The Leviathan Coast

Interim Self-Assessment Report--By Ges Slahoot

There comes a time in the life of every simple human male when he must critically examine his own judgement. In my case, I hope that moment will arrive in approximately half an hour, by which point I will have incapacitated several members of the City Watch of Waterdeep.

Before any further assessment takes place, I would like to stress that I did not intend to provoke an all-out melee in the middle of a pre-existing riot. When I saw the Watch Officer assaulting one of my Dock Brothers, I felt compelled to act. I attempted to snatch the injured man from the clutches of the officer. It was my hope that I could roll out of sight and vanish into the crowd.

I believe that The Lord Lathander smiles upon such an optimistic can-do attitude.

Unfortunately, this maneuver proved only partially successful. I am happy to report that the officer is no longer hitting my Dock Brother in the face. However, the officers of the City Watch have turned on us with great ferocity.

My companions are bravely counter-attacking. Viola in particular is throwing herself into battle with elan. Though she is a thief, she is possessed of a true warrior spirit. With proper guidance, she could be a great mercenary some day.

I sense the half-orc is disappointed in me, and this makes me sad. I strive to set a good example for younger creatures and I have fallen short.

They say that in moments of great peril, one’s life flashes before one’s eyes. I can confirm that this is true: As I attempt to slash the neck of a Watch Officer, I see my grandmother in my mind’s eye. She is lecturing me about how religious piety is no excuse for impulsive behavior.

Yours,

G.S.

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Those that with haste will make a mighty fire begin it with weak straws
Valravn's diary

The Third of Kythorn,

All my life I dreamed of seeing Waterdeep: the City of Splendors! The Crown of the North! A cauldron of cultures, a place where people of all races, from all walks of life, are free to pursue their destiny as they see fit. Now that I’m here, under circumstances I would never have imagined, I am rapidly coming to wish I’d never set foot in this accursed place.

Lord Bardryn is dead and I’m terrified at the thought of what might happen next. But that is, unbelievably, not even our most pressing problem: the Dock Ward is aflame and there is chaos in the streets as the City Watch seeks to put down the striking dockworkers. Our new comrade, Geswanouth Slahoot, who I took to be a level-headed and sensible man, is apparently a former stevedore and could not contain his rage when he saw his comrades being assaulted. (Obviously, I sympathize, but If I’d acted so rashly every time I saw one of my kind being abused, I’d never have lived to see my fourteenth year.) We have now all been swept into the fray… I have done my best to frighten the guards and send them on their way with spellcraft, but I fear further bloodshed is all but certain, and our involvement has only made the situation more volatile.

Serves me right for daring to hope that our luck might have turned, even momentarily. Thanks to Viola, I was able to make good use of Lord Bardryn’s seal, and the Masked Lord’s “final correspondence” is enroute. It feels ghastly to do so in wake of the man’s murder, but I can only hope my bit of subterfuge will help prevent even greater calamity. Carric’s associate Rydell secured a trusted courier for the letter and also a safehouse in town where I might be less conspicuous. I also consulted the papers taken from the late Lord Bardryn’s estate — while mostly unenlightening, there is enough there to begin my investigations — assuming we survive the night, and assuming we are ever able to stop lurching from crisis to crisis!

Even the rescue of the so-called “Common Alliance” prisoners from the South Fort Keep was accomplished easily and without bloodshed, thanks in good part to Viola’s “childhood friend” Endrich — a pretense whose transparent falsity he made no effort to conceal. Regardless of the true nature of their affiliation, it turned out “Endrich” was a prison guard who was willing to assist us in our caper, for reasons unknown. This halfling nightblood is nothing if not resourceful, and if her shady contacts can help us achieve our aims without needless violence, probably best not to ask too many questions.

Also, it appears we have a highnose in our midst! Turns out the fierce axe-wielding battlemage Clara is actually Lady Clara of House Arundel. Her good name, combined with Carric’s forgery of Xari Wisetide’s seal — fortuitous that I found correspondence bearing the Open Lord’s mark amongst Lord Bardryn’s papers! — was enough to persuade the warden of South Fort Keep to release the priest, Igald, and two other prisoners of interest into our custody. The warden also sent one of his Eldritch Knights as an escort, but an explosion in the Dock Ward served as the perfect distraction for me to cast a blindness spell on him. (This time, my new powers worked better than expected and he was deafened as well…) Some argued for killing the man, but it was Clara… I’m sorry, Lady Clara… who not only spared his life, but even took a nasty punch to the face to help sell the story that our caravan had been waylaid by conspirators seeking to release the prisoners. I remain uncertain why a highborn battlemage is interested in aiding a popular uprising, but I’m grateful she interceded in favor of mercy when others were all too ready to slit the poor man’s throat.

Unfortunately, the trio of rescued prisoners don’t appear to know much about what is going on. Carric tells us that Shava and her co-conpsirators have “something big” planned for the morrow, but as of yet we’ve no inkling of what that might be. First, we’ll all have to survive tonight’s bedlam. More guards approach, and I pray to Mystra we can extricate ourselves from this tinderbox before any more innocent blood is spilled.

