Taken from the journal of Gawain, Cat Guard Extraordinare and Amateur Recorder of Things.
Chapter 1: An Unlikely Gang
And how they meet.
After I was appointed to watch the belongings of Madam Passion, I came to meet the Lady Aetheriel in a far part of town. The cat business is booming in the city of Sunrest, and well, I am not one to complain when work comes my way. She is a beautiful woman but different than most of my other clients. She is friendly, but patronizing. Bossy at times, but very forgiving. All in all, she is a good person. I entered a new tavern just set up in this part of the marketplace, The Iron Crag. The sign hanging from the door had a metal javelin holding it in place with a circle cut in two plastered as its insignia.
As I waltzed in the open door, I saw the inn was empty, save my client politely sitting; she was awaiting my arrival. On time, as I always was, I went to introduce myself. After discussing that terms and the time I would be working, I began to protect a small satchel bag with very personal items of Lady Aetheriel inside them. To keep a record of such things was my direct obligation in order to know I was protecting everything I needed to, and all were accounted for as was the custom. A shirt that belonged to a small boy, stained with blood, a pocket watch with a small crater rusting the outer rim revealing the inner gears of the clock. A golden sash and a wedding bracelet that belonged I am sure to the groom of my lady client. A picture of a boy was also present, wearing the very shirt in the bag, next to Lady Aetheriel and a human man all smiling in the forest. Finally, a leather greave and a box that held two rings, one ornate golden wedding band, and another silver chrome twisting ring that looks like two branches of a tree intertwined. The rings would have also been in my protection detail if my lady ever took them off. Inscribed on a paper was a song written by the lady client is inside the ring case.
Normally, I would leave such details out, but I feel it is important; it reads as follows.
Young one, my son. Long has it been.
Dark ways, grey days. No light we’ve seen.
Weary, Teary. In the middle of the night.
Carry, Bury. Dearest child in my arms.
Rest now, Lain down. Quiet, still, and out of sight.
Remember, Forever. They can no more do you harm.
Time Past, So Fast. Ever still I feel.
Old fools, new rules. Wood turned to steel.
Weary, Teary. In the middle of the night.
Carry, Bury. All the things I have inside.
Hard fall, so small. Understand I have to fight.
Remember, Forever. They can no more do me harm.
I know not of what it speaks, but I hear her sing the words at night in her room right before she goes to sleep.
My Lady just introduced a dwarf into the tavern today, the first visitor since I arrived. He was quite a jovial young fellow, with a kingly disposition. Tall for a dwarf, and stepped lightly not like most of his folk. He apparently had voyaged a long time to meet with my lady but was unsure of what to do without a group. He brought in many potential candidates from the city, but apparently no takers. I saw the last one slip him something in the ale he had been drinking. Nothing happened for quite some time, so I just thought it was nothing.
As time past, Aetheriel went to check on the dwarf in his quarters. He was found dead. She was livid, and doesn’t do well when she is mad. Apparently, he bled out over the new blankets and part of the bed frame. As part of going the extra mile, I thought it best to inscribe on the bed frame Dwarven Nobility Runes, to protect the body from further harm until Lady Aetheriel could find a place to remove him to.
Four more days past. Each one seemed to take its toll on her. She didn’t have much she could pull together other than a little information on each of the gangs in the city. This is when she confided in me her idea of unifying the people of Sunrest and making the city a beacon of light as opposed to the fractured glass it has become. It was awe-inspiring to see her wish well on a city that she knew so little of. I swore that as her Cat Guardian I would help as best I could to achieve her goals, all under the terms of the contract we brought up of course. It was mere moments when we both heard a scuffling outside. She ordered me to protect the bag and she went outside.
A small goblin was arguing with a burly gnoll. A small quarrel ensued after what appeared to be abrupt jostling of some kind between the goblin and the gnoll, and perhaps an ork. My lady put an end to the disturbance as she returned inside.
“Keep hidden and keep alert, if someone tries to get in the bag hurl them as far as you can, but do not injure them.” She spoke softly as the goblin proudly followed her in. The dwarf suddenly came out of the stairwell. Some how he was alive! My runes must have helped, how interesting, I will remember this for future clients, maybe it only works for dwarves… Anyways, sorry, getting sidetracked.
Altogether in just the span of a few seconds, four people filled the bar of the once quiet tavern. An Ork, A Dwarf, A Goblin, and A Fairy. This was more visitors in one day then the inn had in the last 3 weeks. There is very little that can be said about how these people wandered in on such a fine day, less so that can be said about why they stayed, but I do know that such an unlikely meeting can change the course to any journey.