Takes place during the summer of 350 AC, about a year before the friends are all supposed to meet back up and discuss their findings in Solace
It was a bright, sunny, late summer morning when Darvin opened up the letter. He had heard of these letters, and was both excited and terrified of the day he got one. He was going to Hogwarts! Oh wait, wrong world. Let me try again…
It was a long letter written in an elegant flowing script. The bottom was signed Grandmaster Par-Salin. Enclosed was a swirled stone of white, black, and red. The letter was an invitation to the Tower of High Sorcery in the forest of Wayreth, for Darvin and any companions of his choosing. There he would be given a test. Were he to succeed, it would open up the secrets of magic beyond anything he had been previously capable of comprehending and give him access to incredible power. Were he to fail, he would die. No one ever comes out of the test unscathed.
Darvin quickly and excitedly rounded up his friends. Strangely enough, even though they were supposed to be out traveling and finding news of the war, Katinka, Alvin, and Varet were all just sitting in the Inn of the Last Home. As he read his friends the letter, and then put the stone in his mouth in case that was somehow the answer, they all rolled their eyes and agreed to come with.
Theros Ironfeld, a large, dark skinned blacksmith, offered to lend them horses in exchange to delivering a letter to Haven before they came back. Using her charm, Katinka managed to secure herself the finest pony and saddle in the stable, and even got a boost up by Theros himself. Not long after leaving Solace the group met up with a trade caravan heading to Haven and they all decided to travel together for mutual protection in these dangerous times. It was a good thing too…
As the group was about to set up camp the second night out on the road, Varet’s (half-) elf eyes spotted a glint of metal in the setting sun. Upon further investigation, which the caravan guards take strict oaths to avoid, Varet and Alvin were ambushed by a group of goblins hiding in the thick undergrowth of the woods! Alvin was gravely wounded, taking two javelins full force only seconds into the battle. He fought on and the group was soon able to dispatch three of the four little buggers, as well as convince the other one to surrender. Just then, a strange winged figure sprung into the air from the tress above their heads, and while they attempted to take it down, it had soon flown out of sight. The only clue it left behind was thousands of fragments of some kind of large egg.
The group split from the caravan over prejudicial differences and after questioning the goblin and finding he knew nothing, they let him run free and headed down the road. Not long after this they entered the forest and things got really creepy.
The strange swirly stone which had been in the letter pulsed in a leading way, taking them deeper and deeper into the forest. When Darvin attempted to show off his l33t skills and juggle to amuse the Kender, he dropped the swirly stone and upon standing up from retrieving it he found himself alone. After taking some time to adjust to his new solitude, he ran right into a group of strangely outdated looking elven warriors who didn’t think he was worth the time to kill. Eventually he found his way to the steps of the Tower of Wayreth.
Darvin found his friends lounging inside talking to a wizened old man and enjoying a bit of wine. Rested and prepared, his friends followed him through the door to the next room and they all found themselves in a cave containing a strange gravestone. After defeating the resident banshee, Darvin realized that he might have a weird connection to this grave, but did not have time to dwell on this as he had places to be and things to do. Going through the door which appeared on the opposite side, his friends were teleported back to the old man’s sitting room while Darvin again found himself alone. Well, almost alone. He was in a room with a staff. His friends watched as he had a conversation with it, although as far as they could tell the thing wasn’t responding and they are now worried Darvin might be a bit touched in the head. When he emerged, he had the staff with him and his friends asked if he wanted to play a game of catch. All pretty exhausted, they decided to get some sleep first and were brought to the guest rooms within the tower.
When Darvin awoke in the morning however, he found himself in one of the many rooms at the Inn of the Last Home. Almost as if it had all been a strange, scary dream. Well, not quite a dream as there was a staff and some neatly folded red robes sitting just next to his bed….