In Riddleport we are staying at the Argent Tower. Steward William gave us a brief history of the politics here. Being from the High Forest, I am unfamiliar with how a city is run. There is an Overlord named Cromarcky. He is the leader of the underworld. He apparently runs the government, including the mayor, from an island in the middle of the river. There are several bosses below him. Boss Croat is a half-orc crime boss in charge of drugs and protection rackets. Mistress Shafora is the head of the House of Silken Veils. Clegg Zincher runs the gladatorial games and Lymus Sneed has an import export business and influences happenings on and around the docks.
Steward William told us that the smudge over the cypher gate has been there 2-3 weeks. It appears like an atmospheric disturbance (cloud), that is somewhat hazy and casts a shadow on the ground. There have been a few incidents since it first appeared; 4 inches of hail in summer, rained fish in a field, and ground tremors.
The smudge’s appearance changes slightly each day. Those who have tried to fly into it or scrye it become disoriented and lose their way.
We went to the cypher mages to consult with them. We met a yound lady named Samaritha who has tatoos on her forehead. She introduced us to their leader, Elias Tammerhawk. He said that one of them, Argentus Blakely, attempted to penetrate the smudge. He said the temperature dropped to a cold so intense he lost feeling and became disoriented.
Our presence had been requested by the Overlord for dinner. We went to see him. He looks kind of like a pirate. We spoke about the gambling tournament and street murders. When we asked his opinion of the smudge, he didn’t feel it was real or of any concern. It turns out he has a very impressive collection of nautical gear.
After our dinner with Cromarcky, we decided to wander the town a little. We went by the Golden Goblin to check the tournament. They have a demon in a cage on display. I think it’s a real imp. The contract they have the players sign is a fake so Sahir signs up to participate to see what happens. It starts in 3 days.
On our way down to the docks, a woman in the shadows propositions Sahir. He asks her about drugs and she points him in the direction of Boss Croat. He has a compound on the north side of town. We decide to head up there and take a look around.
Whisper scattered a bunch of rats in the nearby alley. From the tracks, it resembles the effect of a “summon swarm” spell. I think we’re making someone nervous.
We climbed the ridge overlooking Croat’s compound. I was able to shape shift into an owl and fly down to observe the compound from one of the rooftops. All of the figures moving around were half orcs and they were armed with short swords and bows. They had a few large dogs patrolling as well. One of the wagons had very familiar looking crates in it and they were stamped with the Smithfield Trading Company logo. I watched them transfer the 6 marked crates from the wagon to a warehouse which they locked. After they left I flew back up to my friends and told them all that I had observed.
We decided we needed more information about where the crates had originated. We went back down to the docks and searched for the dock master’s office to see if he had a manifest for the crate shipment. Unfortunately, the office was closed for the night. Although I’m sure the Compact doesn’t approve of breaking laws, in this case we felt it necessary to break into the office for the manifest. We had to find the origin of these crates. One ship, the IronKraken had a manifest that included 6 crates for Croat Imports. It came from Waterdeep. Well, that’s a pretty big port, but at least we had a location to send back to Gorum with the rest of the information. To cover our tracks and keep the Compact out of the picture, we broke into the office lockbox to make them think it was just a robbery and made sure that there was no indication that the manifests had been disturbed. We donated the money from the lockbox at the temple.
Your loving daughter, Amber