With the arena behind them, the Scarred set their sights on the Copper district of Waterdeep. Recently, a plague had hit the poor district of the city and it was decimating it’s population. A quick incubation and even quicker death, the people do not have much time. It was suspected that the cult might have something to do with it, so who better to deal with it than the adventurers?
The Scarred made their way to the Copper district’s namesake gate, a copper door turned green, and spoke with the guards blocking the way. The district is under quarantine for fear of spreading it to the other districts. The guards told us the only people allowed in are those under the protection of the Blackwood family. Not wanting to cause a scene, the party left the gate and headed toward the Castle Ward to find the noble family. It didn’t take us long to get there as Crow, who grew up an urchin, knew his way around the city streets.
We arrived at the Blackwood manor and approached the men guarding the door. Unfortunately, the Blackwoods were having a party at the time and it was invite only. Due to his noble heritage and smooth talking, Ushen was able to convince the steward to let him and Sarissa into the party to speak with the Blackwoods. The rest of the party remained outside to fend for themselves.
Ushen and Sarissa joined the party, but not before disarming themselves by placing their weapons in a bag of holding. Swords and axes are faux pas at such occasions as these. They blended into the crowd and spotted Mara Blackwood. A young daughter in the noble family who is reaching the age of courtship. Many men attempted speaking to her, but none could convince her they were worth her time. Ushen approached and began to speak to Mara, but his mind was not on flattery or flirting. He asked Mara if they could discuss the disease spreading in the Copper District and she was intrigued. They set up another time to meet the next day and went their separate ways. Ushen headed back to Valenier manor, but Sarissa stayed behind. Always one to value play over work, she caroused with the nobles while she had the chance, making some contacts while she enjoyed the lavish spread.
The moment Ushen and Sarissa made their way into the manor, Daylen put a plan into action. He stepped around a corner the next house down and disappeared. With his invisibility cast and the wind rune by his side, he quickly made it over the Blackwoods’ perimeter wall and into the courtyard. He swiftly made his way into the lavatory and began to cast a ritual spell to detect any magic in the manor. After the ritual was complete, he stepped out into the manor halls and began to search. He came upon the living quarters of the noble family. He saw under the door of Ander, the Blackwoods oldest son, a strange blue glow, thanks to his spell he cast earlier. Using his wits to get beyond the locked door, the sorcerer was able to explore the nobleman’s room unimpeded. He immediately noticed an alchemy set with a curious green solution in a vial. Next to the alchemy set were three books. One dealing with alchemy, another with epidemiology, and the last was written in Infernal, a language Daylen did not speak. He stole the devilish book and a sample of the solution. He looked to the side of the table and also noticed a bag of grain. The same type of grain the Blackwoods were donating to the poor that were now sick. To try and expose Ander, for this seemingly devious plot, the sorcerer began a small fire and wafted the smoke outside the door of the, now unlocked, room. Moments later, two guards came rushing in, after also “unlocking” the door. Daylen went invisible again and watched as the guards put out the fire, closed the grain sack, and said, “That was close”, before they exited the room and locked the door again. The guards knew. Daylen teleported outside the window of the room and left the compound, headed straight back to Valenier manor.
Once the cleric and warlock left his sight, Roderick decided to check in with his informants at the docks. He asked Crow and Amkissra if they would like to tag along. With nothing better to do, the two monks began to walk with the rogue. They decided to make it a race to see who could get there the fastest. Jumping along rooftops, diving through crowds, running as fast as they could, and sneaking through restricted areas, the three made their way to the famous King’s Coin tavern. Crow getting there first wanted to trick the other two into thinking he got there much earlier than he actually did, he ran in, grabbed a glass of water and proceeded to chugged most of it before posting up outside the tavern. Roderick bought it and thought the monk had been there for minutes. Amkissra was able to spot the rouse, but remained quiet, trying not to spoil the fun. Roderick found his contacts and asked around if they knew anything about the Copper district, but no new information could be gleaned from the informants. They soon headed back to the Valenier estate as well.
With Ushen and Amkissra doing their part, Brogdah and Edge decided to do a little scouting in case getting permission did not work. Before they headed to find a way in to the Copper district, the two stopped off at the King’s Coin tavern for a drink. They enjoyed some down time, but then moved on and searched the perimeter of the district to try and find a way in. Shortly after beginning their search, they were able to find a back alleyway that had access to the quarantine zone. They made note of it and headed back to Valenier manor.
After meeting back up with everyone, the group discussed their finds. Daylen showed the Infernal book to Sarissa who informed the group that this book explained the process of making the green concoction. Roderick, through his knowledge of alchemy and poisons, knew this poison was nearly undetectable, was able to maintain it’s potency even after alterations, and needed to be ingested. They all concluded that the Blackwood family, or at least part of it, was poisoning the Copper district with the tainted grains they had been donating. Roderick was also able to synthesize a cure, but only in a very small batch. He would need to create many more to even hope to begin to eradicate this disease. The group decided to turn in as it was nearing dawn the next morning. With the similarities to the death of his love, Auzha, too blatant to ignore, Ushen tried to rest that night, but it did not come easily.
