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Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
Chapter 1: Into the Mists

The lot of you are no strangers. Having banded together on more than one occasion to protect the town of Daggerford. So it isn’t much of a surprise that when the Duchess Morwen is having guests over for dinner, you all are invited. You consider her quite the friend considering how much you have served her duchy over the course of your stay, and the benefits from such a friendship are quite nice indeed.

The night is brisk, the full moon ominously bright as you maneuver your way through the nearly vacant cobblestone streets. Even though the city isn’t the largest, it is normally much more lively - but their superstitions must be getting the better of them. Tugging on your collar you push the thoughts to the back of your mind, making haste. Best not make Ms. Morwen wait any longer than need be.

As you arrive and are lead into the dining hall, the scents of various dishes begin to overwhelm your senses. Eagerly you find an empty seat, watching others file in after you. The Duchess is seated at the head of the table, looking much more distressed than usual. But of course you all exchange pleasantries as she attempts to hide her unease.

You all eat and discuss recent happenings in the town, everything seeming to be alright until the Duchess clears her throat and begins to speak in a grave tone.

“I… don’t mean to interrupt this fine night we have been having.” She begins hesitantly. “But we do have some important business to discuss. The reason I invited you all here tonight was because I have some concerns about a group of wayward travelers that are camped outside of Daggerford’s walls. I first assumed they were harmless, but then I had begun receiving reports about how they were harassing residences of my town as well as visitors for money and wine. Threatening to curse anyone who doesn’t pay what they ask.”

Taking a moment to reach for a glass of wine before her, she would take a generous sip before setting the drink back down and continuing. “I had sent some guards yesterday to try and scare them away, but it appears as if they couldn't’t get the job done. They returned speaking only good things about these travelers, clearly charmed or hexed. I would like to keep this as peaceful as possible… but… they seem not to take to a kind request. This is where the lot of you come in. I have a message I want delivered and I want you to deliver it on my behalf as soon as we finish dining here.”

“If they are not gone by dawn.” Duchess Morwen mutters.
“Their wagons burn."

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Holice

Junior Member
While he should be pleased, as he looked around the table at the masterfully prepared fare, Beldar always preferred a nice simple meat pie, like his mother made on the farm, over any fanciful goose or elegantly prepared hog. But never one to show disrespect, he helped himself to the generous portions he was offered, and ate quietly as he listened to the Duchess.

Beldar has arrived in a rather pleasant mood, but as the Duchess spoke, he brow began to furl and his smile began to fade into a frown. Harassing the townsfolk, and threatening curses?, he thought to himself, What manner of people would do such a thing, and with the audacity of committing these atrocious acts right outside the city walls?

As the Duchess continued on after a brief sip of her wine, Beldar raised an eyebrow as she mentioned how the guards left with a mission and came back possibly charmed. Perhaps these folks are more dangerous than it would seem, or at least more powerful than common thugs bent on causing mischief and mayhem, Beldar pondered. But as quickly as his mind was going from scenario to scenario on who these people could be and why would they be so bold in their actions, it suddenly came to halt, as the Duchess ended her tale with the words, "Their wagons burn."

Sitting up straight, Beldar looked around at the others before looking back towards the Duchess. "My apologies Your Grace, but is such drastic measures truly necessary? We do not yet know the circumstances of these people, and to burn their wagons could be the same as taking their lives, and at the very least their livelihood." Clearing his throat, he continued, "Perhaps you could give us a little more time to investigate and determine their true motives before responding with such a harsh act?"

As he settled back in his chair, he looked back towards the others in the room, hoping for some semblance of agreement on a more restrained approach.
 

Bizthequeer

New Member
As Ashryn enters the dining hall, her eyes fall upon the Duchess. Immediately, a bit of heat floods her cheeks. She takes the closest seat to the fine young woman, not at all subtle. As pleasant conversation commences, Ash throws in a few obvious, and mostly in poor-taste, flirtations. She eats like any sailor, which is to say, heartily and with perhaps less manners than desired.

Looking over the neat assortment of food, Ash is met with memories of her crew laughing and feasting after a successful mission. This brings a small smile to her face, then an ache in her chest. She still hadn't found her mother, nor any clues to her whereabouts. She had kept busy, made friends, and put herself in an excellent position to continue searching daggerford for information, but still...nothing.

Ash is torn from her thoughts as the lovely Duchess speaks, and Beldar replies. Straightening up a bit from her relaxed posture, Ash gives the Duchess a crooked smile.

