The Barkeep looks out upon the boron hills from the window of his tavern. A dark horizon gazes back upon him, a storm is upon us. I don’t recall a time ever in the stories that people have been this uncomfortable around here. There seems to be nothing, in particular, wrong but something just feels, off. The worst part is the storm never seems to arrive. It just stays up there lingering across the mountain top for the last three weeks. Dark purple, the color of a fresh bruise of two days. No rain to speak of, just darkness. I sent a letter seeking someone to help protect the town. With The Archer away doing God knows what and Captain Red in The Dead Isles no one seems to be around to help. Also, come to think of it, I haven’t seen The Engineer in a few days. Not unusual, he is probably off on a drinking binge again. Just then a new face walks into my tavern. A tall and burly man with bright gold hair and an impressive arrangement of weapons. To top it all off, a smile sure to make any woman swoon.
You must be The Barkeep, that sent looking for help. Well, my well-groomed friend, look no further. The Hero is here! Not too impressed, I allow him to continue. I assume there will be some sort of reward? The Hero says with utmost confidence. If it comes to that, said The Barkeep. Well, then, tell me what troubles these lands? I look up from the bar and think the fact that he missed the dark purple skies doesn’t impress me, in fact, it downright worries me further. Take a look outside at the hills in the distance. Said The Barkeep. The Hero, with a look of stupidity, Ah! So it seems. Well, I tell you I know not of the weather but I have seen this sort of thing in the past. Not quite as em, what’s the word? Ominous. Nonetheless, it was only a troll trying to experiment with dark magic about three years ago. Nothing a quick stab won’t be able to fix. The Barkeep, with a look of uncertainty, stay, “Something tells me this isn’t going to be that easy, but what do I know? I’m just The Barkeep.” Right-o, tell me then, who can I speak with on a matter of payment for starting my journey. I will be in need of supplies, travel, and drink of course, for this to go right. The Barkeep points to the corner of the room. A man of wisdom sits at a table in the corner. Nose deep in a book. That’s The Scribe, you can take up payment with him. Thank you, my good sir! The Hero then twirls away from the bar and heads straight for The Scribe with little regards for anything else.
Just then a piercing loud screeching began. WOOME, WOOME, WOOME, WOOME. Seeming to be in unison like a drum large enough to shake the world. The wind picks up and lightning without rain begins to crack with little sound. Either that or the drumming is so loud you can’t hear the light strike. The Hero seems to have a look of shock mixed with confidence as he tries to look composed with the task he has just seemed to set himself. WOOME, WOOME, WOOME, WOOME. The clouds seem to be moving in a way that I could swear is sucking in the colors of the sky around it. That simply couldn’t be. Could the Skys really be changing shape? No, it must be my eyes adjusting to the sky. Just then everything stopped just as quick as it began.
Directly above was a dark circle seemingly made of metal but I couldn’t be sure. This was no metal that I have ever seen. It seemed ancient yet not, almost, timeless. Then a bright green emerald beam shot down from the middle of the circle straight to the ground and a slim black object seemed to guide straight down inside it with ultimate quickness. What was left when the beam retracted was what seemed to be a man. Though I could not say for sure, it was still quite some distance away. Then as if they were never there in the first place, the clouds were simply gone. Only the figure remained.
I turned to The Hero and pointed to the door. Well, here is your chance to earn that money. Go out there and find out whatever that thing is and what its intentions are. The Hero looking ill-prepared says, “Scribe, we shall handle this matter of payment later, but before I leave. Whatever you were going to pay me, just doubled.” The Scribe simply nodded and began to write the events down in his book. He often did that. The Hero shifted he gun belt and seated his knife firmly in his waistband, then headed out the door.
The Hero thought to himself as he walked out the door. This is something I was not remotely prepared for. That troll story was but a myth, kids playing about a cauldron that tipped over in an accident. Not the far fetched tail of the troll I created. All though, it was quite popular with the women. Never mind, I came to do a job and by God, I am going to do it! I look up to the horizon to see the dark figure standing his ground. As I approach further he seems to be nothing more than a man. Well, a man with some very odd trinkets about his back. These were simply things I have never seen before, nor heard of for that matter. As I approach the man reaches for his gun and says, “Stop, or the next step will be your last.” Not taking him for the playing type I stop immediately and call out to him, loudly. “What is your name, stranger?” Looking up ever so slightly under the brim of his hat, “I am The Gunslinger and I am looking for The Wizard.”