The City State of Carth is ruled by Prince Jansayez the Red Fox and a Council of Merchants. Though small in size, this Principality has great influence over the entire region. It controls almost all the trade to and from the vast Valley of the Source (also known as Verbosh Valley) to the south and west.
The Red Flint Inn is a popular pub in the larger souk sector. In the back of this bar is a wooden elf. The elf is very highly detailed and almost looks like it could talk if it wanted, though it never did. It is dirty and chipped, wearing the remains of ragged pants. Someone has glued a mocking dwarf beard onto its face.
The elf sits on a wooden stump with one hand on his knee and the other arm bent so his elbow rests on the table. The past time at this particular bar is to arm wrestle with this wooden elf. The arm struggles but never wins, so plenty of slurs and insults against elves fly when the dwarves win.
On a night like any other, the bar is filled to capacity. All races of creatures are placing bets on the arm wrestling to see who can beat who’s score. A dwarven cleric steps up and claims that he can beat the dummy in three seconds, money is then thrown on the table to bet against him.
As the dwarf locks arms with the wooden elf, he casts a cure light wounds to sober up, and uses a bull’s strength to ensure he gets the money. The match begins and the dwarf hears a strange creaking coming from the elf, but thinks nothing of it. After three seconds, the dwarf notices something strange. He’s losing to the wooden elf! No one loses this game! Even more bizarrely, the dwarf suddenly falls asleep with his hand locked in place. A friend slaps him awake and he resumes the match.
As the dwarf pushes with his magically enhanced strength, there’s a loud hiss and a combination of steam and dust emits from every joint of the wooden elf. Then, the amazing happens the elf pins the dwarf’s hand.
Even more amazing is that the elf gets up from the table. His wooden face with its detail shows fear mixed with aggression. The elf looks around very confused and asks “How long have I been sitting there?”
The bar is silent, no-one answers. The elf stands, still holding the hand of the dwarf, and asks angrily “Where am I?”. The dwarf passes out.
In the crowd, a young man near the bar, a human, draws a bow, but holds his fire. A warrior in a long black leather coat asks for a drink at the bar, he is ignored. He drops a gold coin and serves himself. A young half-elf, a woman with a pair of wakizashi swords, watches from near the stairwell. A small red haired half-elven woman warily shadows the wooden elf to the bar, her hand resting on her dagger.
The angry six foot wooden elf drops the dwarf and stomps to the bar, “Where is my stuff? Why am I here? Where is my bow?” The frightened bartender protests, almost incoherently, “You were here when I bought the place, I don’t know, 50 years at least!”. After more angry exchanges, the bartender runs into a room behind the bar. The silent crowd hears items crashing, furniture thumping and scraping. The bartender emerges, disheveled, and hands the elf a chinking leather bag “This is what I have, take it and go.” The elf looks in the bag, turns and strides out of the bar.
The crowd resumes it’s evenings pleasures, the half-elf woman near the stairs goes back up them. The young man puts his bow away and the warrior invites him to drink. A robed traveler, a young man, with a staff and a cat-sized feathered lizard for a pet (across his shoulders) follows the wooden elf out of the bar. The half-elf woman with red hair, pale skin tails along.
The [[:glyndo | man with the lizard finds the wooden elf staring into the sky, he raises his hands and begins to chant. The elf, alarmed, demands “What are your doing?” “I am only trying to heal you.” The elf looks down at his scrapes and chips, and consents. The young man resumes his chanting. The elve’s wounds fade, starting at his head and proceeding down his body. The man’s name is Glyndo and he came to Carth to find adventure, his home town is boring. The wooden elf recounts "I am Dern, Dern Galadh, and I don’t remember why I am here, why I was sent.
The red-headed half-elf introduces herself as Cariel, she came to Carth to search the Library of Thoth for information about her god, Le Thoc, and his lost shrines. “Perhaps you could find out why you are here, the Library is famous for its vast collection of knowledge.”
The young men at the bar, the warrior Raven and the man Jacob, finish their bottle and Jacob goes up to bed, exhausted. Jacob had brought his childhood friend Dina Vantallon to Carth to help her set up as a merchant in the souk. They spent the day going from office to office, getting permits, finalizing paperwork, arranging services.
Raven grew up in Carth and recently had his first taste of adventure. He helped deliver a specially commissioned weapon, a scythe, to a tower stronghold next to Lake Shuwang-nou south of Carth. A powerful worshiper of the little-known deity Wee Jas, a man who came from far away, had created a shrine to his goddess and required the scythe to complete it. Raven reflects to himself that he had never imagined a mere shrine could be so powerful and moving, he came away a changed man.
Despite the strong drink, he goes out looking for the [[:dern-galadh | wooden elf]] and finds him standing unnaturally still, staring up at the sky. He introduces himself, they chat for a few minutes and Raven bids him goodnight.