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.