Week Twenty ThreeApril 23rd, 1997
Avg. Rating: 3.8
Watercarn, Manayar 13th, Year of the Shield, Morning
The episode began with a segue, once again of Shreesha. She walked the streets of the Dock Ward, bottle in hand, and came upon a woman being assaulted by three thugs. The woman stretched out her hand and pleaded for help, but Shreesha paused only long enough to stare at her blankly before gulping more spirits and moving on. Around the next corner, however, she saw a small girl, crying and yelling desperately for "Mommy". Shreesha stopped and stared, as something inside her tightened until it snapped. The shattering of the bottle in her hand broke her from her reverie; she snatched up the child and quickly returned to the alley.
Once the little girl was safely tucked away, Shreesha entered the alleyway, followed by the sounds of men screaming and fleeing. Shreesha returned, with the woman. As mother and child embraced, Shreesha looked on with sadness; as they thanked her and hurried off, her eyes narrowed with resolve. Shreesha turned and strode purposefully into the city.
The party, meanwhile, remained at Mt. Sar, interrogating their four prisoners. Most were injured, and Willow was still unconscious from her arrow wound. Three of the Shieldbreakers still seemed somewhat dazed; only the fourth, Vandess, appeared to have his wits about him. Erik and Gregory questioned the prisoner, with some limited success; Tristan then hypnotized him. Under this influence Vandess told the party it was virtually impossible to reach the city during the day without being seen; he also revealed two "passwords" (wagon wheel and crescent moon), and that his direct superior was a man named Lerthon.
Tristan convinced Vandess that he, Tristan, was actually Lerthon. As "Lerthon" talked with Vandess, the party made sure the alcohol flowed freely- Vandess would be even more pliable if drunk. The PCs put on the tabards of all the slain Shieldbreakers, mounted their horses, and headed off towards Waterdeep with their four prisoners.
Not wanting to reach the city before nightfall, the party stopped for lunch after about an hour. As they ate, a lone harpy descended from the sky and landed in their camp. It nosed around until given some food, then waddled over to Erik and croaked out, "silver coin"; once Erik responded with "wagon wheel" the creature grabbed a last handful of food and returned to the skies.
Later in the day, after Willow had regained consciousness, the party continued on toward the city. Just a few miles away a pack of eight giant wolves crossed their path- as the party rode past them the wolves sat motionless, studying the group intently and sniffing the air. The great beasts then continued on their way, leaving the party in peace.
Well after sundown the group arrived back at the tunnel entrance into the castle. Erik, however, told the rest of the Shadow Guard that he had "something to take care of" before he could return to Waterdeep. Rakmor volunteered to accompany him, and the two men ran off into the night. Gregory, Willow, Tristan, Kelly, Texter, Perda, and the four prisoners all climbed, apparently unseen, down into the tunnel. They walked, through all the gates, until they were just beneath the stable exit, and there they waited for Erik and Rakmor to return.
Above ground, Erik took Rakmor toward the Shieldbreaker encampments at the South Gate, to the perimeter guard of a camp flying the banner of a red rose on a white background. The two were challenged by the guards, naturally, but Erik fortuitously remembered the name of one of the nobles he had run across in the North Ward; he told the guards he had a private message from that noble to Baron Thorne himself. After being informed, the Baron allowed Erik and Rakmor into his pavilion.
Inside the huge tent sat Baron Thorne, dressed in a fine grey robe, flanked by four of his finest bodyguards. Around his neck hung a large silver disc, etched with the relief of a dragon's head. Erik announced himself as the bearer of an urgent message, and the Baron beckoned him forward. Erik's only chance was to kill the Baron in a single blow; if he and Rakmor were drawn into a long melee they would be almost instantly overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers. In a flash he drew his sword and struck.
The mighty slash tore Baron Thorne's head completely from his shoulders, and sent it sailing across the tent. Erik dashed for the far side of the tent, setting fire to the inner wall as he went. Rakmor attempted to follow, but was overtaken by guards. A brief battle ensued, amidst the burning canvas of the pavilion, and in the end Erik and Rakmor stood victorious. While confusion still reigned the two men cut their way out of the tent and rushed back to the tunnel entrance. They escaped just as scores of Shieldbreakers began surrounding the area...had it not been for the hidden tunnel, they would surely have been captured or killed.
Erik and Rakmor joined the rest of the party, then the whole group proceeded up out of the tunnel and into the castle's stables. Though Lord Piergeiron had said that Sivantri didn't know about the existence of the Shadow Guard, he was there to greet them as they emerged. Sivantri escorted them all to their quarters: Willow and Tristan watched over the prisoners; Kelly went into the next room to check on Talyth and Gino, both of whom were fine and feeling much better; Rakmor accompanied Perda back to his barracks; and Sivantri, Texter, and Gregory went into the castle to speak with Lord Piergeiron.
Piergeiron met them in a small study just inside the castle's main entrance. He sent guards to retrieve Vandess and the other three Shieldbreakers and lock them in the dungeons. As Texter told Piergeiron everything that had happened to him and his men outside the city walls, Breesa came and healed him. Sivantri then helped him to his quarters; Breesa left just as soon as she had treated Gregory's wounds.
Gregory and Lord Piergeiron remained, talking for a short time. Piergeiron informed Gregory that the City of the Dead was now officially "off-limits" to citizens, and that the Council was discussing sending in a large detachment to find out why exactly people were disappearing inside its walls. He also told Gregory that the next Council meeting was in three days, and that he would like the Shadow Guard to observe the meeting from a secret chamber. Piergeiron gave Gregory an iron key, and told him to use it inside the grand armoire of room #7 of Mother Tathlorn's House of Pleasure, a festhall just outside the castle. With that, looking old and exhausted, Piergeiron returned to his duties.