Arlon Bladeshaper took control of the Nashers during the period of confusion and disorganization among the Sons of Alagondar that followed the sudden and brutal death of the previous leader, Cymril. Bladeshaper claims to be the great-grandson of one of the original Neverwinter Nine, and uses this claim to assert that he has more right to rule Neverwinter than Neverember does.
True or not, many of the Sons of Alagondar are willing to believe Bladshaper's claim, if only out of their hatred for Neverember. Furthermore, with Cymril dead and the Sons of Alagondar as a whole leaderless, more and more Sons are starting to agree with the Nashers' violent methods, seeing it as the only way to truly make progress towards their ideal version of Neverwinter.
Although the Blacklake District stands largely intact in the wake of the various disasters that laid Neverwinter low, those who inhabit the district have violently resisted Lord Neverember's plans to resettle it. The Nashers, a more violent faction of the anti-Neverember Sons of Alagondar, have claimed the area for themselves, daring Neverember's soldiers and mercenaries to try to take it from them by force.
As if the Nashers weren't enough of a problem by themselves, there are rumors that a secret society of devil-worshipers operates in the Blacklake District, where they slowly infiltrate the ranks of both the Nashers and Neverember's troops. Reports of kidnappings are common, and in the southern end of the district one can even find diabolic symbols left as graffiti on the walls of the crumbling buildings.
There is much to be done if the Blacklake District is to be safe for Neverwinter's civilians once more.
The lake for which the Blacklake District was named still sits in the center of the district. However, it has been utterly polluted by ash and debris from the eruption of Mount Hotenow, as well as by filth and rubbish from the vagabonds and vagrants who make their homes in nearby ruined houses. The lake looks more like a midden pit of thick, black sludge these days than a body of water.
Hazel the Alchemist, working from nearby the lake, has been studying the sludge. Although her findings were inconclusive, she suspected that the sludge had somehow become composed of something else beyond what she had expected. It had strange, almost magical properties, although where such properties could have come from is a mystery.
Location: Examine the graffiti on the wall in Lakeside.
Every so often, someone leaves graffiti painted on the wall of a crumbling building in the southern Blacklake District. The graffiti never seems to be in a recognizable language, but is rather composed of unsettling symbols and icons reminiscent of diabolic evil. It is these symbols the fuel many of the rumors that a cult devil-worshipers makes its home in the Blacklake District... rumors which persist despite Neverember's best efforts to dispel them.
Humankind in Neverwinter has a strong tradition of honor and self-sacrifice. Every citizen is raised with at least a grudging respect for their nobility. In turn the nobility, at least those members deserving of the term, seeks to better the lives of the citizens. This admittedly flawed caste system has served Neverwinter for hundreds of years. What it lacks in equality, it makes up for in comfortable predictability.
Ghaunadaur, also known as The Elder Eye and That Which Lurks, is a greater deity and the god of abominations. This monstrous deity demands that his followers' prayers to him come coupled with the sacrifice of a living being, particularly delighting in creatures that offer themselves to him without resistance. To curry his favor, many of his priests use mind-affecting magics on potential sacrifices in order to ensure such a level of compliance.
There are secret, subterranean alters and cults to The Elder Eye all over Toril, but to have such a powerful worshiper in the middle of Neverwinter, even in it's ruined state, is strange. it appears that the Ghaunadaur priest was not attracted by the Black sludge, but that the sludge was transformed by Ghaundaur's power. It's unclear if the priest was working alone, or if he is part of something larger.
This seems to be a note containing orders from Karzov:
Yes, I'm aware that the Dead Rats are behind Gothwan's disappearance, and no, I definitely don't think that it's a coincidence. Of course they're after the Crown. But they're also our allies, as much as a gang of criminals can be our allies. Moving against them openly would do us far more harm than good. Not only would we lose their assistance in our smuggling operations, but fighting the Dead rats would leave us open to Neverember's thugs. So, you see our problem.
We'd be fools to expect that the Dead Rats had anything but their own ends in mind when they offered to ally with us, but sadly, there are more important things at stake here than Gothwan's life. When the Nashers take the throne of Neverwinter, we will have our revenge. But for today at least, we must let the Rats live.
Though halflings in the past banded together to form whole cities and kingdoms of their own, most live today in small communities within larger multi-racial societies. The mutual advantages of this arrangement are many, but halflings often must explain them to less socially responsible talls. While it is true that they are physically diminutive, the average halfling is exceedingly industrious and socially responsible.
The talls might not see the benefit of shrewd merchants, sharp eyed constables, and diligent "craftlings", but any city is invariably enhanced by the presence of a halfling community.
