Prince Calder leans over his oaken desk, glaring at an old map, weathered and eaten away by rats, water and smeared by dirt and ash.
The Prince of the Northern Reach is a young man, though beaten down by the weight of the world. His storm-grey eyes dart over the map, again and again, as if looking at it alone would divulge all the world’s knowledge to him. Though tall, he is still a callow youth, with not enough muscle on his bones. His dirty blonde hair is ill cut, likely done with a sword and a reflective surface, and his tunic is that of a workman’s, his hands bandaged from long days working the fields with his people.
He doesn’t look up as his herald ushers you in, merely gesturing for you to approach.
“I take it that you have come in answer to my summons for heroes?” He glances up to take you all in. "Certainly a strange company of fellows you are. But my knights are already tasked beyond measure… and now one of them has gone missing.
“Sir Geoffry Maurgen. Always a stalwart companion, and my first sword trainer. My father gave him a plot of land down the west road, where he and his wife Helene have made us a prosperous orchard. But Geoffry was never a farmer. Helene came to me several days ago, quite distraught. He had left months ago, armed with silversheen and wolfsbane, heading up an old mountain road. He often goes on these trips, but he was never away as long as this.
“I cannot spare any of my knights or myself to search for our friend. The orc, Warlord Herlek-Gahn, has been sending raiders to my boarders and the elves are watching us every inch of the south road. I cannot leave either side unprotected, but I will not abandon a friend.”
He gestures to the map. “This an old explorer’s rendition of the mountain roads and valley that lead to an old village, Barovia. Geoffry was hunting werewolves by the sounds of it and there are plenty of them in the old woods in those mountains, the Svalich Woods in particular. I am hiring you to follow the path through the mountains and bring back Geoffry. If you cannot… his wedding band will have to suffice.”