Journey to Fate’s doorstep: searching for guidance

It takes a few seconds for the Drow’s Bane to adjust to the dim light, thumping beat and the smell of brine, booze and body odor just inside the Shark Tooth tavern. Like a scene straight out of the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine, the multiverse of patrons across all four floors stare at the newcomers in bewilderment, before returning to their drinks and idle chatter.

The Shark Tooth is expansive with a large hole in the ceiling’s center that spans three floors up; each floor above contains a honeycomb of alcoves that look down onto the first floor. Patrons swim up and down through the air to reach higher floors, for there is no stairway in this tavern. The party, still standing at the entryway, notices a large bar to their left. Behind the bar is a large broad shouldered black dragonborn with a nasty smirk on his draconic face. Nong moves toward the bar with Royce and Mordrock in tow; Naismith decides to explore the first floor on his own. At the bar, Nong takes a moment to listen in to the conversations around him and catches a few words in abyssal, “Freezer…priest…Grazzt.” He glances up and catches Xuldroath staring at him; Nong smiles and makes his way over to the dragonborn.

Xuldroath, the dragonborn bartender and owner of the establishment, is content to speak to Nong after much coin is dropped for the purchase of house wine and “lubricating” the bartender’s dry mouth. Nong gets straight to the point, he’s looking for guidance on traveling to the Trench of Death. Xuldroath provides a name of a patron who should be able to help him – Crazy Oman, who usually sits on the second floor. While this conversation takes place, Naismith explores the dingy shadows and feels something reach across his waist. He reaches down and grabs a slimy tentacle that is looking for a pocket to pick. He yanks the appendage off of him and moves toward the bar, never looking back.

The party travels to the second floor with Nong running up the wall, and Naismith using his cloak to fly; after a few failed attempts to lift off the ground to swim, Mordrock clicks his heels and rises up; Royce, who succeeds on his first attempt, successfully lifts off and swims through the air. They roam the second floor looking for anyone or anything that fits the description of Crazy Oman; they spot a lone individual talking to himself at a table. Nong approaches, sets a bottle of wine on the table and speaks, “are you Crazy Oman?” The lone individual appears to be male, his skin somewhat translucent, with a bald scalp and tentacle protruding from each side of his mouth. One of his eyes wanders as he looks up to Nong, except the wandering eye behaves like a chameleon’s that moves around with purpose rather than just being lazy. “That is what some call me…yessssss,” says Crazy Oman as he smiles and licks his lips. “Come, let us share drink together as we may need your help,” says Nong. Crazy Oman smiles as he motions for them to sit at his table. Nong sits, pours wine and continues, “we need help getting to this location on our map,” as he reaches over and takes the map from Royce, showing it to Crazy Oman. Crazy Oman touches the map as both of his eyes narrow in on the map’s content; he also brings the map up to his face, smells it and then licks it, “…devil skin parchment this map is made from…interesting.”

Crazy Oman sips his wine then sits back and says, “my master can help you with what you seek. You must come with me to meet my master…he lives in the Trench of Deatthhhh.” The party, now with a feeling of distrust and cynicism, inquires more about Crazy Oman’s master but learns little about who or what it is nor why it calls the Trench of Death, home. Crazy Oman senses the Wand of Orcus and reaches out in an attempt to pet it but Nong pushes his hand away. Crazy Oman frowns and then looks at the party, “you see…before I can take you to my master…I need your help!” he waits to read the party’s response before continuing, “…last night I was here and somewhat drunk…when my beautiful blood diamond necklace was stolen from me! I cannot return to my master without it.” The party inquires about Crazy Oman’s evening but Oman cannot remember who could have done it, but is adamant about finding it before he can help them.

Nong, now frustrated, leaves the table and journey’s back down to consult with Xuldroath. A few more bottles of wine and a hefty tip, provides Nong with valuable information about who was seen with Crazy Oman last night – 1) the female locathah assassin called Goto Arr, 2) a coven of sea hags known as the Blackbrine sisters and 3) the rowdy wereshark gang called the Fins of Doom. Nong returns and calls the others to join him away from Oman’s table. “I have information from Xuldroath about who was seen with Crazy Oman last night; the dragonborn also gave me the location of where each hangs out when here. Let’s go find them!” The party discusses further and decides to pursue Goto Arr first.

