Librarians Unite!

How can we know the Dancer from the Dance
Being an account from the diaries of Burya "The Storm" Noch

We set off to the ball in fairly regal fashion. I can count on one hand the times I have been privileged enough to ride in a carriage. Such conveyances were of rare necessity in my old tribe. We had a decent number of noble men and women come to conduct business and correspondence. They came and left on these hunks of wood and velvet, but I rarely had time to be a part of anything that granted me access to the devices. I would note that The Misses was delivered to the tribe on a carriage. I’m sure she enjoys the ride the ball in one tonight.

The house of Hawkwinter is an impressive building. It is well suited for the celebration of Salune….

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Introduction to a sword-smith
Being an account from the diaries of Burya "The Storm" Noch

The dwarf Grunor Oredwelle ended up in the dungeons of the Amkathra family for trying undermine their nefarious efforts. The swordsmith was apparently caught when he came to know too much about their more illicit dealings. Apparently the Amkathras are involved the thievings of horses, arms smuggling (swords in particular?) and wine. Oredweller was brought in because of his experience in crafting blades. Of course he recognized The Misses as a superb piece of work.

According the Grunbar the Amkathras are worshipers of Sharn. They may in fact be the leaders of the Blackthorne group – particularly Alister (the oldest son whom we have not yet met). We gathered that the Amkathra family live on the High Road, East of the Market. Grunbar doesn’t know much about the Ritual Book, but we seem to be of the consensus that the book is tied to the conflict between Sharn ad and Sallun.

It was about 2 pm when we finished resting and talking with Grunor. We decided that the best of course of action was to grab a few of the cultists cloaks, exit the crypt and head back to the temple of Selune with our well disguised Grunbar. There we shall bring up the crimes of the Amkarthra family and see what the temple advises. I personally disagree with tactic. We are parrying when we should thrust. Lord knows the missus appreciates a good thrust. When collecting the robes, we noticed that the cultists were among the upper class. The clothes under they wore were not noble, but not rags either.

We spoke with the authorities at the temple. They believe what we had to say about the Amkathras, but the family is in such a position, and our evidence so thin, that there appears to be no easy way to bring our accusations forth. Consequently, they suggested we try and gather more evidence. They have arranged for us to attend one of the formal festivities that take place to celebrate the solstice and Salune.

We arrange for clothing. Some of us are better at expediency than others. My comrades continue to beat around the bush, engage in indirect attacks. The quickest way to fell a beast is not to poison the well at which it drinks. It is much faster to make it poke its head out from the bush and cut it down at first sight. My companions fail to understand this minutiae at some points and it wears on me. Nonetheless, I managed to procure my garments quicker than the others. As such I decided to see if I could identify our enemies. Get our foes to ‘poke their heads out’ so that I might confront them. At the Merry Albatross, I took one of the cloaks of sharn and left it hanging on a hook in the entry way. I then sat in wait for someone to notice that particular coat. It would seem that our friendly fur merchant has ties to Salune’s twin, for she clearly reacted to the coat. As the rest of the party arrived at the inn, we set about a plan.

I worked my way around the second floor of the building, climbing outside from apartments of the druid and the cleric to the balcony of Elingina. Once inside (thanks to my handy crowbar) I began a search for anything Sharn related. Damn these tactics that call for stealth! When prying open a chest I made a huge clunking sound and set off some sort of a supernatural trap. A spectre arose and stabbed me. Of all the ways in which I am comfortable being hurt, this one was both physically painful and emotionally shameful. A DAGGER. A thin and puny dagger caught me from behind. Although I may have bled out on the floor, I think I would have much prefered the spirit use a proper blade. The only creature I have seen use a dagger to ANY effect is that hobbit…

A quick escape later and I was healing in the girl’s chambers. Some how the priest managed to convince the inn keeper that commotion everyone heard was actually the SPIRIT breaking into the room. Further she was able to banish the spirit and talk her way into keeping the contents of the chest. What a perplexing turn of events. Had I not been half blinded in pain, I would have liked to have seen that.

