Mutual Acquaintances

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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.

kua-toa

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.

shop

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.

Stone Giant

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The day after their visit to the slave market is spent studying by Jharrath, while Alvra visits the merchant Nyttoris. Free to do as she pleases, the cleric still has to pay close attention to etiquette, since the Matron Mother is a very adept politician and an intelligent, ambitious and self-assured woman. And she won’t let a cleric of House Xaniqos be anything less.

In the evening they set out towards the slave market again. It is more quiet this time as business is slowing down. When they walk towards the dais, they are stopped by a male drow.

What are you doing here?

Just looking around, we might want to buy something. Or someone.

You can’t proceed, this is a private area.

Like the old drow yesterday, this male is also not wearing an insignia. Lilith steps forward and takes over the conversation, so Phaedra can scout ahead.

We were here yesterday, when House Tormtor was doing business, and we could walk around without any trouble. So what’s the problem now?

Meanwhile, her sister slips uphill, until she sees four kua-toas. One is wearing a headdress. They seem to be checking out slaves. In her excitement, Phaedra loses cover and is spotted by the fish-like humanoids. Her sudden appearance creates a commotion and Phaedra can hear them shouting in their watery language. The scout unobtrusively scuttles back towards her siblings, but it’s too late. With snorts and growls, two huge bugbear overseers appear. One of them starts to cast.

140928market

Jharrath recognizes the spell as ray of enfeeblement – they seem intent on taking the Xaniqos siblings alive. On both sides, coruscating rays spring from the bugbears’ hands, but they have no effect on the wizard because of his spell resistance. Phaedra also nimbly dodges the spell. Since his mistress hasn’t given the order to attack, the fighter stays alert in full defense. The wizard counterattacks with a spell of his own. Suddenly slime appears at the feet of one of the bugbears.

I’m warning you, don’t take another step!

Not wanting to waste their energy in an unnecessary fight, Lilith says:

Apologies on behalf of my intrusive sister. We did not meant to interfere with your business.

Seeing the reason in her words, the overseer is about to call off his bugbear guards, when two kua-toas appear around the corner. Dressed in leather, they carry no weapons but still look very capable. They are soon followed by a kua-toan priestess. Both monks give her a wide berth. Something tells Phaedra that she has seen this kua-toa before on their way to Blessed Seahaven. On the priestess’ command, the monks attack with flying kicks and flashing hand attacks – even in two directions at once, while the Xaniqos fight back with spiked chain, lightning and flame strikes.

Suddenly the humanoids pull back and a loud, clanging noise is heard from giant bars that are being moved aside. A huge shape, hulking, to not hit his head against the ceiling of the quarter he was in, appears and is easily recognized as a stone giant. At full length he is 12 feet high. The wizard immediately casts a spell, and a foul sludge seeps out of the ground, coating the area before the giant in a twenty feet radius. The scout’s chain is aimed at one of the kua-toas, while the bugbears make a flanking movement.

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Assessing the situation, Lilith suddenly yells in a very commanding voice.

Stop this madness! We came in search of slaves, and now we are treated like this? Harassed without any cause? You will stop this at once, and we will leave.

The monitor, under the influence of the cleric’s diplomacy, orders his bugbears and stone giant to step back.

This is a terrible misunderstanding,

the drow says, holding his crossbow.

As far as I’m concerned, nothing happened.

Then four guards of House Vae turn the corner, in full regalia, spears and shields ready.

When we came looking for slaves, we were attacked by these kua-toas. Outsiders without the mandatory green cloaks. I don’t know how things work here, but in our ghetto that’s not allowed!

The cleric is indignant in her anger. The guards salute Lilith.

We will deal with this at once, mistress!

On their way back, Phaedra says:

Those were no Blessed Seahaven kua-taos, Sister. I recognized the woman from our trip from Looblishar.

Hmm, that’s interesting! Did you see the slaves?

Yes, but they were normal ones, nothing special.

The drow continue towards their home, deep in thought.

Back Home

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After a while, the three barges that harbor the Xaniqos and their riding animals veer away from the other barges. Vuon and twenty warriors stay with them, while the other Kua Toas accompany the slaves – slaves who get only mediocre food and very short breaks. The Kua Toas move with military precision. Though Lilith immediately asks for Vuon, the Kua Toa waits a couple of hours before answering her call.

First you say that you were ‘heading this way anyway’, and now we are the only ones traveling in this direction? Where are the others going?

Are you worried, Priestess?

