Fighting in the streets
Zephyr is trying to regroup with the rest of the party after getting separated and heard about one heavily-armed and three other hangabouts watching over some dungsweepers on Warrior's Way. As she goes along, she's met by a giant, wormlike tentacled creature popping out of nowhere. Guards whistle and pull their swords as the create slithers down the street.
I (Azthoran), creates an illusion of a large crate in front of the dungsweepers, blocking them from the carrion crawler's sight. Farah invokes duplicity to create a masked clone of herself. Vivi attempts to cover it in Faerie Fire but it evades the spell's effect and climbs along a wall, swiping unsuccessfully at a cityperson on the way. The guards take a shot with their crossbows: one shot lands and the other hits the wall, shattering. Gwen closes in and casts Compel Duel on the creature, locking its sights onto her. She then hurls a javelin at the creature, landing a glancing blow. Zephyr tries to find some cause for the crawler's appearance but doesn't see any caster or summoner. She does finally catch sight of Gwen, though! Two of the dungsweepers take cover, but Stooge runs away - and Farah notices him smirking as he goes.
Azthoran sends a sliding window of starry space - an Edlritch Blast - toward the creature. Super Farah casts a guiding bolt, slamming into the crawler's side, causing two smaller things to detach from its sides: smaller but still tentacled. Farah's physical self chases after Stooge. After failing to highlight the monsters with Faerie Fire again, Vivi inspires Gwen with some encouraging words. One of the smaller beasts attacks Super Farah (the illusion), doing nothing and the other ignores it, moving past Gwen towards Azthoran. Doing so provokes an opportunity attack on the way. Nevertheless, it manages to bite Azthoran and drag his legs out from under him, knocking him prone. The big crawler bites Gwen, paralyzing her and breaking her concentration. Regardless of the compelled duel, though, it attacks her again only hitting her armor. The guards reload and fire without much luck. Gwen tries to make her body react but isn't able to. Zephyr moves between the two guards and throws a pair of daggers at the larger crawler. Her first dagger whiffs and so does the second. Morton and Error continue taking cover while Stooge tries to run - Farah manages to hit him with her mace while he flees, stumbling.
Azthoran stands and sends Dissonant Whispers at the smaller crawler. It resists the worst of the celestial music but the psychic damage still finishes the creature off. He moves down the street toward where Stooge is fleeing and Farah is following. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel but it resists the magic. Vivi launches a crossbow bolt at the large crawler and moves down the street also. The remaining young crawler chases down Azthoran, dealing him yet more poison damage and dragging him prone again. The mama crawler follows suit - one bite is stopped by his armor but the second lands home. The guards close in and pull their swords, striking the large crawler. Gwen shakes off the paralysis and rushes back into the fray, ready to attack at the next opportunity. Zephyr runs behind the crawler, between the guards (again!), thrusting with her rapier for a sneak attack! With her other hand, Zephyr stabs with a dagger. She tries to back away but is grabbed by a tentacle first and is paralyzed for her trouble. Morton Till screws his courage to the sticking place and strikes the larger monster with his broom, dirtying it but not much else. Errol flees down an alley and Stooge evades Farah's attack.
Another burst of celestial music wracks the large Carrion Crawler's mind, causing it to thrash into Gwen's glaive and collapse, dead. Farah attempts to command Stooge to grovel again but he resists the magic and smirks back at her; Farah gives chase and moves her illusion to keep within its range. Vivi gives chase after Stooge and tries to wing him with a crossbow. The remaining carrion crawler tries to bite Azthoran but I manage to juke its attack. One guard attacks the monster but fails badly, hitting the ground. The other guard checks on the bystander as Gwen cleaves the crawler in half.
After the fight, the guard questions us but there are witnesses confirming we weren't involved in the creature's presence.
Morton Till told us that to find Stooge's residence, we should talk to the main guild operation is in Trade Ward, on Salibar Street (off of River Street).
A grizzled guard vet thanks Azthoran for his service and asks his name and guildmaster to commend him to his leadership. Az tells the guard that he works for the Zhentarim and that he may find Yagra at the Yawning Portal Inn. The gaurd seemed unsettled and got out of the conversation as fast as he could. This will probably be fine.
