7th of Marpenoth (Stoneshar), The Vault of Dragons, Underneath Waterdeep – The border woods of the Ardeep Forest

The gang collects themselves as they speak to the black staff and open lord who recuse themselves after a moment to treat with the dragon Aurinox inside the vault and leave asking the party to remain their to protect the entrance. They also tell them that the town gaurd are likely surrounding the structure at that very moment.
As they wait they take a moment to bind the unconciuous bugbear who awakens a few minutes later with litany of weak but foul curses in some goblinoid toungue.
When the blackstaff and open lord return they say they've mostly reached an agreement with the dragon and that the gold will be returned to the people of waterdeep and that the dragon will be allowed ot stay in the city and to keep the dragonstaff of aghairon as long as he is able to faithfully weild it in the defense of the city as it was intended.
The open lord makes good on her promise to allow the group to carry as much gold as they can from the vault by nonmagical means. This prompts the group to drop all their equipment worth less than it's weight in gold including much of their clothes. They walk away with 12 backpacks full of gold. The amounts of which individually are listed below but totaling 57,142!
Eblynn- 7150
Lorath- 5408
Grim- 6950
Turk- 6194
Shelldon- 8550
Colossus - 22850
The open lord and blackstaff are both astounded at the amount Collosus is able to carry but the deal has been struck. They say an armored coach is waiting outside to take them whereever they'd like.
The blackstaff approaches Lorath and implores him to turn over the stone to the blackstaff tower for safe keeping. It is an item too dangerous to be left out among the public. Recent research at the tower has revealed a potential way in which the aboleth inside may be relased by certain magical means and this event would undoubtably cause the death of thousands were it to occur within the city but equally destructive may be the information the creature is able to acquire while linked to lorath's mind. In fact, one of the reasons they needed the group to attune to it and find the vault was that it would have been much to dangerous to let it touch the minds or either the blackstaff or the open lord.
At this Lorath's mind is wracked by the protests of Golorr. It wants to remain in loraths possesion and continue to go on adventures with him. It is a difficult taks but Lorath is able to free himself from the aboleth's influence enough to drop it into the small leather pouch which the blackstaff holds open. Before he does though he uses the lore and legend feature of the stone to inquire of one last thing which golorr must answer truthfully. The nature of the question and answer are known to lorath alone.
The group exits the vault and hears the blackstaff exclaim “Azzam!” as they do which causes the doors to begins sliding back into place.
Up stairs they meet the town guard which usher them into the armored coach in the new eaely dawn light. Today is a holiday named Stoneshar which is a celebration of building and beginning new ventures. They bid the driver to take them back to their manor in Trollskull alley.
They arrive shortly after to find Thaco on the porch enjoying his long pipe. At first he looks quixotically at the strange coach but then in delight as the group exits. He has much and more information about the tavern on this the day of it's opening and is excited to tell the group.
They are weary though and mostly dressed in their undergarmets so they go upstairs first to drop off their coin and get dressed or rest. Inside his room Grim finds Istrid Horn again dressed in her male disguise waiting.
She asks if he has put in a good word for the Zhents yet but he admits it didnt come up but he will once the time is right. She says now that the gold has been found perhaps things will die down and they can get the others out of jail, especially Davil.
Eblynn and Lorath go down to speak to Thaco who tells them he has found a good source for likely all the things the bar will need and it will be very good quality and at a good price. The place it a little far outside the city though on the edge of the plain to the east where it meets the forest and unfortunately it is for sale so the deal may change depending on the buyer. The estate is called Bitter End and the business Fare Well Farms.
Eblynn and Lorath ask about the price of the farm and Thaco says it is 10,000g. The express interest and Thaco says he will take them soon but today he must prepare for the taverns grand opening tonight. He also says that Sea Maiden's Faire weighed anchor and left the harbor suddely last night stranding many employees in the city and that he hopes to find entertainment which he hasnt been able to as yet.
Thaco also tells them that he has had a lot of time alone with the spirit in the tavern and has learned that it is both happy and capable at tending bar.Additionally the nimblewright had been skulking around and he put him to work clearning which the automaton seemed to be very grateful and eager to have a purpose. Both of which He also thinks this could be quite a unique draw to attract customers and will cut overhead even further. Also, Grim's dwarf friend turned out to be an exceptional cook and has added some special flair to the menu.
Thaco then takes his leave to go to the dock ward and try to recruit some entertainment as the group retires for a well earned rest. Some of them get up in the early afternoon and visit some local shops to reqacwuire gear or place some special orders. Shelldon in particular commisions some nunchuk weapons from Steam & Steel and Grim and Colossus inquire about having a coach armored.