Lilith snorts.

Of course not. Just curious.

The Kua Toa explains that the other barges are headed for places around the Glimmersea and that all is going according to plan. Nothing else to do than sit back and enjoy the view, which is very boring. The journey continues smoothly and three times a day the Kua Toas dive with their tridents to catch fish and collect seaweed for the lizards.

Four days later they see Blessed Seahaven in the distance. Vuon asks Lilith if they want to debark at the village or in the vicinity, since they want nothing to do with the ritual. Lilith tells the Kua Toa to disembark nearby. Though it is a smooth landing, the lizards get a bit restless, so their chains are deftly removed. Everyone is glad to be off the rafts and they quickly say goodbye to Vuon.

May the darkness be with you.

Where upon the Cleric replies:

And may the Spider Queen kiss you!

Glimmersea

The Drow climb on their mounts and ride off. After two hours the familiar big gates of Erelhei-Cinlu rise up from the gloom and soon the bigger buildings are visible. Two more hours have passed when they are welcomed by the City Guards. The Xaniqos show their House insignias and are allowed to pass the gates, notwithstanding their looks. People make way for their party; whether that is because of their House insignias, the lizards or the intrusive sea scent remains unclear. With their hodgepodge clothing and armor they look a band of mercenaries. At the Noble Gate, they are halted by a female Cleric of House Thorntor, who denies them access. Lilith is fed up with the delay and it takes quite a bit of her diplomacy skills to gain access. They are allowed through under escort of the Priestess and ten of her armed guards so nothing happens on her watch.

When they arrive at the Xaniqos mansion, the Thorntor Cleric enters the house. Several patrols are guarding the premises, more than usual. Surrounded by the Noble Gate guards, the siblings impatiently wait until someone with authority acknowledges them. After an hour the Priestess emerges again, accompanied by Taldinyon, who has a big grin on his face. He nods to the Priestess and tells her they are Xaniqos alright. The guards move aside and finally the favored consort escorts them into the the house. Goblin slaves lead the lizards to the stables.

A lot has changed, Taldinyon say, please follow me. The House is bristling with activity. There are many Bugbear slaves and armed Drow patrol the corridors and hallways. Word of your arrival has been sent to the Matron Mother, so you might want to freshen up, Taldinyon suggests. But Lilith first wants to visit the Chapel. When she enters, her sister Quarra is leading a sermon for several praying Priestesses. Some seem familiar to Lilith from her time at the Clergy School, but others are strangers.

priestesslolth

After several minutes, Quarra turns around and greets her sisters.

We have prayed for your safe return,

she says and then kisses Lilith.

There are new developments. Our revered Matron Mother has assembled more of the lower Houses to our cause. We have had some rough times since you left, but the Lady Thandysha has made wise and strategic moves. We gained fifty warriors, five Priestesses and over a hundred slaves. Too bad you weren’t around when these great tidings arose.

Good news indeed, Lilith says, but we didn’t do too bad ourselves either.

The travelers all go to their rooms to freshen up – Lolth knows they can use it – until a ruckus downstairs tells them that the Matron Mother has returned.

By land or by sea?

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Warily the Drow again approach the portal, but this time all stays peaceful; seems there are no other drakes around. They lead the lizards through and for a moment, all are totally disoriented. When the sensation passes, they find themselves in a dark cave where several battle ready Kua Toa are waiting for them. When the guards hear that the Drow have been trading with the Duergar, they are allowed to pass. Once again they are back in the dark and gloomy city of Looblishar.

portal

At the temple they meet Vuon, who leads them to the throne room. In stead of Kerl Ooil, a Drow male is sitting on the throne – the one they met on their way to Dunspeirrin. Lilith tells him she needs passage to Erelhei-Cinlu overland with their cargo. Xothed Trizz ‘Lorlin makes her a better offer:

You can travel overseas, since Vuon is traveling with a big group to Blessed Seahaven anyway.

And how much will the passage cost us?

Because I have a special interest in your group, the passage will be free. All I ask is that I can call on you in the future, where you will have to hold your end of the bargain. The offer stands for two days.

