"Well, old man, what can you do for your supper?", said Teban, as he took a bite of the turkey leg he is holding.
"Sing for your supper you flea bitten old beggar," hollered Krom, slamming his fist on the table.
"I, ah, I will tell you a story, a mighty one, something from the past," said the old man.
"Story, yes, a story, and it better be good or no supper, you mangy old man," someone yelled from one of the crowded tables.
"Long ago, 400 hundred years by my reckoning, there was a band of pirates called the Black Plague," starts the old man, while eyeing the crowd. He must make this story short and sweet, because he feels his stomach rumbling.
"The captain-general of the pirates was called Vicious. A ruthless archmage bent on power. He was served by twelve of the unholiest disciples that ever walked a deck of a ship. Their flagship was called the Black Plague, the same as the name of their pirate brotherhood. They stalked and preyed on the asteroid colonies, the crystal sphere and the trades that plied those lanes."
The old man look at the group of men eating, it seems that they are more interested on the new dish the server brought out. He must make them listen or not a morsel of food for his effort. The clamor of people eating echoed in the feasting hall of the tavern. Life is too short, and they never know the next time they will see a port. These wildspace sailors live life to the fullest like it is their last day alive.
"Vicious has plans of living beyond his life span, He studied and researched for decades until he finally able to turn himself into a lich. He decided his fortress must survive with him. He pursued the idea of turning his whole asteroid fortress into a huge spelljamming ship. A base where he can terrorize not just this crystal sphere, but other crystal spheres in the flow. Alas, no spelljamming helm was powerful enough to fulfill his wish and he thought he might not realize his dream. One day he heard rumors of an artifact so powerful that it might serve his purpose. He had the whole brotherhood searching for this artifact, and every lead was followed to the very end. When he found it, he knew it was the thing he coveted. That artifact was the Well of Souls."
The old man raised his head and was amazed at the silence in the feast hall. Finally, he has their attention and maybe he will eat after all.
"That is only a legend told to kids who are misbehaving," yells Crom, "and only fools believe in that myth."
"Oh no, my friend, Vicious did find the Well of Souls and corrupted the artifact to pour out enough power to move his asteroid fortress. The legend has it that Blight relocated the Well into the bowel of his fortress and from there crafted a helm to focus the power contained in the Well of Souls. Evil reigns with his plans, to power the spelljamming helm to move the asteroid, the Well of Souls used the very energy of a soul to power it. He realize to move such a huge rock he needs thousands of souls to be sacrificed. He attacked and clean the population of the surrounding asteroid colonies. It was estimated he needed seven thousand souls to move his fortress. Each victim was pushed into the well, their body disintegrated, and their soul was trapped. A point of light flickering in the well, each point once a living being and now trapped never to journey to their resting place."
Again he raised his head and all attention was on him. Captain Teban with his eyes closed and his fingers steepled, listening earnestly to the story being weaved by this old man. The others listen as intently as they could and some whispered softly among the folks in the group. A mug of ale was brought to the old man to wet his lips to better continue his tale.
"The power that be in this crystal sphere were shocked at the carnage the brotherhood caused and mobilized their fleet to destroy the pirates once and for all. As both fleet met, the fighting that ensued were horrific and bloody, with the pirates on the losing end. Vicious, the merciless lich, activated his helm and moved his fortress, attacking with magic, catapults and ballista, ramming and destroying the enemy's capital ships. With his remaining ships he left the sphere, with the lords of the sphere unable to give pursuit as their fleet was in disarray."
Captain Teban signaled the server to prepare food for the old man. The old man continued his tale trying to remember all the lines of the tale as was told to him long ago.
"It has been said that the Well of Souls must be replenish after each use as it drains the energy from the souls. When first trapped, the soul is bright white light, as their energy is drained they change color from white to yellow to red and then to a black spot, before the last energy is drained and they cease to exist. They still say that Vicious is out there collecting souls to power his fortress and return to claim this sphere."
"Enough, old man, you earned your meal," said captain Teban while he pushed himself away from the table and stood his full six foot frame. He knows what the old man was talking about and he is right it is not a myth. The Souljammer is out there and Vicious is waiting for any fool to walk into his fortress. Teban walked toward the window and looked out into the void of space as minutes passed.
"Captain, I know what you are thinking," the old man fully sated with his meal walked toward the captain.
"Do you really now, and what am I thinking master beggar?"
"That you can find the Souljammer and free all those trapped souls," the old man quickly answered, "and maybe even destroy that evil Vicious and liberate all those treasures that must be in the hold of his fortress."
"It is an insane proposition, but by thunder, only a mad man will find it an appealing adventure. That is if the legend is true, of course."
"Of course captain," the old man smiled.