8 Rhaan 992YK
In the city of Eston, a young man named Kale Borecole reports for duty at the Eston Recruitment and Reassignment Office, a ramshackled building housing the most frantically overworked cog in the crumbling Cyre warmachine. Kale at this point is a messenger, tasked with carrying letters and cargo within the military heirarchy. Thus far, his travels have taken him all across Cyre but no closer to finding his missing father. Possessing a well-spring for hope more profound than Cyre’s near-depleted warchest, he still looks and still asks everyone he meets, “Have you seen this man? He’s my father. He’s been missing for six years. Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.”
To date, Kale has received no good news, no glimmer of recognition. Today, like every day, he simply receives an order.
By order of Tibost Gildenhammer and the E.R.R.O., Messenger Kale Borecole is to escort Evoker 1st Class Kaya Mendeleev from the Eston Domicile to Fort Crown posthaste and await further orders there. When presented with official identification papers, this writ is to allow full passage through all military checkpoints in the Cyran North.
With minimum jostling with other messengers rushing in and out of the marble structure, Kale departs.
Kaya Mendeleev has served and trained in Eston for many years. She has helped the city maintain its defence against the Silver Pyromancers of Thrane and once the Knights Arcane of Aundair, though never the Necromancers of Karrnath. She will get her chance soon; the First Enchanter has announced the names of those to be relocated into active duty on that front, and her name is foremost amongst them. So dire is the need of the North that she is to be sent ahead, to be joined later by the wand regiments and snipers of lesser magewrights. Her power, unlike their wandcraft, is hers and hers alone.
That makes her special.
Not special enough, however, to warrant a better escort. Kale arrives and is so full of wonder and curiousity that he forgets to make a good impression. He talks about bread and horses, insists on haggling with stable masters and guards. Finally, he settles on an expensive House Orien coach shared with a small, nervous man and two half-orc bodyguards. A box is handcuffed to the profusely sweating human. Kale asks about the box and receives sharp looks, threats, and a bark to “Shut up.” Kale keeps on talking anyway.
By midnight, the coach arrives in Migs, a factory town. The Kale and Kaya secure separate rooms in the Screaming Eel, the local inn, and go to sleep. The nervous man and his bodyguards hurry off to one of the factories.
9 Rhaan 992YK
Kale awakens with the dawn and asks the innkeeper for breakfast and horses. He gets boiled beans and instructions: “Horses? Yer lookin’ for Jerrad, lad. Jerrad’s up the road some. He’s the one you’ll need to be askin’.”
Driven by energy and the haste of youth, or perhaps an overzealous desire to follow Gildenhammer’s instructions to arrive ‘posthaste’ to the letter, Kale follows the innkeepers directions and finds a run-down stable and a young girl baling hay who refuses to be swayed by Kale’s continued pleas to ‘borrow the horses.’ It’s war; people die; horses might not come back. Seventy-five gold pieces would sure be better than a promise. A hundred and fifty if he wanted two, which he did. Unfortunately, spending that much coin was not something he wanted, and so Kale leaves empty-handed.
When he returns, Kaya is waiting. She doesn’t care how they travel, just that they do it quickly. Kale is, after all, immune to her under-the-breath scathing commentary. Too dense, too thick… It’s disappointing either way.
After Kale buys some uncooked beans from the innkeeper, they travel through the foothills to avoid the river. On the first night, Kaya discovers that her escort is a great cook. They also spot wolves during the watches, though the beasts keep their distance. On the second day, Kaya learns that Kale’s culinary skills were a fluke. In the late morning, they follow trail of copper pieces and find a strange cottage with a dark stain on the ceiling. Further investigations glean no useful information. After Kale’s repeat display of genius at dinner, however, Kaya hypothesizes that he is only able to cook well… at night.
The third day brings rain, then hail. The duo run into the shelter of an ancient tor as the storm escalates more and more. Whatever is causing it is not natural, but at least they have a place to wait out the storm.
12 Rhaan 992YK
The shelter they’ve secured reeks of an old tomb and likely is one. They investigate the interior and make camp in the far corner. A father and son join them: Leonus and Draco, men wearing the colours and uniform of the Emerald Claw. Karrnathis. Clever Karrnathis, however. Leonus invokes the Storm Peace, an ancient tradition of the old Galifar Kingdom. For until the storm is over, etiquette and honour demand a truce between strange bedfellows. Although such qualities are now rare in the Last War, fortune has ensured that only honourable soldiers now share the fire.
During the course of the night, the party is attacked by swarms of panicked rats whose warren was just flooded. Although the party dealt with most of the rodents, most killed themselves by leaping into the camp fire and burning to death. The place stinks afterwards, but the pathways which lead further into the mysterious tor are now open.
In their explorations, they combat two Cyre deserters, a giant spider, and a flying disembodied head. They discover a strange alabaster sarcophogus of a tall, bald humanoid figure, a trapped treasure chest, and a rope leading to the tower on top of the hill. The party collects gold, a belt, a ring, a headband, a blue lantern, and a lot of cuts, bites, and bruises for their troubles.
13 Rhaan 992YK
The storm continues for another day. They find Draco doing strange things to the corpses of the deserters after he strips them of their uniforms. Leonus tells them to pay his eccentric son no mind.
14 Rhaan 992YK
In the morning, Leonus and Draco are gone, as are the uniforms of the two deserters. The storm is over, but Kale and Kaya realize that they’ve been outplayed.
16 Rhaan 992YK
Kale and Kaya arrive at the Northern front—a three hundred-mile-long series of tunnels and trenches stretching between Fort Jewel and Fort Crown. They are directed to the keep where they must find Sergeant Dalhordan, a gnome more known for dereliction than duty. The Sergeant gladly accepts Kaya into his squad and press gangs Kale before the messenger can make a speedy retreat back south.
Guess it’s a good thing he didn’t ‘borrow’ those horses after all…