Adventurers: Biblios, Ellywick, Finley, Glim, Silver, Tim
Silver needed air. The interrogation of the crazed noble, Oskar Oaken, had left him feeling uneasy. He lacked the stomach for such things, but noted the importance none the less. That brute Forath was better suited, or of course Tim would delight in it. In truth though, part of him enjoyed having the upper hand on an opponent who hours earlier had threatened his very existence with purple eldritch fire. The foul master Oaken serves had imbued him with formidable power. Silver hadn’t been so close to breathing his last for quite some time, and Oskars maniacal expression would be with him for all his days. At least the truth serum had pulled something from the captured man, but it’s value was debatable.
The door bearing the Brass Lantern sigil swung open, Silver shielded his eyes as light and noise assaulted his already tired senses. Bells clanged amidst screams, crying, and yelling. The cacophony of sound from the turbulent streets of Neverwinter left the half-elf feeling even worse. He saw over worked guards rushing to put out fires, while clerics tended to the wounded. Crowds of wide eyed citizens huddled together looking like their world had been turned upside down. It had. The attack at Oakens party was just one of many, formulated by this new Abolethic Sovereignty to rock the city and its inhabitants. The guards and the men of the Black Lantern were weary, tired, and stretched thin. Every scrap of help was desperately needed.
He kept walking, pulling the hood of the long cloak up, and avoided eye contact with a guard who could of used a hand. In hindsight he should have asked Glim to do that disappearing trick on him, but instead he drew on his own skills and vanished down a back alley. The sound dulled somewhat to a low buzz, but the smell of smoke, and heavens knows what else still clogged the air. And just what was that questionable liquid oozing through the cobbled street stones? He had to get away. In one swift acrobatic leap he left the drama behind, climbing up the side of a house, and finally onto it’s roof. A portly woman screamed, slamming the window shutters shut, as she caught sight of the uninvited figure scaling her home.
The rogue slinked along the roof tops into an area of the city he was quite familiar with. Finally reaching an old abandoned guard tower, which the guilds sometimes used as a dead drop. Climbing through the ruined window a trio of startled pigeons fluttered past. In the gloom, an old rickety stair case spiraled up to the vertigo inducing top. So treading carefully he ascended, desperate to put some distance between himself and the drama he now found himself in. Pushing open a small square door he hauled himself up onto the towers lookout. Finally taking a deep breath, and surveying the misshapen skyline of a troubled city. Pillars of smoke billowed up into the tormented sky, and a few fires still raged with primal intent as they chewed up old buildings. But it was to the south where he looked with utter dread. Waterdeep, or rather the lack of it. The destruction caused by the Pando dragon arrow was unthinkable. An entire city gone.
Cross legged the rogue perched on the edge of the outer wall. Shuffling his thoughts like a well used pack of cards, searching in vain to find a hand that made sense. This was all new, and he didn’t like it. The events of the previous night returned to him in strobing vignettes of terror. They had believed it to be an easy job, but was there any such thing where the clean cut dwarf was involved? Still, a ball they said. Just bring back the noble, maybe have a glass or two of the ‘79 then bop him on the head and rustle him into a cart. Certainly the proceedings had a disturbed edge with the masks and gowns, but nothing that indicated what was to come. They should have spent more time looking around. Maybe a stealthier path was there to be taken… if the two gnomes hadn’t got in a fuss with that guard, thus requiring SIlver to step in. Dueling without their weapons was a foolish endeavorer, well perhaps except for the groups monk, Ellywick. But damn, if only he could have smuggled the hemlock in successfully. Maybe. Just maybe, he could have incapacitated Oaken before the horror show. Biblios played his part very well, it was the rogue who slipped. Maybe he should have taken notice of that ill omen.
But just like the ball, Silvers world had swiftly got complicated… and ugly. His secure pocket of reality was being savagely invaded by larger schemes in play. His own plans edged aside, as he got sucked into events he would rather side step or ignore. Yet the gash in the sky jutting down to where Waterdeep used to be was very real. He had gotten used to the dragon arrows orbit, and on more than one occasion contemplated painting it. Never once did he consider it would be brought down to earth to obliterate an entire city. Like the ball, he didn’t expect gibbering mouthers to burst forth from the casks at midnight and devour the partys elite guests. The thought of those things made him shiver. His fellow adventurers had fought with true bravery as the plan went south. Biblios carved mighty blows into their perverted gaping forms, Ellyewick engaged several creatures at once, while the spell casters hurled arcane bolts for all they were worth. Oaken had shown himself to be more of a foe than they ever expected. His attacks caught them completely off guard, and just when they thought he was down the bastard came back from the brink. What foul pacts allow a man to defy death? He recalled Glims words as the master wizard unleashed a powerful chromatic orb, challenging the noble to face a true master of magic. Finley and Tim had their own struggles, fending off clawed assailants with dazzling spells. At one point Finley even grew in height. He concluded stress of combat must do strange things to the gnome anatomy. Thankfully the valiant efforts were enough, Silver having the pleasure of cracking Oaken out for the count. They survived then.