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Conspiracy and Class War
Xavi on the Political Intrigues of the Day

Lord Sarich was murdered, burned to death in his bed, shortly after we left him. It is unlikely that this murder is a coincidence. There are only a few possibilities: (i) someone was watching him; (ii) someone was watching us, and may still be doing so; and/or (iii) someone was watching the Cottagers and Green Roots, the Common Alliance, and is still doing so. The plan was formulated so short a time before we carried it out that there is most likely a leak. We found no reason why someone would be watching Lord Sarich. No one else in the group seems concerned about what the murder may mean for us and for the Common Alliance. Either directly or indirectly, someone is watching us, someone is out to thwart us.

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The priest of Mystra, Waldich, is not much help. He knows little and seems to minister the flock poorly. No doubt, the more powerful users of magic in Waterdeep would lay claim to the Weave much as they would lay claim to a mine. There is no reverence for the enchantment of the world. Against the backdrop of such an outlook, the waning of Waldich’s zeal is no surprise. I doubt any of the more powerful magic users (there’s a telling name, ‘magic-users’) worship Mystra in any real manner here. The world is something to be consumed for this decadent set.

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Before meeting up with Carric, Val, Clara, Ges and Viola, I went to see what was happening at the docks. I’d received news of unrest from Waldich. The dock workers had gone on strike, and the City Watch had called in the Guard to buttress their numbers. This rapid show of force by the Lords of Waterdeep suggest that they are insecure in their power, their conviction, and their sense of place as the over-innocent guardians of peace and prosperity, and, more importantly, that the Common Alliance—this union of the Cottagers and Green Roots—may have more support than they realize. Or, perhaps the degenerate ruling class, in overreacting, may create the support they fear. But there is some conspiracy at play amidst this chaos and the amateurism of the authorities; I can sense it.

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Our immediate task though was to free Carric’s friend Igald the priest. We devised a scheme to pose as agents of the Open Lord, carrying orders to transfer the prisoners to the Southfort Keep. Clara’s father is a noble admired by the City Guard, and the Arundel name opens doors, including, it seems, prison gates. Bob Jaime Endrich, some obviously corrupt Guard whom Viola claimed to be a childhood friend (falsely for reasons I cannot understand, but I guess, as with any other skill, one has to practice subterfuge), helped Carric forge a seal and signature of the Open Lord. Carrick took the form of a warhorse, I and Val posed as guards, and Ges posed as Clara’s companion. The plan worked, but we had to incapacitate the Eldritch Knight sent with us. While en route through the backstreets of the city, an explosion at the docks delivered a useful distraction. Val blinded and deafened the Eldritch Knight long enough to release Igald and his fellow prisoners. I wounded Ges and Clara so that the ruse that we were all attacked by someone looking to free the prisoners would have a physical mark. Ges and Clara accompanied the Eldritch Knight back to Westfort Keep. At some point, they will realize that there were no orders from the Open Lord. They will know that we were behind the escape of their prisoners. They will come for us.

We all rendezvoused at Madam Garah’s. Neither the Tiefling nor half-elf knew anything save that a union of the Cottagers and Green Roots were in the works. It’s clear that the organizers risk being overtaken by events. It is also clear that there may be infiltrators in the Common Alliance. And it is certainly clear that this “open and free” state has a constabulary more akin to an army of occupation than a defender of the people. In this mix, I also risk being overtaken by events.

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We decided to see how the strike was evolving, if such a thing as chaos can evolve. The situation seemed ripe for agent provocateurs to discredit the uprising, especially given, as with all new movements, that the Common Alliance seems terrible at policing itself. At the docks, where the strikers had set a few of the piers ablaze, we found an evolving chaos with the Watch and the Guard attacking common folk. The latter, especially the dock workers, were engaging them, albeit badly. No one seemed to be using deadly force, but it also seemed that it would be just a matter of time. That time came in the form of Ges’ legitimate anger upon seeing a dock worker attacked by the authorities. Ges tried to help the dock worker escape, but any effective movement or action is almost guaranteed to failed in this throng. We had to engage the guards and so far have managed to kill no one. But more come, and I fear we may have to use deadly force. We need to disengage, retreat, and investigate the murder, the Common Alliance, and the Masked Lords’ reaction. There is more at play here than class war, the signs all tell me it is so.

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Shit gets real
Viola is loving life

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So, after we attacked that Masked Lord guy, it turns out someone went and murdered him by burning him in his bed. It appears that those of us who were on Team Kidnapping not only chose the smart option, but the more humane one. Who knew? We should find out who did that. If someone is murdering lords in their beds and that someone is not me, I want to know who it is.

