The Leviathan Coast

The Widening Gyre
Xavi Becomes More Alarmed than Ever Before

The Blackstaff of Waterdeep, Vajra Safahr, is missing. Of all the ill-foretokens of the past few days, this is the most worrisome. Safahr’s ascension to the post was fraught with intrigue, I remember. But she secured her post and her power, a post founded by a Chosen of Mystra and imbued with the core of the Weave. It would require enormous power and amoral complicity to defeat or kidnap or kill such an Archmage, one of the greatest in Faerun.

A murdered Masked Lord, a missing Archmage, and an army in the streets of Waterdeep: if ever there was an ideal setup for a malevolent seizure of power, this is it. The prosperity of Waterdeep is marked by the limitations of this era, the disruption of the balances of magic and divinity, and the rise of commercial interests. The Nobles whose wealth stem from the turning of land into instruments of commerce have come to confuse profit for honor, seeing their greed as the basis for brotherhood. Waterdeep’s seeming commitment to openness and diversity are incompatible with this mode of life, which has sadly become the fundamental trend of the era. Waterdeep’s is a foredoomed utopia. The elites of this city cannot imagine how the principles of freedom and diversity are now at odds with their their rise in this manner. Pure self-deception: enabling all is the conviction that their privilege is just dessert. All their attempts to blur this distinction between the truth of their life and the “Truth” of Waterdeep will release pent up centrifugal forces; it is releasing centrifugal forces. They have already begun to see enemies in every crevice, but they will not see the real enemy in so many corners. But towards the former, towards whom they claim to protect, they will see a need to draw a sharp dividing line, a dividing line between themselves and the rest of the world, and they now are on the road to drawing it with the edge of the executioner’s axe. At the moment, the edge is only drawn by the barriers erected by city guards. Tomorrow, we all risk turning the streets into a tomb. Tomorrow, the workers will feel either snubbed or only partly heard; either way they will feel the urge to escalate. Tomorrow, the city will unleash battle mages and war clerics. The Common Alliance is outgunned. They need allies. They need a power of virtue. They need the Blackstaff.

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Perhaps only the Blackstaff could change the course of this tide, which makes her disappearance all the more evidence of something larger than an uprising of the maltreated and exploited. Oddly, Waldich mentioned none of this. And he seems unconcerned that the successor of Mystra’s own elect would have gone missing. (This is the second of Mystra’s powerful servant that have suffered—first Hume and now Safahr. Someone is killing Mystra’s servants in the West. More than why, “How?” is the question.)

We must find the Tel’Teukiira, the Moonstars, whom I’ve heard have been revived under Safahr’s reign as Blackstaff. Dedicated as they are to Mystra, perhaps they can help control this expanding whirl of politics and subterfuge. But there is no sign of them. There is even no sign of the Harper’s.

Soon, we go to see Yari Wisetide address the city. Nothing he says will turn events. Power is in the streets… and it is also in the hands of someone unseen cabal.

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After Action Report: Orc-Human Brotherhood Anthem II
By Ges Slahoot

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The second of two morale-boosting songs I have written on the neglected topic of orc-human brotherhood.

Half-Orcs: Our Brothers From Another Mother (Literally)

Fierce Gurrath and mighty Lop,
Can strike fear in any cop,

Our human hearts do swell with pride,
We’re so glad they’re on our side,

We have teeth and they have tusks,
But underneath, they’re just like us!

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After Action Report: Orc-Human Brotherhood Anthem
By Ges Slahoot

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Songs boost morale. However, I am unaware of any songs on the theme of human-orc brotherhood. In an attempt to fill this void, I have written one of my own.

Gurrath is the Right Path

Man and Orc unite at last,

Arm-in-arm we will hold fast,

We have all bled, behold the scars,

From this day forth, the docks are ours!

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Murder mysteries and poop water
The revolution gets weird for Viola

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I came to the big city of Waterdeep to make some money, see some new stuff and have some adventures. How then is it that I’m standing inside a sewage tunnel? I guess that is adventure, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be finding any bejeweled elephants amidst floating turds and vomit from dock workers who have been hitting the ale too hard.