Vivi suggests that we try to find Stooge and Gwen knows has some familiarity with trying to track people down. Gwen's experience and contacts tell her that either the Watchful Order or Xanathar's Guild would be the best way to find someone with strange abilities.
Azthoran and Zephyr are going to try asking about Stooge with the guild. They have work history but not his address. They think he was staying in the same neighborhood as The Curious Past.
Krentz might be able to get us a contact at Xanathar's Guild. We also recalled someone vaguely connected to Xanathar's Guild - Xoblob, the owner of the purple shop - who might be able to point us in the right direction to inquire at Xanathar's Guild.
Farah's family are done at Trollskull Manor - they confirmed that the orphans were there though they aren't now.
We collectively try to harass Lif into working as a bartender since he clearly enjoys doing so, via a thoroughly incorrect series of cocktails and pours. After irritating Lif to a breaking point, he reveals himself to Azthoran and gestures for him to drink what he just poured. Azthoran acknowledged how completely wrong it was and invited Lif to take over behind the bar. We need supplies and alcohols.
Zephyr takes an inventory of the drinks and supplies we have for the bar and tries to get a list to fill in gaps. She heads to the Castle Ward and starts trying to acquire supplies at a five-finger discount. The first place she tries,
Felzoun's Folly, though, she spills a mug of ale while reaching for supplies behind the bar and is spotted by the bartender.
The bottle takes 15 gold off of the renovation cost, leaving 1160 gold.
A New Mastermind
After thinking through the battle, Zephyr realizes that the rest of us were being really inefficient with our movements and actions. She takes a visit to Siltress, a female elf, in one of her hideouts. Siltress is going over notes and with both hands is automatic writing. After a brief introduction and explaination from Zephyr, Siltress launches into a lecture about tactics, language, body language, etc, and becomes a Mastermind rogue.
Zephyr asks when the guild is going to make its move, and Siltress responds that there's a faction war brewing and that it's not the right time yet.
Taking an Oath
Gwen sleeps, but without rest. That the Blackstaff has information and will owe Gwen a favor, she dreams about her past:
Gwen standing, bloody. A coin flips in the air.
A body laying on the ground, Gwen's blood on the ground too. A coin flips in the air.
Two faces on one side of the coin.
Gwen lashing out.
Same perspective, but halved.
Her standing over Gwen, a look of defiance as she walks off.
The coin lands but only one face is on the coin: anger, rage and vengeance. Gwen picks up the coin and her face takes on the same visage: that someone is out there and now Gwen has another tool that she needs and deserves in order to give that person what she deserves.
Gwen wakes up in a cold sweat, screaming but feels like she has the capability to strike not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.
A Light in the Dark
While studying three separate books of arcane lore, Azthoran notices the walls of the study have expanded to be a great void.
A light shines in the dark and Azthoran sends his consciousness toward it. When he gets closer, a hooded figure is revealed, holding the light.
Azthoran projected closer to the figure and heard more and more voices laughing. The final voice being deep and roaring. The cacophany grew overwhelming and started him back to waking consciousness.
After recovering, Azthoran realized that the three tomes on his desk were replaced by a single one that he hadn't ever seen before, with a gilded icon on the cover: a lantern with a gemstone eye inside.
The book of shadows contains arcane lore, and spells, all written in different hands. Azthoran attached a chain to the spine and began studying it, staying up all night.
Whispers in the Night
Vivi meets up with Professor Niverra Wildrun at an inn. As she sits down, the Professor asks "What have you learned?"
Vivi asks about the Grand Game and if it could be guided toward a beneficial outcome for the city.
She just listened while Vivi talked at length. Afteword, the Professor says "Do you see what I did there?"
"Exactly. Sometimes it's easier to just let people tell you what they know rather than asking." She goes on to explain that there are social pressure points just like there are biological ones.
They agree to share information about the Grand Game and tells Vivi to learn when, who and why to trust someone.