The borderlands between the Makku region and Boddington are not clear at first. Then, as one travels just a mile or so past the borders, the change is almost staggering. There are farm lands scattered around Makku here and there, but it is nothing compared to the lush lands the halflings cultivate. The grass even seems a richer sort of green. The expression “painting Boddington” is used among Aurian artists to suggest you’re using too vibrant a color palette, making things unreal and garish.
It is near this change over that the group spots a couple of halflings traveling through the country side in the early morning. The group questions the need to hide, since Makku’s lands were so unwelcoming. The halflings had already spotted the group and blew their horn. A few minutes later the two stood in front of the group, one of them with a short sword, staring menacingly.
“HALT Assassins, we are on to your game!” he said, holding his short sword steady.
“Oh come off it Fudrucker, its cousin Vas and his friends”
Hardee blinked a bit before making a look of recognition. The other halfling was indeed a “cousin” of Vas’, Roscoe Fil’A. Vas and Roscoe said their Boddington hellos, and then Roscoe began telling Vas that he was glad he was not hurt, or worse. "The world’s upside down it seems. They got us Bounders doing around the clock walk-a-bouts.
“Bounders?” Chandra asked
“We walk the bounds of Boddington, and blow our horn if there’s trouble. Which reminds me, Hardee, blow the false alarm signal” while Hardee blew the complicated signal, Roscoe continued, “I’m guessing you want to get to the hiding place?”
Vas looked uncomfortable that someone aside from the few he told knew about his hermitage.
“Oh, don’t be mad at me cousin. Look, we had to go there. No one knew the Mayor was dead until the next mornin’, but a lot of us Bounders saw the fire and flames coming from your place!” With that, Roscoe and Hardee joined Vas on his Boddington steed, and the group proceeded. Roscoe continued, “yea, the Mayor was found dead the next morning, no one had heard a thing coming from his house the whole night. Someone snuck in and killed him, it was only later the next couple of days that we found out it wasn’t personal. Lowing’s mayor, the Emperor, Makku’s marshal, all dead.”
“actually, Marshal Feldspar in Makku lived, but was injured.”
“Is that so? We’ll have to tell yer dad.” Vas looked puzzled. “He’s the acting Mayor for now. With our family being held in such high esteem after the festival, he was the only one they could agree on that did not cause all the families to fight. He’s done good so far, kept everyone together. Makes sure that not only the other family bounders are off making rounds… or that only his kin are keeping us safe. Its why I’m with Hardee here. I think he should run for real next time, unless of…” Vas interrupted, knowing his cousin would talk for days about the politics in town.
“Tell me more about that night, why was there fire and flames? Was it destroyed?”
“Well,” Roscoe said, “I wasn’t there a whole lot, mind you. Once we found out there was some sort of attack so close, they sent the Bounders out to patrol. Its mainly your mum that has been there trying to fix a lot of things that were broken, we’ll be there in a bit, you can talk to her and whoever is there.”
When the group got there, there was no smoke coming from the small camp. There were a few building frames and foundations that several members at first thought were destroyed homes, but then they saw the wood was fresh and new. There was a structure that was obviously destroyed and burnt in the north eastern part of the camp. The first people the group saw in the distance was the gold and red sheen of Octavious and Marla.
“You are all accounted for!” Marla said.
“The eggs did they get any of them?” Octavious asked
“No. We have them.”
“It.. wait.. you have the silver? But it has been days yes? I.. I should have had a vision of another one by now.”
“Octavious…” Marla interrupted, “there are more important… Octavious tell them.”
Octavious’ face turned dour, as if ashamed he had asked first about the eggs.
“I’ll show them.” Octavious waited for the group to dismount, and then he ushered the group to the burned out building. Inside what was left of the largest room was a coffin decorated with flowers, on the side of the coffin was written in gold script, “Lord Marco Wistwhile”
“He leaped in front of me when the assassin woman shot at me with a cross bow. It had a strong poison that stopped his heart nearly before he could fall to the ground.”
“If it was an assassin, why is this place destroyed?”
“That was me…” Marla spoke up, “I was overcome with rage when I saw Marco’s body, I yelled with all my anger and found out… we breath fire like… dragons.”
“She killed 6 of them with the first burst, along with most of the building. Maxwell was next, and I too found out I could breath like a dragon as well. This was enough to send the assassins running.”
“Maxwell, where is Maxwell?”
“He’s in Boddington with Vas’ mother, they are buying supplies and seeing about the tombstone we ordered for Marco. There is a tent you all can rest in till they get back, we have much to discuss, but it can wait until you have all rested and made your peace with the unfortunate news.”