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YOUR ADVENTURE BEGINS...
I( was twenty years ago that High King Valwyn, tired by the Ten Years' War, left for a visit to the Flden homeland across the sea. To govern and protect his kingdom, Valwyn appointed Dariel, another Elden I^ord. as his steward. The High King promised to return to Albareth in twenty years; this time has passed, yet he has not appeared.
X et there was never a time that the kingdom needed its High King more. Lord Dariel struggles to maintain order, but many of the other great lords refuse to submit to his rule. Instead of the cooperation of generations past, the nobility of Kralan has fallen into greed, self-service, and distrust. Lords keep to their own castlcs, and pay little heed to the calls of their neighbors. In this time of chaos, many of Albareth's more ambitious nobles have dccidcd to expand their own holdings petty wars between neighbors have become common, and neither mercenaries nor assassins have had difficulty finding employment.
The disunity among the nobility has left the kingdom vulnerable to incursions by bandits, monsters, and barbarians. Without the aid of the lords of the interior, the border barons have been unable to protect the kingdom's frontiers. Barbarian raiding parties are common in the south, and monsters stream into the land from over the mountains to the north and east. Many peasants, once honest farmers, have been forced off their farms by these invaders, and have themselves become rogues and bandits.
These days, safety may be found only within the walls of Albareth's few cities and castles. The family farm and the isolated hamlet are all but furgotten, as those peasants still surviving flock to the cities. Albareth's countryside is now dominated by monsters and bandits. Travel inland is very dangerous, and is rarely attempted by honest folk. Trade does continue between Albareth's cities by sea and by river, but all contact with the Eldcn homeland across the sea has been lost.
a few hardy souls continue to make their lives away from the protection of the towns. Your parents, an honest woodsman and his wife, were two such folk. Yet they wanted a better and safer life for you, so they sent you to live with a widowed uncle in Eralan, the capital of Albareth. There, you would study in the finest libraries in the land, and meet folk from all corners of the world.
You have studied hard, taking advantage of (he opportunity afforded you by your parents and uncle. Yet you have also found time to visit Eralan's pubs and gathering places, where you have heard the tales of travellers from around the world.
Yc in recent months, the rumors around Kraian have grown even darker. Of course, the High King has not returned, as he promised he would. Some say that the wizards, long the benevolent magical guardians of the kingdom, have forsaken Albareth completely certainly, the Archmage Irial has not been seen for years. A cult of witchdoctors is said to have arisen to take the place of the wizards, though many distrust their motives. And travellers from the south claim that the barbarians are massing for a concerted attack against the kingdom, re-opening the war the High King Valwyn strived so hard to end.
lhe Steward has summoned a council to gather the remaining Powers of the Kingdom — the Foretelling Stones, the Tablet of Truth, the Ring of the Archmage in hopes that together, they might summon
the High King and the Great Medallion. Yet the Powers and their Keepers have been slow to arrive. Some say that the Powers have been lost, and that their Keepers will pay well any adventurer who Can recover them.
Sadly, your uncle has recently passed on. With his passing, you realize that the time has come tor you to prove yoursc-U through adventurous employment. You set out for the Frothing Slosh, a popular meeting placc where adventurers are sometimes recruited. As your adventure begins, you will find yourself in an upstairs room in this well-known inn.
Scgin by walking downstairs to the tavern's common room. Walk over to the counter, between the ale kegs and the massive stone hearth. Does someone speak to you? Take the time to chat with everyone in sight, and be patient. Often, a person with something important to say may prefer not to share it with you all at once.
Even in the mornings, the Frothing Slosh is a busy place. Who knows? One of this motley crowd of customers might just have some business for an enterprising young adventurer like yourself!
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