It was hard to believe that the city walls of Xylon now stood in front of them. The large mining city nestled up against the southern range of the Gaea Mountains now stood in front of the adventurers. People moved in and out of the city, passing through the gates in haste. This was no longer like the small town of Bishop or the mostly abandoned city of Augendale. This was a bustling city filled with all sorts of people. But for Riffen and Juniper, there were only two, seperate individuals that mattered. Riffen was set out on finding his best friend and major crush, Captain Lillian Evergreen, while Juniper was desperate to find her brother, Julian Duskmere.
“Well we made it,” Sigthyme said as the group approached the city.
“It’s almost like seeing a living legend,” Riffen laughed a little under his breath. “I didn’t think we would make it.”
“Yeah I’ve been so focused on getting here, it almost doesn’t seem real,” Juniper said.
Juniper and Riffen exchanged a look acknowledging each other’s nervous energy.
“Excited!” Tak said with a big, toothy grin on his face.
“Me too Tak,” Sigthyme said with a smile.
Grace pulled a hood up around her face.
“We need to get past the guards first,” Grace said pointing forward.
Following the main road up to Xylon lead to a large city gate, where people seemed to be coming in and out of. Merchants, adventurers, and military personnel were just a few groups entering and leaving the city, with city guard checking people and assessing their intent. Merchant carts were checked to make sure nothing illegal was getting smuggled in or out of the city, and adventurers were chatted with to make sure they weren’t criminals or murderers trying to stir up trouble.
Eventually the five were waved forward by a pair of city guards and Juniper steered the cart forward. Riffen followed on horseback.
“Halt! Please state your business in the city of Xylon,” The guard said.
“The name’s Sigthyme,” Sigthyme said jumping up into the front of the cart. “We’re a group of adventurers traveling the Vern Road.”
“Adventures, huh?” The guard looked them up and down. “What about him?”
The guard pointed at Tak who sat on the back of the wagon with his war hammer across his lap.
“That’s just Tak. He’s with us.”
“Don’t worry, he’s house trained,” Riffen smirked.
The guard looked up and him and then rolled his eyes.
“Well he resembles creatures we often see ransacking villages and trying to breach the Gray Wall,” The guard said.
“Please, sir,” Juniper said leaning forward to talk to the guard. “May I ask you your name?”
“Francis,” He said, unable to hide his wide eyes and his red cheeks.
“Well, Sir Francis. I can assure you that Tak here is an adventurer like us. He means the city no harm. We will keep an eye on him the entire time. I promise you,” Juniper said with a cutesy smile.
“Yes…sure… yes,” Francis said. “Very well. You can enter. But be aware that Xylon has a heavy presence of city guards as well as Mardrecian Soldiers. If he acts up, we’ll know about it.”
“Thank you, Sir Francis,” Juniper said with a small wave as the cart entered the city.
Piakol, the dragon, popped his head up, but Sigthyme quickly covered the dragon with a blanket. Francis gave them a quick look, but then turned to check the cart behind them.
“Well that went well,” Grace said.
“Yeah, that Fred guy sure was swell,” Sigthyme said.
“His name was Francis,” Juniper said.
“Yeah whatever. Let’s see if we can find a place to stay in the city,” Sigthyme said. “I want to store this cart and then walk around the city.”
“I know both Juniper and I are eager to get out and find out where are people have gone,” Riffen said.
“I know my brother is around here somewhere, and I do not want to miss him,” Juniper said.
“Same with me and Lillian,” Riffen said.
“Well great. We’ll find an inn to stay and then we can separate. Riffen can go after the love of his life, Juniper can go find her brother, Tak and I can go find some cool adventuring stuff in the city, and Grace…well Grace can…” Sigthyme trailed off.
“I’ll go with Juniper,” Grace said.
“Great! All set! Now where is the closest bar?” Sigthyme said looking out over the crowds of people walking the streets of Xylon.
“Welcome to The Pilgrim’s Rest. The name is Eva. What can I do for you?” Eva asked leaning over the bar.
