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Order of the Sword & Rose
Aristoblis motioned and three messengers ran up to him. “You three, go find all members of the Fellowship and tell them to report at once to the Phoenix tavern. If they ask tell them that the darkness is growing and a new threat is on the horizon. Details will be divulged once all are present. Go at once, and do not delay!”
He took a few gold coins from his robe and placed two in each of the messenger’s hands. They each nodded in understanding and ran out as fast as their feet would carry them.
Aristoblis turned to Whip and said, “I’ll begin making preparations.”
Aristoblis turned to Anduil and said, “I’m glad you’re here, you can help me.” He motioned for the ranger to come closer, then he continued in hushed tones, “We are about to embark on a very dangerous, and quite likely deadly undertaking. We need to make sure everyone is fully prepared. I’d like you to go and gather as much information as you can about this Dragon. Rumors, children’s tales, folk lore…it is all relevant. I’m sure if anyone can track down any solid evidence you can. Besides, your woodland abilities may give you the advantage needed to find any potential lair.”
Gladorin came rushing towards the tavern, breathing heavily from the long run inside afull armor. All members knew how much he hated doing that, but he could notignore the call from the guild. The messenger told him that it was urgent andthat the grant mage of the guild gave it to him. The look of his guild membersgathered told him he should be here sooner. Cursing himself for being delayedfrom a challenge which was pointless, with a -too smart for his own sake-warforged at the rusty nail, he entered the tavern walking towards the others. Bowingto Hope and making a nod to the others, he asked without further delay Aristoblis the reason for thisgathering. What he heard made him even more furious. “What, all this troublefor the uneasy sleep of a young child?. Phah, sometimes you worry too much forour members.” But, he knew that he was wrong. Whisp, the wizard and especially theLady were highly experienced, and they could tell when trouble was knocking theguilds door. And if they were worried, the matter was serious. Very serious.
Aristoblis keen elven senses caught the sent of searing flesh before the others had noticed. He began scanning the room and his gaze fell upon the still restless form of Sorenna, her skin blistering and charring from some unseen force.
“What in the nine hells is this?!” The mage’s voice rang out loud throughout the tavern. “Quickly, someone fetch a priest. It appears as though she needs healing and perhaps an exorcism.”
At that moment the tavern door crashed open nearly splintering completely off its hinges. The door latch went skittering across the floor as Bronen came bursting into the room like a charging bull, his great axe in his hand; he was poised and ready for combat. Trailing closely behind Shadow came flipping and tumbling into the room and finally came to rest silently on a tabletop. He quickly surveyed the room and shook his head slowly as he saw there was no immediate threat. Huffing and puffing, Raltar came pumping his dwarven legs as fast as he could. Hefting his new dwarven war axe high over his head he yelled, “Have at ye!”
Raltar came to a skittering halt and scanned the room. “Yew bluttering dolt, ya went ‘n busted down th’ door fer nuthin!” The dwarf chided the fighter as he slung his weapons. “Pay th’ man fer breakin his door, n’ fer the love o’ Reorx put that dern axe away!”
Aristoblis locked eyes with Raltar and motioned for him to come over. Raltar knew at once that this was no social gathering and he hurried to where the others were gathered. Bronen tossed a few coins on the bar and he and Shadow quickly followed. When they reached Sorenna sleeping fitfully on the table, Raltar gasped, “By Reorx beard!” The priest quickly surveyed the extent of the girl’s wounds and set about using his healing art to mend her burned flesh.
“Is she beset by minions of the hells?” Aristoblis voice rang out sharply.
Raltar shook his head, “Not th’t I kin see. She dunna appear ta be under the influence o’ any demon. I’ll keep a close eye on ‘er.”
Rain falls gently around him as he stands in the shadows outside of the Phoenix. It has been a long long time since he walked through those doors.Would they remember me? Would any that I once called friend still be alive? It has been such a long time... Aristoblis' mind wanders back to the first time he met the fellowship. Funny, he thought, the first time I met Hope, Witchfinder, and company it was raining, much like it is now. A bolt of lightning split the darkness and a loud clap of thunder ripped through the stillness of the night. Yes, exactly like that. Aristoblis cracked a slim smile.Gripping his staff tightly Aristoblis strode forward until he stood just outside the doors of the Phoenix. The sounds of merriment and revelry could be heard clearly from within. Ari pulled his hood down a little lower over his face and extended his arm to push the doors forward.The warmth and light from the many fires spilled out around him. He paused momentarily and held his breath. Scanning the room he sighed in relief and disappointment as it appeared as though no one took notice of him. Rather than making his way to the back where he remembered the Counsel table had once been, he made his way to the bar instead."What'll ya 'ave, ol' man?" The bartender’s voice was both soothing and grating at the same time. Ari did not take well to being called "old man", even if he was centuries old. Had he the want he could turn the bartender into a messy smear of smoking goo, but such was not his desire.In an almost musical voice, Aristoblis said, "My good man, I wonder if you might deliver a note for me to the Fellowship, should they still frequent this establishment."Not waiting for a response, Ari reached a hand into his crushed purple velvet robes and withdrew a rolled up parchment and a small pouch of coins. "The message is for them," he continued, "and the coin for you." His tone slowly turned from friendly to ominous as he added, "Mind you, this parchment is hexed and may only be read by the Fellowship. Should anyone...ANYone...else try to read it, they should find themselves struck mad and blind for the rest of their days."The bartender seemed at first to laugh off the warning, but his expressions changed to understanding as he looked upon the cold, grim expression on the wizard's face. "I...I understand, sir." His tone was much more somber this time. He took the note and the pouch, shoving both into his apron before quickly moving to the other end of the bar.Satisfied that his point was well made, Ari made his way back to the door and paused. For another moment he let himself be reminded of days gone by, the laughter and the cries that were shared among friends, and finally he pushed the door open and was gone once more.**** The Note ****Dearest Fellowship,It has been too long since we partook of refreshment and shared stories of our exploits. Alas, I regret that these may well be the final words I am able to share with you, for you see, my time in this world grows short. Day by day the pull that draws me back to my home becomes stronger and stronger. Soon I will no longer be able to resist its call and I will surrender myself to it. Before that day comes I wanted to revisit my roots in Stormreach and seek out lost friends. It appears that I may have been too late...unfortunate to say the least.To old Friends and Fellows I wish golden days and victories a plenty. To the new faces and those who are unknown to me, honor your Fellowship, it is all you have in this hostile world.May the gods shine their graces upon the Fellowship. Be well my Brothers and Sisters.Aristoblis Spelbinder, former Fellow and Loremaster