The Cleric thanks Xothed with a curt nod and turns to leave. Vuon leads them outside. The Xaniqos are wary of the offer, but the sea trip will take them four days and by road it will take three weeks. Jharrath asks Vuon if there is a library. There is none, but there is a Kua Toa temple that has recorded history. Phaedra and Jharrath decide to visit it. Many eyes are watching them from the dark. At the temple, a priest dressed in gold reads the old tomes – necklaces made of seashells – to the Drow. On the wall of the moist and wet dome-like room the history of the Kua Toas is depicted in mosaic. The void, the nothingness, is worshiped in these scenes. The Priest tells them that Vuon was challenged to a duel and has won the right to lead the mission to Blessed Seahaven. These heathens need to join our cult, he says. Do you know that Looblishar means ‘Forsaken for Shar’, forsaken until the void comes? After the visit to the temple, the Drow go to the docks to take a look at the barges. Last time there was some activity, but now the port is buzzing with action. There are ten large barges, some of them are being loaded with chests and crates. Many Kua Toas are armed to the teeth. After observing the scene for a while, brother and sister go back to the Inn

Lilith has been questioning the bartender on the subject of the ritual. It seems that this year the ritual to persuade Kua Toas to come to the goddess Shar, is much bigger than usual. When the Clerk mentions the name Kerl Ooil, his expression becomes uncertain, and upon hearing the name of Trizz ‘Lorlin, a look of fear crosses his features. She goes to her room and prays for guidance to the Spider Queen, but the answer remains unclear. The Cleric is inclined to refuse Trizz ‘Lorlin’s offer for now and see how he will react. She doesn’t like to be forced into an uncertain situation and doesn’t trust the male one bit. There must be a catch to his offer.  After a night’s rest, where Jharrath and Alvra keep watch, the Cleric again prays to Lolth and casts a divination spell.

Will it be an advantage to House Xaniqos to embark with the Sharan Kua Toas?

After a long silence, the answer is

You will meet no peril on that journey.

Still rather cryptic, but Lilith makes up her mind: they will go by sea anyway. The extra 2.5 weeks would take too long, they need to get back to their House.

lolth

Phaedra and Lilith go back to the temple and inform Vuon of their decision to board. The Scout emphasizes that whatever happens in Blessed Seahaven, the Drow will be kept out of it! Vuon agrees and tells them to be ready in two hours. They pay the inn keeper and walk towards the port. Two barges are packed with cargo, three others are filled with slaves who carry crude weaponry, like javelins and spears. Three barges are still empty; it seems those are for the Xaniqos and their lizards. The animals are lead onto the barges – four per barge – and secured, while eight Hobgoblin slaves man the oars. Around fifty Kua Toas are in the water, swarming around the vessels. At the plateau above, the Drow male has appeared to see them off, accompanied by humanoids in cloaks. Vuon lifts his scepter and cheers, and is answered by the gathered Kua Toas – the exodus has begun.

Road to Dunspeirrin

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The next morning the Cleric asks Sifarijn about the portals, as they are the fastest way to travel to Dunnspeirrin.

You can talk to Kerl Ooil,

the Vae merchant advises her,

he is the Spymaster of Looblishar and in charge of the portals.  Should that means of transportation not be available, then you have two options: either take the much used caravan route, or go for the smaller trail. It is more dangerous, with less chance for help, but there’s also less chance of being caught. They seem to be in need of slaves around here.
But stay clear of Oryndol, the city of the Illithid. And if you ever get in trouble with the King of the Giants, Kairnheim, then demand Dodking and make a claim to the Rule of Hospitality.

And, Sifarijn, where can this Kerl Ooil be found?

Why don’t you ask your sister? She knows where to find him.

With one eye on the scout, Lilith thanks the Vae merchant, after which he goes his own way.

Well, little sister, why don’t you lead the way? Seems like you have spent your time wisely.

Phaedra swiftly takes her siblings to one of the temples of Shar, while Jharrath tells them that some portals work by runes, and others even by poems. A Kua-toa grants them entry to a big hall, which seems to be buzzing with action. A good example of how information is the main trade here in Looblishar.

They introduce themselves to Kerl Ooil, a big male Cleric Kua-toa. Lilith asks the Spymaster if it is possible for them to use the portals to travel to Dunspeirrin, but in this, she is disappointed: there are no portals near the Dwarven city. And even if there were, only worshipers of Shar – Shar’ans – are allowed to use them. The whole hall seems to be listening in on the conversation.

Lilith thanks the Spymaster for his time, after which they move out, on their way to the Great Well. It seems like an oasis. Many charts and wagons are parked around it, and a lively market is in bloom. The Xaniqos see many Kua-Toas and Shar’ans mingle with the crowd, always on the lookout for new and interesting, profitable information.

