It is evening, and packed at the Serpent. The Arrow gathers at their usual table in the back. Over everything, though, there’s a tension. The wolf attacks and the bats haven’t stopped, and now it’s the new moon.
They discuss the doings a transpiring, especially the birth defects, “thieves” at the docks, and the bower knots being banned. As they try to figure out suspects, who is pulling strings, Vell drops the tidbit of info that Neverember had installed a doppelganger in Neverwinter, that the Heroes of Never killed. Really…
Harfoot comes into the bar and walks to the table just behind the Arrow. He introduces them to Belwrick, another halfing who Badger had sold some tiny stockpots and tiny fishhooks. Harfoot is super vague and heads back into the night. “By the way,” he says on the way, “the wolves are out.”
As the sun goes down, the bar starts to clear out. Mordith gets up to start the watch on the door & bower knot, when Benji runs in, no coat, no lamplighting gear. “Something’s out there!”
Everyone scrambles for their various murder tools. Belwrick peeps out the window and sees the broken chewed-upon body of a twelve-year-old boy in the mist.
Vell runs to the roof to see what he can. He sees more corpses, trailing northward, heading toward the huge bank of fog rolling in from the north. Which is not the way the fog should roll in — it’s usually in from the sea (the south).
He scampers down to the corpses and discovers two horrible things: the boy’s leg comes off, and he’s still alive. Vell stabs him, with mercy. Adalwin and Tinuvial have come up to the roof after him, and they see larger figures looming in the fog. Vell kills the other boy in the street, and begins to burn the bodies. The fog bank is now less than a hundred feet away, and Vell can hear the figures yipping, and see their teeth. He finishes the fire and books it inside.
“Alright,” Mordith says, “What’s the plan? Distract them?”
No one answers. The two on the roof can see the figures break off once in a while and head into a house. Then, the screaming. They are avoiding the doors with bower knots, though.
Adalwin and Tinuvial make the thoughtful and reasoned decision to climb down from the roof and distract the horde. Which they do.
Vell takes the girls upstairs, leaving Mordith and Elyas asking Belwrick what in the fuck is happening.
Then the horde runs by. They’re limbs are elongated, with long, sharp claws and teeth. Their eyes are flat black and their bodies are purply and bloated. Even inside, their smell is awful.
Once they’ve passed, Elyas casually steps out and lobs a fireball into the fog, then casually slips back in.
Mordith is left wondering if he’s the only sane one left.
Tinuvial and Adalwin decide to double back towards the Temple of Seladrine. In the fog, though, Adalwin outpaces Tinuvial and he (Tinuvial) has to hide. The horde runs right past him. Adalwin leads them on towards the temple, while Tinuvial looks for a horse.
Meanwhile, back at the Serpent, the fog is still thick, and there seem to be some stragglers, so Vell, Mordith, Elyas, and Belwrick head to the roof to set up a sniper nest.
Somehow, Tinuvial gets ahold of two horses and takes them to find Adalwin, who is outpacing the horde towards the Temple. Adalwin grabs hold of the spare horse and they gallop towards the Temple with the ghouls and the wolves just behind them. They get to the gate, the horn blows, the gate opens, they charge through, and arrows loose behind them. Adalwin requests new pants.
Up on the roof, the fog covers the whole city. They can see very little. Everyone they care about seems to be protected…so maybe it’s time to run a counter-attack?
There is a green light coming from the City of the Dead. Vell and Mordith want to go check it out, see if they can see who is controlling this awfulness. Belwrick and Elyas talk them out of it, though.
[There’s some kind of conversation with Luriniel at the Temple about this City of the Dead]
Everyone shelters in place. No one sleeps much, except for a few flashes of a graveyard. Screaming, howling, people getting torn apart.
Next morning, Mordith works on some breakfast and recovery drinks, especially for poor Benji, who had a little too much to drink.
[There’s some info from the Temple that Mike or Ryan G should insert here]
Lurinel has found a little on the Bower Knot — originally probably Elven, but they claim it’s been around before them, which would make it 30,000 years old or older. Are they in the columns under the city? Have to check the rubbings.
Mort was taking advantage of the situation more than controlling things.
About an hour after sunup, Adalwin and Tinuvial walk in. Here’s what they have: the seers of the temple say that someone (?) has capitalized on the original de-sanctifying with the teeth, which was not created by anyone, but an aftershock from the future. Got that?
The ghouls and the wolves are not controlled by the same person, though they’re cooperative. The ghouls are probably controlled by Mort, the wolves…? Kormallis was housing lots of wolves, though.
Also: there’s a guild war brewing.
What are people’s motivations? Power, mainly. Mort has discovered that there are extra-dimensional crypts with plenty of ghouls in them. In case you need some ghouls for a thing.
