South Ward Cobbler Finds Rubies
Waterdeep: Dharjamyn Thauntle has collected "pretty rocks" for years, buying "stones from afar" from caravan masters. A short, stout citizen of respectable years, Thauntle says he can no longer swing a pick with "sureness," nor scramble up the brigand-haunted tors and cliffs within a halfday ride of the city. So he has turned to scaling the slopes of Mount Waterdeep despite City Guard disapproval.
Somewhere thereon, before sunset yestereve, he split a rock along a "soft streak" and found that it held six rubies of worthy size. Local gemcutters scoff at Thauntle's tale, but a nameless one of them purchased his stones this morn.
Horthan Hethdance of the Guard warns that citizens who "tear apart the mountainside looking for gems or anything else" can expect "arrest, at the very least!"
The cobbler's shop, Thauntle's Good Heels and Soles, stands on the north side of Olaim's Cut.
Flying Snake Seen in Sea Ward
Waterdeep: Chanszra Ahlmhaund, a wealthy widow of the Street of Whispers, says she looked out of a high window at dimmergloam* yestereve, and saw a snake flying past: "As long as my coach horse! Black, mottled green: with eyes like green flames! Nasty, 'twas, and looking for someone specific, too, I swear to the gods!"
The Street of Whispers is known for courtesans, soothsayers, and dabblers in minor magics. The Watch confirms several licenses for enspelled pets and guardian beasts are held by area dwellers, but none describes a wingéd snake.
However, at least two noble families with nearby mansions, Estelmer and Zun, have "sarser licenses" (named for the long-ago clerk who devised them, and often called "allcloak licenses" because they cover all nonprohibited beasts a property owner may wish to import, trade in, or keep). Anyone seeing the snake is asked to alert the Watch.
*When bright sunset is gone from city spires but not the sky, many Waterdhavians pause to enjoy this last, soft daylight.
Monster-Man Found Murdered in Trollskull Alley!
Waterdeep: Andruthra Thorn of the Watch will confirm only that they recovered "the corpse of an unknown man" from the notorious dead-end alley this morn, but several local residents and tradesfolk (notably Haunzro Thlam, of Thlam's Fresh Loaves of Immar Street, who was making early deliveries of his famous morningfeast buns) confirm that the "stabbed and cut open" man: naked but for a pair of boots: had one unusual feature: his body sported a ratlike, hairless tail more than a foot long!
The Watch took the remains to Farwatch Tower for examination, displaying only the face to interested persons, but the murdered man is as yet unidentified. Watchful Order mages were seen at work in the alley.
Located north of Delzorin Street in North Ward, Trollskull Alley was for years a favorite spot for duels and trysts, and local Watch patrols scour it regularly.
Serious Carriage Crash on Sul Street
Waterdeep: Three draft horses were injured early today, a delivery cart destroyed, and the display window of Aumra's Fine Potteryworks (on west-side Sul north of Zarimtar) demolished by a flying cart-wheel, when an illegal race ended in disaster.
Two men are in Watch custody, but no names have been released pending further investigation. There's talk that the guilty fled, and those arrested were drunks betting on the race, not participants.
The long, straight north-south streets in Sea and North Wards have for years hosted various pell-mell races and chases. Sul Street in particular seems a favored site for so-called "chariot challenges." These are cart or carriage races wherein citizens: usually young apprentices finished with their deliveries but still in possession of small open carts belonging to their masters: dash in pairs, almost always from north to south, to an agreed-upon endpoint. Local residents often complain about noisy cartwheels, hooves, and shouts or oaths, but some say the loudest complainers are those who bet on losing racers. Impromptu betting is the norm at such races.
New Scent Makes Faces Glow
Waterdeep: Yestereve, several Waterdhavian matrons were deeply frightened hours after applying a new scent to their faces. The fragrance, "Waterfall Kiss," is made and marketed by the half-elf Jhamanthra Tsathree, of Tsathree's Comforts shop on Golden Serpent Street in North Ward. Jhamanthra confirms her first sales were made early yesterday, but insists she was "entirely unaware" that Waterfall Kiss can make faces glow. The fragrance is a secret brew of herbs in water, which creates a clear, strong-smelling, slightly oily liquid used as a facial wash. It removes dirt and "tired skin" and leaves its scent behind.
