t had been a couple of months since Redwin had last set foot in Liberty Bay. He was kept busy by his work as a mariner which had now brought him to Venore, and a certain quaint encounter during a rainy, starless night was pretty much all but forgotten. Having already unloaded the cargo, he had the rest of the day off and decided to wander the narrow streets. It was not his first visit to the city, and a shop unfamiliar to him caught his eye. New merchants liked to offer low prices when they opened their store in order to carve out their share of the market, so Redwin decided to enter, looking for a bargain.
"Good day.", he greeted the trader.
"Ah! I thought you'd be here a bit earlier, but beggars can't be choosers, right? Well, better late than never."
A big grin met a confused face.
"Pardon?" was what finally came over the sailor's lips.
"You must be Redwin, right? I've been expecting you."
"Merton told me that you would pay me a visit. I have to say, I am delighted to meet you!"
"We, that is, the Venorean traders – but truly everyone living on the shores and involved in seafaring – is in dire need of your help."
"Look, I'm really not interested in–"
"You like to negotiate, I see. I admire that! Don't worry, you do something for me, I'll do something for you."
"You'll leave me alone?"
"Better! I'll tell you all about the path to your destiny!"
"The adventure of a lifetime, my boy. A young fella like you should up and see the world!"
"... right. I'll get to that when I got the time. I have a job, you know."
"Yeah, but... opportunity calls!"
"I'm not hearing anything, and even if I were, I would not call back. Now, if you will excuse me."
"Hang on a second."
For whatever reason, Redwin stayed his outstretched hand, the doorknob in reach.
"Just help me out with this pirat problem and I'll tell you the location of a secret passage. Follow it and you'll meet my business partners who coincidentally also need your help. Though they might not trust you right away. But then again, for somebody like you it shouldn't be a problem to gain their trust."
"Wait, what? I'm supposed to help you in order to have the privilege of helping out some other guys? And who are those folks you are dealing with anyway? Probably bandits and smugglers."
"Bandits? No, though they do wear masks.", Eustacio chuckled, before becoming serious again.
"Look, I understand that you might be skeptical, but if you follow your path, rich reward awaits you at the end!"
"Yeah, right. No thanks.", said Redwin, as he left the store in a hurry, Eustacio's words of paths and destinies following him out the door. He uttered a sigh of relief only as his ship finally left the harbour again. Up in the crow's nest he was gazing over the billowy blue of the ocean as his mind began to wander. What strange events these had been...