"I am sure the Duchess has her reasons for such actions... She is an intelligent and beautiful woman, after all. But, of course...more time would always come in handy. Besides! Two of us here are elves. It is quite unlikely that these new arrivals will be able to charm us."
 

Cravingpages

Junior Member
Juniper was quite happy to look upon the familiar faces and even more happy to have such dishes placed in front of her. It felt like an eternity since she had such luxury. She immediately begins to stuff her face. Juniper could not help but smile and watch the room. It has been such a long time since dinner was just dinner, no alternative motives.
As the Duchess begins to hesitate, Juniper stops with a mouth full of food and looks up. She could tell something was troubling her and that this was not just a dinner. Painted on Juniper's face was disappointment.

Curses? Why would anyone go to such links for money and wine? Juniper thought to herself. Juniper begins to scan the room, she was feeling quite uneasy about the entire situation.

Once the Duchess explained that her men came back charmed or hexed, Juniper picked up her forked and begin to fiddle. To go to such measure for just wine and money didn't seem quite right. Could there be another reason? Juniper was tore from her thoughts as the Duchess told the group their wagons will be burned. Immediately she takes a swig of wine to swallow her mouth full of food. As Beldar begins to talk, Juniper is quite grateful. Buring down their wagons was a serious matter and in her opinion a measure, that shouldn't be taken. As Beldar looks toward Juniper, she gives him a little nod and to no surprise, Ash is agreeing with the Duchess.

Juniper looks at Ash with a smile, "Looks like one of our own is being charmed at this very moment", as Ash gives the Duchess a smile.
With a sullen expression Juniper begins to speak, "With all due respect your Grace, more time would be most fitting. I would rather not be a part of such measures, as burning down what could possibly be their livelihood." Something seems off about this situation, but Juniper keeps this to herself. "Allow us to check on the travelers and determine what should be done, your Grace."
Juniper slightly pushes away her plate, no longer in the mood for such pleasantries.
 

GoodTeletubby

New Member
"Good evening, Your Grace."

Dess pauses politely by her seat, bowing her head to their hostess with a warm smile, which falters slightly at the the Duchess's strained appearance. She hesitates, but takes her seat without remark, and enjoys the excellent dinner and accompanying wines while waiting for Duchess Morwen to raise what's clearly on her mind. The Duchess's table is its usual excellent fare, and Dess's tension eases after a few good dishes and a couple of glasses of wine.

As she watches Ash's usual clumsiness, she smiles fondly at her fellow elf. The Duchess was special. One of those humans who would make the passage of years wonderful and painful to see, and who would be dearly remembered even centuries after her loss.

Her thoughts wandered down that path as they ate, fondly considering how the group's relationship has come far in the time they've been working for the Duchess. These days Dess was as fond of the Duchess and her fellows as she had been of most of her crewmates. That they were helping to crew a town rather than a boat made things a bit more interesting, but it had still become something of a home.

As Morwen finally raises the issue, she drains her glass, and motions a request to have it refilled, and nods her thanks to the Duchess's servant who tops it off.

As she listens to what has been going on, she becomes visibly irritated with these interlopers, and she drains her goblet again before setting it down hard enough that it rings, her pale skin flushed in a combination of the several glasses of fine wine and anger.

"I have no objection to dealing with these people, Duchess Morwen, but I would like to ask you guys why you feel they should be given a chance to linger at all, when they've been threatening the people of the town? Duchess Morwen is not inaccessible if they found themselves in need of serious assistance, and adventurers such as ourselves are not infrequent in town as well. Instead they're extorting money and drink from the people she is bound to protect. From the sound of things, they're behaving like an incompetent gang of thugs, too stupid to even avoid the eye of the law. They don't deserve Her Grace's consideration. Or ours, if we go on her behalf. The people of Daggerford deserve better."

Dess sinks slowly back into her seat from where she had half-risen, her eyes flashing with anger. They knew each other well enough by this point that they knew it wasn't the lawbreaking that Dess objected to, per se, it was the threat the outsiders were presenting to people she thought of as under her protection.
 

Bizthequeer

New Member
Ash blushes a bright, purplish-red at Juniper's words. Shifting in her seat, she gives the Duchess a shy and embarrassed glance, before regaining herself.

"I, well, the Duchess is our friend, not an enemy. There's no reason to...uhh...resist the allure she has over, I'm sure, many people..."

