Upon entering the quaint town of Mar at roughly 22:00, Atrean Falavir, Rayen Adsila, and Thordaim Anvil-Chest and the caravan driver went their own ways. The driver was still in shock from the trip and wanted to send the two boys’ bodies back home. He wished the party a farewell, and set off to work, not planning on leaving Mar for some time.
The three adventurers then had to decide what to do with all of the owlbear meat they collected (stored in a barrel the driver kindly let them use). Rayen, something of a cook herself, decided to try her hand at bartering with the local innkeeper. She would cook it and serve it if it was good quality. If not, she and her companions would keep the meat they cooked. Steve, the barkeep of the tavern they chose, was hard-pressed in his decision making. Luckily for Rayen, though, a young man sweetened the deal on her behalf, offering compensation to Steve should the meat turn out bad. This young man, who went by the name of Wyatt Carlson, had arrived in town that morning, and had already built a quick relationship with Steve, trading stories throughout the day until his employer, Aylin Aldaelon had enough of the town and planned to leave at once. Wyatt’s deal (8 gold should the meat be inedible), had pushed Steve over the ledge, and he allowed them to work on it.
Unfortunately for everyone, Steve did not believe it was real owlbear meat, and wanted proof first. Wyatt’s first instinct was to ask Aylin, who seemed to know just about everything from his books. Wyatt swiftly went to retrieve Aylin, and returned to a scowling Dwarf. Thordaim, like all Dwarves, was not particularly fond of Gray Elves, and let his enmity show. Rayen, not knowing what a Gray Elf was, whispered to Atrean “Does he have a birth defect or something?”
“What was that girl?” Aylin responded, overhearing her innocent question. “Have you never seen the splendor of a Gray Elf before? Surely that is a pity.” Aylin, pleased with the way he slipped his racial superiority to the others, continued on his task at hand. “It was a predator,” he answered at length, holding a piece of the meat with a stick and curiously examining it, “large, about seven to ten feet. Muscular. Quite possibly owlbear.”
“I done told ye it was! Figures ye don’t even know fer sure!” Thordaim shouted, more to Aylin than to Steve.
Aylin, surprised by the sudden and unexpected outburst from such a filthy creature replied with “What was that, Dwarf? I hardly noticed you there. I find it hard to look down after such a long ride.”
Thordaim, infuriated with the self-righteousness of the pointy-eared bastard, lunged at Aylin, hammer in full overhead swing. Wyatt was quick on the draw though, and caught the Dwarf’s arm before the hammer struck. Aylin, whose face was but a mere three inches from the flat of the hammer merely smiled, pleased with his choice in bodyguard and his display of being untouchable. Thordaim struggled and cursed at Wyatt to let him go so that he could “Squish the little bastard like a grape!” Atrean and Rayen stepped in to hold Thordaim back, one by each arm. Unfortunately, as Aylin turned to retire to his room, Thordaim ripped free of their hold and charged again, only to be caught once more by the human boy.
Wyatt turned to Aylin, who was the cause of so much trouble in the first place, and told him “If you’re going to take your leave, I suggest the sooner would be better.” Aylin cocked his head back and went up the stairs. Thordaim, after being somewhat calm by the disappearance of the Elf, was taken to a table in the corner of the bar by Atrean, who spent quite some time talking him down from his rage.
Wyatt then asked Steve if they still had a deal. Steve agreed, but had one new condition: the Dwarf was not to mess with his patrons. A few had already either hurriedly finished their late dinners and went to bed, or just left their plates half full to escape the scene. Wyatt and Rayen assured him that wouldn’t be a problem. Rayen got to work in the kitchen, cooking up the meat as best she could and with Wyatt’s help. Unfortunately, she was not accustomed to the kitchen’s equipment, knowing only the slow-cooking campfires she grew up with. After burning her fifth batch of steaks (two of which she managed to hide form the cook), they were chased out of the kitchen. The cook threw the rest of the meat out of the back door and into the alley. They managed to get one set of steaks out without burning them, and offered two of them to Atrean and Thordaim. They ate it, but Atrean was a little taken aback by its unusual flavor. It was very chewy, gamey, and bland. Despite his initial reaction to the meat when they carved it, Thordaim was impressed by the taste, thinking it to be better than he had expected.
Wyatt paid Steve as per their arrangement. Rayen apologized for the cooking going south, but Wyatt didn’t seem to mind. “Aylin pays me anyways, and I don’t have much to spend it on. He pays for all of our food and lodging. He may be a snob at times, but he’s not too bad.”
“What was that, boy?” Aylin called from upstairs, apparently hearing his “snob” comment. Wyatt ushered Rayen outside so that they could speak more privately. The night was brisk and clear, stars twinkling brightly as the moon lit up the town.
