Loverly Larry gladly drops the group off back off at the shabby little dock wear he ties up the Lusty Lobster. He tells them if they ever need him again he will be right htere to take them on any sea voyage no matter how near or far.
The storm clouds roll off to the east and a the wind that follows makes for a warm and clear afternoon as the rainwater collected in the streets begins to dry and create some mist.
The group decides to visit a tavern or bathhouse in the dock district to freshen up after their day in the rainstorm and their trip to the bottom of the bay. They choose to visit the Moonpenguin on Candle Lane where they stayed once before at the direction of Rennear hoping to perhaps see him as they know it is one of his safehouses.
The group enter to see a full tavern with lots of rowdy but good spirited sailers and roustabouts from the various cargo ships filling the bay bringing in goods and supplies for hte upcoming winter.
As they enter the tabaxi barmaid, known as Birdy, approaches Eblynn in confidence and tells him taht Rennear is upstairs and keeping a low profile. She asks them to make themselves confortable, everything will be on his tab but to please visit him upstairs at their convenience.
Shelldon goes upstairs to have a hot bath drawn as Grim and Collosus join a dice game of Chimera's chance with a gnarly human male in a worn leather skull cap, a toothless halfling and a fit and barely dressed barbarian. They play several rounds with increasing amounts of gold exchanging hands. Colossus in particular wins a large pot and buys the whole table a round of the finest ale. Birdy at seeing the barbarian's annoyance wuickly brings some rich seafood stew heavy with exotic spices to calm them down.
As Shelldon enjoys his bath he hears a knock on the door and Rennear enters and asks the attendant to fetch any others in the party who arent busy. Eblynn and Lorath return.
Rennear asks about the welfare of the group and is very relevied to learn they are all right. He's heard about the firebal event and has reached out with his contacts in the Harpers for information.
He levels with the party and tells them that he is truly sorry to hear that they may be implicated in something likely becuase of their association with him.
He tells them this...
“When the Lords of Waterdeep ousted my father, I thought his long, dark shadow was finally gone for good. The truth is, I want nothing to do with him. But his spies hound me. One of them, a gnome named Dalakhar, had been watching me for months. Then, about two tendays ago, the spy was suddenly nowhere to be seen. My father didn’t trust many people, but he trusted that gnome.
I spoke to a few of Dalakhar’s friends. Apparently, he was on a special mission to retrieve an object called the Stone of Golorr and was afraid that the Zhentarim and the Xanathar Guild were close to catching him. When he heard about my kidnapping, he wanted more information about the adventurers who had rescued me. I think Dalakhar was planning to pay you to deliver the Stone of Golorr to my father in Neverwinter.”
He reminds the party that his father had been ousted as the open lord in disgrace and there had long been rumors about a large, extremely large, cache of gold which his father had embezzled but no one ever found it. Apparently, according to the rumors he's discovered through his contacts, This “Stone of Golorr” is somehow the key to unlocking it's location. The dead gnome at the fireball event had been identified positively as Dalakhar.
Neither Lorath using his knowledge of the arcane nor Shelldon using his knowledge of religion has any memory of hearing about this object but the group seems to believe him or at least believe that he believes what he is telling them.
They tell him that they are meeintg with Zardoz Zord the master of the Seamaiden's Faire for dinner and Rennear advises caution. He says Zardoz is a bit of a mysterious figure though very openly friendly and flashy and his faire is generally regarded as a joyous and delightlful event in the places along the coast which it visits.
He advises them to trust no one until this has all been resolved. He doesnt know what the next move is but he knows at least the black network as well as Xanathar's guild has been searching for this Stone and likely others as word has spread. It is likely the singular reason for all the gang violence and mysterious events lately which has so recently literally exploded on their doorstep.
They go back to the tavern proper and enjoy their afternoon gambling and resting.
Nearer sundown they head out to the place where the two ships of the faire are docked. The manifests posted refer to them as the Hellraiser and the Heartbreaker. As they approach they see many colorful and festive things being unloaded and assembled as well as a number of exotic animal, performers, acrobats, musicians etc all congregating I nthe area.