Val used the seal I stole from Bardren Sarich to write some letter. I asked what it was about, and then realized I don’t care. I considered charging her for the privilege, but decided she’s good people, despite being a half-orc and there was no reason to begrudge her this minor favor. I have discovered that stealing from lords pays well. I would like to do more of it. I do worry that with Sarich dead, my fancy new seal may not amount to much. :(

After this, we decided to bust some of Carric’s friends out of the joint. We went back and forth on this issue and decided to give it a day. That worked out, as I just so happened to run across a dear childhood friend of mine named Bob Jaime Endrich, who just so happened to not only work at the Southfort Keep but was also corrupt. Endrich helped us game out a plan to get into the prison. Eventually, we decided that Clara would present herself as, well, herself—-a noble woman—-but one who was transporting prisoners to be questioned by the Open Lord. We all acted like her guard (and Carric a warhorse) and talked the warden into handing them over. It was almost seamless, except this Eldritch Knight insisted, no matter how much we tried to talk him out of it, that he had to come along.

We took our caravan down a dark street in order to jump this chump and, in a great stroke of fortune, someone blew up something on the dock. (Apparently, the dock workers have been striking and it turned into a riot.) Val used the distraction as an opportunity to stun the Eldritch Knight, causing him temporary blindness and deafness. Unaware he was deaf, I yelled, “Bandits!” So that was a failure, but luckily Clara was able to hoodwink the guy into thinking that we had, indeed, been attacked by bandits. She took a punch to the nose to get it done, but hey, at least the black eye will suggest to all would-be comers that she is not to be fucked with.

All of us but Carric and Clara escaped with the prisoners. Clara and Carric returned to the prison and played it off like a bandit attack. We all met back up at Madam Garah’s, where we are now staying, and then decided to see what the hell was going on with this dock bombing. We had heard that the Cottagers and Greenroots had joined together in a movement called the Common Alliance, and this bombing probably had something to do with that.

When we got to the dock, all hell had broken loose. People were rioting. A mix of City Watchmen and City Guard were attacking commoners, dock workers in particular. No one seemed to agree on who started the fight.

Then Ges, overcome with anger at watching a fellow dock worker getting punched in the face by an officer, grabbed the dock worker and tried to escape. The press of crowd made that impossible, and so it was ON. My companions and I started to fight every Guard and Watchman in sight. We were getting the better of them when a new group came upon us…..

And that’s where we’re at. I’m swinging Sparklemotion and we’re trying to stay alive. To be continued!

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 02 -- Ad Captandum Vulgus

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DR 1482. Kythorn 03.

Gounar’s Tavern loves our intrepid adventurers. As they downed several rounds at the end of the night, schemes were hatched.

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Among other minor plans, like the agreement to all move to stay at one location (Madame Garah’s Boarding House in the South Ward) the big event was agreed upon: on the morrow, Carric would scout the Southfort Keep and see if 1) Carric’s favorite Priest of Silvanus, Igald, might be captured there, and 2) if it’s possible to break him out. Everyone then went there separate ways and totally didn’t explore their own agendas at all. Nope.

DR 1482. Kythorn 04.

Around town the next morning, all anyone could talk about were two juicy bits of news. The first was that, for the first time in Waterdeep history, all the dock workers of Waterdeep were refusing to work. They blocked the piers in solidarity with the Greenroots and Cottagers, who also used this platform to rebrand themselves as the Common Alliance. The workers demanded the release of all prisoners taken from the meetings on Kythorn 02, as well as improved pay and working conditions from their various employers. The second topic of discussion was the death of Bardryn Sarich, a nobleman with a considerable fortune in land and gold. He was apparently burned alive in his bed the night before, a gruesome crime the likes of which have been seldom seen in the wealthier wards of Waterdeep.

After everyone continued not furthering their own aims, a group convened outside Southfort Keep. Carric got the bright idea to transform into a mouse and scout a prison that might also be holding someone who can turn into a mouse and yet somehow hasn’t escaped from said prison.

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It even almost worked! He got through the front gates no problem, and he made his way down into the lower level.

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About 150 common folk were kept in several 15×15 cells. Carric continued to explore, and he came upon an Eldritch Knight, Merric Baywater, guarding a set of private cells. Spotting Igald bound and gagged alongside a half-elf woman and male Tiefling, Carric zipped right on past Baywater… and right into the warded area of the prison. He immediately transformed back into his Elf-self, startling Baywater. But before the Guardsman could react, Carric charmed him. Telling a tale about a drunken mishap, Carric encouraged Baywater to escort him off the premises. Baywater cheerfully complied. Then Carric and friends hightailed it out of there before the charm wore of and Baywater realized what had happened to him.

Meeting back up and going over Carric’s description of the prison, our heroes were joined by a “childhood friend” (cough cough) of Viola’s, Endrik Tarim. A guard at Southfort keep, Endrik offered to help his old buddy and her new pals if they could come up with a viable way to break out the prisoners.

They devised the following plan: Carric would forge a letter from the Open Lord Yari Wisetide, including his seal, demanding the high-value prisoners be moved to a more secure location (the Mountain Tower) in light of the recent break-in attempt by this mouse-person. It would be delivered by Clara Arundel, herself of noble heritage. The rest of the crew would act as her bodyguard and bring a cart for prisoner transport.

