You are all relatively inexperienced adventurers (being level 1 and all…). Although even an inexperienced adventurer possesses skills and powers that far exceed that of typical residents of the Forgotten Realms (that’s the realm in which our game takes place), among adventurers you are largely un-tested. A bunch of yellow bellies.
You all met for the first time just two days ago at a tavern in Middlevale. Middlevale is a tiny farming village about 100km east of Candlekeep. Strangers to each other at that time, you had all been travelling independently in search of some paid adventure and found yourselves in Middlevale for the night.
It was not unusual for an adventurer or two to pass through Middlevale, but with five adventurers all in town at once, this counted as a busy night. In fact, you outnumbered the locals in the tavern. An elderly resident mage who frequents the tavern had spoken to each of you over the course of the evening. To each of you in turn he told you about the severe drought that had beset the town for weeks, killing crops, drying up wells, and generally causing hardship. The rather sparse portions and one drink limit at the tavern suddenly made sense.
He also shared with each of you that this must be the result of a curse. Alas, he is no expert in lifting curses and has been helpless to intervene and save the village from its hardship.
As the evening wore on, and after he’d spoken to each of you, inspiration struck the old mage. He brought the five of you to a single table; he knew you were strangers but saw the eagerness for adventure in your eyes. He tells you all that he has an old friend named Matreous, an expert in curses, who travels to Candlekeep Library each year around this time. The old mage of Middlevale is too frail to make the trip on his own, but perhaps you five could travel to Candlekeep to tell Matreous of the cursed strife that has befallen Middlevale?
Five of you is probably overkill for a quick errand like this. Neither the old mage nor the village had any gold to spare, having emptied its coffers on importing food and water, but as new adventurers, experience is worth as much as gold, right? Besides, this would just be a quick errand to Candlekeep to fetch an old friend. The old mage warns you that in order to enter Candlekeep you’ll need to provide an offering to the library in the form of a book not already in their collection.
Each of the five of you agreed for your own reasons: a desire to prove yourself, a willingness to help those who are suffering, or an eagerness to see the splendour of Candlekeep. The next morning, the five of you reconvened outside the Tavern on the cracked, desiccated path that serves as the town’s main road and set out on what you expected would be little more than a milk-run to Candlekeep.
As you travel west, you hope the books you managed to scrounge up will be of interest to the nerds standing guard at Candlekeep so you can find the old mage’s friend Matreous and bring some relief to the stricken village.