What happened since the last update…
The caravan crossing the river was attacked by a Dragon. The Dragon seemed to be causing chaos rather than actually trying to destroy the caravan. During the chaos, the wagons of the cultists made their escape from the rest of the caravan, heading into the Fields of the Dead.
The caravan was basically ruined, and most of the merchants decided to rather take their goods into the nearby city of Baldur’s Gate, instead of carrying on further north toward Waterdeep.
The Harper agent who was supposed to meet never showed up, and the party decided to pursue the cultists in the Fields of the Dead. They followed the trail all the way across the Fields of the Dead and into a dark, dank swamp. In the swamp they found a small camp and some canoes, and met a renegade lizardfolk named Snapjaw. He guided them across the swamp lake and took them straight to Castle Naerytar.
The castle was inhabited by the Cult of the Dragon, specifically the Black Dragon company. They had subjugated Snapjaw’s lizardfolk tribe, and allied with the swamp’s bullywugs.
The party snuck in, disguised as cultists, had investigated the castle. They discovered a female half-black dragon named Rezmir was the leader of the Cult. She had two companions, an elf named Dralmorrer Borngray who was Wearer of Purple (very high-ranking cultists) but also a member of Eldreth Valuuthra, which is a group of elf supremacists dedicated to removing humanity from Faerun.
The leader of the bullywugs was a shaman named Pharblex Spattergoo, who was ultimately killed in the lizardfolk rebellion.
There was also a Red Wizard named Azbara Jos, who was killed by the party in the rebellion.
They were tasked with cleaning out rooms, had to partake in a ritual of Tiamat, and eventually led a rebellion of the lizardfolk against the bullywugs. They found out where the treasure was going, found the word that activated a magical portal, discovered some dragon eggs hidden in a secret room, found evidence of a female dragonborn named Sora Kimbatuul, got sprayed with acid, and eventually escaped the castle using the portal…
… where they arrived at a peaceful, serene Hunting Lodge in the middle of a forest on chilly mountains. By now they have an idea of what the Cult of the Dragon is planning. They are amassing a massive treasure to try and summon Tiamat out of the Nine Hells and into the mortal realm. The Cult of the Dragon and the Red Wizards of Thay have made an alliance.
They were greeted by a sadistic, demon-worshipping four-armed troll. He escorted them to the lodge, and then disappeared back to his lair around the back of the lodge. They explored the lodge, had a bath, ate some real food, drunk beer and wine, and also discovered some prisoners in the basement, one of the prisoners was a cleric and a member of the Order of the Gauntlet, a group of paladins and clerics who fanatically fight evil.
They learnt the leader of the lodge was a female half-elf named Talis, and this lodge was used by the White Dragon wing of the Cult. Talis had just lost a promotion to a dwarf named Varram, he now has the white dragon mask, whatever that is.
Speaking to some servants in the house they learnt that the cult recently murdered the noble who used to own this lodge and took it over.
They also met Zasheida Jassan, a member of the Zhentarim, the Black Network. She says the Zhentarim will not work with the Cult of the Dragon, and will possibly even publicly stand against them.
Also working undercover in the lodge was a Harper agent, the very same one who gave them the dragon egg mission way back in Southpoint. He was disguised as a carpenter but had dropped a hammer into his mouth by accident. He had tracked the Zhentarim agent here and asked the party to recover her journal that he had thrown into the well.
The gnome rogue dived into the well and recovered the journal, which confirmed the Zhentarim didn’t want to work with the Cult of the Dragon.
During his dive the troll had come out to investigate. The halfling ranger sent his badger out as a distraction, unfortunately the troll caught the badger and tore it apart. The party attacked and nearly defeated the troll, but it escaped before they could slay it. Gargoyles and a Helmed Horror were approaching to also attack the party, but Talis the White appeared and asked to parley with the party. She offered them a deal where they would leave the lodge unharmed, free most of the prisoners, and in return the party would travel to the nearby village of Parnast, find a flying castle and stop Rezmir delivering the treasure.
The party agreed and got out of there.
(Think that covers everything!)