Clara met Cade Thorngage, Southfort Commander, the stern and dutiful Commander of the Southfort Keep. He was none too happy about the day’s earlier break-in and agreed it would be best to move the high-value prisoners. But he insisted on sending his own men as well, choosing the guards presently on duty in that section: Sven Koray, the Eldritch Knight who replaced Baywater, and none other than Endrik Tarim. The prisoners were loaded into Clara’s cart and off they went.

Taking back streets through the South Ward, the convoy came to a halt when they heard and saw an explosion of fire from the docks.

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Valravn seized the moment and blinded Sven Koray. So powerful was Val’s spell that she even managed to deafen him, as well. A couple punches to Endrik Tarim and Clara was enough to complete the ruse — now they could safely claim that they were ambushed and the prisoners taken.

One group took the prisoners to Madame Garah’s Boarding House while Clara took the guards back to the Keep to report the “ambush.” Thorngage was furious, cursing out his useless Eldritch Knights and promising retribution for whoever did this.

The group reassembled and went down to the docks to check out the explosion. What they found was a mess. City Watchmen, common folk and dock workers were a tangled mess of shouting and shoving, and Piers 4 through 6 were on fire. That fire had spread across the street and caught the first cluster of buildings nearby on fire as well.

Then Ges saw a Watchman repeatedly punching a dock worker in the back of the head and decided to return the favor. The riot was on.

Valravn scared off a couple guards, Carric charmed one and convinced him to run home to his family, and several others fell to Sparklemotion and the other blades of our heroes. But several other soldiers were descending on the group. How would they survive the riot? That would be a question for another episode.

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A Meeting in the South Ward Touches Off a Series of Unfortunate Events by Ges Slahoot
Cott-Root Rot

Synopsis: I am beginning to doubt the sanity of some members of our party.

Chronology: On a lark, Clara, Viola and I accompanied the druid Reidoth to a meeting at the Safehaven Inn in the South Ward of Waterdeep. Reidoth billed the meeting as a kind of summit of Greenroots and the Cottagers. Sure enough, both groups were well-represented at the gathering. It is surprising to see them making common cause: The Greenroots want us to live in hollow trees and the Cottagers want everyone to have his own house.

Nevertheless, the speakers made a compelling case for abolishing the rule of nobles and improving the lot of the common people. I was prepared to sign up to attend future meetings.

Then the City Watch raided the meeting. Clara and a druid held a phalanx of Watchmen at bay as they tried to rush down the steps.

A strange elf told me to follow him if I wanted to live. I had no desire to stand and fight the City Watch of Waterdeep for the dingy basement of a cheap inn. Suffice it to say that the Cottagers and Greenroots of the South Ward are in no shape to physically confront anyone. Fearing a massacre by the City Watch or mass casualties by self-trampling, the elf and I escorted the Vanguard of the Whatever to safety through a secret passageway.

Later, in a safe house we met the druid Carric; the monk Xavi; and the overgrown street urchin half-orc, “Valravn.” The strange (and strangely compelling) elf introduced himself as Finithin Nix, a member of the Cottager-Greenroot revolutionary movement.

Fin is at best a mid-level operative in the Cott-Root Conspiracy. Two of Fin’s associates are currently serving on the rotating C-R leadership council. Who knows who else is in the inner circle today, or what they want. These people are as opaque as the Masked Lords themselves!

It turns out that none of the six of us have any allegiance to Waterdeep. We’ve all heard the legends, but none of us really knows much about the place. My friends have decided they want to overthrow the government of a strange city based on the half-baked philosophies of some very good-looking people they met in a tavern.

At a meeting the next day, Fin proposed kidnapping a Masked Lord of Waterdeep. He wasn’t clear on what this kidnapping was supposed to accomplish, apart from “sending a message.” It would send a message alright: That Cott-Roots need to be killed. Even if the people of Waterdeep concluded that the Masked Lords were vulnerable, it’s not clear how the revolutionaries would capitalize on this opportunity in order to seize power, or how they would rule Waterdeep if it were handed to them, or if they want to rule at all.

Recall that half the members of this conspiracy want to take over the city and the other half want to burn it to the ground. In my opinion, this is a political difference that should be ironed out before any violence takes place.

If the Cott-Roots aren’t careful, Waterdeep will become the next Luskan. They might destabilize the government, but the pirates will be waiting to sack the city. Whoever these Masked Lords are, it’s safe to assume they’re not pirates. Because if they were pirates, we’d all be wearing our intestines around our necks by now.

The Cott-Roots have no inkling of the horrors lie beyond Waterdeep. It’s easy to talk about abolishing the city when you’re protected by the city walls. Waterdeep is teeming with pickpockets and saturated with filth—but you don’t see owlbears wandering down the street, now do you?

