Badger does a fire show in the streets. Of course, he's not meaning to do a fire show, but often times people around him assume he's some kind of performer, putting on a show. This time, it involves him trying got scotch a rather lively squirrel, and it often surviving by the skin of its teeth. Badger can't understand why the people around him keep clapping.
Shaking his head at the antics of these strange folk, the tall goilath walks up to the nearest townsmen and asks for directions to the nearest way shrine, temple, or graveyard. He will then make for whatever serves as a holy site to pay his respects.
As he leaves he says to his new guard companions, "I will arrange for one more nights stay at the 'Fishin' inn. I will be there for dinner and hope you all will join me."
This may take an hour or two but not all day. So from mid afternoon till next morning Lu Manno will be at 'Fishin'.
Milady forced herself to be satisfied with the extra day of pay for free. She couldn’t expect much from a small settlement like this. So she followed the others as they went into the village center. She took pride in the looks she got from the men, favoring a few of the more handsome young men with a smile. She worked hard to look this good, and it was an asset in her line of work.
As everyone goes their own way, Milady heads back to the Fishin’ where they had stayed the night before. She moved up to the bar and smiled at the men. “Anyone care to buy a lady a drink?” she asked, adjusting the black eye mask she wore to make sure it was secure.
Milady will flirt and ask questions, getting the gossip of the town, especially if anyone is particularly wealthy and needs to be relieved of some coin that may be burdening them, or some young sap that came into an extensive inheritance, or an old rich man about to die in need of some companionship. Any way to make a quick con.
you all separate, involved in your own activities.
Whisper, several of the younger to middle aged ladies seem interested.
Badger, several of the village youth are delighted by your inability to scorch a innocent squirrel until the local constable come and tell you to stop before you burn the town down.
Thandar, While you do see a couple older men sitting around drinking, the only real inn or taproom is Fishin'. When you stalk into the place, the inkeeper looks at you and says"You look like you could use a drink" and pours you a small glass of thick liquid that is a yellowish color. Drinking it, it tastes faintly of peaches and cinnamon but then the burn begins and you know that this is not a drink to guzzle down like cheap ale.
Lu-manno, it is only a ten minute walk southeast to the local graveyard. it is a simple affair, a wide patch of ground surrounded by a low stone wall. the headstones are all just square stones without even names carved in, likely because they have no-one who knows how. It's quite peaceful here and you are able to re-center yourself before heading back to town.
Milady, you walk into Fishin' to see Thandar already there. “Anyone care to buy a lady a drink?” One older man seems interested at first but then seems think better of it, puts several coppers on the bar for the innkeeper and walks out, shaking his head.
Right around noon you hear what, at first, you take as a low, distant thunder. but then you realize that it is drums. then you hear the sounds of violins and other instrument playing a upbeat tune coming from the north part of town. Walking out of Fishin', you see a large group of brightly dressed people coming down the main street of town.
In front is a large man in bright blue pants and a half-vest. He has pale green skin and black hair with an elaborate handlebar mustache and a tall hat that flops to one side. Behind him is a group of elaborately dressed people, some human, some halfling, half-elven and even a pair of tabaxi. One is a large human, beating on a large bass drum, the sound you heard earlier, Another is a lithe half elf playing a fiddle, another is a Halfling playing a flute and yet another is a human playing a concertina. As they play, one of the Tabaxi, a female with gleaming gray-silver fur is dancing and cartwheeling, walking on her hands and performing other acrobatics while the other, a dark-furred male expertly juggles three large, curved swords.
The procession stops near the center of the small town and you see that many of the townspeople are gathered on the sides of the main street, looking at the group. the music fades away as the large man in front speaks "Greetings, people of Esmer! I am Darvo Mauhak and this fine group behind me is the family I have chosen! We invite you, all of you, to come and see our performance this very evening. Yes! For the meager price of five copper pieces you, too, can see the mysterious, the mesmerizing, amazing and, yes, possibly even miraculous!" He gestures broadly, as if to encompass the whole of the town, "Come, join us this evening in our celebration of life and he many wonders it holds!"