The glow: a vivid lime green that comes on suddenly, and lasts for hours: occurs only when certain rouges and powders are applied to Kiss-treated skin. Most of the startled users were furious (one has reportedly hired a mage to "Do to that trickster what she did to me!"), but several enjoyed the attention.
Young wealthy Waterdhavians are flocking to Tsathree's Comforts to procure their own supplies. Kiss sells for 3 gp/handbottle: but may soon be more: street resale prices of 6 to 9 gp have been reported. A new fad may be in the making, as revelers experiment with making other skin areas glow.
Strange Fire on Cage Street
Waterdeep: A high-coin gown, cloak, and fineries shop on the "northwest block" of Cage Street in Castle Ward erupted in flames yesterday: bright, vivid blue flames that lacked heat and smoke, consumed nothing, and soon vanished. Staff of Mhalavo's Brightstar could give no reason for the mysterious conflagration, and they insisted it was no "bid for fame" on their part.
Lady Shopmatron Daztriiya Ghallowglond opined that the blaze was "obviously magic . . . and so many who use such forces are malicious and untrustworthy, even deranged." Ghallowglond believes mischief was a more likely reason than madness, and "if it was an attempt to distract staff so as to steal our superb wares, it failed utterly: as such attempts always will."
Ghallowglond warned would-be thieves that the Brightstar is guarded by "unseen and very attentive eyes." She felt the Watch "responded too slowly, given our importance and proximity to Ahghairon's Tower and the Palace," and expects them to prevent "further problems," while the Brightstar will remain "the first choice of discerning courtiers, as well as of visitors to our city having important civic or social engagements, who desire to be clad appropriately.".
Shapechanger on the Loose!
Waterdeep: Shoppers on the Street of the Tusks in Trades Ward were startled yesterday by a lone being that ran south down the street, changing its shape repeatedly as it made various screams, wails, and grunts. No one noticed where it came from, and after stumbling hurriedly down the busy street, it turned east into even busier Vellaar's Lane: where no one seems to have noticed it (suggesting either a magical disappearance or an immediate cessation of beast-shapes).
Along its brief run, the being passed two startled members of the City Watch, who were off duty and buying pastries and beer for a walk and talk*; a clerk from the Palace on official duty; and several well-respected senior officials of various guilds. All agree that they saw such things as tentacles, elephant heads, stag antlers, "dozens of flowing, opening eyes and mouths," wings, and a shark tail. It's not known if they witnessed an illusion; the results of a magical prank, curse, or punishment; an experimental spell gone wrong; or something more sinister. Persons with any information about the shapechanging display are asked to report what they know to the Watch; testimony will be kept in strict confidence.
*A meal taken while walking and talking in the streets, in this case as they strolled home from work.
Man Wounds Self, Vanishes
Waterdeep: Shopkeeper Saldremor Rivryn of Rivryn's Blades and Sharpenings on west-front Gaustus Street in Trades Ward was astonished late yesterday after he sold a "nondescript old knife" to the outlander who "looked to be from Amn, or northern Tethyr, mayhap." The purchaser laid down three coppers: properly minted, recent "thumbs" from Cormyr, Rivryn notes: for the old dagger, which Rivryn bought months ago from an "adventuring band under Tymora's frown, who took ten gold for a huge sack of old weapons and mongery. Salvaged from a ruined mansion in the woods nigh Secomber, they said."
The outlander kissed the blade, cried out, "At last!" with some emotion: and plunged the blade into his own shoulder. Blood spurted, the man drew forth the bloody blade and kissed it again, and then, Rivryn claims, "just faded away into the air."
Rivryn insists his tale is no bid for customers. He judges the wound not fatal, "if the blade be untainted and all left to heal rather than flow." The origins, identity, and fate of the outlander remain unknown; Watch investigations proceed.
Double Wedding on Spindle Street
Waterdeep: Unmarried sisters who own adjoining houses on west-front Spindle Street in Trades Ward have just married each other's street-level tenants. Sharlma and Ierithue Steelhawk, some forty-odd summers old, inherited the buildings from their father, the famous archer and adventurer Duroamyn "Deathstrike" Steelhawk.
