The gang arrives at their manor just aftermidnight on the windy, clear nad unseasonably warm evening to find Thaco sitting on the landing of the tavern with his feet up casually smoking a pipe. He is excited to see them and let them know that the tavern will be ready to open in just a couple more days. He has made arrangments for the spirits to be delivored and hired some staff, namely Bonnie away from Durnan and a dwarf who said they knew Grim very well and seemed to know his way around the tavern trade. He let the dwarf into the manor and tells Grim he is waiting for him in his room. He tells them he took the opportunity to hang the troll skull over the hearth and still needs their input on a menu before he purchases any food. He also hopes to hire entertainment for the grand opening if they approve, which they do.
The party then heads upstairs and to their individual rooms. Grim find a surly dwarf in his room who identifies herself as Istrid Horn, the master of coin, loan shark, extorionist and money launderer for the Doom Raiders gang who up till now has been the controlling party of most of Zhentarium activity in the city but since the crack down and the folly of another competing faction's hunt for the stone has lost a lot of influence. In fact she tells grim even Davil himself has been taken in for questioning which is extremely unusual for someone as cautios as he. Before he was taken though he told her about their newest memeber, Grim, and how he may be the best option to lie low if the heat continues to increase so that is what she is here for – to take a job working at the tavenr in disguise as a male dwarf named Jorn. She offers him 10pp if he can hide her for the time being. Since the black network has all but been dismantled in the crackdown she has few assets left she can contact without exposing herself so she cant help much otherwise. She says she will also give any pay she receives from her labor in the tavern back to him but asks him for strict confidence in this considering no other member of his party is a Zhent currently. Grim aggrees.
Colossus finds an eager and curious nimblewright in his room and sucessfully attempts some rudimentary communication but not before taking the automaton to Grim's room and brefily meeting “Jorn”. The nimblewright seems content with a new chair on which to sit and a chance to try on Colossus' “hair”.
The group spends a restful and uneventful night and wakesin the morning to disscuss the next move. They decide to go to the courthouse in the castle ward and arrive at mid morning in a misty and overcast day.
As they enter they note t he bars on all the windows and the large prescence of not only town watch but city gaurd as well.
Inside they find a small sitting room adjacent to a large desk behind which sits a stern but direct and acoomadating female dressed in the traditioanl black suit of the magisters.
They ask to speak to a prisoner and she tells them it will require the permission of the magister assigned to his case. She asks for his name and their names which they give freely as well as a reason for the visit. Eblynn tells her they are members of the grey hands and are pursuing an investigation.
She takes down the information on a notepad, thanks them for their patience and asks them to wait on a nearby leather covered bench which they oblige.
They wait some 20 minutes and only observe some normal coming and going of gaurds.
When she reemerges she leads them down a long hall into an wing with what appear to be a number of offices and to the end of another hall with a single open door and shows them in. They enter to find a nicely appointed but windowless study with a large desk behind which is a wingle chair which swivels to reveal Lareal Silverhand. They are pleased to see her as she asks what their business is with Fenerus. Though some disjointed conversation it becomes clear that she has not met them before but has vetted them with the Blackstaff and thinks they may be of unique use to her and the city in the current situation.
The groups exchanges their information with her and it is revealed to them that some weeks ago she personally recevied information from Harper spies in Luskan that the influential dark elf Jaraxle Banrae and his drow organization Braegan D'Aerth may have business in her city. More recently with all the upheaval of the various factions competing for the fabled Stone of Golorr and some sightings of drow in the city she reached out to Jaraxle via a sending spell and received a reply in the form of a letter delevered to her by drow agents while she maintained invisibility. The letter It bears the wax seal of Luskan and is written in an elegant hand, in Elvish. It read:
To Her Ageless Majesty, Laeral Silverhand, the Witch-Queen of Stornanter, Lady of the North, She of the Seven Sisters, Chosen of Mystra, and Open Lord of Waterdeep:
Your spies are to be commended! Rest assured, my presence in your fair city is purely recreational — though if fortune smiles upon me, this visit could benefit us both.
Your predecessor left the City of Splendors in a sorry state, but you have done wonders to lift the spirit of the citizenry during your short time in office. I know how politics offends you, so forgive me for taking this opportunity to point out the obvious. We can make both our cities stronger and strike back at he who robbed Waterdavians of their wealth and dignity. I’m speaking, of course, of that dirty sack of rats, Dagult Neverember. That’s the phrase you used to describe him yesterday to the emissary from Mirabar, is it not? Evidently, my spies are also to be commended!
Why let Neverember get away with his crimes against Luskan and Waterdeep? Can we be allies, if not friends? These are the questions that haunt my dreams, as surely as I haunt yours.
Silverhand shares that Jaraxle has come into control of the City of Luskan which she referes to as a filthy harbor of pirates and corruption and has been seeking entry for it into the Lord's Alliance an important strategic alliance of the city's on the sword coast as well as the removal of Neverwinter, a city now controlled by Neverember, the former open lord of waterdeep.
She does not doubt that Jaraxle seeks the treasure of the vault to return it to the citizens of Waterdeep but in exchange for influence on the matter of Luskan's entrance into the Lord's Alliance. She is not ruling out the possability of Luskan's addition but is adament that this sort of deception, meddling and extortion on his part cannot be tolerated. For this reason and because of their unique persepctive on this situation she asks for their aid.
