1—19 March 1096; Konomi "Phantom Wolf" Yoshi, Cedric "Devilfish" Palehand, Juntarra "Panther Claw" Palehand, Leonardo "Wind Walker" Whitman, Sui-Do "White Dragon" Shin
In a Claybough tavern on his 21st birthday...
White Dragon, Sohei priest of the noble Shin Family of Lorenia, had decided to stop resisting fate and to remove the fog of dishonor that hung over his family by fulfilling his ancestor's oath to assemble the 20 Shards of Urjusty. He gathered the skilled ninja Phantom Wolf as well as Leonardo Whitman, Devilfish and his twin sister Juntarra, fighters all. All five were secretly members of the Gouka Clan and, after informing their Shidoshi of their intent to seek powerful magic items, left for Central Urjusty, the reputed location of the first shard.
Wandering lost in the Thornwild Forest for several days, the party finally located their clan contact, Stone Kicker, but even the local expert was at a loss. It was the most unlikely creature, an orphaned, adolescent Di'rak, calling itself "Kodiak" that finally pointed them toward the hollowed tree... it was rumored to be haunted, and the timid, pungent creature would not step foot in there himself. Mysterious lights, chilling howls and other spooky phenomena shrouded the remains of the long-dead tree nestled deep in the forest.
A druid and dabbler in herbalism, once traveled into the ancient tree, but had fallen down a massive, hollowed-out root and was badly injured. While recovering, his only means of sustenance were the strange mushrooms growing in the caves. The proximity of the First Gem had mutated the fungi, which corrupted the druid’s body, making him more savage and feral.
The heroes were forced to put down the druid, now a tainted creature, feeding off the mushrooms and breeding new specimens of fungus, and his vargouille companion, both of which proved to be the source of the haunted rumors surrounding the hollow tree. They acquired the first shard, a compass of sorts which would help guide them to the others.