While our heroes were fighting the forces of Skyreach Castle, the First Council of Waterdeep was in session. From the beginning, it was obvious that none of the power groups trusted one another. Each one had conflicting goals on how to combat the threat of the Dragon Cult. Despite the efforts of the Council leader, Dagult Neverember, the meeting constantly plunged into shouting matches.
Neverember made it painfully clear to all the representatives that they must find a way to coordinate their forces, influence, and resources into a coalition focused on thwarting the Cult. “Only with all our factions working together and contributing to the overall effort can enough power be brought to bear to stop whatever it is that Tiamat is planning to accomplish through Severin and his Cult.”
Remallia “Remi” Haventree is attending the Council as the leading delegate and representative of the Harpers. The Harpers have only recently been reformed and have been focusing on promoting fairness and justice in Faerûn. They have very few resources available beyond information. She is convinced that the rumors of Tiamat’s possible return are true and she is frustrated that the other delegates will not agree to intervene and commit forces against the Cult
“Failure to intervene would spell an end to all beautiful and honest things!” shouted Remi. “Why are we here talking when we should be mustering our forces to march on the Well of Dragons?!”
The delegates from the Order of the Gauntlet share the Harper’s dedication to justice and equality, but their methods are quite different. Ontharr Frume, the delegate for the Order, believes that Evil like the Cult must be opposed and vanquished. The problem is that Ontharr wants the Order to have leadership of the military decisions made in fighting the Cult, and currently refuses to commit forces unless this condition is granted.
This idea is opposed by Delann Winterhound, the sole delegate from the Emerald Enclave. The half-elf ranger has come to the Council to make it clear that the Enclave is dedicated to maintaining balance in the natural order of things. “There is no question that Tiamat must be stopped,” he said quietly. “However, we of the Enclave believe that a middle ground should be taken between Good and Evil. Meaning, we must stop the Cult without unnecessary loss of life.”
Neverember makes it clear that he speaks for the Lord’s Alliance, and constantly reminds the members that the Alliance invited them all here to have a say in the military campaign against the Cult. He also makes it clear that the Alliance has the greatest number of representatives on the Council, numbering seven in all. Neverember is desperate to forge an agreeable coalition against the Cult. His frustration is obvious, and he loses his temper often. More than once he becomes enraged, shouting that he has good men and women out on the battlefield even now without support risking their lives. “We sit here squabbling over ethics and ideals while my people are out there bleeding and dying trying to protect the people of the Sword Coast! We must do what must be done! Say the word, you cowards, and I will do the things that you feel cannot be done. I will do what is right even if it is distasteful!”
Needless to say, the other members of the Alliance feel that Neverember is acting recklessly and as him more than once to leave the meeting to calm down. Ulder Ravengard, delegate from Baulder’s gate, takes time to intervene privately with Neverember to keep the peace. Lady Laeral Silverhand, Alliance delegate from Waterdeep, makes it clear that her goal is to keep everyone from the Factions at the negotiating table, and to make sure that some concrete alliances are forged during the talks. However, Connerade Brawnanvil from Mithril Hall makes it clear that he is suspicious of everyone else and refuses to commit any Dwarven forces agasint the Well of Dragons due to the ongoing war with the Drow in his homeland. “Ye commit to a straight fight head on against the Cult and we Dwarves with lend our axes. Otherwise, we got too much fightin’ to do against them Dark Elfs and their Queen, Lolth.”
King Melandrach, representative for the Eldritch Knights of the Misty Forest, remains quiet and arrogant throughout the meeting. When he does speak, he consistently argues for caution and meditation before taking action. Although he in old friend of Neverember’s and a long standing member of the Alliance, the Elf king is reluctant to commit forces to the military actions.
The two remaining members of the Lord’s Alliance, Taern Hornblade and Isteval, seem to have the same beliefs about the Cult and what the Council should do. Together, they have the most military forces to commit. They both believe that they should muster their armies and march without hesitation against Tiamat’s Cult.
The last faction, the Zhentarim or Black Network, would not align themselves with the Council under normal circumstances. However, these circumstances are not common or normal. Therefore, Rian Nightshade, a female tiefling warlock has come to the Council to attempt to cooperate with the other Powers That Be in the Sword Coast.
Along with Rian, two other Zhentarim delegates arrived to represent the Black Network: N’esr (also known as Cyric) and Manshoon. Both men are considered villians and outlaws in the eyes of the other Factions. Their presence was met with outrage, and the Council nearly ended at that very moment.
Cyric lodged a complaint against the Lord’s Alliance due to the actions taken by the Neverwinter Eight. Neverember shot this down, saying that the Eight were not present to defend themselves.
After several hours of argument and negotiation, nothing solid or productive had been resolved. After yet another break, Lord Neverember returns to the head of the table with Ravengard at his side. Both men were visibly shaken, and Dagult was pale. The delegates all calmed down and grew silent, even Brawnanvil stopped shouting sensing that something was amiss.
Ravengard stepped forward, whispering something to Remi before leading her out of the room. She tries to remain composed and professional, but she collapsed, weeping. Ravengard was forced to nearly carry her out of the room.
“We have terrible news,” said Neverember. “One of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep has been assassinated by one of our own.”