The Colors of Night

Enter: Flesios Gordion
For Love and Money

Baron Faygor steadied himself on the cushioned seat. The wine he consumed earlier began to twinge a muscle behind his left eye. His mind foggy, the Baron thought back to the meeting he was just attending with several of his colleagues. The economy of Rhundil was going to change, and he planned to ride that change with bankrolled profits. His insider in the Capital provided valuable information that would most certainly make him even wealthier than he already was. Longshoreman guilds were demanding higher wages for the abrupt increase in voyages they had to make in an already swamped season. In response, the Chancellor threatened to place the Longshoreman guilds into a higher taxation group in order to offset the potential cost for labor. The thing was, if you were a Shipping owner and a member of the local Charter, the taxes would not be passed on to you and profits for goods would increase with demand – such was the case for Baron Faygor. Laughing inwardly, the Baron reached for the half-empty skin of wine and tipped it towards his mouth. A bump in the carriage caused him to spill wine down his rotund front. He cursed loudly and threatened to have his driver flogged.

His head starting to spin, Baron Faygor demanded that his driver change their destination to his in-town apartment. The journey to the manor was too much for his oncoming headache and he wished to rid himself of the confounded prison he called a “carriage”.

Moments later they came to a stop in front of a modestly decorated, but overly clean building. The Baron did not want to flaunt his wealth in the city for fear of robbers, but he also couldn’t bear to reside in “utter squalor” while conducting business! The gentle light of early morning was making a slow crawl on the horizon as he entered into the apartment. A servant took his jacket and helped remove the vest, for his bulk would not allow his arms to move that far back. Breathing a long sigh, the Baron made his way up the wooden stairs to the master bedroom; the floorboards creaking under his tremendous weight.

As he reached for the chamber door handle, he heard a sound just on the other side. Some sort of movement. A thief?! he thought to himself. He reached for his oaken night cane near the door frame and held it up in front of him; one hand on the brass handle, mentally preparing himself to strike whoever was on the other side.
Holding his breath, the Baron flew open the door and found the culprit.

Scratch that, culprits.

On the bed before him was his wife, Elandra and beneath her, a small, but stout dwarf with a close-cut goatee. Both had been caught in the folds of passion when they were interrupted by the Baron’s abrupt entrance.

“Elandra! Wh-what is the meaning on this?!”, he roared.

Elandra hastily rolled off the dwarf and grabbed for several articles of clothing to cover her not-so-slim form. “I-It’s not what it looks like, Gede!”, she protested.
“Aye, but it more than likely is!”, said the dwarf merrilly. He was already tightening his trousers when he said it. The Baron roared with rage and moved closer to the center of the room, brandishing his wooden cane at the squat intruder.
“Begone, you devil!” he yelled, swaying a little from the drink. As he neared the bedside he swung out at the dwarf, who dodged it easily. The half naked dwarf grabbed a flute from the side table and danced a wide arc around the fat man; careful to stay out of range. As he made his way around the room, the dwarf passed by Elandra and slapped her exposed rear end with a loud SMACK!

It was too much. The Baron roared with uncontrolled fury and dove at the dwarf, who once again easily danced out of the way. Baron Faygor crashed into the bookshelves and yelled with rage as he fell to the floor; books falling all around him.

Flesios Gordion moved quickly to the open doorway. Before leaving, he turned to the partially exposed girl across the room, winked, and gave her a charismatic smile. Elandra blushed as the door closed behind him.

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Enter: Kali Vantahlussasúrë
A Worthy Hunt

The sack of silver coins clinked happily in her palm as Davin, a man from one of the local farms laid it to rest there.

“I didn’t think you would ever find our horses when we learned that they had gone missing – truly amazing work!”, Davin said with a wide smile.

Kali had been a tracker from the harsh Frontier wilds. Her tapered elvish ears and angular features make her, at first glance, appear like that of a cat. But upon closer inspection, Kali’s features were smooth for an elf and was regarded by most as a “wild beauty” in the general region.

She nodded down at the man; her emotions difficult to read.

“Your welcome”, she said with a hardened but faintly melodic voice.“The men who took your stallions were only looking to sell their seed on the open market.” She looked over Davin’s shoulder at the muscular beasts; easily able to tell that these horses were more than your average animals. “After seeing their strong builds and capable personalities, I can truly understand why. It would serve you well to do the same.”

“Well, I always knew they were hard working and came to me from good stock, but gods!, that isn’t a bad idea! All the more reason to thank you again Miss Kali”*. He gave her a short bow of his head and looked back at his horses; now feeding in the small fenced-off field.

