Chapter Two; The Adventuring Band
Goldwin arose the next morning with a splitting headache. Last night was just a hazy memory at best. It was late morning outside. The bed was just so comfortable though.
Finally, Goldwin decided it was time to get out of bed and use what was left of the day to find out what he could about this mission for the mage’s guild. He was also curious about who else had been summoned to Ormzahd by this mage, Kisis.
Locking the door behind him Goldwin wandered downstairs to find something to eat. Upon entering the eating hall smells of well done meat and fresh baked bread wafted through the air. Casually taking a seat at the bar Goldwin called for the bar keep.
Absorbed in thoughts of what he would order to break his nights fast Goldwin failed to notice the disturbance at the other end of the bar. When he did notice he saw a well tanned yet savagely dressed man pickup and level his spear at the inn keeper and mutter something he didn’t understand. This standoff continued until Goldwin arrived on the scene, to satisfy his curiosity more than anything.
“Good day gentlemen,” Goldwin began,” what seems to be the trouble here?”
The bar keep said angrily,” This savage bastard ordered an expensive meal and when I asked for payment he filled my hand with these!” The man thrust a hand full of colorful beads and shiny stones toward Goldwin. The beads were pretty and the rocks could, with a little work, make nice ornamentation but they were hardly gems of any quality.
“Fat man behind bar not know value of stones and beads,” the dark skinned fellow with the long spear stated quite matter-of-factly.
“Surely this can be settled without the need of bloodshed,” Goldwin gently pointed out. ” There is no need for your spear friend,” he took a step toward the savage and the point swung around to about an inch of piercing his chest. This fellow just would not listen to reason. One of these days, Goldwin thought, my curiosity is going to get me a spear in the chest, or worse.
Rounding on the bar keep Goldwin said,” what is this huge bill that you claim he has built up?”
The barkeep shot the spear man a frigid glance and said without stuttering,” Ten gold for poached sturgin and scrambled roc eggs.”
Ten gold! Goldwin looked at the plate on the bar and back to the bar keep. ” I don’t believe you understood me,” Goldwin replied,” I meant the bill for that one plate which could barely feed a kitten let alone the likes of a man such as him,” Goldwin pointed at the savage for emphasis.
The bar keep glanced down at the plate of half eaten fish and still steaming eggs and then back to Goldwin. Noting the Bard’s Sigil on Goldwins instrument case he smiled.
“Ten gold? Did I say ten gold? I meant two gold noble sir, two gold.” The bar keep fidgited a bit and continued,” if you’d like sir I could just charge it to your account since your obviously with him any way.”
“What do you mean?” Goldwin wasn’t sure what this snake was up to but it could not be good.
“I mean, sir, that you both have a mutual employer, at least that is what the page said this morning when they,” gesturing towards the savage,” came in,” finishing with a satisfied grin on his face.
Goldwin turned to the savage and asked,” Are you here by the summons of someone?” trying to be as subtle as possible.
Still pointing the spear at his chest the savage said,” The great magic weaver Kisis Atrius sent a message to our elders who sent me in answer.”
Goldwin pondered the meaning of this development only seconds before saying to the barkeep,” Yes, put the food on my bill. My friend and I have much to discuss.”
Goldwin led the savage to a table further from the satisfied bar keep. They spent the rest of the morning talking. The “savage” was no more savage than the inhabitants of this city but his ways were more suited to the wilds of the forests than a city this size. They decided to explore the city and see what else they could find out about this mysterious mission they were going on for Kisis.
Outside the bar, a man lay in the gutter of the street. Coal black hair and more than a few days growth of beard gave the man an extremly rough appearance. A very fine covering of dust layered the clothes and skin of the man indicating he had recently been on the road. The only odd thing that caught Goldwin’s eye was the blade strapped to the back of the figure. Very slinder blade but still the length of a long sword. Goldwin stepped over the prostrate figure and set out for the Bazaar Square. Rumors can always be found, or bought, there.
Discreetly Goldwin began to probe the beggars for any information on why the mage’s guild might have need for outside help but no information was forthcoming. As the sun sat Goldwin returned to the inn to see if anyone else had arrived for the Kisis’ important mission. He wasn’t prepared for what awaited his return.
The bar room was a mess to say the least. Tables overturned, mugs and ale strewn about as though a herd of cattle had stormed through the bar room. The only people in the room were the savage and the man from the gutter Goldwin had seen as he left. They sat at one of the few whole tables in the bar and talked as if they were old companions. Goldwin approached the table.
The new man glanced in his direction and said,” If you’ve come to drink, your welcome. If you’ve come to fight, your late.”
Goldwin looked at the savage and said,” Has this one come to jois us?”
Darksun replied,” Yes, this man, Gene, arrived after you leave and begin drinking. After words with a mercenary he begin fight that end with us at this table and the mercenaries arrested. Kisis sent for him too.”
The new man introduced himself as ” Gene Erikson, Sword Dancer of the Southern Academy.” Goldwin sat down and they commenced to learn of his dangerous travels to this city and the many duels he had fought in his past.
As the patrons of the Inn’s bar began to seep in they decided to move their discussion to Goldwin’s room. The evening passed and dawn found Darksun up and chanting his greeting to the sun. Gene elected to sleep in until the ale had left his head. Goldwin had some last minute items to aquire before going to the meeting.
Goldwin returned to the inn for mid day meal and the page from the guild appeared in the door. The three were summoned to the guildhouse. They were swept through the guarded door and into a maze of corridors until they found themselves in a grand meeting hall. Four others had arrived just this morning and they too waited within.
After a few minutes of greetings and introductions The group was seated around a table sipping chilled wine and nibbling on sweetbread. The four new members of the group were Robert and Sethic of Cuthbert. Shroud, another Sword Dancer but of the Northern Academy. Finally a young mage named Narnoth.
Kisis entered after only a few minutes wait and greeted the group. His face then became very serious and he began.
“There are major forces in motion across the lands.” He continued,” Each of these powers would like nothing more than to see me removed. Recently a person entered my laboratory to kill me. I have narrowed it down to one place.” He pulled a ring from some hidden pocket and handed it to the cleric. ” This ring is, unfortunately, the only thing left of the foolish man who thought to kill me. The symbol on the ring is that of a guild in the Edayn Rhide. I will hire you all to go to Taurmon and seek more information on the individual responsible for this failed attempt on my life.”
The ring came finally to Goldwin’s hands and the symbol was indeed from the Edayn Rhide, The high guild of assassins to be precise. This was going to be one of those very perilous adventures, he could tell.
“Oh well,” he thought,” it isn’t the first time I’ve been in the stew pot. Probably not the last either.”
Along with the rest of the group he accepted the job. Kisis granted each of them enough gold to equip them sufficiently. They all agreed to meet back at the Gilded Unicorn Inn at sun down to discuss their mission. Outside the guildhouse they seperated to finish equiping themselves and attend to any other buisness.