The Eye of the Dragon

Smoke Without Fire

Approaching Devlan, the party realises it’s not the whole village that is on fire despite the great plume of smoke. The column is rising from somewhere near the stables. Leaving Grim and Lorana to return the Earl’s corpse to his delegation, Rinjiminee and Willis head towards the stable.

There they find a crowd gathered around the open space between the stables and the river. In the centre of the crowd one of the merchant’s wagons is nothing but a smouldering skeleton and another looks like it too caught fire but was extinguished quick enough. Finn and Thenn are in a rage as Baron tries to calm them down with promises of a replacement wagon.

Nudging their way through the crowd, the two adventurers hear whispers that this was Macatan Thrum’’s doing. Where there is trouble to be had in the village the young Varanganni is always at the centre of it. Arriving at the Baron, Finn and Thenn storm of in a huff. The party inform the Baron of the news of the Earl’s death. More trouble for him to bear. In reply to their questions about what might happen next, he doesn’t know. He suspects the two negotiating parties will leave.

Rinjiminee puzzles over why the Earl would leave the negotiations on a vague rumour of some treasure and how his death may reflect badly on The Blane.

As the Baron heads off and the crowd begins to disperse, Willis and Rinjiminee spot three youths in an argument down a side street. Two are human, one is a young Varanganni. Willis approachs from one side of the street while Rinjiminee circles around so they can’t escape.

The youths go silent as Willis approaches but make no attempt to run. A few moment pass after Willis’ greeting before one of the youths speaks up. He asks if they are the adventurer’s that helped his da, and introduces himself as Doran Malt. His fellow human is Per Bylin and the young dwarf is Macatan Thrum. Doran and Per were trying to persuade Mac to own up to the wagon fire. Mac denies he had anything to do with it. Rinjiminee notices that Mac is clutching something inside his coat and asks what he has. Reluctantly, Mac reveals three fireworks. The wagon that burnt to the ground was full of fireworks – most purchased by the village for a grand display during the coming nigh’s festivities. Suspicion points heavily on Mac but he denies starting the fire. He took the fireworks, just small ones, as he wanted to see what was inside them. He took them and ran before the fire started. Willis and Rinjiminee agree with Doran and Per that they should all go see the Baron and explain that.

As the group head towards the inn, they hear shouts from the villagers that the musicians have arrived. There’s an excited buzz around the place now, a sense of relief that there will be music and dancing after all. Unfortunately, the musicians headed to the Bull Arms and a crowd has gathered outside. Nari is at the door of the inn, telling the crowd to leave the musicians in peace to eat and rest after their journey. Seeing Willis and Rinjiminee with the three youths, she motions them to enter through the back door, sending Seelia off to find her father.

Inside the inn, the pair are introduced to the musicians: Merdil Lintham, his son Lars Lintham and his granddaughter Lina Lintham. They make small talk about their journey here and the difficulty they had coming through the high passes but are glad to have made it in time for the festivities. They are tired though and soon retire to their roooms.

Sometime later the Baron appears and motions the three youths into the back room leaving Willis and Rinjiminee free. Nari encourages them to head down to the village green where some events and competitions will be taking place, like axe-throwing and archery. She also mentions the beer tent and cake stall. At the mention of cake, Rinjiminee’s eyes light up and he eagerly suggests to Willis they should go to the village green.

The green is crowded, despite it being early afternoon, and the beer is flowing. The two adventurers sample some cakes before they spot a familiar Little Person in the beer tent. He is the one that gave them information about the Earl in the first place. He introduces himself as Merv Alkazar – a shortened name for the humans. He’s saddened to hear of the Earl’s demise and mentions that he liked the fella.

Leaving the two Bin’Eria to talk, Willis attempts to do some dancing in the crowded tent. He stumbles and crashes into a table before falling flat on his face. The patrons in the tent all pause and stare before bursting out with laughter.

With a mug of ale drank, Willis and Rinjiminee set to wander around the green. They come across a little boy who is crying. At first they think he’s lost his mummy and daddy but the kid says he lost his toy pony. A little wooden pull-along on wheels. He last had it at the bridge. At first Willis is reluctant to head all the way back across the village but Rinjiminee sets out to find the toy and Willis follows.

They find the toy on the riverbank beside the bridge but one of the wheels has come off. Rinjiminee tries his best to fix it but he doesn’t think it will stay on for long. On the way back to the green with the toy, Willis has the idea of stopping in at the blacksmiths to see if they can find a pin to hold it in place. Per is still working, extra duties for the trouble earlier and not going quick enough to Baron. He fixes the toy without any trouble. The little boy is delighted with his toy, once he’s given it back.

Rinjiminee decides to head to the Enclave and report back there. Willis is going to go along, but Rinjiminee points out that outsiders aren’t encouraged. Instead Willis mingles in the crowd by the green. He spots Doran lost in thought. He watches for a bit and realises he is keeping an eye on a group of girls, one of whom is Wenda Reaver. He manages to draw the young man out of his thoughts and Doran starts asking Willis advice on love and asking a girl out. Willis looks a bit out of place but eventually decides asking her to dance might be a good idea.

Meanwhile, Rinjiminee speaks to the leaders in the Enclave. They are thankful that someone has finally told them what is going on. They are a little put out that they weren’t invited to the negotiations but agree that it probably really is something between the Elves and the Humans. They hope Rinjiminee will keep them informed of what happens next with the death of the Earl. With that, Rinjiminee returns to the village.

The festivities are in full flow by now and several people are dancing to the music of the Lintham family. Willis and Rinjiminee hold back at first but after seeing Merv dancing with several women, Rinjiminee is encouraged to try. His first partner is an elderly widow who claims at the end of the dance that that’s the most fun she’s had in a long time. Encouraged, Rinjiminee asks another woman to dance. Willis, impressed by his fellow’s skill, starts chatting to younger women encouraging them to dance with Rinjiminee. After several dances, Rinjiminee is emboldened enough to ask Reminamorenatheral to dance. She politely accepts and Rinjiminee struggles to keep up. Willis, still watching from the sidelines, notices Doran and Wenda dancing together.

The festivities are cut short however, as three horn blasts sound. Panic quickly spreads through the villagers as shouts of “Orcs!” can be heard. Grabbing their weapons, Willis and Rinjiminee try to find Doran and Wenda and any other youngsters and children. They have a battle with two orcs and lose the youngsters in the confusion. Spying two more Orcs, they enter the full fight now, heading away from the green. With another two dispatched, the adventurers find themselves on the main street near the blacksmith’s. Three orcs are breaking in. Rinjiminee takes out his slug-thrower and shoots at them while Willis charges in. Two are killed but the third enters the dark building.

Willis enters the blacksmiths in pursuit while Rinjiminee stands guard outside. That is until he spots a large group of orcs charging down the street. He quickly abandons the idea of guarding and enters the blacksmiths too. Willis is still engaged in combat with the lone orc and Rinjiminee helps out. As the Orc is killed and they go to close the door over, they hear a shout from behind.

“Harald!” A woman shouts as a torch is light. A big man, clearly the blacksmith, stops suddenly just before he swung a hammer at Rinjiminee. He apologises for mistaking him for an orc. The blacksmith then notices the pair are bleeding and promptly faints.

The night outside seems quiet. The orc attack nears its end.

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