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.
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.
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.
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.