Long pause for planning. First: check with the City of the Dead and see if there are any clues. Then, see if Duhlark knows anything about Mort / Iker.
The girls take Benji back. The group stops at his house, since they remembered after that that they wanted to talk to him. All of the lamplighters are gone. All of them. He had an older boy in charge of him. There is a Lamplighter’s Guild. Being in charge of them would be a good way to keep the city dark. And would be a ready source of sacrifices if need be. And the more similar the sacrifice is, the stronger the magic.
The boys probably would have been sent out in a pattern to lead the ghouls out…to where?
The streets are pretty clear, so there are tracks to lead back to wherever they came from. Every once in a while, they find citizens cleaning up the bodies of the lamplighters. By the way, they seem to have been bitten by ghouls, remembering the size & shape of the bites.
A wagon is coming around, loading the bodies onto them. Vell notices that they belong to the Gravediggers Guild. Tinuvial talks to the guy loading the wagon. The order to clear the streets came last night. Before the attacks. From Sen.
The Cellerars’ Union is across the street from the City of the Dead, so they’re already headed in the right direction.
Oh, by the way, Vell is a member of the executive board of the Wagoners’ Guild, and any attack on the Gravediggers would be a shot fired in the Guild Wars. What could go wrong?
Continuing on, the trail of bodies leads straight to the City of the Dead, despite the curves in the road.
As they go on, they come to another group of people around a body. They have seen several groups like this, but it’s a full-grown man. The whispers in the crowd tell them before they see him, but it’s Ewing, the slayer. His tools, crossbows, wooden stakes, silver nitre and so on, are scattered around the body.
Tinuvial notices that, despite the locals’ foot traffic and some ghouls’ passing, his neck has been punctured. Adalwin can see ghoul marks, vampire marks, and the lack of a pack to carry all his stuff. There’s a trail leading from the body, which they follow to an alleyway. Based on the tracks, a kid seems to have dragged it away to roll the pack.
They find the pack, a few items like holy water, stakes, and more silver nitre. Tinuvial finds a section of a book in a leather folder. Adalwin finds a wand and some coin in his boots. Elyas can tell the wand is magical, but there’s more to be found out than he has time for.
They shake their heads and continue on. Soon they are within sight of the City of the Dead. The walls are huge, having once been city walls. The gates are guarded not by the Watch, as one would expect, but apparently by mercs who look to have showed up here — their equipment is kind of haphazard, and they are wearing several Guilds’ sigils. Vell recognizes one of them as a mercenary that his unit has hired.
While the rest of the Arrow is busy figuring out that mystery, Belwrick sneaks off and finds a hole in the wall to wriggle through. He can see that several of the crypts have been sealed with a bower knot. So…that’s a plus. He finds a hill to climb and can see plenty of bower knots, though there are a few tombs whose doors were blasted out. There’s no sound of birds, animals or anything else — it’s very quiet. Plenty of ghoul tracks, though.
He investigates a nearby tomb with its door open, but he can’t tell much. He hears what can only be described as feeding, though, when he listens closely.
Vell talks to the Wagoners’ Guild member. They sort of closed down the gate, on their own initiative. No one else was watching. Like the Watch, say. Funny, no Gravediggers’ Guild or Plumbers & Cellerars’ Guild. The Gravediggers are not bringing the bodies here. They won’t get in. Mordith invites them to the Serpent.
Meanwhile, Tinuvial has been reading the manuscript that Ewing had on him. The author is Jander Sunstar, who seems to have found his way into the gypsies’ land through the mists, become a vampire, burned to death in the daytime sun, and woke up back here in Aber-Toril. Then he wrote that book, which Ewind found at some point later and took up as his job.
A few tidbits: Mort is likely a ghast, a ghoul who has achieved a level of consciousness. The ghouls have a filth under their nails that will stun their victims. Also, there are vampires and something called Death Knights. They sound awful.
Next they talk to the Cellerars’ Guild. Adalwin & Tinuvial talk to the mercenaries guarding the door, but get nowhere. Belwrick goes off to take a look for alternate entrances. There are guards on the back door and the roof.
Vell wanders off to the Scriveners’ Guild. They have no connection to the Sentinel, but they do have a press they can put into production if need be. The Sentinel is down in the Trades’ Ward someplace. The old owners got bought out about eight months ago, not sure by whom. They don’t read it much anymore: it’s just a rag for the government.
Having gotten stonewalled at the Cellerars’ Guild, they head back south, deciding whether to see Duhlark, Badger, or just go home. There are only a few hours of daylight left, so there’s about time to do one thing.
As they walk, a group of orange cloaks (the Cellerars’ Guild) comes up from the other direction, including Sen. Vell looks happy. The streets clear in anticipation.
When they get within shouting distance, Sen goads Vell. Adalwin puts an arrow into a dude, and Elyas makes them see some awful things, based on his mumbling and the horrified looks on some of their faces. Vell takes one out, and so does Mordith.
