Over the week since the last expedition into the main body of the old prison, there has been a lot of commotion in the Keep on the Borderlands. A few adventurers have arrived from various realms around the Coin, including Bractoon, a mysterious human warlock with an air of darkness about him. He ostensibly says he’s here to map the fringes of the Kingdom. He is a member of the enigmatic Guild of Cartographers, an organization that has accumulated secrets about the Coin from the Great Ice Wall of the rim to the lava fields surrounding the Sun’s Retreat. As Bodkin enters the keep’s refectory after a day of scouting the countryside, looking rather lost in his thoughts, Bractoon walks quickly and purposefully up behind him, reaching into his cloak…
“Bodkin! Good to see you!” He bellows, holding out a small bottle. “Join me for a swig or three of Chegg’s finest?” And without waiting for an answer begins to pour a couple of glasses of bright, ruby-red raspberry melomel into some cups.
“Bractoon, good to see you as well. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Thinking back to when the two of them had their first adventure together, along with Daisy Cotton and Tavaris, clearing out an infestation of ankheg from beneath a shepherd’s fields that had also broken into the back of a goblins’ den. The goblins were led by a highly charismatic, and oddly fashionably dressed goblin by the name of Chegg. He told the group that he had learned the ways of the world by traveling with a group of adventurers that called themselves “The Lady’s Luck.” The Lady in question being Lady Avorneth, a female elf fighter of no little skill and renown.
They found him holding off a manticore by himself while they were traveling the hills one day. After helping him defeat it, he swore allegiance to her and travelled with them thereafter. Along the way, he learned to speak common and learned the finer points of the etiquette of the High Elven court, as well as fostering a love of fine booze from around the Coin, a hobby he still fosters to this day.
One day, while spelunking a particular ruin looking for a lost relic, their prize was stolen from them by their arch rival, Hanur, a half-Orc rogue. The Lady and Hanur had always had a friendly rivalry that occasionally slipped over into violence. But it was always just business…
Eventually, Hanur fled into the shrine to Chaos beneath the rocks in the shepherd’s field. Lady Avorneth told Chegg to wait for them nearby as she and the other members of the team split up and entered the portals in the shrine to look for Hanur and get their treasure back. That was years ago and they haven’t returned. He’s sort of given up on them ever returning and he’s now taking care of the local tribe of goblins and feels responsible for their fates. So he stays, hoping that one day his Lady will return while he sits in his hidden inner chamber, sipping fine brandies and sparkling meads he collects and trades with passing travelers.
After the party and his trusted goblin bodyguard, Dave, exterminated the ankheg brood queen, he paid them with favorable trading status and bottles of some of his finest wines. It was one of these that Bractoon now poured for his companion, Bodkin. “What troubles you, friend?” Bractoon asks the Druid. “Many things are not as they should be here on the Borderlands… And dark prophecies abound about the moons and… Other things. Come, let’s walk and talk. Bring the bottle.”
So they set out for a stroll around the keep and discussed many things that night. As they walk, they pass a newly erected notice board, though both companions are too engrossed to read it. Some of the bills posted read:
- MISSING! Johan the Gnome. Got drunk in K.K. & wandered off to piss while walking back to stairs through Open Sore territory. Hasn’t been seen for a week. Inquire with Rand.
- Cash for Components. Bring any unusual flora, materia or viscera to Tawaelle Mandora in the renovated northwest tower. Will pay fair market prices.
- Bandit Bounties – Bandits have been harassing caravans passing on the road past the old prison. Enquirer with the captain of the Keep guard.
- “Hammer down” wants to talk. You know the place. G.B.
Eventually, they end up back in the refectory. Bractoon says, “I’m headed down into Stonehell tomorrow with a cleric and… A Drow” Bodkin raises an eyebrow at that. “Want to head in with us? We could use your knowledge down there.”
“No, I’ve got some business to attend to. Checking in with the Circle… Druid stuff, you know? Later though, for sure. Good night for now.” Bodkin gives a hearty hug to his old friend and retires to his bunk.
Bractoon, meanwhile, stays up drinking the rest of the bottle on the battlements, staring up into the night sky. Those that saw him would have sworn it seemed he was looking past the very sky itself… As if into other realms…
But it was dark. And who’s going to ask a drunk warlock what he’s looking at, anyway?