So, I began to question the orb. As I said, no sense of time permeated the orb, but I know that I asked many questions of the orb. I was told of a great curse that plagued the land of mordheim, but could get no details of the curse, only that it was terrible. Mordheim, I was told, was a land in the sky, which I did not at the time understand. When I inquired after the High Priest Donovan, I was told that he was the High Priest of the Last Shrine, and worshipped some kind of unicorn god. Even I knew what a unicorn was.
When the orb finally landed, I found myself in a field of grass, open and clear, with the sun shining overhead, and a forest of trees around the edges of the field. Ahead of me was darkness, though. The sky in the distance was covered in clouds, dark and rainy. Beneath this darkness loomed a mountain, not as large as some of the mountains of my home, but big nevertheless.
Since I was on a mission, I walked ahead. Surely, the dark sky was some part of the curse that I had been told of so I travelled in that direction. After travelling a short way through the trees, I came out into an open plain with a village. After briefly surveying the houses, and seeing nothing either interesting or threatening, I made my way into the collection of wood buildings.
I must add at this point that I was very single-minded in my thoughts. The orb had told me of a curse, that time was short, and of the High Priest Donovan. Therefore, those things were uppermost in my mind. Conversation, diplomacy, and other such side treks, were not important to me. As such, I noticed very little of my surroundings other than what was pertinent to my focus.
When I entered the village, the villagers began to collect around me. Well, that was not unusual. Anytime someone new entered the monastery, many brothers were curious as to who it was and what they were doing there. I doubted these villagers were any different in that respect.
“I seek the High Priest Donovan,” I spoke, hoping that someone would direct me to him. Thankfully, these people were more than willing to help and directed me to a path leading into the moutain. However, I did notice something else, these people were very happy. I don’t mean cheery, which would be somewhat odd but believable. No, I mean happy as in smiling and joyous. What they had to be happy about I’m not sure, as I had thought that a curse hung over them. I’ve since learned that the curse does not affect them, yet their happiness is still odd. Someday, I’ll have to learn more about them.
I began walking the path that led to the High Priest Donovan. It took only a little time, and the sun had hardly moved when I arrived at my destination.
The Last Shrine sat at the top of a range of mountains, although they were more like hills compared to the land of my youth. I later learned that it overlooked the land of Mordheim, a desolate place, and that the great mountain I had seen upon arriving was Mount Mord (or Moru, depending on the speaker). The Shrine was built of white stone, with unicorn symbols carved into the walls. A few people wandered about the place, possibly acolytes or worshippers.
I approached one of these people and asked to speak with High Priest Donovan and was taken to a private room with a very old man who appeared to be in ill health. Perhaps this curse affects him as well, I thought. Before I could speak or ask questions, though, the High Priest bade me wait. Apparently, others were going to be joining us.
The first to arrive, and only shortly after me, was Jessedia Willowtrees. I had seen pictures of elfs (elves?) before, so her appearance did not surprise me. She is a brunette, much shorter than I, but much quicker and agile as well. A bow and quiver of arrows was slung over her shoulders, and I spotted a rapier in her belt. For protection she had forsaken formal armour for simple leather, which, like myself, did not restrict her movements. I later learned that she had been following me, as the first person to arrive.
The second of our party to arrive was Titania. She strode in full of confidence and attitude, although we had heard her coming. With a full suit of chainmail and a huge, two-handed axe, she was not exactly the quiet type. Titania is an attractive women, with dark brown, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes. She assessed the room as she entered and sat down to wait, without only a mere greeting to Jessedia and I.
It was some time before the others arrived. The next person was actually a group of people. They were Therin Valorian, Api, and Orilia. Therin was obviously a man of great ego, but great charm as well. In my time at the monastery, we had occasionally had bards stop by, for their tallents were greatly prized, and Therin seemed to be of that type. He was blonde, with short hair (unusual in the people I had grown up with) and a bit of a beard. He carried only a rapier and whip with both, neither of which would be much use in a fight, I thought. While his combat abilities were questionable, his charm and skill with people would probably help us in many other ways.
Api was a gnome, a race I had never encountered before. While Jess was a good foot shorter than I, Api was far shorter than that. Dressed in leather, like Jess, Api walked in with a smile on his face, already friendly with Therin. He almost seemed like a child, both due to his height and his baby-like face. For weapons, he only carried a small crossbow and short sword.
Orilia, unlike the two that came with her, was quiet and unassuming. Her simple, brown hair was tied back in a pony-tail and she came prepared for travel, with a backpack and staff. If not for her slight frame, I might have thought her a monk such as myself. With no weapons or armour, I was unsure as to her abilities.
The last to arrive was Thorg. Here was a walking contradiction. Thorg appeared to be part-orc, with huge fangs dominating the lower part of his face. Yet, in spite of what should be a facial disfigurement, he proved quite open and friendly, and I liked him right away. Also, Thorg was a big man, suited for feats of strength and could be mistaken for a warrior. However, he had harnessed an innate magical power and, with his mind, was attempting to unleash more of it.
Now that all of us were present, the High Priest summoned an aid named Rand Shieldborn. As it turned out, the High Priest was so ill that a long explanation of our mission and it’s history would be too difficult, so Rand spoke for him. He told us that the curse originates at Mount Moru (or Mord, as I said it depends on the speaker). Apparently, the curse does not cross the range of hills upon which we stood, so the people of the village (called Meadowvale) were safe. As to the origins of the curse, it seems to have started about the time that a tribe of the Mordheim people, called the Dragon Stone clan, entered Mount Mord seeking power over the other clans.
The High Priest then gave each of us an enchanted item to aid us. To Jessedia, he gave a pouch of magical berries with healing properties. To Titania, he gave an enchanted gauntlet that would aid her in making lethal strikes with her Glaive. To Therin, he gave a magical cowbell (that being Therin’s instrument) that would mend broken things. To Thorg, he gave three enchanted wands. I received a belt called a Belt of Bronze Dragons, that toughened my skin against attacks, making it more difficult to hurt me. Apparently, Api and Orilia had already received such an item for the High Priest gave them nothing at this time.
We also learned that Rand, the High Priest’s acolyte, would be joining us. I breathed a silent sigh of relief at this news. My training at the monastery had included group tactics, and I had learned that any squad should contain a healer, to help speed up the healing process.
After being invited to rest for the night, we arose in the morning and met in the courtyard of the Shrine. The High Priest was able to provide us with all the rations, water, and gear that we needed. However, before we set off we needed to decide where we were going. Jessedia pulled out a map of Mordheim that she had acquired from the magical orb that had guided her here, and we looked it over. After much discussion, we decided to head to the Stronghold of the dwarves. Rand said they had requested assistance recently, and if we helped them perhaps they could help us in return. We needed a guide, though, and Donovan recommended to Rand that we seek a man named Cormac.
After gathering what gear and rations each of us wanted, we set off. I was not optimistic about this group, as it’s fighting ability was questionable at best. As we set out, I voiced my concern with a dire prediction.
“We’re all going to die.”