And so it begins
Maud. What a disgusting name of a town to be found near. You are surprised they didn’t just call you Maud to add insult to injury. That merry band of bards who betrayed you…saved you from the forest, fed you, took you under their wing, gave you a trade, loved you. Yep. You guess you were overreacting, but then again, that is your trade – The drama of the song puts the coins in the cup. You’re sure they know you didn’t mean the things you said when you left to find your real parents and a little adventure of your own. Perhaps you will send a letter back to apologise about how you left things with your bard ‘family’.
It is time to leave the confines of your regular circuit in the north. You’ve seen a few flyers lying around inviting the brave and inquisitive on an adventure like no other offering coin and glory both. You bet there will be a story and a song in it too.
You take the long journey south to the Capital of the Vesluvian Empire, Ac Rumb. You find the Butcher’s Arm only to be informed that the adventurers had left some weeks past. Another of the inn’s patrons shares a bit of gossip suggesting that the advertising might not have been all it was meant to be and something sinister was afoot. You press the woman but all she does is tap her nose in a knowing manner before returning to her cup.
A young, handsome soldier of the Vesluvian Guard, attracted by your natural charm and beauty buys you a meal and drink for the night. A flirtatious caress here and well timed giggle there and he quickly spills word of recent goings on in an odd place called Turm. He tells you that brigands have taken to raiding the highway between Turm and the Three Ways. It was odd. Reports say that they were not taking the usual gold and supplies, they were taking…people.
Somehow the brigands had also stirred up a giant spider’s nest and that too was causing troubles in the area. Nothing and no one has been able to get in and out of Turm for weeks.
Your handsome guard’s company was set to investigate and rid the road of these criminals, but at the last moment an executive order from the Patrician of Vesluvia, Lord Vecevious himself gave the stand down order without even a word or explanation. Of course, your handsome guard continues, this did nothing but start rampant gossip among the troops.
The gossip that was heading the wave was that Lord Vecevious had sent a band of nobody fighters to deal with the problems in the area. It was easy enough to put two-and-two together and guess that those flyers offering adventure ended in collecting these adventurers. Or so the rumours go.
But why? Why not just send the guard? That is their job after all. What was Lord Vecevious trying to hide from his own military?
The rest of the night was only yours to tell and the next morning you head east along the Melfous Rivier to the Three-Ways several days journey away. At the Three-Ways Inn you offer your services for food, board and rumour. The food and board were a miserable fare but the rumour proved delicious. Word had it that a rather eclectic party went up to Turn a few weeks ago, but no word had returned of their whereabouts. Some fear they perished in their attempt to deal with both the spider infestation and the brigands.
However, one remarkable thing did occur. And it’s name was Bartleby Pennington. When the bar woman mentions Bartleby her eyes alight with excitement. Eagerly she recounts the story of Bartleby’s battle with a spider as big as a wagon that would at first seem invincible. Until Bartleby found a cursed scroll that he quickly destroyed immediately extinguishing the magical beast. Hours later, the thousands of giant spiders harassing the surrounds of Turm receded into whatever deep dark hole they came from. Bartleby Pennington rid the town plagued by these beasts.
As the bar woman finished her story she puffed out her chest with pride, and said, “And it was only four short days ago that the hero of Turm was standing in the very sport you are standing now. His golden hair falling to his broad shoulders, his smile just for me. If it wasn’t for Earl here,” she nod with some disdain to a dozing balding oaf of a man in the corner, “I’d be all over him.” The bar woman chuckles. “He had the sun, moon and the stars over him, that one.” Her smile slowly fades as she moved to complete her chores, not before giving Earl a good kick to wake him up.
This is someone you should certainly meet. You bet you could get a song out of him. You smile at the innuendo.
You enquire about Bartleby’s destination, but the bar woman couldn’t quite say. She assumed he went to Ac Rumb. That’s where everyone goes.
Well no, turning back, you think. If the spiders are clear you might try your luck investigating Turm and see if you can get more information about Bartleby’s great deed for your song. No doubt town folks will be in need of a song after their troubling time and maybe you might find that missing party.
Exhausted from the song and the gossip, you return to your room for an early night.
The next morning you make your way for Turm. You need to be vigilant. Although there hasn’t been any recent news of attack from brigands in the last few days, they could be still about. About lunch time you stop for some trail rations and as you are contemplating the ridges of the pecan nuts in your hand you freeze…and remember…“He had the sun, moon and the stars over him, that one.” It couldn’t be?
You gather your rations and make haste with new speed for Turm. You really do need to find out more about this Bartleby Pennington.
The North – Where You Were From
The people of the Northern Territories of the Velsuvian empire are an independent lot. They don’t care much for the rules of the ‘civilised’ south. They’re a tough bunch too. They don’t care who or what you are, as long as you can hold your grog and pull your weight, then they will have no beef with you. Subsequently, it as become a refuge for people of mixed birth, not unlike Ac Rumb.
The Northern Teritiories starts in Caraster in the southwest along the Bellofaster Sea and makes it way North to the icy reaches of Bromduhlis. It is enclosed on the east by the towering Brafous Range.
Formerly, as part of a troupe of wandering bards, you thought you would get to travel the world but as the years wore on you soon realise that while there was the occasional bard doing his or her solo world tour, bards usually stick to a small territory of villages and towns. Thus, your travel was quite limited.