Journey to Fate’s doorstep: the second attempt

“So why does your neck tattoo look just like the tattoo on Amhaergo’s neck, Naismith?” asks Nong. Naismith feeling a bit uncomfortable sighs and explains to the party about his past association with the Xanathar Thieves Guild and his escape from it; he also reveals that his brother Lulach, is the one who has been watching him. “Lulach is still in the guild and I believe he has discovered magic along his journey; he was not able to scry when he and I were partners in the guild,” says Naismith.

The party back at Catchbreeze discuss options and strategies to return to Skullport to complete their mission knowing it will be harder to go unnoticed now. Naismith attunes to the Cloak of the Bat, giving Nong the Robe of Eyes. The party journey’s back to Skullport and enters the Ethereal plane where they drift through the Port district; except for Nong who stays on the Material plane. The party approaches the bridge to the Trade Lanes District and notices in addition to patrolling guards, there are now mages on the bridge patrolling with strange glowing eyes; the party remembers the silver dragon they fought and the angels they have encountered having similar glowing eyes. Nong wearing the Robe of Eyes also sees at the side of each mage, an invisible dog.

Royce, Mordrock and Naismith approach within 100 feet of the bridge and are surprised to see the mage look up and see them in the Ethereal plane! Nong 100 feet away happens to notice the invisible dog with the mage, is barking in the direction of the party too. The mage raises the alarm and points toward the direction of the party. He casts a spell, lifts off the ground and flies in the direction of the Trade Lanes. The party quickly moves underground and away from the bridge escaping to Skull Island for cover. “That mage had truesite which is how she saw us,” says Royce. “The Ethereal plane is no longer safe for us now,” admits Mordrock.

Nong finds the party in Skull Island and lucky for them, the same intensity of guard and mage patrols is non-existent. Except for a few Skulls lurking around, this district seems minimally impacted by what went down in the Trades Lane yesterday. Nong explains that each mage has an invisible dog companion who can see into the Ethereal plane too.

The party contemplates their next move.

Through magic means, they locate Cephalux who appears to be in the Port district. The party makes their way to his location paying mind to the guard patrols and find his location inside the “Tunnels and Trolls” tavern. This run down shack is two stories tall, a bar is on the first floor with clientele mostly composed of orcs, bugbears, slavers and drow. Still in the Ethereal plane, they ascend to the second story to find a long hallway with small rooms on either side. They can see the rooms are used by escorts and clients and in one of these rooms, a naked Cephalux enjoys a lap dance from a naked female drow.

The Drow’s Bane descends on the couple, blinking out of the Ethereal plan and into the room. The female drow screams in surprise as Cephalux in carnal ecstasy, jumps up in shock when noticing the party. The escort grabs her robe and runs out of the room where she encounters Nong at the door. Nong calms her down and pays her for her room key; he makes his way into the room and locks the door. The party threatens the naked Cephalux back into the chair and refuses him access to his clothes until he spills the truth.

They learn from Cephalux telepathically, the beholder who surprised them at Cephalux’s manor was from the Thieves Guild; it hired mercenaries for the surprise and showed up minutes before their arrival, forcing Cephalux to acquiesce. Where it learned of the party’s rendezvous with Cephalux is a mystery, even to the mindflayer. Cephalux tells the party the location of the beholder’s hideout, “The Bolts and Bows,” in the Trade Lanes. They also learn that Xanathar’s hideout is somewhere in the Heart district but Cephalux has never been there.

WHACK!! Cephalux’s naked body falls to the floor, knocked out cold. “That will be a nasty bruise when he wakes up,” says Naismith before noticing on the body a copper scourge tattoo, just like the one found on Gart. “Let’s move on. We have enough information now to find the Bolts and Bows,” says Royce. As they exit the room, Nong looks back and says, “I never imagined a mind flayer would be anatomically correct,” as he closes and locks the door behind him.