In the next few days, the drow keep themselves occupied. Alvra spends his time training with bugbears. He would have liked to train with the lizards as well, but they are still back at the noble estate.
Interested in learning more about the area of Szith morcane, the cleric sets out to find a cartographer at the Palace of Scribes. Accompanied by the captain and two guards, she arrives unhindered in the district of House Shi’quos. The scholars give her entrance to the tower where the scribes keep the cards. An old scroll shows her the city of Maerimydra, which was built in the shape of a spider before it was demolished by the demon hordes. Szith morcane is only a small outpost of the prominent city.
Their wizard brother is in his lab in the district, while Phaedra mingles -anonymously- with the people. Though the quarter has been renovated, there are still enough outcasts and beggars around. One of them approaches the scout and tells her a mutual acquaintance wants to see her in the Hideaway, a place for runaways.
Do you know his name?
When the guy shakes his head, she asks him to describe the acquaintance.
He looks fishy, Mistress.
Intrigued, Phaedra follows the beggar. At the inn, the innkeeper Melash d’Falla points at the stairs.
Take a left at the top.
She taps on the door and a watery voice says “Who is it?” When the drow opens the door, she sees a familiar face. It is Vuon, the Sharran priest from Blessed Seahaven! Submerged in his bathtub, the kua-toa thanks Phaedra for coming.
I need your help.
Oh, and why would we help you?
Well, a mutual acquaintance is going to be very happy.
There seem to be an awful lot of ‘mutual acquaintances’ today, Phaedra mutters.
The Spymaster will be grateful, Mistress, we serve the same master.
And what’s in it for us?
We will grant you access to some of the portals.
Phaedra nods at the kua-toa to continue.
Three weeks ago, an ogre-vampire appeared at our temple. He wormed his way in by telling secrets and many lies! He took my second-in-command, turned him, and has overthrown us. I need you to clear out the temple, Mistress Phaedra. Will you help us?
Before I can do that, I will have to discuss it with our Matron Mother. Enjoy your bath, Vuon, I will be back with an answer.
The kua-toa will stay at the Hideaway until she returns.
Phaedra goes back to the estate and asks for an audience with the Matron Mother. As it will take a while, the siblings pay a visit to Nyttoris Arms & Armor in the meantime, where Nyttoris is very glad to see them.
The Xaniqos pile their loot on the counter. While they are waiting for Nyttoris to assess the items, a beautiful drow woman serves them snacks and drinks.
Well, well, well. You have been busy! Will I get into trouble with this stuff?
Nah, the former owners have passed away,
Phaedra answers with a wink.
As always Nyttoris is a graceful host and his daughter a good distraction in the negotiations. Eventually the Xaniqos siblings leave the store without their loot but with plenty of gold!
Back at the house, Phaedra is granted an audience with the Matron Mother. She tells Lady Thandysha that she is approached by a Sharran high priest of Looblishar.
He told me that his temple has been taken over by the Ogre vampire, and wants us to clear it out. In return he will give us access to some portals. If it’s the night portal, it could be helpful in our mission to find the Dark Fate rod. I could go back and ask him more information?
Access to an important portal could be interesting indeed.
Phaedra returns to Vuon, introducing Jharrath.
As you probably guessed, House Xaniqos is interested in your proposition. We want to hear more about the portals; which ones are we talking about?
Only the Spymaster can tell you, Master Wizard. You may choose only one, but you can pick a suitable one.
Can we talk to the Spymaster ourselves?
He is in Looblishar, it will take two weeks to contact him. But the Spymaster needs you, and not many can say that.
When Phaedra asks about the temple security, the former high priest draws a map with two secret passages to his old room.
What is the name of your former second-in-command?
Sloomike Goldskill, but I suspect him to be cursed now too. There are ten to twelve armed Kua-toas – three of them are whips – plus a couple of monks and fighters in the temple. By the way, Mistress, all connections between House Xaniqos and Blessed Seahaven have stopped and the trade deal has ended, due to the miscommunication with a female of Erelhei-Cinlu. A buffed one, and not too diplomatic.
Back home Phaedra talks to the Matron Mother again.
We will only gain access to one portal, but it will be beneficial. Furthermore, Vuon mentioned that our trade deal has been broken?
I know, Quarra told me; I’m afraid Vuon was not impressed about her diplomatic skills.
The Lady Thandysha likes Phaedra’s suggestion that they might be able to bring the trade back by helping the kua-toas and sends them on their way to deal with the problem.