You can find a complete list of all Dragon Heist recaps here.
As Zherxus woke up, his memories of the last day or so were fuzzy. He remembered wandering around the Manor collecting broken furniture bits and other detritus… and he remembered building something. Looking over, he saw a statue made of extremely dark wood and held together with strips of leather. The workmanship was far beyond anything he thought he could do on his own. It depicted a woman with her face downcast, hair falling across it. The statue had a clasp holding it together at the front and a set of hinges at the back; opening the clasp allowed him to open the statue. Nested inside was smaller statue, also of wood – but this one was a bright white color. The smaller statue depicted the same woman, but her arms were thrust upwards, as if towards the sun, and her face was thrown back to greet it. Although the face did not have sharply defined details, it seemed exultant.
Zherxus realized that, although he suspected he had been up late working on this while in his fugue state, he felt incredibly well rested. More importantly, he also knew with a certainty that this statue he had been inspired to create was a message from Meriadar. He wasn’t sure what it meant, but he felt that it would be come clearer soon.
At around this point, Rylderin showed up at Zherxus’ room. “Sooo….” they asked, “how you feeling?”
“Great!” he replied.
“What were you making?”
“Oh! Uh… this?”
Rylderin asked some rather pointed questions about why he’d made the statue – Zherxus replied that he had been inspired by Meriadar. Rylderin was unimpressed and unconvinced, and resolved to keep an eye on the party’s cleric.
Around this time, Clinks had decided to head out and get a copy of the Waterdeep Wazoo in order to see what kind of story had shown up regarding the party. He ran, serendipitously, into the local Wazoo delivery orc, who was thrilled he could talk Clinks into home delivery. He happily handed off Clinks’ first issue, which he brought back to the party.
“The Mirthkettle Murders?” asked Zherxus. “Who is Mirthkettle?”
“That must be the hag that opened this place as an orphanage and then ate the children,” replied Zherxus.
“Actually,” said Ermie, “the person I’m really interested in is Zardoz Zord!”
While they were reading, the party noticed that a disembodied presence was writing the words, “CLOSING TIME” on the tin mirror at the back of the bar. They chose to studiously ignore this.
The companions toyed with the idea of figuring out where Zord and his carnival might be found, or perhaps instead trying to deal with Lif, the spirit inhabiting Trollskull Manor. In the end they decided to first stop at Tally’s place and return his money.
When they arrived, Tally was extremely keen to know if the group had found his funds – and was thrilled when they were able to return the entire 450 gold pieces. He offered to come over and figure out what furniture was needed for Trollskull Manor, but the party put him off until tomorrow. They didn’t want the new furniture getting wrecked by their spiritual housemate. Tally was also amazed to hear of the weird, deep game that the thieves had been playing.
Once they had returned from their trip to Tally’s, together they all went down into the basement. Enveloped in the supernatural chill near what they figured was Lif’s corpse, the party attempted to communicate with Lif. As they did, one of the ancient ale casks began to rattle in its stand. Seeing his moment, Zherxus cast Detect Good and Evil, expecting to pinpoint the location of the poltergeist. What the spell showed, though, was that the entire basement was infused with the presence of the spirit. It had no discreet form.
“Well,” said Zherxus, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is, there isn’t a ghost or something around here. The bad news is,” he said as his voice rose to a wail, “THIS PLACE IS FULL OF UNDEAD! These casks are probably full of the souls of dead orphans!”
More casks began to rattle.
“Really? Let’s open one up!” chimed in Ermie. He proceeded to bash in the sides of one of the rumbling casks – at which point a fallen wooden support rose up from the floor on the other side of the room and flew at his head. Ready for this, Ermie ducked – and the wood smashed open the side of the cask.
“Thanks!” said Ermie, although he sadly found no orphan souls in the cask.
“Hey, spirit! Can we talk about this? What can we do to make you happy?” yelled Rylderin.
The casks began to settle down, and then several smaller pieces of wood rose into the air and formed the words, “GO UP.”
After a brief discussion, the group went up all the way back into the garret tower where they had found Lif’s journal. As they all squeezed into the small space, in the dust where the old end table had been next to Lif’s bed, something drew the words “FIX HOUSE”. The party quickly agreed – this was what they were planning to do anyway. They attempted to get Lif to communicate if this was acceptable – but the spirit did not respond further.
During this time Zherxus was thinking and observing the phenomena around the spirit. He came to the conclusion that the spirit was tied in a very deep way to the house itself – possibly out of extremely deep love for it – and was here to stay. He also theorized that the spirit was sad due to the poor condition of the house.
At this point, there was a knock on the door. Rylderin groaned, and they opened the door. Outside was a plump halfling with resplendent sideburns. He identified himself as Broxley Fairkettle, and inquired pompously if the party was reopening Trollskull Manor as a tavern.
The unanimous answer was, “No!”
Nonplussed, Broxley asked if the rumors they had a speakeasy in the basement were true. Again, “No!”
“Where did you get these rumors?” growled Rylderin. In answer, Clinks held up the copy of the Wazoo they’d gotten earlier.
“Yes! It was in the Wazoo!” proclaimed Broxley. “Look,” he said soothingly, “I want to help. If you aren’t running a speakeasy in your basement, just let me go down there and look around. Then I can tell the guild it was just a rumor, and no harm will come of it.”
No one had much interest in letting the guild representative into the house. After a bit more discussion – including a portion where Broxley tried to impress on them what a bad idea it was to make a Waterdeep guild angry with you – they shut the door on him.