As in many Waterdhavian tallhouses, they dwell on the topmost floors, letting out the floors immediately beneath to tenants, who also rent the street level below as a shop. Sharlma has the more northerly house. The buildings share a common wall, and the sisters' apartments connect.
It was commonly known that Sharlma and her tenant, the wizard Starago Nye of Starnight Spells and Magelore (minor castings, identifications, advice), were longtime lovers. Ierithue and her tenant, Bhelgrair Yathro of Yathro's Adventurers' Outfitting (ropes, maps, weapons, tents), were thought to enjoy similar relations. Rumors abound about what led the four to switch partners and engage in formal union. The couples kept celebrations private, and they have announced no plans for changes in the business of the shops.
Sharp Rise in Silversheen
Waterdeep: Last tenday's announcement that the sculptor Marleon Krendlemar (of Swords Street, Castle Ward) intends to cast his next gigantic statue in silversheen has led to steep increases in the overcounter price of the shiny make-metal. Sometimes called "alloys," make-metals are mixtures of smelted metals such as iron and zinc, often with small amounts of more valuable metals, and strange "secret ingredients." The alchemists who produce make-metals always keep amounts, processes, and precise ingredients secret, citing the perilous nature of the work (which all too often ends in poisonings, acid fleshmelt, or deadly explosions).
Silversheen, the glossy, mirror-bright silver "metal" seen in many local decorative castings, is smooth, heavy, and too brittle to see service in armor, fastenings, struts, or cookware. Devised decades ago by Eremaun Uthchantaer of Amphail, silversheen saw the secrets of its creation "get out" when the alchemist died and his dozen-some workers scattered, each taking its secrets. Waterdeep is currently home to at least seven silversheen makers; their wares are sold as finished castings or in "melt-bars" the size of a human forearm (formerly about 1 gp each; now 5 gp or more).
Tharantra Husband-Hunting Again
Waterdeep: Notorious local "lady of pleasure" Nauloene Tharantra (of Sevenlamps Cut, Castle Ward), who for years ran the Heartflame festhall on Snail Street in Dock Ward until the Night of Pirates, is seeking a husband once more.
Tharantra has been wed nine times. Five husbands died (at least two, rumors whisper, with Tharantra's direct help); two fled Waterdeep loudly denouncing the Flouncing Flame's freespending, loving-all ways; one was revealed as a doppelganger and slain in the streets; and Tharantra threw out her last (the Innarlithan merchant Mharelk Thorlkan), paying to have their union broken. Announcing herself "sufficiently recovered from Thorlkan's cruelties," Tharantra took the stage at the Splendid Falcon theater and dancehall (Street of Bells, Castle Ward, east-front four doors north of the Pampered Traveler inn) in a striking gown made of crisscrossing chains and teardrop blue diamond "dangles," to tell the city she's seeking a mate once more.
The Night of Pirates befell late in the Uktar of the Year of the Shield. The pirate-lord Elro Starankh of the Nelanther, and three of his crews (ninety-six seadogs strong), visited the Heartflame and offered to wed every working-lass there. The bride-price was twenty dragons per head to Tharantra and ten thousand dragons each to the brides. All but two accepted, and Starankh set fire to the Heartflame in a wild, dancing celebration. The ornate Arrowsar Apartments now stand on the festhall site.
Treasure Found in Sea Ward Well
Waterdeep: City wells are covered to prevent casual contaminations (by the tossing into them of refuse, nightsoil buckets, pet bodies, and the bodies of murder victims or those folk hope to soon become murder victims), and both dredged and inspected regularly. Palace speakers say occasional stolen items and incriminating weapons are found therein, plus dropped water "dippers" and occasionally rings or other small personal items, but it's unlikely any substantial treasure could be successfully hidden in a well without immediate discovery.
However, the Courtyard of the Well north of Whim Street has apparently hosted a magically concealed treasure for some years. Watchful Order member Dormallen Rathanagor (of Rathangor's Mysteries, The Street of Silks, Castle Ward) was demonstrating an arcane eye spell to an apprentice yestermorn, demonstrating how it could see down the well if a light source was lowered in the water-bucket, when his inadvertent use of some arcane words triggered a magic left in place by someone else: and a block of stone in the wall of the well flew out of its socket and up into his hands, yielding up its small but valuable cache of gemstones.