The two shook hands and went their separate ways, Kali thinking back on the completed task and how the horse thieves looked and acted. They meant no harm, only sought to take advantage of an underutilized opportunity. When she had caught up to the thieves they assured her that they planned to return the horses once it had impregnated one of their own great mares – easily of noble stock. But a job was a job, and they could have asked Davin for the transaction instead of taking the easy way out and stealing the horses. Who knows if what they even told her was true, it was not up for debate and quite frankly, she didn’t care. At least that is what she told herself.

She walked along a deer path towards the town of Harkow Ridge. With the newly acquired silver. She had earned herself a hot bath, a warm meal and maybe even a new pair of Crayskin boots. Nearing the edge of town, travelers nodded as she passed them. Kali had earned quite the rapport within this region over the last 3 years; becoming well known for her advanced skills in tracking and guides. Her most profitable job was leading a hunting expedition for a wealthy family from the Capitol – a father and son seeking to fell a Pronged Tarsian Elk as a way to bond and spend quality time together. She instead led them to an even greater hunt and crafted it in such a way that the father and son had to work together to spear a great Dire Boar – a feat that few had managed to perform; even amongst the most skilled hunters from the Capitol. The party was thrilled with the success of the hunt, and provided Kali with a huge bonus and a spear tip of the purest silver, for the father had earned his wealth owning silver mines in the south.Kali was pleased with the outcome and never mentioned how the Boar had been devastating the local fauna… or how she wounded it enough to make the hunt a true success.

The Blackened Cauldron was an inn that served the majority of travelers passing through Harkow Ridge and it was here that Kali enjoyed staying upon completing particularly profitable jobs. Brianna, the establishment’s owner knew Kali instantly as she walked through the door, and called to her attendants to start drawing up a hot bath. Before she reached the stairs, Kevin, Brianna’s husband called over to her.

“Kali, a message came for you three days ago. I heard you were out helping Davin and figured you would be here soon enough.” He revealed a letter from his pocket and handed it out to her. The slightly crumpled letter was sealed with wax and stamped with the martial Shield of Thane; a well known peacekeeping militia from the Capitol.

“My thanks, Kevin.”

Walking up the stairs, Kali broke the seal and unfurled the letter. Apparently, some powerful family from the Capitol had lost track of their estranged daughter. Her name had come up from the family of the Silver Mine owner who recommended Kali for the job; praising her skills and commitment to go above and beyond.
She smiled to herself, and continued reading.
The daughter’s name was Adrian Vestmont and had left her family for unknown reasons a few years ago, and though her parents had managed to stay in meager contact, a few weeks ago all correspondence ceased save for a letter from Adrian to her parents that caused them much distress. The last thing anyone knew of Adrian was that she was heading to the seaside Merchant City of Celes.

Kali thought to herself for a long while. It was about time for her to be moving on; she never enjoyed staying in one place for more than a year or so, and this place made her feel like she was growing soft and docile – it had been 3 years after all. It was a disconcerting thought. Still… the last time she worked to find someone of value did not end well. The memory still haunted her and she thought back to how deeply she poured herself into the work. The pain it brought her… something shifted in her mind. She felt something wet run down her cheek and reached to brush it away. A single tear.

Kalihyanda Vantahlussasúrë looked out her window over the smooth fields towards the foothill forests and set her jaw. The same thing would not happen this time. This request resonated deep within and reminded her of her previous life.

She would find this Adrian and bring her home.

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Enter: Rasgar Nemmonis
More than he could chew?

The day was almost upon him. The Paladin, Rasgar Nemmonis lay in his bed but does not sleep. His emotions are an ocean of turmoil as he thought about his next few days. Fear, excitement, overwhelming joy and stress fought in his mind for domination. Tomorrow will be the day that he has worked tirelessly for the last several years to achieve: Eonis, his God’s Journey. But it is not like any eonis the younger paladins nor even the elder paladins have faced in the past 386 years; since Barvoun the Penetant was crushed to death by an Earth Titan while trying to collect a highly-valued crop of moss from his stony leg. Since that day, the Paladins of Light have agreed that the test to prove a Paladin’s dedication; their eonis, was too harsh. Over the years, the one’s eonis could be as simple as delivering a sack of barley to a brewer in the next town over. Rasgar Nemmonis, growing up hearing the stories of great Paladins achieving nigh impossible tasks – tasks that have made great Paladins the thing of legends, joined the holy order to bring back that glory. Now, the Order had diminished in spirit and recruitment rates had dropped off dramatically. The once proud Order of the Solemn Oath had to merge with the the Order of Light, just to maintain their once mighty Keeps – now crumbling an unmaintained ruins.