Ash fumbles over her words, and is at first relieved when Dess speaks up. However, as the last words ring out, Ash desperately brings her hands down on the table with a thud! and leans forward, out of her chair.

"No! We must investigate this! They could have valuable information!"

Ash couldn't afford to leave a single stone unturned...even if it were a small chance, these people could know something about her mother.

"Be...Besides, shouldn't we at least meet them in person before we sentence them to any sort of punishment? For all we know, they could be being controlled in some manner...."

She attempts reason, but her tone doesn't hide her own personal interests.
 

Cravingpages

Junior Member
Leaning in her chair, Juniper stiffened as the atmosphere in the room shifts due to the burst of outrage coming from Dess and Ash. Juniper topples to the floor as her chair loses balance. Still laying on the ground she clears her throat and says,
"the people of Daggerford do deserve better, but I'm not willing to lower myself to the those conditions without entirely knowing what's going on. It does no harm to see what the travelers are up too. Plus, whose to say burning their wagons will make the problem go away. As far as we know there have been no deaths caused by the travelers. I'd be more concerned for the safety of the people, if they were being harassed by people who had nothing else to lose. Burning their wagons may just fuel their fire."

Juniper manages to get herself off the floor. She hoped by that time the anger in Dess' eyes is lifted.
Rubbing her head she gives the Duchess an apologetic look for the sudden outburts from those around her. She picks up the fork again and twirls it, obviously uncomfortable by Dess' initial reaction to punish first and ask questions later.

She understood the importance of protecting the town, but people become the most dangerous when they lose something valuable to them. She knows the feeling all to well.
As she continues her search for someone she loves and it leads to constant dead ends. It fuels a fire inside of her that frightens her to the core.
 

Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
Morwen takes in the scene with a distance look in her eyes, considering each of your words carefully. As Juniper finishes her statement, she takes a long sip of wine before exhaling and catching your attention once more. "My apologies, I did not mean to sound so...aggressive. But they have been a threat to my people for quite some time, and I cannot be tolerant of their disturbance any longer." She sighs and rubs her temples, clearly exasperated at the trouble these visitors had caused during their stay. "Perhaps they mean well, but I have a hard time believing that harassing my people and placing enchantments on my esteemed guard constitutes hospitality in any sort of culture, no matter how far away they come from."

She looks to each of you in turn with a tired yet determined gaze, biting her lip. "The optimist in me wants to believe that there is good in all people, that I can give these wanderers one last chance. Which is why I'm sending you to speak with them tonight. Please - talk to them, inquire their reasoning, negotiate. Get them to leave peacefully and never look back. But..." She clenches her glass tighter, almost threatening to crack it as she struggled to get the words out. The ambiance in the room fades to an echoing silence. "...But. If they refuse to budge, I will have to put my hope aside and send the guards with torches, because I will put the people of Daggerford above all else."

She takes another deep breath, finally realizing that she had rambled on for far too long. Glancing upwards once more she catches Ash's eye, chuckling softly at her obvious interest. It was clear that she appreciated the slight distraction, misplaced as it was. She flashed a small, tired smile as she turns to you four once more and awaits your response.
 
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Holice

Junior Member
Having sat back to observe the others reaction, to both the Duchess' problem and his response, Beldar was not surprised at all by the Elven responses. Having studied the Elves for many years, he knew that they have the variety of emotion that humans do, and in some cases, had an air of arrogance about them that disturbed other races. Beldar held no grudges with Elves however, as he was more than fascinated by them, and treated them like he would any member of his village.

It was the gnome however who surprised Beldar. Not necessarily because of her reaction itself, but rather because he had had little to no interaction with gnomes prior to joining this party, and everything new surprised him. Beldar made a mental note to write his observations of this meeting in his notes and compare Juniper's ethos and behaviorism's to future gnomes he may meet along his journeys.

Hoping no one saw that he was staring at Juniper with a comforting smile, he turned his attention back towards Morwen.

"Your Grace," he said pleasantly, "Thank you for the opportunity to learn and hope for a peaceful resolution. I completely understand that your people come first, as they most assuredly should, but violence rarely solves problems, and has the potential to escalate situations beyond our imagination."

Turning to his companions, with a focus on Dessirris, "Can we all agree to to try and solve the problem with words before we turn to swords and magic?"
 