But let’s start at the beginning. After a good night’s rest, I went downstairs at Madame Garah’s to find meet my friends and found Val snoozing at the table. She told us that Ges had gone to the docks in some kind of effort to hold them. (I was unaware that Ges doesn’t require sleep. I am beginning to think he is undead. I am wondering if one of our magic users can run a Test For Undeath spell on him.) While Val was talking, a town crier showed up and told us this city is on lockdown, with the southern, poorer neighborhoods on curfew. Even more troubling, they are erecting barriers between the nicer neighborhoods and the ones that they are blaming for all the unrest. We had heard enough and decided to relocate to the Fiery Flagon in the Sea Ward, north of the barriers and where we can be outside after sundown without being hassled by City Watch. Xavi, Clara and I gathered our things and our horses—-Xavi took Ges’s horse—-and went to the Fiery Flagon.

At the checkpoint, the asshole City Watch guy gave us a hard time about going through, but as she is wont to do, Clara was able to sweet talk him not into just letting us pass, but giving us one of the cards that noble people get so they can move about freely during our times of turmoil.

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I spoke up and asked for my own. This was met with extreme skepticism by the guard, but Clara once again convinced the guy that I was her servant and that I needed a card to run errands, such as shopping, for her. After all, the best stores are in the Trades Ward, below the barriers. He, in part because we were holding up the line and exasperating him, gave me a servant card, so I can move around freely.

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I appreciate having this raven card, but feel that Clara is trying to exploit this situation a bit by trying to get 30% of my take on everything I do, just because of this card. I gave her 30 gold for it and told her I’d give her 15% of anything I steal using this card. I may act cavalier about my thieving, but it is still dangerous and feel that if I’m taking all the risk, I should get all the reward. Still, I don’t want to be a skinflint or a bad friend, so I begrudgingly agreed.

After checking with Aytuna Wanderfere at the Fiery Flagon, we then went to see Fin the Elf at the Pink Hydra. He was extremely skeptical when we told him about the servant of Sarich’s who reached out to us, leading me to believe that Fin very well could be guilty of killing Sarich. He claims that he’s trying to find this murderer, but instead of being happy to hear that we have a lead, he got defensive and suspicious. I will not be surprised if he shows up at the Friendly Flounder at the 14th bell on the 6th.

We then went to a place that is fast becoming one of my favorite in our so far relatively short stay in Waterdeep: Orsabba’s Fine Imports.

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Clara and Xavi bought some stuff—-I think he said it was a Neen Jo costume, whatever that is—-and I went downstairs to speak with a dear childhood friend. What I can report alarms me. After speaking of old times and dear friends, my buddy told me that no one knows who killed Sarich, even though some very powerful, interested parties are deeply concerned about this. He believes that the disappearance of a person he called the Blackstaff might somehow be involved. She sounds like a very important lady and very, very powerful, magic-wise. It seems that Sarich’s death was almost surely magical, being burned in bed like that. It’s not like he was a smoker, you know?

From there, we went back to the Southfort Keep to talk to Cade Thorngage, who Clara worries might tell someone about our prison break fiasco. He wasn’t there, but was instead on the docks and is clearly way too busy to worry about the prisoners. That’s because Ges’s apparent attempt to rally dock workers in some capacity seems to be working. The half-orcs and some humans have managed to barricade some of the biggest docks. Thorngage claimed that he and the City Guard were there to keep the unruly half-orcs under control. I pointed out that I had seen them trying to keep order with my own eyes, but he wasn’t listening to me. Maybe because I’m a halfling and people overlook me or, more likely, because this “half-orcs are monsters” thing is just a rationalization for what they’re really doing, which is cracking down on these dock workers for standing up for justice and for laborers to get their fair share of the work they do.

