The air was heavy with humidity, a cold that clung to the skin, and choked with the stench of algae and stale air. The sound of footsteps hurriedly crashing through water echoed down the tunnel as light rippled across the walls and the surface of the water. Harried voices fought in whispers as the group of seven cloaked shadows, illuminated by a single lantern, raced through the dark.
The soft raspy voice of a young human male spoke above the rest.
“Em- what in the nine hells happened?! The blasted city watch couldn’t have done that evil- could they have?”
A tall, slender figure- dressed in leathers, their face cloaked by a dark hood, turned toward the source of the voice, a strong, but not very tall figure dressed in leathers, mail gauntlets and a breast plate- a soft, masculine and exasperated voice replied.
“Something went wrong.”
The human cut back.
“What went wrong?”
The group became quiet.
They continued onward into the dark as the tall figure broke the silence.
" No survivors. I didn’t stay long enough to determine what, if anything was taken. We needed to leave. Pure and simple. That carnage was a preview of hell."
The human’s hood twisted towards the speaker.
“I… have seen assassinations, executions and murder… but I have never seen anything like that before…”
“That was slaughter. All of our safe guards, passphrases, chalk signs and protocols failed. Something went terribly wrong.”
A rich, yet rough voice, seemingly choking back tears cut into the conversation.
" Aemeral, my friend- who- died? Whom of our fraternity have we lost? What of the guild!?"
The soft voice cracked. " Khar (Kharundar), I don’t know… it was gruesome… I grabbed a few things as fast as I could… Inara’s cloak and dagger… I fear… we may be all that is left of the guild…"
Khar and many others cried aloud, echoing through the darkness.
“Gods be damned!”
A sharp and strong feminine voice pried it’s way into the conversation.
“No, that can’t be! What, who- how!? Was it the cursed Black Hand?”
The soft voice voice trembled.
“Shar… No, they wouldn’t dare oppose the guild- and I doubt they could have done this. We’re dealing with something…. much worse. "
“Gods be damned.” The feminine voice rebutted.
The human spoke, his voice strained: “What are we to do? We have no guild. Our allies are dead or we can’t trust them. We have no idea who was behind the attack… do we even have any where we can go…?”
The tall figure reached up to their hood, slender hands with long fingers grasped and pulled it backward as sharp masculine- yet strangely beautiful- features cut through the darkness of the hood and were made to look even more sharp by the bobbing lantern’s light. A bold hawk-nose loomed over his face mask- Em’s brilliant ice-coloured eyes focused upon the human, a soft, sad look haunted them.
“Young Arrow, it is a sad thing, that I am more afraid of what information was possessed that allowed this thing to come to pass…. what information was taken during the attack…. and what will be done with it. This storm, is far from over…”
Arrow retorted: “Really? Our guild was just murdered and you’re more concerned about information? What does it fucking matter!?”
Aemeral looked away from Arrow, his brow furrowed as his gaze dropped to the murky waters of the tunnel.
“Because, there was a time when the Lords of Waterdeep only knew of us by whispers and rumors. There was a time when we alone knew something- not a soul outside of the Guild would ever hear nor know of it. There was a time when we were known only as drifters, superstition and rumors spread by incompetent guards and wealthy merchants. Those days are over… we are known and too many know of us.”
Aemeral, trying to choose his words carefully, returned his gaze to the young human.
“The Guild has survived worse. We are not beaten, not while a single rogue lurks ’neath the cover of night. We are but only scattered. In time and when the time is right, the shadows will converge once more. But for now, we must survive. We needs must root out this threat to the Sword Coast.”
Shar’s voice forced it’s way into the conversation: " Em, what are you talking about? They attacked the Guild. Not a merchant family or a noble-"
Her hood drooped as her voice trailed off- Aemeral continued.
“They attack the nervous system of all information brokers. The beating heart of every fence in Waterdeep. There are no ears to hear whispers nor lips to make them.”
Aemeral turned towards the group- pulling his mask from his pointed, Moon-elf jaw.
" This attack was much more than just an assault against the Guild. The enemy showed their hand in this moment…."
One of the shorter, but strongest looking figures stepped forward from the group, their cloak bundled over their shoulders and hood arched upward toward Aemeral’s face- the voice of Khar- cowed by his understanding of the unfolding situation finished Aemeral’s thought.
" By the Stars and Shadows… they have silenced and deafened the city. Waterdeep, the Watch, the guilds, Lords and the Magisters may have no idea what’s happening… and will have no idea what to expect."
Aemeral nodded as Khar continued- a hush fell upon the party: “… Em, you’re right. They’re attacking Waterdeep.”