With that, the music begins again and the performers begin their various activities as they begin weaving in and out of the townspeople. Darvo, looks and, apparently, sees Whisper and Milady. Donning a huge smile he walks over to them and says "Well, i must say that I've traveled many leagues and not seen ladies of your quality in many a moon. I certainly hope you two will join us this evening. Or at least me." He gives a elaborate wink and sidles back into the crowds, greeting people and shaking hands.
Eventually, after about twenty minutes of this, the group begins heading back north to the large tent they've erected.
Milady was a bit disappointed in her attempts to tempt anyone at the bar. She sighed and tossed down a couple coppers for a glass of the local brew. She was about halfway through when the commotion began outside.
Milady followed the rest of the patrons outside to see the arrival of the carnies. She raised an eye at the green-skinned man. She can’t help but smile as he flirts with her and Whisper. Well, a carnival. That would be perfect cover for any petty little larceny she performed. After all, as the only strangers in town, she and her companions would have been the first blamed. But with carnies in town, the blame would naturally shift.
“We do have a free evening,” Milady reminded the others. “And an extra day’s pay. Surely a carnival is better than sitting in the tavern alone -- since everyone else in town will be at the carnival.” That was the way with these small villages.
Whisper tried not to swear - except inside his head - when the racket that is the carnival entered the small town. He was just about to sell a few bottles of his soft smelling but cheap perfume to the locals, when they got distracted by the new arrivals.
When everybody in town seems to gather before the newcomers, Whisper reluctantly gets up and saunters over lazily. Knowing Milady just enough to understand her thoughts upon seeing her smile, Whisper studies the carnival people more closely. A variety of races, and indeed two tabaxi! Seeing one of his own here brings Whisper both great joy and some annoyance - for once, he is not the only one special here, and for the attention craving wanderer, that almost outweighs the thrill of talking to people from his homeland again.
Then Darvo addresses him and Milady. Is he.. flirting with me? Whisper sniffs politely, trying to fathom if the green man is wearing perfume, and if so, what sort, then he nods. Not saying a word, he blinks a few times, then looks past him at the two tabaxi.
When Darvo is out of earshot, Whisper turns to Milady and grins. "Talk later," he says, his intentions clear. Then he addresses his other companions.
"Tabaxi acrobats are the best in the world. Not many come to these cold lands. We should go see them."
Milady raised an eyebrow at Whisper’s whispered words. “Sure…” she said, unsure what the tabaxi wanted to talk to her about. She looked about the town. Everyone was excited. This was probably the most exciting thing the town had seen since Mrs. Henderson’s goat got up on the roof of her barn.
“Gods, I hate small towns…” Milady muttered to herself.
The rest of the day passes quietly, except for a minor scuffle between two old codgers who are clearly well into their cups. As the sun nears the horizon, you again hear the music, this time a lone violin, coming from the north edge of town. the melody is soft and haunting, almost begging you to come find it. As you peer out the front door of Fishin', you see many of the townsfolk heading that way.
Once you reach the edge of town you can see the one enormous tent that has been erected there as well as at least a dozen smaller ones and a score or more of wagons, both simple for supplies and gear and elaborately decorated ones with roofs for living in.
Inside the large tent, several rows of simple benches have been set up, facing the central pole, which rises at least forty feet up to the top. floating around the space are numerous small, lighted globes. each one is roughly round and looks like nothing so much as a simple soap bubble but glows with a steady yellowish light as they lazily drift through the space inside the tent. As you find seats, you see a small boy actually run up and touch one. It explodes into a riot of colors and dozens of smaller globes with a soft >pop<. this smaller globes swirl like a flock of birds up into the air where they coalesce back into a single sphere.
After several minutes, it appears that everyone who is coming has arrived, besides your group there are around forty or so people sitting on the wood benches as well as several small children seated on the ground in front. Gradually, the globes dim a bit and you hear the violin grow stronger and the performer, a lean and lanky man of indeterminate age strides up the center aisle playing his baleful tune until he arrives next to the central pole. once arriving there, he stops playing and a brief hush falls over the space and he stands completely still, looking like a statue more than a man.
