Badden has travelled a long way from the edge of the world. Although a young elf, he has seen much in his journeys, not the least of which include the massive beast of the Charge and the tribes that tend them. From one such tribe of goliaths he found a friend, the warden Urik. The two set off in search of enlightenment, and along the path encountered the eladrin sorcerer Knarillas, who was fleeing the eternal tedium of his parents’ tower.
Now, they have been summoned to the presence of Carswell, a merchant who needs them to investigate piratical assaults on his caravans. The erratic businessman suspects an inside job, and wants the trio, as cleanskins, to investigate. He is dispatching them on the next pulse with a train of three wagons that he suspects will be attacked. A purse of 100 gold coins awaits those who return with information… and who successfully defend the train.
Outside in a coach sits Saint Belardan, a strange young priest who has been dispatched on church business.
It is the fifty-eigth pulse of the 181st Cycle of the reign of Jonastavar. Carswell’s minions have arrived, and the journey is to begin.
Things don’t start well however, as Urik is asked to “slip this collar on…”