The villagers-turned-adventurers trudged home on the tail end of a clear, cold day. Though they didn’t know it, for many of them it was to be the last night they spent in Mafertat. If they were hoping to be hailed as conquering heroes, they were sorely disappointed.
From all sides, silent villagers watched them enter town, most with sullen resentment plain on their face. Some muttered under their breath, others simply turned away, wanting nothing to do with them.
As they reached the center of town, two red-faced youths hurried towards the party. They spoke in rushed words, explaining that Innkeeper Barnes had heard they had gone into the portal, and wanted to thank them personally for following Robert’s dream.
Most of the adventurers went to the inn, while Vinnie The Bat stayed out to the guard the cart. Stu Went to the Shrine of All Faiths to pray to his god, Nimlurun, Lord of Filth and Pollution. Meanwhile, Pink and Sam went to see the blacksmith, Tad, about getting proper arms and armor for themselves and their compatriots.
The group that went to the inn were pleased to find that Barnes did indeed want to thank them. He threw a party for them, offering free food and drinks for everyone. The adventurers set to with a will, eating the free food and drinking the free booze.
Meanwhile, Stu found solace, praying to Nimlurun. His body, cleansed in the putrid energies of the Unclean one, he set off to the blacksmith to find armament as well.
The adventurers, finding themselves short of coin, decided to try and trade the giant stone doors for several sets of armor. He followed them out to the street to investigate the doors. Tad set to haggling with Eres about the trade until Vinnie interrupted. As Vinnie used the brilliant tactic of distraction through incoherent nonsense, Eres used the opportunity to attempt a little theft.
Eres, after a quick survey of the environment, decided that it wouldn’t be prudent to attempt a break-in in the middle of the day without any tools or pre-planning. He skulked back to Tad and the others, and after some haggling, managed to trade some of their ornate weapons for more mundane arms and armor.
The party went late into the night. A man and four of his friends stood up and, made their way over to the adventurers.
For reasons known only to him, he insulted the party, calling them cowards, liars and worse. He yelled for a time while the adventurers, hesitated on deciding how to deal with this unsavory individual.
Billar Congar, for this was the name of the foul-mouthed low-life who had accosted them, grabbed John Smith, the Elf, by the shirt and yanked him out of his seat. He screamed into John’s face, calling him that most vile of insults which can be leveled at an elf, Pointy Ears.
Billy, perhaps unaware of John Smith’s legendary bad temper, had picked the wrong elf to insult. John hesitated for the briefest of moments, deciding whether this insult warranted a stab to the eye, or a punch to the jaw. John leaned back and let a powerful punch fly, catching Congar right in the face.
Congar, shock clear on his face, yelled that he’d been assaulted and attacked, with his four friends close behind. What followed was a brief tussle, which ended with Congar unconscious outside, Stu choking out one of the lackeys and Eres threatening one of the thugs at spear point. Awnold, meanwhile, had spent the entire bar fight asking Barnes for a drink.
Congars’ two remaining allies carried him away from the scene while the man who Eres threatened sat in a chair, pleading for his life. Eres offered the man a job as an adventurers, telling him that if he and another friend who was handy with a bow showed up tomorrow they could have an equal portion of any treasure they found. Danel Lewis, happy to not be stabbed, agreed and hurried off into the night.
Soon after, they turned in for bed, with the bulk of the adventurers spending the night in the common room.
As they sat together having breakfast in the common room, a young lady named Mia came to see them. Sent by Mr. Chandler, she said her employer would like to speak to whoever represented the adventurers. Vinnie, sitting in the center of the room, holding the Rod of Command, proudly informed her that he was the boss of the group. He followed her to Mr. Chandler’s palatial house.
Meanwhile, a representative of Mayor Graves asked to speak with them as well.
Vinnie, apparently forgetting that he was meant in some way to represent the interests of the group, decided it would be better to spend the interview intentionally misunderstanding everything Mr. Chandler said in the most insulting way possible. Mr. Chandler tried to explain that he had been a merchant for many years before retiring to this small town with his wife. He didn’t get far before he decided that any group who was led by Vinnie The Bat was one he wanted nothing to do with. He asked Vinnie to be escorted from his home with instructions to not return.
Reese and Pink went to see Mayor Graves. He explained that he had heard some details of their adventure and that, while he appreciated their adventurous spirit, it was best for them to leave town as soon as possible. He knew their next likely destination was Bogotus and was interested in a trade. A recent Greatstorm had destroyed much of their seed stock and Graves would need the trading caravan from Bogotus to come early this year.
He proposed a trade. The throne and the gems they had procured from the Portal in exchange for his horse and wagon, with the understanding that they would see a man named John Flanders in Bogotus about getting the caravan sent out early with a new horse wagon for Graves, as well as the needed seed stock. Reese and Pink explained that they needed to discuss it with their team before they agreed and Graves asked them to return in an hour.
An hour later they returned and sealed the deal. Graves had the horses set to go by the time they delivered the throne and they were ready to leave soon afterwords.
Pink and Reese, somewhat suspicious of the too-quick meeting with Mr. Chandler and the rather obtuse report which came back from Vinnie, decided, independently, to investigate and find out the truth. They went around to Mr. Chandler’s house and were happily surprised to run into each other. They talked their way inside and managed to calm Mr. Chandler, who was still quite upset with his meeting with Vinnie.
They explained that Vinnie did not represent them and listened while Chandler described his adventures as a young man and gave them some advice for the road. Reese excused himself early, claiming that he had to take a dump and couldn’t wait. Before Reese left Chandler asked them if they would kindly deliver his final draft of the book he’d been writing, the Art of Negotiation to his lawyer, Mr. Cooper, in Bogotus for him. They agreed and Reese left.
After listening to Chandler for an hour, Pink felt that she had a far firmer grasp on negotiating tactics then she had before she’d showed up. Before she left, Chandler retrieved a fine scimitar from under his chair. He explained that this was the Merchants Last Resort, and he wanted her to have it. Pink graciously accepted the gift and left to leave with her party.
About two miles out of town Billy Congar and nearly twenty of his lackeys were waiting for them. Billy boldly stepped forward and hollered that they could leave in peace, if they left the treasure. The treasure, he reasoned, was just as much theirs as it was the party’s, since it was on village property.
Eres bravely went alone to parley with them. Unarmed and outnumbered he challenged Billy’s followers to leave while they had the chance, if they didn’t want to die. He made a rather convincing show of it and managed to run off twelve of the followers, leaving Billy with himself and five others.
Billy, seeing he was now outnumbered, called out that his friends were traitors and cowards. Eres, never one to let such an opportunity pass, offered a job to the four remaining cronies. Three agreed, leaving only Billy and a lone friend standing together.
Billy, proving that he possessed at least a modicum of sense, decided to run away, rather than fight seventeen men alone. As he ran into the tall grass he called out that he wouldn’t forget this and they’d all regret it someday. I’m sure they’ll never see Billy Congar again.
As Billy ran into the distance, Eres vowed that if he ever saw the man again he would personally kill the rat.
With that they set off again, following the Duke’s road to Bogotus.