The Plague of Rats having been freed by fire- the problem was quickly falling behind our barely escaping transit. The horses strained. Pulling 30 bags of Dunross-milled flour, 3 common adventurers, a not-so-common Tuomi, the burning town’s ex-mayor and it’s chief ex-rat killer and their healer, a very unfortunate half-dog and of course our Dwarf. All trying to impress, I tried to give approving glances where I may. But alas, this time of caring and thoughtful praise had to be cut short, for our most emoting companion leapt from the wagon. No, not Agnes, not the other women- our Dwarf. So bold, so… <sigh>
The wagon, at its quickening pace, made a fast and widening gap as the boulder-legged martyr trundled away towards the great blaze. Restraining my Noble’s fury, I used measured words to stop the Dwarf and so too our wagon. By the time the Tuomi and I reached the foolish fellow, he was utterly undone, a masterpiece of burns and blisters. We loaded the over-cooked cargo back on the wagon and off we went with dark skies and cruel winds closing in.
Just before all remnants of light fled, we found ourselves back at the familiar way-tower but this time lodging squatters. As it turns out these were Reliqus men from The Citadel, some four days east of here, set with the task of locating their wagon team that had been headed to Dunross for flour. There were two men, one a proper scholar by the name of Guldir ap Regila and the other a tracker of dubious quality named Scrat. After exchanging pleasantries and titles in Trader-speak, I spared nothing in the retelling of our victory over orcs, rats, and plague. In this, they were suitably awed. Others of our group told of the Citadel’s failed and doomed wagon-team. Then our Tuomi gifted them the bones of their dead, and was rewarded blood-rights of 30 gold scields. At dawn we parted ways, the survivors of Dunross joining the east road with the Reliqus men.
The same evening; after a grueling march from the way-tower; and dropping off the last of this area’s milled flour; we find ourselves seated in the Mayor of Dalsetter’s den. His ill-suited retainer at our call serving this land’s banner drink- watered wine. After the telling of the warded shed against the other storehouses whose wards had been defaced, the mayor encouraged us to make the acquaintance of a well-known local merchant named Penda, though he was genuinely affronted at the smallest mention of Penda’s possible complicity. The group, calling for rest, and I an easy mark for the welfare of the hardscrabble poor, felt these weathered souls could use a respite for all their good intentions.
The next day finds us talking with the apple and grain farmer, Penda. A curt interrogation reveals he blames a skinny bucked tooth and bearded northerner for cajoling him to protect his stores at the expense of others and then to move those stores here. We decide to check on the town’s sheds given all that has transpired so far.
At the local storehouses we are shocked to find giant rats within and more of the same orcs! Again I am put to the task and again magic trumps might and I skillfully put down the majority. No praise expected and none found. But, one got away and not even my skills could stop this one. An Orc we had seen before fled to the outer town’s berm only to vanish! I investigated. It clearly vanished. Upset, I have sworn to myself this Orc will find the story of his death in my Journal inside a week.