You know, I never met a noble person before I met Clara. And she is great, but I’m quickly learning that she is the exception to the rule. All I’m seeing of noble people now are that they are a bunch of uptight pricks who are not above telling ridiculous lies to justify cracking down on people who just want their fair share of the pie. I’m a thief and a ne’er-do-well, but at least I don’t try to pretend I’m in this for noble reasons. I’m beginning to want these nobles to fall just to see the shit on their faces. I am dying to meet more at tonight’s party, because I really want to know: Are they all like this Thorngage mofo, or are some of them, at least, more like Clara?

So we went to the dock to check it out and there was Gurrath. He told us that Ges, Val, and Cerric were in the sewers for some reason. And while we all agreed to meet at 16 bells at the Market to hear the Open Lord speak (and to pick some pockets, of course), we had some time to kill, so we thought we’d go see what they’re up to. And that’s why I’m in a sewer.

Y’all, there’s a cloak I saw at Orsabba’s Fine Imports that I really want.

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I don’t know that I’m going to get the money for this hanging out in the sewer. But I love you guys and love adventure, so I’ll tag along. I just hope whatever the fuck is going on, it’s going to help stir more political unrest. If nothing else, it seems to piss off that Thorngage guy and fuck that guy. He annoys me.

Still, while all this dock worker stuff is interesting, I feel that I can better serve the revolution doing political intrigue of some sort, especially if it puts me nearer nobility that can be stolen from. I’m just a few more bejeweled elephants away from my cloak, folks. Just a few more.

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 04 -- De Lege Lata

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Kythorn 04 Continued

After Yashidi Khalid got the dock workers good and drunk, Ges rose among the crowd and delivered a stirring speech that inspired the dock workers to continue their carousing at the docks. Ges talked the bartender into allowing his casks (paid for by Yashidi) to be carried into the street. He wasn’t exactly counting on everyone taking his tables and benches, though; apparently The Splintered Stair is now a standing-only tavern.

Val went to the half-orc residential area Ges correctly identified as Orctown (according to humans, anyway) to speak with The Wave Crashers. Lop voiced his suspicions about the Common Alliance’s motivations for the dock strike (“a publicity stunt”) and Gurrath doubted Yashidi’s claims that the Alliance would help support his community if the strike continued. But Val convinced Lop and (sort of) Gurrath to try to help hold the docks by reminding them that this lone chance to improve their lot would be lost if the docks were retaken. Gurrath was clear that he would not tolerate violence, though.

As Val left Orctown, she ran into Ges leading her band of drunken, unified workers to the exact same area Val and Gurrath had identified as the prime real estate to protect: docks 12-16.
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Gurrath agreed to work with Ges as the least-annoying human he’s met so far from this ragtag bunch.

Kythorn 05 (At Last)

The gang woke up at Madame Garah’s to find Val sleeping in the open hall. She filled them in on the night’s happenings when there was a rap on the door. A town crier stepped in.
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BY DECREE OF THE MASKED LORDS OF WATERDEEP:

  • The Dock Ward and South Ward have a sundown curfew effective immediately.
  • Passage to and from the North Ward and Sea Ward require check-in at a City Watch station.
  • Any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for instigating violence will be rewarded.
  • The City Watch is hiring! Strong men and women encouraged to apply.
  • Yari Wisetide will convene a Town Hall at 4 bells in the Market Square.

In light of these developments, the group decided to relocate their quarters to The Fiery Flagon in the Sea Ward. Carric and Valravn went to alert Ges at the docks.

From there the groups split up — check your group’s section below for an update!

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Antinomies of Waterdeep
Xavi on the Political Sociology of Waterdeep

Whatever the original rationale for the alleged meritocracy of Waterdeep’s system of rule, it is totally inaccessible now. This balance between a sybaritic elite and a nearly penurious mass is maintained by a senseless regime form—the first political miracle I have ever seen. Unknown and unknowable rulers: how can this ever allow for accountability, for interchange, for true responsiveness, even for subjugation? The regime of Thay may be more reprehensible, but it is also more intelligible. The masks are to represent disinterestedness, the abstract permanence of the state, and some mirror in which each Lord is or can be Everyman. Instead it represents power as a lottery jackpot, and a ruling body so alienated from the ruled that even its kind cannot be identified. This is tragedy rendered into farce. No wonder the ‘free’ city of Waterdeep turns a blind eye (does it even have an embodied eye?) to slavery, and to the secret societies, and the proliferating states within a state. It has not turned a blind eye to the impoverishment of the people; it has never even registered them, save in their fantasy scripted role as the grateful subjects of Waterdeep.