She also tells them she has kept this situation as queit as possible because the more that know about it the more the trouble is compounded. Other powerful factions are also working to acquire it whose purposes may be much more suddenly nefarious of the people of the city but not more wideranging than the political influence that could be afforded ot Jarlaxle if it becomes his.
She says only a few days ago she was made aware of a newly arrested bandit captain who was offering knowledge about the stone in exchange for his freedom. As soon as she was made aware she ordered the prisoner isolated and the gaurds for the keep doubled. She also gave word to a trusted Magister Branch that anyone inquiring about the prisoner be brought directly before her.
She asks them to question Fenerus Stormcastle, get the stone and open the vault if it exists all while keeping any word of this in the strictest confidence. For all this she offers them as much gold as they can carry by non-magical means from the cache.
They agree and they add the information they've discovered about the submersible under the ship and their beelif that drow are abourd the Heartbreaker. She says that their evidence confirms her suspiscions as well but does not want to take any action until the vault is found so as not to tip their hand too early.
The group also asks her for her blessing in using her influence if they encounter any guard or watch intereference. She warns them about using her name so as not to invite scrutiny but offers them Magister Branchs influence if they come into any difficulties of this manner. Branch is a trusted, influential and discreet.
She will agree to pardon him but is adamant that Fenerus is not to be released until after the vault is found but will give them a document with her seal to assure him of the truth of this.
The party is lead by Branch to a holding cell where a surly human male with a scarred face lounges chained to a chair.
He propositions them immediately, bargaining for information about the stone for his immediate freedom and offers to lead them to it. The party is able to persuade him to give them information in stead and convinces him with the letter.
He relveals that he intended to make a lot of money by delivering the stone from lady grallhund who delivered it to him by a mechanical man. He was to give it to a luskanite but was apprehended on some old charged inconvenielty right before. Still he had already made a fake to hide in his apartment in case any issues arose befor he could arange the meeting. For insurance he hid the stone in an old smuggling hideout of his, an old tower in the dock ward which the locals avoid as it once belonged to a mage of some sort. He tells them they will find it on the top floor in a cauldren.
They groups leaves and heads direclty to the dock ward and find the tower easily enough at the end of a long street and built up on a rocky outcrop near the bay.
They enter through the fron door to find the place in a state of disarray with mud and dust covering most things inside except for several fine sword strewn about.
Heading up the stairs they encounter three drow in widebrimmed hats in what was clearly once a laboratory of some sort but is now a weathered mess. Byond a table they see a cauldren near which one drow calls to the others “Take it! I'll hold them off...” before producing a curious metal and wood device in his hand which erupts with a loud crack and a puff of smoke as Grim feels the bite of something pierce his shoulder and then an equally painful poisonous burn.
A fight ensues in which two of the drow are able to escape out of an arrow slit onto a rocky outcrop outside and then onto the roof of a nearby building but not before grim is able to stab one with a dagger.
Eblynn, Lorath and Turk pursue these two out onto the roofs and Colossus, Grim and Shelldon close in on the remaining one each dealing a blow to him before he reaches into the cauldren himself and pulls something out and rushes past them and down the stone stairs.
The three of them follow with colosus catching up to him first at the front door of the building quickly followed by shelldon who kicks him through the door knocking him prone on the porch.
Back on the roofs Lorath, Turk and Eblynn pursue the other two. Lorath casts unsucessfully attempts to magicially put them to sleep as Turk lets fly his arrow of elf slaying but it flies wide and embeds on a cistern on a nearby building. They see the drow pull some potions from their vests and begin to drink them but Eblynn interupts this with a fiery chromatic orb.
Back on the porch the prone drow is able to drink a potion from his vest and immediately disappears. Shelldon observes the distubed moisture of the porch and deduces the direction the now invisible figure may have gone and hurls a bomerang in that direction. It does not hit anything on it's path from him but impacts on something on its return and both coloosus and shelldon puruse. Grim dons his goggles of night and observes a wavering pattern but is unable to hit it before it turn a corner into an ally.
Back on the roof, Eblynn, Loraht and Turk see one of the drow stumble after making a leap to another roof and the other pauses and comes back before taking a shot at lorath which he deflects with a sheild spell.
As the two drow appear to attempt to exchange something in the hands Eblynn catches them with a shatter spell causing them to drop it onto the roof. In the moment it takes them to recover and find it the group closes the distance. Lorath is able to disorient the one attempt to reach the stone with a tolld of the dead spell as eblynn is able to sweep it into his possesion with a mage hand. The two drow share a look between themselves before leaping into an ally nearby and out of sight.
Back on the ground Shelldon, Colossus and Grim pursue the invisible drow into the alley but they have lost the trail even as Shelldon makes a last ditch effort by throwing a blanket out ahead of them as it is cought and twisted in the rain.
Eblynn holds the stone briefly and is able to quickly feel a magic presence enamating from the curious grayish green stone with it's three slit-like markings.
you each gain 550xp, grey hand members receive 1 reknown, grim gets 2 reknown with zhentarim and Eblynn picked up a stone