GoodTeletubby

New Member
Dess frowns at Ash's outburst, but the anger in her eyes lessens slightly at the suggestion the people may be being controlled, but it's offset by doubt. Someone with the power to be magically controlling them wouldn't have them running around extorting drinks, and if they were being threatened, they had plenty of chance to request help against their coercers. She takes a moment to think. Like a good captain, the Duchess is watching out for the wellbeing of her responsibilities, and taking action to head off what has become a threat to the people she's responsible for. As expected of the leader who's demonstrated she's worth following and serving under, one who feels the obligations of rule as well as the entitlements.

"I won't suggest we destroy their lives unnecessarily. As Her Grace directed, they may have until morning. But they seem to have made the choice to present themselves as the threat in this situation, and Daggerford and Duchess Morwen owe them no assistance after what they have done."

Dess sighs as she sits back, closing her eyes as the rest of the group seems willing to let the assault on the people of Daggerford pass, then rises to her feet with a sharp nod, looking at the others, still not entirely happily, but less incandescently furious.

"We can try to talk to them, but be careful. They've warped the minds of Her Grace's men before, remember, and while you may be willing to overlook that as less harmful than attacking them to kill, it's still them standing in direct opposition to her efforts to protect her city."

She turns and bows slightly to Duchess Morwen, before straightening up, slight concern on her expression as she takes in the signs of strain the situation has heaped upon their friend.

"I wish we'd had the chance to get involved before things got this bad, Your Grace, but hopefully we will be able to spare you any more trouble from it. May I suggest we go deal with this problem now, so that we may get them underway as quickly as possible, and we may hopefully bring you some good news before you retire for the night?"
 

Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
Morwen nods at Beldar. "If this can be solved peacefully, please do so. Otherwise, just report back to me and I will send the guard in the morning. I don't want you getting hurt in such a meaningless scuffle as this." Turning to Dess she smiles again and nods. "I was hoping this was just a minor issue, but clearly it has grown out of control. The sooner you deal with them, the better." Her smile falters slightly, her expression turning to worry. "I pray they don't attempt to assail your mind as well. We can only hope for the best."

Once more, she looks at the four of you and nods at each one with a look of acknowledgement. "I cannot thank you all enough for your service. Please, make haste after finishing your meal. I hate bearing the thought of them pestering my people any longer.”

Soon enough you all would exit the keep, pointed in the vague direction of the encampment. You set off down the cobblestone path towards the city gate, while the wind whirls with unusual ferocity - almost mistaken for a real wolf's howl. Nevertheless you all continue onwards, pushing your superstitions back to the corner of your mind.

As you continue onwards towards the hill where they were camped, your path is lit only by the ominous clarity of the full moon, shining above. You see dozens of men and women gathered around a large bonfire. They are in high spirits, a couple of them sing and dance around the fire while others find joy in their seemingly bottomless wineskins and flasks. Three barrel-topped wagons are parked at strange angle with their horses, a half dozen of them, tied to a nearby tree decorated with bright coats of exotic patterns and designs.

While approaching the lively bunch, a male human from the group approaches with a wide smile in both his eyes and lips, a younger woman and man flaking him on either side. “Welcome, my friends.” He greets you warmly, a drink sloshing in his right hand as he extends the other in greeting. “
My name is Stanimir. How may we help you on this beautiful night?”
 
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Holice

Junior Member
As typical for all first encounters, Beldar stood in the rear and observed. His eyes scanned the area, looking at the men and women around the bonfire, scanning over to the the garish wagons and horses, and settling his eyes on the apparently jovial man who approached them.

This guy certainly seems to be in high spirits he thought to himself, as he jotted some notes down in his notepad. Is the Duchess certain that these are the people that have been harassing the locals and charming soldiers, he pondered.

Looking back towards his comrades, he wondered who would be the first to respond, and in what demeanor would they return the greeting.
 

Cravingpages

Junior Member
As the wind blew Juniper threw up her hood. Monte, her pet squirrel came crashing out. With a chuckle, she placed him back under her cloaked shoulder.
As the group heads down the path, she continues her one-way conversation with Monte but is soon hushed by the sound of music. She nudges through her companions to get a better look at the travelers. With first glance she is dazzled by the joy of dancing and the exotic patterns and designs. A hint of a smile appears on Juniper's face but vanishes quickly. This lot doesn't look like those the Duchess warned us about.

