It was on a stormy night nearly a month ago, as I was nursing a pint of ale near the roaring hearth of the The Traveller's Inn, that the stranger first approached me. I had not noticed him sitting in the deep shadows that enshrouded the far corner of the room until he got to his feet, his dark cloak billowing out behind him. He stopped his approach when he noticed that I had seen him, and his eyes studied me from within his deep cowl. Finally, he tilted his head towards a table in the gloom, in a subtle gesture with which he indicated his wish to speak with me privately. I picked up my tankard and followed him to the table, where we sat down opposite each other. "What is it that you want?" I asked. "You are a man who can... acquire things," he said. It was a statement, not a question. "And if I am?" "Then you may be intersted to hear the proposition I am about to make you..." I was about to tell him to take his 'proposition' to someone else when he managed to... divert my attention. Upon seeing the purse he had placed on the table, I merely nodded for him to continue.
He proceeded to tell me of an ancient temple that is rumoured to lie on an island about two weeks' sail from Westmoor.
Its exact location was unknown to him, but he seemed quite convinced that the tales of an ancient treasure being hidden away there are true. The task, for which he is willing to pay a considerable sum, is to travel to this island, seek out the ruins of the temple, find this so-called "Tear of the Tides", and return it to him. A small sea-going vessel had been hired, and was even then being made ready to ferry me to the island the following afternoon. He even offered me a small amount of gold up-front with which to equip myself for the journey. I didn't see how I could refuse such an offer.
Before I set out, I made certain... inquiries about this temple for which I was hunting. From what I gathered, I am only one of many who have sought the treasures burried there. Of those who have ventured before me, many returned believing the temple to be but a myth; some had told tales of discovering the ruins of an entranceway but being unable to find a way inside; and others still had never been seen or heard from again. The latest to set out in search of that place was the noted archeologist Alexander Frost, who set out a few days before my meeting with the hooded stranger. If he ever made it to the island, I have found no sign of him. Perhaps he succumbed to the dangers of the sea, or maybe he reached the island, found nothing, and set sail back to the mainland before I arrived. I also made some enquires about "The Tear of the Tides", but was unable to turn up anything concrete.
I heard tales and rumours that attributed to it some type of power of command over the waves and the sea, but more likely than not these are merely superstitious fantasies.
The journey by sea took sixteen days, after which I was more than glad to be on firm ground once more.
After we landed on the island, it took me a week of searching before I finally found the entranceway to the temple, which seems almost to be built into the very waters that lie to the north of the island. I was dreading that the place might be flooded and inaccessible, but as I descend into the depths, I see that this upper level at least is relatively dry. There is a large stone doorway ahead of me that appears to lead deeper into the temple.
It's time to see what mysteries this ancient building holds...
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