Waterdeep was “under seige” from the lesser humaniods; goblins, orcs, and kobolds were all throwing themselves upon the blades of the city guard trying to “invade”. After a month investigation and three trips to nearby encampments of these creatures it is revealed that they were running from a darker power, mistrusted and unable to convey their desires for refuge, were slaughtered mercilessly. Since then, Drow began providing “refuge” for these undesireables, and while not all of the tribes and clans agreed with this, they were forced to do the work for the dark elves in exchange for “protection”. The kobolds are foced to mine a rare metal, Dark Iron. This ore was then shipped to the orcs and forged into weapons capable of enduring high heat as well as store fire-base magics with greater ease. The weapons were being shipped north to a small encampment of Gnolls that had taken over an old abandoned set of ruins, which recently breached into the Upperdark from local seismic activity.
And then the rumors of the plague. Not just any plague, but one that swept like wildfire through Skullport. Within three days, an entire block of the city was infected and had to be destroyed. Even the Harpers of the Dalelands had taken notice and sent members to investigate, despite it’s long distance from their homelands. The origins of the plague were believed to be from rebel drow, and into the Upperdark they went. Finding, of all things, a Drow and Thayan enclave working beneath the surface developing this plague. The first host of the plague was found, brought back to Skullport (under intense magical shielding) and from her death, were able to develop a small batch of antidotes. Only a total of 7 remain. While more can be made, it is during the death throes of one already infected that the antidote can be created, only 8 total doses. For 8 to survive, one must die.
And now the deeper origins of this plague, and the Yuan-ti, masters of poisons and keepers of Blighter retainers, they hunted the snakes for information, and only found more questions. Shade, the forgotten city of the desert, they too played a hand in the creation of this plague. The Yuan-ti, the Drow, a Thayan Enclave, and now the remaining decendants of Karsus. To the desert they travelled, and that’s when things got strange.
The road through the desert, so difficult to follow, but thanks to the guide markers placed every few hundred feet, thanks to the magic that illuminated those markers through the night so strong that they could be seen even through sand-cover. They managed, for many days, they travelled the desert towards the last known city populated by those of Shade. That was supposed to be a tenday journey. They never saw it past the 6th day.
The storm, and not a sandstorm as you might expect. No, this was a thunderstorm, in the desert, a light hurricane, summoned from another place and brought to provide it’s rain for the area. A small 50’-radius of trees. Not palms, not cacti, but oak and ash and birch trees. A cottage at the center, and a little old man named Dweven. After seeking shelter, they awoke the next day, to continue their journey to the Shadian city. After travelling an hour in the forest, it finally dawned upon the party them that they should be in the desert. Returning to where the cottage once was, they found only a small garden of wild blueberries, and raspberries (quickly taken by kiashien, and made into Goodberries).
The sky turned to night, and Cade Lowhill used the stars to judge their location, only to find them about three days travelled south of Myth Drannor in the Elven Forest. That night they were assaulted by lesser demons, fleshwalkers, and they made their way south to the border of Cormyr, seeking rest in the first city they found. Now, staying at the Purple Knight Inn of Arabel, they rest, but for how long?