Black Swords Cult Leader at Caer Dineval
Middle-Aged Tiefling Man
|#BlackSwords #ADuergarPlot Thoob grimly greeted the party through a slit at the barricaded wooden gates of Caer Dineval. The speaker was ill he said. A bit of lackluster deception with Hazel posing as a doctor didn't move the black-hooded guard. What perked his interest was talk of the Duergar. "This would appease the master. I will come back to you." The party was left unattended for a while, during which Tetro boosted Crank up the eastern ramparts. Thoob did return and led the party though the barbican's gatehouse, past the raised courtyard, and into the great hall of the keep. Passing a tiefling servant girl, Mere, that Thoob hassled to clean up dishes, the party was led to a sumptuous sitting room to meet Kadroth.
|#BlackSwords #ADuergarPlot Kadroth was a middle-aged tiefling man in well-kept garb. He assuaged the party that he was the right hand of Speaker Crannoc Siever, that the poor speaker had kept to his bedchambers due to a malaise of the mind. Insight proved that he was indeed acting as the right hand to an extent, but that his "care" for the speaker was a equivocal at best. Nevertheless the party heard him out, as his men had indeed tracked the Duergar menace and located an outpost. Kadroth, clutching his black sword chardalyn pendant and extolling the virtue of stopping the duergar threat, was happy to arrange an alliance. He boasted that he had a wizard named Avarice under his command - though the insightful could tell he feared the conjurer - and that he would gladly assist the party if Sunblight Fortress's whereabouts were uncovered. When pressed about the "faith" of these apparent cultists, Kadroth praised the Archdevil Levistus, Lord of Stygia, the 5th level of the Nine Hells. Levistus spoke to him, he claimed. Levistus, patron of the desperate and forgotten, had brought salvation to most members in his fold. Kadroth was merely his envoy. The cult was named after their lord: the cult of the Black Swords.
|#BlackSwords Kadroth had gleefully urged the party to speak with their soothsayer, the old and heartlessHethyl Arkorran. Hethyl knew each party member by name. She had dreaded this day, as she knew it would be her last. She was to die, and her soul was bound for the Nine Hells. She did so only after prophesying carnage at Ten Towns at the hands of the Duergar and the party's role in mitigating it. "Try, try, try... amidst countless screams." With a deep-set hatred for Duergar, she envisioned Sunblight Fortress nestled in the mountains: one entrance by ground, yet exhausts open to the sky as well. The fortress hosted a forge powered by a red dragon's still-beating heart, and a great weapon was being forged from black ice for Xardorok Sunblight's paranoid campaign to raze and conquer Icewind Dale. Hethyl's near-blind eyes grew dim after the conversation. Her heart stopped, and she fell dead.
|#BlackSwords Thoob was elated that Hethyl died. Master Kadroth was jealous of her status in the cult, and Thoob hastily left to tell the master the good news. The party took a chance to deliberate. They needed to find the true Speaker, and they debated how far they could trust the hospitality of the Black Swords. Asking the servant girl Mere, she led them to the speaker's room, and immediately they were told off by a Black Swords guard. With dinner calling, they needed to hatch a plan.
|#BlackSwords Speaker Crannoc Siever had a luxurious room. It was downright kingly. He, on the other hand, was not. With Fern as Mere and Azgul as a new cultist, the two spoke with Crannoc about the Black Swords' takeover of the keep two months back. Crannoc seemingly sold out his men, hoping to profit from giving the position over to Kadroth, but the bargain bit him in the ass. He was now living in a gilded cage, signing his name off on Ten Towns documents as Kadroth managed the day-to-day affairs. He beseeched the new cultist, Azgul, to rebel and let him take control. He also kept asking Mere for fish sauce.
|#BlackSwords Down a hallway, they came upon a shrine to Levistus, a frozen mannequin in a column of ice wrapped in chain. Behind it was brown mold, a volatile substance keeping it cold. Avarice was in a room to the side of the shrine. She rebuffed Crank and told him to get out, telling them that Kadroth wouldn't like them snooping around. She seemed almost amused and irreverent of Kadroth himself, though.