With a necklace of Sharn in hand, we decided that it was time to head to the ball. The eighth hour of the evening is recently past as I sit down to recuperate and journal these adventures. The solstice approaches – perhaps quicker than we can accommodate for. Like a desperate swordsman who lunges without a firm plant for the back foot, time demands we head into peril for which we may be ill-prepared.

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Cowardly Hobbit
Being an account from the diaries of Burya "The Storm" Noch

That bumbling, dagger-peddling twit! He WAITS OUTSIDE the crypt while a major battle takes place in its bowels? Some slick operator he is! We follow the tracks across all manner of graveyard and come to a crypt where he is just waiting calmly in the falling snow. Meanwhile the hooded one is battling a dozen cultists down in the depths of the tomb. Then, instead of rushing in to stop the bloodshed, he wants to SNEAK down and SPY on what is happening. Lucky his hairy feet didn’t trip on the mixture of filth, snow and blood that was pooling about the floor at the entrance. Would have been a fitting event for such cowardice. Songs are not sung about heroes who creep onto the battlefield.

Undoubtedly The Hooded One was trying to deal the book off to followers of _____ and the whole affair went belly side up. That is the only explanation that comes to my mind. I haven’t had a chance to talk with Teapot in earnest about what led him to the graveyard, but despite his shortcomings, he seems to be on the level in regards to the whole event. The Tempess Kord respects the chaos of battle, but when we got down to the tomb itself, there was so much blood, so many bodies. Clearly The Hooded One was a formidable opponent. Amid a storm of Necrotic and Elemental energies he was fell. We dispatched 4 cultists, but some spell casting priest made his way through a back entrance into another labyrinth of sewers. As we were breaking down the door in pursuit, undead creatures rose from their rest and came down into the crypts. These foul abominations were reasonably strong – one even had wings! We were able to dispatch them, not before one took a bit out of the druid

The priest seems to have fled through a backdoor in the crypt that led into the sewers. We tried to track his (or her) trail and got a little lost. There was also another door worthy of investigation, so we broke our way into that area. There we encountered a dungeon of sorts with a dying dwarf. We were able to rouse the poor lout to his senses, but as we were questioning him, the current corpse occupants of the dungeon came to life! I introduced several of them to the Misses and put them to a more permanent rest. Curious how much necromantic energy we are chasing. All these summonings are not realistically possible for a novice, best to tread carefully as we advance.

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To the Sewers!
Being an account from the diaries of Burya "The Storm" Noch

Our first full day in Waterdeep! The encounter of last night still seems a bit surreal. I have tussled with a few ruffians before, but this was a bit on the extreme side. A band of Kobolds just going after strangers in broad daylight. Little Lizard dogs are known for their nerve, but surely they saw the misses? Who would mess with a man walking around with such a fine blade? It is nonsense I tell you.

The Little Teapot took off early this morning. He mumbled some nonsense about performing in a square. Shortly afterwards The Cleric and the Druid stopped by. I suspect they were really just after Fennius’ tea stash on the orders of the panther. I let the trio have into whatever leafs they wanted.

The Merry Albatross seems like nice enough accommodations. I generally prefer to gather around an open camp fire and camp out watching the dying embers of the fire give way to the glowing radiance of the night’s stars, but having a full kitchen and a roof does present some advantages. The rooms we are staying in are joined by a fire places that protrude from our rooms into our neighbors. We are on the second story. The first floor appears to be a tavern and eatery that gets a decent amount of morning traffic. The building posses an alley to the north and sits on Snail Street (which runs north/south through a large part of the city although sometimes by a different name). The inn is three stories tall.