The next day, the group went to a tavern to meet with Mara. Since the noblewoman had only ever seen Ushen and Sarissa, the rest of the group tried their best to blend into the crowd to observe and support. Ushen had plenty of questions for Mara and he needed the truth. He didn’t think Mara had anything to do with the Blackwood’s atrocities, but he had to make sure. He cast a spell creating a zone of truth, making sure that anything she said was honest. Unfortunately, the moment Mara joined him in the private booth, she could sense the magic and recoiled at the thought of it being used against her. After some convincing and the removal of the spell, Mara agreed to speak to Ushen about the issue. Ushen asked if Mara had anything to do with Ander’s plot, but Mara did not know of anything going on with Ander. Ushen broke the news of the investigation to her and she did not know how to reply. After she collected her thoughts, she asked Ushen if she could confront her brother about this as well as help with the manufacturing of the cure. They would meet up again in five days.
After Mara left the tavern, Crow gathered everyone and pleaded for their help. Caelynn, his friend from the monastery whom he had fought a couple of days ago in the arena, was in trouble. After chasing her down, unfortunately, he had to knock her out and place her in manacles. He brought her to a Zhentarim safehouse and left her there, with food and water, until she regained consciousness. After he ran with Roderick and Amkissra, he went to go check on her. She was awake but was still not talking. During his interaction with her, Crow noticed she was using her eyes to point at a pocket in her sash. He reached into the sash and found a blood red ruby. The moment he took it out, Caelynn’s eyes grew worried and he could tell she was frightened by it. He asked her what it was, but she still did not speak. He set the ruby aside and she looked down at her sash again. Another gem, but this time it was jet black. She motioned for him to drop the gem on the floor and Crow did after some contemplating. The moment the gem hit the floor, black, other-worldly smoke filled the room. In the darkness, Crow heard a whisper. It was Caelynn, telling Crow that “she” was watching them and that he needed to help her. A moment later, the light returned to the room. Crow grabbed the ruby and put it back in her sash. He mouthed the words, “Is she watching us now?” to Caelynn, and she became even more frightened. Clearly, she was still watching.
Now that it was even more pressing, Crow decided to bring in the rest of the party to help as this was beyond his expertise. He brought the group to the safehouse, past the traps, and had Ushen, Sarissa, and Haefwin come into the room with him, only after informing them of the issue. After trying to communicate with her and identify the issue, they began to cast spells, hoping to rid Caelynn of her affliction. Spells began to backfire and hurt the spellcasters, but nothing seemed to work. After many tries to communicate with Caelynn, they began to think whoever was watching them would grow wary and do something. As a last-ditch effort, Haefwin cast a spell, trying to rid Caelynn of any evil presence. After the aura hit Caelynn, a blood red energy shot up Haefwin’s arm, but he persisted and doubled down. He urged the purging energy again and it broke it’s hold on Caelynn. She slumped down, still being held up by the chains, and was quickly taken out of them by Crow. “She” was no longer watching us, but that didn’t mean we were out of danger. We picked her up and set her on her feet and headed toward Valenier manor.
Caelynn began to explain to us that we were being watched by Zariel, one of the Devil Lords of the Nine Hells. She was “recruited,” by Crow’s old master, Shanato, to work for Zariel as an agent of her’s on the material plane and beyond. She was bound to Zariel’s service to do many wicked things, as per Shanato’s contract for the sale of his eternal soul. She suspected she was sent out this time to tie up the loose ends of anyone dealing with Shanato’s death. Apparently, Shanato’s death may have been instigated by one of Zariel’s rivals, one looking for something that Shanato had knowledge of. She also informed us that the red gem is a teleportation gem that would open a temporary portal to the Nine Hells. If it is so much as cracked, it would open and take anyone near it down to the fiery domain. She also told us that Zariel was forming a strike force, not an unusual method for this particular devil, but this one didn’t appear to be headed to the front-lines of the Blood War, and was instead heading somewhere else, maybe even the Material Plane.
There was some time for the party to use around Waterdeep at this time and Ushen informed us the Lords’ Alliance had tasked him with protecting a nearby village from a warband of gnolls. We proceeded south of Waterdeep until we found ourselves in a small village. They had tracked down a survivor from a raid northwest of the village, and were preparing to raze the village and slaughter its inhabitants to get to her. We could hear the barking and yipping of the gnolls before we saw their forms appear all around us. They began to descend upon the village, but The Scarred were ready for them.