The Red Gourd

In all my journeys through the lush forest of the highlands, I had never seen it before. I’ve walked this path many times. Never steering from the direction my memories lead me. Years of walking among these trees.

I’ve seen the large Isle of Spectra, from ‘Leaping Fires’ territory to the Drifting Desert. But no place have I traversed more than these woods, guarding an old mana dealer.

For all the seasons I’ve taken to this calling, one curiosity stuck with me. A hollow. Belonging to the Sage of Stars. There’s a myth that it’s located in these hills. I had never looked though, rather content with the story. Things you hear of certain mages… my skin shivers.

After my final tour with the merchant, he began trekking the temporal plains. I retired to a most debaucherous keep. It was a wonderful time of hedonistic pleasures, cut short by an unfortunate arrival. An item appeared in my possession. Recognizable for its brilliant red lacquer and crest of the Etherealites. This was the trader’s gourd, won during the second king’s rebellion. The delivery came with a note,

“Fill with juice of the coral cactus and deliver to the Emeralds. Happy trading. Feed my poppy!”

I knew what this meant…

Not an easy task, but I felt an obligation to the merchant. I acquired many good blades guarding his “wares”–this was the least I could do. The juice was a many nights travel from the woods. 6 days total on beetle-back. The most intimidating leg of the journey are the unsinkable sands. Full of mages practicing ways of the floating-force. One you always respect for its ruthlessness. With caution I made my way. There were many close calls, but I filled the gourd. The juice was a bright, almost metallic amber. It overwhelmed my senses with beetle’s honey and serpentine salt. Delicious.

Upon entering Emerald Forest a chill rushed over me. I became engulfed in a torrent of air as though a void had opened. The gourd at my side became weightless, beckoning at the path of the wind. This direction.

Slow at first, I found myself moving faster without resistance. Something was pulling me north-east. The trail only took minutes… And there it was, covered in overgrowth as though it had been there for ages. The Hallow.

I entered the forsaken myth. A voice rang out to me from the cave of stars,

“Ah… the supplier is dead! Welcome to you my new merchant.”

Nyfen, Entry #84 133 A.S.M.