Little town, it’s a quiet village. Every day like the one before. Little town, full of little people. knowing nothing more. In the dark, in the rain, the pitter-patter striking the thatched rooftops. Houses dimmed with naught a candle lit in sight, windows shuttered tight for fear of the draft. What gentle rain brings to life, so too does a storm invite death. And the storm raged on, the cold bothering the provincial town. So come in, the fires invite you, the laughter and merriment too. By the fireside dry your mud-caked boots, order a round of beer on taps, or a glass of wine if you’re so inclined. Or perhaps you’d care to play at games of chance or ladies all the same, pick your choice and roll the die with lady luck. It wasn’t such a quiet village here was it?
For even in wallowing despair, one must always give a man hope. It is that hope which makes him seek to live another day, to toil under the whip of a harsh master, and to be fed by hunger as a cruel mistress. And hope for men in hard times came by the cups and pints, a promise of an escape, this tavern was the last sanctuary Oxguard had. Even if it was loud, it was a nice enough place, a fair establishment, at least once upon a time. The quality had diminished and the prices increased as the mayor had gotten greedier and greedier. But unlike the mayor, these changes were derived from necessity, not desire, so the owner did their best to treat their customers fairly. Unfortunately, this rapidly became unfeasible. And like the candles in those shuttered windows, the candle of hope grew short, and without any intervention, snuffed out.
Tessa sat to one side of the bar, as close to the fire as she could get away with when others desired the same. She wasn’t from here, the town’s name rang bells but only faintly, so she mostly kept to herself. She wouldn’t normally come to a place like this, you could tell from how she was dressed that she was used to something more refined. Nevertheless, she was glad to have escaped the rain, if not by much.
She sat with an older, somewhat more practically dressed man. The amulet resting against his chest his burden. A clergyman dressed in a simple grey robe, the open book around his neck far from an albatross, but marked him all the same. Kethan, the librarian without a library, a title which had no power here, in this little town with scant a collection of writings one wouldn’t even dare call a bookshelf. But the cleric came not for books or knowledge here in Oxguard, no, he had his charge, a book of his own he carried more burdensome than that holy symbol he openly wore. His brow furrowed in his work, calligraphy pen etching ink across the parchment, with old thin fingers skillfully tracing out each stylized letter. What a pair they made together. “Kethan.”
Tessa said, trying her best not to cause him to make a mistake. She alerted him to the armoured man that had just entered, gesturing towards him with her head and saying “You think we should help? You know I don’t like the idea of leaving this kind of thing be. Especially when we have the power to make a difference.” “Hrm?”
The elder snapped his attention to his travelling companion, keenly aware of all the commotion despite his perceived focus on his art. “There are many others who have already volunteered Ms. Imlotel, souls more foolish to speak ill of the powers that be so openly. It would be unwise to cast our lot with them, would it not?”
And with the two coppers of his opinion offered, Kethan returned his focus on the next letter to be inscribed, counting three and a half fools already rushing into action without foresight. “We can be gone before anyone hears about this, and they don’t need to know who we are in the first place. Besides, we’re not exactly achieving much sitting here, waiting for the rain to pass. I thought we were supposed to help people, or did I get that wrong?” “We can only do so much. But if we must Ms. Imlotel…”
A sigh followed thereafter, the pen and ink put away, the parchment still too wet to be rolled and stowed, but it would soon be dried enough. By the time these boisterous babblers finished their little gallantry contest, shouting declarations and exclamations to clutter up the the already noisy tavern with even more unnecessary chatter. Kethan spent his life within the confines of a temple, pouring his heart and mind over the keeping of tomes and the knowledge therein. The silence was divine, and too often did Kethan thought to cast a spell of silence over the inns they have resided in along their travels. Although to be fair, between Tessa’s noble life and Kethan’s temple life, they lived a cut above the common rabble. Thus perhaps they could afford a little more than just wine and pheasant, but to spare some sympathy for a man who’s lost his daughter. “Thanks, for understanding.”
Tessa said, before standing up and turning to the others. “You can count on our help, as well. Just please be more careful about where you advertise your little revolution. We might all be dead already if there’s a spy in here. Just in case…”
Tessa was now directing her speech at everyone present “...if you’re a spy and you hear this, know that if you say a word to whoever’s paying you, I will find you and it won’t be nice for you when I do. That said, feel free to return to whatever you were doing.” “Ms. Imlotel, scare not away the flies, for how else shall we find festering meat?”
A quip taken from the pages of some book surely read long ago. All the armored man who tracked mud by his boots had were accusations, allegations without proof to strangers here. What man would lie about his daughter being enslaved? One who had something to gain from it. Disposing a Mayor if and only if he proved guilty of being a petty tyrant really should be done by the Crown. Then again there was no love lost between Kethan and the Crown, it was after all the King’s orders that burned his beloved library. But one mustn't bring this into a personal crusade against the immortal man, let the gods decide if and when to smite him down for his hubris.
Tessa sat down again, saying “I suppose you’re right there, but I don’t suppose they being called flies, either. On the other hand ‘Call not the spies flies...’ doesn’t have the same ring to it, though it does rhyme.” “The ink is dry, I can only hope they will wait until outside is the same. Only foolish men search for vengeance in the rain. Ah, how is that for rhymes.”
A slight chuckle as the scroll was put away, yes Kethan had a bit of a humor left in his old bones, though he knees ached in picking up his quarterstaff from its resting place. “Come Ms. Imlotel, let us measure the avengers assembled.”