At breakfast the cleric, the druid and I planned out our day’s activity. We are still bothered by the death of the Elf Priestess aboard the ship. Our first order of business is to try and track down exactly what happened to her and her book. We saw Bristletoe coming down for second or third breakfast (or some ungodly other hobbity way of eating) and he joined us for ANOTHER bite. We told him about the kobold attack the night before. He seemed to have heard about it, but didn’t know we were the ones at the point of the blade, so to speak. He was slightly shocked. Having traveled to town himself on several occasions, he was surprised we ran into trouble so quickly and in such a normally peaceful place. The docks, maybe would have such activity. Snail Street? Hardly seems likely. We chatted with Bristletoe for a bit. He is renting stores at a warehouse called ’Heldberge’s Wares’ down by the dock. His oils have been unloaded and he was going to go about the day making various sales calls. We decided that our first stop of the day would be the Temple of Salune. We offered to send a sample of oils to the temple for him. He gave us directions to the market and told us that anyone there would be able to direct us the rest of the way to the temple.

After Bristletoe left, we reviewed the only ‘clue’ our Kobold attackers left us – a strange black iron object that seemed vaguely key like. We decided that a smith would be a good person to ask about this – maybe they would have fashioned something similar. Also it is a good chance to show off the misses to someone who really knows a thing or two about fine pieces of metal.

We met a friendly dwarven smith in the market. I think we might have been fairly lucky to stumble upon such a good natured chap – Apparently this key isn’t just any key and isn’t something one goes flashing around. The smith identified it as a ‘Blackthorne Key’ – a key granting one access into the dark places that the Blackthorne (society? Group? company? Guild? Labor Union?) might traffic in. This does not appear to be a group that functions on the polite sides of society, but the exact nature of their misdeeds is still a little unclear. The Dwarf told us to use discretion when showing anyone that key, you never know how one person will react to it. He also asked us to be discerning about who clued us in about the Blackthornes. He wouldn’t want to lose his neck for helping out some strangers. He did comment that the old lady was a finely made blade. It was hard not to be proud that a craftsman recognized the quality of work.

We went onward to the temple of Salune. As we drew near the temple, it became clear that this midwinters festival is more than just an excuse to party and revel. There appeared to be actual piety in the streets. Although the cleric muttered something about some people caring more about ‘appearing’ pious than actually being reverent towards a god, the city of waterdeep impressed ME with their devotion. As we were making our way towards Priestess Silver Light (the official who came to investigate the trouble on the Seafoam Dancer) some people were offering us the opportunity to buy some charms against the coming of the ‘lupine lords’ whatever those things are. They are suppose to come on the ‘morrow of Salune’

We met with Silver Light behind a beaded curtain. She was certainly more calm than our previous experience with her. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that she was in a chemical enhanced state of ‘calm’ when we met with her. The misses dug the vibe, but I was a bit more apprehensive. The metaphors and double layered talk, the fatalism and redirection towards the divine. Its all a bit much.

Silver Light offered a reward for information about the book that MoonBorn was carrying. We of course, had very little to offer. Always more questions than answers. The cleric learned that, like many objects relative to divine powers, the importance of this book is dubious. What exactly the consequences of this book falling into the wrong hands, Silver Light couldn’t say. But she did imply that it was an item of import. We asked her about what she learned from the ‘locate object’ spell she appeared to cast aboard the ship. She said the book didn’t appear to be on the book. We explained to her that we would be eager to find the book and return it to the temple. I delivered the Hobbit’s oils to Silver Light. She seemed pleased to take them.

We showed Silver Light the key and she seemed to know what it was. She also said that it was a key belonging to the Blackthornes. She said that such keys are known to open up doors into dark places. Again, with the cryptic nonsense. After the party left I spoke with her about my disease. I wondered if her knowledge of Lycanthropy would give her insight into my condition. It did not. She did suggest that I speak with the High Priestess Mercuria Cresent, An Elf that runs the temple. Now is not the time for such a conversation, given the demands of the festival.

We left temple to head back to the inn for lunch. On the way into the lodging, the druid spotted Hoody and a hobbit making their way through the back alley. She turned into a dog and began to follow them. Turns out there is a mercenary market directly in back of the inn. After making our way through that market, we followed the duo (or the hobbit at least) through an alley round the back. It led to the sewers. The druid was able to sniff out some sort of tracks through a few twists and turns. We ended up in a graveyard. It is from a quiet tombstone that I pen this entry.

