Of Satyrs and Shadows

The stone fort felt wrong from the moment we went inside. The darkness was wrong, a twilight that was not real. Our shadows disappeared, and they felt weak in the corners. Or my connection was weak, it was hard to tell. There was no life in here. A verdant forest outside, but not a weed among these stones.

Inside the main building, Red hears tapping upstairs, and in short order, we go. It is more wrong inside, even before we find the satyr on a throne of bones. Red starts throwing questions at him, and he turns to us slowly, like we aren’t really there. He does have the viola we’re after, though it has a blackness to it, too. Page starts playing music to counter the chord he struck, but Red gets bored and jumps him.

It’s a bit rough going, but when we take him down, he melts away, like those devils we fought just the other day. Nevi grabs the viola, but Page makes him put it in her bag. She seems afraid of its blackness, as we head back outside and around to the moonwell.

It’s a natural pool in this manmade fort, though surrounded with stacked stones. The water is dark, but with pinpricks of lightness, almost like sequins. Orange wants to drink it, and it takes all of us to stop him. Red takes him away to go patrol the area. I stay behind and patrol the pool edge to keep Orange from making a break for it. The rest of them study the pool of tainted magic. For a long time.

I tune them out for a while. Tempers are running high when I check back in. Page is playing angry music. Nevi is on about a unicorn again. The Big Guy is reading through a book and every time he suggests a spell that sounds helpful to me, Page just gets angrier. We give him a bunch of gems and magic things, but he just keeps reading for a while. Then Red comes back, confused why we haven’t started, yet, and the brothers add in some magic of their own. The Big Guy finally starts a cleansing ceremony, and we all try to give him what energy or focus we have.

Two hours in, the satyr comes back. Sitting on top of the fort, laughing at us. Those not involved in the casting go after him. It devolves into a game of tag on the roof, but we put him back down again, and get the viola back for Page, again. After another two hours, the Big Guy collapses, the moon shines down, and a geyser of water shoots up from the pool. When everything settles down again, it is purified and clear. The ground begins sprouting new life, and the viola is cleaned of the darkness. We finally let Orange drink, and it knocks him on his butt. He doesn’t seem to mind though. I pull some dinner out of my book and we camp there for the night, just to be sure.

In the morning, we windwalk down to the big lake to go fishing. Orange goes for a swim and Page starts shooting missiles into the water. Orange gets really annoyed, so she walks to another section of the beach. Altogether, they bring in five big rainbow fish. Then we windwalk the rest of the way back down to the Cat Lord. He is very happy with the fish and sent us back home.

Meetings and Meanderings

Secrets, more secrets. But Fixer is here. Time to visit later. Too dangerous.

Blackstaff dreams up Mort for us. Information on Force X. A blood shouter, that sounds awful. A boom sorcerer, scary -from that place with the guns. A tiny rogue, no, two tiny rogues. One close up and one from far away. And a couple dwarves. One with a shield, and one just nasty. Brikka, too. Of course him. Shoulda taken care of him weeks ago. Not the brain eater, wish we could take him out. Have to be careful.

We have to get ready. Not an easy task. Page says she knows of something that might help, some special instrument like her harp. It’s part of a set. The Big Guy prays to his Queen. She tells him where to go. Out to the Moonshea Islands and a corrupted moonwell. How do we get there? It’s not safe on the ocean! Research first.

Page says we need something pure and beautiful to fix the moonwell. She looks up unicorns, but I don’t think this group is going to get one of those. They like nice people. Red suggests sunlight because Page found it’s called Citadel Umbra, but it’s a Moon Well, I’m not so sure. Maybe a bunch of druids on the island could help.

Nevi gets Zrax outside of town to send us to the right Island. There’s a grove of Kitties there!!! So many babies, I love them all! Then a big Cat Lord shows up. We give him a big basket of fish and he says we’re okay to be there. Page asks how we can serve him so he’ll send us home when we’re done. He says there’s some big rainbow fix up where we’re going that he would like. Suggests we talk to the folk in the Sacred Grove of the Earth Mother. Red’s impatient, though, so we just go up near where we think the Citadel is.

I’m not fond of the countryside, but I don’t hate it as much as Red. It’s actually kind of pretty up on this mountain. In the morning, we start making circles to search the forest below. It’s hours and hours of trees and no citadels. Then we get a message that the other group found it, and head over there before the mist spell runs out. It’s all overgrown with blackened vines, the well itself is black and sickly, too. It looks like people used to live here, but they’re all gone now.

Trust and Loyalty

Oh. Oh no. Trust and Loyalty. Don’t tell. Keep secrets. The stone is near. The final stone.

Find it. Use it. Trust.

The fancy drow from the party.

Blackstaff agrees.

Find him. Take it.

Then?? Oh no.

So dangerous. Don’t write it down.

