Ashen Dawn

Session 1 Preview Short Story

Mistport Bay, Morning

    The clouds are thick, and the snow is even more abundant as you step out into the frigid air on the deck. Your passage from Fay Therligad, a trip taking a few days longer than two short-moons to perform, was cold and uneventful. Stretching your limbs after a long night in the tight quarters below deck, you find yourself yearning for the nearby shore and the comfort of a proper bed and hearth at an inn in Mistport. The city rises before you in a snowy haze, its spires no more than a mile out now. The Arbutus, the merchant vessel that you have called home for the last 20 days, creaks beneath you as if gasping in pain and effort to make the final leg of the journey.
 
    Surrounding you are some thirty other faces, their breath causing thick plumes of steam to rise in the frigid air like smokestacks in blacksmiths guild. You take a moment to size them up; some are sailors, lowborn that will likely never know a life not at sea. Others are merchants traveling with goods from Fay Therligad or beyond, hungry to complete their order and make some coin. The rest of the group are adventurers, like you.

    There is a mild cough as a familiar face steps out into the morning air. Sebastian Rouzet, the Brynn sponsor from the Spades, rubs his hands together for warmth as he walks towards the side of the ship to take in the view.

    “Ah… home at last.” Sebastian turns to the congregation, casually holding onto one of the sail lines that tied to the side of the ship. “And a home for you too, if you find yourself a member of the Spades before the short-moon is out.”

    The lithe brynn man smiles and turns back to face the city with a wistful sigh. His brilliant blue horns glimmer briefly as the sun peeks out from the clouds for a moment and then slinks back into hiding.  “She’s beautiful yes? Well, be forewarned, she isn’t Fay Therligad, that’s for sure.” Sebastian motions towards the region beyond the city with a hand, then slowly turns back around to face you again.

“The haze is thick here, and there aren’t too many settlements in the frontier. Mistport is like to be your only lover if you decide to make this island your home. But what she lacks in pleasantries, the island will make up for with riches. Deepmist Island hasn't been adequately explored yet, and the work, while dangerous, can be very lucrative.  Rest assured that when I offered you the opportunity to apply for our guild, to be in the party that I will sponsor, I did so with the full belief that you would be capable. However, there are twenty-four of you here on this ship and countless others ready to compete in the city proper. There are only six spots in the party, so I imagine the competition will be fierce. When we land, make your arrangements in the city and do as you wish until evening. I recommend a warm bath and a nap in a cozy bed, but I understand that may be out of the budget for many of you, so I hope you can make do. The guild hall for the Spades is on 2nd street, near the city center, please come fed and prepared to be tested. Best of luck to you all, I will see you this evening.”

    And with that, Sebastian nodded to the group and made his way below deck. You find yourself jealous that he can be so comfortable with the arrangement, while you, on the other hand, will be lucky to afford a short-week at the seediest tavern in town if you don’t get in this guild. However, the thought escapes you nearly as quickly as it came, as you instead go back to sizing up your competition. Yeah, this shouldn’t be too bad….

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