Prophecy of the Shadow War

What's With The Salt?

“Where is that blasted halfling?” Elise muttered. Everyone but Dirk had arrived at the docks and they had less than 10 minutes to get aboard.

“He does have little legs after all,” replied Shadow, “it will take him a long time to get here.”

“We can’t afford to wait much longer. Our ship will be departing soon,” said Edwin.

Elise shuffled to and fro, trying to decide what to do. “You’re right, let’s go ahead and board.” Climbing aboard, Elise looked once more towards the city, hoping to catch a glimpse of Dirk amidst the fog.

“Ready to push off?” asked the ferry captain.

“Yes I suppose so. We were waiting for one more, a halfling, but looks like he won’t be joining us.” Elise sighed. She quite enjoyed his company last night and thought he would make the trip livelier.

“Not joinin ye?”

The group looked about but could not determine where the voice called from.

“Oy! Up here.”

They gazed upwards towards the ship’s rigging to see Dirk perched high above.

“Dirk? We’ve been waiting for you this whole time, get down from there so we can get going,” stammered Elise.

“Yes ma’am.” Dirk grabbed hold of a rope and began sliding down to meet them. As he approached, Dirk leapt forward and upon touching the deck, gracefully rolled, popped up, and bowed.

“Bravo.” Edwin clapped, appreciating his antics and finding Dirk amusing.

“Thank you Edwin,” replied Dirk. “Alright captain, let’s push off.”


As the boat began drifting away, Dirk noticed Shadow staring at him.

“What is that ridiculous garb you are wearing?” inquired Shadow.

“Oh this? I decided to look the part, got an eyepatch and handkerchief. I’m quite the handsome pirate I am.”

“But Dirk, isn’t that a woman’s blouse you’re using as that handkerchief?” asked Elise.

“Is it wrong for one to want to be pretty?” replied Dirk as he batted his eyelashes.

They laughed as he looked quite ridiculous.

Sailing for a few hours, they chatted and enjoyed themselves, even Shadow began to lighten up. Once they broke free from the fog that laid over Shadow Port, the weather was beautiful. At midday, the captain approached them with stern eyes.

“Do you lads know anything about Tenderfoot?” They shook their heads.

“Well you should know that they are superstitious people. Don’t be surprised if they don’t take kindly to you.” The captain looked towards the sea. “We’ll be ashore within the hour.” He slumped up the ladder to the helm.

“Hmm. I’ve met similar folk in my day. If we run into trouble, I’ll try talking to them… maybe they’ll trust us,” said Elise.

Edwin nodded. If she failed to garner their trust, he could, at the very least, talk them out of a bad situation. However, having never been in Tenderfoot himself, it was hard to know what was in store.

They arrive ashore while still morning, the sea sparkling with sunshine. Smitten with sea-spray and windswept locks, they hopped off the ship and looked round as they absorbed the beautiful cliff-side.

“Tenderfoot’s east by six hours. Godspeed.” The captain nodded goodbye and prepared for departure.

“Thank you sir,” said Edwin. “I suppose we should be on our way.”

They agreed and set east towards the nearest town. Upon arriving, they immediately noticed the dichotomy of the town’s rustic nature as compared to the lovely seascape. Having imagined quaint fishing huts covered with thatched roofs, it was odd indeed to see log cabins, the color a light driftwood as the sea air had aged it quickly.

They chat among themselves, keeping the mood light despite the strange gazes they received.

Edwin approached a shop stall to learn more about the area. “Hello friend. We’re on our way to Tenderfoot. Could you perhaps point us in the right direction.”

“Eh. Go through that clearing over yonder. Dependin’ on how circumstances, you could be there ‘fore evenin’.”

“Thank you kindly. Do you happen to sell any spiced fish?” asked Edwin. He had a fondness for the treat and it was difficult to find exotic flavors.

“Nah, ‘ol out.”

“Ah, very well. Thanks again sir. Let’s be on our way, we should strive to get there before dark.”

As they walked through the town, they noticed the townsfolk engaging in very odd actions. One chanted to herself constantly, another purposefully spilling milk outside her home. Many also wore necklaces with unfamiliar emblems.

Edwin, Dirk, and Shadow glanced at Elise inquisitively from time to time, hoping she might have insight, but she was as clueless. She pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows, displaying the universal message of, “I don’t know.” Returning their gaze to the road, Elise eyed an older man kneeling down beside a young child. He threw pellets of some sort over their shoulders and though she could not be sure, she assumed it was salt. She had read of this ritual in the past, but this was the first time she had seen it in practice.

Reaching the edge of town, a large cemetery stood solemnly beside the forest, next to what looked to be unused farmland. Rows and rows of grave markers extended towards the farm, leading Elise to believe that either the they believed the land to be unusable, tainted by some curse, or perhaps they needed more room.

Once a goodly distance from the town, Dirk asked, “What was all that about?”

“I can’t say for sure. I’m not certain if they were trying to ward off spirits it was peculiar to say the least.”

