After days of travel you've spotted the small village of Chayton. Little more than a scattering of houses surrounding an inn, the village is further dwarfed by the massive Dessa mountains that rise behind it. As you guide your horse down the path to Chayton you reflect on the circumstances that brought you here.
You are a devoted cleric of Palnor. God of light, healing and the sun. Bringer of Light, the Argent Defender. You belong to the part of the church that personifies Palnor's protection. You've spent the past few years traveling between villages, righting wrongs and protecting the innocent from all manner of evil. This new assignment though, this is different.
It's common knowledge that the Dessa mountains were home to an elven civilization long ago. Facts and mythology about that time have blended together until it's nearly impossible to tell one from the other. The one thing everyone can agree on is that they tainted the mountains. Hordes of undead made them impassible for centuries. That is, until the Church of Palnor stepped in.
The Church lead crusades to wipe out the undead for years. Eventually they pushed far enough in to discover the source of the undead; A portal into the abyss. In response the members of the church harnessed their divine powers together and created the White Crystal, a massive magical crystal of pure Good energy. The power of the White Crystal cleansed the mountains of all the undead. With peace finally coming to the mountains the church built a shrine for the White Crystal and set up camp.
Settlers rushed in and the town around the church grew overnight. This settlement, Zuria, is both the holiest site of your religion and the subject of your new assignment.
Zuria has gone silent. It's been months since Father Nicols, the head of the Church in Zuria, filed any reports. Messengers have been sent with no response. Travelers and supply trains head into the mountains and never return. Then of course there's added problem of the buffer zone. Due to its massive size and magical nature, the White Crystal disrupts the normal functioning of certain spells, especially spells that transport objects, people, and information. The buffer zone extends for five miles around the crystal, effectively cutting Zuria off from any magical communication. The Church has no option but to send someone to investigate. And that someone is you.
The Church stocked you up on magical supplies before you left. On top of that they've contracted an adventurer to help you out. You've never met this woman before but the High Priest said she could be trusted. She's waiting for you at the Chayton Inn.
Dusk is just falling as you ride into town. It's easy to spot the Inn; it's the only building higher than one story. You hand your weary horse over to a stable boy and head inside. The innkeeper greats you warmly; the Church protects this area and they're clearly happy to see a servant of Planor. The tavern area is full of of farmers and other commoners. One person stands out, a grey skinned woman wearing a violent explosion of color in the form of clothes. As the High Priest said, she's easy to spot. She waves at you, a welcoming grin on her face.