As the man and his company approached, Juniper stepped out to greet him. She normally wouldn't be doing the talking but she felt accountable to do so in this situation.
It was important for this meeting to be positive and productive. If I could start this meeting off in high spirits maybe things won't be as bad as I imagine. Juniper extends her hand in greeting, meeting his eyes with a smile.
"It is a beautiful night, Hello Stanimir. My name is Juniper and these well are..... my companions." Juniper motions toward her group and smirks. She wonders what exactly are these people to her.
"What a radiant party this is. May I ask what cause for such celebration?
 
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Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
@Cravingpages

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Juniper." He smiles widely, nodding at Monte. "As well as all of your friends, big and small." He takes a swig of his drink, then gestures at the rest of the party. "Do we need cause? We are wanderers, storytellers, always on the move. Merely being alive is reason enough to make merry."
 
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Cravingpages

Junior Member
Badger taught her how to adapt and adaptable she shall be.
This will be fun, Juniper thinks to herself.
"This is very true. Life is too precious not to celebrate. May I... we join you by the fire. I would love to hear more about your travels and what brings you to Daggerford?" Juniper looks back to her group waiting to see if anyone protests to this bad idea.
 

Bizthequeer

New Member
Ash tilts her head, observing the peoples in this odd encampment. She's a bit anxious, so out in the open, and her posture is slightly stiff as a result. She follows close behind Juniper, recalling tales of gypsies and nomadic peoples. Were these people really just...squatters? Freeloaders? That would be an...interesting situation to deal with.

"Do you wanderers and storytellers have a name for yourselves?" Ash asks with some sincere curiosity. "Do you have elves among you?"
 

Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
@Cravingpages Stanimir smiles at Juniper, gesturing towards the large roaring campfire at the center of the wagons. "It would be our pleasure. Please, come with us. Our guests eat and drink as we do." Indeed as he says that, you can see open bottles and wine flasks at the ready, as well as several smaller spit roasts to the side cooking fresh meat.

@Bizthequeer As he turns to approach the fire, he glances at Ash and nods with a laugh. "Oh, but of course - we call ourselves the Vistani. I imagine it is not a name that you hear often amongst these parts, as we are from a faraway land. Still, it is a name that defines our people, scattered as they may be." As she inquires about the elves, he shakes his head. "
As wonderful and beautiful as your people are, we unfortunately do not count them among our numbers. They are extraordinarily rare in our homeland in general."
 
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GoodTeletubby

New Member
As Dess takes in the encampment and the revelry, her lips press together tightly in disapproval as she restrains her tongue while the others speak with Stanimir. These people's celebration comes at least in part at the expense of the townsfolk, and her irritation with that makes her patience short. Finally, as Stanimir offers them food and drink, she interrupts, her voice cold and unfriendly as she fixes him with a glare of obvious dislike, though it is far more controlled and less volatile after the walk burned off a good amount of the dinner's drinking.

"Hospitality will not be necessary. We're not here as guests, but at the request of the Duchess of Daggerford. It would be inappropriate to be accepting your drink while carrying out her assignment."

Her eyes flick quickly from the bottle in Stanimir's hand to Ash for a moment, before returning to examining the encampment, eyeing the wagons and horses, and the people around them. Her body language remains unfriendly, but she steps back, ceding the direction of the discussion to the others with the hope that her words will help them keep the primary purpose of their visit here in mind.
 

Cravingpages

Junior Member
Juniper finds a comfortable spot by the fire and gestures to the Vistani people holding the wine bottles that she would partake in some wine. As she is reaching for a flask she hears Dess' stern voice and slowly retracts her arm with a hint of shame written on her face.
 

Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
@Cravingpages The older woman offering you wine slowly retracts her bottle and nods with a knowing smile. "Perhaps another time, love." She smiles sweetly, looking you up and down and committing your face (and your companions') to memory. She gets out of the way, allowing you to return to the group without any hassle.

@GoodTeletubby Stanimir smiles sadly at Dess."I figured as much. Fine adventurers such as you would surely serve someone as fine as the duchess. You're here to ask us to leave, then?" He looks at the party for a moment, nodding in understanding. "I understand. We have no wish to make enemies of the charming lady."

He takes in a deep breath, allowing the lively music and chatter in the distance to fill the silence. Then he turns back to the four of you with a knowing glance, the smile still on his face.
"If the duchess so wishes, we can pack up and leave tonight. We are travelers, after all. But we do not travel without purpose. We are on a quest - searching for answers and saviors in these strange, unknown lands. All I ask is you listen to our story and hear our plight. Then, we will leave without conflict. What say you?"