Rathangor steadfastly refuses to reveal what gems he gained or the words he uttered. The Palace has issued a public warning that the penalty for anyone caught "disturbing" city wells will be the same as for well poisonings: instant, on-the-spot execution.
Palace Fined over Outlander Injury
Waterdeep: Magister Kaulyn Maurestyn today awarded the spice merchant Haumian Draethe of Tharsult 700 dragons from city coffers. In his judgment, Maurestyn decreed city "neglect in dealing with afore-reported perils" of crumbling stonework at the River Gate was the direct cause of the partial arch collapse a tenday ago that broke Draethe's arm, leg, and cart.
Though Watchful Order wizards took charge of the merchant's cart and runaway team almost immediately, and city-hired priests from the Plinth healed him of his injuries, Draethe suffered four days of lost sales and some spoilage of wares.
The judgment is expected to unleash a torrent of claims from citizens and visitors claiming past and present losses from similar perceived Palace maintenance failures, but Lord Piergeiron moved swiftly to stem such a flood by declaring, "The judgment of one magister in one case may differ from the judgments of others, in others."
Chiming Gems Hit of Promenade
Waterdeep: A three-day promenade has just ended in the Pegasipillars rental hall (on the High Road south-fronting Buckle Alley, Castle Ward). Its highlights were the yet-unsolved theft of a coffer of forty matched, white opals, and the display of gems enspelled to play tunes (as a series of faint, repeating chimes, when lit and gently warmed by candle flames). A handful of wealthy buyers, notably agents of several Waterdhavian noble families, purchased several of the gems.
Many cabals, costers, guilds, and mercantile associations come to Waterdeep to present promenades (called "trade fests" in Tethyr and "trademoots" in Cormyr and the Vilhon). Unlike a market or trading fair, where many merchants sell a variety of wares, a promenade is a public showing and sale by merchants dealing in a single "field" of wares.
The Handful of Stars promenade is a new event that the Gemcutters Fellowship announces at short notice (to cut down on thievery, it's rumored). The Gemcutters Fellowship is a loose association of jewel merchants in coastal cities from Luskan to Tashluta, and the Jewelers' Guild of Waterdeep officially denounced them a month ago. Despite their views about the fellowship, the guild made no move to prevent the promenade (after, strong and persistent rumors suggest, the Gemcutters presented a large gift of trade-bars to the guild).
Brawl Erupts after Guild Hikes Dues
Waterdeep: The Old Guildhall on Gaustus Street, Trades Ward, was the scene of a wild fight this morning, when Master Turnstone of the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild announced a stiff hike in guild dues. Guildmembers formerly paid dues of 7 sp/month, but dues will now be levied at 4 gp/month for the remainder of the year, and 5 gp/month thereafter.
If, that is, Master Turnstone and his officers survive that long. An uproar occurred among guildmembers when rumors of the planned increase leaked out: and members came to the Guildhall armed with pipes, picks, and hammers, obviously expecting trouble.
Trouble met their expectations, as defiant guildmembers rushed the front tables where the officers were gathered, loyalists hastened to defend them, and pitched battle broke out. Four Watch patrols answered alarm calls, cordoned off the hall, and summoned the Guard: who were forced to use vials of sleepsmoke gas to quell hostilities.
Unconfirmed reports say dozens of guildmembers are dead, senseless and near death, or wounded. In fact, almost everyone who attended the meeting has at least one broken limb or extremity, and the interior of the Old Guildhall is a "shattered shambles".
Confession in Flavauro Slaying
Waterdeep: A Beacon Street grocer has admitted to stabbing the popular actor, dancer, and former adventurer Mistram Flavauro last month. The handsome, debonair Flavauro was notorious for his popularity with Waterdhavian ladies from all wards and walks of life, and many suspected his slaying was the work of an enraged husband, father, or brother of one of his sometimes thrice-daily conquests. If Armest Harrigo's confession is true, these suspicions were correct.
Harrigo, of Harrigo's Good Table (east-front Beacon, three doors south of its moot with Shoor Street), is a short, stout, bustling man of mild and breathless manner. Even Watch officers say he seems an unlikely physical specimen to catch and best the acrobatic, weapons-wise Flavauro in combat. Harrigo claims a customer told him Flavauro was hosting both of Harrigo's sisters (the unmarried Harrigo siblings dwell together above the grocery) in his luxurious tallhouse on Ivory Street, Sea Ward. Harrigo furiously hastened there, found this truth, and attacked Flavauro.