As evening approaches Thaco returns with a halfling in a fine purple clock with gold stars embroidered on it and a fine lute slung over his back. Thaco introduces him a the “Famous” bard Nobby who he say play a scorching medley some time ago in far off Amn. Thaco seems quite pleased to get this individual to play at the opening because he was only in town ot redevous with the Sea Maiden's faire but is left stranded after their unexpected departure. The halfing seems as confused by his lot and hungover.
A crowd begins to gather in the waning sun and drinks begin to be served. Soon the tavern has reached capacity and the revellry spills over ono the deck outside and into the alley.
Vincent Trech, the private investigator of the Tiger's Eye sits in a corner smoking his large bell-shaped pipe and watching the crowd as Rishal the dragonborn from the Book Wyrm and Fala from Correlon's Crown sip tea nearby. Avi and Embric from Steam & Steel arrive with some friends and quickly engage with Tally Fellbranch from the Bent Nail who is happy to show off his craftmanship in restoring the place.
Durnan from the Yawning Portal arrives with Birdy from the Moonpenguin inn and several others, one of which they recognize as the person whom they met in the Skewered Fish down by the docks. They are a contingency of tavern owners from across the city there to pay their respects although Durnan gently teases the party about poaching one of his best barmaids, Bonnie who is hard at work serving customers but not so busy that she doesnt take a moment to none-too-discreetly flirt with Turk.
Volo, Rennear and Floon arrive all together already drunk and very gregarious. Shelldon calls to the bartender that their table drinks for free as they cheer and congratulate the party on their generosity.
Victus and Ohpemar, acolytes of Celembor from the House of Headstones in the City of the dead approach Eblynn. They thank him again for his help freeing them from the undead curse and have some news they are very excited to tell him. In the time that has passed Ophemar has dedicated much time to researching the mysterious past of Trollskull manor that he had asked about and had found that in the distant past, when the estate had been owned by a series of people with names who were all apparent anagram of each other, the place had been referred in some documents as a private club focussed on perhaps gaming or gambling of some sort. All this was before the more recent history detailed in the book the group had received from Rishal. Victus had given into his curiosity and visited the graves to find six above group tombs in a semi circle around a stone table monument. He even went so far as to cast detect magic and found a strong area of enchantment. Ophemar then interrupts to say that he prevented victus from opening the tombs as his curiosity already lead to so trouble. Sitll, the two of them say they would be happy to take Eblynn there and could guarantee a time which it will not be patrolled if he wanted to look into it. They are both overtly and exceptionally curious about the mystery.
Nobby, their newly hired bard, dances deflty along the bar and plays local favorites like How Waterdeep is your Love, In Too Waterdeep, Rolling in the Waterdeep and ending with a racous finale of Waterdeep in the Heart of Faerun to the delight of the eclectirc crowd.
Later in the evening three people enter inconspicuously with hoods draw and sit a small table in a more private corner. It is the blackstaff, the open lord and a male dward with a long forked golden beard wearing fine, orange-gold robes and carrying what they recognize as the Dragonstaff of aghairon. Grim approaches them to epak on behalf of the Zhentarim and relay how they helped them in the finale battle for the vault. The open lord thanks him and lets him know his words will be taken into consideration when the legal ramifications of those jailed in the chaos of the previous month is sorted out.
Late into the night Colossus starts a high stakes gambling table with Shelldon and Turk both joining in. They are happy and generous with their bets and each lose a not insubstantial amount of gold but a tiny fraction of what they have recently acquired. Word seems to spread by the end of the night that this may be an excellent palce to make a wager.
As the night begins to turn to a cloudy autumn morning and the Stoneshar revellers stumble home happily we draw away from the tavern and the alley in the North Ward to see a city resting peacefully for the first time in many days.
Thus ends Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.
Postscript:
The next day the party awakes and speaks to Thaco who agrees to take them to the farm he mentioned as the best source of supplies for the tavern.
The gorup hires a coach who takes them across the city and out the bustling south gate where they are obliged to state the reason for their trip and the busniess they will be conducting as well as their potenial return.
As the road winds down the plateua on which the city rests the see a vast open plain strech out before them. Many large and well kept farms spread out as they make their way along the quaint dirt road. They also pass trainign groups and small villages and trading posts as they continue to head east towards more wilder country.
Eventually they turn from the main road and being to see some small stands of trees cropping up here and their. No other houses are along this path and after about some minutes of time they begin to see a couple large structures as well as the larger forest proper looming beyond.
A crudly fashoined but clearly legible sign reads “Bitter End” as their coach pulls closer and a small halfling boy who is shoveling what appear to be dung into a small cart begins to call out “Da! Da! A buncha folks is coming!”
