Band of Travelers (From the cookbook) The five of us set off on what we thought would be an easy journey. As it turns out it became an adventure of a life time. Johan, Wandalor, Dar, and Thalin and of course me, Gadlin, we all came from different backgrounds. We were thrown together by fate and circumstance. This story started in the same place where many institutions we hold dear started. It started in a bar. I found myself in a tavern in a dark village on the edge of chaos. I had been sent on a quest by the Lord of the city state of Emeranthia. He had ordered me to discover and record the best food preparation techniques of the seven kingdoms. I was in the pub of Enar Lefthand to observe the native faire. He was a blacksmith that lost his hand in an accident. He was called Enar Lefthand because that was all he had left. The local magistrate and leaders of this town were on the verge of war amongst themselves. As an outsider, I sat in a dark corner trying to get my fill of ale and remain inconspicuous. An assembly of large road filthy mongers stomped in to the tavern swearing and grabbing at wenches. They threw over tables and pushed the resident men off bar stools. They were taking advantage of the fact that the town was in a state of division already. They sought to loot the village of its riches, beer, and women. Dar, never one to back down from a conflict drew his sword first. Then Thalin, Johan, and Wandalor. I watched from the shadows arguing in my mind. I did not want to get involved but I knew those four fighters stood little chance achieve victory against the six men twice their size. My sense of honor did not allow me to stand by but for a minute. I took off my cloak and drew my blade. As I stood a large burly character come from Thalin’s left unseen by him. I struck the thug as Thalin turned in surprise. “Thank you, Sir,” he said. “Call me Gadlin.” I answered as another beastly man attacked us. The five of us fought until the last of the scoundrels retreated. Thus, through the mutual respect earned in defending the helpless town, we forged our friendships. The night we decided to record the recipes from our travels was warm and humid as this band for travelers sat around the fire not for warmth but for light and protections. Some night creatures shy away from fire light. Johan had his blade in his hands and was methodically sliding it across a wet stone pausing only slightly ever few minutes to pour water out of his canteen to moisten the stone as it dried. Thalin sat to his right organizing the contents of his satchel taking inventory of his potions and herbs. Across the other side of the fire was Dar reading the map looking at possible routes to continue the journey at dawn, no later as the enemy would be looking to find them in the day light. I was laying on my back meditating and listening to the laminations of the forest as I tried to rest and regain strength from the day’s trials. Wandalor was sitting to my left reading a found book of spells. Every few minutes he would humph at the simplicity of the crude incantations. He needed no such book to preform magical acts and thought it funny that the human that Johan stole the book from thought it such a prize possession. Around the fires this band of brother fighters recounted the challenges of the past few weeks. We had seen ogres and monsters of unimaginable evil. We had saved many an innocent life from certain death and saved each other in the process. With Dar leading the charge in to battles that often lent us to exhaustion afterwards. It was worth the fight. Insuring that good prevailed was always worth the energy it took to defeat the malicious in this world. This we all agreed as truth. There was not always consensus in the group but the destruction of vile, the protection of innocence, the need of good food and good drink while traveling was something we always agreed upon.