If the resistance of the masses is dialectically shaped by the mode of rule they fight, then the chaos of the last day, the lack of coherence of the organization, and the fake unity of the Common Alliance reflect that of the rulers of Waterdeep. It was a miracle that there was no massacre. Or rather it was Clara’s effective command of the guards and her appeal to the masses that stopped immediate bloodshed. With the piers ablaze and the fires spreading to the city, a crew of half-orcs used the prejudice against them to disperse the guards and the people. The latter declared victory and hit the bars apparently. Idiots. These cults of spontaneity won’t provide winning strategies, or, it seems, even winning tactics. And these people certainly seem to confuse the two.

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The half-orc crew, former Bone Saw Clan, who have renamed themselves “Wave Crashers”, do not think much of this effort, or at least Gurrath their leader does not. Some of the half-orcs do, but how they can continue to do so after this insurrection that seemed more designed for catharsis than recruitment or tactical advantage let alone victory is beyond me.

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This city is what it is: and people who will not seek to shape it have no place in it but as objects of its history. I have no place in it, but have no wish to become its object. I wish the Common Alliance well, but more immediately, I wish them insight and effective cunning. But I do have a mission of my own: find out if this insurrection is being used by other powers. Who would want to destabilize Waterdeep: that is the question.

Viola, Carric, and I returned to Madam Garah’s. Igald and Valanthenna were there, but Ralris had left. They are skeptical of the notion that they have been infiltrated. It’s understandable. They are in the midst of a hopeful moment. Also internal suspicions can tear a movement apart and empower opportunists. But Lord Sarich’s murder suggests that something else may be at play. Perhaps Fin loathed him enough to kill him for personal reasons. However, the death of masked lord cannot be so quickly assumed to be a crime free from political motives.

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We have three suspects: Fin, Shava and Lorbrin. We will tell each that we have found a witness, but tell each a different place and time for when we will meet the witness. The plan is simple. It will tell us something. All the signs tell me that there is a conspiracy at play.

The conspiracy theory of history may come from abandoning the gods and then asking: Who are in their place? Conspiracies themselves come from abandoning the gods and insisting that you are in their place. For sure, the elites of this society have in a meaningful sense abandoned the gods and have sought to put themselves in their place.

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You Win Some, You Lose Some
A report on the last 24 hours by Carric Naïlo

By Carric Naïlo

No sooner had we gotten valuable information and the potential of a usable asset in Lord Bardryn Sarich (and, miraculously, managed to do it without hurting anybody) but he was murdered, burned alive in his bed shortly after Val, Xavi, Clara Viola and myself left his estate.

My concern about this development can’t be overstated. Bardryn had promised much to us. He was going to find out the mole in the common alliance’s identity. He was going to get us the location of the next meeting of the masked lords, along with the password and identifying mechanism to attend the meeting. Most of all, he was going to be on the hook for future demands, thanks to our “kidnapping” of Finnithan Nix.

We know (because Bardryn told us) that there is a mole in the common alliance. We also know that he was going to find out for us who the mole was. Is this why he was murdered? What if his murder is mere coincidence, related to something else and we are now on a wild wyvern chase?

Who knew that we were targeting him? As far as we know, the list is small. Three people, in fact. But if any of them told anyone else, the list’s length could grow. The Common Alliance is uneasy enough as it is, the last thing we need is everyone looking over their shoulder for spies.

I am most disturbed that Shava did not inform me of Bardryn’s death, despite it being the talk of the city. Did she not know yet? Was she in trance during the relevant time? Is she the mole?