Too dangerous?

Trust, have to trust.

Oh no, he’s super scary. Him? That’s who? Oh no.

Quiet. Keep it quiet.

Secrets to keep the flock safe.

End game he says. Like this has all been just a game.

Almost done.

Just a little longer.

Why me?

I can do this.

Dungeons & Devils

We went to the tower when Blackstaff was ready. The ritual made the room all red, hot, and stinky. There were weird winds and voices, and then an awful noise and we could see the Hells. Then a big Pit Fiends clawed his way through, but not really. He was a ghost fiend or something? There but not. He was definitely not who I was expecting. He said it had been a while since someone else had held the book, and asked what we wanted. We all stared around at each other for a few minutes until Red stepped forward. When you want to make a deal with a Devil…

Calls himself Big Red and doesn’t like the idea that we think he’s beholden to anyone buy his Lord Asmodeus. He picks up pretty quick that we don’t like the folks he’s been helping, but won’t admit it’s the Cassalanters. He wants to know what we’re offering in exchange for information on his dealings with them. He doesn’t want his deal with them to get interrupted, they owe him two souls. He says them all dying wouldn’t negate his deal, or them losing all their wealth and going to jail. He just doesn’t want us to directly intervene to stop the two souls coming his way. Red assures him we have no concern for their lives, we just want to get what we want, and get out. What if we accidentally messed up his deal, or made our own deal and then broke it? Big Red says he would harm everyone Red cares about and make his life a living, torturous Hell.

Then we get into more details. He says the Stone isn’t part of his deal. That his deal is for two specific souls, or 100 nonspecific souls. They go back and forth a bit more, then Red agrees not to interfere so long as Big Red tells us everything we want to know. Deal struck, and we all can feel it. Big Red explains that the Cassalanters have worshipped his Lord for some time now. This generation made a deal for wealth, offering up the souls of their children at the age of 13, or a buy out of 100 souls to get their children back. He’s already collected the son, and the twins turn 13 in a month. Blackstaff says that’s enough. She sends Big Red away and tells us to invade the villa.

Red slaps his telepathic bracelet on me again, and I explain everything I saw there. We ask the Blackstaff if she can send mages with us. We need a Passwall into the villa grounds if we want to avoid a public fight. She offers us a couple acolytes, asking us to keep them safe: Rogj and Alvar. Red makes a plan and we head out, sneaking through the shadows of the evening.

At the north wall, Alvar opens a hole, and we sneak through and to the main house. Alvar dispels a trap on the nearest window, and Red unlocks it so we can all slip inside. It’s a dining room, set with golden plates and things. I’m surprised Red resists stealing it all right there. Red says there are three people to the right and two guards in the hall. There isn’t really a door here, so we quickly take out the guards in the hall and drag them inside. Then we put down the guard in the smoking room quickly and quietly. We tie them all up.

Sneaking out into the hall then, we all hide under the stairs while Red checks the other rooms on this floor. There’s a clang, and we all rush to fight off a set of armor as quickly as we can. Two guards come in from outside, and Red and I put them down. The pile in the smoking room is getting really big. Red searches the desk in the armor room and pockets some papers and a medallion. Then we all wait there while he looks some more. There are a couple people standing around in the last room, so he just leaves them be. I already searched upstairs, so we go for the door under the stairs then. Down to the basement.

It’s a normal basement full of luggage and clothing. The Red finds a big vault door. While he looks at that, I check down the hallway and find a wine cellar. There’s a chalice on the wall with a golden sun. Looks like a pressure plate, but I don’t want to explode, so we wait for Red. The plate opens a vault full of sliver bars, which we take, and some stairs going down. So, down we go.

This goes to a big old demonic temple with lots of doors and another staircase. Also, a big old spike-covered devil. He says we don’t look like we’re here for the meeting. This is not the time to talk, so we jump him. Send him back to the Hells. Off to one side, we find prison rooms, but there are no living prisoners, so we move on. There are some meeting rooms and devil statues further around. Then we find ourselves at the edge of a crumbling balcony.

There is a massive statue to the right of the rather large room that the balcony overlooks. There is quiet chanting, too. Red steps out, but some of the stone crumbles, so he keeps us back. He carefully makes it to the edge and says there’s three people down there, praying or something. But the balcony is too unstable, so we head back to the first room and go down the stairs.

There are rooms and halls in all directions. Red says there are two people in the east room, but we want to get back to the big hall. The west corridors seem to go that way, but he wants to check south first. That hall takes us to a room with beds and robes for a bunch of cultists. He finds a secret door which leads into a smaller room with nicer robes, masks, and wine. Only Nevi and Page are the right size for the robes, so we just leave them and go back to head West to the big hall.

