Death Reaver and Sorceron struggled to man the rigging and rudder of the ship as it finally pulled into port in Forest Dale. So many of their friends had died at the hands of the sailing Drow. Eland… drown. Poppy… drown while water breathing, Frank… drown and throat cut, Dash… drown while sleeping at the hands of Death Reaver.
The mace of St. Cuthbert… lost to the Drow. The Eye of Baccob… lost to the Drow. The entire crew of the Adventurer’s Pride… dead. All the ship’s provisions and gear… looted.
It was an epic encounter with the Drow, and Death Reaver and Sorceron barely scraped through with their lives.
“Hey Sorceron… I just thought of something,” Death Reaver said as Sorceron was pulling down the sails, “St. Cuthbert is really going to be pissed at Loth… and us I suppose. I may need to stop pretending to be a follower of St. Cuthbert for a while.”
Just then, a voice appeared in Death Reaver’s head, it said “HI CANT REACH FRANK STOP TRYING YOU INSTEAD STOP HAVE SOME FREE TIME STOP MEET ME AT THE TINY HAT INN IN FOREST DALE BYE”
Death Reaver felt a sudden panic. He didn’t know about our losing the Eye after telling him it was in our possession and on the way did he? He chose to respond to the sending, “FRANK DEAD STOP EYE LOST TO DROW STOP CAN YOU BELIEVE IT SAILING DROW STOP IVE NEVER SEEN SUCH A THING STOP SEE YOU IN.” The spell ended its effect before he could finish.
Once the ship was moored at the dock, Death Reaver and Sorceron made their way to the Tiny Hat inn. They had to ask directions several times before finding it. It was located on the outskirts of town in a converted farm house. The inn featured a central pit where wizards and sorcerers would duel. The heroes found a seat and ordered some sausages and roast foul, the specials of the day. Sorceron placed and lost a few bets before Randolph finally showed up and took a seat at the table. He was clearly quite distressed about something.
“You two have utterly failed me, and now I’ve lost my bet with Pharasma that you would prevent the overlord from taking hold of Realmaria… even after finding that loophole in our contract about not offering you any assistance.
“I don’t believe there is any more you can do here to overthrow the overlord’s hold on this land, however I will offer you an opportunity to redeem yourselves in my sight. Across the sea is the land of Osiron. The overlord has not yet chosen to attack this land yet, but my sources say that he may be mounting his troops now that Realmaria is under his control.
“I realize now that the reason Realmaria fell so easily was that we were not united. Each town and region chose to fight for itself and didn’t present a unified resistance. We have a chance to change that for Osiron, to unify the countries and prepare for the coming of the overlord. Besides, I love to shop in the City of Splendors and it would be a shame to see the overlord take control of it.
“If you choose to take on this task, you will need to hire your own passage and fill out your group. Two will not be enough to face the challenges which await you. You will take passage to the trading town called “The Outpost” which is on the coast of Altaria in Osiron. The Outpost is run by Balstirians, even though it’s not in their country… some ancient trading agreement allows them to maintain the city and the trade routes through the desert.
“The countries in Osiron don’t particularly get along well with each other, even to the point of open war, but the Alswani people who live in Altaria are a superstitious lot, and would never break an agreement. You’ll need to gain the trust of each country and work to unite them against the common enemy which is coming. Of the four countries, I know the least of Altaria, they are the farthest from Trehyon where I like to visit, and they are quite savage for my tastes.
“I’m none too inclined to offer you much more help at this point, given your recent failures with returning to me the Eye of Baccob and re-forging the Mace of St. Cuthbert, but if you can gain the support of two of the four countries you may visit me in the City of Splendors and I will reward your work. I’m moving out of my tower in Realmaria on account of the pesky dragon trying to win my favor with lewd gifts all the time.”
Death Reaver and Sorceron considered Randolph’s offer for some time. It was difficult to make decisions without Poppy around to lead them. Finally Sorceron looked to Death Reaver and shrugged. Death Reaver knew that look. It either meant “I’m going to kill you and watch you burn,” or maybe, “I don’t care, you decide.” Either way, Death Reaver informed Randolph they would take the offer and get out of Realmaria instead of sporting the new branded look that was in so in fashion these days.
They gathered a few more adventurers and rebellious fortune seekers, hired a crew with a ship large enough, and willing enough to make the one month journey, bought enough provisions to feed the crew for the journey there and back, and they finally headed out to sea.