To my astonishment, other members of the party were eager to go along with Fin’s scheme. I wasn’t surprised that our party’s professional thief was on board for this mission, but I didn’t expect a druid, a monk, and a noblewoman to jump at the chance to abduct a sitting Masked Lord for no clear reason. Gradually the plan shifted towards terrorizing the Masked Lord at home in order to extract information from him.

I refused to have any part in this ill-conceived, hastily planned operation. I was pleased and surprised that the entire party returned alive. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that they’re now planning a prison break, to rescue some friend of Carric’s.

Carric’s friend is also a druid, a person of some importance in Carric’s druid club, or druid circle, or whatever they call it. I am weary of druids. What is this “balance” that they’re always nattering about? The “balance” between sanity and madness?

Oh, and the juvenile half-orc turned out be wearing a false jaw. She is a half-orc of the female persuasion. She seems to have more sense than anyone else in this party.

Yours,

G.S.

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Bird's Eye View: Ep. 01 -- In Flagrante Delicto

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In this episode, everyone was caught in the act.

DR 1482. Kythorn 02. Waterdeep.

Our two groups of heroes attended a recruitment meeting of the Greenroots and Cottagers at The Safehaven Inn in the South Ward. After Lorbrin Cooper and Shava Moonwhisper finished their inspiring speeches, and just as attendees turned to Malcer Brownwater to sign up for the cause, the City Watch burst into the cellar. Or tried to. With a moonbeam from Carric Nailo, a blast to the crotch from Clara Arundel and verbal threats from the towering shadow of Valravn, the Watch were forced back into the streets as the everyone escaped through a secret hatch. As some members of our two parties held off the Watch, the others helped with the evacuation. When that was complete, Elf Cottager Finithin Nix led Carric, Clara, Val, Viola, Xavi, and Ges to a safehouse and an impromptu get-to-know-you session.

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Fin probed into everyone’s interests and intentions regarding the potential revolution, giving these two sets of heroes a chance to learn a bit about each other, as well. Xavi argued that all cities eventually lead to corruption and destruction on the level of the land of Thay. Clara stressed that not all nobles are terrible, but that all commoners deserve protection. Viola was ready to take down the establishment. Carric seemed supportive of the Greenroots’ general position. Ges seemed interested in a better life for the regular folk. Valravn adamantly opposed any action that might result in the death of innocents.

Fin also revealed his own story, including his life as a courtesan for the nobles and just how disgusted he’d become observing their lifestyle and attitudes. He’d been coming to Cottager meetings for a few months, and his commitment caught the eye of some of the group leadership. When asked about said leadership, Finithin revealed that there is an inner circle that rotates its membership. Lorbrin and Shava are currently in that inner circle, and Fin promised to bring this promising group of adventurers before them the next night.

By the end of the night, it became clear that more than just the Safehaven Inn meeting had been disrupted; meetings all over the city had been raided. The question has been raised: is there a mole in the movement? These raids led to the capture and imprisonment of many attendees, and Carric strongly suspects Igald, Priest of Silvanus to be among them.

DR 1482. Kythorn 03. Waterdeep.

Everyone met at the weapon-stocked Red Sails warehouse in the Dock Ward that evening.

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Finithin pitched his plan to kidnap one of his clients, Bardryn Sarich. Sarich is in love with Fin and has revealed that he’s a Masked Lord of Waterdeep. Clara and Viola jumped at the chance to capture and question such a powerful noble, but Ges was absolutely opposed; the rest of the group landed somewhere in-between. In the end, they decided to catch Sarich in the act (there’s that theme again) with Fin and interrogate him at his residence. But Geswanolith objected strenuously and decided he would sit this one out.

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Getting to the house was easy that night, primarily because Sarich had to be sure it was easy for Finithin to enter as well. Sneaking in through the back door to the kitchen, Val, Carric and Clara went upstairs while Xavi and Viola went hunting for information (and goodies).

Sarich was gagged and blindfolded while Fin’s face was buried in his posterior when his world was turned upside down. A huge half-orc pulled off Sarich’s blindfold and named herself as Razkeda Urugur, assassinator of Chancellor Arwin Hume in Silverymoon. That revelation and the placement of his trembling courtesan against a sharp blade left Sarich a quivering mess. He revealed that the Masked Lords 1) don’t know each other’s identities, 2) have a meeting in 9 days at the High House of Roaringhorn, and 3) are keeping prisoners from the meeting raids at Southfort Keep. Carric forced Sarich to agree to seek information about the mole in the movement and then meet at the Broken Lance at midday 8 days hence. The intruders “took” Fin as leverage.

Downstairs, Xavi and Viola rummaged through the expansive rooms of the mansion, stealing a couple silver statues and politely knocking out the butler before finding Sarich’s office. Viola snagged some fancy letter openers and the family seal while Xavi took a pile of papers dealing with Sarich’s business and land. They also took a letter half-written to Garlan Arundel and gave it to Clara afterwards.

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In the debrief after their home intrusion, Carric argued strongly for the next move to be a prison break of the Southfort Keep.

