Dark Nights of Dagar Prelude. The night was cold and Gartha, the red moon of Dagar, shown bright in the sky casting a reddish tint to the surrounding brush. Atin drew his long traveler’s cloak tighter around himself and thought wistfully of the days before the return of Nethfasa, the Goddess of Evil. Before her demonic armies began roaming the lands, nights were warm and roads were safe. Atin had been able to take the main roads to his destinations instead of crawling around in the underbrush. He dismissed these dismal thoughts from his mind, angry with himself for losing his concentration. Sneaking past the night guards would be hard enough with his full attention. Thorns from a small thistle stuck him through his cloak and imbed themselves in Atin’s arm. Silently, the old dwarf cursed. Resisting the urge to turn over onto his back and remove the thorns, Atin crawled on. The city of Paladine was his destination and he must reach it in haste. The town militia must be informed of the approach of Nethfasa’s army. Atin’s heart leapt out of his stomach and into his throat as he felt a firm grip on his neck. The hand lifted him up off of his knees and into the air. Slowly, he was turned around to face his captor. The black eyes of a demon were all that Atin could see from under the thing’s cloak. “Not today,” it growled. Atin lay dying. The demon had eaten his limbs and left him to bleed to death. His last thoughts were “Paladine is doomed. Its final hope is a damned Halfling.” Chapter 1. Tarisle Halto merrily skipped down the path towards Haven. With every skip into the air the rugged pack he wore upon his back shook. You could hear the metallic banging from its contents from yards away. Briefly the Halfling wondered if he wasn't being nearly as discreet as he should. He quickly dismissed the notion and began to take up a merry tune once more. The truth was, Tarisle was a young, reckless Halfling. Overall concern for his safety wasn't one of his biggest priorities. The little Halfling would use the silver short sword Atin had given him to spear through any demon that dare get in his way. On one particularly high skip, the hood of his green traveler's cloak fell over his eyes. Blindly, Tarisle stumbled into a puddle. The Halfling decided this would be a great chance to try drying off like a dog. He lifted the hood out of his bright, childish eyes and shook his head as fast as he could. Tarisle's freshly trimmed red hair was soon dry and already returned to its usual spiky state. After attempting to stand a few times (he was quite dizzy), Tarisle decided that it must really stink to be a dog. Finally, the fine town of Haven could be seen in the distance. The church steeple rose high above the meager cottages and wooden buildings. With his incredible eye sight, Tarisle could see little people walking around doing their daily chores. He was pleased to note that quite a few people were on the streets. He fingered his dagger excitedly. "I hope someone attacks me," he thought brightly, "I really want to test this thing out!" The remainder of the path was quite amusing for Tarisle. He had slipped, fallen, and rolled down a large ditch. Landing in a pile of horse feces was also interesting for Tarisle. That was something he had definately never done before! He was slightly sad to finally arrive at Haven but new adventures soon helped him forget those of old. The main road of Haven was made of well-worn cobblestones. Many a horse and wagon had traveled down this road selling its wares to passerby. Coming out of the local tavern "The Bleeding Hog", was a wealthy man. He was dressed in fine silks and carried himself with an arrogance only the rich and noble have. Tarisle's eyes were immediately drawn to the ruby encrested dagger hanging loosely on the man's belt. "Why, someone could just come up and steal that dagger without him even knowing," thought and outraged Tarisle, "I had better hold it for him until he is safe from this crowd!" He crept close to the man and reached out his tiny hand. His heart leapt from his stomach into his mouth when a gloved hand snatched his own. "What do we have here," asked the guard, appraising Tarisle from head to toe, "A thieving Halfling... how original." "I wasn't thieving," yelled Tarisle indignanly, "I was going to hold that wonderful dagger for him until it was safe from harm. A real thief could have taken it easily in this huge mass of people! Now if you would let me go..." Tarisle squirmed his way out of the guard's grasp. He turned and ran towards The Bleeding Hog as quickly as he could on his tiny feet. If he could just get into the tavern he could easily hide... In the knick of time Tarisle was able to dive through the tavern entrance. He rolled head first under a table when he began his examination of the room. Pipe smoke filled the air to the point where he could hardly breath. The floor was covered in peanut shells and other assorted garbage. There were, however, no rodents and the tables were clean. A man with a long, brown ponytail sat at the bar enjoying one of its many fine ales. He was wearing a leather tunic and upon his legs was a pair of leather leggings. A warhammer, larger than Tarisle himself, was strapped upon the man's back. This man had the appearence of a strong adventurer, perfect for Tarisle's purposes. The Halfling walked over to the man to introduce himself. "Hello, good sir. My name is Tarisle Halto and I'm here in Haven looking for some partners! I saw you from all the way over there under that table. You're probably wondering why I was under that table... its a long story really. Ask me about it in a minute, this is important. Apparently, the evil goddess Nethfasa has put together a demon legion and plans on attacking the fair city of Paladine! My quest is to get to Paladine before her army does and forewarn them of the dangers they are about to face. So, are you with me?" The man had stared at Tarisle with an amused look on his face the entire time he had spoken. Halflings had a tendency to ramble on and on and frankly, he found it cute. "I'm glad to meet you, Mr. Halto. I am Rax Kinglsey. I come from a town far away from here but that is not what is important. If Paladine is truly in danger then I have no choice other than to aid you in your quest." "I'm glad to hear that! Very glad indeed," exclaimed Tarisle as he shook hands with Rax, "Wait a minute while some other people to help us out." Before Rax could even say a word, the Halfling was standing on a table in the middle of the tavern. "Hey, listen up everyone," yelled Tarisle. The entire tavern soon when silent and all eyes were upon the Halfling, "Nethfasa has gotten together an army and plans on attacking Paladine! I need a couple more adventurers and the like to come help me on my quest to said city so I can tell them whats going to happen! Who's with me?" The entire time Tarisle had been speaking a black robed magic-user in the corner of the tavern had been watching him. Erika Thinblade had been hidden by the shadows of the room and no one had even noticed her. She now strode into the light and made her way towards the Halfling. If it wasn't for her robes, no one would have guessed that her soul was as black as sin itself. She had shoulder length blond hair, which she kept up in a knot. Her cheeks were rosy and he eyes were blue and kind. On her nose she wore a small, diamond ring. "Halfling. Come with me," she said in her sweet voice as she grabbed the Halfling by his neck. Erika carried Tarisle out of the tavern and soon the noise picked back up. All of the patrons seemed to have already forgotten the loud Halfling who had just moments ago told them of the evil goddess' plot to destroy one of Dagar's most ancient cities.