8 Eleint, DR 1492, dusk settles on Berdusk, and the Afthighsun begins to retire. To the pious; Amaunator rolls over and retires away from Shar and her sister Selune, who embrace Toril until the coming of Lathander, the dawn of a new day. Knaves gather to talk openly in the streets and taverns, at last, relieved from the ever-watching eyes of the self-righteous and the false pious. Berdusk, is indeed a city of night and day, and of many gods.
During their time at the Humble Gathering, our group of knaves came to know one another and discover a mutual quest. They may know it not, but they vowed under fellowship, and would open the path to their legend as the First Humble Gathering themselves on this day, and proceed forward on, the reward of destiny and the enlightenment of fate ever be it the dawn.
Coming to the tavern, Dalk found disappointment. Selune would shed little light upon her sisters veil. On two obsessions he dwelled. One, he had discovered no information on the whereabouts of his friend, Leosin, and two, the Humble Gathering apparently ran out of White Apple Cider. He mocked himself because in sin he pondered which was worse. His desire to taste this famous spirit, urged him from this quandary to approach Loren who was drinking at a table by herself, in a most shadowy corner of the main floor of the tavern. Indeed, Selune revealed the Wood Elf's stealth, and thus given her back a way to balance.
Dalk's blunt, and slightly stuporous, approach generated the closest thing to an unlikely smile on Loren's face, and it was a welcome interruption to an encounter with a Moon Elf, Zix, who had initially tried strike up a conversation as if they had something in common. A drunk monk, any day, over a haughty Moon Elf, who caused ruin to our lands with high magic and an arrogant self-importance over grass, forest and balance of all things, she thought. Would it not be for dragons, I would favor my quarry High Elves, she muttered.
As tongues of brevity ensued, the door opened upon the topic of dragons, which was either discussed or overheard by those intended by chance or fate; no god claims exclusive dominion to such things. Zix, reserved and calculating, saw this as the opening he needed to re-engage this rather anti-social Wood Elf, as a commonality seemed an obvious destiny and purpose of this whole affair. Again, he thought, the stars have to me a slave, as I am in a spot for the mystery of the future to unfold. Indeed, the coordinates of things are ever simultaneous; intended and unintended in time. To what end, I will never know; he mused, the lonely inevitability associated with why and when.
Prior to joining the conversation, the hulking figures of Dalk and Rhogar seemed to clear an unneeded amount of space away from them, a void-like shell it seemed, where neither Mystara nor violent magic of a mob could penetrate. Despite their futile attempt to conceal their appearance with hoods, the presence of a human dragon and an Orc, together, dressed as paladins had little a glance to spare from others, that is, until later in the evening when the cider set in nicely with the Halfling spirit for all. Until that time, it seemed only the green barmaid, the barkeep, and the other would-be adventurers welcomed them with less interest. A bond formed by warriors at that moment in mutual fear, as is the energy and force of the so-called outcasts, to be later nurtured in blood, battle and deeds whether they be of valor or sin. This warrior, thought Pac, whose visage strikes fear in men, has found a way to honor a his path through this world regardless of whether it is he being among it. This warrior, thought Rhogar, smells of honor in battle and blood, he is tempted by things, for he is clanless, and even Tempest cannot tame his thoughts.
As it seemed, each had a separate, but mutual interest in the topic of dragons. An unreachable point in time, they no it not, but they agreed to bring together in the Humble Gathering, on the behalf of the Harpers and personal reasons alike, a fellowship for an adventure and quest to unravel the mystery behind increased bandit raids and rumors of the possible involvement of the Dragon Cult.
Ah, but there is more. A hint in my madness; I am moved to verse, he who ascended, loosened her chain by fraction. To this, I give, hidden in text from even the Keep, so that the pleasure of thought endures, and the dance of the jester can evade his grasp. Is a fiend by plan ever a fiend?
Selune and Shar gossiped like estranged sisters, the music and ruckus from the floor below increased, and much of the crowd seemed to gravitate downstairs after [[Elsla the Green]] set aside her apron to dance; a performance missed by the gathering as they continued their knowing of the other. By the hand on another, I know not who, for this Court I have nigh entertained for eternity has yet to say a thing.
