It all started when you received a mysterious letter from a messenger. You asked the messenger how he found you but all you got in return was a mischievous smile.
“It's my job,” he said.
He handed you the letter and you glanced down to look it over. When you looked back up to ask the messenger who the letter was from, the messenger was gone, seemingly disappeared into thin air.
You opened the letter, and it read;
I am writing you today because word of your great deeds have reached my ears and I have need of a hero such as you. The work I have for you is very important and very dangerous. I would go into detail, but the work is also of a sensitive nature and I do not know who else might read this letter before it reaches your hands. Please join me in the city of Sala on the island continent of Lon-Dia so we can discuss my proposition.
I realize that making the voyage to Lon-Dia is no easy task, so I have taken the liberty of reserving you a ticket on an airship leaving tomorrow. I will also compensate you for troubles, I am willing to pay you 50gp simply to come to Sala and hear my proposition. If you decide not to take the job, I will pay for the return passage to your homeland. I look forward you meeting you and the others I have summoned for this task.
May the gods be with you.
The letter was unsigned, but you got the idea that whoever wrote it was someone with pull. Airships are exclusively used by the rich and powerful to travel to and from Lon-Dia. Everyone else has to travel by boat and be processed at an “import city.” The powers of Lon-Dia don't like outsiders, so chances of entry are slim. That fact, however, doesn't stop hundreds of people a year from trying to get to Lon-Dia; most drunk on the stories of the secret riches and knowledge that the continent holds. You decided that you couldn't pass up an opportunity like this.
So here you are, riding in a magical airship for the first time and traveling to a land you have only heard wild stories about. You sit in a private cabin aboard The Lady of Arcadia. The cabin is decorated in an elaborate fashion, normally it hosts much more upscale clientele than its current occupants. On the table before you is a feast of food and drink large enough to feed ten men, placed by the ship's stewards. Around the table you are joined by three other adventurers, you assume they were also contacted by your mysterious benefactor. As the stewards leave, the head steward informs you that the captain will be visiting you later and until then you are to enjoy the ship's hospitality. You are left alone in the cabin with the three other adventurers, what do you do?
I take a sip of the non-alcoholic fruit juice on the table and address the other adventurers sitting around me. "So it seems we were all called upon by a mysterious stranger to perform some mysterious task together. Since we are going to be working together we should probably introduce ourselves. My name is Stone, Stone Nads. When I was a young man I was a soldier and later became an officer of the law." I Grab a piece of meat from the table and take a big bite. While chewing I say, "However, I left my hometown about a year ago and have been adventuring ever since." I washes the meat down with fruit juice and look to the other adventurers. "When I got a mysterious letter from a mysterious stranger I decided that I had to look into it. I love a good mystery. I assume you all got the same letter I did?" Still staring piercingly into the other adventurers' eyes I place the letter on the table.
(The dark-skinned beauty sitting on the luxurious couch in the room gets up, surveying her fellow adventurers. She is wearing a flowing, layered dress with silk scarves strategically placed along her bust and hips, her long, dark hair in a fancy updo. She walks over to Stone, walking around him slowly, playfully running her finger up his chest. Natasha looks up at him and smiles coyly.)
"Aren't you a big one? A Goliath, I presume... I think I'm going to like having you here with me. My name is Natasha."
(She bats her eyes, almost imperceptibly, before turning, walking along the table, and picking up a bunch of grapes. Her grace is undeniable: Every movement of her hips and the flow of her stride scream elegance.)
"I'm not big and strong, like our friend here... but I do possess certain... skill sets, if you will. I mean, why fight someone to take what you want, when you can just get them to give it to you, willingly and with a smile on their face?"
(She laughs, looks over the rest of the party, then sits back on her couch, munching on grapes and watching the room...)
At the end of the table a large white dragonborn tears happily into the meat provided. Her scales shine brilliantly in the light, the white leading to a skyblue color in certain spots. Most notable is her left hand which is completely dark blue in coloration. She is dressed in simple navy blue robes. Big, blue eyes stare at the other two as they introduce themselves.
"Penelope," She says, pausing to swallow. Her voice is soft, but gravelly in the way most dragonborn are.
"Peneolpe Skyshatter, here in place of my Uncle Asgar, who originally got the letter. Uncle thought this would be a good opportunity for me to spread my wings, so to speak. He wishes for me practice my abilities and socialize with others in a proper setting. I, myself, am very well versed in the arcane arts." Shifting in her seat she raises her hand and flicks out a finger to one of the cups. A spectral, floating hand emerges from thin air and picks up the cup, carrying it over to her.
"Jacob Bray." a graying, dense man in his late middle-age says from nearby. Weathered and tired, in worn-out but cared for leathers carrying two brutish looking swords in an orcish style. "Got the letter too."
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Jacob Bray - The Call of Lon-Dia, Human Bloodhunter 3
Stone nods in turn at each of his new companions as they introduce themselves. When Natasha touches him, without his permission, he twitches, his hand moving towards his sword, but then relaxes and blushes ever so slightly. As she moves away he shifts his bulky frame awkwardly, making his chain mail softly chime. When his new companions are finished introducing themselves he says,
"It's nice to meet all of you. I hope our host has something spectacular to offer, but even if he doesn't I think I will stay in Lon-Dia. I've heard rumors of riches there. I've heard of a shield that is so strong as to make it's bearer practically invincible. If I could find such an item then I could return home and clean up all of the disorder. Have any of you heard of such an item?"