They spread out across the fourth floor looking for locathah patrons. A group of them are spotted in one of the corners. The party approaches and Mordrock speaks first, “Excuse me, I am looking for Goto Arr. Have you seen her?” The locathah look at each other and then one replies, “Why do you seek her? Do you have work you need done?” Naismith glances down at each of the locathah and his eyes focus in on the middle one who is dressed in fine leather armor with several daggers running up and down her body. “Yes, we need her help with something,” says Mordrock. There is a nod at the table and all of the locathah except the one dressed in fine leather get up and swim away. “Please, sit down and what did you say your name was again?” says Goto Arr. The party and Goto Arr make introductions and small talk. Goto Arr appears friendly and amiable and Mordrock seems quite enamored with her, occasionally slipping in a flirtatious joke here and there during the conversation with her; Royce, Nong and Naismith look oddly at Mordrock when this happens.

Goto Arr appears to play coy when Mordrock states why the party is looking for her; she listens carefully and eventually reveals her intent. She may be willing to part with information if the party can help her locate who is responsible for stealing the weapon order she placed for an upcoming contract in the Plane of Fire. Apparently she was expecting to rendezvous two days ago with a weapon’s merchant coming into the City of Glass, but the merchant never contacted her nor was the crossbow reported to have arrived into town. Goto Arr believes someone in this tavern overheard her conversation and stole the crossbow. If the party can discover who is the thief, she will help them.

The party moves down to the third floor where they hope to find the Blackbrine sisters; they are somewhat flustered being pulled into another personal agenda not related to what they came to the Shark Tooth for. They immediately spot a trio of sea hags at a table and approach them. Naismith begins the inquiry, “Excuse me do you know where I can find the Blackbrine sisters?” The three glance up at the group and Bernadette says, “Yes you have,” then Brenna continues, “found us, why,” followed by Beatrix, “do you seek us?” all seamlessly flowing together to form the response; this type of conjunction continues throughout their conversation. The Drow’s Bane pause for a second as they take in what just happened and then Royce, Nong and Mordrock look to Naismith.

Naismith describes what the party is looking for in regards to Oman’s necklace. The sisters stay quiet for a moment, turn and look at each other and then speak. “You see…we believe a rival poison supplier has moved into the Tide District and we want them…eliminated; business is down and we blame them for the cause. We are preparing to speak with Goto Arr for the contract but we have not worked up the courage to do so. Could you perhaps help us?” They pause but do not wait for a response, “If you could introduce us to Goto Arr we will gladly help you with information you seek.” Nong who looks the most frustrated upon hearing this replies, “why don’t we just kill this supplier for you now? It will save all of us time!” They respond, “We do not know you nor trust you orc. Help us speak with Goto Arr or be on your way.” Brenna who has been watching Naismith all of this time begins speaking in thieves’ cant; Naismith picks up on what she is doing and plays along. Through thieves’ cant, Brenna offers Naismith an opportunity to purchase her poison products if he is interested. She tells Naismith to seek her out in the Freezer for the transaction. Naismith acknowledges this, gets up from the table and motions for Royce, Nong and Mordrock to join him.

“What kind of nonsense was that story between you and Brenna?” says Royce to Naismith. “Who cares about taking the long road to observe the sea ponies! This is not the time.” “That was Thieves’ Cant Royce. Brenna was offering me an opportunity to buy her poison, which happens to be very good, so she says,” replies Naismith. Royce stares back and says, “Fine but that is not priority right now. We need to figure out all of this crap before another personal agenda is thrown at us to solve.” He continues, “let’s find the Fins of Doom as I have a feeling they are the ones who are behind this missing necklace.”

The weresharks are playing cards when the party arrives. Three great whites, a hammerhead, and a nurse shark, all in hybrid form, are loud and obnoxious with each other. One of the great whites notices the party approaching and yells out, “What do you want!? Ain’t interested, now scram!” as he laughs and the others join in. Royce approaches the table and with an intimidating tone, manages to get their attention. The nurse shark, although the shortest and weakest looking of the five, appears to be the leader; he motions for the Drow’s Bane to sit and play cards. After several games with Mordrock and Nong being the victors, the nurse shark makes a request. “You guys look like you can help us out cause we think we know where your necklace is. You see, we need a smuggler like real quick, for the goods we just hijacked a few nights ago. Turns out Xuldroath knows of a guy, but dragonface wants one thousand gold pieces upfront before he talks. That’s insane man, we don’t have no thousand gold pieces. But I can tell, you do.” The hammerhead pipes up, “Yeah, spot us the thousand gold man and we can help you out!”