An older but still small halfing male with cropped red sideburns comes out and speaks to the group. He introduces himself as Dosher and points out his son Duncer. They are the Deareigns and the operate the farm. Upon hearing that the group is interested in purchaing the property his mood turns sour and he says they will need to speak to his uncle Randolph and leads them into the large, ranch-style lodge adjacent the large L-shaped barn. As they go around to the entrance the party sees several well-maintained but rustic fields of barley, corn and wheat as well as a flock of sheep grazing in a field beyond and a heard of cattle and a seperate wallow of hogs.
Inside the main building they see high ceilings and opening only a second story ringed with rooms and an open floor plan reminiscent of hunting or summer lodges.
At a heavy oak table in the center of the room near a hearth whos natural stone chimney extends up through the ceiling like a column sits a much older halfing with long scraggly red and grey sideburns who greets them as Randolph. An exchange between him and Dosher gives the party the distinct idea that Dosher is not happy about the farm being sold and that his family has worked it for many years and may soon be out of a livelihood.
The party treats with Randolph who is relatively firm on the price as he wants to finally retire to a warmer clime and wants to be able to say he was a ten-thousandaire for once in his life.
Dosher continue chime in and some in the party eventually pull him aside as Thaco continues to speak to Randoph. They learn that this farm is primarily worked by relatives of the prominent Snobeedle clan of halflings which run the expansive and profitable Snobeedle orchard and Meadery nearby but while they grew up working there they are just slightly too distant of a relative to profit from the family business.
In their exchange an agreement is reached that would allow his family, which the group learns is composed of him (Dosher) his son (Duncer) as well as his brother (Princer) and his brother's wife (Voxen) his female twin cousins (Camet and Copid) and his other brother (Dander) and his other brother's wife (Bloxen).
They agree that the farm can supply the tavern will all the food and spirits they can use but any extra they grow they will be able to sell themselves.
The party then goes back to the discussion with Randolph and eventually talk him down slightly to the sum of 9,380 gold which they agree upon.
As night is falling they are ofered lodging in one of the many extra rooms on the second floor of the lodge. Dosher mentions offhand that every year in the autmn the farm is plagued by animated scarecrows which emerge from the forest and make off with some of their produce or livestock. Just last week in fact one of them took an entire hog. He adds that they dont come that frequenlty but they always come eventualy and he cant imagine what is sending them as scarecrows dont need to eat apprently. One time they managed to burn one but otherwise they are simply accepting of the losses.
Upon hearing this the party descides to set a watch. When nothing appears that night the next mornign they investigate the edge of the forest. Little is found by way of tracks but Shelldon, upon the direction of the halflings, is able to discern what he believes is the place from which they likely emerge from the forest and the party sets out into the woods in the general direction from which it seems likely they came. They travle all day and find themselves at a fork in the terrian and make camp not sure in which way to go. Lorath casts tiny hut and the party rests inside as Colossus and the familars keep watch.
Nothing unsual presents itself and the next day the party awakes to a misty day and decides to head back to the farm. Shelldon is able to pick up their path easily enough and about midday several aof them become aware of something moving in the forest behind them.
They all hide and the see a humnaoid shape made of mud, straw and sticks in dirty clothes and with a rotting pumpkin as a head shamble clumsily past. Turk readies his bow but is rebuked by Lorath.
They follow it at a long distance and near dusk it reaches the edge of the forest and waits some minutes unti lthe sky is dark and all the farmhands have gone inside.
The party observes as the scarecrow crosses the open land to the farm and approaches a chicken coop from which it removes several hens wringing their necks before tucking them under his mockery of arms. Turk again draws an arrow but it stopped by Lorath.
The party them hides again and as the screcrow enters the forest, Turk chooses to follow at a much closer distance than Lorath find prudent who then attempts to cast sleep on him. His spell is insufficient to put Turk to sleep and the Scarecrow seems to pause a moment before continuing on his way.
The party follows the scarecrow through the woods and long int othe night, passing the fork in the terrain and heading south along a ravine. They emerge into a much denser and older forest surrounded by large oaken trees. The partly cloudy sky and half-moon offers a little visibility but it is intermittent.
As the scarecrow rounds a particularly large tree and, Turk rounds it too and takes a moment to try to locate it unsucessfully. The rest of the party catches up with him and as they all wait a moment to gather themselves they hear a large groaning sound as the boughs of the tree wave to life and attack them.

you each gain 500xp, 9523.66 gold, inspiration, 50 downtime and the as yet unnotarized deed to Bitter End and Fare Well Farms

Scarecrow
Scarecrow

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