The filthy waters lap rhythmically at the shores of The Overthere. A well-worn boat parts the veil of lazy mist hanging still in the air as it makes its last strides toward land. The strained hull groans softly as it swims toward the sands, finally grating onto the shore.
A tall, tattered figure stands at the bow. His stature and the breadth of his shoulders give away his Barbarian heritage. His eyes, gray as the waters, flit along the sands toward the outpost looming nearby as he assesses the immediate dangers.
Seemingly satisfied, he walks amidships, puts a hand on the side of his boat, Thorn of the White Rose. He jumps over the edge to land knee-deep in water with barely a splash or sound.
With that landing, Morden Rasp took another step on the path of a rumor -- one that set him upon the waves and one that he intends to follow to its end. He has heard of trouble amongst the Sarnak.
Morden walks from the surf to a steep incline where grains of sand meet the grass. He leaves no trace; no footprints. As his body rises up to a ledge, he crouches in perfect relationship, his presence barely detectable.
He sees no trace of passing patrols, only wildlife wanders nearby as the willful rogue kneels motionless and quiet for a short time. The deep creases in Morden's brow begin to smooth as he sees no enemies. In ferine movements, he moves back from the ledge. On the sands once again, he turns and slips silently back to the boat.
"All is clear Nedaria," he says in a voice that travels on the air in soft baritones. "It looks like we found ourselves an adequate spot. I need to survey the area before we set up camp though. Come down."
A hardened Erudite face peers over the side of the boat at Morden.
"Lend me a hand?" she asks as she folds back the sleeves of her robe.
"I shall, but you must read my fortune tonight," he says, with a slanted grin.
"You never do anything for free, do you?" Nedaria huffs as she lowers the scruffy rope ladder.
He holds her gently as she carefully makes her descent onto the sands.
Morden and Nedaria turn and walk up the beach together. They are age-old companions, moved by loyalty to one another and adventure...anywhere.
Pulling a blanket tightly about him, Morden Rasp shook off the chill of the night air. Firelight licked the scars on his weathered cheek as he turned his head toward the glow of the outpost in The Overthere. Two pinpricks of violet looked back at him -- the eyes of a Dark Elf. The dark-skinned prowler had crept around their camp for several nights, preying on any creatures hungry enough to investigate the mellow aroma of mead and stew.
Nedaria sensed no ill-will from the dark elf, as evil as his innate tendencies may be, and told Morden to leave him be; let him satisfy his curiosity and need to hunt.
"He is much like us Morden," she said. "I feel he may have some part to play here."
Tondal Di`Xevar kept still, his body pressed against the cold earth. He shivered slightly as the wind blew silvery strands of hair across his face. He felt the Barbarian look at him; the Erudite see into him.
It had been a long time since he'd felt a need for companionship, but he did now. Many times he considered returning to his place at the outpost under his master, Vaean the Night, even though it would be the end of him. Tondal was tired of being alone and having no purpose.
As he crouched, Tondal became lost in a nightmare in his memory. He replayed the night he chanced upon an open tome in Vaean's study; one that made clear that he was ripening Tondal for a vile necromantic ritual. Vaean planned to have Tondal become one of his many mindless minions. That very night, Tondal fled the outpost while his master slept.
Since then, Tondal learned to live off of his wits and the fruits of Kunark, defending himself with his sword and dark magic and calling upon the undead to aid in his hunting.
But, two days ago, Tondal felt eerily drawn back to the outpost. As he carefully crested a hill near the outpost, he spotted a boat on the shore and two travelers of the likes he'd rarely seen. Tondal knew they were aware of his presence, yet they did not attack or approach.
He crept closer this night, inexplicably desperate to talk to the male and female. He felt confident he knew enough of the Common language to convey his harmless interest in them.
Having been lost in reflection, Tondal froze as a hand gripped his shoulder. Instinctively, he crossed his right arm in front of him, drew his sword and pivoted on his right foot, swinging the blade in a wide arc. A shock ran up his arm as an expert parry stopped his blade short.
Tondal looked up and met the steely gaze of Morden Rasp.
