Lewis held the Key up with his thumb and index finger, showing it off to the group. Sunlight reflected off the smooth surface - a shining beacon in a world of darkness.
"This," said Lewis, "is currently one of the most important objects in the world."
The group was silent. It was clear they wanted an explanation, but their sheer curiosity outweighed their desire to speak out.
"This is the key to Altus. This is how we get in."
"Altus?" piped Michael. "What on earth is that?"
"Isn't Altus that city everybody was going nuts for a few years back?" said Luke. "The mythical city in the mountains?"
"Yes, that's essentially the gist of it," continued Lewis, placing the Key back into his pocket. "But this city isn't just the subject of myths and legends. Altus is real, and it's what we're after."
"Oh, dear Lord." said Tech, exasperated. "You're a nut job! Altus isn't real. They tried everything to find it a few years ago, and nobody even came close to it. You can't be serious!"
"Now hold on," Lewis started, moving his hands in a persuading motion. "I know it sounds ludicrous. But just listen to me for a few minutes here. Who here has heard of Dr. Carver Gallagher?"
"He was the one who started the Altus craze," Michael replied, sounding as if he had talked about the subject before. "Dr. Gallagher led the whole operation on the Libennian side, but got in a little over his head. He was killed by Norvannians, as you probably already know, because his death triggered this whole damn war."
"Precisely," said Lewis. "And... well, I knew Gallagher. I was his assistant for a very long time. I was in the crash that killed him."
Awestruck expressions spread throughout the group. "That's not possible!" argued Michael. "Nobody survived that crash!"
"I'm quite glad you think that, actually, because I'm not too fond of people knowing I'm still alive," said Lewis. "I knew that if people were aware I were still running around, the Norvannians would find out eventually, and frankly, I'd like to stay alive."
"How can you prove it?" Petrus disputed.
"Well... I can't, really." said Lewis. "I know it must be difficult for you all to believe me, but you must! I knew Dr. Gallagher for years, and worked with him very closely. We travelled everywhere, making frequent expeditions to the Katsu mountains in search of Altus. Gallagher was quite confident Altus existed out here, somewhere, and I'm just as certain. I've seen evidence with my own eyes. And together, we found the Key."
"What I ask of all of you is quite simple. Gallagher believed that Altus housed a sort of incredibly advanced technology, a source of power that would render the owner of that power unstoppable. We all know this war is at a stalemate, with hundreds perishing needlessly every day. If the Norvannians continue their onslaught, it won't be long until Libennia succumbs. Our time is limited. But if we could find Altus, and use this technology against our foe... this war might yet be ours.
"Finding Altus won't be easy. It will require much sacrifice and will endanger each of us before we even leave this city! I have the entire journey planned out, fear not, but I need help. Each and every one of you have something to offer to this expedition, starting from our very first operation."
"Before we begin this quest to save this glorious land, I need to know one more thing. I need to know you will profess your undying devotion to this adventure. I need to know you will not abandon me. I need to know you will listen to whatever I say, no matter how daft it may seem. If you can't cooperate, then please leave now - I'm sorry for all this trouble. If you can... then prepare for the most incredible few weeks of your life."
"Who's with me?"
((dialogue dialogue dialogue errrghh. sorry if things seem a bit rushed but i'm trying to condense things and get going. feel free to have your characters ask questions :] ))