Royce learns through “gentle” persuasion their hijacked shipment contains a particular crossbow. He pulls the party aside to discuss options and they eventually decide to buy the crossbow and forego helping the Fins of Doom with Xuldroath. Royce lays down three hundred gold as a deposit and offers two hundred more upon receipt of the crossbow; that’s enough to get the sharks to go fetch it. Mordrock, Royce and Naismith decide to inform Goto Arr of the agreement while Nong stays for another round of cards.

As they approach the table on the fourth floor, Goto Arr is nowhere to be seen. Mordrock seems a bit disappointed when Naismith glances up and barely makes out the assassin concealed on the ceiling, two daggers in hand looking ready to strike. He quickly casts Faerie Fire on her and succeeds. She screams as she lights up in a purple aura blowing her cover. She drops down, as Naismith, Mordrock and Royce ready attacks.

“I didn’t trust you would be back, to talk. I figured it was a setup, as I have never seen you before in the Shark Tooth. Why are you back?” as she looks at Mordrock.
He replies to her, “We have located your crossbow and are having it retrieved to give it to you. Apparently, the Fins of Doom hijacked your merchant a few nights ago.”
“I will assassinate each of those weresharks for this,” she calmly says, “When you approached me I did not have any information about the whereabouts of your necklace. I have my scouts out looking now to see if I can help you.”
“Maybe there’s another way you can help us then,” says Mordrock. “The Blackbrine sisters may need your help with a contract. We can introduce you to them.”
She pauses for a moment, unclear why these four individuals want to help her or why this dwarf is coming onto her but replies, “Very well. I can accompany you to meet them. I respect those sisters, as their product is some of the best I have used.” She then approaches Mordrock and whispers in his ear, “thank you dwarf,” and squeezes his hand; Royce and Naismith look at each other and grin uncomfortably.

Nong appears minutes later with crossbow in hand and interrupts the moment, “Here is your crossbow,” as he places it in front of the pair. Goto Arr steps away from Mordrock and examines the weapon. She inspects the fine craftsmanship and proclaims, “This beauty can pierce any armor including magic armor. Yes, this is the one I commissioned. Thank you for retrieving it,” and stows it away. Then she says, “Come, let us go meet the sisters.”

Nong makes the introduction between Goto Arr and the Blackbrine sisters who sit for awhile discussing contract details. After their business is done, the Blackbrine sisters get up to go to the bathroom. “Where are you going? We’re not done, you and I,” threatens Nong to the sisters. All three respond, “To the bathroom, we will not be long. Well done, orc for helping us with Goto Arr. You will not be disappointed,” and the sea hags make their way to the first floor. Goto Arr beckons Nong to sit at the table with her. Nong moves in and sits opposite Goto Arr, who begins talking with Nong. His leg brushes up against something on the seat next to him, a small pouch of some sort. He casually keeps conversation while reaching his hand over to the pouch to feel its content…which feels like jewelry. He grabs the pouch, while making a brief laugh to whatever Goto Arr is saying and then says to her, “Excuse me Goto Arr, I must be going. I believe I have found what we have been looking for,” Nong gets up from the table and makes his way to the others, who are with Crazy Oman.

The pouch, which contains Crazy Oman’s blood diamond necklace is thrown onto the table interrupting the conversation. Crazy Oman looks up and then grabs it, quickly looking inside. “Yesssss, my necklace!!!” he cries out as he reaches in, pulls out the necklace and begins kissing and licking it. The party stares at him scowling in disgust. “Now let’s go. We helped you, now you help us!” demands Nong. Crazy Oman, looks at Nong and begins reaching to pet the wand again, while saying “Yesssss orc, you have done well. I will do my part and take you to see my master.” Nong swats Oman’s hand away as it approaches the wand. Oman responds, “Three days from now meet me at dawn at the main entrance to the city. And I would procure mounts if I were you,” as he wickedly laughs.

The Drow’s Bane promptly leave the Shark Tooth satisfied with their endeavor, but feeling really unsure if this journey with Crazy Oman gets them any closer to reaching their goal.