The last few years have been dry ones. Fears are that a famine will soon sweep across the land. Rumors fly that kingdoms to the west have erupted into war as food supplies have grown short. Wells are going dry and some smaller villages have become ghost towns. Small groups of homeless immigrants now travel the roads. Strangers that were once welcomed at an inn or tavern are being frowned upon in many places as a possible threat; another mouth to feed.
Seeking a change for the better you hired on with a merchant by the name of Bendon. A jovial overweight man, a little short for the average human, short black hair and a close trimmed beard. He hired you to protect his caravan heading east to Gumlat, a small town on the western border of Ondian, promising a fair pay for your services. For six weeks you enjoyed his friendly company and those of your new found companions. Less than a day outside of Gumlat you wake up late in the afternoon, sick to the stomach, dizzy, and a pounding headache. Bendon and his caravan are gone and your promised pay with them.
You are now sitting in a small tavern in Gumlat, the effects of whatever drug Bendon poisoned you with having nearly worn off. The proprietor is a thin wiry man who seems to have a perpetual scowl on his face, but that may just be because you have been taking advantage of the shade provided by his tavern and have yet to order anything.
You recall that to the east of Gumlat lies the city Coran, the capital of Ondian, known across the continent for its great library. The great city is built at the edge of the sea in the foothills of the Chaggath Spine mountains. South of Coran is a vast stretch of wasteland known as the Endless Desert.