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Seafoam, Books and Kobolds
The Travels of Me and the Misses

After 4 days at sea on the seafoam cutter, under the helm of an overly professional and competent sea-elf named Oberburry, we found that one of the passengers had been killed. I personally like my sea voyages with a little more swagger and a few less dead bodies, but to each their own. A lovely priestess namedLuna Moonborn met some untimely end. We were never really able to figure it out, although my Old Lady had her suspicions. Some people of note – a oil-salesman hobbit named Tallboy, an elf fur merchant named Elinga, and a Hooded man who refused to specify a name.

I called the hooded man Hoody and I suspect it annoyed him. He himself was rather annoying, so it seemed justified. Hoody was the most suspicious person on board and stands as suspect #1 at this point. He was definitely tense – and when I prodded him for information, I got a slightly abusive cold shoulder. The man can carry himself in a fight, that much I was able to figure out. He also has a affinity for wood carving. A bird of prey devouring a reptile, if I recall. Also, when we deboarded he seemed to slip off in a very intentional fashion. He never did share a block of wood for me to whittle with him though. The misses may have an artistic side – you never know. I’ll have to check into that later. Have to be careful though, don’t want any magic to seep through and char the wood.

On the ship, I met a few companions worth traveling with -

There is a tea obsessed half-folk who has firework fingers and seems to believe he understands something about the arcane. Beyond parlor tricks, the truth is still out on this one. One thing is true, he doesn’t use a proper blade. Apparently he has a short little knife that he uses to cast magic through? Who ever heard of such a thing. Everyone knows that magic needs to flow through a true blade. Why if the Misses was that small… I just don’t know how the magic would work. Halflings – so much strangeness packed into such a small package.

There is a druid who seems to be led by a panther. I don’t understand what respectable elf would take orders from a panther, but, by my blade, I have seen it happen. Elfs are as close to kinfolk as I have, so I can appreciate her struggle, but it really does seem backwards. Shouldn’t the druid be in charge of the panther and not the other way around? The panther does like the hobbit’s tea though – i will have to keep feeding it to him.

Finally, there is priestess of Kord – Lagertha. She too has a interest in the storm – although it has not infested her blood like it has me. She gave a respectful blessing over the body Moonborn. It was a rare moment of peace and piety for some one in my line of work. The Misses surely wishes that we attended Ritual every StormDay, but sometimes there are more pressing matters. She does need to learn to hold herself in a fight, however. A handful of kobolds nearly took her out. They didn’t even have real swords either. Better than the Half-person, but still, nothing compared to the Old Lady.

In the city of waterdeep there seems to be some sort of religious festival taking place. It corresponds to alignment of the full moon and midwinter’s night. The festival appears to be the reason that Moonborn was traveling to the city of wonders. There was also a book that Moonborn kept near her – a very ornate object that we could not find after her death. The Temple of Saloon was notified upon our arrival to the city and came themselves to investigate. They did not appear to find anything conclusive. Because all the passengers are under an element of suspicion, the temple of Saloon has agreed to host us at the Merry Albatross, asking that we stay available for further questions.

On our way to the inn, we were ambushed by a band of Kobolds posing as a group of revelers. Was this a random street robbery? A planned attack? A Random Happenstance? Unfortunately the spell casting leader of this group made it free of our attacks, so we can’t know for sure.

Now it is time to settle down for a few glasses of grogg a nice bit of stargazing and a warm bed. Hopefully The old ball and chain doesn’t stir in the night – it has been a long day of hard travel. Nonetheless, I bet a nice oil massage is just what she needs. Those Kobolds were a spot of trouble, but I suspect our little group can handle such dilemmas. Tomorrow will hopefully hold some answers about Mornborn’s demise, and maybe even some clues about a cure for me. It would be best to wrap all this up quickly – after tonight there are only two more days until the midwinter’s night and full moon are dancing together in concert in the night’s sky.

- From the dairy describing the exploits of Burya “The Storm” Noch and his committed blade“The Misses”

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