The rumors and riddles about trouble within the Sarnak fluttered about like seeds on the wind. Finally, a few began to take root. Morden Rasp had faith that at least some of the rumors had foundations in truth and he made it his business to find out if they were.
As Morden bought pieces of information about Chardok, he also appeared to purchase a loyal following of like-minded adventurers. His wily charm afforded him low costs and simple agreements to share in the adventure of infiltrating the Sarnak's domain. Making such arrangements was second nature to the seasoned rogue. His years of travel and constant adventuring aided Morden in establishing a small, but relatively loyal following. The bulk of this band was waiting in Freeport, resting after a round of excursions through the Buried Sea and nearby gulf.
A shapeshifter was at work; that there were traitors within the highest ranks of the Brood; high-ranking Sarnak citizens had disappeared inexplicably. The information was hard to piece together, the puzzle incomplete.
While Morden vanished for hours at a time, scouting the area and seeking news, Nedaria spent much of her time near the campfire deciphering notes and letters that had been trickling into the camp from hired spies. She made time to teach Tondal Di`Xevar the basics of several languages, like those used by Gnomes and the High Elves. In return, Tondal occupied Nedaria with stories of mischief about his youth, his dark elf brethren and their escapades around Norrath. The loyalty between Morden, Nedaria and Tondal grew quickly and was so strong it was felt by all who encountered them.
It had only been a few nights since Morden invited Tondal to the fireside. That night, in dark speech, the three shared their lives and dreams until the glow of Drinal gave way to the rays of Ro. Morden and Nedaria felt tied to this dark elf who shared their adventurous spirits and lives as exiles. They felt closer than family, joined by their very souls for a great purpose.
They each knew that the time to lead their growing band of adventurers into the nearby burning woods was closing quickly.
As Morden Rasp's camp of adventurers grew and readied for an expedition, the Overking Bathezid Di`Zok in Chardok called a secret council to his chambers. Those closest to the Overking were suspicious of Korucust's actions of late.
Over the past decade, Korucust ascended the ranks to become a trusted member of the Overking's security forces and had been rampantly making accusations of treachery within the brood. He pointed his finger at some of the most powerful Di`Zok and those he charged disappeared into his interrogation chambers.
The Overking observed that Korucust often vanished for days at a time with no explanation and it concerned him.
This night, the Overking's assembled council planned to pool its magic for a spell of powerful vision that would allow them to see into Korucust's rooms without detection.
The dozen members of the secret council filtered into the chambers and sat in a loose circle around the Overking.
One of the mages began to mutter an incantation. Then, another began. And another. Soon, the echoes of the chanting voices took an airy form, a window of sight, which the Overking controlled with his own mind. He willed the magic eye through the deep caverns of Chardok to Korucust's rooms.
He inched the eye through a wall where faint squeals emanated.
Gasps stole the air in the Overking's chamber as horror robbed the mages of their breath.
The Overking's own blood chilled and his heart darkened as he watched Korucust torture Gimliox Ran`Ti, one of the palace's master healers.
The only words Korucust uttered were in a necromantic language. His blood-coated arms were ablaze with a dark red magical energy.
Gimliox's screams began to ebb and his eyes slowly rolled under his scaled lids. Calm washed over his reptilian features.
The Overking immediately understood the extremity of the sinister arts that Korucust practiced.
Gimliox wandered mindlessly into a dark hall after Korucust unshackled him. He could be heard muttering phrases of nonsense drawn from his shattered mind.
"I am Shai`Din. The Brood of Di`Zok is my enemy. I am Shai`Din. I am Shai`Din. Enemies are close."
Chalky fingers wiggled through a crack in the wall, deftly whittling the mortar and stone apart a little further. The fingers disappeared and then a muffled, repetitive thud came from behind the wall. There was a loud crack as the stone wall split apart. With one more thud the stones in the wall broke free and marked the mossy ground.
All was still for a moment.
Slowly, a dusty figure squirmed sideways through the fracture in the wall and worked its way outside. Coughing quietly and wafting the dust from his face, Morden Rasp squinted as he adjusted to the light of the day.
