In a new series of articles, we hope to highlight a few neighborhoods in our city.  In this first installment, we are taking a look at the resurgent Trollskull Alley. 

T1 - Trollskull Manor
The very first business marked at T1 on the map is the Trollskull Manor, which has reopened the tavern and is featured in another article in this week's Gazette. The manor has a storied past, which is detailed in that article. Newly renovated it is the best place to stop and have an ale and a sandwich for your day in the alley.

T2 - The Bent Nail
A small wooden sign above the shop's main door is bare except for a large, bent nail sticking out of it. The front room contains displays of ornate wooden furniture, as well as a selection of bows and crossbows. The wall behind the counter is lined with rows of finely carved wooden canes, quarterstaffs, and shields.
Talisolvannar "Tally" Fellbranch, the owner and chief artisan of the Bent Nail, is a male half-elf carpenter and woodcarver. Some of the services you will find include wooden weapons, shields, furniture and sculptures.

T3 - Steam and Steel
During the daylight hours, smoke and steam billow from the many windows around this indoor forge where metal weapons, armor, and tools are made. The forge is owned and operated by a married couple: a fire genasi named Embric and a water genasi named Avi. Both are members of the Most Careful Order of Skilled SMiths and Metalforgers. As an armorer, Avi also belongs to the Splendid Order of Armorers, Locksmiths, and Finesmiths.
Embric tends the forge and is an expert weaponsmith. He claims to descent from the efreet of Calimshan.

T4 - Corellon's Crown
Fala Lefaliir, an outgoing wood elf with long braided hair, an herbalist, and a member of the Guild of Apothecaries and Physicians, operates out of this stately, three-story townhouse, the third floor of which has been converted into a greenhouse. Its translucent glass walls allow anyone on the street to see the rainbow of flowers blossoming within.

T5 - Tiger's Eye
This is a private detectives business that is unremarkable from the outside. Its only distinguishing mark is an orange and black sign featuring a cat's eyes. Inside is a dimly lit apartment illuminated by flickering oil lamps. The door is locked, so you will have to knock or ring to be let in by Vincent Trench, a human who is always sharply dressed.

T6 - Book Wyrms Treasure
The front of this bookstore is adorned with a charming sign of a gold dragon curled around a treasure hoard of books and scrolls. Inside, the shop is decorated with beautiful hardwood, and the earthy scent of old books permeates the air. The library fills two floors of this three-story building, and it somehow seems to contain more shelves than the building should be able to hold.
The shop is managed by Rishaal the Page Turner, who is a Dragonborn of gold dragon ancestry.

 

Trollskull manor has changed hands again, and it seems the new owners have stirred up the past. Everyone in the North Ward is familiar with the history of the manor and the number of attempts to reopen the establishment. Ever since the horrific discoveries 20 years ago, when the building housed an orphanage, it has reopened as an Inn with a tavern and a public house. The inn failed to keep the rooms filled with patrons, and the tavern seemed to be unable to keep a bartender. First was the mysterious "natural" death of barman Teags. Then later, the jovial barkeep known as Lif disappeared shortly before the doors were shut for the last time 12 years ago. So we thought.

Now a group of adventures seems to think they can reopen the tavern. It has come to our attention that while repairs were taking place in the basement, the remains of three children were discovered. No doubt, they were more victims of Esther. The witnesses pointed out that not long before they had been stuck in the basement with one of the new proprietors were unable to lift the cellar door even with help from others above. One of the workers was quoted as saying, "You couldn't get me back in the building if I were hiding from a pack of Kobolds." He went on to say that "There is more going on there than the living should ever have to endure."

Finally, a carpenter recently fell to his death as his ladder splintered while working on the molding at the top of the taproom walls. One of his fellow carpenters noted that the ladder looked as if it had been smashed with an axe even though no one was near him. The proprietors then ran into the basement where they were heard, making a great deal of noise even though there was not anyone else known to be in the basement.

The strangeness does not stop there. Another witness pointed out that the Tiefling was limping around and was seen with fresh bandages on his leg the same morning that estimates were needed on an exterior wall that had been destroyed the night before. I am not sure what happened, but one of the workers heard him say to one of his partners that "...evidently I look like a rat."

Despite the setbacks, the work is still underway. It looks like they might be making progress on the building and have a chance of opening the doors. Hopefully, they can keep on a barkeep because the Trullskull manor has not treated them well in the past.

Axle Tones, Waterdeep. -  There may indeed have been an arrow fired from the shadowed hill 38 years ago, and it could likely have been the arrow that killed Prince Jak F. Kendery, according to a new acoustical study.

“The bowstring-like sounds occur exactly synchronous with the time of the shooting," states Thomas Tracey, author of the report which was reviewed and published in the Faêrun Gazette, a journal published in Waterdeep.

