Fresh out of your training and eager to prove yourself, you travel from your small village to Almas before setting a course west towards Cheliax. As Lumiere trots gracefully down a seldom-beaten path into the Arthfell Forest, your mind begins to wander.
Cheliax. The empire run on the backs of fiends. Surely there is a worthy quest here to prove oneself if anywhere at all. What will likely take much time and perseverance is finding a like-minded party. How will I know their nature and intentions? What is my nature, what are my intentions, and are they true? Even if they are like-minded and join me in my quest, who is to say they provide the needed recommendation to the Order? Will the quest and the recommendation I get be adequate? What is enough? I must achieve something grand as to not waste my time, and my group must be strong and convincing. There’s no other way: I’m sure of it. Why do I think so much? What’s wrong with me? It must be one of the consequences of being alone so often…
As your mind trails off onto more trivial questions about your future, Lumiere snorts softly at you but does not lose her rhythm as she continues to trot through the woods. Your mind immediately snaps back into reality.
“What is it, girl?” you asks Lumiere. She snorts again, lifting her head slightly pointing forward.
In the distance are four figures along the trail just before the horizon line. Their silhouettes hardly grow as you move closer, so it’s apparent they are on foot. One of the figures is noticeably smaller than the rest.
I wonder if that’s a child. What would a small child be doing out in the middle of this dangerous forest?
The minutes drag on as you seem to inch closer and closer—the figures slowly growing larger.
What a strange crowd. That bald man is clearly from a foreign land. And that boy… that boy doesn’t look like he belongs in the company of these men at all. He looks so… angsty. Ha! Teenagers. Wait. Is that other one wearing a mask? That’s strange. And if I didn’t know any better, I would think that bat is following him. I… I think it is. And that child is so… shadowy? What is that thing…?
It becomes quite evident that these men are armed and that is no child (if it is, it’s the ugliest child you have ever seen).
Being no stranger to combat, you aren’t scared. However, Lumiere notices that the small creature is a goblin, and she becomes noticeably distraught (though her combat training helps her keep her nerves and continue forward). Her reaction, more than anything, causes you alarm. You sit up straight and present yourself with dignity and might.
Lumiere immediately stops in her tracks about thirty feet away from group without any command from you. Anxiety stirs your stomach acid as you survey the party and prepare for the worst. The party in front of you stops abruptly as well. Silence fills the air as you wait for them to speak.
You suddenly awake drenched in sweat.
Why do I keep dreaming of a white horse and some strange group of adventurers?
In your dream you never speak, and neither do they; you simply stare at each other until you wake up. And the horse…
what’s up with this damn horse?!
This time you’ve passed out from a wild night on the outskirts of the Arthfell Forest. You can’t remember how you got there, but you can see footsteps from the east leading to your makeshift bed. You figure you ought to continue headed west. Why not, right?
As you stave off a hangover for just a little while longer, you have deja vu… in the distance are four figures along the trail just before the horizon line. Their silhouettes hardly grow as you move closer, so it’s apparent they are on foot. One of the figures is noticeably smaller than the rest.
You stop just short of the party, and they react similarly.
Hopefully one of you speaks…