Somewhat later they are ten gold pieces lighter, but in possession of an area map of the Underdark. It will take them five days via the larger road to arrive at the dwarven city; by the smaller one six. There’s a Duergar caravan leaving for Dunspeirrin, but they will not join the Dwarfs: if they find out their company just killed five of their fellow dwarfs, they will not be amused.

Lilith decides to take the smaller road and the Xaniqos travel towards the upper plateau and leave Looblishar behind. No one seems to be following them and the further they get away from the city, the ‘lighter’ it becomes. The Scout is in the lead, as always about twenty feet ahead, with the Cleric in her footsteps and the two brothers following behind. The first day passes uneventful. They keep following the small road, every now and then passing a side corridor. The path is uneven, surrounded by rocks and stalactites. The second day also passes in relative peace. But then…

Blasted Duergar

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When they arrive at the foyer, they hear a lot of commotion. You might want to hurry if you’re going to the Great Well, the inn keeper says, for the Duergar are acting up out there.

The Xaniqos four step into the street, where they find a typical merchant wagon on its side near the inn, a lone beleaguered Drow trapped underneath. He’s trying to fend off the Duergar, who are attacking and mocking him. The trader’s slaves have fled, another Drow lies close – slaughtered – and the rothé are unharnessed. The dwarfs, who have been drinking steadily, keep a close eye on the Xaniqos and try to provoke them with terms like spider kissers and worthless elves. Phaedra takes out her crossbow and loads it, but Lilith bites her teeth and keeps on walking. Their goal is to reach Dunspeirrin, not to mess with a couple of drunk dwarfs.

That’s right, move along now, go on!

Lilith freezes, and so does her sister. No one orders a Drow Cleric! The merchant, relieved to see there is a chance for help, offers them 25% of his wares if they help him out. When Phaedra uses sign language to consult with her brother about the strength of the dwarf group, the Duergar sneer,

Hey, pointy ears. What are you wriggling your fingers for?

Without hesitation, the Scout aims her crossbow at the leader and releases a bolt. Apart from him, there’s a Cleric and four mercenaries; all of them in heavy armor. While one dwarf stays near the merchant and attacks for real, the other five advance on the Drow.

The Xaniqos prepare for battle. Two Earth Elementals appear, summoned by the Drow Wizard. The Cleric casts a blindness spell on the leader – it seems to have no effect though – while Phaedra attacks him again with her crossbow. She scores a direct hit. The satisfaction drains from her face, when the Duergar suddenly grows to twice his size and moves forward, brandishing his large war-ax. A booming laugh rolls from his lungs. Another Duergar suddenly disappears from sight.

Alvra activates his House Insignia and becomes broader too, imitating Maul’s laughter. Now they’re equal. Jharrath surrounds himself with mage armor. One of the Duergar attacks with a sound burst, but Lilith  manages to shake off the effects without much damage. Her sister isn’t as fortunate and gets stunned. The Cleric and her brother Fighter engage themselves in a melee fight with the larger-than-life leader, Maul.

The Earth Elementals are pummeling an opponent, while another dwarf tries to counter attack with a fear spell, his hands glowing red. The Drow don’t even notice it. Jharrath summons another elemental. One of the Duergar suddenly starts to grow too, just like his leader, but before he can reach his full length, the elemental kills him.

Alvra hits Maul with his sword, and hits him good. The leader roars and, in turn, manages to hit the Cleric. She concentrates and a three feet long column of teeth appears in Lilith’s hand: a blade of pain and fear. But before she can use it, the Duergar Cleric dispels all magic actions around him. Two of the elementals are sent back to their plane, while Alvra’s extra strength disappears too.

Jharrath receives a heavy blow to the head, attacked from behind. The Scout tumbles backwards and enhances her vision with a spell. Now she can even see invisible objects. Phaedra takes out her spiked chain and goes for the Duergar who’s near the Wizard.

A globe of darkness surrounds the cart and sounds of battle emerge from beyond. Seems the merchant won’t be taken that easily. From this globe, the Duergar emerges… and drops to the ground, dead as a rock.

Upon seeing that the fight is turning, Maul wants to surrender, but the Xaniqos won’t have that. When the Duergar wounds Lilith once more, Alvra kills him with a mighty blow. The elementals are very successful too and beat two more dwarfs to death, while the Wizard attacks with Kelgore’s firebolt. The dwarven Cleric makes a run for it, invisible through another spell, but Phaedra sees him anyway. A large globe surrounds the Duergar and his wounds start to close. The Scout allows him to escape.

