The Ashes of Neverwinter

To Find a Mad Sage

Giving up on the half-mad librarian, the party investigated the library itself. They found what looked like a catalogue index of sorts, written in baffling code. As for the stacks themselves, there appeared to be no discernible system for the thousands of books, librams and scrolls. Efforts to find texts on Gauntlgrym and Velantis were in vain.

Leaving the librarian tied up, the group returned to the undervault entry chamber, where they found Dergal sitting on the steps awaiting them. He asked what they had found, and then attempted to lure Erevan to him with an enchantment. The Eladrin shook off the attempt, but several more hooded cultists emerged from behind pillars, effecting dread fear and assailing the characters with black maces flowing with baneful fire. With Dergal hurling bolts of flame at the party, the struggle was fierce and desperate. Osborne reeled under the blow from a mace, then to the astonishment of his companions, changed form into a large rat.

However, the battle turned and most of the cultists fell, though Dergal vanished in a pillar of fire. On examination, Cirle determined that the fallen cultists were worshippers of Asmodeus. Furthermore, their black maces were crafted of a weird metal unknown to the party.

Seeking aid in case of a renewed attack by the cultists, Erevan roused the Neverwinter militia guards from a nearby tower on the wall. Their leader, Ranulf, asked questions about the library and the cultists, then secured the area with a dozen guards. He asked the party about their allegiance to the mercenaries and Lord Tiberius – who he claimed was in league with the Asmodi, and the party made ambiguous responses.

The party decided they needed to meet Tiberius for themselves, to tell him about the opening of the library and suss out his goals and motives. Though they had to endure skeptical questions from Mayor Galt first, they did secure a welcome from Lord Tiberius. He fed them well and asked their backgrounds. Then he explained his goal of restoring order and prosperity to Neverwinter. He pledged cooperation in Otis’ efforts to find and restore Gauntlgrym, and in Erevan’s quest to find recover lore about the fall of Velantis and find his lost companion. In return, the party endeavoured to work for Tiberius in a special capacity. Pleased with their meeting, invited them to stay at the well-appointed Moonstone Mask for a week and await instructions.

It became clear the inn was frequented mainly by Carian mercenaries. They met again with Captain Allyates, and drank long into the night with him. They boasted of opening the library and slaying several cultists of Asmodeus, and kept a watchful eye for any suspicious reaction.

In the morning, they learned that the Neverwinter militia the left guarding the library had made off with the deranged librarian Lanjis. Allyates was displeased, and sent the party to find Lanjis. First, they returned to the House of Knowledge and, questioning some of the squatters who live in the courtyard, learned that the librarian was taken down a steep side trail to the river’s edge, and rowed across to the Blacklake district on the far shore. Making inquiries, the learned that the Blacklake was largely outside the control of Tiberius, and Carian guards were often harassed and set upon by jeering locals when they ventured into the district.

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The party crossed the river and investigated the shore for signs of a boat. They found one hidden in some brush, and some footprints leading into the neighbourhood of abandoned buildings. After making inquiries about Ranulf, they found his house. However, a young women declared he was not home and them on their way. They had decided to investigate the largest tavern in the neighbourhood in the district, when a wagon sealed off the road and they were ambushed by several men and dwarfs in masks and grey cloaks. They made quick work of the ambushers, but a lone survivor fled into the byways of the once-prosperous neighbourhood. Examining the bodies, they found black a black clasp in the shape of a kraken on each of the cloaks. They put the clasps on their own cloaks and carried on the Driftwood Tavern.

Their appearance met with sullen suspicion from the proprietress, and one of the patrons departed quickly. After a stealthy exploration of the building turned up a meeting room with trap-door beneath, the characters lured the tavern-keep into the kitchen, threatened the final customer, and descended the ladder to the sewers below.

It became apparent from planks spanning the sewers at intersections that someone was using the sewers for secret access. Following the traveled route, they came to a winding natural tunnel that lead toward the river. This tunnel had several holes in the bottom that dropped into water.

The tunnel opened into a very large cavern with a deep, clear pool in the centre. In a ripple of water, a huge tentacle creature surged towards the party, goggling them with a black eye. The characters made the kraken clasps prominent, and the creature departed. Then they noted several tunnels exiting the pool cavern, some of them lit by lanterns.

Following one tunnel, they overcame guards and discovered an armoury. By threatening one of the captured guards with feeding to the kraken, they learned which of the passages led to the headquarters of the kraken society. They burst into a well-appointed chamber and surprised Ranulf, a gentleman called Arlon, Lanjis, and some guards. In the melee that followed, Arlon challenged Cirle to eschew magic and fight sword to sword like a man. He was hacked down, as were Ranulf and the guards. In the aftermath of the battle, the adventurers were once more faced with what to do with a furious and terrified sage of Oghma. They tied him, gagged him, and searched the room.

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