We sneak in and up under the balcony we were previously on. All the way up to the devil statue chamber they’re in and attack. It’s just three members of the staff here, but they’re worshipping a devil lord, so I don’t feel too badly. Then, two more people come in from under the other balcony. It’s Amalia and Victoro Cassalanter, and they are quite perturbed.

Amalia raises the three dead back up, but as devils, blood pouring down the statue and into them. Two barbed devils and an erinyes, Nevi told me later. Then they start messing with our heads. But not mine, never mine again. Time to try out my new staff. I lightning bolt the erinyes down because it won’t stop hurting the Big Guy. I add some thunder and lighting to my strikes and Mary helps me put one of the barbed devils down. Red already got his and has gone after Victoro, so I join him. Amalia sent Orange off to get help, so the others focus on her. Victoro, however, has summoned a chain devil. That hurts a Lot! I keep falling unconscious, but the Big Guy doesn’t let me down, and I send that devil home. The body melts, and it turns into their lost son, who then gasps and dies, as well. Poor thing.

Victoro runs, and Red and I give chase, but he puts me down again. Red wakes me up and helps me back to the group. He got the stone, but Victoro got away. We stabilize Amalia, heal up a little, and search the rest of the room, while Red heads out to make sure we didn’t miss anything else. Then we head back upstairs with Amalia and tell her guard she is arrested and they should stand down. Page sends the Blackstaff a message and the children are gathered. Orange is mean to them and they cry and scream until he shouts them down. I’m too tired to stop him. I hurt all over.

The Blackstaff and all the authorities ever arrive and take charge of the villa. She takes us back to her tower to speak privately. Red hands over the stone and they have a conversation about the problems it will cause. He says he’s not worried for himself, but she should be careful. Then he asks her to hurt him and restrain him with magic. He wants to be able to say she took the stone from him. So, she holds him and shoots him with a bunch of magic missiles. Then we head home, but we go the long way, so that Nevi and the Big Guy can both report in on what happened. Mert has brought us dinner back at the Cabaret so he can talk to Page. Red and I will just have to report in the morning.

Brunch With Blackstaff and Silverhand

After the job, Floaty comes to tell me to get rid of the things Red stole at the party. I take it all down to Skullport and throw it in the hole. After getting an imprint of the signet ring for my collection, of course. He said the sewers, but shouldn’t waste stuff like that. A cat comes to get me that night, to come up to the Portal for a meet.

Another cat meets me at the Yawning Portal. It says I need to get Red mad at Brikka. He did try to kill Page after all. The only way to get Nilhoun out of hiding might be to get rid of Brikka. I’ll try, but I don’t know. Red’s reactions are hard to understand. Nothing to do while he’s in jail, though, so I go back to hiding.

Floaty shows up a few days later and says it’s safe to come home. I head up to the Cabaret and Red says everything is fine. I give him my notes on the Cassalanters, and slip a note in about Brikka, too. He isn’t surprised, but I can’t tell if he’s going to do anything. At any rate, he spends a lot of time doing paperwork after we get invited to brunch at the Palace with the Lady Silverhand.

We all put on our best, and go over the next morning. The Palace is beautiful! We don’t even have to wait that long, and the Blackstaff is already there waiting for us. The dining room looks out over all of Waterdeep, I want to go stare, but I sit like everyone else, as far from the head of the table as I can. Blackstaff tells us all to be good and polite to the Lady or she’ll have us killed.

The Lady is elegant. She greets us and orders in the food, then talks to each of us about our business. I think she knows too much, but she doesn’t talk about the bad stuff. There are no accusations. I breathe a bit easier when she moves on to the business at hand.

We explain about the Cassalanters, the stone, the chain devil, and the book, and the Blackstaff supports us, says using it may be the only way to find proof. Silverhand agrees, if it is done in the Tower, and Blackstaff takes responsibility for any trouble. Then she says we’ve all done great service to the city, and offers us each a chance to ask something of her.

Page asks for more help for the city’s poor in winter. The Lady says she’s sure that the money we all make would go a long way towards helping the poor alongside the city’s efforts. Orange asks if she knows a way for him to strengthen his soul, and she tells him to live well and not die, but doubts he will pull back on his dangerous activity. I give her a flyer for the cabaret and one of my new business cards for scribing work. She says she’ll try to make it to a performance. Nevi asks for help finding apprentices, and she says she’ll send any she sees along his way. The Big Guy has no requests, and Mary Mouse is pretty quiet, too. I think he was distracted by the view. Red first asks that, should we find the stone, it be tendered to Force Grey for safe Keeping, and she agrees. Second, he asks to for the opportunity to meet further about the stones. She says she wants to give all the money back to the people, and he says he wants to prevent all out war in the streets. She tentatively agrees to include him in a future discussion. Lastly, he asks for her support with his guild proposal, and after reading it over, she agrees to get him a meeting with the Lords.