Chapter One: Of the Cleansing and Purification of the Dead.
Autumns in Dun Tonay were severe, a fore warning of the cold winter that was sure to follow. Though the woods provided a beautiful splash of different shades of brown, the ferocity of the winds and rain that buffeted this region of Deverrey, had made its folk hearty and hardy. Despite the hardships they had ploughed for themselves a decent living in this foremost outpost of civilisation.
Dun Tonay was a settlement of one thousand souls. It was built in the woodlands of the South West, the last area to be conquered by the armies of Deverrey about 95 years ago. Though no longer the savage frontier, life could be hard and some of the roads that traversed the woods were full of danger. One needed to be wary around these parts and knowing how to use a weapon was just as useful as working the plough.
The Temple of Bel was the foremost building in Dun Tonay. As the dominant in religion Deverrey, the Church of Bel wielded great power and wealth and its clergy administered to the spiritual health of the people. It also had a splattering of martial orders that added military strength to its already substantial divine arsenal. As such the Church of Bel was responsible for the security of Dun Tonay and its surrounding settlements.
The wind was howling with the fury of a banshee, and on its breath it brought the first warning of winter.
“It’s a foul night Lucious,” spat Helm, “it would be wary to head indoors and at the moment the warmth of the Tankard seems a better option than standing out here.”
“Aye,” muttered Felix as he wrapped his cloak around his slight frame.
The group of four young men had been milling about town all day equipping themselves for the Faith Quest Lucious and Helm had sworn to take. The funny thing was that the Faith Quest was not directly given but would rather manifest itself in some obscure form. When they left the temple this morning aster receiving the blessing, they had no idea where the Quest would be taking them.
The wind whipped itself into a frenzy as they approached the Cracked Tankard, the biggest Inn in Dun Tonay. Milling outside was the town drunk. Even from such a distance Lucious could smell the spirits on the man’s breath.
“Shpare a copper piece, brother,” slurred the drunk.
“Not again Rob,” answered Lucious. “What had you sworn in the Temple the other day?”
“You shee brother, itsshh the devil booze, itshhh not mee…”
“I’ve heard it all before,” replied the priest. “Never your fault is it?”
He was about to chastise the man further when Felix noticed the rolled parchment Rob had in his belt. It was nothing spectacular but it was the only thing not covered in mud or dirt on his person.
“What’s that you got there Rob?” he asked.
“Well, thatshh my treashhure map that isss,” he rasped, followed by a great belch. “Its yoursss for a handful of coppershhh.”
Ever the gullible one, Felix flicked a couple of coppers at the man and he handed the parchment over before ambling down the windy street for a few minutes before collapsing face first into a side alley.
“You shouldn’t have done that Felix,” chastised Helm. “You are only helping him descend futher into debauchery and sin.”
“Oh come on Helm,” replied the rogue, “we can’t all be pious like you and the Father over there can we? Us mere mortals need some distraction from the monotony of life. Don’t know about you but im going inside and looking at my treasure map.”
With that he opened the tavern door and stepped into its welcome warmth.