After some discussion, we realize escape will not happen in a strange city when we are unarmed. In the morning, the guards come and take us to a dressing area, where we are given light armor. We’re put in hand and ankle manacles and loaded into a cart driven by that awful drow that bought us.
Andric asks where he’s taking us and he replies gruffly that we’re being taken to our masters.
“Who’s our master?” my husband asks.
“Look at your arm,” the drow snaps.
After we pass well beyond the boundaries of Calimport, the wagon stops and the drow comes around to the back.
“I’m sure you have several questions,” he says, unlocking our restraints. “We’re still near the city. I suggest you get out of your bindings quickly.”
What is going on? If we’re slaves, why is he letting us free?
He tosses Andric a key that unlocks the anti-teleportation collar that bound the eladrin. Soon we are all free, rubbing our wrists and looking confused.
“You’ll find your equipment, weapons, rations, and a healing potion each in the wagon. I suggest you get your stuff and keep up.”
Andric wants more answers, but the darkie refuses to explain further until later in the evening.
“I’m part of the Orion Group,” he explains. “We’re the survivors. We’ve brought you here as champions to help defeat the Genasi.”
What? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Can’t they fight their own battles in this world?
We continue on our travels for three days. My ever-inquisitive husband sits up in front with the darkie talking about the history of the area. I can’t believe he’d sit next to a drow, but he doesn’t know what I know. We sit in the back of the wagon and eavesdrop on the history of Calimshan.
Finally, we arrive in the city of Almraiven. It’s a much more forested area compared to the desert heat of Calimport and there are no Genasi here. There are lots of humans and – I’m happy to note! – lots of wizards. We’re being lead by the drow into a large meeting hall, where we see a group of elderly human wizards.
“Here they are,” the drow reports. “They fit the profiles you gave me. They’re not from here. They know nothing of this realm.”
The wizards look concerned. “We were expecting… something bigger. Something’s wrong here.”
The drow goes away and one of the wizards invites us into his office where we sit in some nice comfortable chairs.
“Let me explain to you why you’re here. We’re Orion – the last remaining free humans in Calimshan. About 100-200 years ago, there was a magical explosion known as the Spellplague. When the Spellplague happened, a prison that held two beings of great power was destroyed. Calimshan used to be ruled by humanity, but the beings caused the Genasi from around Toril to come to Calimshan. They overthrew us and have enslaved our people. We’re -”
Robinn interrupts. “So you’re enslaving people from outside your realm to help you?”
Thankfully, the wizard does not seem to be offended. He explains that Almraiven is the premier center for magical research. They could fight back, but they’re not strong enough. In their studies, they found an ancient ritual that was supposed to find and summon champions. They used the ritual to summon the most powerful champions to end the Genasi reign, but it seemed – he apologizes profusely – that it didn’t work.
“If you think we’re not up to the task, you can send us back.” Andric says. “I have family to find.”
The wizard’s face falls. “Unfortunately, in our rashness we didn’t think things through. We don’t really have a way to send you home, but we’ll start researching immediately to find it.”
In the meantime, we’re put up in a nice inn with big beds. We explore the town and learn more about this world of Toril, the Spellplague, and the weave called Mystra. I ask one of the old wizards about the drow, just to see if the darkies here have a different reputation than those home on Aereth. He affirms my fears, saying that the drow are nasty people. There are a few, he says, that break the norm. Very few.
Upon our return to the inn, we are summoned to a meeting room. Three wizards are there, including one we haven’t met yet. “We’ve been reviewing the spell and apparently one of the rituals was damaged during the Spellplague. For whatever reason, the ritual has chosen you four as the champions. The summoning ritual was damaged, which is why you ended up in Calimport instead of here. You are what the planes and gods think can free Calimshan.”
That’s all fine and good, but we’d like to go home. Andric steps up and lets them know that we’ll just wait here in Almraiven until they can find a way to send us back home.
Robinn is not so sure. “I don’t want to be in a war-torn country, but I don’t want to go back to Punjar or take the chance that if we get back I’ll end up with my ass attached to my head. What’s in it for us if we stay?”
“We have…” the wizard says. “I have…”
My husband interjects again. “I need to know it’s the will of the gods that we’re here.”
The wizards offer us housing, a base of operations in Almraiven, weapons and money if we fight for their cause.
“Do we have free women?” Andric asks. I shoot him a dirty look. “FOR MY FRIENDS!!” he clarifies.
I light a tiny fireball and shoot it at his backside.
“Well, I’ve never killed Genasi before…” Robinn muses.
We look at the ritual scroll but we’re so sleepy that we can’t make heads or tails of it. After getting some sleep we check it out again and Andric and I agree that the gods have indeed chosen us. It appears that at least for now, we will be staying in this strange place.
We go and get our markings removed and receive our traveling papers. We learn more about the situation, including that the Genasi hold on Calimshan is tenuous at best due to their thinning numbers and division in the Genasi tribes. If we can get the two tribes to fight, perhaps we can get them to destroy each other.
Andric is concerned. “They’ll use the slaves to fight for them…”
Robinn casts an indifferent glance our way. “And…?”
Stay tuned to He Said, She Said to hear Andric’s side of the story…