The party set camp one last night, the city of Gracklstugh but a few miles off. Aaron was awoken by his eagle crying out and flying in from the north. He used his monocle of time travel to perceive Topsy and Turvy swimming off to the north. The party stirred awake and, when Jim Jar didn’t rise with the rest of the party, Otto pulled away his bedding to discover that Jim Jar had been murdered in his sleep, and a frightening arcane symbol had been carved into his chest. Aaron peered through time again and caught sight of a shadowy figure deftly slitting Jim Jar’s throat and then disappearing into the deeps. Ganon inquired to his whale if he’d seen anything amiss, but the whale said that no one traveled deep into the water.
Everyone having awoken, Otto took note that his face felt raw. The rest of the party looked upon him, and discovered that he had begun to suffer an affliction brought upon them by the black stones that formed the eyes of the underwater statue they had discovered, a cursed item!
The party rode Ganon’s whale after the route Topsy and Turvy had traveled along, suspecting them of perhaps being behind Jim Jar’s death. They came upon a small cove, completely shrouded in darkness. Aaron entered first, channeling light energy into his sword. He could hear footsteps running after him, having been easily revealed in the light from his sword. A pair of wererats landed at him, quickly issuing blows, but Ganon and Otto closed ranks quickly and helped him incapacitate the wererats. Knocked unconscious, they took back the forms of Topsy and Turvy. A quick and thoughtful check to the last time they were on the surface reminded the party that they had roughly hit their first full moon since descending into the Underdark.
The party carried the unconscious deep gnome brothers back to camp and cleaned their wounds. They then moved on to Gracklstugh.
At the gates, they were confronted by customs officials. They narrowly made an argument that they were traveling merchants and wanted to trade the jewels they had discovered in the Underdark for provisions.
They were granted package to the Darklake District, but before they could make it through the winding passages leading into the city, they were confronted by a stout duergar named Gorglak. Gorglak demanded they offer up their drowish weaponry as a bribe, or he would claim they were thieves and report them to the city guard. Buppido pointed out that bribery is very uncommon among the duergar, but the party didn’t want to risk stirring things up too early. Gorglak told them to visit Werz Saltbaron to deliver their goods, and that if they hadn’t followed through within 24 hours, he would report them.
Heading into the city, the party witnessed strange happenings, including a pair of hagglers making each others’ cases. The seller kept offering to accept less gold, and the buyer kept insisting on paying more. Otto played them both for chumps and managed to make a very profitable exchange for the party. They moved on to visit Werz.
Before they could draw Werz’s attention, he was set upon by a pack of four duergar assassins. The party easily fought the would-be killers off and stabilized Werz, but were grabbed by the city guard for assaulting citizens.