Keridanyth awoke on the morning of her 40th birthday with a sense that something amazing was going to happen. No doubt, she thought, a party. At least she hoped. Keridanyth had never had a birthday party before, she was always too busy studying or, in later years working, to have time to organise one and, knowing how little time she had, nobody else had ever organised one for her. Today would be different she thought, as she lay on her back watching the dappled green-tinged sunlight dance across the ceiling of her bedroom. Of course, she considered, it might be like her 21st birthday. Then, knowing her desire for knowledge and thirst for study, her parents had persuaded the Druid council to allow her to travel to the mountains to study with a small tribe of Circle of the Moon Druids. Travel between tribes was practically unheard of and travel between different circles such a rarity that for Keri to be allowed to go was something of an historic moment. That day her mother, and some of the other members of the tribe had cried tears of joy at the honour bestowed upon one of their own. So perhaps another adventure. She snuggles down, stretching her toes out to the bottom of her bed. Yes, perhaps an adventure. Keridanyth dreamed of adventures.
While Keridanyth contemplated the day ahead, weighing up the prospect of adventure against the hope of a birthday party, hundreds of miles away Kuruk was just firing up his forge. The day was much like every other day, forge stuff, trade goods, try not to thing about the quietness left by the loss of his wife and daughter. It had been this way for years. Unconsciously Kuruk fingered the necklace he wore. Hanging from it were two rings, keepsakes, reminders of his loss, reminders to never again find himself in a situation where he was responsible for others, where the loss of those would be an unhealing scar. Not like before.
At the same time, in a darkened alleyway somewhere in the depths of Port City a half-elven female watched and waited. Soon she would need to leave this place. She just hoped she survived long enough to find a way out.