Suddenly he spins facing the assembled group and draws his bow across the strings in a bright, long, note that gives you a feeling of tension, as if something is about to happen. The globes blink out dropping the area into complete darkness for several long seconds before blinking back on right above the head of Darvo, now dressed in a simple grey pant, tunic and face paint. "Greetings one and all and welcome into our humble home! Tonight, we hope to delight you with our talents and skills, delight you with music and, perhaps, frighten you just a bit. You shall see and hear tales of times long gone, Amazing feats of agility and creatures from other parts of the world you've likely not seen before.
Beginning with this:" He gestures and the globes spread out over the interior of the tent once again, only now, there is a lumpy gray and brown mass spread out over the dirt floor. Darvo steps into the shadows and begins to recite, as if he is the most eloquent holy man. "in the early days of the world, the rocks and earth spun and rolled," as he says this, the mass begins to move and you realize it is many performers all dressed in gray, rolling and tumbling, only in extreme slow motion. "The gods looked down on their creation and proclaimed it good." At the top of the tent, on a small platform, a single figure stands in a multi-hued outfit with a single, bright globe by them, seemingly representing all the gods. "But there was one, the great serpent Yaggroth, who was Not pleased for he wanted a place in the sky with the other gods," A pair of performers dressed in vibrant green appear among the mass of gray, one holding the other and they leap and roll and seem to swim into and out of the mass. "Yaggroth seethed and roiled at his exclusion and cried out 'Why?! Why must I be of the earth and not of the sky?' and the Gods replied 'Because you are not a god, you were created, not creator.' At this, the great Yaggroth began to climb into the sky so that he might join the gods in Their home." The two green clad performers make their way to the central pole and begin rolling and climbing around the pole, over and over they go around, gradually ascending. "Higher and higher Yaggroth climbed until he reached the home of the Gods and cried 'I am ascended!' But the Gods were not kind, and struck Yaggroth from their lofty home." The multi-colored figure gestures as if striking the others and, with a heart wrenching gasp they let go of the pole! However, they fall only the briefest of moments before they begin to circle the central pole by a thin cord tied to an ankle and wrist. "Great Yaggroth, the world serpent, was struck down and returned to his lowly home." The green clad performers finally return to the gray mass where they are deftly caught. "But," Darvo says in a whisper which begs you to listen harder. "Yaggroth did not perish in his fall from Gods home and, even today, writhes and coils under us, waiting for another chance to rise." Suddenly the green performers are among the crowd, running, leaping and shouting, causing several townspeople to jump and laugh. When you return your attention to the central area, the gray mas is gone and, when you go to look for the green clad performers again, they, too cannot be seen.
Darvo steps back into the light, now wearing a brilliant red and orange outfit with a elaborate hat made to look like flames. "A round of applause for the Halmar sisters as our serpent, if you would." The two reappear from the back part of the tent where there is another opening and the assemblage claps and hoots appreciatively. "And now, a special performance by our friend, DIla, the fire dancer." The globes subtly shift color from white to a yellowish orange and a small female dwarf comes out with several sticks and two pails. She begins by igniting two sticks and each end and proceeds to twirl them expertly around her body as she dances and capers; cartwheels, handstands, front- and back-flips all are included as the fire-sticks whirl and twirl around her almost appearing as a living partner. She then draws out a third, ignites it, and begins to juggle the flaming sticks, tossing them high into the air and catching them deftly. Then, dropping two into one pail, where they fizzle out she sticks her hand into the other and touches the flame to it and you watch as the flames dance and writhe on her hand. She, seemingly unhurt by this, twists and contorts her arm moving the flame as if it were glass. With a flourish, Dila grabs two large fans and blows a great gout of fire from her mouth and fans it higher, the heat that comes wafting over the audience makes it clear that this is no illusion. Twice more the flame erupts and she fans it to great heights. Finally, Dila takes a deep bow as the audience cheers heartily.