He says his sisters angrily bade him begone, and the naked Flavauro mocked his cleaver and turnip knife, laughing so wildly that Harrigo easily slashed the man's fingers with the one, and buried the other hilt-deep in Flavauro's belly. He says Flavauro backed away screaming and fell through a window to land impaled on the stony spears of heroic statues in his own garden below. Harrigo plundered the murdered man's wine cellar to calm his hysterical sisters, and led them home, reeling and giggling, in the dark hours: much to the amusement of no less than six Watch patrols on the way.
Harrigo claims he'd defend his kin the same way again, and he confessed recently only because of visions sent him by holy Chauntea. Watch officers have recorded his words, but not yet said if Harrigo will stand trial. Over forty persons have confessed to Flavauro's slaying, but an anonymous Watch officer said details of Harrigo's confession make it the first to match "certain evidence" in the matter. A Watch guard remains on duty in Flavauro's many-times-plundered home.
Merchant Slays Rival in Bizarre Attack
Waterdeep: A long-standing feud between trade rivals ended in tragedy early this morn when Vlaeren Tonstal, proprietor of Tonstal's Beast Remedies (of north-front Sulmor Street, North Ward), was murdered by another natural medicines merchant, Delgor Emmerthyl of Emmerthyl's Wildwonders (north-front Tarnath Street, North Ward). Witnesses say Emmerthyl clubbed Tonstal to the ground with a stuffed dire rat, shattering his skull, and then thrust the rat into Tonstal's mouth, returning to his own shop to letter a placard, which he returned and placed in the obviously dead Tonstal's hands.
The placard read: "Here lies one of the most evil men in Waterdeep, lawbreaking and greedy to the last, who finally choked on one of his kin."
North Ward neighbors of the two (who both rented out the floors above their shops to tenants, and lived a few doors apart on luxurious Saerdoun Street) say Tonstal and Emmerthyl had waged a war of increasingly nasty pranks, hoaxes and dark rumors, and heated words for years. The beginnings of this feud are forgotten, perhaps even by Emmerthyl (who's now in Watch custody, awaiting trial).
Tentacle-Faced Woman Sought in Book Street Stabbing
Waterdeep: A tall, curvaceous, dusky-skinned human woman wearing a decorative veil (as many wealthy Waterdhavian women do when facing the stinks of the docks, slaughterhouses, and livestock pens of the southern city) is sought by the Watch today after she murdered someone on an open street at dawn in Dock Ward.
Witnesses say the unfamiliar-to-all woman, probably an outlander, encountered a fishmonger in Book Street before the doors of the Sunset Satyr tavern (east-front Book Street, north-fronting Candle Lane). She spoke with him briefly, and then drew a "needle-thin rapier of great length" and thrust it through him. All agree the conversation was neither friendly nor heated, no oaths nor emphatic words were exchanged, and the attack was a complete surprise. Pierced through the heart, the victim (later identified as Aldo Nurlamyn of the Dancing Marlin Market, Net Street, Dock Ward) fell dead, and the woman strode away.
One Itham Flarmar (of Stathor's Boots and Weathercloaks in Book Street) accosted her, but she whirled and slashed at him with her still-drawn rapier until he fled: whereupon she walked "purposefully but unhurrying" into Drakiir Street, where she disappeared.
Flarmar tore off her veil, and says he found himself facing "an angry but beautiful face, with very large, dark brown eyes, a pert nose: but from her upper lip and cheekbones down, all was a writhing tangle of fanged snake-heads, framing a sucking mouth!" Other witnesses saw no snake-heads in their brief glimpses, but described the woman's lower face as "a mass of coiling, slithering tentacles" or "reaching eels."
The Watch has retained Nurlamyn's body and the mysterious woman's veil for examination, and they ask anyone seeing "a tall, dusky-skinned woman with a covering or anything unusual about her face" to contact them immediately.
Fugitive from Amn Hunted in Snail Street
Waterdeep: A notorious murderer from Amn was cornered in Snail Street (Dock Ward) yestereve and hacked to death by men who'd hunted him from Athkatla, the city where he slew at least sixty merchants.
