-The Emerald Enclave
Dedicated to maintaining balance in the natural order and combating the forces that threaten that balance. Members of the enclave live in the wilderness or in small communities, and the order has almost no representatives in towns and cities. They are not opposed to civilization, however. Rather, they seek to prevent civilization and wilderness from harming one another.
The secret society known as the Harpers has been disbanded and rebuilt several times over its long history. The latest incarnation of the group retains its focus on gathering information, keeping a close watch on the balance of power in Faerun, and promoting fairness and equality in quiet, unobtrusive ways. Harpers try to keep out of the public eye, preferring secrecy to fame and using knowledge to win the day over brute force.
-The Order of the Gauntlet
The Order shares the Harpers’ dedication to justice and equality, but their methods and attitud eare quite different. Bearers of the gauntlet are holy warriors on a righteous quest to crush evil and promote justice, and they never hide in the shadows. Evil must be opposed openly and vanquished in the light of day, so that all can see and be emboldened by its destruction.
The Lords’ Alliance” is not a metaphor. This organization was created and is led by leaders and nobles from across Faerfln. Although many of its members have conflicting goals and long-standing rivalries outside the alliance, they band together in the face of events that are too big for any of them to handle on their own. The rulers of Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Baldur’s Gate, and other cities, families, and trading houses of the Sword Coast might never set aside their differences, but they can pull together when the survival of all depends on it.
Also known as the Black Networ, is a loose affiliation of merchants, mercenaries, and malefactors. Common folk know the Zhentarim as the people to talk to when you need the best guards or mercenaries money can buy. And if the cargo is shady or the cause you’re fighting for is questionable or even unjust, the Zhentarim don’t mind.
At the Second Council of Waterdeep, the adventurers see two new faces. Lord Neverember has been replaced as Open Lord of Waterdeep by Lady Laeral Silverhand, who now sits at the head of the council table. Dagult sits to her right, alongside a human female introduced as Elia.
The delegates discuss the raids in their various domains after receiving the characters’ report, providing flavor for the ongoing activities of the cult and giving a clear impression that the situation is escalating.
In response to the fate of Wyrmspeaker Varram, most are pleased with capturing Varram, the Emerald Enclave is nonplussed, believing that capturing him only complicates matters. Varram has already demonstrated a willingness to corrupt the natural order, making a trial excessive and potentially opening the door to a rescue attempt.
The Arcane Brotherhood are powerful allies, and all are pleased if the party wins their allegiance with the exception of the Order of the Gauntlet. Ontharr Frume knows that the Arcane Brotherhood does not police its members in what kinds of knowledge they pursue, and that they tolerate many evil wizards in their company. Bringing the Arcane Brotherhood into the alliance doesn’t lose Frume’s respect, but neither does it earn it.
Delaan Winterhound of the Emerald Enclave is involved with investigations into recent dragon attacks in the Misty Forest. King Melandrach waves away Delaan’s concerns, saying that dragon attacks in the area have stopped since his elves increased their patrols and fortified their positions.
During the council, the adventurers are introduced to the silver dragon Otaaryliakkarnos, in her human guise as Elia. She bears an invitation from the metallic dragons to a council of their own, and the council delegates ask the adventurers to attend.