At least Bardryn told us of the location of the prisoners. Yet before we could do much about that, his death set in motion some other urgent business. My main task of the day was to help Val find lodging and to send a letter, which I did with the help of my old friend, Rydell Bronzeblossom. I haven’t seen Rydell in some time— us both being elves, we can go decades without seeing each other— but I discovered him as hale as ever. He is in tight with the Common Alliance, in fact, he has at one point sat on its inner council, so he was able to help.

Xavi and I also returned to the Friendly Flounder to warn our human friends to find new lodging and disavow us, and then moved on to Madame Garah’s Boardinghouse.

From there, we all agreed that the must urgent matter was to get three members of the common alliance out of prison: a Tiefling named Ralris Karnat, a half-elf named Valinthenna Nord and, of course, my dear friend Igald, priest of Sylvanus. I turned into a mouse to scope out the prison, and find them. Which, to my credit, I did. But to my great embarrassment, doing so took me across a warded doorway which rendered my my elven self again. Thinking fast, I charmed the guard (Matteus Baywater) and had him escort me out, pretending to by drunk. I high-tailed it out of there, as after an hour he would know that I had tricked him.

We met an “old friend” of Viola’s who works at the prison. Which is probably for the best as his acting chops could use some work. Anyway, we talked over various plans to break out friends out, during which it was revealed that one of our number, Clara, is actually a noble in disguise, and is from the House Arundel. Imagine my surprise!

Anyway, we pulled off a neat ruse, using some official papers and an official seal (both forged by yours truly, who attended the prison break in the form of a horse) and then had the prisoners “transferred into our care.” Sven Korae, an eldritch knight, insisted on escorting us, but Val, thinking fast, blinded and deafened him. We staged an attack on our caravan and helped our friends escape, so that by the time Sven regained his senses, he would think he was attacked.

It is remarkable, really, how ably we’ve avoided hurting and killing people.

Shortly thereafter, an explosion erupted from the docks, and we raced there to discover what was the matter. The general strike had turned into a riot, and parties unknown had lit three of the docks on fire! We raced in to investigate and help. Ges attempted to rescue a dockworker from the City Guard, and we would up on the wrong side of the law yet again. I suppose this is inevitable when the law is being put to such perverse, unjust uses.

We would up battling the City Guard. I managed to charm one, convincing him his family way in danger. I took another one out with a flaming scimitar. When reinforcements arrived, I was concerned we would have to take on the entirety of the Guard and Watch combined, but soon a column of Half Orc dockworkers cleared the place out. We spent hours putting out the fires and rescuing people, and then Xavi, Viola and I departed for Madame Garah’s to meet our friends. Viola somehow seemed to be carrying a heavier load than when we arrived.

On our way back, we hatched a plan to force the mole out of hiding. We will separately tell Finithan, Shava and Lorbrin that we are meeting with a witness to Bardryn’s murder. We will tell each a different time of day and wait to see what happens. If we are attacked or in any way interfered with, we will know who is the mole. And then we will see what our options are.

We met Valinthenna and Igald. Ralris had gone out for the evening. Neither of them had much of use to tell us, as they had been imprisoned for the last twenty four hours. But Igald did promise to investigate Bardryn’s murder.

On a final note: I know that things are chaotic currently and that the Common Alliance appears to be a barely cohered, perhaps-sloppily-run mess. I also know that Xavi is concerned the Common Alliance is being used for nefarious means.

But change is hard. And it is difficult to organize when all involved have no experience of leadership or organization. I believe that they are slowly getting their act together. They are fighting for justice for the common folk and a return to the land. Justice and the balance. Are there more worthwhile goals? In the High Forest we do not have the problems of the City of Splendors. We live off the land, and do not bother much with money. We live in peace. Our only major challenge is exterior forces attempted to take our land so they can use it to their own ends.

The people of the City of Splendors have much to learn from the natural world, and thus much to learn from Druids. If we can reconnect them to the lessons that nature has to offer, I believe that a more just, peaceful society is possible. __

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Liberté, égalité, money, bitches!
Viola joins the revolution

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So Clara and Val found a non-violent solution to getting our asses out of this riot situation: By reminding the City Watch that Clara is a noble of House Arundel, which apparently is a big deal. (You slum well with us commoners, Clara! Or is it “we commoners”? You probably know.) So they stopped beating people up, which made the situation safer, if less exciting. We all went along with it, though I got the impression that Ges was reluctant to stop beating up the Watch.

