Mouse awoke with a start in the dungeons of Avalon. He didn’t remember much of what happened at first, but then it came back to him. He had breached the magical shield protecting Avalon in a small boat. The dead body of a Paladin named Donaar had been with him. Mouse was taken into custoy to explain these circumstances, and while in the dungeon attempted to escape. The guards had knocked him out with a blow to the back of the head in order to subdue him.
Zee’arra was enjoying the day in the finely lavish home in which she was staying, when she was informed by a servant that a messenger from King Keldris had arrived for her. Zee’arra met with the messenger, who presented her with a royal scroll. The servent then ejected the messenger, knowing how Zee’arra valued her privacy. The scroll was a message requesting her services for an important quest, and bid her to come to the castle at once. Zee’arra, used to getting important missions from the kingdom of Avalon, headed out to see what was needed of her.
Drayken was walking down the corridors of the Black Hand headquarters in Avalon. He witnesses some new trainees practicing their combat skills, and one of the intructors asked that he leave so that the newbies not get distracted by a hunter with a reputation like his. Drayken was just about to leave when he was hit in the back. He spun around to see his rival, Roman, who taunted him for a moment before the fight was broken up by Father Malquio. Father Malquio informed Drayken that Sir Gregory Beck had a very impotant mission for him. When Drayken approached Sir Beck’s door, Beck was able to sense Drayken’s approach and bade him to enter. Sir Beck revealed that their intelligence had discovered King Keldris was sending an expediton to the mainland of Emerill in order to kill the Warlord. Drayken was told that he would be a part of this mission, as it was in the Black Hand’ interests to defeat such a powerful evil force. Black Hand forces were scattered and divided fighting the Warlord’s army, and thus should not be sought out or expected to lend aid, but woul assist in whatever way they could if encountered. Drayken accepted this mission and left immediately for the castle.
Mouse, resting in his cell, suddenly felt the ground start to shake. The shaking increased and for a few moments he was thrown around and nearly lost his balance. Then, suddenly, the shaking subsided. Mouse was told that a magistrate was being summoned and he would be able to plead his case soon.
Zee’arra arrived at the castle, where the guards recognized her and let her in. She was brought to the throne room instead of the usual military garrison meeting room where she received most of her missions, and thought this to be somewhat odd. King Keldris and a magistrate were waiting in the throne room, but she was told to sit down and wait for others.
Drayken arrived at the castle, where the guards stopped him at the gate. Geron of the Avalonian Guard arrived to confirm his identity and lead him to the throne room. Geron informed Drayken that he was aware that he was a Black Hand operative, and would base his impression of how he felt about the Black Hand based on Drayken’s performance.
Drayken was brought to the throne room, and encountered Zee’arra. Mouse was brought up to join them shortly thereafter. One of the guards escorting Mouse looked intrigued by the mysterious and alluring Zee’arra sitting in the corner, until the guard next to him whispered something into his ear. The guard then turned white and looked extremely nervous, never looking in Zee’arra’s direction again.
King Keldris welcomed everyone, and explained the situation. The magical shield protecting Avalon was weakening, and thus the issue of the Warlord and his army cannot be ignored any longer. Sending an army to the mainland would be to difficult and easy to stop, so a small strike force was being assembled to take out the Warlord himself. However the only one with knowledge of the mainland was an accused murderer: Mouse. The magistrate read the charges against Mouse, accusing him of murder, exploitation of Donaar’s good name, and being a spy from the Warlord’s army.
Mouse attempted to defend himself in front of those assembled. He explained that he only did what he did to honour his friend, Donaar, who had protected him, and that he wished for nothing more then to rescue his younger sister Rose from a corrupt noble. The King was dubious of his story, as it came from a wastrel of a boy who owned theives’ tools, attempted to escape from prison, and had no proof, but decided that the need of information about the mainland was too important and devised a test for Mouse to proove his worth and loyalty. Recent earthquakes had ruptured many underground caves, opening new tunnels to areas with long-forgotten monsters and dangers. These were seeping out and damaging the land and attacking the people. Furthermore, they suspected something unusual was causing the increase in earthquakes. King Keldris entrusted Zee’arra to evaluate Mouse’s usefulness at the end of the mission, and announced he would either let Mouse join their quest or throw him back into prison based on Zee’arra’s recommendation. The King also gave each one of them a magical item to aid them in their quest.
The group then left for the fissure that led to the underground cave and tunnel, with Zee’arra as their guide. The party started climbing down a path in the rock, with Drayken relying on brute force rather then grace. They reached the caves, Drayken lit a torch, and Zee’arra led the way to avoid certain dangers and not get lost, as she was familliar with the area due to her heritage. At last they finally reached the new cave opening.
To be continued…