The Dwarf stood in the middle of the mostly empty tavern with a grimace across his face. In his hands he held a ball of red, arcane energy.
“Burn,” He growled as he reached out his hand.
“Get down,” Grace said shoving Sigthyme aside.
The Dwarf unleashed a torrent of flames from his hand. Grace quickly jumped sideways as the flames came close, singeing some of her hair.
What was left of the bar patrons ran and screamed as they fled the tavern.
“What’s going on?” Eva asked as she emerged from the kitchen.
“Run, Eva,” Sigthyme yelled.
Eva saw the Dwarf and the fire and immediately turned to run toward the kitchen.
“Pick on somone your own size,” Grace said as she unleashed one of her daggers. She threw it at the Dwarf, striking him in the chest.
“You’re going to regret that,” The Dwarf yelled.
He unleashed another stream of flames towards Grace, but she ducked underneath a table. The flames struck the table and the nearby wall, which both caught fire.
“We need to end this quickly or this whole place is going to go up in flames” Grace yelled toward Sigthyme.
Sigthyme jumped up on a table.
“Over here, ugly!” Sigthyme yelled. “Do you really think you could charm such a brilliant mind like me?”
The Dwarf growled and unleashed some more fire toward Sigthyme who managed to sidestep the flames but they struck the wall near the doorway.
“You really have terrible aim,” Sigthyme mocked him.
“Shut up!” The Dwarf said holding one hand to his head.
Grace leaped forward and with her other dagger in hand. The Dwarf was completely distracted as Grace plunged the dagger into his back, knocking him to the ground.
“Get off of me,” The Dwarf swung a fist hitting Grace upside the head.
She rolled off of him and laid on the ground, slightly dizzy from the strike.
The Dwarf stood up and laughed.
“Now you die,” He said.
The fire built up in his hands and he extended a hand toward Grace.
“I don’t think so, pyromaniac,” Sigthyme said.
Sigthyme held out his hands and purple, arcane runes hung in the air. The flames in the Dwarf’s hands vanished.
“What did you do?” The Dwarf turned toward Sigthyme.
“Counterspell,” Sightyme said with a wink.
The Dwarf looked down at Grace.
She kicked her leg, smashing the Dwarf beneath his jaw and he stumbled backward, slamming into a table. He slumped to the ground, unconscious.
“Great, let’s get out of here,” Sigthyme said.
He looked around the room was quickly filling with smoke and fire.
“What about him,” Grace said pointing at the unconscious Dwarf.
“Grab your daggers and I’ll help you drag him out of here.”
Grace ran over the Dwarf and pulled her daggers from his body. She quickly cleaned the blades on the Dwarf’s cloak before sheathing them. Then Sigthyme ran over and grabbed the Dwarf. They both dragged him out of the burning building.
Outside there was a small crowd of people who was gathered around, watching. The tavern was on fire as large pillars of black smoke rose from the building. There were some bells ringing.
Eva ran up to both Sigthyme and Grace.
“I’m so glad you two are ok,” She said. “What about him? Who is he?”
“We have no idea,” Sigthyme said.
“He wanted to kill us,” Grace said.
“Well he burned down my establishment,” Eva said turning her attention toward The Pilgrim’s Rest.
“Everyone stand back! Disperse!”
Sigthyme looked over and a series of city guard had made their way toward the burning building. Alongside them was an older man with a gray beard, dressed in dark green robes. The older man stepped forward and started to wave his hands. Arcane runes did not appear, but Sigthyme could tell that he was some sort of spell caster.
The man’s hands began to glow a gentle green color and water started to form in the air in front of him. He pushed the water forward as it spread through the air and started to extinguish the flames.
“Please, everyone. Step back,” The guards held back the crowd.
“Eva,” One of the guards recognized her and came forward. “Are you hurt? What happened?”
“This man here attacked my patrons,” She said pointing at the Dwarf.
The city guard knelt down to examine the Dwarven man.
“I recognize him. He’s one of the people associated with Krumb. Must be one of his gang members,” She said. “And you said he attacked your patrons.”
“These two, here,” Eva said placing her hands on Grace and Sigthyme.
“Do you two have a relationship with this man?” The City Guard asked.
“No Ma’am,” Sigthyme said. “We don’t know him. We are just adventurers passing through.”
“He attacked us for no reason,” Grace said.
The city guard nodded.
“We’ll take this Dwarf to the jail. You two will have to come with us to give a statement to the Chief.”
“He can make fire,” Grace said.
“Don’t worry. We have special precautions to handle magic users,” The City Guard said.
“Eva, do you have a place to stay tonight? If not, we can get you a room over at The White Hat.”
“Thank you for the offer but I can stay at my sister’s for tonight,” She said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to recover some of my things.”
They all turned to look at The Pilgrim’s Rest. The cloaked figure had made quick work with the fire, using the water from his hands to extinguish the flames. There were still many dark spots and holes where the fire had burned the wood as well as smoke damage, but the fire had been put out.
“Wow. That was amazing,” Sigthyme said.
“That would be the work of Geo Plattis. A strong Druid and high ranking member of The Pact of Thorns. Also my husband. You are lucky we were taking an evening stroll when we saw the flames,” She said.
“How rude of me, I didn’t even get your name,” Sigthyme said.
“The name is Rhea,” She said. “And you two are?”
“Sigthyme. And this is Grace.”
“Nice to meet you both. Now let’s head toward the courthouse,” Rhea said.
