Sajan the Monk is meditating in the square. He opens his eyes. A group of children has gathered in front of him. He holds out his hands, turning them palm up and palm down. He makes a flourish and a coin appears between his fingers. The children edge closer.
At the blacksmith’s, Amiri the Barbarian is sharpening her sword at the grindstone. Zombie skulls are getting tougher. She feels eyes on her back, turns quickly and catches one of the young farmers staring at her. He immediately acts very interested in the horse trough. Amiri smiles and returns to her work.
In the town hall, Seelah the Paladin sits across the table from the Mayor. She leans forward.
“We cannot protect you on our own. We are too few. You must convince the townsfolk to help us!” she insists.
The Mayor spreads his hands, “We are in your debt, but we are farmers and traders, not warriors.”
Seelah bangs her fist on the table, “Those goblins uncovered something under the town. Something old, something evil!”
Lini the Druid puts a hand on her shoulder. Seelah leans back in her chair and lets out a long breath.
Lini says, “They are scared. It is understandable. They know nothing of fighting, but perhaps we can teach them.”
Seelah and Lini stride out into the square. Sajan is doing handstands before a large crowd of clapping children. Amiri is practising sword moves while nearby several young men pretend to work.
They both stop what they are doing and Seelah sends them around the town to recruit as many allies as possible.
At the Rusty Dragon, Seelah attempts to convince a Troubadour to join them but being a man of words himself he is immune to her speeches.
Lini takes her pets to the Woods to look for allies with tracking or survival skills. She finds a hunting dog who is delighted to join her.
A woodland Guide who fancies a more thrilling life is hanging around the Cathedral. She remembers Sajan from his previous exciting visits and offers to assist in his adventures. Two.
Amiri takes her current entourage to the General Store where she fails to negotiate a deal on some magic boots but catches the eye of a soldier who agrees to band with them. Three.
Seelah’s leadership skills are failing her at the tavern. After a series of cold shoulders, she finally wins over the crowd by fighting back two successive Rat Swarms that were feeding on spilled grain in the cellar. The landlady offers her a short sword in payment, and a drunken soldier decides he needs more funds and becomes the fourth addition to the team.
There is plenty of hustle and bustle at the Waterfront, so Sajan heads over there in hopes of meeting some travellers. A beckoning finger lures him down a dark alleyway where he falls for a Pit Trap. Climbing out, he finds his Standard Bearer has got lost amongst the dingy wharves. While Sajan is trying to find her in the maze of overhung alleys and grimy warehouses he comes across an old crone who offers him a magic Toad. Sadly, he has taken a vow of silence and so cannot answer her her riddles. She takes her Toad back.
Lini comes back from the Woods with her new pet and explores the Academy. The tutors are friendly, teaching her two new spells.
Sajan is totally out of his element in the narrow and unfriendly Waterfront streets. He falls in another Pit Trap and is nearly dragged off to be sacrificed by a Cultist.
Lini is forced to leave the quiet and peace of the Academy and help Sajan in the Waterfront. She cures his wounds, then finds the old woman and answers her riddle (the answer is, of course, “Man”). The crone looks shifty and calls her Bandit Henchman to avoid handing over the prize. Lini’s new dog is busy chasing squirrels, so she can only attack with her snake. Luckily, the Toad leaps at the henchman’s face and he runs off, spitting.
The Toad hops into Lini’s hand and thanks her for rescuing it from years of servitude. Sajan just looks sheepish.
They all gather back at the Academy to look for a final ally. They find a Guide researching manuals on woodcraft, and Lini easily convinces her to join them.
Lini says, “That makes six. Do we need seven?”
“Six will do.” says Seelah.
They make their way back to the square. As they arrive, a burly young man approaches Seelah carrying a sickle. His friends hang back, sniggering. The young man glances at them, then squares his shoulders and says, “I’m a fighter. I’ve been everywhere, even as far as Muckley. I can join you.”
Seelah looks at him, then draws her short sword. She reverses it and hands it to the young man, then takes two steps back.
“Attack me.” she says, hands by her side.
The young man pauses, then swings at her. There is a blur of steel, then Seelah holds the sword with its tip hovering at his throat. He gulps, then turns and runs off. His friends are nowhere to be seen.
“You were a little hard on the lad.” says Lini.
Seelah sheathes her sword, “I just saved all their lives.”