Many didn’t, as the image of poor Lilya Haldenfrond filled his mind. He had failed her, failed all of them, but then wasn’t it just the plan that failed? Maybe he was just getting slow, unfocused, and off track. Straying too far beyond his comfort zone. Vermillion would’ve seen the writing on the wall where he had not. Is that why he lost out to his insufferable relative all those years ago? Failing to see the bigger play until it consumes you. How different was Baron Vermillion Ravensbrook to Oskar Oaken? Both hiding behind the masquerade of nobility while they craft nefarious plans in the dark. The rogue raised an eyebrow. Was his cousin just lounging around the Ravensbrook estate drinking wine and laughing with his cohorts? No, he wouldn’t be. Shuffling his thoughts faster now, like an elaborate card trick as the plan began to take shape. Oakens words zig zagged in his head. It would be no stretch of the imagination to link his cousin with the machinations of the crazed noble. Hell, there might even be truth baked into it somewhere. Borgin could event be persuaded to lend considerable Black Lantern resources to avoid another evening like last night. Vermillions laugh emanated from the depths of his memory like a choking fog. SIlver knew his cousin would also look to gain from the misfortune of others, further adding to his domain and power. With haste SIlver stood up on the wall, a bit to quickly, and for a wavering moment lost his balance. Loose bricks tumbled many feet to the courtyard below. The rogue regained his stance and gracefully stepped down off the wall. A plan made in haste often failed. He would need time.
Again he looked in the direction of Waterdeep. The people of that city had lives, plans, and fortunes. They were no doubt just going about their day, when just like that – everything was snuffed out. The nobles of Waterdeep surely had tremendous power and wealth, maybe even fantastical magical artifacts. Yet they were ultimately powerless to stop the fate thundering from the heavens. Silver hadn’t really thought about what would happen should he actually wrestle back control of his family estate from Vermillion. Dread filled him, as he imagined sipping wine while a dragon arrow desolated his newly acquired land. Or legions of abominations rampaging through wonderfully maintained gardens. Priceless art being eaten by slimy mouthers. Rude, he sighed. It would be impossible to sleep under silk sheets knowing such menace was at large.
Could a power like that be confronted and stopped though? The cards shuffled in his thoughts, throwing down each of his companions. Glim had grown tremendously in his mastery of magic. The rock gnomes selection of spells never ceased to amaze, ready with the solution to any situation. Ellywick was a dynamo of shadowy destruction, her blows sharper and even deadlier than before. She was also a monk, dedicated and unwavering in the task ahead. While Biblios rage fueled attacks were even more fearsome than when they had first met. The dragonborn had the courage to take on any foe, no matter the size, and often coming out on top. Tim the tiefling differed in his approach to the arcane, but his power had grown rapidly of late. No doubt the warlock had even more devastating spells hidden up his mysterious sleeve. Then there was the most recent gnome recruit, Finley the wild sorceress. Unpredictable, yet unquestionably bright in the most testing of predicaments. All his companions had performed admirably as Oakens surprised them with his evil schemes. The Black Lantern itself was also a force for good, no doubt. And though he was yet to see them fight, he knew Borgin, Itham, Forath, and who ever else they recruited were capable combatants. Silver had also improved, the art thief adding extra layers to his repertoire of skills. Enough most times to keep himself alive, and plant a bolt or sword thrust where it is most effective. Indeed it was a strong hand from the deck, maybe even a winning hand. Time would tell.
Yet there was still Vermillion. That most personal of thorns in his side. Time was essential to weave a robust plan, and the Black Lantern would be busy patching up the city for a good while. The rogue knew of a few select places he could unwind, that hopefully weren’t either burning or out of wine. A sprinkling of pretty faces wouldn’t hurt either to wipe away the ghastly images imbedded in his head. With that he was gone, slipping down from the tower and looking for yet another pocket away from reality. At least for the time being.