Ches 7, Evening
After looking the eyepatch over, it was party time. Rylderin professed a need to freshen up before going, but once they were set they all headed over to Trollskull Priory. As they left, Clinks decided to put on the eyepatch.
While walking to that end of the alley, it was hard not to notice the creepy fog, oddly moonlit street, and the large rats seeing scurrying around.
When they arrived at the western door, they were greeted by Ivan, the same silver-masked man that had dropped off the invitation to Zherxus.
“Ah! The little goblin and his friends!”
“Have many people arrived yet?”
“Yes! Most everyone has already entered… except you.”
With that, the masked man stepped aside and gestured that the party should come in.
The companions proceeded through the overgrown courtyard and to the open entryway of the priory. The hall itself was quite dark – only a single candelabra lit the room. Its floor was tiled with strange patterns that felt confusing if you stared at them for too long.
A passage to the east led to an ajar door; the sounds of people talking and plates clinking could be heard from beyond it. Not seeing any ways to wander off into sections of the priory where they weren’t welcome, the companions went into the party.
The party was in a large central room with a dais and high chair at the front of it. For the party, the owners had set up a buffet table and cleared the floor near it for dancing and mingling. At least twenty or so people from the neighborhood were present, including several that the companions knew – Fala, Tally, Avi, and Embric.
As they entered, they moved towards the nearby dais. Although the chair was empty, Avi and Embric were in conversation with a large, loud, well-dressed man. He introduced himself as Lazlo Lukresh, the seneshal to the Lady Boguescu.
Rylderin immediately moved forward to meet talk with the people at the dais, joining their conversation about the ongoing gang violence in the city between the Xanathar Guild and the Zhentarim.
Clinks, on their part, headed over to the buffet table to get a drink and stare at Emmek Frewn, who was standing there shoving hors d’oeuvres into his face. Clinks fixed him with a beady-eyed glare.
“Whaa ur oo ookin’ at?” muttered Frewn through a mouthful of food.
Clinks continued to just stare. Frewn shifted a little bit down the table, away from Clinks… but then found that Ermie had shown up at the other end of the table. Bumping into him, Frewn jumped a little – and then realized that the rest of the crew had arrived at the table. He grabbed a plate, filled it up, and made a hasty exit to the dance floor to start talking to Fala.
As Frewn left, a new figure came over to join them. He was a tall, broad man with close-cropped red hair and a cigarette. As he approached, he began to speak.
“Trench looked at the adventurers…” the man said, “they looked like trouble… would his life get messed up like the last time he’d dealt with people like them? Probably. But he didn’t care.”
The crew introduced themselves to the strange man talking in 3rd person, and he in turn introduced himself as Vincent Trench, the private investigator that lived down the way in Trollskull Alley. They discussed a number of things about the neighborhood and exchanged offers of help – Trench would be happy to do work for them at his standard rates… and on his side, he might have work for the crew.
Some members of the crew made a point to listen to what was being discussed by others – there was talk of how Laeral Silverhand , the Open Lord, had allowed for further recruitment into the Grey Hands, run by Vajra Safar, the Blackstaff. Others were talking about the crew themselves and how they’d apparently rescued Renaer Neverember.
One conversation caused Rylderin to wave Ermie over – it concerned how the late Lord Rudolph Roaringhorn, one of the scions of the Roaringhoarn family, had left it uncertain who should inherit his manor and zoo, and that it was all falling into disrepair.
The Roaringhorns have been fighting over who will inherit the late Lord Rudolph Roaringhorn’s mansion and grounds – including its zoo. In the interim, the place was languishing unattended.
“I need to go back and check on the animals!” said Ermie.
Around this time, most of the crew noticed a very peculiar guest enter – it was a tall, wobbly tiefling with an eyepatch and a large coat. At once they recognized the face as Squiddly – and figured they were looking at The Urchins in a large, concealing coat.