Again, Darvo steps back into the light, now wearing a deep green outfit thht looks as if it had scales. "Dila, the fire dancer! She is amazing, yes? Now, i must ask any parents who have brought their children to hold them tight for we bring to you a beast, a creature of terror from far away lands." the rear of the tent opens again and two large men haul out a large reptilian thing that looks like a cross between a frog, a orc and a snake. it is manacled on all four limbs and looks wary as the men drag it out into the tent. "Behold, Arbold. a creature from across the world." the crowd murmers as Arbold is brought to the center.
As the two large men muscle Arbold around, from outside, you can hear a bell suddenly ring out. The townspeople murmur, looking at each other.
Then again. And again. Arbold looks around nervously and begins to drag his handlers towards the rear of the tent. Darvo turns to the audience and says "What is that?"
Someone in the crowd says "The alarm. Something is wrong."The bell begins pealing over and over again and now you can hear shouting and screams from outside the tent as Arbold drags his two handlers out the rear of the tent.
It's difficult, through the throng of people trying to exit the tent all at once, but you manage to make it out and, there, see flames lighting the cool night air as they lick the tops of several roofs and, just to the east, there are two large groups of creatures that do not appear to be human.
As the crowd begins hustling back towards their homes, one of the groups heads into town while the other fires a round of arrows into the crowd. Several people fall amid shouts of pain and anguish.
You are under attack, now would be a good time for initiative rolls.
Whisper watches the performance with some interest. He does not care much for the fire dancer, but the serpent's movements are.. hypnotic. At various times, the tabaxi has to put an effort in retracting his claws and refrain from jumping at the seductively prey-like moving thing.
It is over too soon. Whisper does not care about the big reptilian creature; anything that is a curiosity to this part of the world is taking the spotlight away from him and the catman in particular loathes that it is a scaly, unattractive thing that gets the people's attention.
Then the alarm starts.
Looking at Milady, realizing he had wanted to make a plan to con the villagers - or the carnival, for that matter - but Whisper forgot about it. Instead, he now realizes that plans are not his forte, and improvisation is.
While everyone seems to run out of the tent, the tabaxi lingers, looking to see if anyone left behind their valuables or, failing that, he will watch where the carnival people go, to figure out how to get to their private quarters later.
Milady made her way to the circus and took a seat with the others. She was actually impressed by the performance. It reminded herself of those days long ago when she was a child, little, poor Riyoco Tesin. Such an event would have been the highlight of a small village girl’s year.
Milady hardened herself and pushed those maudlin thoughts aside. She wasn’t Riyoco Tesin anymore. That girl had grown up, had been literally branded a criminal. She was Lady Clarisse de Winter of Waterdeep now. Or simply the mysterious adventurer Milady, as far as any of her traveling companions or these townspeople knew, safely hidden behind the black eye mask she wore.
Then the village alarm rang, and Milady straightened up. She made her way outside with the others, spotting the fires, and, more importantly, the raiders. She ducked for cover as the arrows flew, grabbing a little girl and darting behind a wagon even as several villagers fell to the weapons.
“Gods damn it!” Milady cursed. “You okay?” she asked the little blonde girl she had rescued.
The girl nodded, eyes wide with fear. She looked so much like Riyoco at that age.
“Hide under the cart,” Milady told the girl as she pulled the heavy crossbow from her back. If the raiders were close enough to shoot at them, then they were close enough that she could shoot back.
Milady rose over the cart and aimed the crossbow and fired into the group. Unfortunately, she was jostled by the little girl crawling under the cart as instructed.
“Black Bess!” Milady cursed Beshaba for the ill luck as she reloaded.
Badger went to the circus, spending the entire show rummaging loudly through his pockets, looking for tea bags. He found so,me, and a tea pot, so he filled it with water and used a spell to heat it, pouring himself a cup. It smelled awful to everyone around him, but he seemed oblivious as he drank it down.
By the time he put the teapot away and looked up to enjoy the show, everyone was screaming. A lovely fire had broken out, it seemed.
Across the way, about fifty or so feet away is a group of creatures. It's difficult to tell in the dark night with only the growing orange glow for real light but it looks to be a clump of about six to eight kobolds and at least one to two goblins in this near group. the other group is much too far away to tell what might be in it.