They are approached by a nervous but studious human male with a clipboard who asks them to clear off unless they have business because the faire is not open yet. They tell them they have dinner plans with Zardoz and the mans mood changes, he says they were expecting them and welcomes them to a large nicely maintained and painted-blue dingy (much nicer than the Lusty Lobster). They board and a muscular half-orc begins to row them out to the boat anchored I nthe bay.
Eblynn stikes upa converstaion with the half-orc and learns that he very much enjoys working for the Seamaiden's faire and that he was in fact rescued by it when the ship he was on with his family went down south not far from Baldur's Gate I nthe Sea of Swords. He has the highest praise for Zardoz Zord.
The boat arrives at the ship and a jacob's ladder is thrown down as the half-orc calls out.
The group climbs up and is met the crew. All well built and nicely dressed men. They had seen some crew such as this on the other ships back at the dock but his ship in particular seems to be crewed exclusivly with these seemingly higher-ranking members.
They meet one such person who introduces himself as the captain Tarwind Arryhook and asks them to follow him. He seems friendly and patient when Shelldon asks if they can have a look around. He doesnt grant this requests but allow them to have a moment to themselves to discuss matters before they head below deck.
The dining cabin is bedecked with golden filigree, the purple curtains festooned with silken tassels, the wood paneling scented with perfume. A magnificent feast laid out on golden platters sprawls atop a mahogany table of exquisite craftsmanship. Even the doilies are something to behold. Standing behind it all with wine glass in hand is a well-built, scantily clad man, his scarlet apparel designed to accentuate his trim figure and bountiful chest hair. A flashy rapier hangs from his stylish belt.
“Welcome aboard the Eyecatcher,” he says, flashing his pearly white teeth. “I'm so glad you could make it!”
The group partakes of a sumptuous feast highlighted by a large fully intact octopus which has apprently been fried and well-seasoned in addition to being artfully arranged as a centerpiece. They are attended by a Nimblewright identical to the one they saw driving his coach. He asks them about their search and if it was sucessful and they tell him it was not. Upon learning that Colossus likes gambling he calls for the captain of the vessel, Tarwind, whom Zardoz describes as a world-class gambler and gambling aficionado who has played all manner of games of chance up and down the sword coast.
Tarwind is happy to join them and askes innocently to begin with 500g hands of Dragon's Flight, Colossus prefers 5g per hand and Zardoz nods to Tarwind clearly indicating he should accomadate the guests.
During their disucssions, Eblynn detects a hint of an elvish accent in their voices.
They begin to play a game of Dragon's Flight of increasing wagers and speaking about recent events, their backgrounds and such. During this time the group tells him they are adventurues and that they are opening a tavern in Trollskull alley. Zardoz is curious about Colossus and offers him a job travelling in the Seamaiden's faire which colossus says he will consider.
The party learns the following from Zardoz...
The Sea Maidens Faire, owned and operated by Zord, is a seafaring carnival based in Luskan that travels along the Sword Coast. It provides good, wholesome entertainment in the form of fantastic street parades.
The Heartbreaker and the Hellraiser are used to transport entertainers, wagons, and parade floats. The Eyecatcheris Zord’s command ship and private yacht. All three ships are built for comfort and speed.
Zord visits the distant island of Lantan about once a year. During his last visit, he purchased four nimblewrights from a Lantanese wizard. He keeps two aboard his flagship, and one aboard each of the other two vessels.
When they’re not marching in a parade, Zord’s nimblewrights remain aboard his ships. “They’re perfectly harmless,” he attests, whereupon a nimblewright holding a decanter enters the dining cabin and quietly refills everyone’s wine glasses. As they gambling and corousing is going on Grim sends his owl familiar underwater to investigate. He finds a large – ray-shaped submersible attached to the ship. The interior is unlit but the owl can see via his darkvision inside the large, eye-like windows near the front that a rock gnome is tinkering with something in what may be a control panel of some sort.
Just as Grim is dismissing his familiar the last thing he sees is what appears to be a grey-skinned and white-hair Drow descend the stairs into the front of the submarine.
Everyone enjoys themselves tremendously and around midnight Zardoz says he must go to bed as he is expected to be the grand marshal in tomorrows day of wonders parade.
He excuses himself and Tarwind leaeds the group back up on deck and to the waiting dingy and the half-orc rower. Eblynn notices the deck is much more active not in the middle of the night as it was even when they arrived just before sunset.
