Keys to the Kingdoms

The Fall of Waterdeep

…and it was met with cheers… - The Wise Alaundo

An excerpt from Volo’s Standard Histories of Faerun, Volume 23 (DR1502):

…Indeed, by DR 1488, Waterdeep had become a corrupt state on the brink of failure. Its Masked Lords’ Council had become a petty, slothful, self-preserving, and self-indulgent group. The reigning Open Lord, Neverember, was even worse: a traitor seduced by Shar who was embarking on a campaign of genocide against the demihuman citizenry.

It was only by the righteous Light of Amanautor that this threat was eliminated. Shar’s foothold in Waterdeep was so deep that Selune was held powerless to intervene, despite the pleas of the Council’s Blackstaff. Selune’s appeal for help was answered personally. Indeed, the Aspect of Amaunator named “King Oris Lathander, the Dragonrider” (a name paying homage to the Amaunator-Bahamut alliance), with a Royal Guard of ten Planatars led by Captain Verde, arrived in the midst of the secret meeting of the Masked Lords’ Council. Under the unholy symbol of Shar, the Dark Council were formalizing their plans to unleash war upon their demihuman citizenry with one final vote. As the last ballot fell, their evil plans gained unanimous support.

Decreeing judgement at hand, King Oris Lathander and his Royal Guard descended upon the Dark Council. Surprised and stunned by their radiance, the Dark Masked Lords, exploiters of Waterdeep, were cut down within seconds. The body of Neverember the Soulless was displayed in the public Council Circle until the dawn three days’ thence, a moment among the brightest for demihumans in Waterdeeps’ long but troubled history.

King Oris Lathander established a new, righteous Masked Lord Council, and answering the desperate pleas of Waterdeeps’ citizenry, King Oris Lathander himself ushered the city into its Era of Enlightenment.

An excerpt from The Hidden Histories of Faerun, Volume 229 (The Wise Alaundo, edited by Link N. Quill, DR 1489):

Rarely has a city so prosperous and well-defended as Waterdeep been taken with so little blood, time, or treasure – and it was met with cheers. Following a public council vote of demihuman taxation, in which the measure passed by simple majority thanks to doppleganger replacements of many Council Members. While her companions began fading into the crowd after the vote, the Cult of the Dragon’s spunky “Captain of the Guard” Verde loudly challenged both the legal and ethical basis of the law (and did so in a shockingly educated manner – Verde’s educational history shall be covered in an upcoming Volume), citing both the Masked Lord Massacre of 1117DR and the Citizens’ Empowerment Act of 1332 DR.

As Verde claimed the moral high-ground, the Blackstaff took the tactical high ground and encouraged her to defer action against Neverember. Verde stubbornly leaned on and broke Neverember’s last nerve, and in the background Neverember was made an idiot and subsequently dominated by Aeriarthia. In a simultaneous mess of confusion, the dopplegangers were revealed – and of course, violence erupted.

The Cult of the Dragon’s so-called King’s Guard quickly joined battle. The Blackstaff realized the gravity of the situation and leveraged her home-field advantage and bound all but three of the dopplegangers – then reduced them to ash. Verde and Kam united to turn Neverember to stone – but not before Neverember deflected the first Euryale assault to Durnan. The Guard doing what they do best, the battle was won in short order. Three dopplegangers fell to party brutality do-gooding: a ritual suicide, a crowd thrashing instigated by Kavi, and one went straight to the Donjon. Waterdhavian custodial staff circumspectly considered whether to start cleaning up the mess. Besides the statues now in the party’s custody, Kavi took one more piece of information: the exact method and identity of replaced Masked Lords.

Waterdeep has a power vacuum for approximately six seconds before the Blackstaff declared Oris, the self-proclaimed King and Dragonrider, Open Lord of the city. Naturally, his Guard filled as many Masked Lord positions as they could – at the expense of replaced Masked Lords whose statutory rubble shall never be found. And of no small import is their acquisition of Vecna’s Puzzle Box from the unwitting Open Lord Neverember, an artifact than remains a mystery even to me.

I can only surmise that the Deck is somehow behind this, as these bumbling fools (however powerful) “leading” the Cult of the Dragon are hardly capable of engineering such a feat, and the Blackstaff has otherwise been known to be of sound judgement. No gods have shown their hand in this particular event, despite how much some would have liked to have influenced its outcome.Chaos follows wherever “King” Oris and his Guard tread. So purely as a historian, I look forward to the events soon to unfold in Tethyr…

Aftermath

The Blackstaff was no match for Verde’s kitten stare, and the two are now “friends”.

Aeriarthia has begun composition of the “Imperial March” for King Oris, the Waterdhavian governmental secretary is as difficult as can be expected. The Vecna holy symbol in Lord Neverember’s secret chamber is now in a lead box to which the holy symbols of Selune, Ioun, and Amaunator are fastened, following Aeri’s.attempt to deceive Vecna.

The party attempted to open the Puzzle box, but even Card Key was stymied (much to its displeasure). The box revealed what could be a clue: “Seek out the most secret spot and you will find your friend. Show your allegiance, and my prize shall be yours.”

Meta

The party is in possession of Vecna’s Puzzle Box and is now in transit to Tethyr.

The party gained one wondrous item (any level, any rarity) with the only limitation being that it cannot break the plot.

Verde gained Teleport 1 (At Will, Standard) in her first lesson with the Blackstaff.

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