The sun shone brightly overhead in the azure blue sky. Lying on her back, Aria watched gulls squawking and circling above. Around her she could hear the sounds of Neverwinter’s port- the splashing of waves lapping at the docks, the creaking of the ships’ sails and ropes and constant buzz of chatting sailors and merchants. And for that one, beautiful moment as she laid upon the gently swaying deck of the ship, she felt peaceful. But of course, that wouldn’t last.
“So, when are we leaving?” said the excitable halfling, Swagstag Memebarrel. She was leaning over Aria, her boyish face only inches from her own. Aria sighed,
“When Moses arrives with supplies from the market,” Aria said, exasperated, “I thought I already told you.”
“Well, yea you did but it’s so boring here,” Swagstag said, twirling one of her daggers in her small hand, “There’s no action.”
“We could go make some,” said the voice of Malifca Paladin-Bane. She smiled slyly in a way that made Aria somewhat uncomfortable. At least their other companion, Ivan Greenbean, the wood elf, still remained happily asleep on a pile of sacks under the mast and would not be, for the moment, causing trouble for her.
“No one is making any action. I hired you all for a purpose- a purpose that you all promised you’d help me achieve,” Aria said, putting her hands on her hips.
“Yes, yes, we know all about your ‘purpose’,” said Malifica, strutting over to Aria.
“And we bloody well better get paid for it,” added Swagstag. Aria sighed yet again. What had seemed like a great plan at first was starting to look a little uncertain. The premise was clear- Aria had heard that there was a ski resort somewhere up in the mountains guarded by goblins, and this resort was filled with gold. This gold was promised to anyone who won their yearly snowmobile race. Asides from that, she had very little information, be she would have it soon. Her old partner and friend, Bowen Dilson, had information they would need to get this gold, but he was in Luskan, to the north. With no intention of participating in such a race, Aria and Bowen decided a heist was in order- but they needed help. That’s where Aria’s band of misfits came in. With rather limited funds, Aria did not have the freedom to be picky when hiring help, which left her with this undesirable group of adventurers. A hyper-religious cleric, a feisty halfling thief, an intelligently challenged elf ranger and a borderline insane tiefling sorceress. They weren’t Aria’s first choice, but they were the only choice she had.
“I come bearing great gifts!” exclaimed Moses as dragged a sack of supplies up the gangplank. Aria helped the human cleric haul their supplies on board.
“There’s enough supplies to make it Luskan, easily, with plenty more for the trip into the mountains,” he said.
“Good, good,” Aria said, nodding, “Mind giving me the leftover gold?”
“Leftover? Why, I spent it all!”
Aria’s eye twitched, “You what?!”
“The hard working merchants of this city often struggle to make ends meet, so I thought it charitable to not haggle and accept their high prices.”
Aria suppressed the urge to shout at the overly-kind cleric. She took a deep breath.
“Alright. Okay. Just…let me do the shopping next time,” she said. Aria was glad she organised the horses, otherwise their adventure would have already put her in debt.
“Now that we are all here, we can finally begin.”
The adventurers gathered around Aria,
“As you know, I have been informed of a rather valuable hoard of gold hidden away in the mountains to the north. This gold is locked away in a vault beneath Globlin Slopes- a rather expensive goblin ski resort,” Aria explained. Ivan raised his hand,
“What’s a ski resort?” he asked.
“It’s where people go stay on holidays where they strap two pieces of wood to their feet and slide down the slopes of the mountain.”
“You mean, they purposely slide down the mountain?” Ivan said, confused, “But why bother climbing all the way up if you’re just going back down…”
“Don’t worry about that,” Aria said, somewhat irritated, “As I was saying, this gold is the grand prize for a snowmobile race…”
Ivan raised his hand,
“I swear to god Ivan if you ask what a snowmobile is I’m throwing you off the side of this boat,” Aria said. Ivan lowered his hand.
“Of course, none of us know how to operate such a thing, so we’re going to steal that gold.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” Malifica asked.
“I haven’t quite gotten that far yet,” Aria said, “But when we meet Bowen in Luskan, we will sort that out. For now, we have all we need to get underway. Does everyone have what they need?”
“I have my staff,” said Moses.
“My daggers are ready to go,” said Swagstag.
“My bow is strung,” said Ivan.
“And I’ll happily set something on fire with my magic when you give the word,” said Malifica. Aria dropped her hand to her own weapon- a rapier that was more for show than anything. As she looked at her companions, a terrible thought hit her.
“Wait a second, do we not have anyone who can wield a sword? A fighter?”
“You have a sword, don’t you?” said Ivan.
“Yes, but I’m a bard. I was hoping to talk my way out of any problems we get into. But I would expect if we met bandits or monsters on our way that they would not be open to discussion.”
“Why do we need a swordsman? We’re all capable warriors,” said Malifica.
“Yes, but…I mean all the songs and stories of great adventures usually have a hero with a sword and armour. They’re usually a man, in his early to mid-thirties, white and attractive with a beard and a lawful good disposition.”
“By the powers, you are quiet right,” said Moses, “There are indeed a lot of tales with heroes fitting that description. Do you think our tale needs one as well?”
Aria shrugged, “Perhaps, perhaps not. I have a feeling our band may not yet be complete. The road will only tell.”
“Enough talking!” said Swagstag, “I say we go and get ourselves some goblin gold!”
The others all murmured in agreement.
“It’s agreed then,” Aria said, “Our quest has begun.”