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First, though, he wants to scout it in animal form and alert Igald of help being on its way. There is some skepticism among the group about the wisdom of this act.

Will our heroes become criminals? Will they be caught in yet another act of treasonous uprising? Find out in the next chapter of The Leviathan Coast.

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Our first three days in town.
From the journals of Carric Naïlo

From the Journals of Carric Naïlo:

Time is of the essence so I will make this quick.

DAY ONE:
I spent the morning in private observance of my faith at the Temple of Sylvanus. I was surprised to discover and old friend of mine, the human Igald, was serving as the temple priest. It turns out that he knew of a separate Green Roots/Cottager meeting at The Raging Lion and we agreed to meet up after our respective meetings to discuss what we had observed. I have not seen Igald since and fear he has been captured or is dead.

The Cotttager/ Green Root meeting we attended, where a stout human named Lorbrin Cooper and Shava Moonwhisper, a rather comely female elf, spoke was disrupted by an attack by the City Watch. We managed to fend off the attack, and, remarkably, make some new friends while we were at it, two humans named Clara and Ges, a halfling named Viola and an elven courtesan named Finathan Nix.

After helping all who attended flee (thanks, in no small part, to my summoning of a moonbeam to scare them away from one of the stairs and some judicious use of Pass Without Trace to help us escape quietly), we entered a safe house with Fin. Fin then proceeded to interrogate us about our beliefs and our reasons for attending. The hotheaded Elf was clearly feeling paranoid— after all, their secret meetings had just been broken up— but I was startled at my companion’s forthcomingness about themselves. Apparently, the group we’ve met are an earnest lot— Ges calls himself, without irony, a “simple human male”—which is quite refreshing as I have been dealing, of late, with no end of liars, tricksters, and mountebanks.

I left the meeting with Fin to find Igald to no avail.

DAY TWO: I tracked down Shava Moonwhisper at the tavern where she is currently staying. We spoke about the Green Roots and the Cottagers. It appears that an alliance has formed between two likeminded, but not identical, groups. The Green Roots seek,as we druids do, to correct the balance between cities and nature. They feel that, if current trends continue, nature will be overrun. The Cottagers, meanwhile, seek to overturn the nobility and return governance to a state of nature, which is to say, every man looking after his own lot. The reasons for this alliance make a lot of sense, and the Green Roots see overturning the nobility as their best chance to affect environmental change, but their compact is not without its tensions.

I attempted to contact Igald again, and again, nothing. My worries about my dear friend only grew over the course of the day.

That evening, we attended a meeting at the Red Sails warehouse, where Fin proposed that we kidnap a Lord named Bardryn Sarich, who is one of his customers. Val and I agreed that if we could get the information we wanted without kidnapping Bardryn, we would all be better off. No one needs that kind of heat on him. We also wanted to avoid blowing Fin’s cover. He’s a valuable asset as a courtesan, less so as a wanted elf whose handy with a bow.

Eventually, after much debate, we decided that Fin would maintain his cover, get Bardryn in a compromised position, and that Val and I would interrogate Bardryn while Clara watched the door and Xavi and Viola scoped out the rest of the estate. Ges, our simply human male friend, decided that this was too morally complex and decided to sit this one out.

The mission was an astounding success. Val and I managed to find out the following
(1) The prisoners from the Green Roots/Cottagers meetings are being held at South Fort Keep. He doesn’t know any of the specific prisoners.

(2) One of the other Masked Lords knows who the mole is, but Bardryn does not.

(3) The next Masked Lords meeting is to be held in 9 days. It is likely to be at the High House of Roaring Horn, but that is not certain as the Open Lord (Yari Wisetide) has yet to declare the location.

(4) We also managed, by threatening to “mail Fin back to him in pieces” and also reveal his sexual proclivities to his wife, to get him to promise to meet us at the Broken Lance tavery in 8 days. He is to tell us the definite location and try to get us as much information about the mole as possible.

He has been instructed to come to that meeting alone, but there’s no way that’s going to happen. We must be prepared for anything, and maybe have a contingency plan together.

Xavi and Viola also had great success rifling through the lord’s papers. We should hold on to whatever they’ve found for now, lest it become common knowledge that Bardryn has been targeted. Eventually, however, we’ll need to hand over the papers they’ve found. Viola has also stolen Bardryn’s family seal. I bet I can use that to our advantage at some point.

Our most pressing concern is springing our friends from prison. I have agreed to go into the Fort in the form of a mouse to scout out the prison. Val has suggested that since he and Clara can both summon their weapons, they should attempt to get arrested and thrown in the same prison as the Cottagers and Green Roots. I would like to scope out the Prison first. Perhaps i can find Igald, my worry for old friend is, at this point, great. If I can get into his cell to talk to him, perhaps i can learn something that can help us get these prisoners out of there with a minimum of armed conflict. If we can avoid alerting the entire City Watch, it’d be a good thing.