Induth Haelor, called "Haelor of the Heads" because he decapitated his victims, was described by a witness to the slaying as a "young, nervous-looking, spider-thin" man with long, tangled dark hair, many daggers about his person, and "great, staring dark eyes."
Said outlander merchant Imryn Thalgallop of Iriaebor, a dealer in curios and sundries from Inner Sea lands: "A dozen men or more came down on him, from north and south, then out from side-alleys and shops, whistling to each other. They drew in around him in a ring, quite menacing: and he knew they'd got him! He rushed one of them, downed the man with three or four hurled knives, and crossed blades with the next: but by then they were all around him. They cut him up, they did, right into pieces there in the street!"
Watch patrols were on the scene almost before the slayers were done, and the hunters from Amn did not resist arrest. They told the Watch calmly they bore commissions from "the rulers of Amn" authorizing them to put Haelor to death, and that to punish them would be to "incur the displeasure of a trading land that could crush this city." At the time of this writing, it's not known if magisters or Lords of the city were impressed by such arguments.
Haelor is said to have become deranged when the loss of all his invested funds in crooked dealings cost him the favor of his father and then his betrothed; his victims are all thought to have been men he thought swindled him. His habit of seizing a particular amount of coin from each victim supports this tale and suggests that he was replacing their portion of his losses, "to the last copper."
Several witnesses, including Thalgallop, say Haelor continuously hissed, "Slurdren! Slurdren!" (Amnian slang meaning "a ruthless, ruinous-to-society turncoin;" turncoin means "swindler") as he fought and died. Folk of Snail Street swear they heard the same word hissed last night, in the empty darkness of the street, at the murder scene.
Nobles Demand Halt to Sale of Paintings
Waterdeep: Agents and members of the Phull noble family burst into a public sale of paintings this morn and angrily demanded the sale be stopped. They attempted to seize certain items and were accused of attempted theft. Swords were drawn, brief strife followed with no one suffering serious injuries (witnesses say the vendors defended themselves by using the disputed items as shields, causing the Phulls to put up their blades), and the Watch summoned.
Watch officer Estrar Thongolyr says no charges have yet been laid and no persons were detained, but the Watch has taken possession of the disputed items pending magisterial decision. As with most matters involving nobility, proceedings are almost certain to be referred to the Lords of the city.
The sale, by merchants of the newly established Flying Falcons Coster, was held at the Frowning Face* rental hall, which is west-front of the High Road and facing down River Street.
The family Phull claim the disputed items, which were painted panels depicting portraits of distinguished-looking, richly garbed men and women, were stolen from their city villa in North Ward late last year, and these portraits depict dead, much-loved forebearers. One would-be buyer said that if this is true, the artists "flattered the Phulls incredibly" (not an uncommon practice, when portraits of the wealthy and powerful are limned) or "perhaps the family is much fallen into coarseness of features since the time of the people depicted."
*The hall is so-named for the appearance of its street-facing wall, which is of fieldstone sculpted into the likeness of a severe human face, with windows for the eyes and the entry doors located in the mouth.
Ship Sinks at Docks
Waterdeep: The caravel Laughing Lady, sailing out of Myratma in Tethyr and owned by Phandro Emburrgel of that city (a wealthy shipper and investments-procurer who owns five other trading vessels), sank overnight at the Southlook wharf, at the foot of Net Street.
The Lady arrived in Waterdeep yestermorn, and her cargo of milled barley had been safely offloaded into leased warehouses off Asteril's Way. Emburrgel's agents in Waterdeep were said to be assembling a cargo of mixed trade goods for the voyage back to Myratma, but their identities and whereabouts remain unknown as of this writing.
The Guard and the Watch are both investigating the causes of the sinking, even as wizards of the Watchful Order and Raulinvur's Ropehaul barges are raising the ship. According to Raulinvur, the Lady will first be taken onto the beach nigh the East Torchtower known to folk of Dock Ward as "the Stinking Sands." This will be done to dry the vessel out and to see if her timbers retain enough strength to be worth a rebuild. If not, the ship will be broken up for salvage wood. If so, the work will be done in the keel-dock of Arnagus the Shipwright "in the Elbow" (the angle enclosed to the north and east by Dock Street).