With their latest unwanted visitor gone, the companions decided that they did, however, want to start getting the place cleaned up. They then ventured out into the world to find the local representatives for the Launderers’ Guild and the Carpenters’, Roofers’, and Plaisterers’ Guild. For twenty-five gold a month, the Launderers’ would keep their place clean. A representative for the Carpenters’ guild came by and, after taking a good look at the place, offered that they could get it into shape for two hundred fifty gold – half up front. The companions paid their deposit then and there.
Another knock at the door – this time it was the . “Mr.Clinks!” they yelled, “There’s something going on!”
Everyone (except for Ermie, who stayed behind in case the construction workers showed up) went with the urchins. At the end of Trollskull Alley, an odd group of folks was moving things into the oldbandoned Priory. .
The group appeared to be led by a male and female human, both dressed in greys and blacks. They were accompanied by a pair of what might have been retainers, as well as several people that looked to be hired hands from the city. At the man’s direction, the laborers began pulling items from the group’s wagons and bringing them into the priory.
As the party got closer, they heard the man directing and berating his hired help: “Those are the personal effects of Lady Boguescu! I would remind you that you are being paid a handsome sum to move them with alacrity and care. All must be in readiness by nightfall!”
They also spotted a box about seven feet long, three feet wide, and four feet deep being moved into the priory. It was leaking dirt.
After watching all this, Zherxus opined that this whole business was somehow strongly related to the statue he had made. Rylderin continued to be suspicious.
While Clinks and Rylderin watched the procession, Zherxus stopped by Steam and Steel to inquire on purchasing some tools. After meeting a very grumpy Embric, he discussed what he needed with and made a few purchases.
Rylderin also took a side-trip and visited Corellon’s Crown, meeting its owner Fala Lefaliir. There, Rylderin bought a beautiful small tree for Ermie’s collection, a multi-colored affair called a Bahamut’s Scales.
As they were heading back to the Manor, Squidly asked for Nat if Clinks would maybe want more urchins keeping an eye out on things for them. Clinks happily extended the deal to them – a silver piece for interesting information.
Soon after coming back home, Renaer dropped by to see how everyone was doing and to invite them to a party at the start of the second tenday of the month. He mentioned they should dress well.
Before Renaer left, Zherxus challenged him to a game of dragon chess, which Zherxus won handily.
Their final visitor of the day then showed up, the reporter Clipper from the Waterdeep Wazoo. He wanted, as he had said yesterday, “their side of the story”.
No one wanted to talk to Clipper, and everyone wanted him gone. Zherxus tried to talk him around in circles, but Clipper saw through the ruse. Zherxus then tried a different tack, and told the reporter the completely true and excruciatingly detailed story of goblin worshipers of Meriadar, with a strong focus on how misunderstood and how unlike other goblins they are. Finally Clipper gave up and left.
Before they all turned in for the night, Rylderin wrote a letter to the Cassalanters. The guard at their warehouse had said they would contact the party today to thank them for their help, but no contact had occurred. Rylderin letter was a masterful work outlining what had happened at the warehouse, how the companions had saved the day, and how glad they all were that order and property had all been restored. They planned to drop it off with someone from the Messenger’s Guild in the morning.
As night fell, the companions decided that they’d do a quick scouting trip over to Trollskull Priory and see if anything could be learned of the new occupants. Based on what they’d learned already, everyone assumed that a vampire had moved into the priory… but they were unsure exactly what action they should take, and how they might fall afoul of the laws of Waterdeep in doing so. A scouting mission seemed like a good start.
The crew made their way over and scouted the outer wall, but the place looked to be locked up tight and there were no signs of activity. They did note, however, how the lack of windows in the priory’s structure would would be a great architectural asset for a vampire.
After this, they all went to bed.
Somewhere in the middle of the night, everyone was awakened by a huge clattering of items being broken down on the first floor.
“I thought we had a deeeaalllll!” groaned Rylderin.
Led by Clinks, the companions quickly made their way down the external staircase to the street and up to the front door of the first floor. Someone or something behind the bar inside Trollskull Manor was thrashing about and breaking things while yelling, “OOOooooOOOooOOOOOOO!”
As the companions rounded the side of the bar, they saw a small wererat in a diaphanous gown and white face paint – apparently an attempt at a ghost disguise. The wererat attempted to escape, but was surrounded and forced to surrender.
It began sobbing and crying, saying it didn’t want to die, and to please not hurt it anymore. When asked who had sent him, the wererat immediately divulged that the innkeeper across the street had paid “them” to do it, and that he had to go first since he was the newest.
Incensed at this new idiocy on the part of Frewn, the crew frog-marched their prisoner across the street. Zherxus then began slamming on the door with his Thaumaturgy spell, shaking the house. As a light came on in its upper floors (and more came on all around the neighborhood), Zherxus again used his magic to amplify his voice and shouted, “FREWN, GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE!”
An incensed Frewn threw open the door, but whatever he was going to say died on his lips at the sight of a very angry goblin with thaumaturgically glowing eyes (dressed only in his underwear) and a sobbing wererat in white makeup and a gown.
Then Zherxus, in sight of half the neighborhood, told Frewn off in no uncertain terms to knock it off. “WE ARE NOT OPENING A COMPETING INSTITUTION! If you want to have it out with us, GET OUT IN THE STREET”
Completely flummoxed, Frewn spluttered and retreated, slamming the door.