A happening of great significance lit a star as a barge arrived outside with a late delivery of White Apple Cider from Greenest. Four Halfling merchants unloaded three barrels engraved with an apple in a circle of reed. Indeed who would not laugh at the Earth Mother's sigil burnt in wood. Of course, argument about payment for a late delivery was inevitable with the barkeep whose purse would have seen such ill-affect. By my eyes, the Gathering lent their mouths and ears to the dispute, be it of the concern of Mask?, and learned that the delivery was delayed due to a fire, suspected sabotage, or something like that. A calming occurred as the barkeep begrudgingly paid for the delivery. In truth, he never had a choice because where else can you get true White Apple Cider? Knock-offs just don't cut it. I should know.
Prior to leaving the tavern, the music died down, and Elsla the Green returned to her barmaid duties on the main floor. Elsla offered Dalk the opportunity to spend the night upstairs, which he modestly and most-respectfully declined. Not offended, after accepting a portion of his purse, without services rendered, Elsla indicated in the passing of a cloud, how Dalk reminded her of a Half-Elf Monk she is quite fond of, Leosin. Alas, the passing was short. Through a nigh further conversation with Elsla and the barkeep, Dalk learned that his friend and pen-pal was last seen in the tavern over 3 ten-days ago talking about an intended visit to Greenest.
After shopping in the Merchant-Brown District of Berdusk, the gathering convinced the Halflings from Greenest to transport them to Greenest; although at first they were quite reluctant to be in the company of Dragonborn, Rhogar, the likes of which few in the North have ever seen, let alone Halflings from a remote rural town on the middle of the Western Heartlands. However, Rhogar and Pac immediately noted the eyes of Halflings knew bravery seen oft not in ten men. which I attest is true; that it wasn't fear that caused them to pause, as much as it was shrewd business and justifiable caution.
At Nightsheart, under the of light of Selune and her tears, the gathering boarded a mule-drawn barge, which the Halflings led south, upstream the River Choranthor. As early morning fog set in, they docked the barge at what seemed to be ancient shore-side ruins converted into a rest stop and communal campsite. Other than evidence of other river-goers using this place on prior occasions, Loren determined that the only other denizen that frequented the area was a family of wild boars that seemed to scavenge the campsite for left-overs from time-to-time. Surely, there is a lost irony hidden by Silvanus in this place at this time. The lost history of this place is perhaps a inquiry for another day, thought Zix, but pondering it a moment further, he had to ignore the meaning in it.
9 Eleint, CR 1492
After a long rest, I witnessed Lathander bless this Humble Gathering as a late Dawn breakfast of potatoes and eggs was graciously offered by the Halflings. This gesture I have seen many days by hearty folk such that it causes me to envy my lost chance at mortality, for there is never a jest in a gracious host and a crafty cook. The Gathering boarded the barge, and set up-river for another half-day until they reached a small river trading and transition post where the river veered east. There, the Halflings unhitched the mules from the barge, and after giving them a short rest and some feed, transferred them to a wagon for the rest of the journey west along the Trade Way.
The journey west along the winding and rolling path of the Trade Way through high grass plains and hills, lasted the rest of the day and well into midnight. Lathander's promise was hard see its coming, for the chain loosened another fraction under cover of Shar's distraction. As the wagon reached the foot of the final length of the journey up a long path to the top of a rise, where the Halflings and the Gathering immediately noticed an out-of-the-ordinary glow in the night sky emanating above the top of the crest, overlooking the Greenfields, along with Greenest, below on the other side. Suddenly, piercing the sound of silence, the mules and wild life grew silent, and moments later a nerve shattering roar was heard overhead and in the distance.
As the Halflings ran off towards Greenest, Akadi for Yondalla blessed, concerned for their loved ones in the town over the rise and below, the Gathering said little for a short eternity. All but Rhogar, sharing a gaze they all understood; that roar, that tremor in their body causing a twist in senses, is caused by one thing and one thing alone; a Dragon. Rhogar, noted it a half-hearted roar at best, not nearly as convincing as his sword.
I jest, some greater than Lennithon, naive in his youth, fear a tremble below, for the chain loosened on their mother, is perhaps a new freedom or a new restraint.