An old friend appears

There is no immediate response at the door, but the sound of a window quickly opening around the side of the large building. Mara and Quintus move to the corner of the house to investigate — spotting a lanky blonde man slithering out of a window. He is completely nude, except for a pink pillow covering his genitals. A flushed looking young redheaded girl is closing the window behind him, closing the curtains in desperation.

“Afternoon.” the naked man waves at the two travelers in a friendly manner, and moves crab-sideways towards the nearest line of bushes beyond the Pennytown Square.

Mara and Quintus turn as the front door of the house opens. A portly half-orc with a thick black mustache appears, wearing an immaculate brown tunic. He cranes his head around looking for who knocked, then spots the gunslinger and duelist.

“Can I help you folks?” platinum teeth shine in the sun, matching the buttons on his coat and his belt buckle.

Mara haggles briefly with the fat trader, and holds out a purse.

“Fine, fine.” the Master Trader took the gold, and yelled through the open door. “Beulah! Beulah, bring my strong box, dammit.”

Moments later a wide-hipped red-haired girl appears, her face still flushed, bearing an iron box. Master Drover slips the coins through a slot in the top, then pushes the box back into her hands. “Run along with you.”

The half-orc points idly down the road to his right. “My cleric is also my blacksmith — the forge is a a dozen houses down that way — you can’t miss it.”

Quintus and Mara move through the dirt streets of Pennytown. The townsfolk seem to be mainly returning from the lunch hour, wiping crumbs from their chins or taking one last pull at a wineskin before heading towards one of the many warehouses or stockyards. They follow the scent of coal and steel to a low, dark-beamed barn. The forge is quiet, but the smell of the bellows is strong.

Hung on a post next to the entrance is a polished piece of red steel. Etched into it with care and precision is a blue square.

The forge is neatly layed out, a dozen fresh horseshoes are cooling on a wooden table, next to a tub of linseed oil. The blacksmith is nowhere to be seen, so Mara avails herself of an elaborate set of bells hanging next to the doorway. They clang and chime, and a door at the back of the forge flies open.

The tall blonde man they had glimpsed earlier – still shirtless, and desperately trying to tug on a pair of cotton pants. He topples forward, landing awkwardly on his shoulder. He looks up at Quintus and Mara, and his long-jawed face bursts into a grin.

“Well, hello again.” he said, continuing to button his pants.

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