After much debate and the steadfast speeches provided by Rasgar, the leaders of the Paladin Order and several other Paladins from far reaching congregations, decided on bringing back the eonis of yore. For the sake of keeping powerful Paladins alive, it was decided that an eonis could be performed once every 8 years and must be started by two committed Paladins.

It was the end of the 8th year for Rasgar after the decision was made. He and a his long-time friend, a great beast of a human named Greygor of Red Helm had made a pact to be the first Paladins to complete a worthy eonis and bring true glory back to the Order.

The head Paladin had pulled the old Tome of Eonis from its dusty shelves; bound now only by the ancient magics imbued within. Closing his eyes and opening the book to a random page – letting the fates make their decision, he leaned in and slowly peeked at the now revealed page. His eyes grow wide with surprise and visibly sinks as comprehension of the task become known.

After a short while, the head Paladin stood and bellowed out to the many Paladins crowded before him. Rasgar and Greygor at the forefront, light in their eyes and breath caught in their throats.

“It has been decided! Greygor of Red Helm and Rasgar of the Blue Wyrms – your eonis has been chosen. Such a eonis has been tried 4 times but met with failure, and it is with a heavy heart that I place this upon you.”

The crowd stares at the old Paladin in silence; waiting to hear of such a daunting task.

“Your divine task… is to recover the Crown of Gallad!”

What have I gotten myself into? Rasgar thought to himself as Greygor clapped him on the back

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Enter: Kalf Tanseril
A Vision of Fire

Cold winds beat against the stone walls of the Rafioran Monastery. Fires are stoked in each of the bedchambers and great black steel braziers are turned to burn off the huge rounds of wood they carry. Kalf, an 8th year apprentice, enters into the Maester’s chamber carrying a pack burdened down with birch logs. As he sets down the pack near the storage racks, he begins to think back on his life and what brought him to this sacred and holy place. How his father, Kreffian; leader of the Silver Knights fought in the Giant Wars and almost succumbed to their titanic onslaught. All would have been lost if he and his men had not been bolstered by the highly skilled clerics of the Rafioran Monastery. Due to their heroic efforts and unquenching faith, the clerics led Kreffian and his men to many more victories until the Giant Wars had officially come to a close. That was 43 years ago.
Kreffian, now a war hero and father of two, asked the Clerics if they would raise his sons to learn of the faith and aid them in any way, so that one day, the debt could be paid.

As Kalf reaches to toss two Birch logs into the glowing hot fire; his mind absently thinking back to these early days, the fire before him grows larger and flicks with a blue light. He tries to pull back but finds himself stuck in place and immovable. His heart skips a beat as the fire appears to reach towards him, but it is not fear that grips his heart. A sense of calm descends and the warmth of the fire is felt in his mind.

No longer is the fire before him, but an old man leaning over what appears to be a cube of blue light. The old man sits for a long time and stares at the cube. Kalf then realizes that the cube is not just blue, but covered in moving images on each of its sides. He tries to look around the room, but his eyes are transfixed on the cube and the old man leaning over it.
Suddenly, the old man moves and gently touches one of the glowing cube’s sides. He sits back in his enormous chair, and has a weary look on his wrinkled old face; the glowing image reflected in his brilliant green eyes. The image swirls and Kalf can make out what appears to be a city; with towers that hold gems of gold light in their tips. Behind them, sails with patterns and symbols too small to make out… save for one: A red stag stands proud and contrasts over the harsh white of the fabric. Black writing crawls its way over the Stag and the sail is now a parchment in his hand. Without controlling his hand, Kalf places the parchment over one of the towers of burning light; now a candle. Fire latches onto the parchment and erupts into a great flame before him.

Kalf falls backwards into the pack of Birch logs and looks around the chamber frantically. A dark figure is standing by the drop-glass window; its face obscured by shadows. As Kalf’s eyes grow accustomed to the firelight, the figure’s features snap into focus: Maester Caalestos looks down at him, his face grim.

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The Watcher
It Begins...

He sits and waits.

From his throne of glass and steel, he looks over at the empty seats around him. No one to council and no one to disagree. The weariness in his bones is present, but he cannot tell if it is real or a fabrication of his tired mind. So long has he watched and waited. So long has he watched those come close and settle or worse yet, fall to ruin. The feelings of hope have come and gone so many times that the taste is bitter in his mouth and the emotion has been dashed from his mind. Now, he does not hope. Now, he watches and waits.

A flicker of blue light runs across his vision. With a long hesitation, he considers doing nothing. But then, something stirs in his mind. Something old and familiar. Something that will most likely lead to ruin, as it has so many times before. But maybe… just maybe…

He presses on the image and sits back to wait once more and watch it all unfold.

The Watcher sits and waits once more.

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