We are (finally) introduced to Pax, the sixteen-year-old monk hailing from the order of the Laughing Peace, almost directly on the Djerak/Agire border. At the start of his tale, Pax is forcefully removed from the monastery at about the dinner hour with nothing but a bracelet of prayer beads and the clothes on his back. His master, Brother Telemachus closed the gate on him after the debacle of Pax kicking an elderly monk in the throat—which unfortunately happened off-camera. Raining and with no where to go, he does have his bearings enough to realize that he should not go east, for that was direct goblin territory. He instead goes north. After traipsing through close copses of trees, he comes across a shape fishing at the pond…in the rain. He approaches him to inquire why he was fishing in the rain, to which the man replies “Shh! You’ll scare away the fish!” The old man figures out that he was an escapee from the monastery (due to his outfit), and he called them “a bunch of laughing freaks.”
Some dialogue occurs where the old man gives him a piece of his mind enough to warm up to Pax, who has similar views on racism and other matters. He said that he would take him in for the evening, since he was so cold looking and hungry and introduced himself as Arthur. They make their way to the small town of Monarch, more north of the lake. Along the way, he explained why he was fishing in the rain. The elves, referred derogatorily as “de poins” were controlling almost all the waters surrounding the Agire continent due to the fact that they were areas of worship for the elves. The humans had overfished the waters they were allowed to be in, which was hard on his own fish and potatoes shop. He made it to the fish store and introduced Pax to his wife, Martha. He got Pax set up with some battered fish and some potatoes and regaled him with stories, since Pax new nought of any of the local history. There was a great inter-country war where many of the “freaks” (half-breeds, weird races) were against all of the normal races. Then, one day, they all vanished. Martha and Arthur’s son Bartholomew died fighting for the “freaks” and Arthur said that Martha hadn’t been the same since.
Arthur hypothesizes they have them all in a concentration camp in Northern Genedem, but no one knows for sure since the dwarves disappeared underground. After the food and conversation, Martha and Arthur offer him their supply closet in the store to sleep on flour sacks with a blanket. He searches the kitchen and finds nothing of interest, so he settles down into his “room”—ignoring his monkish training to perform a bedtime ritual. He goes to sleep. He’s awoken by Martha in the morning, around 8:30 or 9 o’clock. She offers him breakfast and asks if she can do anything for him. He replies that he needs some shoes, and she provides him some old work boots of Arthur’s (he doesn’t say thank you, but he is regretful of this fact later). She pays him 10 gold pieces to sweep the floor and help her get started for the day.
Around noon, Arthur comes running in to tell the both of them that goblins were on the way to Monarch, and that they were after Pax. Bewildered, Martha pays him the gold, packs him a lunch, gives him a map of the continent with Kwype Stronghold on it, and tells Pax to follow her. As Arthur watches the front door, she makes him promise that he not tell Arthur, but allows him into the weapons cupboard with a small armory of basic weapons. As he takes a spear, he runs out the back door and she directs him in the direction of the Kwype Stronghold and advises him take a boat to get away from them all. He goes through the forest and comes to the Kwype Stronghold. The outside citadel is made of black rock and has an open portcullis. There is a guard standing out-front who seems to be giving Pax the eye, to which Pax flips him off.
Inside the citadel, he can see the bay from the gate’s entrance. The homes have the thatched “Stratford-upon-Avon” look to them and periodically, Pax ducks under flying chamber pot contents. He makes his way to the bay and talks to one of the king’s soldiers, Capt. Stern Pax asked if there were any boats that would take him to the other continents. Stern laughed him off and said that he couldn’t officially tell him of such. He said there would be boats that could take him there, if he had a deathwish, but he was unable to divulge their location. Stern directed Pax, as the night fell, to the Eagle’s Claw, a local tavern where he could get a meal and a good-night’s rest. He entered the bawdy bar, with the stereotypical bar-maids and booze flying. A waitress by the name of Belle waits on him, being unintentionally Irish and sexy, serving him a plate of bangers and mash with some mead.
A small fight in the center of the tavern breaks out, which is broken up by the foreman, and he escorts half the bar outside. In the commotion, three small figures sneak in undiscovered. These three are goblins, who converse in goblin with Pax, trying to get him to come with them. He refuses and a brawl ensues. The rest of the bar patronage does not notice due to watching the can-can show on the tavern’s stage. The goblins corner Pax, but after injuring one so badly, it moves away from him. One has a preference for throwing rocks at him from across the room. He runs to this goblin and is surrounded by his boss. After performing the spinning laughing peace, he kills one guy and has another continue throwing rocks. At this point, the bar (realizing the presence of goblins and blood) clears out except for one hooded patron in the corner. Pax passes out after the last rock.
After what feels like an eternal slumber, he awakens to find himself in a white, bright room and in a comfortable bed. A figure arises, a heavily armored female. She introduces herself as Alanna and begs him not to rip his stitches as he tries to get out of bed to challenge her. She explains herself to him that she followed him from the Brotherhood’s temple because she knew he was the chosen one—the one who has a prophecy written against him. After divulging information about the nature of her quest, to unify the entire world again, she asks him if he would join her on the quest.
He said he would provide an answer after he sees the woods again. They traipse out into the forest. A few moments quietly sitting amongst the trees yields him the inner peace and answer he wants. He gives her an affirmative response, and asks about the safety of Arthur and Martha. She said that she was able to protect them from the goblins. They go to the tavern again, preparing for travel. They make their way to the docks, pass the captain, and they find the Deth Proofe (pirates are not very good spellers) with Capt. Skippyjohn at the helm. Alanna leaves Pax to the male quarters, where he puts a chest in front of the door, secretly crying in his bunk….. to be continued.