I took a deep breath before addressing the group in front of me. “I’m so glad you all could make it. At first, when I came looking for each one of you, I thought no one would want to help me find the scroll. But it seems like you guys did.” Several people nodded their heads. “I’d like to start by saying what we are going to do is dangerous. Possibly deadly. But no one else is stepping up to do the job, so I figured we would.” Many of the group members were glancing around, clearly distracted by the laughter filling the room. Maybe the tavern wasn’t the right place to meet for this. But we were all away from our home villages, so where would we meet?
“But there is something I didn’t tell you. I know you guys had to travel the land with me so I could pick up all of you from your villages and I know some of you may be upset when I say this but..” I tried not to hesitate but failed and kicked myself under the table. “You know how I told you that the scroll grants a wish to anyone who finds it? Well, the real reason I brought you here is not for the wishes.” I lowered my voice and leaned in. “We are actually trying to stop a bounty hunting group from reaching it first. While I was bounty hunting, I hear rumors about this group. Nobody believes the rumors, but I think they aren’t up to something good. So yes, I brought you here to help save the scroll. We need to prevent them from reaching the lost scroll first.”
I rubbed my hands together. “Anyone want to quit, or are we still in this?”
Sage spoke. “I’m still in, Rae. Until the end.”
A chorus of nodding heads followed after, which made me wonder, why did I doubt them? I knew who my friends were and I should’ve known better than to think they wouldn’t want to come. They would stick with me until the end, right?
“Okay, well, I think before we get any further, or start following clues to where the lost scroll might be, you all need to hear the legend. You’ve probably heard bits and pieces before, but I’m going to show you the whole thing.” I reached into my satchel and pulled out a ripped scroll and unrolled it. There was the whole legend written and complete in my own handwriting.
“It took me awhile while I was bounty hunting across Tanith to collect the whole legend and put it together. Many have only heard the first four lines and so they think that they will be the “one” to tell the tale. They think whoever finds it will be the one to tell the tale. But if you hear the rest of the legend, it makes me think otherwise.
“What ever we do, we have to be careful. People are willing to step onto others to find that scroll. If we get a lead, others will take our lead. We have to play this cautiously. We can’t let anyone else get the scroll because before you know it, bam, someone will wish for domination or destruction. We need to find the scroll and wish for the scroll to be gone forever. In fact, that will be my wish. You guys each get to wish for something and I’ll use my wish to get rid of it. That way, no one can ever find the scroll again.
“The thing is, I don’t know where we should start. I’ve heard thousands of rumors and made-up lies that aren’t true. That’s why the scroll is so hard to find. You are surrounded in so many lies that hunters will go follow those rumors and never find it or never come back alive. But I think the answer is simple. People who are greedy are chasing the scroll and haven’t found it. So obviously, the answer is not greed. It’s the opposite. Whatever we do along this journey, we must be generous and kind. That is what I believe to be the key. We can’t let the greed cloud our minds because then we’ll end up in the same place as the other fools chasing down the prize. We need to focus on taking down that evil bounty hunting group. Then, I think we stand a chance.”
I searched the tavern before speaking again. “I feel like we should start here. Travelers will probably come through this tavern often. The next clue could lie right here hidden within the people.” I leaned in closer and motioned everyone to do the same. “While in here, I noticed a couple groups of people we could talk to. First,” I nodded my head towards a group of men in the center of the room, making the most noise. “We could talk to them. Probably not a wise choice because they’re most likely out of it from drinking too much. Second, we could talk to the bar master. He’s seen a lot of people come through here and maybe he has some information for us. And lastly, we’ve got that cloaked figure sitting all alone in the corner. Risky, but it could be worth it. Whoever we decide, we have to be cautious and discreet. We don’t want to go around telling people we are looking for the scroll, but we do need to coax information out of people. We have to find a healthy balance.
“So you tell me, which of the three should we talk to?”