The eye of the storm — a crowd of survivors huddle around, while outside their town is under siege. Few of them can stand, let alone defend themselves. Four blood splattered strangers hobble in. Are they here to help, or are they here to take advantage of the situation?
The four adventurers survey the keep’s courtyard. The survivors they shepherded here mix with the crowd — some whisked away to have their wounds tended to, others to see if their loved ones made it. Guards bar the gate. Regardless of their plans, the adventurers are now locked in here with everyone else.
Balabar Rumbuckle, the adventurers’ patron, immediately starts pushing his way through the crowd. “Tarbaw,” he calls, looking for someone. “Where is he?” he demands from a red haired dwarf stationed in the corner. With a grunt, the burly dwarf nods his head in the direction of stairs leading up to the parapet.
With Balabar distracted, the adventurer’s set about exploring the keep themselves. Elven splits off, looking for a healer. The Kobold’s blades bit him deep, and he’s unsure how he’ll fare the night. Luckily, on the opposite side of the yard he finds an elven women tending to the wounded.
The women is Rashenid Lael, the town’s apothecary. Limited in the help she can provide, she tends to the injured as best she can. Without supplies from her shop there is little she can do. For Elven, she plucks some trampled weeds from the courtyard and muddles them into his wounds. The jabbing fingers sting his open flesh, but the pain slowly subsides and he feels refreshed.
Meanwhile, Webelo spies an unguarded door. Ever curious, he sneaks his way through it. Inside, he finds a mostly empty room. A few dusty spears sit mounted to the wall, across from a rusty gate. The gate must lead out the side of the keep, an alternate exit — something Webelo takes note of. Before he can explore further, he’s confronted from behind.
“Excuse me sir, what are you doing?” the guard asks. “If you’re looking for someone or something, I’d be happy to help”. Grumbling, hesitant to cause a conflict here, Webelo returns to the yard with Behal, the guard.
Elsewhere, Hunkir simply finds himself a soft spot in the yard. Seeing this as an opportunity for some down time, he lays down amongst the crowd and closes his eyes. The day was long, and he’s not here to get involved.
Sir Darin navigates through the yard, taking this time to find Linan and her family. Ever playing the hero, he wants to make sure they’re okay. Everyone’s quite shaken, but it seems like they’ll all survive. She extends a hand to Darin and thanks him for his help. Gratified, he turns and scans the yard for Balabar.
The gnomish merchant sits up atop the keep’s parapet, ranting to somebody out of sight. One by one the party reconvenes and climbs to join him. They want this night behind them and the pay that they’re owed.
The gnome stomps back and forth, speaking at fever pitch to a man’s back. That man, flanked by two guards, stands surveying the town — his town. The governor of Greenest, Tarbaw Nighthill, stands desperately trying to figure out how the town will survive the night. He raises a hand, cutting Balabar off, “Yes, yes. Your mill is important Balabar, but not if there is no town left for it to feed.”
Turning to one of his guards, Nighthill ponders, “What do they want? Why are they here? If we figure that out, the quicker we can be rid of them.”
Spying what Nighthill is watching, the adventurers see enemies amassing outside the keep. A purple clad figure barks orders, directing the mustachioed raiders. At her side stands a towering blue skinned menace, glaring right back at the parapet.
Then, from the opposite direction, a resounding boom and a burst of flames. “My mill!” Balabar exclaims.
Nighthill turns quick and, for the first time, takes notice of the four adventurers. Startled, he reaches for his dagger. “Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here?” he exclaims, assuming the stranger’s and the night’s events are no coincidence.
On the horizon, flames billow, threatening the Rumbuckle mill. Anxious to she his business saved, Balabar jumps in, “Whoa! They’re with me,” he intervenes.
Still suspicious of the adventurers, the governor concedes that the mill is in need of rescue. Though, he’s not able to mobilize a force fast enough — there are very few soldiers here, and the keep’s safety comes first.
Turning to the adventurers, Balabar suggests they go to save his mill. He argues that their agreement hinges on him having a home to return to. At that, annoyed that the job keeps getting more and more complicated, Webelo demands more pay. Moaning that he’ll have no profits by the time this trip is over, Balabar agrees.
With little choice, the governor accepts the plan. He’ll organize some guards as fast as he can and send them after the adventurers. Not knowing if he should fully trust them, he asks that they return to the keep afterwards, “If you encounter any raiders along the way, capture them and bring them back here. I have some questions that need answers.”
With all that agreed upon, one question remains: how do they get to the mill? Outside, surrounding the keep, raiders line up, walling off all lines of escape. It appears as if there is no way out.