As you step onto the teleportation ring, destined to go to the Soulforge in the middle city, you get a strange feeling as you phase out. When you arrive, you notice the Arch Magus grinning at you.
“This isn’t the soulforge. Sorry to sabotage you like that. We need to speak privately. Come.”
This region of the city seems remarkably opulent. It’s also bustling with activity. Robed figures in pointy hats are running to and from rooms, sometimes in groups arguing loudly with each other. There are several teleportation rooms here as well. You conclude that you must be in the magic quarter of the middle city.
The Arch Magus leads you to a private room. The velvet carpet and drapes are accented by smooth brushed metal furniture that molds itself to fit your body as you sit.
“You probably never had access to this stuff. It’s a metal we call Velum. The metal is a byproduct of our mining operation. It seems to know what its owner wants and molds itself to meet that desire. It also enhances the quality of whatever it is alloyed with. The last trivium is that this stuff enhances magical abilities. This is why I’ve restarted our mining operations.
I’ll be candid since we’re speaking privately. I don’t trust the 935 year old bastard that sits at the head of the council. This Pelorian zealot has been constantly making poor decisions with little clarity of vision. The bastard sacrificed so many of what’s left of us humans to bring you fools from the mainland to our very own private slice of hell.”
The Arch Magus exhales and looks at the characters who aren’t human.
“I’m surprised he even brought you here – after the war, we became isolated and xenophobic, and with good reason too! The corruption seemed to affect non-humans more than humans, and so by isolating us from everyone else, we kept ourselves safe…at least for a while. Now the corruption has found us here. Our xenophobia may have kept us safe, but now it’s trapped us here with nowhere left to go.
But I digress. Cornelius is mainly a figurehead at this point. He’s so old that I feel he’s beginning to become senile. His decision to close the mines was a thinly veiled attempt to limit the power of us mages. He loves his power as much as he loves his Lord God. Because of this, I reopened the mines in secret. My mages teleported in using the ring that we constructed right before the mine was shut down. We’ve been porting miners to and from instead of maintaining an air tunnel between the city and the mine. Cornelius and the other council members are none the wiser.
The corruption, it turns out, is very real and very dangerous. It manifests itself in a multitude of ways so horrific that I cannot bear describing them to you. I’ve instructed my spellswords to not let anyone into or out of the lower city without my explicit written permission. I will give this to you, if you will do me a favor in return.
We’ve recently lost contact with the miners, and we cannot teleport in. We don’t know why or how this is happening, but my guess is that the corruption has hit the mine. I need you to get in there and find out what’s happening. You won’t be able to get in directly, so you’ll need to cross through the water ward and walk into the mine. To prevent you from getting crushed to death immediately, secure Waterdeep Suits from the Armory. There should be enough for each of you.”
The Arch Magus waves his hands, conjuring a quill and parchment. He scribbles some words and symbols onto the parchment. When he signs, the ink disappears. The parchment itself then transforms into a coin bearing his profile. He hands the party leader the coin.