. Or you could get bitten by a werewolf. Kataract did not like that idea.

She said her final goodbyes and then shapeshifted into an ancient elf that looked very much like Grand Scribe Spivey and she headed off to the north. Perhaps she was headed to Ten Towns after all.

The group headed to Phandalin. They would drop by the Manor House to check in with Gildha and introduce her to Vedra and Gundren. After a rest they headed to the mines to show Vedra and Gundren. Gundren was both sad and excited. Sad that his brothers would not see the mine back in operation and excited to be in the mines and that it would not be long before mining and refining the ore would begin. They gave them both a brief tour and then took them to meet Mormesk, the spirit of a wizard that had worked at the magical forge in the mines before it was attacked by orcs. Gundren Jasper and Vedra had a deep conversation about the mines and working the forge. Jasper showed them some of the deposits of gold platinum and mithral that he had discovered. Hetty had an idea about setting up a scrying device to Mormesk could see what was going on in the mines. Mormesk already knew what went on in the mine but being able to see thing may be beneficial to him.

They went back to Phandalin to rest and they teleported to the Kolat Towers in Waterdeep. Henrik briefly spoke to Golarr and promised it he would come back the next day to catch him up with what was going on in the outside world. They headed to the Acq In headquarters and asked the person at the door that they needed to see Omin. The person oh, you all are the new Phandalin franchise. I will let him know you have arrived. Have a seat. They waited around 10 minutes and the Omin came to get them and took them back to the conference they had been in before.

He asked if they had the package. Kataract had been paranoid that Oppal had double crossed them and Omin and that they would be to blame when the box was opened, and the diamonds were not there. Kataract handed the book over to Omin. Omin held it in one hand and reached into his coat and brought something out and held it in his palm. Rubbing it over the book he said that should take care of it, but you may want to take a step back as a just in case. Kataract did not hesitate and he moved to the other side of the room. The others moved away as well. Omin pulled out a small black bag. He emptied the bag into his hand, and they saw 12 smoky diamonds as he rolled them around to check them out. He looked at four of them and then put them back into the bag. He looked up and thanked them. They then talked about what had gone on in Neverwinter. He knew the basics already and was more than happy to know that Neverember had received some comeuppance. He said I would have loved to see it when he had that stick poked into his eye and there was nothing, he could do about it. You will be paid for what you have done. It will be transferred to you with your monthly stipend to pay your crew. Also, Rosie sent you something. He pulled out a picnic basket the size of Hetty. Inside were halfling treats and Neverwinter treats and all sorts of pastries, meat pies, ales, and fruit pies. Omin said you must have made an impression on her. She is not normally like this to people she first meets, well to most people in general.

They headed back to Trollskull Tavern for a good rest. Hetty did not wait to get back to dig into the picnic basket. Alas, there were no Neverwinter cookies. Over a hot meal and drinks they discussed their next moves.