Then they charge. Adalwin takes one more out from above. Belwrick stabs someone from behind while he’s menacing Mordith. Elyas lobs some magic missiles into the crowd before Vell swings on Sen, taking a good chunk out of him. Sen barely flinches, before Mordith slashes him too. The surviving guards surround Vell, basically ignoring Mordith.
Vell responds with some hellfire. Sen is not happy about that one. Then he steps back, letting Mordith take the heat. Mordith gladly does. Belwrick gleefully stabs another one in the kidney.
The last of the minions goes down, and Sen goes after Vell, knocking him prone and wounding him badly.
Tinuvial takes a swing on Sen while he’s distracted and so does Adalwin. Tinuvial makes him a coma patient, then proceeds to stabilize him.
They tie up Sen and drag him to the nearest safe bar that Adalwin knows. They tie him to a chair and search him. Nothing out of the ordinary there — some coin a few hidden daggers.
He begins to wake up. He’s okay with the pain, but his real lever is money. Get him some more money, he’s willing to listen. Tinuvial offers him a job in a bar. Wait a minute — what bar?
He agrees to tell them where Mort is in exchange for that job. Mort is in a small, strange black mausoleum in the City of the Dead, which Sen can sketch the floorplan of. He’s changed since last night — bigger, stronger, meaner. He kept using a word…”portentious”? Something big was going on that he wanted to take advantage of.
The plan for the Wagoners’ Guild is to disgrace them enough that they can be taken over by the Caravaners’. What’s the Plumbers’ stake? Control. How did he align the Cellerars and Plumbers? Assassination and a Luskan plant named Leaf Landow.
Mort’s got a few groups, one of which is somehow “specialized.” Mort wears a wreath of garlic under his clothes. He’s terrified of vampires, especially Rampyr, who is definitely a vampire. He has black hands, sometimes. He seems to have some control over his appearance — his features never change, though his age can. Rampyr has given Mort orders, but never the other way around.
Mort hates Neverember, curses him for getting in the way of Guild business.
He used to talk about Asmodeus, but not for a while. He’s also mentioned Myrkul a few times.
Mordith lays out the ground rules on the way back to the Serpent, mainly Don’t Touch the Girls. He goes to poo, and they decide to rest up and raid the mausoleum tomorrow.
They rest up, put Sen up for the night, and go.
At the City of the Dead, the Watch is there now. Eight of them. There’s some hemming & hawing, and in the midst of it Adalwin asks to put some flowers on the grave of his totally dead grandma. The guard smirks & lets them in. They lock the gate behind them.
Lots of trees, hills, and monuments inside, which would be peaceful if it weren’t for the horror. They see what Belwrick saw last night, a bunch of tombs with bower knots on the doors. From inside, Tinuvial hears moaning. The knots are keeping the dead in.
The small black mausoleum is in the distance. The land around it is devoid of trees, or really, anything in particular.
As they roll up, the wolves and ghouls are ready for them. Elyas starts the festivities with a fireball, taking out a few wolves. Belwrick and Adalwin speak up as well before the ghouls and wolves attack. Belwrick gets knocked prone by a wolf, and Vell takes some ghoul claws to the face. Mordith fends off a wolf, while Adalwin takes a swipe from a ghoul narrowly avoiding paralysis.
Vell takes the high ground, while Mordith chops up a ghoul and wounds a wolf.
Then a bunch of spiders the size of horses erupt from the ground, and Tinuvial calls up the spirits of vengeful elves. That’s a help.
Elyas drops another fireball, eliminating several more ghouls. They take out the last of the spiders, but still sense something out there. Adalwin listens at the door to the mausoleum. He hears talking. Mordith and Vell also come up to the door. From behind, a pack of wolves attack.
Belwrick and Mordith take the brunt of their attack. Adalwin takes out a few, as does Belwrick.
More ghouls and wolves appear. The conclude that more will be coming until they can get inside. Vell is messing around at the door, though, so…
So Belwrick slips past, like, all of the enemies and disarms the door. What’s the problem, guys?
Vell and Belwrick work on the door while Mordith and Adalwin takes out some ghouls, but not before they both go down from attacks and/or stench paralysis.
Belwrick figures out the door, but doesn’t have the mustard to open it. Adalwin frog-splashes a ghoul. Several bad things happen, including some ominous crashings.
Vell finally opens the door. Everyone books it inside. The last to leave is Mordith, who sees an undead giant come around the corner from somewhere and throw a skeleton at him. Mordith books it for the mausoleum, and all the animals, skeletons, and giants follow him.
Elyas, Belwrick, and (finally) Adalwin try to close the door behind him. As they do so, they hear the sounds of the rain beginning from above, and the welcoming voice of Mort from below.