1 Marpenoth 1486
Before the company leaves Goldenfields, a letter is delivered to Korotir by the urchin messenger service. It is from Tranled, speaking of a contact in Daggerford, a member of the Zhentarim, who can give the party good information and will be useful to them. Unfortunately, as this highly-spoken-of individual is the Snail, who Korotir intends to exact revenge for engineering the situation which ended in his exile before, the letter does not endear Tranled to the party as much as he’d perhaps hoped it would. The letter also informs the party about the Left Hand and their intentions. “My [Tranled’s] fate and Atarah’s are entwined.” Atarah is baffled.
There is ten days of travel to Waterdeep, during which nothing noteworthy occurs. Natalia is distracted by concern for her mother. Titan starts out loudly singing the praises of places he knows in Waterdeep (during which time Envar finds excuses to be as far away as possible; scouting and hunting), but gets quieter and quieter the closer they get. At some point, Natalia has told Atarah about the other letters from Lady Cuvelier and their distinct personality shifts.
7 Marpenoth 1486
It is late afternoon when the party finally arrives at the southern gates of Waterdeep. As they approach, guards are signaling to each other and the portcullis closes, locking the party outside. Tense discussion ensues, and the Guard Captain tells the party they have orders to not let the party inside as they are “troublemakers” and there’s been too many suspicious deaths of city leaders while the party is around. Guards are not swayed by the argument that uh, the party lives here? Still not allowed in; at least until the Giant Crisis is resolved. Natalia sends off her messenger bird to the Lords’ Alliance to straighten things out, but it is shot down.
While they are arguing, an urchin on a card-bedecked tricycle arrives and hands Atarah a note. It’s from Tranled. He says if the party wants to get into Waterdeep, follow Jason (this being the name of the kid). Tranled has made arrangements to smuggle them inside via cargo ship. The party is suspicious but need to get inside and so go along with the plan – Titan is incensed that he, also, came up with this brilliant plan, first.
Jason leads them to his treehouse (which is quite epic, with bridges and multiple ‘stories’). From here on, they must be much stealthier, and are forced to leave Rivka, Atarah’s mount, and the cart behind at the treehouse. The party improvises a stretcher for the petrified Voldrick and together troop down to the water’s edge. There’s a longboat there, crewed by a short, surly bald man. The party loads in, with Korotir, Envar, and Atarah on high alert around Natalia. Titan immediately notices the bald man has a poisoned dagger in his boot, and starts asking where, hypothetically, one would acquire… herbal remedies.
The bald man is unhelpful (“The bottom of the ocean.”) and in retaliation, Titan dives for the dagger, holds it aloft and announces its status to the group. A fight nearly breaks out while the girls faceapalm and try to calm things down. Eventually everyone relents and the longboat begins its trip out into the bay.
The longboat draws close to a large cargo ship and is drawn aboard. Envar is recognized by one of the crewmembers – an elf from his home named Leonan. They have a brief discussion in elvish but break it off to continue later, as the ship must go and the party must be hidden before they leave.
The party is shown down to the holds and a small space behind a false bulkhead wall. Voldrick the statue is stashed nearby with sailcloth over him as disguise. Titan blusters and won’t go into the space, decides he needs to be outside in order to keep watch and finds a place in the beams. Korotir rifles through nearby crates to try and help find a hiding place for Titan, finds bottles of port instead and takes a few. When the sailors come down to nail them into the hiding spot, Titan bribes him into finding another spot for him to hide. As the final boards are nailed down, the light vanishes and Atarah quietly freaks out, casting light on her rock and holding it tight in her fist.
It is twilight when the ship arrives in port and the party is freed. The sailors warn them; “Stay on the East side of the city if you want to avoid the guards.”
There is a cloaked figure standing at the bottom of the gangplank speaking to the captain. Notes and small sacks are exchanged. The figure dramatically throws his hood back. It’s Tranled.
<…>There’s lots of tense, accusatory ‘discussion’ about how trustworthy Tranled really is, which is finally ended when the question is asked of Tranled, “Isn’t the Left Hand part of the Zhentarim?”
Tranled seethes, the only real emotion the party has ever seen him display, and snarls, “The Left Hand killed my family.” Discussion ends there.
The first order of business in the city is to get Voldrick de-petrified. Titan and Tranled happen to know a guy… a cleric named Saul. Saul lives in the seedy part of town and he’s not terribly pleased to see any of them. But he is able to restore Voldrick… for 500 gold. Tranled offers a wizard’s tome in trade, and the rest of the party chips in the remainder. Saul does the ritual and Voldrick is restored.
He is confused by his surroundings and asks if the rest of his companions are there. He has to get back to Mithril Hall; he has information that the Lord of the Fire Giants is planning to raid the city, break into the Great Forge and steal the fire elemental Majeira which powers it. If the fire elemental is stolen, it could wreak havoc and the drow would invade Mithril Hall again. Would the party go with him?
<…>The party escorts him to the Lords’ Alliance headquarters and agrees to go with him to Mithril Hall, but they have business to take care of in Waterdeep (and… maybe Daggerford first). Voldrick at least arranges to take the ban off them, so they no longer have to hide going about the city. The party will meet with Voldrik again tomorrow.
Rooms are acquired for the night nearby.
8 Marpenoth 1486
They go to check on Lady Cuvelier first thing in the morning; Envar and Titan go ahead to scout and see if anything looks off. Nothing does; normal Noble household. Titan, on investigating rooftop hiding spaces, discovers the perfect place to jump off and performs a Leap of Faith. He is now doubly committed to finding a way to fly. More pixie dust!
They head inside, everyone but Tranled and Envar, who, not being part of the original contracted group, wait somewhere nearby. Tranled tries to convince Envar to play Gwent with him. The household butler and secretary meet them, and the Master at Arms, Merden, asks they divest of weapons. Atarah bluffs that as a Paladin, she’s required to keep her weapons at all times, but will peace-tie her sword. Korotir claims to be a paladin also but has to give up all his weapons. He can keep the shield.
Lady Crystal is planning another Ball, and thus is very busy. The party is kept waiting in the parlor for twenty minutes, but finally escorted upstairs. There is a bit of a kerfluffle when the Lady refuses to acknowledge Natalia’s questions about the letters and Korotir and Atarah stand to block her exit. Natalia and her mother get a private conversation eventually, but she refuses to even look at the letters and gives a lot of vague answers.
Outside, the secretary is upset with the party for upsetting the Lady, and tells off Atarah and Natalia. “You should have known better.” “…you had plenty of time. You knew we were coming.”
The party reunites and starts heading towards the mage tower. On the way, Envar and Tranled are offered the opportunity to be contracted as Titan and Korotir are, to guard Natalia. Tranled prefers to be a free agent. <…> They run into Envar’s friend again on the way, and head back to the Inn/Tavern where their rooms are to get drinks with the elf, Leonon.
Over drinks, the party learns a bit of Envar’s story. He was out on patrol with the town favorite, who started an unnecessary fight with gnolls which got their team (except for Envar and the favorite) killed. On reporting, the favorite blamed Envar for starting the conflict and he was exiled. Leonon sympathizes. He’s been sailing up and down the coast on his ship (which Envar is welcome to join them, it’s the “Maiden’s Wings”). There’s been many reports of Frost Giants in giant ships further north. There’s a short explanation of the Ordening, summarized: “Gods are always messing things up.”