Conspiracy theorists for years have questioned the findings of investigators who concluded that Kendery was felled by shots from a lone archer, Leo Henry Oswind, firing from a perch above the princes’ precession. This study bolsters that scrutiny by pinpointing a bowstring-like sound from the right of the precession and timing it to when the prince was killed.

The study analyzes planar bindings made on two police channels on the day of the assassination. One was created when a gaard in the princes’ coach inadvertently left a binding on. Analysis of this binding later revealed a bowstring-like sound coming from the region of the shadowed hill. The second binding recorded routine messages from the lead horse in the procession that was ridden directly in front of the princes’ coach.

Words Overlooked?

Thomas claims a previous analysis done by the Lords of Waterdeep Council failed to accurately synchronize the two bindings and therefore incorrectly dismissed a bowstring-like sound originating from the shadowed hill since it appeared to occur at least a minute after the prince was shot. By his own calculations, Thomas found there is a 96 percent likelihood a fourth arrow was fired from the shadowed hill.

Despite the new findings, Ramsey, an Arcane University psychic and lead author of the analysis, says he's still confident about his team's conclusions. 

"We are very confident about our findings," Ramsey said. "Our calculations showed the timing of the arrow was late — it occurred after the president was shot."

But Thomas, who conducts his research on the assassination independently from his work as an entomologist with a Castle Ward branch of the Waterdeep Gaard, claims Ramsey's team overlooked a key excerpt in the bindings.

On both bindings a gaard identified as Sgt. S.Q. Bellah is heard to say: "You want me to hold this traffic on Stemmons until we find out something, or let it go?"

Thomas believes Bellah's words occur in both bindings more than a minute after the shootings because a phenomenon is known as cross-talk. Cross-talk happens when a binding, picked up by another binding, causes interference and is repeated at the same time over more than one binding.

After aligning the timing of the two bindings according to Bellah's cross-talk and after accommodating what Thomas determined was a 5 percent slower recording rate in one of the bindings, Thomas finds the bowstring-like sound from the shadowed hill is heard exactly at the moment the final shot was fired and the prince was killed.

Thomas' work attempts to bolster the findings of a council investigation that concluded Kendery’s murder was "probably … the result of a conspiracy" since the alleged shadowed hill archer and Oswind, who was accused of firing three arrows from a perch at a nearby building, would have had to fire within a split-second sequence.

Trollskull Manor has changed hands many a time, but its darkest master was an old crone by the Esther Greybrow. She repurposed the manor into an orphanage, welcoming the lost and unfortunate into her home. By all outside accounts, she was a sweet, loving widow—but to her charges, the woman was cruel and sadistic. It would shock all Trollskull Alley to learn that a hag had crept in amongst the flock and had been slaughtering the lambs one by one.


Nothing delighted Esther more than to trap these children in a cannibalistic nightmare from which there was no escape. At the height of this debauchery, she had eighteen orphans, but never all the same by month's end. Whenever the City Watch came a-knocking, Esther insisted the child ran away, but the orphans knew the black truth, although far too late—for no matter how dire things got, no matter how cold the winter, no matter how many coppers had to be pinched, Esther could always scrounge up some meat for the weekly stew.


Esther would face justice one day, but the shadow of her crimes has haunted Trollskull Manor ever since. The souls of her victims can never find rest, and a sliver of her evil yet stalks the halls.


(Sourced from The Haunting of Trollskull Manerby Wyatt Trull)

Axle Tones, Waterdeep - In what the City Gaard is calling an isolated incident Halazar's Fine Gems in the Sea Ward was burglarized over night.  The Gaard claims that there is no connection to what appear to be similar cases at Taurntyrith Adornments in the North Ward, Baltorr's Rare & Wondrous Treasures in Castle Ward and Krabbellor Silversmiths in the South Ward.   It is noteworthy that in each case the only thing taken were the bookkeeping records in at least 3 of these 4 incidents.  

 What is not clear is how these records could be of any use to anyone other than organized criminals.  The records would only account for the incoming and outgoing purchases and sales. Each of these establishments specialize in rare objects, jewels and precious metals.  So why would even organized criminals want to track these types of records?   

 Some theorize they are looking for patterns of who is selling large amounts of these expensive commodities. Could someone have uncovered one of the fabled lost treasures?  Are the criminals covering their own tracks by taking the records?  Supposedly Waterdeep has no thieves guild however many suspect that there underground networks of thrives operating in the city.  

 I would argue that the Masked Lords are setting us up for a collapse of our economy. This would put the citizens of Waterdeep at their mercy relying on the generosity of the nobility.  Image an entire populace who were unwittingly enslaved by their masked overlords.   The majority of the public would go about their business thinking they were acting on their own accord.  Meanwhile the City Gaards Griffin Calvary fly above the city dropping who knows what magic substances on a unwitting populace?  It is time for our people to wake up and not accept this tyranny disguised as an oligarchy.