Expedition to Undermountain
Chapter 14- Cut off the Head
Chapter 14 (5/20): Cut off the Head
While healing up, Brisbane claimed to be having second thoughts about joining this group- he had already been put in immense danger and had very little to show for it so far. Brisbane decided he would part ways with the group for a short time in order to serve his temple of Gond and deliberate on what he would do next. Shortly after Brisbane left, however, the group had an unexpected visitor- Ataraxian had tracked them down and wished to join the group again. Glad to have the dragon-blooded sorcerer back, the group filled in Ataraxian on the events that had transpired and turned their focus back on the cult problem. In order to get any further and prevent future mishaps the group needed more information on the cult of Merrshaulk, the dark snake god, so they split up to gather information around Skullport. Dog managed to find out the leader of the cultists was a man named Milos and that most of the followers were Yuan’ti- strange snake-man creatures. Tenri found out that the cult was recruiting people in a local tavern and were possibly looking for more mercenaries. Deville decided to skulk around the cult’s hideout, but he was spotted while stalking the entrance and managed to escape. With the information each party found, the group decided the best course of action would be to disguise themselves as mercenaries for hire and head to the tavern to see if they could join the cultists and get closer to the compound.
Once fully disguised as ‘The Black Wolves’, the group left for the tavern to see what they could find. Dog managed to find the group a good spot in the tavern and scared a few of the locals off with a glowering stare. Some cultists entered the establishment, but before the group could approach, a mysterious woman whispered a warning to Tenri while passing by their table and told them to speak with her before they did something foolish. Tenri motioned for dog to join him and warned Deville and Ataraxian to stay behind so as not to attract attention. In a darker corner of the bar, Dog and Tenri sat down to speak with the mysterious woman who revealed herself to be Erysel- the sorceress contact that Khelben had told Tenri of. She warned the group that they were being watched and were marked by the cultists, attempting to sneak in as mercenaries would be a fool’s errand. Instead Erysel gave Tenri and Dog a necklace to ward against scrying, a handful of healing potions, and told them their best course of action would be to strike directly at the heart of the compound again- Deville’s earlier trick of nearly getting caught had lured the cultists out of their domain to try and hunt down the adventurers. Tenri and Dog thanked Erysel, rejoined the group, then left the tavern and relayed the information to the others out of earshot of the cultists. The next course of action was clear- the time to strike at the Cult’s den was at hand.
The adventurers arrived at the cult hideout uneventfully and managed to easily sneak inside. Once inside the group rigged a pitfall trap they found guarding the entrance to trigger differently on any cultist who might return to the hideout, using their own traps against them seemed a fine idea. After a short time investigating the halls and a few small side rooms, one room held some articles of interest- some books, cryptic scrolls, and writings detailing some dealings between the cult of Merrshaulk and the Shining Eye. Eventually, after exploring most of the area, the group found their way to an ornate door depicting snakes and dark writings. Preparing themselves for a prescience Dog detected beyond the door, the group flung open the door and were greeted by Milos, the cult leader, and a pair of Yuan’Ti crossbowmen. A fight broke out, there was much snake bitings and stabbings but in the end the group managed to dispose of the small lot of cultists and take the unconscious Milos captive. Just beyond the temple altar where Milos resided was a tied up and gagged man that turned out to be Lucius. The party had managed to save Lucius and take down the cult!
Not wanting to overstay their welcome, the group left the cult temple before more cultists could return, taking Lucius and Milos with them. Not wishing to attract too much attention or get zapped by flying skulls, the party found their way to secluded alley where they could question Milos. They found out that Milos and his cult broke off from Oghma and were planning to build up their forces to summon the dark god Merrshaulk to this plane, Lucius had gotten in the way and refused to cooperate so he was taken captive. Not able to get much more information out of Milos, the group knocked him unconscious once again- much to the dismay of Deville, as Tenri explained that the cultist may be worth something to Elaith, the elf who had called in the favor from the group in the first place. After talking a bit to the sheepish bookworm Lucius, the group discovered that he had been possessed by a demon during his missing years and that the safest place to rest until contact with Elaith could be made would be Lucius’ apartment.
The group safely made their way to Lucius’ apartment then decided who would go track down Elaith and who would stay behind to guard. Deville and Ataraxian remained behind to guard the place while Dog and Tenri left to seek out an Illithid contact that Elaith told the group to get a hold of if they needed to get in touch. Elaith arrived via dimension door shortly after Dog spoke with the Illithid (since no way in hell is Tenri going anywhere near that slimy tentacled freak) and the group reconvened at Lucius’ living quarters. Elaith brought Milos back about, the group inquired what the Shining Eye had to do with this but Milos would only tell the group they were given small assistance and were told to meet the Eye at certain drop points around Skullport… all of which Deville detected were bogus lies. Not expecting to get anything further our of Milos, Elaith offered the chance for Lucius to end the life of his torturer, Lucius, however, turned the offer down in the end. With that, Elaith gracefully pierced Milos’ throat, putting an end to the cult leader who reverted to his true form of a Yuan’Ti. Satisfied that his friend was safe and avenged, Elaith paid the group and thanked them for their help before opening up another dimensional door to take himself and Lucius back to Waterdeep. Before leaving Lucius offered to help the group if they ever needed to research things, Lucius was a librarian for the priests of Oghma and would be quite helpful in tracking down information. A job well done, the group decided to take some well deserved rest.