He reached back behind the wall and pulled out a number of lightly packed bags that clanged as they shifted in his grasp. A grin broke the sternness of Morden's face. Delighted about the treasures he lifted from the deepest halls of Chardok, Morden made his way to his camp.
Morden appeared out of the heavy mist, waving his bags.
"Do you have enough to satisfy you for now?" Nedaria asked dryly.
"There is no such thing as satisfied, me dear," snickered Morden.
Nedaria showed Morden a scribbled note that was delivered earlier that day from an oasis in the deserts of Ro.
"The Solusek Mining Company has sent word that the kobold tribes are more active than usual. The gnomes made mention of some sort of uprising. If the kobolds cause a great enough disturbance in Solusek's Eye, it will be interesting to watch if nothing else," Nedaria said. "These activities may open up great opportunities for us should they reach as deep as Nagafen's Lair."
Morden's eyes lit up.
"I know those lands well," Tondal said. "I remember them from my travels as a youth. We servants often accompanied our masters during journeys beyond Neriak's gates," Tondal grinned, happy to be of greater value to Morden and Nedaria.
Excited about a new adventure, Morden gathered the ever-increasing number of adventurers around him and gave them the order to start packing up the camp. It wouldn't be long before the adventurers would hoist the sail on the Thorn of the White Rose.
Morden took a worn rag from his satchel and wiped the sweat off his brow, leaving a
light smear of dirt across his cheek. It had been several days since he, Nedaria, and
Tondal first sucked the burning air of the place called the Lavastorm Mountains into their lungs.
"I've decided we ought to give our faithful band a name of some sort," Morden said. "We're becoming somewhat renowned, are we not?! I think we ought to take pride in what we do and who we are. . . aye. Knowing us like I do, I think we ought to call ourselves the Wayfarers Brotherhood."
Tondal's violet eyes shone with pride upon hearing the name.
"Yes, Morden. A fine name indeed. A real family," he said.
"Aye, I agree. It's been a long time coming and the name should serve us well as we
continue our travels," Nedaria chimed in.
"Well, enough of that then, eh? Be sure to get the word out! As for me, I need to get
meself back in those mines and find a way past that mess o' goblins and bloody
clockworks," Morden moaned. "I've never seen such a blasted infernal place and I am
really not used to such resistance to my good looks. Nedaria weren't even this difficult."
He winked at Nedaria.
Nedaria sighed, shook her head and turned away from Morden to hide a smile.
Morden hummed as he wrapped three lock picks in leather straps, so they wouldn't make
any sound in his satchel as he moved. He rummaged through a crate and gathered up
some rope, a few morsels of bread, and a flask of water. He bid his friends -- now of the
Wayfarers Brotherhood -- farewell and set off toward the crater bubbling with lava.
Nedaria busied herself building the camp in the Lavastorm Mountains with all the new adventurers that
had followed from the Burning Woods. They all waited patiently as Morden continued
his attempts to move with the shadows past all the terrible creatures in the Solusek mines.
He had been trying for days to get close enough to listen to the whispers and wonderings
within the ranks of the Solusek kobolds. It had proven difficult and Nedaria could feel
Nedaria and Tondal both hoped he would have more success this day.
Nedaria quietly reminisced about her youth. No one in Erudin had known she was different. As a young free-spirited erudite, she discovered she had an innate power to see into people's minds and overcome the boundaries of the present to glimpse into the future.
She remembered the first foreboding dream that came to her. One of the nobles of Erudin was planning to murder his own son who threatened to replace him and ascend to the city's council.
After rising from her sleep that night, she ran to her mother, Tilisea Nebeian, who was studying at the grand table in the library of their home. She tugged at her mother's robe and told her the nightmare she had.
Her mother first smiled with delight as she entertained the wild musings of her child. Then, as Nedaria continued, her mother's face twisted in fear. She quickly hushed Nedaria and ran into the storeroom, frantically throwing supplies into a satchel. Tilisea grabbed her daughter's arm tightly and dragged her quickly through the city and out into the darkness of the Toxxulia Forest. She crouched in front of Nedaria and handed the satchel to her. With tears glistening in her eyes, Tilisea held her daughter's face in her hands.
