A group of vaguely acquainted people in Drev were in the Red Hawk tavern on 49 Summer, 2980. A major gladiatorial competition held once every 5 years was scheduled to begin the next day. A page boy entered the bar wearing a white tabard displaying a rook on the front – identifying him as a courier. He placed a scroll upon the bar next to Lydia and left without a word.
Here’s what it said:
51 days after summer, the water boils beneath the coiled snake’s lair at the highest point of the moon.
She puzzled over the cryptic missive for a time, seeking the assistance of Calleo the scribe, Nym the information broker, and a couple of others. Still, the most interested in the note (aside from herself) was Ursha, a raging murdercat and sometime gladiator.
They decided to seek out the sender, which led them out into the night, accompanied by Lydia’s panther companion. The scribe skulked along behind them, hidden from sight. Nym continued to mingle in the Red Hawk, eventually sitting down with a stoned cleric named Leonidas and a middle-aged lawman called Solomon.
The finder led her feline companions (and Calleo) to the rookery, and after an awkward inquisition of the delivery boy, they further tracked the sender to a warehouse owned by the Shadow Wind Trading Company. Only one man was there, considering the late hour, but he denied sending a letter and insisted that no one else had been at the warehouse in hours. He was not believed.
Lydia waited at the warehouse, while Ursha went to fetch the lawman. Reluctantly, Solomon followed the cushani back to the warehouse, bringing his drug-addled cleric friend along. Nym followed at a discreet distance. A perfunctory interrogation occurred, but it was not any more productive. The warehouse worker repeated his innocence and ignorance of any missive, and the lawman believed him.
Solomon condemned the entire outing, expressing his irritation at having been dragged out on a “fool’s errand”, and he stormed off with the cleric in tow. Calleo and Nym separately slipped away, and even Ursha was nonplussed, strolling off into the night, and leaving Lydia standing there with only her panther and the mysterious message.
* * *
The games started the next morning, and the six citizens of Drev were all present in some capacity. Solomon worked security, Leonidas provided healing services, Nym was making books for gamblers, and the others were there to spectate. Only Lydia competed in any of the games – the archery competition – which she narrowly won against a shadow elf competitor, the only other entrant to offer any sort of challenge. She accepted her purse with a smile.