We got an unusual summons today. No, not a paper bird hitting Jumanji in the head. That somehow no longer seems unusual. Vajra Safahar appeared in our manor to invite us to Blackstaff Tower and then vanished in a flash. We were so struck by the odd delivery, that we decided to follow the instructions immediately. There was a rather conspicuous cab ready outside for our trip. We talked with the cabbie and learned that he was indeed sent by Vajra to be our ride. He was a helpful fellow, offering some advice for our meeting. He mentioned that his name is Deniro.
We arrived at Blackstaff Tower and saw what we have all seen many times – a smooth black tower with no openings. As we approached, we were presented with a glowing opening and we each filed into the tower, disappearing one-by-one. The inside of the tower appeared much larger than the outside, and it was housing a party of some sort. We were guided thru the party toward our meeting with Vajra. The building is truly a wonder. We passed thru a door and somehow held our meeting on a sunny beach. Amazing.
Vajra told us about her organization – Force Grey, and it’s subordinates – the Grey Hand. I had heard of this group but knew very little. It all sounds very interesting, and I wanted to hear more! She had a task for us to undertake, if we were willing. Apparently, an associate of hers had stopped sending regular reports some time ago. She told us that the man was a recluse monk by the name Hlam. He had been living in a cave on Mount Waterdeep. She needed us to find him, ask what he had found, and request that he send more frequent reports. I was not alone in readily agreeing to this task. Vajra indicated that Deniro would regularly check in with us to pass on word of our success.
We returned once more to the Yawning Portal to speak with Volo. As odd as Volo seems, he does know a great many things. While we waited for our audience, Boaz decided to fill a quiet moment in the tavern with a performance – and what a performance it was! The other bard, who had been taking a break, actually tipped Boaz from his own earnings. Immediately after, we were shown to Volo’s suite, Ranaer was already in attendance. Not only did Volo know Hlam, but he was able to provide us a map to his cave! He also mentioned that Hlam was fond of Red Dragon Whiskey. It suddenly looked like we might be able to accomplish our task this very night. Ranaer reminded us that he would be of great help when we decided to start work on Trollskull Manor. As we departed, Tobby noticed Davil Starsong watching us. He mentioned that he had also spotted him earlier in the evening. He had been wearing a disguise at the Blackstaff Tower party. It seems he has become quite interested in our movements. Shava disguised herself and waited behind to watch for pursuit as we left. When she determined the coast was clear, she met us at our next location – The Singing Sword, at the base of Mount Waterdeep. We ate a hearty stew to get ready for our climb, and Tobby thought to purchase a quantity of Red Dragon Whiskey.
We hiked and climbed all night looking for Hlam’s accursed cave. When we finally did find it, Hlam seemed less than willing to talk with us – until Tobby produced the whiskey. Hlam agreed to send more reports and asked that we relay his findings to Vajra. He said, “Evil’s twin hides its face for now. Expect that to change before winter’s end.” We then made the long trek back to our tower for some much needed sleep.
Deniro was available later that day to carry us to Blackstaff Tower to deliver our report. Vajra was impressed. Not only had we succeeded, but we had done so in less than twenty-four hours. We let Vajra know about Davil Starsong’s presence at her party earlier. She warned us against cooperating with the Zhentarum and a drow faction called the Bregan D’aerthe. I had never heard of the second, but she mentioned they fought both the Zhents and the Lords of Waterdeep.
When we returned to our manor, we found Maxine harnessed to Anxer’s old cab – painted a different color. Jumanji had been busy. He and Maxine had found it abandoned on the street, and they brought it back. As we were trading the details of our recent dealings, the conversation was cut short. A fireball suddenly exploded without warning on the street!