The Hand of Destiny awoke the next morning still within the airy confines of Aleera’s “Mansion”. It was a lovely outdoor encampment centered in a clearing surrounded by dense, inviting forest. They were all eager to step back into the vault and clear the remaining money. The view they were met with upon exiting the magical residence was not what they had been expecting. All across the immaculate stone floor was not a single piece of the gold they had left for later collection. Someone had snuck in somehow and removed the copious amounts of gold during the night.
They all stood astounded for a moment before regaining their senses and trying to figure out what had happened. Someone had gained entry while they were asleep in an adjacent pocket dimension. Whoever it was had removed every scrap of gold possible. There was nothing left for the group to do but exit the vault and try to find the missing money. Not knowing what awaited them at the actual entrance to the vault, the party chose not to leave through that means. Instead they teleported from Aleera’s mansion to the upstairs of their tavern, The Spectre’s Respite. They landed on the soft wood of their private quarters and tried to make sense of things.
Aleera went to speak with the Blackstaff. After a lengthy conversation about who to trust and what steps they could take to ensure the security of the city, an offer was made. The Blackstaff, Vajra Safahr, offered to make Aleera the Grey Hand. It was the title of the second in command at Blackstaff Tower and of Force Grey. With that task completed she took her leave and made her way back to the tavern. She convinced them all that they needed to go before the Magistrate and let them know about the missing gold. They all agreed after some reticent mumbling but together they went to the political offices of the city.
Things did not go as expected. The Magistrate was furious for a few reasons. First, the party had been tasked with finding Mirt the Moneylender and had not done so. Though they argued that they had left a scout to find him, Milo’s bird companion, they were still reprimanded at the blunder. Instead of finding the fugitive they had gone gallivanting through the various purported vaults in the city. When they tried to argue their case, the Magistrate interrupted with his last and most precious bit of information. They no longer needed to find Mirt because he had already been found. His dead body was spotted in an alley with his entire brain cavity empty.
With no leads or information on what was controlling Mirt the case was effectively shut down. The party was placed under house arrest until a tribunal of all the Masked Lords and various citizens of high standing in the city could be arranged. They were escorted back to their lodgings at the Spectre’s Respite by an armed contingent. Guards were placed at all entrances to ensure the group did not wander and watchers were even placed on vantage points around the building to provide extra scrutiny.
When the second day dawned, the party was again escorted through the streets of Waterdeep to the tribunal that had been arranged on short notice. Despite the early hour set to avoid the observing crowds, there were rows of people gathered on the streets leading up to the tribunal building. Many were crowding the entrance, making it difficult to enter. Most of the tribunal was spent recounting the accusations that had been made in private the night of their apprehension. The troublesome part came when it was time for the party to speak.
Aleera started off well, skirting the truth of how much they had found in the vault and mixing in the truth about wanting to recover the million dragons that Waterdeep had been robbed of for the city. She showed her new status as the Grey Hand and argued that all their actions had been done under the umbrella of power of Force Grey and Blackstaff tower. However, Kariss was more frank. She did not have the finesse of words that Aleera did and in the course of her argument revealed that Laeral Silverhand had helped them by providing information. She could not have known how devastating that was for Laeral.
The Tribunal accused her of divulging secrets of state to unknown and new heroes of unmeasured worth. In doing so she had placed the city in jeopardy and had violated her oath to uphold the interests of the city first and foremost. Laeral was silent through all the accusations and accepted her subsequent incarceration. Yet the tribunal pivoted back to Kariss when she was accused of being a were creature of sorts and of the killings that had been reported not long ago. Aleera barely managed to deflect blame and punishment for all of them by arguing that they had not known they were being given state secrets and by promising to publicly bind Kariss’s power so she could not harm people while inside the walls.
With the tribunal concluded, the party was allowed to leave, this time without the benefit of an armed escort. Laeral was escorted beyond some solid wooden doors to serve out her sentence somewhere else. The group did not know where. They had just narrowly avoided being incarcerated themselves. Weary of the proceedings and hungry, they headed back to their home to eat and drink their woes away for just a little while.