Its been a busy few weeks, so here’s a quick summary of the last 3 sessions:
After defending Waterdeep, the Blades portaled to Saerloon, a Netherese-occupied city in Sembia to meet the local resistance and get intel on the merchant company, the Steel Sun. They hoped to find and exploit any leads into why the Netherese Ambassador to Waterdeep was killed by his own countrymen.
While in Sembia, they met with Saerloon’s resistance movement. The Blades helped them track down an ancient Netherese tome from a recently-unearthed temple of Mystryl, a temple and goddess that dated to the original Netherese empire. After defeating temple guardians and evading the pursuing Netherese, they returned to home base with the tome. It turned out to be a formative work on creation of planar portals and would have insight into how the Netherese operate. First they would have to study it in detail.
Tome in hand, the Blades next learned of meetings between the Steel Sun trade company and drow arms dealers. An ambush was prepared at their Underdark meeting location (after first clearing out the local ropers). Netherese merchants were slain before the drow arrived. The Blades impersonated the dead merchants, completing the deal with the drow and making off with wagons full of masterwork weapons. In return, the drow were to receive ‘rights’ to conquered territory in the vicinity of Loudwater…the slave trade would return as soon as the region was taken.
With the deal foiled, the Blades instead sold the weapons to their own allies back in Mithrendain. Since they received nothing in return, the Netherese would obviously not honor the deal with the drow. Tricked and humiliated, the drow may soon turn against Netheril.
The Blades and their new-found allies from Saerloon returned via magic to Waterdeep. It was time to research the tome. Some turned to arcane libraries, others to temples of the gods of knowledge. Rolan quickly discovered, using the tome, that the ritual taking place in the High Forest was not meant to transport physical things. It would not actually bring the Shadowfell to this world. Rather, it would bring energy from the plane of the dead. Energy that would need a vessel in the mortal world. Unsure of what this meant, Rolan knew further research would be needed.
While doing their research, the Blades were attacked by assassins while split up and alone. They could not count on teamwork or allies while they each battled the assassin assigned to them. Rolan fought on the top floor of a mage tower, Kriv stoically awaited ambush in a dark alley, others fought in the streets or temples. Even alone they were strong enough to survive, though they knew the ‘Cult of Karsis’ was now on their trail.
At the temple of Oghma, god of knowledge, Kriv discovered the true story. Karsis was the most powerful of all Netherese mages at the height of their empire thousands of years ago. He attempted to become a god, stealing immortality from the goddess of magic herself. Successful in killing the goddess but unable to cope with the sudden power, he died instantly, bloated godling body falling back to earth…in the High Forest just north of Loudwater. Right underneath where the Netherese currently floated a city.
Which brings us to the Cult. A faction of the Netherese has broken from the Shar-worshiping, shadow-loving mainstream. They, the Cult of Karsis, controlling the flying city of Sakkors now hovering over the High Forest, want to resurrect their dead god and enthrone him as the new god of magic and Netheril.
The priests of Oghma warned Kriv that this has happened before. Karsis could not then, and likely cannot ever be resurrected. The priests warned that some other Power was likely behind the Cult.
Meanwhile, other Blades learned of a Netherese mage named “Alagar the Mad” who had left his homeland. He was rumored to have some Cult involvement, but now hid from his fellows in a place no one would bother to look: the wretched town of Luskan. Rolan’s home town. Off to Luskan they went, whisked away to the ruins of a mage tower. Surrounding the tower was anarchy and chaos – roving gangs, throngs of homeless and desperate men, pirates and people hiding from the law.
Walking right up to a prominent gang leader and demanding they turn over Alagar turned out to be a bad idea. The leader was an enchantress, with a small army of charmed thugs including an ogre. The thugs acted with one mind, attacking the Blades and quickly turning them aside. Barely escaping with their lives, the Blades dived through a portal hastily opened by Rolan and returned to Waterdeep. They would need to recuperate and plan an attack before returning for Alagar.