Heading to the Sea Ward, Arlon uses his contacts to find someone who might know more information. Approaching house Aristach, one of the many noble houses of Waterdeep, you see it surrounded by about twenty independent guards supported by ten members of the city watch. As you walk through the ward, this seems to be the house with the least security, and every single manor has at least five members of the city watch on their guard. Arlon's position in high society grants an audience with Torizio Aristach, owner of one of the banks in the Market Ward.
"About thirty guards all in all for this place. There's probably entire wards of the city that have less policing," Briga says quietly to her friends. "And this isn't even the most around here. It pays to be rich I guess." She goes along with the group.
Arlon will make the proper presentations and niceties then dive right in.
"My Lord Aristach, I know your time is precious so I'll get right to the point. Me and my friends are looking for the thief that is plaguing the ward. The Black Viper. We have been looking for any information on him / her. Could you help us help you and the Sea Ward. We would let it be known that you had a hand in the capture of course."
Lord Aristach nods and invites you into the manor. Walking in you are greeted by quite the extravagant display of pictures, and a grand staircase that leads up to a second level, but he leads you into a guest room on the first floor which has a few chairs around a table, and he takes a seat. On the table rests a box.
"Unfortunately, I've been chosen as one of the Black Viper's targets, while I was out on business - they took something rather precious to me - something of more... sentimental value. Of course, their identity is still unknown, but the Wazoo has reported that it is one of our fellow nobles! Why would someone in such a position do such a thing, aren't they well off enough that this is not necessary?" he asked angrily, not to anyone in particular. "I mean, if someone had come in from the Field Ward - that's where I would expect someone with that sort of behaviour to come from myself - the lawless section of town - but no, apparently there have been no sightings there..." he continues.
As Arlon has won the noble's good graces, Briga inquires about more information. "M'lord, areyou the one who put out the bounty on the Viper? Or do you know who is backing it? If the Black Viper has struck a number of nobles in the area, maybe several people went in on the bounty posting, and that could mean more people to interview," Briga asks. "Also, I know it's personal, but if we're to catch this thief the more information the better our chances. What specifically was taken from you, and how? Knowing more about the kind of items they are targeting and their methods can make all the difference."
"A signet ring, belonging to the house, of course, it holds some monetary value, but it's not as simple as just replacing it - it was my great great great grandfather's that has been passed through the family for generations," the Lord responds. "I believe the bounty has been posted directly by the city on this occasion, as the city watch have had no luck - and we have some of the best watchmen here - it isn't Castle Ward level, but we are the second most secure district - whoever is doing this is managing to avoid the guards," he adds. "The Waterdeep Wazoo is the city's main broadsheet newspaper, they have an office here in the Sea Ward, the person that posted that article was a Gaxley Rudderbust. He also happens to be the publisher of the newspaper," he responds in response to Tyrus and Griffdar's question.
"Not really, I mean - it is the one passed through the family, but isn't the one which we use for the seal - that is independently made for each member. There have been other nobles that have had gems stolen, jewellery, nothing that would harm business, just things that might make a few coins," Lord Aristach replies.
"When did you notice the ring missing? Do you have any idea of how the theft was done? A thief who blends in, through invitation or disguise - a confidence man - is a different method from someone who climbs in the window and picks locks - a second story man, a B&E artist," Briga proudly drops jargon she's heard from the watch to sound competent, and assure the noble of their experience. "A really skilled thief could employ both methods. Knowing how they took the items is helpful, in any case."
"I was out at the time, though some of the other nobles know of the Black Viper's reputation, they're not only a thief but an assassin, at least according to the stories - but these stories are over a century old! But one thing is for sure, apparently, this Black Viper character can put up a fight as well," the Lord says in response.