--BOOK I: THE BRINEWALL LEGACY--
Oathday, the 4th of Arodus, AR 4711--Sandpoint, Varisia
This is the first, last, and only time I will make any decisions for your character; they're only for getting us to where this campaign begins.
The road from Magnimar was dusty, as always. The length and condition of the journey was no less familiar to you than your companions, your family. But unlike so many other trips between the city and your home of Sandpoint, the frontier town further up the coast of the Varisian Gulf, this one had an ominous air. It was not silent; Atsuii was still insistent on going over your latest lessons, Ameiko played her shamisen, and even Lonjiku, stoic and seemingly lost in grim thought for much of the trip, did not still his tongue entirely.
But the mood, these past two days, has not been jovial, or even very comfortable. Your parents have both been dour and quiet since the events in Magnimar; any questions about the discussion they mentioned, or about the event itself--the man, the name he asked for, the sudden rush to leave the city when you returned to the inn--are met with gentle but firm admonitions to wait. Even Ameiko, normally so open to discuss anything, merely looks guilty and turns her eyes from you if you ask. "Mother and father say we must wait until we're home to talk about it," she says. "Please trust them, sister. This is important. For all of us."
So two days passed, with Lonjiku driving the wagon through the night and only short breaks for rest. By the time Sandpoint came into view, its familiar streets and buildings seemed almost as unrecognizable as your family's behavior, and returning to the Rusty Dragon offered little comfort as the sun began to set across the waters.
- - - - -
It is past sundown when Ameiko knocks on your door and gestures for you to follow her. The inn is far quieter than you are used to, even at this hour, and your way through the upper floor's halls is lit only by the candle in your sister's hand. She brings you to the family's common room, a rarely used place in a building where the family frequents the areas below. But the room is homely: tapestries on the walls, a shrine to Shizuru and your ancestors at one end, mats and cushions for sitting. Atsuii and Lonjiku are already seated on the floor, candles lit next to them as well to provide dim light, casting flickering shadows across their faces and the room behind them. Ameiko bows to them and takes a seat to the side. Atsuii gestures for you to take the seat before them.
Seated, you look to your family in turn. Ameiko looks anxious, more than anything; you can see her struggling not to fidget, or speak, probably biting back a joke to lighten the mood. Atsuii, to your surprise, has moist eyes, and looks almost fearful, as though she worries for what is to come. Lonjiku looks as he almost always does: the very emblem of composure and discipline, spine straight, shoulders back, head poised, and warm gray eyes meeting your own.
"Atsuii has told me what happened in Magnimar, as she understands it." His voice is serious, but very calm. "But I would hear the events as they unfolded for you, from your own lips. I know it is a fearsome thing, to face such things again in the mind, after living them in the body. I would not ask you to do this if it was not of great importance. But I must know the truth, in full. And I must hear from you the name this stranger sought." It seems such a small request, in some ways, just as the stranger himself seemed to be asking such a simple question. But the gravity of your father's voice makes it clear that whatever this name means, it is as important as he suggests.