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Fellow Knight of Rexil,
Dark times have arrived in the Goblin Country. Whether you wish to admit it or not, this is your home now. Aldrina is in danger and its rulers have become too blind with hatred to realize it. The Goblin Kings bicker and prepare for war with each other while evil forces gather on the edges of their borders. We can not be sure what plagues this land, but if the rumors are true then we have little time before an ancient evil returns. I have already organized another party to travel to the Jungle Territory in order to find Morass and investigate the source of this dark power. In the meantime, I will assign you to a party that must make haste to the other kings and convince them to set aside their differences and help each other, before it is too late for them and Aldrina. I ask you to gather in the Great Hall so I may speak with you before you set out.
Knight Master Geoffrey
Ryder sat at his desk, reading the letter for the third time now. For the past year and a half, his place had been here at the stronghold. He trained new recruits, acted as a mentor to the Knights, and protected the port city of Rexil. He hated the other races, and Geoffrey knew this. So why was he to be sent on a fool's errand to play politics with the Goblins? He should be leading the investigation party, then he could put a stop to this nonsense of ancient evils before it even started. Instead, Geoffrey sent that coward, Byron, to deal with it. The clouds that blocked the sun moved away and the bright light reflected off Ryder's armor and into his eyes.
He rose from his seat and crossed to the window. He loved this room for it had the perfect view of the city below. A beautiful stone-masonry city built along the steep hills that led down to the water front. Even this early in the morning, the port was already bustling with dock workers unloading new supplies. The city streets were still relatively quiet, except for the few shop keepers setting up their wares for the day. Ryder returned to the room and picked up his armor from the mannequin stand. As he put each piece on, he couldn't help but to wonder who else had received the letter. It had become common practice in the Knights to accept members from other races, a choice that he strongly disagreed with. Even here, in the new stronghold, they had less humans than any other race.
Ryder and his fellow men were outnumbered by elves, dwarves, goblins, and all manner of other species. Aldrina was no better. The land was known as Goblin Country, but races from all over the world had taken to travelling here. As the oldest civilized land in recorded history, there was much hidden and lost to time in the ancient ruins and vast lands. That fact alone was enough to draw in every soul in the neighboring countries that wanted to make a name for themselves. Most of the goblins were surprisingly welcoming, given their reputation as prudish and cautious of outsiders. Geoffrey says they all listen to their Fire King and he had decided it would be in their best interest to embrace the outside world.
With the last piece of his armor fastened, Ryder grabbed his sword and tied the sheathe around his waist. He blew out the candle on his desk and left his room. In the hallway, many of the other Knights were leaving their rooms to tend to their morning duties or just returning from night watch in the city. Ryder made his way through the crowd and down the stairs. The Great Hall was alive with hungry Knights devouring every morsel in sight. Cooks frantically ran throw the crowded aisles to lay down fresh dishes and snag away dirty dishes. The constant chattering and roaring laughter was common at meal times. In between, the Hall was usually used for lessons and studies with books. Ryder preferred this type of gathering. The singing and cheering as fellow Knights came together reminded him of the days when they were just men serving a great king. Sometimes, we he got drunk enough, Ryder even forgot that he was surrounded by short, bearded men or little, barbaric beasts.
Ryder crossed the hall, saying good morning to familiar faces that he'd normally join for the fresh eggs and juice. At the far end of the hall, at an elegantly crafted mahogany table, sat Knight Master Geoffrey. The old and hardened soldier watched with a humble smile at his Knights. Ryder approached the table and took a knee.
"Rise, my dear friend, and join me. We will wait for the others to arrive." Ryder knew there would be others, but the statement still caught him off guard for some reason. Ryder stood back up and circled around the table to an empty seat next to Geoffrey. There was all ready a plate of steaming ham and eggs waiting for him. Geoffrey hadn't touched any of his own. Ryder hesitated to touch his own, not wanting to seem rude, but with a nod from Geoffrey, he cut a piece of ham and began his breakfast. All the while, he watched the crowd for those that would step forward to speak with Geoffrey.