Waterdeep Gothic


A Hero's Respite

The days and weeks after what became known as the Night of the Sleepwalkers by some, the Battle over Waterdeep by those in the know, were a blur for the members of the newly christened Company of the Black Arrow. It seemed that every time any of them tried to go out into the city to do business, catch up with friends, or investigate what had happened, they were waylaid by well-meaning well-wishers who wanted to buy them a drink, offer this or that service, thank them for saving their wife or their child, or ask them how they could be so lucky as to inherit such a grand place as the Grey Serpent.
Sometimes they told the complicated story, how it came down to them after the death of Grant the Grey, first in her will, and then Magister Thorn, who could not take it because of his position, and then Welt, who didn’t want to add yet another property to his already busy life. The Harpers saw it burned as a safe house, so they didn’t want it, and her two close confidants who would be most likely to take the tavern were both killed when the floating island crashed into and destroyed the avatar of Dagon the Ancient. And so, it fell to them.
They usually didn’t get all the way through the telling, and eventually, most of them simply shrugged and smiled, and the townsfolk saw it as some sort of gift for helping to save the city, ignoring the obvious shortcomings of such tale.
But still, they were able to get snippets of information from those who came to visit them and drink and eat in what quickly became the most popular adventurers’ inn of Waterdeep, run mostly by a barmaid named Valorie who disappeared in the days before the crisis only to appear the morning after, pale, exhausted, famished, but ready for work.
It seems that while the Black Arrow was doing battle in the Dusky Tower high above the Castle Ward, the Harpers and oft-rival Moonstars staved off some sort of disturbance in the City of the Dead that involved an alarming number of the corpses returning to life and attempting to devour those who mindlessly and defenselessly walked the streets outside. This alliance of necessity may lead to a more formal and long-lasting cooperation.
At Blackstaff Tower, Duhlark appeared just in time to aid the other wizards there against a being they are calling the Emissary, based entirely on information gathered from the Black Arrow. This powerful, shadowed being was breaking through the outer wards when Duhlark showed up and did battle against the able and wily foe. When Vajra Safahr, the current Blackstaff, saw that their enemy was distracted, she launched an attack in tandem with the baelnorn, driving off this dark figure. All agreed that acquiring the Crown of Horns was the aim of this attack and that together, they needed to find a long term solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, Waterdeep Palace was besieged by a small number of Purple Dragons of Cormyr and a rabble of local gangs who seemed to be in league with them. The palace, already thinly guarded as most of the Watch was drawn into conflicts in the city streets and Masked Lords were hard to come by, held out long enough for the Waterdeep Guard to come to their aid with their leader, Abdel Babdoolian, riding at the fore. They put the gangs to flight and killed the Purple Dragons, the last of whom was kept alive for questioning but swallowed some foul potion that instantly turned him into a zombie who had to immediately be put down. Formal relations with the forest kingdom are currently nonexistent.
According to some guardsmen who were late hearing and therefore answering the summons to the defense of the palace, the ambassadorial attachment of Neverwinter was camping outside of the city when it became clear that the floating island was falling into the bay, at which point the whole entourage took flight toward home. When the guardsmen sought to stop and question them, devils appeared and chased them to the city walls before disappearing. Relations between Waterdeep and Neverwinter, two key members of the Lords’ Alliance, are tense and are only staving off a possible war over Vell’s now revealed diplomatic maneuverings by the grace of Dagult Neverember and the King of Neverwinter. However, the nature of Vell’s work is still unclear, and his son is not above suspicion, though his friends continue to speak on his behalf.
Word has it that the noble houses of Waterdeep are returning, though the paranoia has not ebbed a bit. If anything, the rumor of a list of enemies and allies of the city has all of the lords on high alert; those who were false fear being revealed as traitors, while those who were loyal fear finding that those they thought were friends were in fact playing them in some larger and more dangerous game. During the crisis, the common folk agree that the nobles who remained and their private armies did little more than barricade their gates and wait for the danger to pass. This is not entirely true, however, as a number of houses including Wands, Thann, and Raventree lent their vast resources to the City Guard and Watch.
For their part, the Watch performed admirably in parts, miserably in others. While many of the Watch came to valiantly the aid of all allies of the city, there were many who actively fought against them. Currently, the Warden of Waterdeep Abdel Babdoolian has been put in charge of both the Watch and Guard to start ferreting out the traitors while reinforcing the walls and surrounding areas against further unrest. While the Guard is fiercely loyal to “the Southerner”, the Watch are split, and all agree that he’s got his work cut out for him, but he is the right man for the job.
The guilds were not untouched by the crisis, though much of their sorrow came at their own hands. It seems that a secret cabal of guilds were allying with one another for some unknown purpose, and when it became clear that the city was in utter chaos, a number of attacks on other guilds were launched from sewers throughout the city, leading to all out guild on guild warfare. Preferring to deal with in on their own terms, they have not involved the Watch or Magisters, and as both the Watch and Magisters have other fires to put out, including some of their own, the guilds have largely been left to their own devices.
