From the far corners of the North your travels have brought you here: to Elturel, a fat, prosperous farming city on the banks of the Chionthar River. Everywhere around you are signs of a thriving city and landscape. Caravans travel to and from each compass point on well patrolled roads. Near constant barge traffic along the river ferries foodstuffs, trade goods, and travelers both east and west. The hard, cold lands of the North seem a distant memory as you bathe in the late summer warmth, surrounded by signs of a bountiful harvest and a contented, safe, civilized country.
And what has brought you together, at this place?
Grixx Barrowhome, of a gypsy tribe of halflings, sent south to scout the wealthy lands and cities alongside the Chionthar River for new opportunities and to make contacts within local underworld guilds.
Grixx’s love of pranks and taking from the powerful found a kindred spirit in Wyndyl Quickstrike, elven cleric of Erevan, who comes here one step ahead of his reputation, and the Constable’s long reach.
Thrice in a fortnight while travelling, you both shared a room with Epirus Kasmenos, tiefling wizard. His exotic looks and bloodline immediately deflects attention away from his companions and onto himself whenever he enters a new settlement. Epirus’ fearsome demeanor and magical skills make for an excellent travelling companion and a tentative alliance was formed. These same features mean he is seldom welcome at any settlement for long.
Finally, the monk Wing Po completes your travelling band. His quiet, unassuming persona does not mask the sense of power that emanates from him, that of a bolt poised to loose from a crossbow at the slightest touch.
Wing Po also has a purpose in coming to Elturel, being sent here to aid the local Shrine of Ilmater with an urgent task. The Shrine is a secret stopping point of an underground network which ferries escaped slaves out of the decadent Empires to the south and the clutches of the Black Network of the Zhentarim to the North and East. A group of slaves is to be escorted to the coast, to Baldur’s Gate, from where they can be returned to their home in the Moonshae Isles.
As it suits your purposes, you have all agreed to accompany Wingo Po as far as Elturel, and perhaps farther. You are all strangers in this place, each marked as different from those around you. The happy farmers around you today can turn into a mob with pitchforks and torches come nightfall; the merry barkeep may be a spy; and the guardsmen along the walls will happily string up in a noose for no reason at all. Yes, it is good to have friends in a strange land.