But then there was horrible crush of people running in fear, knocking some in the crowd down. At this point, with no one to beat up and more people coming to crush my wee ass, I made a break for a warehouse building, figuring I would be safe in there. Xavi beat me to the building, doing some amazing jumping maneuver, and tossing me a rope. Not one to overlook opportunity, I climbed his rope instead and kept climbing to the roof, with Clara right behind me. (Though she went into the building from the window instead. Smart move.) From there, we saw exactly the sort of thing I came to the big city to see: A bunch of angry half-orcs marching down the street, scaring people into running away.

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Val and the orcs started talking. It was hard to follow, something like, “Blurdity growl woof” and “Grrr argh gerdersnout”. Then the people got involved and, long story short, these half-orcs were just trying to save lives and put out the fire on the docks. Aw. Everyone decided to help. I figured my presence would not be missed, so I took some time to loot the now unguarded warehouses, getting a box of bejeweled animal figurines and a brass mug with a jade inlay.

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Rich people like weird stuff. Well, not mine to judge, but I figure I can get 200 gp for this stuff.

After meeting with the half-orcs and discovering that they are stoked about this whole Common Alliance situation, our merry band split up. Val, Clara, and Ges went to go talk to some dock workers. Xavi, Carric, and I went back to Madame G’s to speak with Igald and the half-elf about the revolution. Or, specifically, Xavi’s concerns that the revolution has been infiltrated by double-dealers who are up to no good and who are ratting out the Common Alliance. Igald was at first wary of this theory, but agreed to keep an ear out for knowledge of this conspiracy. After all, he believes in this movement and doesn’t want it ruined by people who are in it on bad faith. Xavi fears that the same person who murdered Sarich is the person who ratted out the meetings.

So we have devised a plan to find the rat. Carric, Xavi, and I will each separately meet with Shava, Lobren and Fin. We will spin the same tale: That we have heard of a servant who witnessed Sarich’s murder and wishes to speak with us. But the trick is, we will tell each person a separate time and place when we will be meeting with this fictional murder witness. I will tell Fin my meeting is at the 14th bell at Gunner’s Tavern. Xavi is telling Lobren that his meeting is at the 10th bell at the Friendly Flounder. Carric is telling Shava his meeting is at the 17th bell, also at the Friendly Flounder. We will warn our marks not to show up because the “witness” is scared, of course. The point is that they aren’t supposed to be there, remember.

We will stake out each location at the appointed times, and if someone shows up to capture or kill the fictional servant, we will know who the rat is. I am assigned Fin, who I know I can find at the Pink Hydra.

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I also took Madame G in a card game, and scored 3 free days of room and board for myself and Clara, my roommate.

As for this Common Alliance, I’m all for it. All of my friends seem sympathetic to the cause, but are worried that the organizers have no idea what they are doing and are creating chaos. I say, fuck it. Big picture here! Having listened to all this political talk, I have come around to the idea that feudalism is an inherently evil institution and must be smashed and replaced with some form of self-rule. There’s no way to accomplish that goal without some violence. The nobles are going to fight back, no matter what the Common Alliance does. After all, they like being able to live in opulence, with all the bejeweled elephants they want, without having to work very hard for it. They aren’t going to give that up without a fight. There’s a saying in Elven: “7v%1`VyN8 y6E”. Translated to Common, it means “just war”. I think this is what we have on our hands. (By the way, I speak Elven.)

We can plan and plot, but it’s all probably going to go sideways anyway. So let’s just join the fight and see where it takes us!

Plus, as a wise man I heard about once said, “Chaos is a ladder.” There could be all sorts of opportunities here. Look, this thing has barely started, and already I’ve made like 360 gold off it. It can only get more interesting and enriching from here.

