Following The Furious Five’s triumph over The Pyrettes to win the coveted Boonbag, the quintet returned to The Lucky Monkey to rest, recovery, level, shop, and soak in the adoration of their friends and new found fans.
Though Ailyn Siendil was off on a shaman quest tending to suffering familial spirits, the other members of the party spent a few days preparing for future adventures of their own.
Zola, grateful for her rescue and eager to use her unique talents and training, sought to offer her own rewards to The Furious Five, with a particular interest in Bren, who unfortunately for her seemed more content to focus on the “needs” of his own cohorts and urged her in the direction of Alexander instead.
Rosie Bramblefoot and Eliandur Suldusk overheard a small and sketchy band of newcomers to TreeFall talk of their interest in hunting down the rumored treasure of the Bynderath estate. Though the Bynderath widow had a tradition of visiting the property on a weekly basis, this group had noticed that no one had seen her for a few weeks, and had resolved to break into the property to treasure hunt if another weekend came and went with no sign of her. Rosie and Eliandur reported this information to Bren, hoping to receive some instruction on whether to pursue the band, bring them to justice, try to beat them to the treasure, or ignore it. Bren gave them the insightful and timeless advice to “keep an eye on it.” (In other words, don’t bother him until something important happens . . .)
A night later Gofarian spotted a suspicious though refined looking man in the atrium of The Lucky Monkey, admiring the recently placed statue of Corril Bynderath. Though elegantly dressed with the finest taste and a certain air of mystery, no one at the inn recognized him or even saw him enter, so they decided to approach and find out what they could.
The man was remarkably charming, charismatic, talented, quite friendly, and finely attired, but simultaneously gave them a disturbing vibe, seemed to appear and disappear unexpectedly, looked almost inherently evil, and they got the distinct impression that he might be giving them important information and clues but he might also be simply toying with them and mocking them, particularly around 1:40 into the conversation:
Though he did not introduce himself, he was surprisingly knowledgeable about each of them and claimed that fate was drawing the party together, and that commonalities existed which they shared with one another and with the location they chose to take up residence. He waxed philosophical, discussing law and chaos, “inevitable justice” and the checkered pasts or conflicting goals of many of the party members.
He mentioned that the party had drawn the attention of surprisingly powerful friends and enemies despite their youth an inexperience, and noted that the only reason he was at all interested in them was because of an inadvertent favor they (and more particularly Gofarian’s uncle) had provided him. With this revelation, the party surmised that they were speaking with Artor Mortis, a vampire who is “huge in Waterdeep,” as they say. More cautious than before, they listened to his probably self serving counsel that they should travel to Mechanus, the “Clockwork Nirvana,” and seek a second magical crystal orb that was created at the same time as the first, which currently resided in their atrium.
Artor alleged that the two were complimentary creations, and that as a crime lord, Corril Bynderath had them fashioned to simultaneously reward his friends with good fortune emanating from the blessed orb, and push the karmic consequences of those very blessings onto his enemies by secretly placing the cursed orb in their midst. Forces of law and justice in Mechanus deemed such a disparate treatment of two different groups to be so fundamentally unfair that they sent a powerful construct to hunt down the mage who had created the two orbs, kill him, and trap the cursed orb in a magical void box that denied the outlet of negative energy, undermining the intended function of the orbs to separate good and bad fortune and mete it out on different heads. As a consequence now, any within the influence of the good fortune of the blessed “dragon eye” will personally suffer the curses themselves that are building up in a reserve for the time that they are no longer regularly exposed to those positive energies.
Artor even offered a potential lead for reaching Mechanus: the incomprehensibly powerful LorLoch, the Insane Shadow King, had spent considerable time in Mechanus and was mastering gate magic.
Shortly after Artor disappeared, as mysteriously as he had appeared, one of The Pyrettes arrived! A beautiful woman claiming to be Edana Starfire sought an immediate audience with the Five and told how her company had been in the area vandalizing property (specifically this very tavern . . . for personal reasons), and were making their way back to Waterdeep, when they were ambushed by hobgoblins and demons who they must have upset during their last trip into Undermountain. This large and ferocious band of slavers had attacked as they camped and kidnapped Sunel Ross, the newest member and virtuous young sister of their party leader, Kenna. Fearing the worst imaginable fate for the young woman in the horrific underworld of slave traders operating in and around Skullport, most of the Pyrettes pursued their attackers while Edana returned to the Lucky Monkey to seek help.
