Our chronicle begins with a man in a black turtleneck, Quartermaster Gabriel Hadlock, weaving his way through the town – gathering, prodding, and persuading a set of eight unlikely candidates. Some were pleased to agree to his request while others hemmed and hawed. But the sun was bright that day, and two days thereafter, the eight would-be recruits and one man in a black turtleneck met again. And, of course, the great Dr. Romdin Lunisce who observed from a distance.
Quartermaster Hadlock informed the recruits of the woe and danger that our dear Verantia was in. Of the power of the nation of Koshinar, and of the need to collect various artifacts from before the Great Devastation in order to be in a place to defend themselves against the nation’s growing power and potential attack. He then gave them their mission:
“You are to return to us the ancient Shield of Argess. It lies within the grasp of the trolls – but do not take this mission lightly. The trolls, living in spider-infested forests, have made themselves enemies with the nearby Duke Anselm McNamara, stealing from his supplies.”
The brave and honorable recruits showed immediate sympathy for the trolls. “I’m sure something must be wrong! Why else might they steal?” But the speciesist Quartermaster Hadlock spat back, “Because they are trolls!” [This is not the impression Hadlock meant to leave, but the character who wrote this article shines through -ed.]
Naturally, the group (some more willing than others), agreed, and within days, a train had taken them to the Duchy of Annebuch, the trolls, and the spiders. Now, some of our heroes were eager to speak with the trolls, but silent Elijah, wise with the ways of men, insisted upon talking first with the Duke, under the belief that, if the trolls were hungry and stealing only supplies to keep themselves alive, then perhaps if a truce were offered – supplies for the trolls in return for the trolls protecting the Ducal seat and Verantia – then all would be well.
When they found the Duke, he scoffed at this idea, but agreed that if it could be done, then it would solve many problems. And so, armed with two wagons of food, our heroes set off, into the land of the trolls.
Immediately, they were accosted, but with their kind ways and peace offering, they soon found themselves in the tent of Rej’yen the Mighty. The troll glowered, but when Ingvar, the Hero of Great Strength, proclaimed the group’s mission to not only bring food and unite the trolls with the Verantians, but to protect the trolls from the spiders, the Troll King gladly welcomed them – though uncertain of their ability to help.
The next day, the brave heroes walked alone in the woods, hunted spiders – but they too were hunted. In little time, five spiders dropped upon them, one of which was the Black Widow Queen herself – but united, our dear heroes were strong, and fight they did! The Oracle Fahziore, empowered by Nature’s Finest, blinded, stunned, and knocked unconscious many of the spiders, then whispered in their ears questions of their motives.
When it was certain that the spiders could never be reasoned with, they were mercilessly slaughtered – all but one, which the Hero of Great Strength, ingvar tamed as the Hero of Nature’s Finest whispered stories of friendship in its ear. Together, the group hauled the Black Widow Queen back to the trolls where they were celebrated as the heroes they are. It is said that on that day, the tamed spider learned to high five, and that the Hero of Great Strength allowed the troll king to win a bout of good-natured wrestling to keep him from looking bad in front of his men.
On their last day with the trolls, the heroes made a trade – a shield made from the red hourglass of the Black Widow Queen for the shield of Argess that it was their mission to attain. Then, victorious, the heroes (with their spider) returned, seeking another mission – another quest on which they could help secure the glory of Verantia.