"I heard of it from an old Dwarf in a tavern. He was very inebriated and was on a table shouting about how all of his people's greatest works were stolen from them and hidden around the world. He mentioned several items, but the only one I remember was the shield hidden in Lon-Dia. He passed out before I could question him further about it and when I tried to question him the next morning he had died of alcohol poisoning, which, as I am sure you are aware, is almost unheard of in dwarfs. However his drunken rant was the last thing he said before dying which makes it a dying utterance and completely reliable."
Stone Nads looks at each of his companions as though challenging them to question his unimpeachable logic.
(Natasha throws her head back, laughing flirtily.)
"That is too cute. Well, certainly, nobody can argue with that logic. Tell you what: When we're dividing up the treasure, you can have that shield. I'll just take all the gold and jewels. It's win-win."
As you sit and enjoy the provided refreshments and the company of your peers, you hear a rap at the door. You all turn and see a tall, breaded, gruff looking half-orc, dressed immaculately in a blue navy uniform. “Greetings,” he says, as he enters and scans the room. “I am the captain of The Lady of Arcadia, Jorr Scarfang.” He closes the door behind himself and approaches the table. “I've got a thousand things to do to keep this ship moving so we can reach Sala tomorrow, let me get right to it.”
Captain Scarfang pulls a map case out of his jacket pocket. “The man who paid for your passage wanted me to give you this. Normally I would tell somebody who asks me to be an errand boy on my own ship to go to hell, but he offered me enough gold to console my hurt pride.” He smirks as he opens the map case and removes a rolled up map. He places it on the table and carefully unrolls it. Before you lies what appears to be a simple map of island continent of Lon-Dia.
“I know it doesn't look like much, but this map's been enchanted.” The captain points to the cities marked on the map. “Right now it only shows the capitals of both Lon and Dia, and a few of the major cities. But the more you travel and learn about Lon-Dia, the more detailed the map will become. I don't know how it works exactly, I got enough problems with the magic needed to keep this thing in the air.” He motions at the airship all around you.
He places the map case down and steps away from the table. “I have to get back to the ship's bridge, is there anything I can do for you lot before I go?”
Jacob steps forward to examine the map, listens to the captain trying to maintain tact. "We are meant to meet with someone in the city of Sala - though I hesitate to admit that we don't know who that it. Do you have that information?"
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Jacob Bray - The Call of Lon-Dia, Human Bloodhunter 3
“I'm sorry to say I don't.” The captain replies. “I'm not even sure who's paying me. This was all arranged through messengers.” He scratches his large bearded chin. “But no one would spend all this gold and go to all this trouble to get you into Lon-Dia and not have some plan once we dock. I'm afraid you'll have wait until we get to port to find out what it is.”
Captain Scarfang looks at Penelope and manages to say, “Of course you can g--” before being cut off by Stone's questions. After thinking for a moment, the captain says to Stone, “I have never heard of such a thing, but Ol' Gus might. If anyone on my crew would know about dwarven relics, it would be him. I'll send him your way when I see him.”
He turns back to Penelope. “Of course you can go out on the deck. The sun has just set and the stars are coming out.”
The Captain looks at the rest of the party. “Is there anything else?”
Penelope follows after the human as she leaves, thanking the captain on her way out. Reaching the deck she heads over to unpopulated area and leans on the rails to admire the stars, letting out a pleased hum as the wind passes over them.
Stone's face turns red at Natasha's shenanigans and his cheek muscles twitch a few times. As soon as she leaves he checks the contents of his coin purse and all of his other pouches and pockets and turns to the captain.
"It appears that she hasn't stolen anything. However, I believe that she has still committed a trespass on my property. This could be punished at the discretion of the authority presiding in the current jurisdiction. I believe at this moment that would be you, captain. The damage in this case is de minimus, but locking that thief in the brig for the remainder of the voyage will send a signal to your passengers that you value their safety and the security of their privacy and possessions. It will also send a signal to thieves that they are not welcome aboard. Yes, under the circumstances, locking Natasha in the brig for the remainder of the voyage would be entirely appropriate. However, I have no jurisdiction here. It is your responsibility."
Stone begins to turn away, face still red but less so, then catches himself and turns back to the captain.
"Oh, and if this Gus that you speak of has knowledge of a shield on Lon-Dia capable of making it's bearer invincible that was created by and stolen from dwarfs then I would be very interested to talk with him."
Stone sits back down and continues to eat, but in a more broody and moody manner than before.
Stone: The captain stands there, slightly dumbfounded by everything you just said. “Um, uh...sure, yeah, we will handle this Mr. um, Nads. You can rest easy.” He uses the awkward silence that follows as a sign that he is done here. Captain Scarfang bids the party farewell and takes his leave.
Penelope: At the rails, you enjoy the early evening, with its cool breeze and beautiful view.
Natasha: Out on the deck, you notice some people enjoying drinks. They seem to consist of a few cliques;
A group of three men. The first is human, the second is halfling and the third is dwarven. They are well dressed laughing loudly at each other's jokes.
A regal looking elven couple flanked by two larger and rougher looking half-elves.
Two well dressed girls who look almost too young to be drinking, whispering and giggling to each other.
Weaving through all of these groups is a middle aged tiefling bard, serenading the guests with a lute.