By Brian Flood
Chapter 26 - Entering Asbravn
Along the Uldoon Trail, The Sunset Vale
Early Afternoon, 30th Day of Eleint; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
As the afternoon wears on, the adventurers marvel at the well-kept farms that line the Trail. Freshly harvested fields and fences made of stumps and stacked stones line the mushy trail. After a few hours’ travel, the party tops a small rise and gets its first view of Asbravn.
Located in a shallow vale, the town of Asbravn consists of two to three score buildings. In addition to the Uldoon Trail leading into town from the west, the party discerns traderoads that enter from the north and the south directions. More thriving farmlands surround the town in a blanket of fertility.
The small caravan is not the only recent arrival, either. Ringing the small cluster of buildings that defines the town, are countless clusters of tents. Wagons, carts, pack trains, and travelers of all races move about the many campsites outside the town proper.
Moving closer to town, the adventurers can see that the campgrounds contain numerous caravans and trade costers as well as simple farmers with wagons of fresh produce and wool. Apparently, Harvestfest in Asbravn heralds both harvest and a major trade industry.
Tomar looks at the gathered masses and frowns. “It will be difficult to find a bed in the inn, I would imagine, with all of this trade traffic as well as the coming festival. Ori and I will stay here to stake out a place for our wagon – feel free to wander into town and see what is about.” Tomar nods at a patrol of Red Cloaks that strolls through the campground area. “I believe we will be safe here.”
The merchant’s eyebrows shoot up for an instant. “Oh!” he exclaims, “I nearly forgot.” He leaves the bench seat of the wagon and enters the covered back portion. From within comes the sound of a muttered phrase of two and then the opening of a chest or coffer. Moments later, Tomar emerges from the back of the transport carrying several small pouches.
He hands a pouch to each adventurer and says, “You will find your payment for these past nine days – nine gold coins each – in the purses. Try not to spend it all in one place, eh?” he jests. Then his face turns serious. “I would prefer that you returned here to spend the night. Safety in numbers, even in an apparently safe environment, is always recommended in this region.”
Darius puts the money in his pouch, which he then tucks back under his shirt (hanging from with a cord around his neck). He proceeds into town with the rest of the group, with his buckler slung across his back and the spear being used as a walking stick.
Much relieved, Kjira accepts the small pouch from Tomar and adds the contents to the nearly-empty pouch at her belt. The coin came just in time with their arrival in civilization again.
“Anyone interested in a hot meal and a hot bath?” she asks turning to her companions still present. “Perhaps we can find some place in the town square to accomodate us for a while...”
to leaving Tomar and Ori at the campsite, Dolak unsaddles his pony and mule, and
parks the cart in a convienient spot inside the camp area. He removes his
chainmail and sets that inside his cart. The battle axe he also leaves in
the cart. His warhammer finds its place on his belt, and finally he pulls
his cloak about him. Following Darius and the rest of the group, he heads
into town with his coins inside a pouch inside his shirt.
The small band of companions takes their meager new earnings and heads toward the town square – the apparent center of activity. As the near town, they notice that the road firms beneath their feet, gradually becoming a smooth surface of gravel that lends itself to a much firmer surface, despite the rain.
A cluster of private dwellings marks the outskirts of town. Moving past these homes, the party comes to a paved open area filled with small merchant stalls and ringed by more permanent structures. Glancing over the tops of the booths at the displayed signs, the party sees several major buildings. Some have signs and others do not. In clockwise fashion from the westbound road, they are: Rolling Wheel Wagons; House of Joy; Tantain’s Barrels and Crates; a large, dilapidated building named the House of the Suffering God; Samborl’s Sundries-in-Trade; a burned-out shell of a building; the Board Laid Bare; the Tankard and Sheaf; and the Morningstone House.
Exploring further, the small band strolls through the bustling town square. Weaving through the chaotic crowd, they pass many booths that proudly display various merchandise and oddities. The air is brimming with smells, from the salty odor of the fishmonger’s salmon to the sweet aroma of the baker’s pastries. At the far southeast corner of the square, a dark-haired middle-aged man struggles with a broken wagon axle as a nearby merchant yells angrily that the broken cart is blocking his booth. Two small children emerge from the burned out hulk of a nearby building, giggling noisily as their game of tag continues through the congested street. Toward the center of the square, a thick crowd pushes and shoves to get a better view of three juggling street performers.
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