Relics of the Mist

Never before had Twindell's muscles burned with such pain. Every ounce of energy had left his body at least 3 minutes ago. Yet he still ran. He ran for his life. And he would not stop running until he reached the Cyre…or until his final breath was drawn.

As he ran through the mist, Twindell kept thinking one thought over and over again. That he was a damn fool. He knew this to be true, for only a damn fool would even step a foot into the Mournland, let alone go as deep as he did. They say curiousity killed the cat…Twindell was hoping it would not hold true for halflings as well.

He could hear the thrasing behind him. The other two men in his party were surely dead by now, he had heard their screams of agony right as they took off. He had no clue what was chasing him…he's heard too many rumors about what resides in the Mournland to know what to believe anymore. What he knew was that the Cyre was close, and across it lies the safety of the Talenta Plains.

Alas, as fast as Twindell was…his persuer was faster. Death came quick for Twindell, cold steel ripping through his chest. But while his soul was put to rest soon, his body was set to endure one last disgrace…being flung out of the Mournland, landing on the banks of the Cyre.

It was days before anyone found Twindell's corpse. A halfling scavanger, Twain, was the first to find the young halfling. "Poor fool, shoulda known better than to snoop around where he don't belong." the scavanger mutters as he searches the lad's body for anything of value. "Hmm, a few gold coins…nice dagger…what's this?" The scavanger pries Twindell's fist open, revealing a beautiful crystal, etched with energy. The halfling holds the crystal up "Well…looks like I got something to sell…"

Twain knows what sells and what doesn't. He's made a living selling relics and oddities from the Mournlands to collectors, and as he makes the trek to Gatherhold, he thinks to himself that this may be enough to allow him to retire.

Alas, he's met with less enthusiasm than he had hoped for. Most of the collectors he deals with are starting to get out of the game. "Sorry, just can't afford it, times are too tough…", "I got enough relics that all mean nothing. Can't do with anymore, sorry."

Discouraged, Twain finds himself where he usually finds himself when in Gatherhold, The Tipsy Halfling Tavern. He pulls up his usual seat, and orders his usual drink, and stares at the crystal with a look of disappointment.

"Where did you get that?", the patron next to him asks. He's a slim man, with a look of interest in his eyes. Twain immediately goes into pitchman mode.

"Why good sir I found this crystal on the banks of the cursed Cyre River…a relic of the Mournland, a mystery of the Mist! Why, for the low low cost of 500 gold this very crystal could be yours! I cannot attest to what strange powers may lie within, but rest assured relics of the Mournland have displayed magnificient properties!"

"I'll give you 20 gold for it."

"Sold!" The man finishes his drink, and hands the crystal to the man. He walks off, to wander the banks of the Cyre for more junk to salvage, happy that he at least got something for the crystal. The man's gaze focuses intensly on the crystal, slowly twirling it around, reading the inscription time and time again. He pulls out a pad and pen, and begins writing.

"Day 11 of my trek finds me at the city of Gatherhold, only a hop skip and a jump away from my goal. I hold in my hand a "relic", bought off of one of the locals. It's hard to tell what's real, and what is just an attempt for the locals to cash in on the fame and fear associated with the Mournlands. But rest assured readers, your hero, Messer Gantz the 4th, will discover the real truth of the Mournlands, as tomorrow I go to wander the banks of the river Cyre. I plan on finding the truth behind the legends of the Mist, and to understand the meaning of the inscription on the crystal I hold in my hands…the inscription I've heard so often associated with the mystery of what lies beyond the Cyre. I intend to discover what the phrase "All Hail Our Lord" truely means."

Messer Gantz folds the note into an envelope, and addresses it to Tom, his editor in Korranberg. Placing the letter in the courier deposit box, he hopes that he'll survive long enough to see his full story published. And he hopes to live long enough to ensure that the story of his kidnapping doesn't end up in his editor's hands. Not yet at least…that's a story he's not ready to have told.

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