As for the future, our hopeful ambushing of the rat is scheduled for the 6th. But the evening of the 5th is the fancy party at Clara’s uncle’s place. After all these crazy adventures, I hope she trusts our new companions enough to bring them. They are interesting people. Plus, they only ever see me wearing a cloak and boiled leather. I want to show off the fancy dress I bought for the party!

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After Action Report: Will the Cott-Roots Squander the Initiative After the Historic Dock Uprising?
By Ges Slahoot

Synopsis: Thanks to the discipline of the Wave Crashers, the Cott-Roots achieved an unprecedented victory in the struggle of common people against the tyranny of nobles and merchants.

However, this opportunity is about to be squandered by the ineffectual Cott-Root leadership. I expect to return to the docks tomorrow to find them retaken by the City Watch, or occupied by Wave Crashers, who have no further use for what the Cott-Roots wishfully call “The Common Alliance.”

Chronology: An historic and peaceful dock strike in Waterdeep turned violent when City Watch officers responded with excessive force and racist taunts. Human dock workers in the thrall of the Cott-Roots set fire to some of their docks to prevent the officers from arresting them and breaking the strike. The fires burned out of control.

My comrades and I were engaged in combat with the City Watch when a throng of watchmen and workers surged towards us, and away from a column of half-orcs marching down the street, three abreast. The reasons for our party’s combat seemed very important at the time, but I will gloss over them for the moment because their significance pales compared to the fate of the docks.

Flynt Sharpthorn, a dock worker I rescued from a City Watch officer, told me that the half-orcs of the docks are led by a male half-orc named Gurrath.

We later learned that this group used to call themselves the Bone Saw Clan, a reference to their shared mountain heritage, but that they recently re-christened themselves “Wave Crashers” to cement their new identity as gainfully employed urban half-orcs.

Gurrath and his associates realized that, between the fires and the riot, the humans had lost all control of the situation. Though iron discipline and focused intimidation, the Wave Crashers managed to drive not only the civilians, but also the City Watch out of the dock area.

For this shining moment, these docks belong to the workers of Waterdeep. However, this state of affairs seems unlikely to last.

Our party helped the Wave Crashers put out the fires, which earned us some limited goodwill, which was quickly squandered. Our parlay with Gurrath and his top lieutenants was cut short because of some friction between Clara and the half-orc leader.

During our short meeting, it became clear that the half-orcs think little of Cott-Roots and care little for the “Common Alliance,” except as a pretext to settle their own legitimate grievances on the docks. I don’t blame them for thinking poorly of humans. The human leadership in this struggle is pathetic.

Clara, Val, and I went to the Splintered Stair to meet with Yashidi Khalid, the Cott-Root organizer. I was horrified when she told me that the human dock workers had abandoned the docks for the night, to drink in this decrepit tavern! She offered a lame excuse about how her people would get arrested if they stayed in small numbers. What nonsense. What happened to the threat of burning the docks as leverage? Nobody wants that to happen, but the threat is all the more credible now that docks have already been burnt. The City Watch will think twice before trying to roust even a handful of dockworkers in the middle of the night, with no one around to put out a fire.

How can Khalid be so obtuse? The City Watch exists to protect the interests of merchants and nobles. The docks are conduits for gold. Men like Aaron Slatestone have an incentive to negotiate with the dock workers, but only as long as we control the docks. If we lose the docks, he will have the City Watch hunt us down like dogs.

Khalid said that her people need rest. Fair enough. But why aren’t they resting on the docks, sleeping in shifts? Maybe she’s never slept on a dock, but real dockworkers don’t need featherbeds.

The City Watch will be back. If they have any sense, they will swarm the docks, and cordon off the area. If that happens, there’s no way we can fight our way back in. Our only hope is to occupy the docks and defend them.

I tried to persuade Khalid that we should take full advantage of the lull to stack the odds in our favor. I urged her to gather as many magic users as possible and take them down to the docks right now, while they’re empty, so that they can start erecting magical barriers. I mentioned that there are magic users in our party who might be able to help. Khalid conceded that strategic magic might actually have a chance because the Blackstaff of Waterdeep is missing in action.

