Chapter 43: The Wayfarers

The two elves glanced nervously about the crowded inn. They did not much enjoy leaving their fair wood of the Faydark but their most recent employment demanded it. Leaving the wood was bad enough but traveling through the Spires to the moon of Luclin was even more disturbing.

Talamiin, the older of the two and a seasoned warrior, spoke little as he sat hunched over his untouched ale. He glanced at the adventurers entering the tavern, hoping to finish this job and be done with it.

"Have you met him before?" Silvian, the younger and far more eager elf, asked. Talamiin shook his head. "The guards of Felwithe speak of him." Silvian continued, not noticing his companion's disinterest. "He is a high priest with both Exarch and Archon titles of the church," Silvian continued. "He has been in the wilds since the discovery of Kunark. He only returns to resupply himself and report to the church. He is usually back out within twelve hours. The loose lipped acolytes say that every promotion or title has been an attempt to bring him back. Most priests his age have either returned to Felwithe or left the church. But he won't come back and he won't leave."

"There are darker rumors as well." Silvian lowered his voice. "Some say he consorts with demons and other dark powers. He has traveled with ogres, trolls, even Tier'dal, at one time or another. But he is still an agent of the Church, probably one of their best it is said."

"He is a murderer and a monster," the older elf spoke suddenly. "Three years ago he killed a fellow cleric who interrupted one of his dark rituals. The church says he was under a curse, but I think they still needed him rather than have him beheaded as he should have been. It doesn't matter. Here he is."

Silvian looked to the door and saw the cloaked figure enter. He was tall and stood straight. From under his hood he beheld the room through a pair of multi-colored spectacles. Behind the curious spectacles, Silvian saw his cold blue eyes, eyes that seemed to stare beyond the walls of the room. Silvian saw Loral's golden armor under his cloak, tarnished with weeks of travel. Loral's eyes locked onto the two elves as he approached their table. Silvian nodded to the priest and raised two fingers to his chest in a sign of blessing to the Mother of All, Tunare. Loral casually returned the gesture. Talamiin did nothing.

"I hear you have information for me." Loral's voice sent shivers through Silvian. He became aware that he was looking at the same high elf that had faced the rulers of Kunark, had battled against the devils of the outer planes, had defeated the avatars of no less than twelve gods, four of them elder gods, and had faced and returned from the trials of the dragons of the Claws.

Talamiin kicked Silvian's chair and Silvian jumped. Talamiin nodded to him to give their information. Silvian was aware of Talamiin's dislike of the priest and he was aware that Loral was aware. It seemed not to concern Loral, and Silvian began his tale.

"The Wayfarers have agents in every known city of Norrath. They do not attempt to hide their presence but their popularity gives them access to a vast amount of information. They have wizards and telepaths to share information among their agents and their camps." Silvian paused for a moment. "In three months the Wayfarers have become the most well informed, well connected, well financed, and with their mercenary force of adventurers, the most powerful organization of Norrath."

Loral looked down to the table for a moment, considering the words. Then he spoke again.

"Where do they come from?"

"Their leader is a barbarian rogue named Mordin Rasp. He and some adventurer friends of his formed the core of the Wayfarers. They seem to have a limitless supply of magical artifacts which they reward to adventurers who work for them. Their job seems honorable enough." Silvian paused again, carefully considering his next words. "Felwithe has supported their cause."

Loral's eyes shot up, locking hard onto Silvian's. Silvian stiffened, not expecting such a quick and powerful reaction to his subtle implication. He was not accusing Loral of subversion, but why would the priest hire them to look into a situation Felwithe had already dismissed.

"A group shows up out of nowhere. In two months its agents infiltrate every city. Their camps become small towns visited by the most powerful hunters of our world. They are rich, powerful, and better connected than any other organization. As soon as they appear, dens of some of the worst evil we have ever seen suddenly appear. We do not know where they come from, we do not know what they want, and no one questions their appearance. Felwithe may not be worried, but I am."

Loral reached under his cloak and dropped a bag onto the table. Silvian sat with his mouth agape as Loral stood and left. He looked to his companion and saw a smile on Talamiin's face.

"I may have been wrong about him after all."