The road into Phlan was littered with traveling merchants selling their wares, storytellers weaving words to those passerby’s who needed to pass their time, and adventurers seeking coin and a hero’s work.
Two adventurers, moving northward on the road to the City of Phlan, found a company in each other as they walked along. Perhaps their oddities drew them to one another, as many other travelers would quickly cast their gaze elsewhere as if they were a ghostly presence. An Aarakocra by the name of Omarii, his narrow legs perched atop talons brought him to stand just beneath five feet as he walked alongside his new comrade. Omarii’s brightly coloured feathered body stood tall, as he peered out through beady eyes and clicked his beak as he spoke to the Illithid beside him.
Sometimes called a Mindflayer – often with disgust, or a shudder of fear or discontent – Squiggles would occasionally stroke one of his four tentacles where one would assume a mouth to be. His pale, grey-blue skin stood out amidst the green forest surrounding him.
The mere sight of an Illithid walking alongside an Aarakocra was alarming, yet Omarii and Squiggles paid no mind.
The night began to fall across the Quivering Forest, its trees forever restless with the bumbling of forest creatures. It does not take a seasoned adventurer for one to know the path to Phlan becomes dangerous at night. The traveling merchants, storytellers and villagers alike all appeared to vanish from the roads. All but the odd duo, clucking quietly as they continued onward.
A high-pitched, nasally voice rang out amidst the trees up ahead. There appeared to be a clearing in the path, lit by Omarii’s torch.
Squiggles and Omarii paused, sharing a look with one another before readying themselves.
“None left! Badman should have more gold! More shiny!” Another voice seemed to respond.
As they came up to the clearing, Omarii and Squiggles caught sight of two Goblins arguing around a fire. Behind them were two tents erected and some old, rusted weapons on the ground. However, in their hands they both held scimitars, appearing to grip them tightly between their green knuckles as they argued.
Suddenly, Squiggles, making his movement known to the two Goblins, appeared in the clearing not far from the fire. He spoke to them, telepathically, asking, “What are you doing here?”
The reaction was immediate. The Goblins, their blood already hot from arguing with one another, hissed and quickly moved around towards the new arrivals. “Ours! Our shiny’s!” One of them yelled.
Upon noticing their hostility, Omarii and Squiggles prepared themselves for battle. Squiggles trained himself in the ways of telepathic Bardic battle. His cunning words can slice an enemy – despite never having to speak at all. Omarii, on the other hand, uses magic and force to subdue his foes as a trained Cleric.
It was not long before the two squabbling Goblins were unconscious; even the one who had attempted to flee but Omarii’s wings carried him across the small clearing too quick. A bird of prey, indeed.
“The tents are empty, the weapons useless, but this is far too nice for a Goblin to pitch,” Omarii noted after he and Squiggles investigated the area. Just then, Squiggles noticed something behind the tents on the ground. He bent down low to the ground, reaching out with his fingers. As soon as he touched it, he retracted.
“Blood. And not Goblin,” he explained. Squiggles put a finger up to his metaphorical mouth, Omarii understood and immediately dispersed the light source he had been using to see in the darkness of the night.
They quietly followed a trail of blood; it thickening the further it went. It came up to and over a large, rocky hill which carved out the trees and ground in the Forest. With time and effort, the Illithid and Aarakocra climbed over the side of the mounds. There, Squiggles was able to spot the corpse of a human man lying in a clearing of trees. Large, vicious looking rats pawed, clawed and snapped at his body. They counted what appeared to be three rats total, but could hear hissing coming from further in the clearing, back towards the path to the main road.
Without time to rest after their run-in with the Goblins, Squiggles charged in, drawing all the attention towards himself and Omarii. Omarii fumbled down the hillside and readied himself once more. There was no reasoning with the rats, neither, as they felt their dinner threatened – or rather expanded – upon the arrival of two more morsels of meat.
Squiggles cast Vicious Mockery upon the largest rat in appearance, whereas Omarii sent a cone of magic in the direction of the hissing from the other rats. Half a moment, was all it took, for such alert adventurers to disperse of the defending herd of rats. Not without a few nips, Omarii thought sluggishly as he tiredly tended to his wounds as Squiggles inspected the half-eaten corpse of the man.
There was not much on him, besides perhaps a very polished appearing sword. “That has to be worth something!” Omarii said as he inspected it, Squiggles shrugged, uncaring for any sort of monetary value.
Upon the corpse, however, they did find what appeared to be a letter. Though, the rats’ hungry maws had shredded it, leaving only a portion legible. Before even being able to attempt to decipher the text, Omarii snatched the letter up and waved his hand over it, muttering under his breath. He quickly mended the letter back to its full, original piece.
“If this letter reaches you, it is because you have proven yourself a seasoned adventurer.
I am in desperate need of assistance in the City of Phlan. Your journey will be greatly compensated for with wealth beyond your imagination. Heed my warning, however, that this task is not for the meek; only the bravest adventurers will be able to overcome its obstacles. Find me at Nat Wyler’s Bell in Phlan, where I shall await your arrival. ~ J”
Omarii and Squiggles exchanged a look with one another. “A rest, for the night, and then onward to Phlan,” Omarii stated, gesturing to the letter.
Squiggles nodded, his fingers twisting around a particular tentacle. “Yes, it seems like whatever this task may be it was enough to shed blood for.”
As night took its full hold on the Quivering Forest, the two comrades found rest within the deceased man’s tents, recovering from their wounds and fatigue of their long journey to Phlan. In the morning, they would arrive at the City’s gates, in hopes to discover not only work but now also the task held within the letter.
To Be Continued…
Cast of Guardians of the Eclipse:
Omarii Chancewind: Greg Dancy @gsdpaint
Squiggles: Corry Rogerson @DMCorry
DM: Mysty Vander @MystyVander