Khalid gave us the names of a couple of magic users who might be able to help us. She also suggested that the former prisoner Ralrus and his band of tieflings might be able to help with the fight. Tieflings use magic, don’t they? I know Ralrus is fresh, he’s been sitting at the inn for hours. Maybe Igald and Valenthena have some tricks up their sleeves, too. They’re certainly well-rested.

Khalid refused to take any immediate steps to secure magical assistance. Instead, she announced her decision to take a three-hour nap.

Val added that we should also be erecting physical barriers to help us hold the docks. Again, if we’re going to do this, we have lots of work to do tonight, before the City Watch and the City Guard get back to the docks. It could take hours to set up the magical and physical barriers we need.

Among her many deficiencies, Khalid is quite ignorant of half-orcs. She assumed that Val was a member of the Wave Breakers. Whereas, the half-orcs immediately pegged Val as a non-dockworker and an outsider. No doubt these shrewd individuals sense her naiveté.

Khalid doesn’t understand that the humans have to prove their value to the half-orcs if this “Alliance” is to have any chance of success.

Khalid is a typical organizer: All glad-handing and friend-buying, and no common sense, or strategic vision. Once the day’s excitement is over, she has no interest in making plans for tomorrow. She says she’s part of the Cott-Root inner circle. May the gods have mercy upon us all.

Conclusion: Either humans set out for the docks right this minute with all the barricade-making supplies we can carry, and all the magic-users we can cajole, seduce, or hire; or we can forget about any role for humans on the docks of Waterdeep, and any role for the docks of Waterdeep in the revolution.

If Khalid won’t rally her people to action now, then by Lathander, I will do it myself.

Yours,

-G.S.

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 03 -- Nihil Boni Sine Labore

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Kythorn 04 Continued.

A halberd pin designates a City Watch commander. And guess who had the luck of being tangled up with several of them in the midst of a full-blown riot? You guess it, our heroes. But just when it looked like the confrontation would pass the point of no return violence-wise, someone had the good sense to shout out to protect the noblewoman in the crowd: Clara Arundel. Clara seized on this to bring the Watchmen under her command as they formed up defensively around her.

The party moved towards the southeast corner of Net Street and Keel Alley—all save Ges, who went to save Flint Sharphorn, the man whose beating originally drew Ges and friends into the fray. As this happened, the crowd surged. Something was coming towards them, something that terrified the crowd.

Ges worked towards safety on the northeast corner, hauling Flint up onto the one story roof. The rest of the crew had climbed into the windows and/or roof of a warehouse on the opposite side. And that’s when they saw the Half-Orcs coming down Keel Alley. Each of them had a bloody saw painted somewhere on their clothing (Val would later clarify that this was the symbol of the Bonesaws, a tribe known in the Sword Mountains) and they marched in orderly columns, shouting loudly for everyone to clear out.

It worked. The way the less… open-minded of the crowd reacted, you’d have thought it was all:
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But really it was just four columns, each three Half-Orcs deep, led by a fella named Gurrath.
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After the rot cleared out, our heroes were introduced to Gurrath and his two most trusted friends, Daga and Lop. While Gurrath had little patience for this “movement” (and even less for a fancypants like Valravn), his group of workers—The Wave Crashers—were more enthusiastic.

Everyone* teamed up to put out the fires that had spread beyond the piers, and after a few hours, the state of emergency had passed. But now the docks were as quiet as a graveyard. Where were Waterdeep’s City Watch and Guard? Had they left the docks to burn, or were they reeling from the loss of control and the death of notable noble Bardryn Sarich? No one in this motley crew can say.

After that, the parties split up. The Wave Crashers returned to their homes while Carric, Viola and Xavi went back to Madame Garah’s to check up on the released prisoners. Val, Clara and Ges made their way to The Splintered Stair to investigate the state of dock strike. Check the secrets for how those meetings went, and check back here for more excitement in our next episode!

*minus a certain Halfling, who we are all certain was just checking up on ol’ Flint Sharphorn, right?

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