Expedition to the Mithril Vaults
A free spirited lass in search of legends
Miri is a slight and some what scruffy looking lass of indeterminate age. An adventurous soul she has been known to leap in where others fear to tread. She has an easy smile and boundless curiosity which leads her to great discoveries as much as into strife. With her trusty sword at her side and the tales of heroes in her heart she fears little besides her dark dreams of a future she hopes to avert.
Miri grew up in the outer reaches of civilisation, that sweet spot between protection and the invisible line beyond which lie dragons. Or Orcs and Goblins and other things mothers scare their children with; except the tales never worked on Miri. It wasn’t that she misbehaved a great deal just she was always curious, eternally asking why this, why that, of anyone who would stand still long enough. For all the what, where and whys of the world there were surprisingly few answers from her fellow villagers. Her questions were beyond their experience of the world. Who came before, what was the darkness, why did the orcs not want to be friends, why did the humans not want to be friends with the orcs? These things did not help the ground to give forth bounty, the rain to fall or the sun to shine. Besides who would want to make friends with a hell beast?
So Miri learned to watch and find her own answers.
Forest Shadow was a small and prosperous village astutely named for being built next to (and from) a large forest. A combination of natural resources and a nearby trade route bought money, goods and people flowing through. They were lucky enough to be on the entertainers route as well, those actors cum tinkers who travelled from place to place exchanging gossip, song and the occasional trinket for drink, coin and lodging.
Miri was on a first name basis with all of them, held in thrall by their tales of the world and songs of a time long gone. Her favourite though was Cedric “Long Beard”, he was different than the others, a true bard rather than entertainer.
He taught her to play the drum, lute and Shawm. The names of the stars and the names they had before now. He recited tales of daring heroes, Sigrud, Dancing Donna and The Black, names and lives she grew to know better than her own. She looked forward to his twice yearly visits and was eager to practice the skills he taught and learn a few tricks of her own to impress him with.
It was Cedric who encouraged her to become a guide, using her local knowledge to ferret out untapped resources or lead people to and from way stations. It helped to broaden her horizons just that little bit and by the time she was a teenager she was welcomed on longer journeys, trusted with a sword and the lives of others.
It was on the way back from an expedition to the far mines, a journey of a few weeks, that she discovered a small crack in the side of a mound and couldn’t resist going in. It was a tight squeeze with a few twists and turns before she found herself in an open space of a tomb. A corner of the room had fallen in, the bricks not strong enough to hold the years of dirt above them but the rest of the space was intact. One wall had a partial mural, just a nature scene but breathtaking in the colours used. The other was writing she couldn’t decipher despite the lessons from Cedric; she knew enough to take a rubbing though, he would never forgive her if she didn’t.
Finally she turned her attention to the raised cylinder in the middle of the room. Perfectly round with minimal carved decoration she could not determine how it was made. Her poking and prodding however soon located a secret latch and she made light work of moving the lid it revealed. Inside was a body covered in fine woven cloth of a brilliant sky blue with gold thread worked around colour and cuff. A delicate ruby set in a silver chain rested on its wrist and a rapier of made of fine blue silver steel was laid across its legs. It was so perfectly preserved she gave a cry of dismay when, instead of sitting up to demand why she interrupted its rest, a small blemish appeared on a cheek and cracks began to flow across its face. Within seconds there was nothing left besides the greasy powder like dust of body and clothing, with only gold thread, jewellery and sword remaining intact. The sadness she felt at causing such destruction did not prevent her from looting the former body. She sealed the crack with rocks and dirt when she finally wiggled her way back to the surface, in the hope the room would remain untouched, and made her way back to camp.
While counting down the months to Cedric’s next visit she made several more expeditions to other mounds and hills in the area but apart from finding a new hot spring, luck was not on her side. The months became weeks, became days, until finally he was due, then overdue. At first she was merely impatient rather than worried, there were plenty of things that could have delayed him, but when the dreams came she was afraid. She never remembered them clearly once she woke, but the feeling and a few images stayed with her for hours.
A feeling of doom, not just for herself or Cedric but the world. Walking down a long corridor, deep deep underground. Hands reaching out to touch the strange small box floating in front of her, everything both vivid and hazy at once.
The first time she had the dream she woke with the knowledge that Cedric would not be coming. The second time she knew she needed to go in search of a way to prevent the darkness from coming again.