Quest for the Stone – 1
Our adventure begins, as many often do, in a small town bar, or as it was in this case, a saloon. A powerful ninja sat quietly in a humble disguise at a shady table in the corner. This master of the shadows, looked out over the saloon floor drinking in the make of each man who entered. It was an unusually tidy bar considering that this was a town filled with rough neck miners, and back woods tradesmen, and perhaps that is why he had picked this location for his recruiting efforts. After all a well kept bar would have an owner who cares for his business, and that could be leveraged if needed.
Across the packed and rowdy Saloon, the sounds of a rag time piano echoed out over the din of gambling, drinking, and other nefarious activities. A less keen eye than our ninja would not have recognized that there was one other character of note among the proletariat. The ninja could not be sure, but he suspected this fellow had picked up on the keen gaze coming from the dark corner table. After all his hand always did seem to rest on the grip of his hip holster, while his other never strayed from his drink. So far however, the gunman seemed content to drink, and laugh, but otherwise keep his large brimmed hat pulled low.
As a few hours passed, and the sun finally surrendered to the dark of night, a massive figure strode between the dual swinging doors of the saloon. Many quieted them selves as the man seemed dressed for battle, wearing a tight fight chest plate, over his massive frame. There was a moment of hesitation as this giant of a man lowered a six foot pole arm down to the floor, its heavy blade never quite contacting the dusty wood.
“… What can I get ya?” the bar tender calmly queried, clearly trying to ease the tension.
“Whisky, and Water please.. " the goliath breathed, as he eased off his helm to reveal an aged but smiling face.
And just like that the Goliath sat down at the bar, resting his weapon against the wooden worn counter top. The tension was eased if not for the barking of a crass young man coming in the wake of our giant soldier.
“I’m in!” the youth announced with great bravado to the entire saloon. He was wearing expensive light armor, clearly embossed, and wearing a pair of katana upon his belt, but what was most peculiar of this young man was a strange piece of parchment he held aloft for all to see.
As the goliath, ninja, and gunman glanced the look of the parchment, they each carefully tucked away a similar piece of parchment into their pockets, each document identical. No one else seemed to take notice, and continued about their games, and merriment.
The young man seemed to grow impatient by his lack of attention, with one hand he tugged at his long blond hairs pony tail, while his face screwed up in reddish angst. He raised a boot and slammed it down onto a low sitting table to his left, causing several drinks to spill on patrons. At this the music silenced, and many began to gawk at him, sensing a fight about to break out.
The young mans face seemed to relish in their shock, his thin lips growing into a wide sneer.
“I am here to join the man seeking this adventure, and I want to join them now! I will be shown some respect!” He barked out in a nasal tone.
A few men whom he slighted began to look quite cross with the boy, but before they could act the goliath at the bar stood up, and thundered toward the lad.
“You don’t have what it takes for a task like this boy. I’ve seen war, and I can tell the color of a man without having to see his insides. Walk away, and keep your life.” He growled to him, rearing up his full size in an act of grave intimidation.
The young mans face fell flush, as his left hand trembled on the hilt of his blades.
“.. so.. you’re the one who posted? .. .You’re the one, and you won’t have me? .. " he meekly put out, desperate to redraw on some of his earlier bravado in the face of a larger foe.
“No, I am the one who posted, and I prefer that you would both join me in this task.” Spoke the ninja ever so softly from the corner table. The ninja did not rise from his seat, instead he looked knowingly to both the Goliath and the Youth, allowing his reveal to steal over their conversation.
“But this pup will be good for nothing but the profit of the coffin maker, and you and I both know it, I’ll join you, but I’ll have no part in this child’s death.” stated the Goliath with a firm tone.
“Unfortunately that is not your choice to make, its his, and he is hardly a child.” There was something odd in the ninjas voice, and the way he was making deliberate eye contact with the goliath, that made the giants face sag with remorse.
This ninja was going to use the youngster as cannon fodder, knowing that his life might further them in their pursuits. The Warrior has seen this strategy before, spending lives to gain ground in battle. It left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“Then his life lies with you, oh noble leader…” and with that he sat back down at his stool to drink and try to find some enjoyment left in the evening.
“Good then its settled, us three ride in the morning, I’ll show my father that I’m my own man, and everyone will know of my legend.” The youth boasted on, but was interrupted as the gunman hollered out over top of him.
“Well, that sounds about right, except it will be 4 of us, you can count me in, and just to be clear, I don’t give a damn if this whole saloon is coming, but for now, lets just drink!” and with that the gruff gunman, began to slam down drink after drink.
As the night progressed the youth passed out directly on his table, unable to hold his booze, while the Warrior and Ninja did not seem to get along well, the warrior and the Gunman got along famously. The Warrior spent every last bit of his pity wealth to pay for the tab, and come morning they had nearly drunk the saloon dry.
Come morning, the crew assembled, and the Ninja laid out their rough plan. They would travel west for a few hours, through a narrow ravine pass, into a secret place, he had a map that would take them right to the Mines of Madness, and within legends spoke of the Forever Stone. An object that could grant immortality. They hog tied the young man, as he was still dumb drunk, and slapped him over the rump of the warriors steed. The gunman stole the young mans horse, and the ninja had his own.
And so our adventure begins.