Karzov is the second-in-command of the Nashers, the top lieutenant to the faction's true leader Arlon Bladeshaper. A crafty but violent man, Karzov has never hesitated to use both subtlety as well as outright force in his plans. Famously, he once organized a very damaging riot to distract the Neverwinter Guard while he and a handful of other Nashers assassinated one of the guard's high-ranking officers.
It is well-known that Karzov is in charge of the Nasher takeover of Blacklake. His motives for doing this were not understood, however, until he masterminded the theft of the Crown of Neverwinter. With Bladeshaper nowhere to be found, it is unclear whether Karzov is acting as part of a larger Nasher plot, or if this is the first step in some sort of coup.
The Pretender would like it if people forgot their past. But we remember! We call ourselves Nashers in memory of Lord Nasher Alagondar, the ruler of Neverwinter's golden age. He saw the city through war and tragedy and ruled fairly and wisely. In his memory we fight against the Lord Pretender, Neverember, and his Waterdhavian invaders. Long live Neverwinter! Down with the Pretender!
Neverwinter needs all the help it can get, but there are some out there who see our city's misfortune as an excuse to act like animals.
The Nashers claim to be rebels. They claim that they fight for the people. But look closely, and you'll see that they're little better than criminals preying upon the very people they claim to protect!
They have no plans for the future, no ideas to rebuild the city, and no solutions that don't involve a sword. Do not be fooled by these false patriots.
The Nashers are a violent faction of the anti-Neverember resistance group known as the Sons of Alagondar. These rebel factions all swear loyalty to Neverwinter alone, and see Neverember as a Pretender who is unworthy to rule. Most of the rebels are young men and women who grew up in Neverwinter during it's period of lawlessness, after it was largely abandoned. they have been reared on the stories of the city's former glory, but have always lived in the shadows of its ruins.
Of the rebel factions, the Nashers are among the most vicious in their methods. led by the towering Uthgardt warrior Karzov, they seem more like a gang than a movement, and often clash with other rebel factions over their methods. the Nashers have no qualms about using rioting, assassination, theft, and sabotage as weapons against Neverember, no matter how many innocent civilians are hurt by their actions.
For years following the Spellplauge and cataclysm, Neverwinter was a lawless, violent ruin. To survive in the streets of this fallen city, otherwise law-abiding citizens were forced to steal to eat. Now that order has returned, many of those whose morals had lapsed wish to put their past behind them. Others do not.
Stealth, precision, deception, and cunning are the qualities of a rouge. It is how these skill are applied that determines whether the individual is a thief and outlaw, or an asset to the people of Neverwinter. Heroes often rise from the shadows, after all.
This appears to be a letter from Arlon Bladeshaper to Karzov:
If what you say about Gothwan is true, then we can no longer plan to smuggle the Crown out of Blacklake through he sewers. The Rats would certainly betray us and try to take it, and would certainly succeed since the sewers are their home turf. You'll have to sit tight and hold out against Neverember's soldiers for a little while longer while I figure out another way to get the Crown out of Blacklake.
I know you would rather I abandon the other plans I'm working on and just come to Blacklake personally. We've had this discussion before, and my answer is still the same. I'm working closely with our... other allies on these plans, and they wouldn't be happy if I abandoned them. And considering how much we need them right now, I want to keep them happy.
The Rats' betrayal, while we should have expected it, is an unfortunate delay. But if you can keep control of Blacklake until we can smuggle the Crown out of there, it will all be worth it. I will set the Crown upon my brow, and Neverember's lies will be laid bare for all to see. The Nashers will take control of all of Neverwinter, and we will reclaim the city's former glory!
The Dead Rats are a ruthless gang of wererats who have burrowed into Neverwinter's filthy underbelly, running their criminal organization out of the sewers near Blacklake. The gang recruits from among the regions's scum, infecting new members with lycanthropy to ensure their loyalty.
The Dead rats claim that they were once part of the infamous Dead Rats thieves' guild of Luskan, but left after a falling out caused a divide within the gang. This claim has yet to be either substantiated or disproven, but it would explain the gang's sudden appearance and immediate success in their various criminal ventures.
The violent rebel faction known as the Nashers have recently claimed all of the Blacklake District as their own territory, preventing Neverember's troops from providing any aid to those trapped inside.
Thus far the Nashers have used their superior knowledge of the District's layout to evade, ambush, and confound Neverember's troops, but certainly they must know that they cannot hold out forever. The question remains, then, what do they hope to accomplish? Do they simply see their occupation of Blacklake as a symbolic resistance? Or do they have other plans?
Lord Nasher Alagongar, the greatest Lord of Neverwinter ever to have lived, made his name in a battle against a minotaur. Although he was at a disadvantage, although the minotaur was larger and stronger, Nasher Alagandar's determination won the day! He slew the great beast with a sword thrust through the eye. We honor him, and we take as our symbol the image of the slain minotaur.
We shall win through. We shall create a free Neverwinter!