Sigthyme and Riffen stood in the center of the empty tavern while the rest stayed with the cart.
“My adventuring partners and I need rooms for tonight. Do you have any available?” Sigthyme asked.
“Absolutley, how many do you need?” Eva asked.
“Two…or three rooms, what do you think, Riffen?” Sigthyme turned to Riffen.
“Grace and Juniper can share one. You and Tak another. I can take a third,” Riffen said. “I guess we need three rooms.”
“You don’t want to share with Tak and I?” Sigthyme smiled.
“Even one night is one night too much,” Riffen said.
His words were harsh, but his tone was playful.
“Three rooms at two silver a piece will be six silver total per night,” Eva said.
Riffen handed over all six pieces.
“We should just need them for one night,” Riffen said.
“But if we need them for more than that, we’ll let you know,” Sigthyme said.
“Also is it possible to store our horses and wagon for the night?” Sigthyme asked.
“Two buildings down there is a place to store horses. Ask for Ed. He’ll give you a good deal if you tell ’em you are staying here,” Eva said.
“One more question. We are looking for some people who may have come through here in the past few days,” Riffen said.
Riffen went on to describe both Lillian Evergreen and Julian Duskmere to Eva.
“I’m sorry but neither of these people sound familiar. I’d hate to say it but the city is very large. It’s possible for outsiders to blend in on the streets of Xylon. Good luck on tracking them down,” Eva said.
“Any idea where we can start looking?” Riffen asked.
“Maybe start with the city guard. If they passed through the gates of Xylon, someone must have seen them. Either that or check the other inns in town. There are five total in the city. Or if you know why they came, you could try checking that out.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Riffen said. “Come on Sigthyme. Let’s go.”
“If you need anything else, just let me know,” Eva said before returning to cleaning mugs and glasses.
Riffen and Sigthyme walked out The Pilgrim’s Rest to join the rest of the group.
“So how did it go?” Juniper asked.
“We have rooms for the night and we know where we can house our horses,” Sigthyme said.
“The bartender had no information about Lillian or Julian, but she suggested we talk to the city guard or check other inns in the city,” Riffen said.
“I was hoping they were here, but I guess that was a bit of wishful thinking on my part,” Juniper said. “The city is large. It could take time for us to find them.”
“If only we knew someone who could find them using magical means,” Riffen said.
“What do you mean, Riffen?” Grace asked.
“I knew someone who had magic that allowed them to find people,” Riffen said.
“Really? Who?” Sigthyme asked.
“Uh…it was a…a Princess,” Riffen said.
Grace’s eyes grew large.
“Riffen? You met a Princess?” She asked.
“Yeah it was just for a little bit, but she helped me find Lillian,” Riffen said. “Can we change the subject.”
The group got quiet.
“Want to go house some horses?” Sigthyme asked.
The group walked down the block to find the stables. They met with Ed who was a Gnome Male. They managed to house the horses and the cart for the night.
“I guess we make our separate ways,” Sigthyme said.
“I guess so,” Riffen said.
“Look we don’t have to just say goodbye now, right?” Juniper said looking over at Tak. “We are all in town for at least one more day.”
“Right,” Tak said.
“We can go about the city on our own and meet back at The Pilgrim’s Rest for dinner tonight,” Juniper said.
“Sounds like a great plan,” Sigthyme said.
“Grace, you’re with me right?” Juniper asked her.
“Yup!” Grace smiled.
“Great, let’s go,” Juniper said and Grace and her peeled off from the group.
“I’m going to go talk to the city guard. They must have seen Lillian,” Riffen said. “See you two later tonight.”
Riffen left and set off towards the Xylon City Gates.
“Well I guess it’s just me and you, big guy. What do you want to do?” Sigthyme asked Tak.
“Adventure,” Tak said raising up his war hammer.
“Right. Right. Adventure. First put that away so you don’t scare anyone. I’m sure that there are adventuring guilds around here,” Sigthyme said.
Sigthyme and Tak walked out into the streets of Xylon searching for an adventure guild.
Header Photo Credit to Black Strum