On a personal level, the Guards of Lathander have largely disbanded. Sven couldn’t bear to live in the city where he believes he failed his friend, but he finds it hard to leave, too, feeling like something is left undone. Instead, he’s joined the Waterdeep Guard and patrols outside the city, able to visit his friends for a drink or two in the Serpent on occasion. He and Mordith have become fast friends, but also brother in rage. After the initial high of their success, the elusiveness of their enemies has driven both to distraction.
Luriniel dealt with Morium’s death the best of the group and in typical elven fashion. Instead of allowing her death to destroy him, he’s instead seen it as a call to understand where she went, why she had to die, and why the gods seem to help some while abandoning others. He spends most of his time reading or in debate in the Temple of the Seldarine and has in a brief time ingratiated himself with the elves there with the help of Tinuvial, who is also there much of his time. Unlike Tinuvial, however, Luriniel is able to disappear into the temple and be alone. TInuvial is something of a celebrity there, which comes with support, but also makes quiet reflection difficult at times.
Harfoot and Glorium lived with each other very briefly after William infiltrated the Spires of Morning. Harfoot quickly became part of the Waterdeep’s underworld with the help of a somewhat reluctant Lily. The three of them attempted to cohabitate, and despite their love for each other—Lily became something of a surrogate sister to Glorium—their situation was too complicated to last long. Lilly brought an element around the Serpent and Glorium that she preferred to not, so she left to draw them away and deal with her old debts and mistakes. Only Adalwin has run into her on occasion, usually in places they agree to keep secret. He seems sure he could find her if they needed her.
Harfoot still lives nearby the Serpent, stopping in frequently. He says it is to see the smiling faces of the Black Arrow, but everyone knows he returns in case any of the Guards of Lathander stop by. Harfoot also seems to have taken to bringing bards into the Serpent, trying to get them to learn songs he has written about the Battle over Waterdeep, the Black Arrow, and the Guardians of Lathander. He spends his nights, however, otherwise engaged.
Glorium was mostly alone after Lily left, but luckily, Elyas was always near. They had become quite close during their time in study, and Elyas turned her to study with the Order. The study there is as rigorous as the student and mentor, in this case Jandallor Yarrow, want it to be, and nothing made her feel closer to Morium than to continue to pursue their love of the Art. She lives in the tower, and Elyas sees her nearly every day.
William’s infiltration of the Spires of Morning was the most abrupt shift among the group. When he brought Morium to Alabaster Morningstar, His High Radiance turned the middle aged priest away, saying something to the effect that the miracles of Amaunator “were not a trade item that could be bought with minor relics”. Infuriated, he went to find Dawnbringer Incarnadine, and found that he and a group of Lathander “heretics” were chased out of Waterdeep by the Order of the Aster.
After burying his friend, William vowed to get the Rod of Lathander back from this blindly zealous hypocrite and bring the Lathander splinter group back home. The only way he knew how was to start from the inside, so he became an initiate into the Church of Amaunator, much to the concern of his friends who could do nothing to talk him out of it. No one has been able to talk to him since as the Order of the Aster has the church on complete lockdown for “righteous reflection”.
As for the Black Arrow, after some time, they were finally able to settle down and tend to their own affairs. The Grey Serpent is a working inn again under the close eyes of Valorie, called Mother Malevolence when she’s not within earshot. She is kind, perhaps to a fault at times, and a bit naïve, soft spoken, and she’s never left this part of the city. In short, she’s everything Mother Mercy was not. But like Mother Mercy, she is also capable, hardworking, maternal, and inspires loyalty in those who work for her. In short, she’s perfect for the job.
The members of the Black Arrow moved up to the top floor at the insistence of Welt. Those are the rooms the Harpers used to use, and they are safer than those below—better locks, wide views, thick doors, secret hiding spots, and shuttered windows. The rooms are also quieter on those nights when they decide to turn in before the common room has emptied out for the evening or simply need a private place to meet.
The Grey Serpent isn’t exactly a place for scholars and storytellers anymore, at least not like it was. Instead, it has become a place for adventurers looking for a job, a safe place to plan and drink, or some advice, which is always available and usually quite good. They still get some Harpers on occasion looking for a hiding spot, some Watchmen trying to make trouble, bards plying their trade, a nobleman looking for some muscle, and others with reasons they’d just as soon keep to themselves.
The Black Arrow’s enemies have gone to ground. Some have evidently left the city; others are probably stuck in Skullport where the wreckage of a number of ships destroyed during the Battle over Waterdeep have stopped up trade and travel between the upper and lower worlds. Regardless, the trail has gone cold, and for now, the Company of the Black Arrow have to attend to running a tavern, studying, sharpening their skills and the swords, and biding their time until they can wreck bloody vengeance on their enemies and the enemies of fair Waterdeep.



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