A triumphant Drow merchant jumps down from his chart and walks up to Lilith to thank her. He introduces himself as Sifarijn Vae of Erelhei-Cinlu! A most fortunate encounter. Sifarijn was also heading towards Dunspeirrin, and planned on using one of the twelve portals that surround Looblishar. They decide to group with the trader, he can lead them to their destination.

Alvra takes a look at the Drow’s merchandise – weapons and paintings – and sees a weird armor, with a very sharp point sticking out from underneath it: it seems to be the head of a  spear or sword. When he takes a closer look, he sees that the armor is fearsome to behold: it has several demon heads and protrusions. What a special banded mail!

The weapon seems very familiar, in fact it’s identical to his own blade, except for one side which is duller. Sifarijn explains to the Fighter that the sword is magical on one side and masterwork on the other, a splendid weapon. And a worthy transaction of the twenty five percent he promised earlier.

This mail is a gnashing armor. It automatically fends off and attacks anyone who comes too close. It is perfect against grappling and bites and claws.

The Xaniqos fighter is impressed with his new weapon and mail and Lilith allows him to keep it. She frees the fallen Duergar leader of his full plate magic armor and also discovers a pouch with two breathtakingly pretty black pearls. While the others go back to the Hidden Veil, Alvra keeps watch over the merchant’s cart. All night long, Kua-Toas come to take a look at the fighting scene.

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>>  what came before

Looblishar

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The Hobgoblin zombies resume their rowing, following the Kua-Toas’ new instructions. The remainder of the journey is uneventful and finally they draw near to Looblishar. Not a single light shines at the base nor on top of the looming cliffs. In this city, Shar, the goddess of darkness, rules. Her ultimate goal is to take over all of Faerûn and plunge it into an absolute black void. Looblishar is situated in the Deep Reach Region, next to cities of Duergar and Illithid. Everyone is welcome in Looblishar, and information is her main trade.

The party moors at the docks and watch the bustle of the small port for a moment. Kua-Toas walk past them, on their way to the caves at the base of the cliffs, while others dive down from above; not a comfortable way of descending, but it is fast.

The only way into the city is up by lianas of kelp; there are no stairs. The Cleric is not amused by their trip so far. A boring journey over water in a boat with no luxury at all. Then the irritating attack, and now climbing a stinking vegetable rope into utter darkness. While her sister easily climbs the walls, Lilith and Jharrath need more time to arrive at the top of the plateau. A shaggy, messy cluster of houses and a couple of vague streets, where about two thousand inhabitants live. Apart from a couple of Illithid, the Kua-Toas are most represented. Everyone watches as the Xaniqos and their guides make their way into the center, towards the Temple of Shar.  All Kua-Toas of Looblishar wear her symbol.

Inside, twenty human Clerics, a male Drow Wizard – all dressed in black – and a Kua-Toa are gathered. The latter is Vuon Goddessgifted, to whom Lilith gives Plill Seachild’s letter. He introduces them to the Drow, Xothed Trizz’lorllin.

Ah, so you are all ‘Spider kissers’, eh?

His contempt is obvious.

The Xaniqos Cleric icily stares him down and then ignores the inferior male, while Phaedra says through clenched teeth that they indeed serve the one true Goddess, Lolth. After the exchange of a few more ‘pleasantries’, Lilith inquires after the best inn in town. Vuon tells her they can chose between the Hidden Veil and the Shadowed Lair. As the Xaniqos leave for the inn, their Kua-Toa guides decide to continue on their quest. The siblings thank them for their protection and guidance, and wish them good luck.

Go with the Goddess.

Uneven roads lead to a large mud building with a sign board, depicting a veil. The Hidden Veil is a modest accommodation, no shops, nothing fancy. A doorway leads into the very quiet inn, where the clientele consists of a couple of Mindflayers and Kua-Toas. They get four rooms, including baths and dinner, for two gold pieces. Soon they are served rothé broth, potatoes and green stuff. Lilith checks the food for poison, but it seems to be safe. And it even smells good.

Phaedra asks the inn keeper for a map of the area. He tells her that the Great Well – the only fresh water well for many miles, where many merchants gather before setting out into the Underdark again – is their best option to obtain one. Meanwhile six Duergar enter the inn and order lots of beer. They get quite rowdy, so the other customers stay away from them. The four siblings go up to their very spartan rooms and emerge again somewhat later, refreshed from their baths.

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>>  what came before