“Yeah, I’m kind of his bodyguard for the time being,” Wyatt explained. “He hired me from Darokin City to protect him on some ‘Grand Adventure’ that he has planned. To be honest, I just went along to travel the world. He is apparently searching for some ancient ring that he read about. Wants to bring it back to Glantri with him to prove his worth or something.”
“He’s interested in magical rings?” Rayen asked, wondering Aylin’s motives.
“Yep. Wants one in particular. Called it a ‘Ring of Jeanie Summoning’ or some such other name. I wasn’t really paying attention at the time.”
“Oh. I have a ring that’s magical, but I don’t really know what it…” Rayen began, not knowing the perils of possession of fine objects. Wyatt quickly cut her off.
“Perhaps it’s best to not speak of such thing in the open,” he informed her, “you never know who’s listening.”
“Where is he taking you?” She changed the subject. She thought of exploring wondrous lands across the world.
“East, towards Ylaruam. That’s where we’ll start our journey. We’ll head through the Five Shires and Karameikos first, then either cut up to Selenica or further East into Thyatis. Although, because of Thyatian laws, we may avoid it and head North earlier.”All of this talk of traveling got Rayen into a stir, wanting to feel the wind in her hair as she saw everything from snowy mountain peaks to windy deserts.
“Can… Can we come with you?” She asked after awhile, not certain as to how Wyatt would accept the offer.
“Well, I don’t think Aylin would pay you all, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind the extra muscle. Well, except for your Dwarf friend.”
“Thordaim usually isn’t that bad, honest. Aylin just got him all riled up is all.” She explained, knowing how Thordaim easily put himself in front of an owlbear to save the caravan earlier. “He’s honest and true, and though he may have something against Elves, as I’m told all Dwarves do, him and Atrean seem to get along well.”
“Well, I’ll talk to Aylin tonight, and we’ll see what happens.”
And with that they went back inside to find Thordaim and Atrean had already paid for their rooms and went to sleep. Rayen paid for hers and bid Wyatt good night. Rayen went up to her room and sat on the bed. She was uncomfortable with sleeping in such a thing, so she simply got the sheets from it and laid them in a corner, laying curled on top of them.
The next morning, everyone came down roughly at the same time for breakfast. Thordaim and Aylin sat as far away from each other at the table as possible, the Dwarf never missing a chance between stuffing his mouth to cast a glare at the insufferably tidy Elf. Rayen and Wyatt explained their agreement, asking Thordaim and Atrean to come with them. “I cannot join you on your quest,” Atrean replied to the offer.
“Why not?” Rayen asked, genuinely upset at losing the level-headed medium of their group.
“My path leads to Darokin City and beyond. May fate grant our paths cross again.” He bid them farewell and left the tavern to find a way North to Darokin City.
Thordaim however, to the surprise of the others, agreed to go with them. “If only to see the demise of that one!” he added, pointing a nearly-clean drumstick at Aylin. Aylin ignored Thordaim’s comment, which was easily the wisest decision he could have made. Aylin, having his opinion battered by Wyatt’s continuous stream of excuses the night before had finally given in to the request, allowing the others to “tag along” with them for a time.
After everything was settled between the four, they searched for a caravan heading to Sateeka through the Cruth Mountains. They had invariably found an elderly Hobbit couple who were returning home from a trading trip to Mar. The wife had welcomed the newcomers, adding that she hoped they didn’t run into anything in the mountains, as she didn’t want to see them hurt. Her genuine pleasantries appealed to Rayen, who had only seen a more grim view of the world since she had left her home. So far she had been stolen from, attacked, and caught in the middle of a bar fight and she was tired of it all. The four introduced themselves to Michael, a human fighter who worked for the couple to protect them on their perilous journey through the mountains. Another passenger laid in the back of the wagon, with a wide-brimmed hat over his face and his foot bouncing, crossed over his knee. Smoke cam from his pipe as the Hobbit peacefully puffed on it. Rayen, eager to meet the crew, introduced herself. Her surprise only matched her fury as Sammond Rootarrow sat up and looked innocently at her with a crooked smile on his lips. “Well wot a coincidence this is!”
“You again!” Rayen shouted at the Halfling, not eager to see him again anytime soon.
“You two know each other?” Wyatt asked as Thordaim and Aylin settled in the back of the caravan, keeping a good distance from each other.
“He took my money back in Athenos!” She shouted at him.
“Wot? Did not! You ‘ave all your money right there on your hip, lass. I only own wot money is mine and rightly so. ’Ow can you be accusing people o’ such crimes, then?” He responded, thinking himself rather cunning.
“Your lot bring all sorts of trouble, don’t you?” Wyatt asked Rayen. If only he knew how true that was.