The little group set off with a big carriage of timber pulled by two leisurely oxen. They rode the bandit’s horses, but Tony was free this time. He almost took advantage of it, but every time came back to the carriage eventually. He was faithful, or just afraid alone, who knows. Everybody was enjoying the trip, the mages could rest finally, and the pile of timber was comfy enough with some blanket on it from the baggage. It was really peaceful till Lisa noticed a lonely rider behind them. They decided to make a trap for this shady small rider, and while the carriage went on and on the road with everybody else, Lisa was laying low in a really thorny bush… She waited till the rider rode next to her, then jumped out, and shouted at him/her. When the rider turned back, it was obvious that she was a girl. And indeed, she was Delia, the daughter of the innkeeper of Logerswold. She said that she need some adventure because she hates her life at home, and she wants to join them. Lisa was thinking, but she was sympathetic too (obviously). She got an idea, and asked her to fight a duel. Delia was a little puzzled, but even though Lisa was the winner, Delia could show her, that she could handle not just a dagger but a short sword too. When they caught up the carriage, the boys were really surprised, and Ezekiel was a little grumpy because of Delia. He insisted that she have to go home, but Lisa was at her side, and the others didn’t really care, so they went on together.
When the group arrived to Sothmere, the village seemed suspiciously empty. Because of the experiences of the past, they were afraid that something bad happened here too, but when they asked an old man sitting near the village hall, he said that the people were preparing the clearing next to the village for the festival of the foundation stone. They asked about the wall, and the construction, and the old man instructed them. They went up on a small hill, where they found Ser Vilem, showed him the timber, and talked about the bargain, but he said he have to think about this venture and today is the feast anyway, therefore they agreed to meet in 3 days, after the fiesta.
So the adventurers went to the village hall to put down the baggage, looked around in the village, and helped with the preparing. In the evening the fiesta started, and everybody had a good time. In the three days they bought many things, drank many beer and ryott ale, and met many interesting people. First, there was a dwarf tradesman, Strom Karsgard who was dealing with Lisa, and made a good relationship with some business of course. During their shared meal he revealed that Aneirin, the Dalish apostate was requesting lyrium in its powder form which is a very dangerous alchemical substance. They met with an old witch, Old Stoyanka, who was a bit ill-natured, and had a crow. This crow was similar to what they saw in the swamp when they travelled here. Ezekiel participated and won all kind of games and tests of might, even fighting a friendly duel with Ser Vilem in his shiny armour. Lisa won the competition held for archers with a close second Fiala, a young huntress of Sothmere. They bought various weapons and jewelry from Bogdan the blacksmith and Strom, the dwarven merchant, spending some of their fortune.
Aneirin became a big fan of two Elf stuntman / woman, but actually the whole village loved their art. The Elven man, Olek was an incredible acrobat, and everybody was laughing some of his tricks, but the woman, Dielza was the big sensation, who was a very gifted performer so when she sang and danced, the people fell silent and were delighted. When Aneirin spoke to her she revealed that she and her brother was the last of their clan, and this was the women’s legacy to make people understand the world of Dalish by the songs and dances. Aneirin was devastated knowing that if this woman dies, this precious knowledge will fade and dies with her too.
The last night the festive mood was the highest, everybody was dancing and having fun. Dorian and Aneirin finally had a conversation on a little walk around the dance stage and slowly started to know each other. Ezekiel was paying attention to Delia who was a little uncomfortable with it, but who knows what would be the outcome of the courtship, when an unexpected incident happened.
Aneirin and Lisa noticed first that some disgusting creature was running toward the dancing villagers. They looked like a man, but stronger and somehow squeezed out, their eyes was yellow, their veins popped out… It was obvious that they didn’t come to dance, but to kill.
The mages tried to stop them till the others were trying to manage the villagers, but the people panicked, and started to run everywhere, so Lisa and Ezekiel started to fight too. Ezekiel tumbled down a table for covering Lisa and Delia, who was confused first, but later she joined the fight. The tactic was similar, like before: Ezekiel run to the beasts while Lisa was shooting, and the mages healed Ezekiel or damaged the bastard creatures. Delia was throwing knives, thought she was acute but without strength she couldn’t hurt them too much. Lisa’s arrows were accurate and fine as always, meanwhile Dorian was using some very efficient winters grasp. Aneirin was operating with his good old mind blast spell, as usual. Ezekiel was irresistible as always, but maybe he could think other ways to show his ability to the others, with a girl maybe. He shouldn’t think of that. One of the Rager, who was cut by him just before, dipped his axe to his yellowish green blood and scratched Ezekiel with it. It wasn’t a big deal, really, and Dorian healed him immediately. But why…
In the end, they killed all of the Ragers on this side of the clearing, but they heard the villagers screaming, and knew there are more. Suddenly Aneirin caught sight of Dielza and his brother, who were running away from two Ragers. They were separated, Olek was running toward the forest, Dielza toward them, but the creature sprang on her starting to maul her… They immediately succored her killing the beast, but in between they lost Delia, who got panicked too, and ran away.
Aneirin examined the almost dead Dielza, and found out something horrible. Meanwhile Ezekiel felt a little dizzy, and sick, and started to associate this sickness with the axe and the greenish blood. Aneirin saw the beautiful elf woman lying on the ground, brutal wounds on her chest, her blood a little yellow, and her veins popping out…
- It’s contagious – he said when Ezekiel tumbled down to the ground.
to be continued…