A Strange Apparition

Point of View: Rhia Buffalorider

I was having lunch at a little tavern on the south side of Tanelorn City when a young boy rushed in bursting with excitement and shouting about a ceremony in the morning. It was difficult to figure out what the excitable lad was on about but eventually I managed to catch the attention a bar maid and ask her what the commotion was all about. She explained that there is a ceremony of some sorts where young warriors Take the Gray. This is apparently the induction ritual to become a Gray Knight.

This bit of news struck me like a galloping horse! To become a Gray Knight is my sole purpose in traveling all the way from Elekargul. I planned to watch the ceremony but decided to learn as much as I could first. I headed out into the streets and spotted an orc knight wearing the gray tunic that distinguishes the chosen warriors of the realm. I managed to catch his attention and ask him about the ceremony.

He told me that it takes place at dawn the morning after it is announced at that there is generally a party all night long at the Gray Wall where it is take place. The fellow didn’t know who would be Taking the Gray but suggested I look for people in full armor at the party for that is part of the ceremony. Apparently they take the Gray Cloak in place of their former armor as a symbolic gesture.

I spent the rest of the day eagerly awaiting the ceremony but arrived only after the party had started so as not to appear overly eager. It was quite an event and the Gray Lord’s son, Jon Gray, whom I’ve heard much about, was there. He is an amazing specimen of human quite a bit taller than me. He appears relatively thin but I’m sure he will fill out. They say he has seen only seventeen years. There were a herd of girls all around him and I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

The party went on all night and I spotted a half-orc dressed in his full armor and he turned out to be from not too far from Elekargul. I had heard of the kingdom of Adas Jdar and it was pleasant to speak with someone so close to my own home. Torg and I spent a few nice moments chatting. He has a very handsome scar all down his left cheek and told me he was invited to become a Gray Knight for his service against Rock Beasts in the south. I got the distinct impression he wouldn’t mind seeing me again and I hope we get the chance to renew our friendship. Torg pointed out a Full Blooded Orc also going to take the ceremony but my attempts to speak with him were rebuffed.

I picked up dinner at the famed Pork Chop and Stock Pot tent and it was all I had heard and more although my funds are running slightly low and work is in my future. I hate to get a job waiting tables or doing other menial labor. People say the northern barbarian tribes don’t attack in winter so perhaps I’ll head west and make my name battling the rock beasts everyone talks about.

I was fairly well exhausted come dawn but when the Gray Druid showed up and not long after the Gray Lord I perked up. I have to say the Gray Lord is rather chubby and sloppy looking for someone who seems to be the hero of everyone in the region.

They ceremony started without incident and the Gray Druid was just rounding into form when a beautiful red headed human girl suddenly appeared in the middle of the ceremony between the crowd and the oath takers. She said, “Help me, oh please help me” and then vanished as quickly as she appeared.

This startling event seemed to unhinge the minds of many of the gathered crowd and a riot ensued. The orc I spotted earlier who was now standing at the platform taking the oath pulled out his sword, climbed on stage, and attacked the Gray Druid. Meanwhile a number of citizens pulled out knives and started assaulting anyone close to them. I pulled out my own weapon and began to defend the women and children under attack.

It was utter mayhem for a few moments but between Jon Gray, a brutish orc with a burn mark on his face wearing a Gray Tunic, the other two oath takers, an elf boy almost girlish in appearance and of course the handsome Torg, things were quickly settled. I noted several other bystanders battling the maddened crowd including a stout dwarf, a little hobbit, a strange little fellow whose race I cannot guess, a Dragonborn warlock, and a full blooded orc boy with the look of a farmer dressed up in armor.

A pile of Gray Knights swarmed onto the scene quickly and gathered up all the dead and wounded leaving the rest of us to our own devices. The farmboy looking orc said he was going to a place called the Tarred and Shingled Tavern and invited me along with him. I think almost everyone ended up at the tavern and the rumors were flying fast and furious.

A lot of people seem to think the girl is some sort of daughter or relative of the Emperor from ancient times and that she is ready to appear and reinstitute the Empire. Another school of thought is that the entire thing was some sort of a hoax perpetrated by Gnolls or Rock Beasts. I don’t really know enough to say but I was falling asleep in my chair when the Gray Knight Orc with the burn mark on his forehead showed up and pointed to me and the others who helped and motioned for us to follow him.

I’m not sure who the fellow is but he’s not the talkative sort and didn’t say a single word until we arrived at a low building not far away from the tavern. We all sat in a lobby waiting and I got a chance to meet the others. The hobbit is a saucy little fellow named Rambledon Hilltopple, the strange mix breed creature is named Misrael al halladun and is clearly not from around here, the Dragonborn fellow is called Azraim Melab… something unpronounceable, the dwarf seems a solid sort and calls himself Josephus Sunspite, and finally the orc with the peasant look to his carriage is named Horus Calmuck.

After a few moments burn face came back out and motioned us into the rooms beyond where a fat lizard man sat behind a desk writing on parchment and completely ignoring us. I was getting pretty agitated when little Rambledon spoke up asking why we were there. The lizard folk raised a finger to put him off and I have to admit my blood started to boil a bit.

Finally this fellow looked up through half slit eyes and said, “So, you young people looking for some excitement?” I think we all about jumped out of our chairs in excitement. Then he told us to go up to the Blue Hills and roust out some Gnoll bandits in the area. We all got up to go but the strange little Misrael got up the nerve to ask the captain how we were to find the bandits. The Lizard Folk suggested going to Grimbold’s Trading post outside of town for directions and with that we left.

We all agreed that we were far too tired to pursue the quest right off and agreed to meet at the northern gates of Tanelorn City in the morning.

Come morning I met up with the others and we headed straight towards the trading post. Horus and I led the way while the others trailed behind. It only took about ten minutes to get there, we found a group of Gnolls loitering about, and before we even got a chance to say hello they were on us with clubs and swords. They had a terrible laugh that disoriented both Horus and I but we were getting the upper hand with another Gnoll came rushing out of the building and waving off the fight. This turned out to be none other than Grimbold who owns the place.

We took the loot from the dead or down Gnolls and the others ran off. It all came to about 30 silver coins, a grungy necklace, and a handful of truncheons. We sold the lot to Grimbold for 15 silver coins giving us a tidy profit of 45 silver coins split six ways. Not exactly riches but the first coin I’ve earned since arriving here in Tanelorn. Hopefully it is the sign of things to come.

We spoke with Grimbold for a few minutes and he claimed the Gnolls who attacked us were traders from Grelm and he couldn’t be held responsible for their actions. When we mentioned that a Gray Knight sent us up to find out about bandits in the hills he was loose tongued enough. He gave us directions to the bandit camp and made us promise to tell Captain Massassa, apparently that is the fellow’s name, that he cooperated completely. He was most anxious for us to convey that there was no need for a return visit from the Sergeant at Arms. I suspect that is the orc with the burn mark on his forehead.

The others went into the trading post to resupply before we headed into the hills.


The Girl in Glass tomlib