"A Difference of Opinion" Plot Recap
Monsters come in many guises. Sometimes they are easy to see, like the mindflayers. Sometimes they hide behind mundane faces, like the Hark and his wererats. Sometimes the monster is one of your own.
No sooner did the Order of the Jade Blade return from the Ruins of Karse than they received an invitation for dinner at the Evening Star, courtesy of Ovendal Buetaleen'dal, the matriarch of the most prominent moon elf house in Loudwater. She wished to reward them for their recent victories and speak with them about a delicate matter.
In the last week and a half, three elves had been murdered within Loudwater. Two of the elves had spoken out against Otar as Green Regent, and two of the victims were related to Halitan Phelaniityr, the patriarch of the gold elf house in Loudwater, who was currently away visiting Silverymoon. Ovendal was worried that the deaths might be the start of a purge against those opposed to Otar.
Ovendal asked our heroes to solve the murders before they resulted in greater unrest and an open schism in the City of Grottos. She wanted the situation resolved before Halitan returned at the end of the week. The Jade Blade agreed and began their investigations the next day.
The first victim was Aduniron Phelaniityr. His body was found by a young elven couple thirteen days ago outside his home on Goldenrod Street, near the Grotto of Serene Blossoms. He was known for being outspoken and argued against choosing Otar as the Green Regent. He also had a talent for music and wrote new compositions daily. When the Jade Blade spoke to the couple who had found his body, they said that there was no sign that Aduriron had put up a fight. He had been stabbed in the back repeatedly.
The second victim was Aliril Phelaniityr. She was found by the town guard in the Grotto of Broken Hearts seven days ago, where she had been tortured to death. Dried blood stained the tree and pieces of rope were embedded into the trunk where her body was located. They found prints of an elven male or a human female nearby. They asked around town about Aliril and learned that she was a cold but strong woman with a vocal displeasure toward orcs. Some thought that she was targeted as a way to get at her father Halitan Phelaniityr. She was seen near the Bookworn Inn on the night she was murdered. A trip to the inn revealed that she was stopped by a human man who lead her into a nearby alley. In addition, our heroes learned that her sister Schirlyndra recently had tried to commit suicide after her engagement to Rendonil Beutaleen'dal broken off.
The town guard had already cast speak with dead on the first two murder victims and were willing to share the results. Aduniron's spirit said that he suddenly found himself unable to move on his way home. He was then stabbed several times in the back but did not see his assailant. Aliril's spirit said she was meeting a human who claimed to have information about the murder of Aduniron. She met him and then also found herself unable to move. She was then tied up by the human and an elf who then took her to the grotto and proceeded to torture her with small blades until she died. She did not recognize the elf but his voice seemed familiar.
The third victim was Bialis Beutaleen'dal, who was found dead in the library of Velti'Enorethal three days ago. He was Ovendal's nephew, a quiet scholar, and a member of the Harpers. Unlike the other two victims, he did not have any strong opinion on Otar and was a moon elf rather than a sun elf. He did have a controversial theory that the Greendraught could be deceived and a successful candidate faked. When the Jade Blade searched his room, they found a note in Bialis' diary that he had met Rendoril by chance and noticed that he was splattered with blood.
Suspicion turned to Rendonil Beutaleen'dal, and the Jade Blade started investigating him. They learned that he had proposed to Schirlyndra, but her father Halitan had forbidden the wedding based upon the advice of his elder daughter Aliril. In addition, Rendonil was a known wizard and capable of casting hold person.
During their investigation of Rendonil, they came across a heated exchange regarding the murders between a scion of the Green Regent and three orcs. The Jade Blade stepped in to intervene, only to be ambushed by the scion and the orcs at the same time. Our heroes defeated their assailants in short order. They questioned the scion closely and discovered that he was not a scion at all, and that he was under an enchantment to help his "friend" Rendonil take care of our heroes. Armed with this information, they went to moon elf's home to bring him to justice.
Rendoril lived in a villa on the edge of town, where cockatrices were wandering the yard. This is not a common practice in Loudwater. The Jade Blade killed the beasts without alerting the guards and managed to disable the trap on the door to gain entry to the villa itself.
Inside, the adventurers encountered elven guards in Rendoril's employ, which they quickly dispatched. On the second floor, they met Rendonil himself, who immediately attacked them. He ordered his shield guardian to block the doorway while he stood behind it in his bedroom and cast spells. The fight was a vicious one and the Jade Blade killed the sun elf mage in the process, so he was unavailable to answer questions. However, the adventurers found sufficient evidence in the villa to prove his guilt, including the surgeon's tools he used to torture Aliril, sheet music stolen from Aduniron, a note plotting the end of the line of the Regent that was signed by the initial "N", and a holy symbol of Talos the Destoryer.
Ovendal was quite upset to learn that one of her family was responsible for the killings, though she was relieved that the killings had stopped and further strife had been averted. Since they had handled this situation so well, she had another problem that she needed help with. That story I will save for another night.
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