"Run now little one. You cannot stay here. The nobles will learn of your gift and rob you of all you hold dear -- your mind and talents. Talk to no one. Let your senses guide you. I will seek you out soon," Tilisea said in a single rush of breath.
Nedaria was terrified and confused, but turned from her mother and ran as far and as fast as she could. Her tears streaked her soft cheeks as she sobbed.
It had been many years since that night and she never heard from her mother again. Her heart withered knowing that her mother may have paid a dear price for saving her.
Nedaria's time within her memories ended abruptly as a sense of gloom passed over her -- a presence she was not familiar with was nearby. She looked up from the necklace she was crafting and saw nothing. She rose from her seat on a crate of blankets and turned her eyes to the east.
In the heat haze and geysers of steam, the shimmering outline of a humanoid figure moved closer. It was a shadow that moved without the need of an object to cast it.
Nedaria heard of shadowed creatures in Norrath that could move in the light of day. She also recalled that they were to be avoided.
The figure then crept backward behind the steam. Nedaria followed, believing that this creature of shadow would have already attacked had it wanted the blood of those in the camp.
Down the hill, under the gentle flapping wings of a fire drake, Nedaria waited alone. She sent out a soft voice from her mind, hoping it would reach the creature. In the Common tongue of Norrath, she repeated, "I am here to listen if you have something to say."
A gravelly voice whispered into her right ear. She remained motionless.
"We seek the same enemy. The servants of Solusek Ro need to be cast out. You know as well as I that this is the only path to true magical power. It is our place to rule the world. The pure and true magic of the Shadowed men is the only art," it said. "I can help you if you can help me. I can promise you power."
With her back to the Shadowed man, Nedaria listened as he told a tale of greed among the Solusek kobolds and a growing resentment of the resident lord, the mighty dragon, Nagafen.
The strong rule the weak. That is the law amongst the kobolds. But in the depths of Lord Nagafen's lair, one of the strongest of the Solusek kobolds grew restless.
While kobolds do not usually give in to pride, some do indeed give in to greed.
Heili Erat, a noble of the Solusek kobold clan, grew increasingly angry that he was left on the fringe of the royalty. The rewards he sought for his position were ignored. No matter how he petitioned for an army of his own, he was shuffled back to his filthy room, where he could often be heard pacing back and forth while cursing them all.
Heili decided it was time to seek power and riches of his own. He would find a way to line his pockets with gold.
For as long as Heili could recall, he had been told to stay away from Lord Nagafen, the mighty dragon in the bowels of the mines. He was told never to explore there or he would face the dire lord's fiery breath. The legends say that those who attempted to slay the dragon were stripped of all their riches and wasted away deep in the caverns -- a place no Solusek kobold had ever set foot.
Rather than get the tangled fur of his own haunches seared by Lord Nagafen, he decided to send an unsuspecting slave. He called a kobold slave to his shabby room and had him sit in front of him. The noble quickly cast a charm spell upon the poor slave, bidding him to search the deep caverns of Nagafen's den to see what lay hidden there.
It is not known what the enchantment was that captured the slave, but it was somehow enough for him to catch a glimpse of a cavern filled with enormous heaps of riches belonging to Lord Nagafen. Heili saw it all as he looked through the slave's eyes.
That was the tale woven by the Shadowed man to Nedaria who, in turn, relayed it to Morden and Tondal. Morden believed the tale. The creases at the corners of his eyes crumpled as he smirked, his gray eyes glistening with the thrill of adventure.
Two nights had passed and Morden had finally reached the Solusek kobold's lair, where he perched on a ledge near a lava pit. He heard them growling about a hidden passage and the noble's idiocy. They said he was starting rumors and saying that Lord Nagafen's lair was not real.
In the shadows, Morden made time to watch Heili, the noble. He saw him caress an old crate on the floor of his makeshift room and cackle. He got up and paced past the torch on the wall and its flame flickered. It was enough to capture a glint of gold between the rotting wooden slats of the crate.
