Seeress gathered her son and the off-worlders together around a circular table in the cramped front room of her row house in Tiefling Town. The table, an enchanted six foot wide Bexian Oak carved from a single gigantic tree stump, would help with the card reading she was about to do. It’s top was covered in Largyptian hieroglyphs. She inherited it from her teacher and surrogate mother Spintera.
Sitting at this table was a collection of heroes that any Inner Circle Mage would be proud to host; Sir Gavin the Knight of the Talking Sword and Whispering Shield, Uldir Blacksteel the Hell-haunted, Kona the Truthseeker and Hanz the Quick-handed. They had just negotiated terms of surrender with the Hegemon. He had agreed to take up his old duties as defender of Bex and would now patrol the trade roads around the city, all the way up to Crimson City of Redstone, the Dwarves of the Gnarl Mountains and the Blue Giants.
Sir Gavin with his broad shoulders, deep chest and obsidian scale-mail, filled much of the room. Also his talkative weapons Brother Sword and Sister Shield made his presence even larger. The human was an old campaigner and his face had both worry-lines around his eyes and smile-lines about his mouth. He frequently looked over at his longtime friend Kona when talking about old adventures.
Next to him Uldir Blacksteel’s namesake armor and legendary broad bladed falchion Hell Hacker also made for a large, if darker, presence at the table. His eyes held a hard look and his voice, when he did speak, were Hell-haunted. Seeress knew his wife Lythia resided in an Infernal Prison.
Left of Uldir was Kona the Truthseeker. The dwarf Paladin didn’t sit as tall as her other companions but her outgoing spirit and happy disposition did much to balance the others. Her magic helm shined so much you could catch a reflection of the room around her. Her hand absentmindedly strayed to the haft of her Axe of the Arghad. Seeress sensed the importance this Axe held in their upcoming journey North of North. Her bright gaze looked about the room taking in details and noting anything of interest.
Seeress smiled when she looked at her roguish son Hanz. Growing up as a Tiefling on the docks did not diminish his love of adventure. His brother Harno, a large dockworker who kept himself to himself, had the reinforced reticence of most who lived in Tiefling Town. Hanz was more like his father the fisherman, rest his soul, and his Uncle Pezca. Both were outgoing dealmakers who enjoyed meeting new people.
Seeress shuffled the deck and spread across the table in Midsea fashion, with an arc representing the Firmament, a line connecting each ends of the arc representing the Madric Ocean, three cards within arc for the Conservators of Time and four cards framing it all for the four elements, the four winds, the four Suits of the Deck, (Coins, Swords, Glyphs and Stars) and the four corners of existence.
She brushed her curly dark hair away from her eyes and readjusted her red scarf, which covered her small horns. Then she motioned with her scarlet hands for Sir Gavin to choose a card. He drew the Avenger: the first card in the Suit of Swords. It showed a Knight intently looking to the left, holding her sword in the reversed position, pointing down. Sir Gavin’s talking weapon, Brother Sword, exclaimed in approval.
“This card shows you will take on a duty to avenge an ancient wrong,” said Seeress. “There will be a great trial in front of you but your friends will stand with you and offer assistance.”
Uldir reached forward with resignation and smiled sardonically when he saw he had chosen a card from the High Deck, The Horseman. It showed a skeleton, on a skeletal horse, holding a bloodstained backsword.
“This is not from one of the Four Suits, this is a card from the High Deck and carries great weight.” Seeress controlled a shudder. Her son liked Uldir and Uldir obviously liked the Hanz but the Hell-haunted Arcane Knight carried a doom.
“Death rides with you and not just because of your war with an Infernal Prince. The blade you carry has many names, Demon Cleaver, Hell Hacker and Devil Death. Our people know it well. Carlock the Wizard who made us Tieflings a hundred years ago created this sword to defend him against the Devils and Demons he used. It turned against him. Remember, that weapon has a mind of its own and doesn’t look out for the one who wields it. It only cares about killing beings from the lower planes.”
Seeress, with her supernatural senses heard Sir Gavin turned to Sister Shield and said under his breath, “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” The shield whispered back, “I thought everyone knew, by the way his wife is trapped in Hell.”
Kona reached forward and flipped her card over. Seeress was relieved to see it was the Fifth Glyph Card, which showed a venerable Druid in the left foreground with the Twin Trees of Knowledge and Life in the right background. The reading started to feel more optimistic.
“Your quest is tied to the Axe of the Arghad and it gathers its power from the forces of the Natural while what you face is the Supernatural.” Seeress liked that Kona smiled. She appreciated the smart dwarf whose always looked out for others. She hoped her son stayed close to Kona in this Quest.
“The Druidic Counsel will be watching during this quest. Make sure you utilize any of their counsel that you can gather. They keep to themselves but carry a power that cannot be ignored.”
Kona scrutinized the card and then looked at Hanz.
Hanz, no stranger to his mother’s cards, quickly turned over his card and saw it was the Three of Coins. Seeress smiled. The reading would end well. It was the Trader, a card for merchants and promised a future of good business.
The right foreground showed a merchant holding up three fingers, in the background were cattle and above him three coins stretched across the sky like phases of a metallic moon.
“My son you have a card of good fortune! In you voyage to the North of North you will have a chance to reopen trade with the reclusive Feydril, the oldest elves in Midsea. It has been almost a millennia since they opened relations with the world.”
She collected her cards and the heroes left. She gave the three-fingered blessing of the Conservators of Time, which she noted, looked just like the figure on her son’s card.