If you would like to do the optional adventure to advance to level three, decline hearing the story (or his proposition afterwards). Accept his story and his proposition if you would like to skip it and move onto the main module at level 1. This side adventure is extremely deadly and must be fully completed to earn all the levels offered. Discuss this out-of-character before proceeding.
 
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Holice

Junior Member
Having taken a seat near Juniper, Beldar was still marveling at these people, the Vistani. He made a mental note to write that name down later, as he found people became uncomfortable when he wrote in his journal in front of them.

Agreeing with Dess that we should remain professional, he too declined any food or drink. Beldar then leaned in closer to Juniper and said softly, "We did come here to talk, I say we hear them out."
 

Bizthequeer

New Member
Ash eyes the bottles with something almost predatory in her eyes, but snaps out of it when Dess speaks and shoots a look her way. She still wasn't proud of that night they had all decided to have a drink together... All she remembered was picking Juniper up and trying to kiss Dess before she blacked out. Hopefully the others were as quick to forget...

She shifts awkwardly, eager to stop thinking about such things.

"Yes, go ahead."
 

GoodTeletubby

New Member
Dess inclines her head to Stanimir in acknowledgment, her attitude gentling with his acceptance of the Duchess's desires. With the concern of direct conflict seemingly alleviated, some of the tension flows out of her.

"Her Grace would appreciate it if you could move along tonight. Please, feel free to to spin your story, but when it's done, we really should make our way back to relieve Duchess Morwen of at least this burden before she retires for the night."

As she takes in the camp with slightly more ease, she catches Ash's awkwardness, and the corner of her mouth turns upward. Seems the other elf has learned a bit of discretion, at least, mischevious little vixen. Dess firmly suppresses the smirk tugging at her lips, as she toys with the idea of providing Ash another opportunity to embarrass herself.
 

Cravingpages

Junior Member
Juniper thanks the older woman with a pleased expression. As Beldar speaks, Juniper looks up and is delighted he too is interested in what Stanimir has to say. "I too am very curious about the Vistani and this story. I wonder....maybe their storytelling is what bewitches the listener." Juniper chuckles and continues to watch the world around her.
As Juniper overhears Dess' conversation with Stanimir. She looks at her with some sort of admiration. She would never have thought a criminal could be so noble. Well in Juniper's eyes at least.
 

Nephyriun

Void Flopsie
Supporter
Stanimir grins widely at Dess. "But of course. We wouldn't want to hold you up from your duties. Still, we are story tellers by tradition and by purpose - it warms my heart to know you are at least willing to listen. Now, watch closely."

He fills his mouth with wine, then spits into the fire. In a brilliant flash, the flames turn from orange to flaring green. As they dance and sway, a dark shape appears in the bonfire's core. "We come from an ancient land whose name is long forgotten - a land of kings. Our enemies forced us from our homes, and now we wander the lost roads."

The dark shape in the fire takes the form of a man being knocked from his horse, a spear piercing his side. "One night, a wounded soldier staggered into our camp and collapsed. We nursed his terrible injury and quenched his thirst with wine. Despite the odds, he survived. When we asked him who he was, he wouldn't say. All he wanted was to return home, but we were deep in the land of his enemies. We took him as one of our own and followed him back toward his homeland. His enemies hunted him. They said he was a prince, yet we didn't give him up, even when their assassins fell upon us like wolves."

Deep in the bonfire, you see the dark figure standing with sword drawn, fighting off a host of shadowy shapes. "This man of royal blood fought to protect us, as we protected him. We bore him safely to his home, and he thanked us. He said, 'I owe you my life. Stay as long as you wish, leave when you choose, and know that you will always be safe here.' "' The figure in the dancing fire vanquishes its final foe, then disperses in a cloud of smoke and embers.

Stanimir's face becomes a somber mask. "A curse has befallen our noble prince, turning him into a tyrant. We alone have the power to leave his domain. We've traveled far and wide to find heroes to end our dread lord's curse and put his troubled soul to rest. Perhaps one day, we will find such heroes." He looks to you all with a glint of hope in his eyes. "...Perhaps. Until then, we remain travelers and storytellers, wandering the roads of these unknown lands."

With a deep sigh he nods at Dess once more, the only one in the group seemingly unamused by the story. "
For now, return to your Duchess. If you feel any mercy in your heart, perhaps you will grant us the honor of sharing our story. We will leave in the morning, as there is nothing more for us here."

IF_D&D_Stanamir_VistaniMagic_1200px.jpg
 
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