Sunlight scattered over Novak’s chainmail as he stood in a crowd listening to the mayor of whatever town this was explain something about a tower and magical lights. At the moment, he couldn’t quite remember how he’d ended up in this village with mountains stretching up all around it. Straining his dim mind for a moment, he recounted to himself how after spending two years rather than one going through soldier training, the fighting company turned him out, judging him as unfit for their paid campaigns. They stuffed a fistful of gold coins in his pocket and put him on a merchant’s wagon. He gripped the heavy chain he wore around his waist to steady himself and returned his focus to the speech being given by the official.
The town kept hoards of humanoids at bay using a series of towers recently lit with magical light. Something went amiss the night before and now the mayor called for heroes to investigate. Without the towers to direct the militia, perhaps orcs and goblins would invade the towns along this trade route.
Quickly several volunteers spoke up: a dwarf, an elf and a priest. Novak found himself joining the small band as well. The headed up the mountain immediately. The paths through the trees all seemed the same, blurring together. At one turn, they found a dead body that had fallen a great height.
Eventually, they arrived at the mountaintop in dense fog. They approached the tower to discover a locked door and hostile orcs partially obscured by parapets. An exchange of arrows began. The elf was struck. Meanwhile, the dwarf rushed to the door and opened it with a key he found on the dead body.
Novak dragged the elf into the tower. It reeked of animal dung crushed beneath the hooves of several horses. A ladder extended to the level above which they quickly mounted. On the next level, a fresh battle began amongst several orcs. Novak wrapped his arms around an orc and tossed him down the hole in the floor while his priest comrade crashed his mace into orc foes.
Up to the third level, Novak faced a fearsome orc caption. All further details of that day were lost to a stiff blow to the side of his head. His next memory was being back at the town tavern, tankard of ale in hand. His sack bulged with coin. A smaller pouch contained gems, and on his finger he wore a ring decorated with a bat. The priest died, the elf said. The dwarf ran off without even a share of loot. A ranger sitting across from him expressed gratitude for the rescue and the chance to take revenge on the evil spellcaster who’d betrayed the tower.
The next day, Novak walked along with his new friends toward Slateholm. It was there they hoped to identify their recently-gained treasure.