Though it was touch-and-go for a while, especially when the Knight proved to be a hardy Warforged warrior with an unerring ability to slice open a warlock’s armour to the flesh beneath. The leader of the goblins proved to be a potent spellcaster, covering the battlefield with a haze of mist while his allies fought on with tenacity, but eventually the party were victorious. One of the goblins was taken alive for questioning, and villagers began to poke their heads around doors and over fences.
Two bold villagers approached, professing effusive thanks for the party’s intervention whilst eyeing the darkening skies nervously.
“We should get inside, noble sirs. There’ll be time enough for explanations once we’re safe and sound by the fire in the Ferryboat Tavern” This last comment was accompanied by a finger that pointed to a large building with shuttered windows ahead. The party noticed that every house had thick shutters across their windows, and that the shutters looked new. “Bring that creature inside with you, if you must. We can tie up up in the cellar for now”.
As they walked through the town they saw that the main trade of this village wass obviously timber from the forest. A woodyard stood nearby, and there were wood carvings, pieces of bark, and other such products lie around most houses, which are curiously built of stone, obviously carried at great pains from the mountains visible to the south. The ferry across the river was closed for the day; both the boat and boatman were locked in the boathouse.
Your anxious escort led them to the largest building in the village. Its windows were shuttered like every other dwelling, but when he showed the party through the door they saw the glow of a roaring fire and a welcome bar. A broad and nervously grinning man stood behind it, quite possibly having just emerged from a hiding place somewhere on the other side of the open cellar door the party spotted before he deftly nudged it closed with his foot.
“I hear you fought off those bandits!” he said expansively. “Please, come in out of the cold and enjoy a beer on the house.” He began pouring dark ale into large mugs, having first made sure they were clean by the stringent method of spitting in them and wiping the inside with his apron.
Their escort introduced himself as Garamond, the local blacksmith. He was apologetic about his not helping you during the fight, but confessed that his first thought was for his family, and he ran to secure them inside the house. By the time he returned to the scene of battle with his largest hammer, which he was carrying when he greeted you in the square, it was all over. He seated them at a table while the landlord brought their drinks over, and asked what they were going to do with the snivelling goblin, now firmly trussed up and shivering by the door.
“It’s far too late for anything other than a night in my fine establishment,” claimed the landlord. “You shall stay here for free tonight, thanks from Yurith the Honest on behalf of his town.” He cast a dark look at a nearby table, where use of word ‘Honest’ to describe himself drew some disbelieving laughter, and returned muttering oaths to his bar. Aside from the party and Garamond, there were only a couple of dedicated old timers and a forlorn-looking merchant in the bar itself. Stairs to one side presumably led up to rooms, and in general the place seemed oddly subdued. In a village of this size they’d expect evening to draw the folk in by the dozen. Not here.