In the past Crusaders were the worthiest of knights, the most pious of priests and the most devout practitioners of the arcane. So many of these noble warriors that protected the inner sea from the abominations spewing forth from the Worldwound have been slain over the years. Now Queen Galifrey must accept any that will come to fight for her in the Crusade. Some lands still honor their promise to send the most righteous to protect the world but many more now meet their quotas with the dregs of their society. Cutpurses, robbers and worse now arrive to fill the ranks of the Queen’s army.
Among these new recruits of questionable pasts are three that with others soon to join them, will tip the balance between Mendev and the Worldwound. Either they will succeed in fulfilling their destiny and keep the populace of the Inner Sea safe or they will fail and the demonic host will pour forth from the Worldwound, first seeking vengeance upon the inhabitants of Mendev and then spreading to enslave the other lands.
Simieon is a tinkering, knowledge-seeking gnome. He wields unknown powers to interpret the patterns of the world and when necessary, alter them. Spirrel is a hafling that has journeyed from the distant lands of Tian Xia to use his skills of stealth and subtlety in the service of Queen Galifrey. Sylvan is an elf from the courts of Taldor, sent as an envoy to use his talent of seeking out heretics, to cull those that would betray the crusades.
The thud of boots on the wooden steps into the barracks heralds the arrival of Karkov. The half-orc Sergaent arrives with news of a first patrol for the three new recruits. It is to be an uneventful patrol along the borders with the Worldwound north of Nerosyan. The Wardstones are strong here and it has been months since any assault from the demon army has been able to breach the magical ward.
On this first patrol Simieon is paired with Derrick, a half-elf scout, to serve as point. Perhaps his ability to sense disruptions in the patterns of the world allow him to spot the trampled ground between the wardstones before the keen-eyed half-elf. No sooner does Simieon warn the others than a patrol of orcs stand up behind a hill. They fire heavy crossbows, killing three members of the patrol. The fight is brief but intense, aided by the fortuitous arrival of Mortimar Gray. Though Simieon, Spirrel and Sylvan have not heard of the man, it is obvious by the whispers of the other members of the patrol that Mortimar is a legend among crusaders.
Mortimar talks briefly with Sergeant Karkov before continuing on whatever mission he was about. Karkov decides to continue with the three new recruits to further examine the wardstones in the area while sending Derrick back to Nerosyan with the rest of the patrol, most who have suffered grievous wounds.
Night falls and the group seeks shelter. During the night a shadeling attacks, nearly killing Karkov before he is slain by the others. In the distance, a fire burns and Karkov sends the three to investigate.
Simieon, Spirrel and Sylvan discover an abandoned temple of the deceased god Aroden. Within occultist have bound a woman to an altar. In the fight that follows all but two of the occultist are slain and the female human, Rasha, is freed. She claims that she was abducted on the streets of Nerosyan but Simieon does not believe it. Instead he sensed she felt betrayed, not terrified. Karkov soon joins them and they decide to spend the rest of the night in the more defensible church.