With the mere mention of goblin related enemies and a beautiful, distaught woman pleading for their aid, the party quickly mounted up.
Though saying she had traveled to them in animal form, Edana offered to ride with one of the party members to show them the way back to her camp. Corwin Crimsguard got that honor.
Edana seemed to get lost trying to return to the location where she said the attack occurred, and accidentally stumbled into a dire bear that almost killed her and Corwin before the party could bring it down.
Quite unimpressed with Edana’s druidic skills, they tended to one another’s wounds and tried to refind the lost members of The Pyrettes. Edana urged the party to split up and fan out, and despite their initial hesitation, some of them felt almost compelled against their will to follow her reasonable suggestion. As Admiral Ackbar might have noted had he been there, things appeared to be increasingly different from what the party had been led to believe.
They were attacked by entangling ropes, hobgoblins, some sort of stunning mind blast effect, and a fireball. Improvising weapons and slaughtering favored enemies, they dispatched the ambush attempt surprisingly quickly. Gofarian was the only one to catch a glimpse of Edana after the encounter, so they pursued into the forest, still hoping to catch up with the Pyrettes and save them.
They tracked signs of hobgoblins to where Gofarian thought he saw Edana heading: the mouth of a small natural cavern. The cavern entrance sloped downward and led to a hobgoblin slaver shelter, but as they worked their way downward, they came across magical darkness, and the party asked Alexander to lead the way, given his Devil’s sight. He tripped a cage trap, however, which dropped a large free standing cell on most of the party. Trapped in the darkness, the party was hit with a fireball and then three sadistic demonic assassins attacked. Regularly missing their foes, the party took a number of injuries while they searched for a way to open the cage or elimiate the magical darkness that had them at such a disadvantage . . .
With some well placed “shatters” and some fortunate critical hits from Bren, his Cohort, and Gofarian, including some tide-turning attacks of opportunity and cage climbing gymnastics, the party defeated the assassins, all badly hurt but only Alexander pushed to the brink of death, having absorbed the brunt of the fireball.
They gained some clues into their attacker’s identity and intentions when a telepathic voice offered to release 30 captives, including someone dear to Corwin, in exchange for the party’s warlock. Mostly interested, as Corwin considered the offer, the others charged ahead, glimpsing a mindflayer who triggered some sort of trap to flood a slaver pit in the final chamber of the cavern before slipping through a secret exit. Corwin and Alexander rescued as many of the slaves as they could while Bren and Gofarian chased after the mindflayer. Gofarian quickly discovered the secret passage, but unfortunately he and Bren fell into a spiked pit trap and their attacker escaped into the night through a second cave exit.
Six slaves died in the flooding (caused by a decanter of endless water that Corwin was able to seal with a very fortunate use magical device check). Among the rescued slaves the party discovered Dalen Crimsguard, a paladin of Tyr and Corwin’s younger brother. Dalen had been tortured at length by his captors, and seemed to be unable to speak or comprehend anything happening. His mind had been enfeebled, and so they took him, the other survivors, and the treasure they found back to Waterdeep.
In Waterdeep, the party employed the services of the priests of Tyr to heal Dalen, and learned that he had had a dream of Tyr and a visit from a mysterious woman that both encouraged him to accept a mission for the church traveling to Waterdeep to gather intel on a demon hound who’s recent activities were of interest to Tyr. The mysterious woman seemed to know somehow that Dalen might run into his brother there, and gave him a wineskin to give Corwin containing a mysterious magical liquid that no one seemed able to identify.
While Dalen recovered from his injuries, choosing to stay at the temple despite the generous offer from his brother and the rest of the party to stay at The Lucky Monkey, the party divided up treasure and planned their next move, including giving a significant portion of the money to the slaves, who were random travelers from Turmish and neighboring areas all coming to Waterdeep for various reasons and who happily followed behind a paladin who was heading that same way, hoping for safety in numbers. One merchant in particular, Brandon, claimed that all of his wares were stolen and liquidated when the group of travelers were attacked, so the party gave him 1,500 gold for his trouble, which seemed to satisfy him.