On a crisp autumn day, just a few days short of the Autumn Equinox and the Swallowtail Festival, a small group of men leave the hustle and bustle of Sandpoint behind and head south along the coast road.
One of them is a tall man with shoulder length dark hair, piercing blue eyes and chelaxian good looks. He is kitted out in scale armour and carries a greatsword and a crossbow. This is Elend Renault, a paladin from Magnimar currently for reasons known only to himself working as blacksmiths apprentice in the Red Dog smithy. Das Korvut has sent him to meet and escort a trade caravan due to arrive from Magnimar today.
Equally as striking is the considerably shorter and bushy bearded Orro Heartbreaker. Orro showed up in Sandpoint from parts unknown a few years ago and has been working in the Fatman’s feedbag ever since. He bemuses regulars and strangers alike by trying to get them to drink wine instead of ale, but has so far had little success. Today he is clad in chainmail and carries a rapier and no one would dare call him a dwarf to his face. He too has been ordered by his employer to rendez-vous with the caravan and ensure its safe arrival.
Accompanying them is Joe the fisherman, a burly fellow with a fiery ginger beard; and cross-eyed Tom who works in the sawmill. Neither of them had anything better to do today and the promise of a few coins and a few drinks made them come along.
The journey south is largely uneventful and our heroes make good time despite being on foot. Around lunchtime they meet up with the caravan, lead by a Magnamarian merchant named Ludolf. There are three guards already accompanying the four carts but neither Orro nor Elend find them especially impressive. Orro strikes up a conversation with one of the guards, a lanky fellow in an ill-fitting leather armour and carrying a spear. The guard confirms Orro’s suspicion that Ludolf has simply rounded up some people who owned a weapon and were prepared to take a long walk for very little money.
This tale inspires Elend to try to strike a blow for the downtrodden workers of the security sector. He asks Ludolf for a word and proceeds to lecture him on the merits of paying your employees decent wages.
This does not go over well however, and a furious Ludolf shouts at Elend that should he ever require advice on matters of combat he will come to him, Elend, but until such time he should kindly keep quiet on the business matters of others.
Elend wisely decides not to pursue the issue further.
After a little lunch break to water the draft animals and relax a little the group sets out again.
About halfway back to Sandpoint the caravan travels down a little gully and are suddenly attacked by a small band of goblins. At the time Elend and Orro are holding on to the last of the carts, which is heavily laden, as the incline is a little steep. Elend braces himself and takes over the entire weight of the cart to enable Orro to engage the enemy. Initially there is some confusion as the goblins are attacking from two directions but after a brief engagement the one remaining goblin runs off into the undergrowth. Orro heals the wounded guard, and the only loss of life is a draft horse. Elend proceeds to rather change Ludolf’s idea of his usefulness by managing to drag the cart almost by himself, with some contributions from Orro and cross-eyed Tom. Admittedly by the time they get back to Sandpoint Elend is no longer quite the dashing figure he cut when he left. He is a bloodspattered, wounded and sweaty mess.
Still both he and Orro are happy and not a little triumphant as Ludolf buys them each a pint of the cheapest ale available in the Rusty Dragon. As Elend is tee-total he hands his pint over to Orro who doesn’t mind one bit.
The adventure has begun.