Juniper, Tak, and the monk assassin were all frozen in place by the strength of a powerful spell. A young woman wearing a very colorful dress skipped toward them as she held out a hand. Arcane runes hung in the air and slowly faded from one color to the next.
Next to her was a young man wearing all black armor made his way forward. He wielded a dark metal shield in one hand and a silver sword in the other. He glared at all three of them.
“Keep an eye out. There might be more of them,” The man said as he glanced around the empty marketplace.
“I don’t think so,” The woman said. “I think I got all three of them.”
Juniper tried to speak, but she was unable to move at all. Tak also struggled against the magic.
The attacker tensed and the magical affect seemed to drop from her.
The girl seemed shocked.
“You escaped my spell. How rude,” She said.
“Bye Robin-dorks,” The monk said.
She turned and started to run, very quickly away from them.
“Hey come back here!” The colorful woman yelled.
“We can not let her escape. Stay here with these two,” The man in all black said as he ran past them and began chasing down the monk.
“Wait, Sauler!” The woman yelled.
But it was too late. The man, named Sauler, disappeared into the dark on the hot pursuit of the attacker.
Juniper felt the magic leave her body and her body came back to her. She was able to move her body and she opened her mouth.
“That kind of hurt,” Juniper said.
The woman turned.
“Not you too,” She said holding up her hands. “Don’t make me restrain you.”
“Woah,” Juniper said raising up her hands. “I’m not. I’m not going to run or attack you. We were attacked by that man. Please don’t use any more magic on us.”
Juniper glanced over at Tak who was still frozen, mid-swing.
“Please can you release my friend. We mean you no harm. We were just protecting ourselves,” Juniper said.
The woman looked a bit nervous but let down her hands and the colorful arcane runs vanished. Tak finished his swing, but now all the momentum was lost.
“No like magic,” Tak said laying the head of his warhammer on the ground.
“No funny business, alright? Because I can do that again,” The woman said.
“No funny,” Tak said.
“Don’t worry. We won’t try anything,” Juniper said. “Are you and uh… that other guy members of the city guard?”
“Ha. No. That’s my brother Sauler. He’s not the authority type. I’m Mara. Nice to meet you,” Mara said extending a hand and Juniper shook it.
“We are members of The Robinhearts. You’ve heard of them, right?”
Juniper shook her head no.
“We are both new to the city,” Juniper admitted.
“Adventurers! Love it!” Mara said with a large smile on her face. “Well we are both a part of this awesome Adventuring Guild in the city called The Robinhearts. All the best and most powerful people join and we help out the city. Help stop bad people or kill monsters while the army or the city guard are busy with stuff. We’re the best.”
“Yeah I can see that. You are quite a mage,” Juniper said.
“Thanks. I’m really more of an artist but I like magic too,” Mara said. “I see you got a bow. Are you a fighter.”
“More of a tracker and hunter,” Juniper said.
“Well, you’d fit in great with The Pact of Thorns. Lots of nature lovers over there,” Mara said. “Of course if you are good enough, I’d love to see you over at The Robinhearts.”
“Monster hunters,” Tak said.
“Oh, you must be talking about The Titan’s League. They are a bunch of monster hunters. Mostly low-level stuff. They are run by this crazy old man. Are you two members?”
“I think my friend is considering it,” Juniper said.
“I wouldn’t waist your talents over there. If you can fight, you should also join The Robinhearts. We don’t have a lot of heavy hitters like you, especially not Goliaths.”
Sauler emerged in the marketplace again, this time slightly out of breath.
“She got away,” Sauler said.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Mara said. “I guess we better go report this to the city guard.”
“What about these two?” Sauler asked. “You weren’t fraternizing with them, were you?”
“We were just talking. They are adventurers. New to the city.”
“Well we need to take them in.”
“Woah. Wait. We didn’t do anything,” Juniper said.
“You were fighting in the middle of this marketplace. We saw you,” Sauler said.
“We were just defending herself against that woman,” Juniper said.
“Defend,” Tak nodded.
“Who was that anyway?” Juniper asked.
“Not sure,” Sauler said. “Probably one of Krumb’s people. He’s always been a thorn in my side.”
“Krumb? Who’s Krumb?” Juniper asked.
“Blue guy. Lots of crime. Big into selling people into slavery,” Mara said. “He hides out in the underbelly of the cit. Constantly on the move. We’ve been trying to grab him for awhile.”
“You two will have to go to the courthouse to give a statement. The Chief of The City Guard will want to hear from you,” Sauler said.
“We can’t. We have to find our friend. He is missing,” Juniper said.
“Find Riffen,” Tak said.
“Well you have to give a statement, first. We can’t release you until you do,” Sauler said.
“Plus if someone you know is missing, you’ll want to tell The Chief. They’ll really want to hear about it,” Mara said.
“Look we can take you by force or you can come with us,” Sauler said.
“Oh, please, please come with us!” Mara said grabbing Juniper’s arm like they were good friends.
“Yeah I guess we have too,” Juniper said.
“Find Riffen,” Tak repeated.
“Don’t worry, Tak. We’ll make this quick and then we’ll find Riffen. I just hope the others are safe. Maybe Riffen has shown up at The Pilgrim’s Rest by now,” Juniper aid.
Sauler lead the group as Mara hung on Juniper’s arm.
“You both seem wonderful! I’m glad we met,” Mara said as they walked toward the courthouse.
Header Photo Credit to Paladin en el Infierno