It had been a few months since the fellowship created in the Barkeep’s tavern had formed. The Gunslinger and Scribe set off to find ancient texts about the location and mythology of the Time-Changer. The Hero was sent to recruit the infamous Captain Crimson, securing passage for the company. The Barkeep was dispatched to find supplies for the journey ahead, all the while tapping his sources for information on the elusive Marksman. Now, the heroes draw nigh to the Wizard’s store-front in Franklin, reconvening to discuss the next steps in their great adventure.
The Wizard stares intently at his brew. The boiling pot smells of tobacco, warm amber, fresh leather, and vanilla. The concoction was a gift for a high ranking general, a friend of the Wizard’s. He watched him grow from a lad to a strapping leader of men, with a glorious beard that instills confidence in those following his command and fear in those opposing the larger than life man. Such a magnificent beard would require a similar product. The Wizard has crafted an oil, balm, and butter, for the storied Strategist’s beard, and was just putting the finishing touches on a wash/conditioner to clean and soften the facial hair.
Just as the Wizard is putting his final touches on the concoction, he raises his staff, using magic to manipulate the door of his store to open. The Barkeep walks in, his massive arms carrying a couple of barrels in his massive arms. The Distiller follows close behind, carrying his possessions in a trunk and pack.
“Distiller, I would say it is a nice surprise to see you, but I saw that you joined the fellowship back on the banks of the Baguay River. Nevertheless, I am overjoyed that you joined our company and that you have finally seen fit to step foot in my store. I’m constantly having to whip up some of your special beard oil recipe, we can't seem to keep it in inventory,” says the Wizard.
The Distiller is taken aback at the Wizard’s statement of seeing him join up at the Baguay River, a two-week trip at the very least. The Distiller understood, however, that Wizards are strange and powerful folk, and the shrug the Barkeep gives confirms that nothing could quite be considered out of the ordinary when dealing with such an extraordinary being.
“I am very happy to be here,” exclaims the Distiller. “I’ve been meaning to take you up on your generous invitation, but the distillery usually keeps me tied down. An adventure searching for inspiration seemed in order though, so here I am.”
“Has the Gunslinger and Scribe returned from their mission,” asks the Barkeep.
“They are en route, moving down the old highway rapidly. They should be in by nightfall,” replies the Wizard.
“And the Hero?” asks the Barkeep.
“They returned a day or so ago. The Captain and the Hero have been recovering from their journey and the crewmen have been enjoying libations in the tavern,” explains the Wizard.
“Very well,” nods the Barkeep. “We must convene tonight, we have valuable information that could spoil if we don’t act quickly.”
Later that night, after the arrival of the Scribe and the Gunslinger, the heroes gather around a table in the Barkeep’s tavern. After several drinks and many enthusiastic introductions, the Barkeep gains the attention of the attention of the fellowship.
“I am glad to be gathered together once again, as our early objectives have been dangerous in and of themselves. Gunslinger, I’ve been told that your efforts were successful,” says the Barkeep, seceding the floor to the Gunslinger to detail his mission.
“Yessir,” says the Gunslinger, leaned back in his chair, fidgeting with the cylinder on one of his pistols. “The Scribe and I were able to sneak into the Ostricester University library and make out with the ancient text. The Scribe has been workin’ on translatin' the ole script. He’s sure now that the island was inhabited by dwarves and that the Wizard’s friend dwarven craftsman will be a necessary addition to our company.”
The Wizard’s eyes appear to be staring thousands of yards through the walls of the tavern, to the ends of the universe itself. The Wizard shivers and breaks from the trance-like state.
“You can begin searching for him in the city of Dey, that’s the last time I had contact with him. He was an engineer for the Realm’s ruler, building city defense machines and designing the walls for the city,” says the Wizard.
“We need him for much more than designing us our gear. From what I have been able to figure out so far, the Time-Changer is hidden deep in a dwarven temple on an island far west, much further than most ships dare venture,” says the Scribe.
“Most explorers aren’t sailing aboard the Mystic Wave,” brags Captain Crimson, slapping the Distiller on the back, cackling loudly.
“Hero, I see you were successful in finding the good Captain,” comments the Barkeep.
“I told you I’d bring him back,” gloats the Hero.
“I came here of my own accord,” corrects the Captain. “It isn’t everyday that you get to write yourself in legend. The untold glories of this adventure will make the other pirate tales pale in comparison.”
The Gunslinger motions to the Distiller, “I see you have picked up another companion, have you found our mysterious Marksman?”
“That is why we had to meet tonight, Gunslinger. The Marksman is in Cremouth, hunting some beast. We need to move quickly before he disappears again. If we don’t catch him in Cremouth, it may be a long while before we catch a tale of him again,” says the Barkeep.
The Gunslinger scratches at his beard, deep in thought.
The Wizard interjects, “Gunslinger, you and the Barkeep travel with the Captain to Cremouth to meet with the Marksman. The Distiller should be able to help you identify him. I have a strong feeling that he won’t be leaving any time soon. You should be able to get there and present him with our offer.”
The Wizard turns to the Hero, “You take the Distiller and Scribe and travel to Dey and try to contact our dwarven craftsman.”
The light from the fire flickers off the walls. The fellowship, together once again but briefly, prepares once again to split off, in search of the final pieces needed to secure before setting off on the greatest adventure yet.