"There are riches of the likes we've never seen, my dear friends. I'm sure of it," Morden said with a roguish grin to the members of the Wayfarers Brotherhood camp. "I've found a way for us to enter the hold. Prepare yourselves for adventure. We move today!"
A withered form stumbled about the Plane of Knowledge, his feet dragging over the stone pathways.
The agony and confusion the wizard felt in his mind was embodied in his physical presence. His robe hung scruffily around his frame and the tattered hem whispered as it trailed across the cobbles. Strings of dark matted hair dangled around his face.
At intervals, the wretched man, Calliav Giniuar, had moments of clarity and spewed broken words and splintered visions with a wild look in his eyes.
"Time! My lord in Time. . . We fail . . . dark days . . . shadows move under Norrath . . . sands . . . a curse . . . the stone!" he cried madly.
Calliav learned the legends about Zebuxoruk, the Forsaken, when he was a small boy. As he grew older, his dreams and hopes that the demigod Zebuxoruk could be contacted and freed from his imprisonment in the Plane of Time became an obsession. Calliav's awe of the knowledge that Zebuxoruk was thought to have was unbounded.
Year after year, Calliav honed his meditative skills. He believed he could reach Zebuxoruk, who he called his "lord," through a focused and loyal mind.
After many years of practicing meditative arts, Calliav's mind was able to transcend his body and make contact with ethereal beings. Thus far, he had never been close to feeling or seeing Zebuxoruk.
Day after day, Calliav continued to refine his focus.
Zebuxoruk had felt Calliav's spirit some time ago and believed he might make an acceptable repository for some of his knowledge. Having been imprisoned in Time, Zebuxoruk felt a need to find a channel that would allow his grim visions of the future to reach the citizens of Norrath.
One fateful night, Calliav focused his mind with such great intensity that the rhythm of his heart almost ceased. His breaths were long and deep. In those moments, Calliav's presence was palpable to Zebuxoruk, so he unleashed a fraction of his knowledge to the determined mage's mind.
Calliav was sorely unprepared, as any mortal would have been, to receive such a flood of knowledge. His mind was blinded and unable to sort, comprehend, and process. He opened his eyes, attempting to focus on a stack of tomes in his dimly lit room and couldn't. Reality became clouded by the unfathomable number of thoughts flitting across his mind's eyes.
Calliav felt an urgency about the knowledge Zebuxoruk had given him. A need to prepare for danger grew in his heart. Something dark and terrible was on the horizon -- something so foul it was almost inconceivable. Logic crumbled.
A vision of a magic stone pulsed inside Calliav. He had to learn what it meant. Had to.
His mind screamed as his body tried to command his feet to take him to the Plane of Knowledge for answers.
He fell against the door of his modest room in the West Karanas. Something ominous and evil prowled just beyond his vision, choking his mind.
"Doom," he mumbled. "It could be the end of us all."
Trapped in the chaos of his mind, Calliav continued to stagger through the Plane of Knowledge for many days, aching for calm and relief.
As he wandered, Calliav caught the murmurs of passing Norrathians. There was talk about a band of adventurers, the Wayfarers Brotherhood, that had garnered a great reputation of success with uncovering intrigue, information, and treasures.
It was clear to Calliav that he ought to seek out the leader of this crew of explorers, Morden Rasp. He would send a messenger to request his help very soon. In the meantime, Calliav had to continue his research into the repeated, haunting vision of a glowing stone. He believed it to be the magical stone that was stolen from the trolls -- the Grozmok Stone.
While in the Lavastorm Mountains, Morden, Nedaria, and Tondal received word that a raving madman in the Plane of Knowledge was seeking their assistance to find an object -- a stone -- of grave importance. Naturally intrigued, Morden wanted to learn more, but was uneducated about travel to and from the planes. Twice he had sent messengers to get word to the lunatic, but had heard nothing more.