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Misery acquaints an orc with strange bed-fellows
Valravn's diary

I tried to warn Laney and her people it would be dangerous, but in their zeal for change they would not be dissuaded, so I reluctantly agreed to accompany the girl and her family to the secret meeting at the Safe Haven Inn, along with my companions Carric and Xavi. It was as I feared — the meeting was interrupted when the City Watch burst into the inn’s upstairs dining room, and all of the conspirators were forced to flee. Thankfully, Laney, Aluf, Oefrid, Balda, and the other common folk were ferried out safely through a secret passage in the cellar, along with the two lead conspirators: the human Cottager Lorbrin Cooper and the the Greenroots leader, an elf named Shava Moonwhisper.

(Always “respect nature” and “preserve the balance,” with these elves… except when it comes time to slaughtering orcs like wild beasts. Are my kind not part of this “nature” you claim to respect? And what manner of “balance” is achieved by driving us from our forest strongholds and forcing us into the bowels of the Underdark? But this is an argument I’ve had far too many times with Carric during our travels together.)

As the common folk filed towards the escape tunnel, I attempted to hold off the City Watch without needless bloodshed. I have no quarrel with the Watch of Waterdeep and even less desire to attract their notice. Thankfully, brittle-boned humans can still be relied upon to turn tail and run when they hear an orc roaring at them, threatening to carve out their kidneys with a glaive. (I’m glad I thought to extinguished all the nearby torches; I don’t believe any of them got a good look at me.)

Carric’s druidic moon-magic prevented the Watch from descending the opposite staircase, although one poor Watchman suffered grievous wounds to his nether regions. (He’ll sire no more children, that much is certain.) Carric was assisted by Xavi and a formidable warrior woman named Clara, who is also no stranger to the Art — I wonder where she learned her spellcraft? I noted that she could have killed the injured Watchman with her wand, but seemed to deliberately hold back. I’m relieved no one was killed, but doubtless the Watch will be looking for all of us now.

After fleeing through the secret passageway, we ditched the City Watch and my companions and I were led to a warehouse by another co-conspirator, the mysterious elf Finathin Nix. Clara came with us, as did a roguish-looking halfling named Viola and a human bowman with the unlikely name of Geswanouth Slahoot — both companions of Clara’s, it seems, all of them newly arrived in Waterdeep.

Fin told us a bit more about the nature of the conspiracy, which seeks to advance the interests of the common folk in and around the city. Their aims are righteous but their methods seem… dubious at best. He interrogated each of us in turn, asking what we were willing to do for this fledgling movement: theft, sabotage, assassination? It’s no surprise that my druidic friend Carric would seek to aid these so-called “Greenroots,” but I was shocked that Xavi, a fellow devotee of Mystra and someone I know to be an honorable man, would ever countenance the notion of murdering someone in cold blood — especially at the behest of a conspiracy we barely know anything about. I must confer with him further on this! Surely this must be some manner of subterfuge on his part? For my part, I told Nix I wanted no part of any killing, nor anything else that might lead to innocent folk getting hurt.

The other three seemed a more cutthroat bunch, to be sure, an impression that was only intensified when we met at the Red Sails warehouse the following night. Fin was surprised to see me, as were the others — truth be told I wanted nothing further to do with this cabal, but if I’m to keep Laney’s family safe I must know what these conspirators intend. And I have few friends in this world — if Carric and Xavi are going to throw in their lot with this conspiracy, well… after all they’ve done for me, I cannot abandon them as they pursue this dangerous path. I suppose if I’m going to find the answers I seek, I may have to make… further accomodations. But I cannot allow any more innocent blood to be spilled.

And godsbedammed, these folk are a ruthless, reckless sort! Nix, a courtesan employed by the Pink Hydra, claims to have as his client one of the famously anonymous Masked Lords of Waterdeep, one Bardryn Sarich. His plan was to kidnap the man in order to “send a message” to the other Masked Lords. Such a foolhardy scheme would only have brought misery to the common folk, and ruin to all of us. The other Masked Lords would have imposed martial law, shut the city gates tight, and turned Waterdeep upside-down while rounding up anyone even suspected of harboring any revolutionary sympathies. They would stop at nothing in their effort to find the missing Lord, and the uprising would be crushed before it could even begin to take root.

The rogue Viola was only too happy to go along with this rash plan, though it was clear her main interest was in the opportunity to help herself to as many Waterdhavian splendors as she could carry away from the Sarich estate. Clara also seemed hell-bent on the kidnapping, for her own inscrutable reasons — where was the compassion that stayed her hand earlier? Though I admit I am becoming more curious about what might lead a well-spoken, clearly well-educated battlemage to so wholeheartedly embrace this ragtag uprising among the lowborn. Only Ges showed any basic decency and common sense, refusing to go along with the scheme favored by his hot-headed companions. Clearly he is the voice of reason in this trio: the other two would do well to listen to his counsel more frequently.

