First Day of the Month of Tarsakh, in the Year 1486 of the Dale Reckoning, (a year after the War of the Silver Marches).
Highsun, (noon-tide) in the City of Waterdeep, Dock Ward…
The adventurers are each invited to the renowned adventurer's tavern Selune's Smile, in the Dock Ward. They are gathered by special invitation from the enigmatic ranger Jardwim, a follower of Mielikki, for a special mission on behalf of the Blackstaff of Waterdeep. Jardwim also recounts stories of the adventuring company of the Gray Hands. The Gray Hands are the special forces of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep; often unpopular because their methods are hard-hitting and unconventional; many die or retire early.
Travel to the hunting village of Nightstone, about 3 days travel by horse from Waterdeep; investigate why there has had no communication with the locals, (divination magic has provided no answers) and what has happened to Lady Velrosa Nandar, High Steward of Nightstone as well as what has happened to the villagers, if need be, offer aid and protection then report back at all costs.
Jardwim offers the adventurer's provisional membership in the Grey Hands of Waterdeep, a special unit that handles special high-threat missions that are out of the scope of the City Watch or City Guard of Waterdeep. They are to be paid a monthly stipend and receive all the privileges of membership in the adventuring company once they succeed in their mission.
As surety, Jardwim offers the party a small wooden token with the painted symbol of a gray hand, that can be used to obtain gear and equipment for their journey, but which must be returned once the mission is complete. Jardwim provisions the party with riding horses and basic supplies for their journey. He warns them to be vigilant, as magical divinations have also proven unsuccessful in yielding much information.
3 Tarsakh, Highsun.
The company discover that the settlement of Nightstone has been attacked, (massive boulders litter the town and damage to parts of the palisade). The inhabitants appear missing or captured by unknown forces. The eponymous 'Nightsone' that gives the town its name, (a large black rune-carved monolith that was in the town square) is uprooted and missing.
The adventurers confront a small tribe of goblins that appear to be pillaging and looting the unprotected town; and they discover a lone survivor who goes by the name of Kella Darkhope, soon she is joined by a gang of armed men, "the Seven Snakes." The adventurers confront and kill the bandits, and Kass uses her Yuanti charm to seduce the winged snake to her service. They capture Kella Darkhope, who is revealed to be an agent of the Zhentarrim.