They trudged along in silence another hour, passing a city similar to the former, including the strange townsfolk and extensive graveyards. The next two hours they passed another town. Same setting.

“I’m bored and this landscape is dreary. Time for a song.” Dirk began whistling a lively tune, and so passed the next couple hours. The happy music was uplifting, considering the landscape and unfriendly glances they exchanges with the commoners.

Day 1 - The Glassentorg

The Lazy Eye. Probably the most foul smelling inn of all Shadow Port. Nestled near the back alley-way of the butcher and fish market, the stench of rotting fish, blood, and wet dog, seeped through every crack, filling the flophouse with the most horrendous odor. Still, it was affordable, and better than sleeping outside as one would likely be killed during his slumber.

Known for untrustworthy knaves, bad liquor, and ill-gotten relics, Shadow Port was not the most pleasant of destinations. However, amongst all the muck, one could still find the weary soul, down on his luck, trying to make the best of unfortunate circumstances. On this evening, four such travelers gathered in the common room of the Lazy Eye.

“Excuse me.”

“Go away,” the hushed voice demanded.

“That’s a fine way to treat someone you have not met. My name is Edwin.” With an eloquence not generally heard here, Edwin was clearly not the usual Shadow Port denizen.

“I don’t care what your name is and I already asked you to leave,” muttered the dark elf.

“That is true but you appear to be too young to be alone in a place like this. And I do know you’re alone. That, or your companion has taken much time to return.” Edwin paused for a moment.

He leaned in close to her and whispered, “And I’ll tell you that the two gentlemen on the other side of the room have been watching you closely for quite some time. My guess is they have very bad intentions. So, it may be in your best interest to join me and my compatriots there by the fire.”

She peered left to see an older woman hamming it up with a Halfling. They seemed nice enough, but Shadow Port was not known for kindness.

“How do I know this isn’t a trick?”

“You’ll have to trust me. Just come join us.” Edwin gently reached around her waist, pointed towards his table, and pulled her forward.

“Hey. Don’t touch me,” she complained.

Edwin motioned his head slightly towards the two questionable men and continued pulling her along. “I think you’ll like my friends,” he said as he threw his cloak behind him, exposing his curved blades. With that, the two men guzzled their drinks and prepared to depart. Though it could be coincidence, it was plausible Edwin was right.

“And I told her, ‘But milady. It couldn’t possibly be me as I not have a blade sharp enough to cut through that beard of yours.”

The woman laughed hysterically. “Dirk,” she muttered. “Dirk, you have to stop.” Her eyes watered as she gasped for air. “I’ve had a lot to drink tonight and another story like that I might not make it to the washroom.”

“Oh you missed a good one Edwin. And who is this dame you’ve brought with yeh?” asked Dirk.

“Watch your language small-man. And my name is Shadow,” Shivani lied. She didn’t know who these people were and she wasn’t about to tell them her real name. No one could be trusted.

“Excuse me mademoiselle.” Dirk said mockingly.

“Oh don’t mind him. He comes from circus folk so he didn’t mean anything by it. My name is Elise and it’s nice to meet you.”

“Well now that we’re through introductions, why don’t we take a seat,” said Edwin. He started to sit as he noticed Shadow’s hesitation. She looked downward at a wolf who slept soundly near their feet. “Don’t worry, he’s mine and is very obedient.”

She exchanged glances with the others before joining them.

“Glad you could join us Shadow. What brings you to a place like this?” asked Elise.

“I’m in need of travel to Axis,” Shadow replied.

“Oh you’re looking for travel? I’m headed to Cape Thunder myself.” said Edwin.

“Looks like we’re all traveling ‘cept Elise,” said Dirk.

“Well I’ve had my fair share of traveling,” she replied, “but I seemed to have run short on funds for my next stop. So I’m here to find some antiques to buy and sell, and hopefully turn a profit.”

“Aye. I’m turnin’ up short myself, and no, I’m not speaking of me height,” Dirk declared. They laughed but Shadow was quick to compose herself and tried to hide behind an unfriendly demeanor, although she was starting to feel at ease.

“I asked the barkeep to let me know if there are any odd jobs but the wretch said, ‘If you don’t have the money to stay here, then get out.’ To which I replied, ‘course I’ve got the money’ and sallied off. But, I didn’t tell him I’d spend it all on ale before the nights through.”

“Well said Dirk,” replied Edwin.

They continued exchanging stories, getting to know one another as only dimly lit coals remained in the fireplace.

“Well gentlemen, and young lady, it’s about time for me to turn in. This body just can’t stay up late anymore.” Elise yawned and stretched her arms wide as she noticed the front door creak open. A cold draft swept across the room as a tall, lanky dark elf entered the room.

Dark elves were certainly not out of the ordinary for this city, but this elf did not belong here. He appeared to be wealthy as his clothes looked fairly immaculate, his dark blue cloak embellished with silver emblems and his boots well-polished.
He closed the door behind him and proceeded to the innkeeper whose ornery demeanor quickly dissipated.

