Session 1 Part 1
Nestled along the shoreline of the savage Dragon Coast, the city of Westgate rose from sandy beaches with tall jagged walls and sharp peaked buildings. Much like a cancerous lump the city tainted the brightly colored wilderness around it, the bright green forests and the white sand beaches, with it dark grey walls and ominous presence. Within, a chaotic presence filled its streets as people scurried about, each set on finishing their nefarious plans. Every avenue was choked with dirt and refuses and an occasional body, either of a drunk sleeping off a wild night or the poor unfortunate victim of a mugging who had been beaten into unconsciousness. Or worse. Lawlessness ruled in a city governed by an uncaring mayor. As long as the coffers remained full, by whatever means necessary, he was happy to let the city’s populace do what they pleased. And for the most part they did.
Along a side street, almost dead center in the Moonside District, was a large two story inn called the Gentle Moon. The building ran along a narrow street and was flanked on both sides by alleys. Alleyways were common within Westgate and most were dimly little and often home to a variety of undesirable people. The inn itself was the typical wooden structure, matching its neighbors on each side, with one large oak door leading inside. Just beyond that door was the lobby of the inn which split the rest of the lower level into a tavern and a common room. Along the back of the lobby and to the side of a large wooden desk ran a wide flight of stairs leading up to the sleeping quarters. Being located close to the Temple District, and far from the Tavern District, the Gentle Moon inn was rarely busy with most of the clientele being made up of pilgrims briefly passing through the city on some holy pilgrimage or another. The few city folk to frequent the tavern were usually ruffians and thugs or drifters that came to drown their sorrows any time they were able to scrape enough silver to buy a pint or two of mead.
But today was different. The Gentle Moon was enjoying more patronage that it ever had. Paying patronage. Silky the barmaid rushed out of the kitchen with a pitcher in one hand and six wooden mugs in the other. The group of adventurers had come in early this morning. Silky had been happy to find them not reeking of a wild night and ale. Many times drunkards would drag themselves in for a bite of breakfast and by the time they left her bottom would hurt from repeated pinches. As she delivered the ice cold water she had a chance to take a good look at them. There were six in all and as varied a group as she had ever seen. Two of them were huge men and even though they were sitting she had to turn her head upward to look them in the eye. She guessed that they had to have been over seven feet tall when standing. One was mahogany skinned and the other had a grayish tint to his skin almost as if he were sickly. But both of them had dark splotches on their arms and face that almost seemed to form a jagged pattern. Both were dressed in complex leather armor. The brown skinned man wore a thick headed mace on his belt and the gray skinned man had a huge axe and sword strapped across his back; both hilts stretching above his head.
Sitting next to the huge men, almost as big as both of them was a Dragonborn. Silky had never seen a dragonborn before and only heard of them through terrifying bedtime stories her father had told her when she was little. But Silky quickly overcame her fear telling herself that she was no longer a frightened little girl. After getting over her initial fright at actually seeing a dragonborn, Silky took a moment to study the muscular form in front of her and realized that it was a “she.” There was nothing in its form or face to reveal a feminine side only a swelling of the chest under her leather armor.
If the dragonborn women are that big, how large are the men folk? Silky thought to herself. The Dragonborn was dressed in thick leather armor that was inscribed with curious runes and symbols. Golden scales tinted with a swirl of scarlet covered the small amount of skin that was exposed. Large green and gold eyes seems to scan the room narrowing each time it detected the slightest of movements. For a moment they reminded Silky of cat eyes zeroing in on an unsuspecting mouse. A long, intriquetely carved staff rested at the dragonborn’s side.
Sitting to her left, almost looking tiny and fragile in comparison to the hulking warriors nearby, was the most handsome man Silky had ever seen. Flowing blonde hair that was tied into a ponytail by a blue string cascaded down the back of a shiny suit of platemail. He had full pouty lips and slender facial features that suggested the man was more of a performer than a warrior. His eyes were a vibrant blue and seemed most inviting. Silky was actually lost in those eyes, daydream about “what could be” when she noticed his slightly elongated ears. He was a half-elf. That explained his delicate features. A longsword was strapped to his belt and a flowing cape hung loosely on his back.
And while the half-elf was handsome that man sitting next to him was intriguing. Sitting casually in his chair picking at the pointed nails that adorned each finger was a shifter. His skin was tanned, almost a light orange in color, which matched the thick mane of fur that covered his neck and head. His teeth were long and pointed and his golden eyes shone with an untamed light. A sense of mischievousness, an unbridled wildness lived in his gaze. Looking into them made Silky’s heart burn with wildfire and made a flutter of passion, long dormant, skitter across her chest. It had been a long time since the gaze of a man had touched the portly woman in such a way. She wondered if the longsword at his side was as sharp as his gaze.
But in pure contrast to the shifter was the last man in the group. At least Silky thought it was a man. He was not overly tall or broad shouldered and was completely enshrouded in a dark gray hood and cloak that was edged with silver stitching. Try as she might Silky could not see into the hood, a shadow of darkness covering his face at all angles. The only thing identifiable was the ornate broadsword at his side that was topped with a large bird with outstretch wings at the end of its pommel. Silky was suddenly aware that she had been straing at them all and was now standing in front of them in silence as they returned her gaze. She cleared her throat tryign to give herself a second to regain her composure.
“Here is some ice cold water to get the day started. It should be refreshing considering the warmth already in the air,” Silky stammered trying to lighten the mood with some small talk. The air inside the common room was already stifling even at such an early hour. Or was that just her reaction to the two very appealing men sitting in front of her. The handsome looking half-elf turned to her and smiled a perfect smile and said, “thank you very much my dear lady. My name is Adran.” The plump barmaid smiled awkwardly as she blushed. After an even more awkward curtsey, as she was not use to the attention of a man, she found the courage to continue. He blush faded but the heat of it still resided in the tips of her ears.
“Can I offer you some breakfast? Some early dinner perhaps?” she asked pulling out a pad of paper and a stub of a pencil.
“What do you recommend?” Adran asked in a sugary tone staring intently at the barmaid.
“Um, we have a, a special that is, uh, very good,” Silky stammered. Adran smiled again enjoying the effect he had on the woman.
“That will be fine. Bring six orders,” Adran started to say and then looked at his large friends, “make that nine orders of your breakfast specials please.” Silky smiled, enjoyed one last look at the half-elf and quickly turned to rush into the kitchen, bumping into a chair as she went. Adran smiled as he watched her go.
“If you’re done playing around can we get down to business?” the brown skinned goliath asked.
“Keothi is right. Stop messing with the poor woman’s feelings,” the dragonborn said visibly angry.
“You’re just sticking up for her Tihee because you are a woman,” Adran said.
“Someone has to watch out for us. We are definitely outnumbered here,” Tihee responded looking at the five others sitting around the table with her, all of them men. The man in the cloak moved slightly, his hood falling a bit to the side, allowing the slightest peak inside. The outline of a slender face could be seen.
“Enough. We have all gathered here because of our shared interest in adventuring together,” said a voice issuing out of the hood. It was a light and air voice but still carried the sharpness of a dagger.
“Maybe we can start with introductions. Some of us are unknown to the others,” Adran said. The large gray skinned goliath introduced himself as “Kang” and the shifter’s name was “Rip” but the hooded man did not speak for a long time. Finally he said, “Xious. Just called me Xious.”
“What kind of name is that?” Rip asked with a chuckle but before the hooded man could answer a commotion broke out deeper within the common room.