Set to parchment this 28th day, the last of the winter’s month of Tera, in 1332 the year of the Standard….
Here they wait, our heroes, in the grand hall of the Archemaine Explorer’s Society Guildhall, upon the final interview for hire. The Grand Expeditions Project, as their soon to be employers have named this joint effort between the Society and the infamous wizard’s academy, Redhurst, is an opportunity of a lifetime. What better employment, I ask you? Paid a prince’s fee for living in a sumptuous Inn, living lavishly while waiting for the letter of assignment. Sent upon adventures, with the knowledge that any potential injury would be taken care of. Who among us would not jump at the chance for such an offer.
So it is, that among the nine folk in this hall, sitting in the plush, leather covered throne-like chairs, that Dorak – the cunning Bitori Dwarf with an eye for spotting danger, Iz’Alma – the human of Portuagai Espanish descent and her entourage of invisible haunts, Falko – the Western Bantami Halfling, a sweet song dancing through his mind, and Cleric Calen – representative of The Great Church, all await word of assignment to their team. They wonder which of these persons gathered here in the rich wood-paneled room, with its inlay and carvings, decorated with culture-rich mementos of past expeditions, will be the people whose lives theirs shall depend on in the weeks, months, or even years to come.
Motes of dust float aimlessly across the shafts of heavy morning sun streaking through the high windows. A wayward feather seems to hover above, carried uncannily upon unseen hands when the representatives of the Project enter the room. Preceded by a huge knight covered in glossy red-laquered plate armor, march three persons, quite different from one another as if a mother duck were trailed behind by a grandfather goose and a sleek black falcon. A unique trio, for a fact.
The mother duck, as it were, is Juliette LaCrosse, who introduces herself as the assistant to the Assistant Senior Explorer. She in turn introduces her companions, Headmaster Andarlin, a doddering old palsy-ridden wizard, who appears as infirm of mind as he is of aging body. Perhaps he has some sort of magical aid for his dementia as well, for the chair that bore him into the room floated and emitted magic motes, like some enchanted chariot. With great sadness it does my heart to see such a once-powerful and gifted wizard become stricken so low by his own longevity.
The final of the trio has been accounted for, by name of Kypris Zarakis, a foreigner of the Ionian race, those ancient peoples who revere not the Lords of Heaven and their pantheon, but a long dead pantheon of outdated and unbelievable gods, who were said to have resided atop the sacred mountain called Olympus. This warrior woman Kypris, a stern and battle-worn veteran from the looks of her weary and scarred face, says little during this interview, but her keen eyes survey and no doubt judge the worthiness of the prospective team members.
I will not bore you now with the details of the meeting, suffice to say that certain rules of conduct and the particulars of compensation are now discussed. This is followed by a brief question and answer section, and I must report my personal disappointment in most the candidate’s lack of inquiry here. Do they not know the importance regarding the particulars of the contract they are about to sign? This chronicler thinks not. But perhaps all is to the best. Ignorance, some do profess, is indeed bliss.
A sumptuous banquet follows the induction, wherein our newest members are privy to the company of many more of the Project’s members, incuding the entire Team Purpur (Team Seven, who wear purple sashes or baldrics). Sir Thomas Brockville, a knight errant leads the Purpur, who consist of the Necromancer Photi (pronounced “fish”) of Marrow Downs, Ser Manter the Good, a noble paladin of the Great Church, Charask Bonesnapper, who, despite his mixed Nokol-Orai blood, seems a good enough fellow (he must be if Sir Thomas and Ser Manter tolerate him as they do). The last of this team is the wily Phillipe de la Roza, who hails from the East, and when I last saw him at the event, he was exiting the feast hall with a lady under each arm, that mangy devil.
The morning next, our heroes (Dorak, Is’Alma, Falko and Cleric Calen) receive missives regarding an audience with their new team captain. The captain, it turns out, is none other than our own Kypris, who has hand selected this team. Although it is not known by myself her reasons for choosing these four, but, Kypris has my faith, as well as the trust of her superiors. The meeting takes place at Warehouse 13, one of the Project’s secure meeting sites. The band, now known as Team thirty seven, the Argent, Sable and Or (white, black and gold team), has been given their first assignment. A deal of travel will be involved, but several members of the team are at least slightly familiar to the region, so no issues should arise on the subject of getting lost.
It seems a holy relic, one of the remaining five Skylark Statues, has gone missing. The Skylark was on loan from the Eyrie Shrine in the small village of Stahl, being sent south a few miles for the Invocation Ceremony to create another of Urian’s Eyrie Shrines in the quaint little outpost of Laedersburg.
The Skylark Statue never made it into the hands of skylark’s wing Ara (skylark’s wing is the Urianeth title and form of address), in Laedersburg. The relic itself, although rare and holy (and required for the Ritual of Sanctification), is of little consequence to the Project. The fact that a magical antiquity might have been stolen is quite another matter. Such thieves abound in the land, and if they are collecting artifacts in some ambitious plot against the Kingdoms, they may have acquired other relics or artifact to achieve their goals, and this thought is certainly within the realm of the Project’s purview.
Additionally, this mission will give the newly formed team a bit of time to acquaint themselves to each other, and test their mettle and skills during the investigation. Plans are made to set upon the road to the City of Montaigne upon the morrow, the first day of Shal. Although it is an auspicious time for travel, with the moon Faro in hiding from his rival, Alimus the sun, the blessing of Faro’s daughter, Kismé, graces the travelers, for though she is still slender, the small beautiful moon is waxing full. With any luck, the Three Sorrows shall be uneventful this Shal, and perhaps observance of The First Sorrow might take place at the magnificent Cathedral of the Great Church in Montaigne.