You find yourself surrounded by a thick grey mist that feels cool to the touch and smells like wet moss. You are walking forward through the mist with no real direction in mind. You cannot see more than a foot in front of your nose, nor the ground your feet touch, but you press on as confidently as you can. Are you going towards something? Or maybe trying to get away from something? You cannot seem to remember. Why can’t you remember?
"Stop yer belly-achin' fool," says a voice. "Destiny is not something to ponder. It is something to embrace!" The fog pulls back a little, and you turn to see a rough old dwarf with a bright red beard standing before you. He is standing in full plate mail, leaning on the hilt of his axe. "Destiny only bothers with those that are great, and it carries them to even greater greatness. Embrace your destiny, and your name will be the stuff of legends."
The dwarf extends his hand, and for a moment you feel compelled to take it. But then another figure appears. He is a lithe bearded human with silver eyes and dressed in the fine grey and blue robes of nobility. He leans on a wizard's staff, and speaks with a raspy but firm voice under his wide-brimmed pointed hat. "Do not think of destiny as something you can use. Rather, destiny is the great plan for which we are all called to play a part in. It is the pattern, and we are the threads. If you are to be a strong thread in the weave of destiny, then that is your great fortune. Observe that which is around you, and you will come to understand the pattern and your place in it. Then all the secrets of time will be revealed to you." He too extends his hand.
"Do not concern yourself with the ramblings of old men," says a third voice in a soft and gentle tone. You look to see a beautiful Elven female dressed in flattering white silk. She smiles warmly at you as she speaks. "Leave them to their thoughts of destiny and time. Your only concern should be for the moment. Live each day to the fullest, and be happy. Work to make those around you happy as well. If destiny favors you, then so be it. If not, you are no worse off. Come. Let me show you how to escape the worries of your past and embrace your mortal life." She reaches out with one hand and beckons you closer with the other.
As entrancing as her words are, you begin to notice the world around you. It is a grey and smoking void, with nothing but yourself and these three figures existing in it. You start to wonder if this is all just a dream.
"It is indeed a dream," says a fourth voice. This one is much deeper than the others. You turn to see a demonic crimson-skinned Tiefling dressed in leather armor standing there, and his arm is reaching out to you. His skin and clothing both bear scars of hard battles, and his eyes are sad but resolved. "But it is not an ordinary one. It is a moment of choice for you, and you must make the right decision. Do not listen to anyone else. This life is harsh, and everyone is keeping secrets from one another. Trust no one but yourself, not even me. Keep your expectations low, and you will guard your heart against the agony of betrayal."
"How sad," says a fifth voice. You turn your head once more, but this time you must look down as well. This last voice is a tiny gnome child with bleached white hair, no more than 11 years old. She looks at you with pity and hope. "You have been through so much, and yet you will endure so much more. It is hard to trust, to share your burdens with others. But if we cannot help one another, then we will all be overwhelmed. You must learn to trust others with your cares, and you must learn to share the worries of others. If you do not, I fear that you will be crushed by the weight that fate has deemed to place on your shoulders." She reaches up to take your hand with both of hers. "Please, let me help you."
You look back and forth from one being to the next. Each one returns your gaze and holds out their hand, waiting patiently for you to choose one to take. By now you have accepted that this is a dream, and though you do not realize it yet, this exact same dream is being experienced by others at this exact same instant. Here now is the point where the dream may differ. You feel your heart compelling you to make a choice. And after a final moment to consider things, you make your decision.
The world is old and yet vastly unexplored. Elves, Dwarves, and other races have kept to themselves. But something is stirring on the edges of civilization. Something vast and dangerous. Now is the time to adventure and store up wealth, while it is still safer to do so.
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