From the Journals of Izmo Akeyan, Wind Lord, late of Tailimsia…
As a young one, I remember working at the mill, quite fondly in fact. I believe it had much to do with how I worked – which is to say, very little – but of course I was smaller then, and most of my time was spent making sure the grain trough didn’t become fouled in the humidity and heat. When grain was scarce, we milled winter beans, and I recall squeezing the hard gray beans between my fingers, harder and harder until finally it zipped out from between them…
And Redhorn feels something like that bean. We city elves are not without news, but I had no idea that tensions had become so high here when I arrived a few days ago. Now I feel as weary as the locals- shoulders hunched, eyes a little vague, the fear of war on every breath and every glance. Until last night, I was seriously considering leaving. But then, as is my nature, I made a few friends.
I was in The Signe of the Frothing Mug, an average example of that Brotherhood of Heimir staple, in the Fortress of the Sword-Militant, when three wanderers came in for a drink. I was…well let’s just I had partook my fare share of what the Mug had to offer – however, I could still tell these three were unique. It wasn’t an impressive conclusion, considering they were the only ones not stained in Redhorn’s insipid crimson dust, or wearing the symbol of the Sword-Militant order.
It seems to me, having lost what little I had in Tailimsia, that I had nothing to lose. Outsiders could mean a number of interesting things: pay, adventure, news, or even travel. I made myself known, just as the dwarf – oh yes, there was a dwarf, an imposing man, and an elf of the priestly order – was showing something to her companions. She clutched the book to her breast, a tome of mysterious design, all hammered zinc and fine etchings. I admit that I had not seen one like it before, but as I – ahem – “overheard” her end of things, it came to be known that it was of dwarf design.
Tact is a strong suit of mine, but so is knowing when to eschew kindness and get down to brass stays – I strode over and told them I would cast my lot with them if they would have me. Dare I say it, I was desperate. War is coming to Redhorn, we’re surrounded on all sides, and no good can come from waiting around for trouble to brew- better to make trouble first.
Luckily, I made the proper call. The man, Valerius, was as cocksure as I, and I believe he liked my manner. Sadly, the dwarf Ingrid was rather miffed at my intrusion on her precious secrets, but that is the way of the little folk. Askelor was as respectful as one would expect an elf to be, which is to say, quite a bit.
Came to find, I did, that these folk were members of some sort of adventuring guild: Sword & Sorcery was the name, and a strange, if potent, lot they were. After some fine banter on my part, their leader, Olin Griswald stepped in: and a curiouser fellow I doubt I have met. He was a rascally young man, seemingly too young to hold sway over such a group of adventurers, and yet I soon found myself charmed by his easy manner. He agreed to take on my sword under a period of observation, and if we both liked what we saw, I would join them under contract.
The whole matter was easier than expected. I was allowed to rest in the barracks of the fortress, and dined with them in the morning. Before I had time to finish my fast, though, a Paige came forward and all but ordered us to the chamber of the Marshall for some sort of conference. I admit I was almost afraid we were in some sort of trouble, but it seems Valerius is a Paige Devout of the Sword-Militant Order.
We were admitted to a hall – stately enough for the taste of Men, I suppose – where the Marshall Urquehart and a few other surly menfolk were worrying themselves- the situation around Redhorn is quite bad, indeed. They’ve lost contact with regiments, communication has been severed from a Brotherhood of Heimir Monastery, and the allegiance of dwarf and elf alike seems uncertain at best. I have no taste for politics, but I could tell that matters had turned dire. The Marshall wished to contract Sword & Sorcery for some kind of mission- an effort to act, in it’s capacity, as a mobile group of self sufficient trouble makers and problem solvers.
Olin seemed uncertain at first, and it occurs to me that it might have something to do with one of their members, Leu, being beyond this mortal coil. I’ve not yet seen the remains of this Leu, but Olin said that she is an elf of half blood, and they wished to resurrect her. The idea seems disturbing to me, but she signed her contract with S&S, and so it must be her wish.
Eventually, Valerius’s steadfast desire to follow the will of the Order seemed to quench Olin’s mind: he agreed to assist the Order. And so that is where they, and I, stand. I can’t fathom the strategy that Olin and the Marshall will decide upon, but these adventurers seems to be of a very unique nature: called to assist powerful entities as if they were themselves an unstoppable force. I feel troubled, naturally, at the danger that might follow…but at the same time, excitement boils in my veins.
It looks like I picked the right group of travelers to bother last night…