Basil Garreth makes landfall at Old Ashton in Bain: a port town on the fringes of civilization. He puts out a call for adventurers, identifying himself as a merchant working for House Ravenstein and in urgent need of an escort to Padavona. This is a perilous journey indeed, having to cut across both Lund and Bain before finally arriving at the destination.
The job's first taker is one Magnificus, a half-elven minstrel of some renown in Tieresia; he is in fact currently on a tour of the continent. With some reluctance he has finally arrived in Bain; as a native of Lund he is well aware that the two realms are at odds. He sees this escort job as a way for him to keep his profile low and get back out of Bain while making a profit; having toured Tieresia he is well aware that House Ravenstein pays well — especially when it comes to adventurers getting their merchants home safe.
They are overheard by Gelion, self-proclaimed 'last song of Starfall'. The singer-songwriter-gladiator from Dominus recognizes Magnificus (Gelion's research on the enertainment industry extends beyond his home continent) and inserts himself into the party, proclaiming that he's simply better at both fighting and the arts. He becomes even more interested in their destination upon hearing that they're headed for the Republic of Padavona. He questions them on Padavonian politics and after a brief debate concludes that it is not in fact a Republic, which he will prove once they are there.
Garzad the Glamorous notices this growing assembly, and wonders what sort of party consists of a merchant-bard hiring a renowned Tieresian singer and an (in)famous satirical singing gladiator from Dominus. Concluding to himself that this must be the next big musical act in the making, he too jumps in and joins the group on their trip across half the continent.
Basil makes arrangements and procures slow but steady transportation for the group: A mule and wagon. Here they meet the final member of the party, a retired soldier introducing himself as Chunt Pilgrim.
As they prepare to leave town, they are stopped by the local militia. It turns out all visitors and residents are currently being detained as the guards investigate a recent murder…