It began with a post produced by Scanlan Stormcrow (reproduced here):
A mystery is afoot, and it’s one I dare to share,
For we can find a carriage, but we only find it bare
Be it once fast-moving, and rickety round the bend,
I never thought i’d be the one, to speak of -this- untimely end.
So I implore you Basin, with this caper as it stands,
To keep your eyes peeled, as you charge across the lands
The one we all remember, is now the one we all quite miss,
So seek out the one named Sako, and lets find closure to this.
Has the satire once told on the Stages of our lands come true
Do we truly have a disappearance of our beloved Sako Tleem…
WANTED: SAKO TLEEM – Carriage driver, Beloved giver of tasks
Was it true? Had the well-known owner of Tleem Transports disappeared altogether? Of course, his presence had not been felt for many years before that, and many adventurers and denizens alike blamed his absence as a cruel trick of the Fates – knowing full and well that Sako Tleem would eventually return to them.
But even after Scanlan’s missive, Sako never returned. Years past, months aplenty. No one was sure whether he would return, but many kept hope. That is, until the commuters of Mister Tleem’s esteemed carriage service grumbled and scowled through the streets. Where was Sako?! they questioned and demanded. How are we to get to work/home/friends/lovers? Indeed, it would appear that Tleem Transports was a major method of travel for the denizen population of the Basin of Life. Day in and day out they rioted through the highways, persuaded to take a breather by a handful of adventurers; they even remained when the Basin found itself under the dark magics of the Goldenclaw Coven. They spat upon Sako’s name, upset that he would just leave them high and dry. Rather than let her paramour’s name be sullied, Maendwen Syllamn resolved to find Sako herself.
Unfortunately for Maendwen, her quest was a hard one. Hearing rumor that perhaps the very same commuters who raged about Sako’s disappearance may have had some idea of what had happened, she sought some out – only to find none. It was there, on the Ackleberry Highway, that she chanced upon Talan Ysav’rai. Talan, herself chasing down pilgrims and bards, greeted the elfen woman, and after hearing what the woman heard, she decided to take on the quest in Maendwen’s stead. After calming down a commuter, she discovered that he had, in fact, saw something. Sako Tleem was last found near the waystation of Joric Blande! Talan raced there, and after some questioning of Joric himself, Mother Olya, and more commuters, identified a forced path that diverted away from the Southern Highway into the Grey Moors. There, Miss Ysav’rai found a terrible scene: the burnt-out husk of Sako’s carriage.
After surveying the scene a little more, she called out for assistance from those in Gaudiguch. To Talan’s aid came Xeltha al-Saaoud, and together, the two women sought out more clues riddled throughout the Grey Moors. Recognizing that perhaps their skill in tracking was a bit unfocused, they petitioned for Rolsand of Magnagora to assist them. The three managed to scour the Grey Moors, the Gloriana River, and the Southern Mountains (calling upon a helpful Synkarin Ysav’rai along the way), discovering two sets of footprints: one, old and weathered, and another, freshly-stamped. Tracking the new ones to a cave still within the distant Southern Mountains, they were able to discover Sako Tleem, alive but certainly not well. The four gathered the beaten dracnari and returned him to Maendwen, who thank them with all her heart.
As the Gaudiguchians departed, Maendwen took Sako to her friend, Yojimbo, an alchemist within Estelbar, to find some sort of curative to aid in Sako’s care. Yojimbo himself called upon a fellow healer from Caoimhe Dell, and together, they spent many days in his apothecary workshop. While they were able to heal Sako’s wounds and broken body, Yojimbo explained that his mind was fractured beyond repair. He asked Maendwen what had happened, but Maendwen herself did not know: that fact left unexplained by her Gaudiguchian saviors. Thanking Yojimbo, Maendwen returned to her waystation and decided to care for Sako, even in his mind-addled state.
The month passed, and Maendwen returned to her home – Sako in tow. She reached out to Talan, who visited the two, and Maendwen recounted all she could recall from Yojimbo. Talan suggested perhaps emotional trauma was the culprit of Sako’s current illness, hoping to restore him to good cheer with drink and song. However, while appreciative, neither song nor drink restored the dracnari’s state. Swearing that she will care for him until he was better or their threads were cut, she told Miss Ysav’rai that she had asked her brother, Galael, to take over Sako’s carriage service for the time being. So while Tleem Transports is up and running again, the fate of Sako Tleem is dire indeed.