But we were faced with another problem. An associate of Carric’s, the druid Igald, was at another secret meeting last night, which was also raided — it seems they all were — and has not been seen since. We presumed he was taken by the City Watch. We knew not where, but perhaps Bardryn Sarich would have some idea.…

Carric floated the possibility of “merely” interrogating Lord Bardryn in his bedchamber as an alternative to kidnapping, and blackmailing him to keep his silence — not a plan I’d ordinarily be in favor of, but if this solution will prevent this band of unprincipled ruffians from trying to drag a Masked Lord (who has not wronged us or any of ours) from his own bedchamber and through the streets of Waterdeep, then hand him off to face certain torture by a band of wild-eyed radicals… I see no alternative. I proposed to handle the interrogation myself — Clara has already seen grown men of the Watch wet their breeches at the sound of my voice, so she reluctantly assented to this, on the condition that if the interrogation fails, the kidnapping would proceed.

Our plan is this: Fin will ensure that Lord Bardryn is found in a “compromising” position. Carric will use his druidic magic to help us remain undetected and ensure we cannot be followed, and will assist me with the interrogation while Clara guards the door. Xavi and Viola will search the manor for documents or other information that may help us in our cause. Ges is — probably wisely — sitting out the whole thing.

Our interrogation succeeded, as I knew it would — being feared and hated by the “civilized races” has its advantages. We learned that Igald has likely been taken to the South Fort Keep along with the others rounded up during last night’s raids. Alas, Lord Bardryn doesn’t know who tipped off the City Watch to the secret meetings. And it appears the Masked Lords’ identities are a secret even to other Masked Lords! But we did learn the likely location of their next meeting: the High House of Roaringhorn, in a tenday’s time. Lord Bardryn agreed to meet us — alone — eight days hence at the Broken Lance. As we left the bedchamber, Carric “kidnapped” Fin and threatened to send the courtesan back in pieces and expose their relationship to all should Lord Bardryn dare speak a word of this to anyone. Honestly, the Masked Lord seemed genuinely unaware of the grievances that have so riled the common folk, and was utterly perplexed as to why they should want to rise up against the benevolent rulers of Waterdeep.

We will need to find a safehouse where Fin can hide for the time being — it is far too dangerous to allow a “kidnapped” man to walk the streets freely.

Also, to ensure the success of my interrogation, it became necessary for me to remove my disguise. As we fled his estate, even in the dark with my hood up, I am sure my new companions noted the absence of the grizzled, scarred false jaw I’d been disguising myself with since arriving in Waterdeep. I begged of them to keep this information to themselves, and I can only hope, for their sake, they are more trustworthy than they seem. I do not wish anyone to come to harm on my account, even scoundrels.

Though I must admit, this Viola is a very clever scoundrel indeed — she managed to pilfer Lord Bardryn’s royal seal! (Along with every valuable she could stuff into her satchels, I’m sure.) I suppose she might be a helpful person to know for one seeking answers… that is, if she can can be somehow persuaded to keep her more murderous impulses in check. But she did well snatching that seal; there’s some chance we might use it to spring Igald from prison right under their noses. Though if we are to do that we’d best act this very night, before Lord Bardryn has the opportunity to alert the guards at South Fort Keep.

Xavi also found a stack of documents pertaining to the Masked Lord’s business dealings, which I should very much like to examine when the opportunity presents itself. But for now, we’d best act swiftly and decisively. Lord Bardryn will not take this incursion lightly, of that I’m sure.

Meanwhile, I find myself no nearer to my goal. And despite my best efforts, I also seem to have entangled myself in an additional conspiracy, one I wanted no part of. I suppose it’s true what they say: “Mortals plan, Beshaba laughs.”

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The Waterdeep Adventure Begins
Viola recounts her adventures

Eager to see some new crap, my friends and I went to the Safe Haven Inn to hear some political radicals talk. There was a lot of speechifying about how nobles are bad people and how the common people need to rise up and take what is theirs. Most of it was boring, but I am sympathetic to the idea that lords are a rotten bunch. After all, they did destroy our mine, even after we worked so hard to make it safe again.

Then the City Watch raided the joint and we all escaped. Some very handsome and intriguing elf named Finn showed us a safe house. He told us we can join his revolution. Upon hearing that this creates an opportunity to sneak into the houses of fancy lords and murder them in their sleep, I was in. Well, Finn didn’t exactly say that was what we were doing, but I inferred. ¯\(ツ)

To show our worth to Finn, we agreed to bust into the house of Bardren Sarich, who is one of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep, some kind of secret society that runs the city. Sadly, there was not much of interest in his house, showing that these secret lord sorts really know how to keep secrets. But my new friends, Valravn and Carric, managed to squeeze all sorts of information from him, including the fact that he’s holding some Cottager/Green Roots types in South Fort Keep. So we have decided to spring those guys and secure our place in this burgeoning rebellion.

Oh yeah, and I swiped Sarich’s family seal. So if anyone has any reason to forge some documents, just ask me.

Brodtkorb_wax_seal.jpg

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