If the news about the madman was true, Morden and his friends might face their greatest adventure yet. Morden and Nedaria were well aware of the history of the Grozmok Stone and were very curious to see if the madman might know more about it. The idea was an alluring proposition for another reason -- now that Morden's band of outcasts and exiles rivaled any powerful group of explorers on Norrath, Morden wanted to prove the worth of his legion to the world. In some small way, he hoped word about the Wayfarers Brotherhood would make its way back to the Rogues of the White Rose in Halas -- the ones who cast him out in the snowy wilds. But, mostly, Morden was confident his new family could take on any challenge. No one knew how to face adversity like him and the rest of the Wayfarers Brotherhood.
Morden's second messenger returned, finally, and told Morden that the madman, named Calliav, could arrive on Norrath at any time and that he would most likely find his way to the city of Freeport.
Nedaria agreed to lead the growing camp in the Lavastorm Mountains while Morden and Tondal ran to Freeport. Tondal was familiar with the underground labyrinth of the sewers of the city.
The two companions ran with the shadows in Nektulos forest and slipped past the guards in the Commonlands. Tondal led Morden to the hidden entrance to the Freeport sewers. As they crept through the darkness, they came upon a pedestal holding a book. It emitted a power that made the hair on the back of Morden's neck stand on end.
The two edged their way around a corner to observe this strange object pulsating with magic. It wasn't long before a low hum stirred from the book on the pedestal. The sound had such a deep resonance that Morden's teeth chattered. Tondal felt his chest vibrate as he watched a puddle of slime ripple at his feet.
The two shared a confused glance when a crimson glow began to fill the slippery tunnels of the sewer.
The brilliance of the crimson light in the sewers began to fade and a feeble, robed figured took an unsure step forward. Morden moved out of the shadows and was taken aback by the look of recognition on the mage's deeply creased face.
The mage extended a thin, trembling arm as his eyes rolled back into their lids. The weakened man's knees gave way and he started to fall to the grimy floor. Morden lunged forward with striking grace and speed, catching the mage before his head hammered the ground.
"Well, how do ye like that for a greetin'? I usually have to work a wee bit before folk fall to my feet," Morden cracked wise to Tondal.
"It is amazing to me how easily you amuse yourself, Morden," Tondal said as he winked.
The two collected the frail, shallow-breathing human and rested his back against the slippery wall. Morden looked him over.
"I believe this be 'im, eh?" Morden asked, looking to Tondal for confirmation.
"He certainly did seem to have issue with his faculties. I would guess it is Calliav Giniuar," Tondal replied.
"Get yerself back to the Lavastorm Mountains and tell Nedaria to collect the Wayfarers and meet us in the Commonlands. There be an old swashbuckler there that will put us up for a while. We simply can't take this poor lad to that infernal place," Morden said.
"We shall meet you there soon, friend. Be safe," Tondal said and hesitated a moment before he spoke again. "It may just be my excitement, but I think this meeting will be of great importance to all of us."
Morden looked at Tondal and nodded quietly.
"Aye, it may be."
Tondal turned and disappeared into the night outside the sewers.
The tunnel between the Commonlands and the deserts of Ro bustled with traffic. The presence of the Wayfarers Brotherhood caused quite a commotion as passersby came to see what all of the fuss was about.
The merchants in the area were making their fortunes off of the boisterous band of friends. Mead, beer, bread, and grand meals were passed amongst the brotherhood. Laughter and loud voices bounced within the sandstone caverns.
But in one corner it was quiet.
A dark, graceful hand rested on Calliav's pale forehead. His skin shone with beads of perspiration and his eyes were desperate and sunken.
"Do not fight me, Calliav. I can help you, but you must open your mind to me," Nedaria said softly.
"I cannot. If I open my mind again, I shall lose myself entirely," Calliav said and shuddered.
"We need to work together to bring order to your thoughts. If you don't harness this now, you will be lost in any case," Nedaria said sternly.
Calliav quivered and a drop of anguish slid down his temple. He tried to overcome his fears and frenzied thoughts.
"Alright Nedaria. I am putting my trust and sanity in your hands. Don't lose either of us," Calliav groaned.
Nedaria leaned in and increased the pressure of her hand on Calliav's brow. He shifted his weight forward into her palm. He squinted as he focused on releasing his mind.
