When last we saw our brave adventurers, poor, dear Smigley had just bitten the dust in most unfortunate fashion, having been turned to a Shadow by a Greater version of the same. Moments after the party falls on the vile undead and rips it asunder in grief and rage, and before the shock of loss can take hold, Smigley’s shadow arises and attacks. The party makes short work of this lesser shadow however, and then it hits….Smigley is gone. Arius goes temporarily mad with anguish over the loss of his little buddy, clutching his small body to his chest and sobbing; on the wind, it seems almost as if they could hear the voice of their friend saying, “I’ll miss you guys…”
Though they are all in shock, everyone agrees that they should take Smigley’s corpse back to the Church of Selune, and Naneatha. Once they arrive and enter, they are met by Simeon Wood, who lets out a wail at the site of his fallen friend and flees the room. Heading toward the Private chambers of the church, they are brought to a halt by Naneatha rushing out to see them. She gasps when she sees Smigley and falls to her knees. Arius is overcome by sadness and leaves the church, running back to his home in tears. The rest of the group stands in silence, letting it all sink in. Naneatha gathers herself and tells the party that it will take at least three days to prepare a proper ceremony for Smigley. She suggests that in the meantime perhaps everyone should continue their quest, throw themselves back into it to keep their minds off their loss. She acknowledges that the party cannot do without healing, and begins thinking out loud regarding a solution when…
…a voice that is fast becoming all too familiar can be heard from the doorway saying, Oh, that won’t be a problem. I have brought a replacement for your man there; yes, I was watching, and yes, so will he.
Standing with him, a human of average height, balding, with brown hair and eyes and a well trimmed goatee. He is dressed well but simply, in scholarly raiment, though he is armed with a mace, crossbow and shield.
This is Talbot Mercy, a cleric of my Church and scholar of some note. He will be my eyes and ears in this group…Pippy you are new to Waterdeep, and I need someone I can trust. We have a vested interest in finding Xale, and I will not be denied!
Naneatha attempts to protest, but her grief combined with Meleghost’s obvious willingness to force the issue makes it a short argument, and he promptly disappears leaving Talbot in his wake. Looking uncomfortable, Mercy again introduces himself and suggests that they get started early on the morrow. Heads still spinning, Pippy and Faenor insist that it be over Breakfast at the Titty and Whistle. They all agree to meet back at the church in the morning.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to our friends, a Portal has re-opened in the basement chamber of The Church of Mystra, and out of it steps a face they might be glad to see: Tiarmus. Dazed and confused, he wanders for a bit before being collected by a repair crew and taken to Meleghost. After dismissing the peon, Meleghost demands to know who he is and what he was doing in the sub-chambers of the church. Being his usual truculent self, Tiarmus refuses to answer, and is subsequently held, and silenced.
Soon, he finds himself in the office of Meleghost, who thanks him for his time and sends him on his way. Confused, Tiarmus makes his way to the Titty, but does not find his friends there. He speaks with Phlagren Fathead about them, who says they were in the day prior, and saw no reason they wouldn’t be back in the morning. Tiarmus heads down to the Bay to be with his underwater friends for an evening, gather his thoughts, and vows to come back to the Titty the following morning to find his friends.
After meeting at the Church of Selune the next morning and communing with Naneatha briefly, Faenor and Pippy leave with Talbot to find Arius. He is not hard to locate, swinging his hammer furiously in the forge at his master’s smithy. Refusing to come at first, Faenor’s faltering but impassioned words finally convince him to rejoin his friends and he once again dons his armor for the cause of good, though tempered now by sorrow and newfound wisdom, hard won. Then have looks at Talbot and says, “Who the hell is this guy???” After a brief explanation, Arius shrugs it off and they all head down to the Titty and Whistle for a bite. When they step inside, imagine their shock and joy to find their friend Tiarmus inside, having a beer and chatting up Fathead like he’d never been gone! After much rejoicing and some swapping of tales, Tiarmus asks after Smigley and a pall descends upon our heroes….the rest of their breakfast they spend in silence, in honor of how little of it there would have been were their friend not gone.
Resolving that his death be not in vain, and fortified with breasts and victuals, our adventurers once again set forth to the Yawning Portal seeking entrance to Undermountain. This time their path to the Inn is unhindered, and they step inside to a lively scene. As they enter, a shadowy figure at the back of the bar gets off a stool and slinks along the wall to a partially hidden door. Whoever it is attempts to be stealthy, but seems not well-suited to the art; Faenor spots him and follows, as the rest of the party takes up seats at the bar. Several minutes pass before he returns, to everyone’s relief, reporting that there is a long hall and then a stair leading to a room with several loud voices emitting from within. Throwing most caution to the winds, the party brazenly blasts through the door in spite of the strangely half-hearted protestations of the bar staff. Crashing into the room, they find three humans, a gnome, and a half elf sitting around a table playing dice. Asking about the portal and getting no response, everyone heads for the door on the opposite side of the room. The figures at the table stand and put hands to blades, but after taking a better look at our intimidating heroes, think better of it and return to their game.
The party enters a room twice as long as it is wide, and immediately after doing so, a stone door crashes down behind them, sealing them in and activating a trap! The room is a puzzle, and every round our heroes spend trying to solve it, they are in excruciating psychic pain from a bright blue line of magic imbedded in the wall. Reaching the pedestal at the far end, Talbot finds four symbols and some Draconic writing, which he can read. The symbols match those of the four pillars in the corners of the room, and the writing is the order in which the switches at their bases must be depressed. Moving quickly, the party steps in sequence, and then Faenor is able to disarm the trap at the pedestal. When he does, a stone door slides out behind it, revealing the hidden portal.
Healing as much as they dare, the party immediately steps through the portal, only to find themselves ambushed by a Skullcrusher Sargeant named Gorrk, along with two of his cohorts! The battle is hard fought and vicious, but brief, and soon Gorrk and his lackeys lie slain. Badly bloodied and spent of magic, the party heals what they can and then risk a night’s rest in the portal chamber itself. Though voices are heard down one corridor in the night, nothing untoward occurs and the party is able to continue. On Gorrk’s corpse they find a silken bag emblazoned with the symbol of Shar, and inside, some gems and a crude map. Talbot is able to discern the scribblings and identifies two locations nearby: Pokey Bitz, and Booze Boobz and Doodz. The party reasons that Pokey Bitz seems closer, so they head there first. After a few uneventful subterranean miles, they arrive upon a door embedded in the stone of the hall, with torches ensconced on either side and a sign that says Pokey Bitz. as it happens, that is both the name of the Goblin proprietor, and the nature of his wares; weapons and armor, and good ones. The party seems to feel this is a good time to shop.