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When we last left our intrepid heroes, the Violettes had gone home, William had returned to his dorm, Charissa to her/Garden's shop, Shandri (far as the rest of you knew) was still down at the docks, and Garden had spied Melvin Mask leaving the Bronze Gear tavern. Unwilling to let the man get away, Garden started to follow him through the streets. He sent a message to the Violettes (and presumably William, who had been with them last) that Melvin was apparently leaving on a ship tonight, just to give them the heads up. Knowing this was probably a terrible idea that was going to get him killed (considering the last time he trailed someone alone he got stabbed by a giant splinter), Garden pulled a hat on, kept himself unobtrusive, and shadowed Melvin.

Melvin seemingly didn't notice Garden following him, but as they turned into the dock district, who should Garden see? Shandri! She looked just as surprised to see him, and quickly fell in step with him when he explained (quietly) what he was doing. She asked if he'd gotten her message, and explained she had sent out messages via urchins to the others because she'd discovered the ship Melvin was leaving on, tonight. It was called the Golden Mermaid, and had a tavern associated with it of the same name, and was headed out to Kara-Tur tonight.

At the Violettes' home, William's dorm, and Charissa's shop, there came a knocking. When the knocks were investigated, a very out-of-breath urchin said, "Docks, Golden Mermaid, Melvin, Shandri, now!" Interpreting that more or less correctly, the other members of the party set out. Charissa was closest (the shop being in the Dock district already) and actually caught up to Shandri and Garden as they merged with the big crowds outside the waterfront taverns. Shandri confessed she'd managed to find Melvin's ship by questioning sailors, apparently with a liberal application of ale, because Shandri was definitely lit. A tap from the sober end of the Grapes of Wrath solved that problem, and the group pressed on trailing Melvin.

The Violettes hired a carriage, and so did William, and coincidentally met at one crossroads. William hopped over to the Violettes' carriage, and all of them went down to the docks together. They all spied Melvin's bushy head (as well as Shadri's sharkskin armor and Charissa's... tallness), and brought the carriage to a halt. Evelyn had had quite enough of Melvin at this point, hopped out of the carriage first, and cast charm person on him. Melvin blinked, then turned to her and said, "Evelyn, dear! It's been so long, it's like I almost haven't seen you before!"

A little weirded out that he somehow knew her name (he shouldn't have... should he?), Melvin was nevertheless being friendly, and after a bit they persuaded him to go to the nearest tavern for a drink and to answer some questions. Melvin tried to get them to come to his cabin on the Golden Mermaid, but the group pressed instead for tavern version of the Golden Mermaid, just across the dock. The Golden Mermaid was tackily decorated with buxom mermaid figureheads in many tasteless shades of gilt. It was your typical sailors' dive, full of gambling, too much ale, and ladies of negotiable virtue and impressive cleavage. One of said ladies, who was a serving wench to boot, accepted a gold coin to throw out some gamblers from a back room to give them some privacy.

The group questioned Melvin, but while he considered Evelyn a friend, he was still unsure about the others, and was being remarkably cagey. (During the questioning, Charissa "inadvertently" tapped Garden with the drunk end of the Grapes of Wrath for... reasons. Garden, for the record, is a cuddly drunk.) Melvin claimed a friend of his had had the wax golem made for him because of some work he'd done. At one point, he managed to take out a small, one-use wand and hit Garden with it, breaking it afterward when Steven had grabbed his hand. Garden became twice as insufferable after he'd been charmed, grabbing onto Charissa's leg and clinging like a tick.

Just at that moment, a bar fight erupted. Several combatants spilled into their room, two turning on the party, two tussling with each other, and a fifth about to crack a huge egg (ostritch-size) on one of the tussler's heads. Chaos ensued! Over the course of the battle, Steven and Charissa battled their attackers with hammer and sword, Evelyn crawled atop the table to try to freeze their foes. Melvin ran out into the chaos, and William cast grease upon the floor and made him take a header. Two more people in the crowd ran up to grab Melvin and try to haul him out of there (and it was becoming clear at this point this bar fight was a diversion to get Melvin free). Garden shot one of the people holding Melvin, and at some point the grease caught on fire, causing smoke (and steam when Shandri doused it), giving the last remaining thug cover as he pulled Melvin to freedom.

(During this entire barfight, the man with the egg kept running through the scene, chasing it as it rolled about the fight, rolled through the fire, caught on fire, was doused, and rolled around some more. By the time he caught it, he was exhausted, and egg was very scorched, though intact. To come to think of it, it might have been a dragon egg... nah, couldn't have been...)

Frustrated in the extreme, Melvin long gone (the Golden Mermaid the ship already out of the docks by the time the party managed to get out of there), the group went home.
The next morning, in each of their residences or places of work, was a box addressed to each person. Inside the box were two thousand wafer-thin Waterdeep trade gold coins. With no return address.

And with that, our adventure continues...

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Timothy
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