The Price of Allies
Warily, the party enters the Land Dweller at the appointed hour for their meetings. Lenara waves to them from a table on the second floor, and they make their way up to meet her.
Seated at the table with Lenara are .Kah, Sarkesh, and Archibald of the Green Scale Mercenaries. Sim and Lawrence greet Archibald happily, while Petra is clear to greet everyone except him. Lenara begins to explain that all the parties present have the aligned goals of taking down Arturus, and as such suggests that they begin working in tandem. .Kah hastily informs the party of his previously-mentioned offer: he will provide his mercenaries as the cavalry, of sorts, so long as they party brings to him the brains of the test subjects and Arturus. Further, if any of his mercenaries should die in this mission, the party must provide for him two replacements, fully-equipped with weapons and armor matching the quality of the rest of his troop. The party nervously tries to negotiate, but Lenara signals for them to agree now and work out the details later; they do so.
Archibald and Lenara explain that they will provide their own support, but that they require either funding or supplies in order to help. Archibald’s mercenaries require armaments while Lenara requires magical reagants. Not able to foot the bill with their funds, the party agrees to provide some gold and do their part to acquire the remainder through whatever means they can.
Towards the end of the meeting, Lawrence presents the journal containing Arturus’s entries to Sarkesh, in an effort to entice him to translate it for them. The journal seems to pique his interest, and he asks the party to return to the underground facility with him. On the way, he explains how unusual it is to see the Illithid’s script written by any human hand, much less written properly. He translates the journal into Common as best as is feasible and reads it to the party before giving them a copy. They discover several gruesome details concerning Arturus’s experiments, but among the entries they find three key pieces of information: firstly, that the Order of Al-Rashid has been with Arturus since his coup; secondly, that Cassandra is still alive but is being held against her will; finally, that Cassandra has borne for Arturus a daughter, who has grown at an alarming rate for a human.
As the party prepares to return to the inn for the night, Sim breaks away to meet with Gregory again. He questions Gregory on some of the shipments due in over the next few days, particularly those carrying armaments, and asks Gregory to provide the name and location of a noble house which might deserve a lightening of its coffers. Gregory offers to look into the matter, and tells Sim of three shipments, two on the morrow and one on the following day. The first shipment is of weapons and armor of above-average quality and will be heavily guarded, the second shipment is of various spices and will be lightly guarded if at all, and the third is of exceptional armor that will be moderately guarded. Sim returns to the inn with these opportunities in mind.
Conflicted over what role he ought to play in this, Sim turns to Khaber and Lawrence for advice. He explains fully to them the details of his past and their options regarding the shipments and Amkathra. Khaber tells Sim that it is unwise to not pursue the support of Amkathra due to spite since their position is so disadvantageous already. Lawrence claims that they will be more than capable of handling Arturus without the aid of merchants, and based on his own knowledge of Amkathra from his childhood, says that it is unlikely that they will help anyway unless they stand to profit from the venture. Both of them agree that the choice is ultimately Sim’s, and that no matter what he chooses they will stand behind him.
The party decides together that they ought to forgo the first shipment due to its heavy guard, target the spice shipment with more than a heavy dose of subtlety so as not to alert Amkathra to their presence, and then do whatever is necessary to procure the third shipment with no regard to being caught, since they will be leaving Waterdeep less than a day after.