Elise watched intently, as the elf and barkeep engaged in conversation.

“On second thought, I think I might stay here a bit longer.” She nodded her head towards the peculiar elf as the others looked on. The barkeep pointed at them and the elf began approaching, motioning for an invitation to join.

“I think I’m going to go,” said Shadow as she started rising from her seat.

“No wait, just a moment,” replied Edwin. “Let’s see what he wants.” He raised his hand and beckoned him forward. As the elf looked to be a captain, it was possible the barkeep directed him their way as they were in need of work.

Feeling quite uncomfortable, Shadow decided to stay as she was also in need of coin.

“I’ve been told you are in need of employment,” the elf stated as he propped his foot on the seat. Reaching inside his cloak, he revealed a sterling flask, embossed with similar strange emblems that adorned his coat. The emblem was of a spider, whose legs wrapped around the back of the flask with two large, prominent ruby eyes, and several smaller opals for the others. The flask definitely caught their attention as the elf was most definitely wealthy.

“That’s right. My name is Edwin and these are my friends. What did you have in mind.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you Edwin. My name is Stanis,” taking a swig before proceeding. “I aim to retrieve a sword that belong to my people,” he said as he looked towards Shadow. “It is currently located in a tower at Bulkstrike pillar. Are you interested?”

The group looked at each other as their suspicion was expressed at least a couple raised brows.

“Can you tell us anything more about this sword?” asked Edwin.

“I can tell you no more unless you accept.”

“I see,” replied Edwin. “Well, unless anyone disagrees, we accept.”

Stanis waited a moment before continuing. The tower housing the sword called Glasentorg was a place where the Elves practiced much magical research. The Elven queen allowed here court to study there, exploring ways to unlock the power within ancient artifacts. He provided them with a map and set of runes as pre-payment and upon success they would be given more runes, gold, and transport to wherever his shipping company traveled.

“My contacts at the tower will await your arrival. You will trade them this sword for the one I seek and he will also provide you with enough funds for your travel back.” Stanis unveiled a broadsword, adorned in a dragon motif, which he hid in a tattered cloth. The black hilt portrayed dragon wings on the hand guard, its torso extending the length of the hilt and the tail resting on the pummel.

“Make sure this sword is visible when you arrive.” Stanis placed the sword on the table. “When you receive the Glasentorg, do not wield it as it has a strong penchant towards violence. You will go to the docks tomorrow morning. My men will take you part of the way, then you will travel to Tenderfoot. You have one week to complete this request.”

Stanis took another drink, the flask reflecting what little was left of the fire. Removing his boot from the chair, he stood straight, and offered a slight bow. “I look forward to your return,” Stanis said as he departed.

“Rather odd fellow, but he’s got good taste in weaponry.” Dirk stood on his chair and reached for the sword. Grasping it, he juggled it between both hands, demonstrating he was quite skillful in handling a blade. Dirk began feeling strange sensations of electricity, coursing upward from his hand to his arms, and a voice whispering, “Not if you blow things up.” He looked round as the others watched on, trying to determine who spoke, but he decided he was probably imagining things and placed the sword down. Dirk smiled. “Sword seems a bit unbalanced. I don’t recommend using it for fightin’.”

“What’s that there? Looks like some inscription there,” said Elise. She pointed at the base of the blade where ‘Blaethisaus’ was written. “Hmm, I’m not sure what that means, but the name of the sword we’re getting is Glasentorg, which translates to ‘lizard tooth’ I believe.”

“No, that’s not right,” said Shadow. “It’s closer to ‘tongue of the nest mother’.”

Elise looked curiously at Shadow as she gazed intently at the sword before them. There was much more to the girl than she led one to believe.

“Interesting,” replied Edwin. “Well, if we are to depart in the morning, we should rest now,” he said as he wrapped the sword in the fabric. Adieu. I will see you at the docks in the morning.” He whistled as his wolf quickly rose and followed him up the stairs.

“No argument from me. Goodnight Shadow. Dirk, thank you for the drinks. Until the morning,” said Elise.

“Yes. Goodnight wee man,” replied Shadow as they retreated.

“Pleasant dreams ladies.” Sleep was wanted, but Dirk thought it the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the dolts in the common room this evening. A few men gambled nearby and Dirk had been watching them throughout the evening.

“Gentlemen, may I join ye?” Dirk posited.

“As long as you’ve got something to bet. How about that pretty thing at your table a while ago.”

Dirk flashed a toothy grin, hopped on a seat beside them, and rolled the dice. With a less than phenomenal start, within an hour, Dirk had cleaned them out. “It was lovely playing with you gentleman but it is getting quite late and I think it time for bed.” After paying off his bar tab and his stay for the night, he profited 10 gold. The gamblers were fairly upset and slurred out a few curses before heading off.

Dirk headed up the stairs to his room to get some much needed rest. That Stanis fellow looked to be trouble, but he needed the money and stealing had grown tiresome. At the very least, he made some new acquaintances that were friendly enough and it had been long since he had anyone pleasant to speak to.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day.

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