Soon, Calliav felt a calming essence enter his mind. While his mind rattled with images and voices, the torment he felt for days started to fade some.
The hood around Nedaria's sleek forehead began to tremble lightly. Her arms and hands followed. A stabbing pain throbbed in Nedaria's mind as she connected with Calliav to help him focus his mental energy. She felt the frenetic pace of his thoughts, the number of them, and the magnitude of their meaning. Though she could not see Calliav's visions, Nedaria felt a sorrow unlike any she'd ever known. That this poor mage's spirit survived at all was miraculous to her.
She released her grip and leaned back against the cold wall, rubbing her burning temples.
Calliav stopped shaking. He opened his eyes and stared directly at Nedaria.
"You must help me find the Grozmok Stone. Agree to surrender the stone to me when it is found and I promise to offer you what information I can. What I can tell you may lead you to lost civilizations, dark horrors, and creatures that you've never seen wandering the lands of Norrath," Calliav said, as his gaze shifted from Nedaria to Morden.
Morden had been standing above them both, ready to break their intellectual bond should something go wrong. Upon hearing Calliav's request, he looked down at Nedaria with surprise and understanding. Nedaria nodded to him, knowing Calliav was not looking at her, to indicate that Calliav could not have been more serious about his request. She stood up briskly and went to talk to Tondal so that Morden and Calliav could discuss the proposal.
"Surely this is folly, Calliav. We have seen all there is in these lands," Morden said.
"No, there is much that you have yet to see and when you do you may regret having ever really opened your eyes," Calliav warned.
"With that kind of introduction, how could I possibly say no," Morden beamed as he laid a hand on the troubled mage's shoulder. "So, where do we start?"
In the warm air of the Commonlands tunnel, Calliav closed his eyes and began running through the countless images and visions filling his mind.
"I see snow, ice, and a great magic with no face. There may have been a face once, but it is gone now," he whispered. "There is little more to that, I'm afraid."
Nedaria stood close and kept her hand on his forehead, helping him slow the rush of thoughts. Morden took notes in a code only the most trusted of the Wayfarers Brotherhood could understand.
"Now I see blood. Lots of blood. The dead are walking, breathing, reanimating. They are unholy and feed in the most despicable ways. I see a castle . . . but there is much underground. Much more," Calliav said.
There was a pause as Calliav searched his thoughts. Suddenly, he winced and his face lengthened.
"Confusion, fear. The walls are collapsing and sand is rushing in. Half blood, half sand. Now they are all in sand. They do not know that the wrath of Solusek Ro has passed," he said in low tones. His cheeks glistened with tears of sadness.
Calliav's chest heaved as he took a deep breath. He paused again. Under his eyelids, his eyes fluttered wildly.
The hush around them was broken as Calliav gasped so suddenly that air whistled through his teeth.
"Oh my, the paladins are lost. I see the frogloks blessed by Mithaniel Marr are transformed. A curse holds their souls. I feel the burning hate of a god," Calliav panted. "And the orcs. The orcs have risen. Goblins have been overrun and enslaved."
Morden and Tondal looked to Nedaria. In both of their eyes, Nedaria read the need for confirmation of Calliav's ramblings. In many ways, the possibility of undiscovered lands felt too good to be true. Morden also had trouble believing that he could have ever missed such places in his travels.
Nedaria looked at both of them and nodded.
"These visions he is sharing are not fantasy. They are real. There is much strife deep within the earth . . . and darkness," she said.
Morden turned around to see proud members of the Wayfarers Brotherhood sharing past adventures and creating new stories as they ambled about. He cleared his throat.
"Listen up brothers and sisters. Our time has come. Pack your goods and be prepared to travel. Nedaria will lead a camp to the Frigid Plains and Northlands on Antonica. Tondal will lead some of our brethren across the Ocean of Tears to the Butcherblock Mountains on Faydwer," Morden said. "I will remain here with Calliav and a greater compliment of the Wayfarers Brotherhood. We are about to open the doors to the future of all Norrathians, I expect. Off with ye!"