The Missing Fop

A Simple Job
(Many thanks to MC for taking exhaustive notes, I would not have been able to do this without her notes- Jim)
Barakiel, Fenriz and Valder have made their way to Waterdeep in search of their respective goals. They end up in the Yawning Portal and end up making the acquaintance of one of the staff, Orie. The group begins to bond and hang out there after Orie gets off work. One evening, a brawl breaks out and Orie jumps in to calm matters down and the innkeeper Durnan throws out the other troublemakers, one of whom is a bald man with eyes tattoed on his head.
Later, the peace is again disturbed when a troll being attacked by stirges emerges from the well leading to Undermountain. Valder hits the troll with a Guiding Bolt, Barakiel attacks with his sword and the rest of the party joins the battle until Durnan drives the troll back. One of the stirges stings Fenriz, he rips it off and crushes it. When the party returns to their table, they are approached by a man who introduces himself as the famous author Volo. He is concerned about a local friend of his, Floon Blagmaar, who has been missing a few days since they last went drinking at the Skewered Dragon. Since Waterdeep is in turmoil while some of the rival criminal factions seem to be at war, he is quite concerned for his friend's safety. The Zhentarim and Xanathar's Guild are clashing regularly with deaths almost daily. So Volo wants his friend found. He offers them a reward and some gold upfront. The party agrees and Volo gives them his friend's description, address and the location of the bar where he last saw Floon. Orie talks to her boss about the bar in question, it's a dive. The party goes to Floon's dwelling, but finds nothing but a woman's scarlet scarf and a small bag of gold concealed beneath a floorboard. Heading for the bar where Volo and Floon were drinking, they spot a group of the town watch cleaning up the dead and prisoners from a gang fight. Some of the dead have black tattoos. The guard officer answers a few questions, but is not particularly outgoing and warns them against any infractions against the city's laws. He does give them directions to the dive bar they are looking for. But along the way, they spot an odd shop that seems to only sell purple items. The owner is a gnome with purple eyes painted on his face. He used to be an adventurer in Undermountain, but now is a merchant. After some conversation, he says he saw Floon and another dandy attacked and dragged away by men with black snake or dragon tattoos.
The party continues on to the Skewered Dragon, which is in terrible shape with broken out windows. The barkeep is not cooperative, but Fenriz dropping Volo's name and some gold gets him to open up. After Volo left, Floon was met by another dandy, Renaer Neverember, the son of the previous Open Lord of Waterdeep, who is now in Neverwinter as their Lord Protector. The barkeep says Floon and Renaer went out go gambling at an old warehouse on Candle Lane and they were followed out by a group of men.
The party wants to investigate the warehouse and decide to disguise themselves as gang mambers by having Barakiel and Valder use Prestidigitation to make fake tattoos. They go to the city graveyard, the City of the Dead, and find the dead gang members the city guard picked up. They are able to duplicate the tattoos with their spells. They also ask the priests there if any noblemen have been brought in, but none have recently. The party now heads to the warehouse, but when they enter, it is full of dead thugs with the black tattoos. While they investigate, a group of Kenku attack them. They kill most and capture one to interrogate. Searching the warehouse turns up Raynar Neverember. He thinks the bad guys may have confused him and Floon. The gangs think Renaer's father stole a large amount of gold when he was in charge and hid it. A magic item known as the Stone of Gollor may be able to find it. Supposedly Xanathar's guild had it, but no longer do. Questioning the Kenku turns up that they are from Xanathar's guild and their master wants the "pretty boy" and that sewer entrances marked with yellow lead to their lair. Renaer wants to help and they take weapons and armor from the dead to equip him. The party also turns up an origami bird made of magic paper that will carry a message written on it to its desired recipient.
Before they can leave, a group of the city watch show up. With Renaer to testify on their behalf, they convince the watch they they came to rescue Raynar and the gang members were already dead. Once the watch releases them, they find a sewer and head underground to follow the clues. The marks of Xanathar's guild leads them to a passage guarded by a floating monster like a mini Beholder with only four eyestalks. They kill it and move into a complex of tunnels guarded by archers behind arrow slits. They get past and through a door and find a goblin archer at an arrow slit and take him out.
Ahead of them is a closed door, beyond it they hear what sounds like furniture moving. Fenriz cracks the door and sees a human and a dark skinned dwarf blocking a door on the other side. The party attacks and the human goes down, but the dwarf suddenly grows to ogre size and attacks the party. Bur even with increased size and strength, the party kills him quickly. Valder heals the human and they tie him up and leave him on the floor.
The party moves deeper into the tunnels and sees a light ahead and voices. They sneak up and find large chamber dimly lit by torches. A half-orc in robes with a hand burning with arcane fire is standing with one foot on a human prisoner. At the far end on a chair or throne is a humanoid figure with large white eyes and tentacles surrounding its mouth, it is holding a small creature that looks like a brain with legs and stroking it like a cat. Orie thinks it's a mind-flayer, a seriously powerful Underdark creature. With Floon in front of them, they decide they have no choice. Valder uses Healing Ray on Floon so he will be more mobile, Barakiel drops the orc with an Eldritch Bolt. The mind flayer sends the brain monster after them while he ducks through a door and runs. The party pummels the brain creature with ranged attacks and kills it. The party spreads out to quickly search the room. Beyond the double doors, Fenriz finds another chamber with two stairs leading up and a short pillar marked with the Xanathar's guild symbol. Behind the chair is a chest with two Potions of Healing and some gold, silver and copper. The half orc has a spell book.
There are two old tapestries or curtains on the wall, concealing 10 foot square rooms or holding cells. In one is a human warrior, tied up, with his gear stacked in a corner. They free him, his name is Harker Quincey. Fenriz invites him to join their party. They take Harker and Floon and escape the chamber. On the way back, they grab the prisoner and take him to the surface. They duck into an alley and question him, but he knows very little. He claims the mind flayer was his boss in Xanathar's Guild, but is not the big boss, he's a lieutenant to Xanathar. Valder wants to turn him over the town watch to try to improve their reputation with the watch, but Fenriz points out that the watch told them not to get involved, so Barakiel kills the prisoner. They dump the body in the alley and head to the Yawning Portal to meet Volo.
Volo is there and is overjoyed that the saved Floon. But, he misled them on the payment and doesn't have enough money to give them. While the party is considering tossing him in the hole, Volo offers them an alternative, he recently purchased a small inn as part of his research effort for his next book. Valder points out his next book is supposed to be about ghosts, is the building haunted? Volo says it is, supposedly, but many inns make that claim in order to attract customers. With no alternative, they accept the deed and go to a city magistrate to witness the transaction. The magistrate waives the fees as a favor to Renaer.
The party heads to the inn, named Trollskull Manor. It's a little run down, but in decent shape. They chase out some rats and divide up the rooms. Most of the party is concerned about ghosts and decide to sleep as if they were camping out and set watches. Valder is unconcerned and sleeps all night. In the morning, everyone feels some things have been moved, but not enough to be really sure.

