Set to parchment this 3rd day of the Month of Sorrows, in 1332 the year of the Standard….
Ah but what a beginning it is. Five solid heroes, taking their first steps together, as a group. Their moniker is GE the 37th, and though they hold the animosities that anyone would normally keep towards one another – this disparate and unlikely gathering of companions still have found measure to deal, nay thrive, amongst one another.
The trip to Montaigne is a hurried affair, Kypris wants to make the normally four day journey in but three long days. Other than a late start on the morning of the second, due to a misunderstanding on the watch schedule, the trip passes without incident, and the team members arrive in Montaigne safely, albeit quite hungry, primarily due to their observance of The Three Sorrows, and a daily fast during the hours in which Alimus the sun doth shine in the skies.
The East Gate into Montaigne holds our heroes in a bit of delay, despite the lateness of the hour. But fortunately, the Gatesman has directed our heroes to the home of a relative of his, and these cousins-in-law provide a fine evening of rest and hearty food, filling the bellies of the new team, and bringing peace and joy to their hearts after a hard three day’s trek along the Kingsroad. The evening presently passes with the entertainment of Falko’s delightful strumming and Iz’Alma’s true talent… her uncanny oracular skills. The card readings provide an eerie look into the lives of the simple townsfolk, and provide a warning to the eldest son Charlie. Should the lad pursue his current romantic passions, heartache and hardship might prove the bitter fruits of his labors.
The morning of the Third Day, the Day of the First Sorrow, sees Cleric Calen leading the group from shrine to shrine, his dedication to service to his faith calling him onward, until he discovers a small shrine, poorly staffed and in great need of services by way of tending a small flock of orphans too numerous for the shrine’s simple team of one Cleric, one Priest, and one Deacon. The heroes gladly volunteer to watch over the poor children, which proves a challenging task.
Iz’ Alma, feeling the pull of her father’s sword, steps away from the small shrine to contemplate her daunting task. All she feels during her meditation is the look on her father’s face, the deep regret furrowed on his brow, and the great relief that shone in his eyes when she agreed to take up his family sword, agreeing to the task he bid of her.
Working with the children reminds Falko of his own, tragic time in the orphanage, lo those many years ago, back in the Westerlands. He battles with his feelings regarding the loss of his adopted mother, and the child she bore that day who took her life. How cruel it is of the gods, he thinks, that his wastrel brother was allowed to live, and that not even the Maker’s Gifts could save his good mother, who’d done no harm to any man. But then the struggle inside his mind is pulled forward and out into the shrine, when Kypris informs the group that she will be taking them all to dinner that eve, and they all have an important matter to discuss.
“It were a blessing to me,” Dorak says in the confines of the back, secured room, of the Lucky Coin Tavern, “that a chile happened to run off from the group. For if that wee one had not strayed from the flock, I’d not ha’ overheard a most foul conversation between the priest here at this chapel, and one…” Dorak swallows bitterly, as if what is about to say is rotten in his mouth. “…Phtyan scum. The subject of their dark barter was the very lives of several of the orphans. The priest were selling a few of the wee ones, to be taken in the night by kidnappers, nay slavers… for a bit o’ coin to pad the coffers of the chapel and let the fat holies sup but a few more nights.”
Dorak barely holds back spitting a glob of his ire onto the wooden floor.
It is a grave charge in deed, and a desperate situation for our heroes. Although this vile contract between a stained holy man and a vile slaver from the Empire has naught to do with the Grand Expedition, each of our heroes, for heroes they are, are outraged and determined to stop this horrid plan.
I cannot tell you, o reader, what transpires next. For these events have not yet occurred. But as soon as our heroes form a plan, and execute it, I promise you that ye shall indeed be the first informed of my report.
Ever your servant, to spread truth over gossip,