Our story begins like every story worth its merit should, in a tavern filled with questionable characters and a conveniently well informed barkeep; and such was the tavern Roderick found himself in.
A man of strength and honour he was, a chivalrous knight errant, a protector of ladies fair and vanquisher of evil.
It’s true that his deeds were still not many, and the greatest evil he had vanquished was a small army of very moderately sized giant rats, but a hero is not made by just their actions, but also by the forces that guided them, and such forces destined the noble knight for greatness.
He did not know what compelled him to enter such a drinking hole, but almost as if guided by an invisible hand, he was standing upon its threshold.
It was then that he noticed a strange hooded individual brooding at a corner table, and he felt a spark of connection to this person kindling in his heart. He approached this fellow and proclaimed with a booming voice:
“I greet thee good sir, I would like to join thee at thy table if thou don’t mind, for I sense we are spirits of a kindred type, and something tells me that thou are trustworthy and of good repute.”
The hooded figure raised its head and looked at Roderick with eyes like black charcoal filled with malice and disdain.
He was a strange young human man of pale face and black neck-long hair going over his eyes. He was carrying at least two dozens of daggers on various parts of his body and had a few bottles labelled “Poison of Torturous Pain” at his belt. He was clad leather armour fitted with various metal spikes and with bandages around his arms.
He eyed Roderick and retorted with a raspy voice:
“You don’t understand anything fool, we are nothing alike. I am an agent of chaos, I am the embodiment of hate. My life is just a black void of darkness filled with endless agony. You are nothing like me, for I have suffered like no one ever has, I have…”
“I apologize for my ignorance my hateful friend, but I just have the slightest suspicion that I will be sent on a mighty quest to test my mettle soon, and I wanted to ask thee whether thou would like to accompany me”
The hooded lad answered without hesitation:
“Sure, why not. But just because I don’t have anything better to do in this world of despair, It’s not that I like you or anything, fool.
“Wonderful, and what may your glorious name be, my newfound ally?”
“I don’t have a name, but I am known as Darkshadow the Dark”
“What a brave and chivalrous name, I believe thou shall be a great asset in my fight against darkness and evil my friend”
Darkshadow was ready to unleash a new barrage of words that described his unimaginable suffering, when a pointy-eared shadow appeared at their table. They both looked up and found themselves facing a tall elf of majestic posture. The elf was tall and narrow, with long golden hair and a handsome face, wearing an ornate robe and leaning on a finely carved silver staff with a crystal tip.
He addressed both Roderick and Darkshadow with a commanding voice.
“I have heard that you two simple weaklings are in search of a quest. Well consider yourselves lucky for I am in need of minions, and I too search for an opportunity to multiply my already significant power. But let’s make one thing, if you stand in my way, I will burn you all to cinders.”
Roderick joyfully replied:
“An unorthodox display of hubris, but alas. But regardless I welcome thee in our company. I am sir Roderick and this ball of brooding despair is my now dear friend Darkshadow the Dark”
“We are not friends!” Added Darkshadow hastily.
“I care not for your names or titles, but if we are to cooperate, I suppose that an introduction is in order. Very well then, I am archmage Magizor the Meticulous. I have lived for a thousand years, I have read every single book in the grand library of Sindoväer, and I wield powers beyond your imaginations.” said the wizard.
“No suffering you could inflict upon me is greater than the painful existence I endure every day” mumbled Darkshadow unnecessarily.
There was a moment of awkward silence soon broken by an annoyed Magizor.
“Now where is that damnable soul that needs us to ease their burdens by acquiring something from an ancient unexplored ruin laden with magical traps and monsters, I am tired of waiting.”
But even though he said so, he knew…they all knew, that someone was still missing. Their group was not yet complete, but their latest ally was late for this fateful session.
The trio and the gods of providence that guided them waited in annoyance until the last god and their chosen champion would arrive. It was after almost two hours that the fourth link of this heroic chain would join them at their table.
Everyone was prepared to be angered, but as soon as their last member arrived, all of their hearts mellowed, for an alien creature of beauty entered their den…I meant tavern. It was a being none of the three had seen before, a femal… f…fairy, it was certainly a Fairy. A fairy maiden fair. With silken skin and fey wings, but hiding their beauty in a plain black robe. She had no trinkets nor jewellery except for a small dodecahedron on her neck with numbers on each side. She carried no visible weapons except for her disarming looks.
All of the three unlikely allies succumbed to the unspoken and uncast spell of silence and it was the voice of the fairy that pierced the charm:
“I apologize for the delay, the divine traffic was outrageous, and it took a while before I managed to find this place with my god’s confusing directions. But anyway, my name is Clary and I am but humble servant of the god that secretly rules the entire universe.”
Roderick was the first to save himself from the unknowingly inflicted paralysis and he was intrigued by her introduction:
“No need to apologize lady fair, but what god might you be talking about: Zeus, Cthulhu,Odin,Ra?
No wait, those are from a different world…Oh…I remember: Talos, Helm ,Tiamat? (what do you mean that this setting has its own pantheon?)
“You speak of gods from different worlds, but I serve the one above them all. The one god that is grander than all of them combined, I serve the Game Master.”
Upon hearing this, Magizor rose from his seat and began frantically questioning Clary with an array of questions:
“I have never read of such a deity in all my studies, what is their domain, what are their attributes, how are they related to the other pantheons, who are their followers, please, please, please tell me, I need to know”
It was too late that Magizor realized his behaviour and he tried to regain some semblance of his earlier composure, and perhaps he would have succeeded, were it not for the reality that the entire tavern shook in its foundations and he fell to the ground due to his rather pure constitution and general dexterity.
Clary was not taken aback by this and she calmly remarked
“It would seem we have been finally summoned. My god tells me that our guest has begun.”