The disguised urchins lurched over to Clinks at the appetizers and started shoveling them into their pockets; it was somewhat clumsy, given that the arms belonged to a different person than the one peering out of the top of the coat . “Mr. Clinks! Hi! How’s the party so far?” The Urchins soon made their way off to the dance floor.
A bit later, they heard the sound of shouting from the dance floor. Frewn had dropped his plate of food on the floor and was holding his neck. His face was turning a deep shade of red.
Rylderin took one look at him, decided that it wasn’t a poisoning, and sat back to watch. Although people near Frewn were alarmed, no one knew what to do to help him.
With a very avian sigh, Clinks moved over towards Frewn and punched him hard in the gut. A giant wad of food flew out from his mouth to hit the dance floor and the man collapsed on the floor, breathing again.
After he was able to get up again, Frewn made his way over to Clinks, looming above him. Clinks peered up at him, unimpressed.
“I… uh… I might owe you a thank you.”
Clinks continued to eye him.
“… thank you.” Frewn muttered. Then, frowning, he went to Lazlo and thanked him for the evening, then made a hasty exit.
Soon after, the Lady Boguescu made her entrance. She was announced loudly by Lazlo, and then entered from a door that had up to that point been guarded by a second silver-masked man. The Lady was dressed in reds and blacks and her somewhat unkempt black hair that came to her shoulders. Her pale skin was accented by the red lipstick she was wearing.
The Lady made her way over to the high chair on the dais and, in a voice that barely carried the room, thanked everyone for coming. Rylderin approached immediately to speak, tailed by Babe. Babe made a point to use his halfling height to avoid notice while Rylderin was talking.
Rylderin introduced themself and quickly talk turned to the exploits of the party and Rylderin ended up telling the story of the Furniture Heist. At their mention of the Cassalanters and of the coffee meetup they’d just come from, Lazlo became extremely interested in what Rylderin was talking about. He began to ask for details about the noble house and their business interests. Rylderin made an off-hand offer to introduce them.
Zherxus, who had stayed back when Rylderin approached the lady, felt sure this was the woman from the statue he had created. As Rylderin finished talking to her, Zherxus pulled his holy symbol free from beneath his shirt and approached.
She greeted Zherxus politely, and while they talked he asked if she had ever heard of his god, Meriadar. She had not. They spoke a bit more on various things, and Zherxus mentioned something about returning to the light – a motif he had seen in the statue he had created. She sighed and said, “The light… I would ilke to see that again.”
This comment immediately perked Lazlo up, and he put a hand on the lady’s shoulder, saying, “I think perhaps it is time to retire for the evening, my lady.” She agreed, and made her leave.
Soon after this, the party began to break up. As it was, the woman in the buckled hat noticed the three urchins, and with a glare began moving towards them. Clinks quickly interposed themself and helped escort the urchins out of the party. The woman contented herself in watching to make sure they did indeed leave.
Outside the grounds, Clinks communicated to the urchins that the wanted them to try to figure out what was up with the eyepatch he had found on the rooftops. They were eager to do so. Clinks threw them a silver piece each, as was their custom.
Once back at Trollskull Manor, Zherxus brought his companions up to his room and showed them the nested statue he had created while in his divine fit.
“I guess it’s not illegal to be a dracula out here in the city,” drawled Babe.
“Is that a halfling term for vampire,” asked Ermie.
“Oh, yeah. We have all kinds of draculas out there… hill draculas, forest draculas…”
They all agreed that the statue – both the outer, downcast statue and the inner statue with its arms raised, were meant to be Lady Boguescu. They also all agreed that Lazlo was the one running the show there.
“Maybe we should break in,” offered Babe.
“I’d like to not?” said Zherxus.
“Yeah, probably you’re right.”
The team then turned their attention to what they should do next. They figured it should be the Blue Alley job – and since they were feeling fresh, they decided to do it that night.
The team headed over into the Sea Ward and to the Blue Alley. After examining the podium outside and its sign-in book, they signed in an entered.