The party board the little boat and is rowed across the now glassy still waters of the harbor with the waning moons reflection lighting their way.
As they reach the docks they see many floats and colorful tents have been erected as well as a host of activity as people continue to contruct and arrage things. The nervous man with the clipboard sees them and becomes exicted. He asks for their help. In the confusion of unloading one of their animals escaped. He pleads with them to help him as most everyone is already busy with other matters. He says time is of the esscence since if the city guard find the creature first they will likley kill it and questions will be asked which he doesnt want to deal with. He offers them 250g or a potion of water breathing. The animal is a bear, a white arctic or 'polar' bear to be precise. The group agrees and Turk picks of the trail and tracks it through the dock ward mostly from the garbage it has been picking through and eating. It apprently spent most of it's time breaking open barrels of chum and fish heads and gorging itself.
Within an hour the gang find it at the end of an ally again rooting through garbage.
Lorath sucessfully casts sleep on it and Grim is able to tie it up and Colossus is able to psuh it's large form into a nearby cart. It wakes but is so groggy and exhausted from it's feasting and exploring that it puts up little resistence and the party returns it to the very thankful faire supervisor who gladly pays them the 250g.
They decide to head back to Trollskull alley but this time take the high road, the major thouroughfare that borders the southern and trade wards to the east and the dock and castle wards to the west in the hopes of finding something with their device.
Lorath uses it occasionally and while they are near a sidestreet coffinmarch near the city of the dead they get a very feint reading. They circle back and head norht on spindle street and then back towars the trade district but they eventually lost the signal, likely indicating that it was moving.
They arrive back at their place around 1:30 am and find most of the upper floors belonging to the manor finished. Inside they find the strucutre seemingly completely finished with new and nicely sanded and detailed wood accets, sturdy and well balanced doors and the specific furniture they mentioned already in place. It appears to be missing a lot of other more ocmmon furniture though.
Eblynn and Lorath head down into the tavern which they find well-cleaned but still in disrepair and their entry awakens Thaco who is pleased to see them an full of energy and ready to discuss the tavern even at this late hour. He is pleased to report he inventoried the cellar and found three casks of wine turned to vinegar but also found
a bottle of fine dragon's breath brandy
a bottle of elverquist fruity elf liquer with bright fruit similar to sangria
3 bottles of potent seawine aromatic similar to gin
and an unusual and very old cask covered in moss, the only words he could make out were gnomish reading Ahghairon's Manycherries, manycherries win being very popular in Waterdeep and to Thaco's nose it seems to still be viable but he did not tap it.
They discuss some options for the bar, food and drink and Lorath gives him some gold to help stock it. They also grant him the authority to make descisions about the repairs. He says he will go about hiring some staff, at least two barmaid and a servant and make some sample menus for them. He will handle the guild licenses in the morning.
As Grim enters his room he find an individual sitting on a newly built chair near the window. The light of a pipe lights up a face he recognizes and the voice of Davil Starsong, the Zhentarim agent he met the day before in the Yawning Portal greets him.
Davil says that something had happened in the nearby villa of a noble family, the Gralhunds, to the east of the manor which he describes as a 'bloodbath' and he expects a brutal and unwarranted crackdown on known agents of the black netowrk. He needs help though and may need more in the future from someone like Grim who has no known affiliation with the organization. He offers Grim entry into his gang, the Doom Raiders, a faction within the black network which hopes to end this violence and go back to more profitable endevours like money lending and security.
He says that “There’s a shop in the Trades Ward called Weirdbottle’s Concoctions. The gnome who runs it is a friend of ours named Skeemo. He’s made some... less-than-legal potions or a client. Pick up the potions and deliver them to the God Catcher, one of the enormous statues in the Castle Ward. Give the potions to the lady in a black coach with the purple sash draped outside. She's already paid for them and just needs someone to take them to her so keep any tip for yourself.”
Grim agrees and Davil says not to seek him out but he will likely be in contact soon as there will likely be others opportunities soon as he snuffs out his pipe and exits by the nearby window into the warm wind of the clear autumn night.
You each gain 400 exp, 250g as a party from the polar bear capture, any gold you won at gambling, the bottles of booze have been added to the inventory of the tavern (it's still a character in the campaign on dnd beyond with an inventory) 1 downtime