Chapter OneThe Journey Begins "My name is Kallrin', I am a merchant, and I am in need of some cheap sell-swords..." It was a nice enough tavern, despite to slight reek of fish that permeated the town in which it was situated. It was fairly well populated at this time of night, many of the town's men relaxing and blowing off the steam generated by a hard day's work. One table was left bare, though, save for a single elderly man dressed in the garb of the east. As he finally began to bore of waiting for those he had summoned with the poster outside, wondering if any would come at all, a slew of men and women walked in all at once. It would seem that many of the aspiring adventurers already knew one another, all but a few chatting familiarly with one another as they gathered to the table and began sitting. The old man wasted no time revealing his intentions, speaking the moment the final ass hit it's chair. "I'll be both quick and blunt. My name is Kallrin', I am a merchant, and I am in need of cheap sell-swords to escort me to Masrin City. I've been cursed to return to a Rarkonir where I am unable to ply my wares. I've never had a trouble in my life making the trip from here to Masrin, but I hear stories that chill my bones, and from sources I'm inclined to believe. So, again, as I said, sell-swords, yes; I need you all to help me get from here to Masrin, WITH my cart intact, of course. I can give you each forty silvers here and now, and sixty upon our arrival. I'll even put you up both here and there for a night. So, can I trust you're all..." Before he could finish, several of the others had already began agreeing in various ways, one shaking her head vigorously, another slamming their fists on the table in a seemingly joyous display. Before long, all had taken their silver, and retired to some rooms Kallrin' quickly ordered. Most slept restless, unable to hold back their excitement; tomorrow would be the start of a great and wonderful adventure, to be sure! "The air was crisp and nature was alive as the party approached the river..." The next day, the newly forged group of dissonant novices broke from Istek an hour after dawn, only awake long enough to gather for a quick meal, and then pack for the journey ahead of them. The road to Masrin City wasn't a particularly long one. None were in the Kingdom of Rarkonir, true be told, the realm itself slanting on the small side. No, the journey would not take long, should it be unimpeded; two or so days walk, depending on the pace. But these times were not ones of unimpeded travel. Indeed, they were times of plunder and thievery, as Kallrin' so bluntly pointed out the night before. Yes, it was true; any time spent on these roads was now trouble at the least. And at the worst? Slavery, death, even unending torture. The stories of the terrors abounding on these highways were what led the merchant to hire on the adventurers in the first place, and now, they would all see how true the stories were. Hours and hours passed uneventfully, and nearly a third of the journey to Masrin had already been completed. The group decided they would continue on till they reached the Montari River, hoping to break for camp a bit before late evening. The air was crisp and nature was alive as the party approached the river, birds and bugs filling their ears with pleasant noise. Walking in no particular formation and with far too little caution the group was startled and surprised to find, after coming over a hill in the road, a group of surprisingly well armed and armored folks. Most of our adventurers noticed the kings colors upon them, and a few even noticed the more subtle insignias some of them bore. These were soldiers, or at least they had been during the war. It was quickly becoming clear to all but Hull that these were once proud warriors turned brigand; there was even what looked to be a knight among them, dressed in fineries of red and gold. True to the assumption, he soon proved to be leading the others, stepping forward to speak to Kallrin'. Brigands (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Brigands (open) Brigands (close) "Leave th' cart and your other supplies an' I'll let you go on to Masrin. Otherwise..." The man puffed up slightly as he spoke. "Leave th' cart and your other supplies an' I'll let you go on to Masrin. Otherwise we'll slaughter ya raggedy bunch right now." He was plain enough, reaching for his weapon as he finished, his men following suit a moment later. Kallrin' quickly ran behind the cart to cower, shouting as he went "This is what I'm paying you for! A-at it! Get at it! Go!".