Intro – Mirtul, not long after Greengrass
It was just before dawn, after a long brisk night, the daybreak brought glimmers of warmth. The golden light peaked, just barely, off the mountains to the west and ignited the local birds into a chorus of melodies. As the caravan lurched forward, headed north along the well-rutted Herald’s Road, Charles Teague stood in the road. Looking worse-for-the-wear, with a busted lip and his black hair tussled, the dust from the departing caravan settled on his once fine clothes.
Using a more common alias, Charlie T, he had been a passenger on that very north-bound caravan, for the last tenday. In fact, just hours before, when the moon was at its highest, laughter roared in his belly, a full tankard and purse full of coin, all compliments at his skill at Three-Dragon Ante, a common card game using the Talis Deck. He’d been playing the Cards since he was a lad. Whist, poker, talison, old wizard, you name it, sometimes he even rolled the Bones, and it didn’t take long for him to learn to earn a coin or twenty playing the games. He had a steady hand, a disarming smile, and an emotionless face; all available upon command.
As good as he was at the Talis Deck, he was better yet at fast-playing the cards. But alas, to be good at swindling the cards, that is to say, bottom dealing, or the ole dragon up the sleeve, you had to know when to play them, and when to be played by them. Charlie had misjudged on this account just hours before. A fellow of the Caravan, not quite as drunk as ole Charlie T had presumed, accused him of cheating. Cheating?! Well, by the time they shook ole Charlie down, despite the absurdity of the claim, and loud outburst of denial, they found a card up his sleeve. Despite not knowing how it got there, should they have asked him, and they did not, they dumped him, right there.
Only Lukas, most-likely the caravan master, had not partaken in the night’s festivities, would even spare a word upon him now. He told him of Outentown to the North, the city of Sarshel along the next road eastward. Perhaps Lukas he felt sorry Charlie, perhaps not.
Regardless, Charlie T, thanked Lukas for the directions and bid him safe travels. As the sun was starting to break to dawn, the men loaded the caravan and left him there, broke, lost and abandoned, in a strange land, with naught but the belongings upon his back.
As the caravan faded out of sight to the north, Charlie T stood on the road, a smile upon his face.
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