Silly Quotes and Smart Remarks
One night at another game, we were discussing new characters and the Demiplane of Dread, which is basically Ravenloft
Kevin "That looks like the most excellent place to vacation"

Discussing various guilds and organizations, including the Blackstaff’s enforcers
Jim “The Brute Squad!”

The author Volo is talking about his next book, which will be about ghosts, etc
Jim "Is it going to be bigger than Tobin's?

The shit bar’s barkeep was talking about upcoming repairs
MC “Indoor plumbing; it’s going to be big”
Mike “It's a pipe dream”
<mass groans>
Mike “Chmiel’s not here”

Barakiel knocks out a Kenku with the pommel of his sword
Lee “He has little birds going around his head”
Michael “He has people instead”

Jim “While he’s beating up the bird…”
Mike “Is that what he’s doing?”
Lee “I’ll be in my bunk”
Lee “Do you buttstroke the bird?”

Mike rolls a 1 for a skill check
MC “You know nothing, Jon Snow”

Callum came to the second session and played Renaer
The first round of combat starts
Lee "Yay, murder, death kill, murder, death, kill"

Checking the enemies, the dwarf is completely dead, but the human might be saved
Kevin "He's only mostly dead"

Trying to remember the name of a pub, someone suggests 'Green Dragon'
Kevin "All pubs are named the Green Dragon after you've had enough drinks"

The inn Volo offers them is the Trollskull Manor
Jim "What, did Skeletor move out?"