Korag, Hahn and Malark had stayed outside of the small village that evening. Mostly to keep watch over the goblins, and Hahn was more comfortable out in the wooded areas anyways. Plus, they had to keep each other, and Rissa, from killing their new companions. Hah, Rissa would NOT be happy if she heard them called their “companions”. But Kat was pretty adamant about not killing them. They had given them valuable information and Booyah even helped them in their final fight in the cave. It just didn’t make sense to kill them when they could still get valuable information about their next leg of the journey.
The men took watch in turns, with Hahn starting for the evening. The night was peaceful, especially for Hahn. It seemed like mere minutes when it was time for Malark’s watch, but Hahn knew he needed to rest. The peaceful night didn’t last, of course. As Malark was turning to get Korag up for his stint of the watch, he saw something running out of the corner of his eye. He raised up his sword, ready to attack and alert the others, but then he saw it was Cauf. Well, more of Cauf’s rear-end hightailing it out of there. He pointed his sword at Booyah. “No! No hurt Booyah! Booyah not run! Booyah stay here, he fight, he good ranger!” At the noise of the little goblin, Hahn and Korag awake. “He say he scared! He miss family and wants to find home, if he even have any home left!” Korag pries a little more: “What home? And what about you? You didn’t want to check to see if your family was safe as well?” Booyah sighs, a deep, sad sigh, “Booyah have no more family. Klarg kill all family. Klarg burn home and tribe. No tribe left for Booyah. But… but Cauf still has hope for his tribe. Maybe they survive Klarg and his burning?” He looked up with his desperate goblin eyes, “Booyah no leave you. Booyah help you! Booyah good ranger!”
The rest of the night passes without incident. In the morning, Malark starts to feel a burning on his upper right chest. He looks down his shirt and startles. Korag, almost simultaneously feels a tingling pain on his upper abdomen. They look at one another. Korag raises his shirt, “Do you see this?!” he exclaims to Malark. “I have one, too!” Malark says proudly lifting his shirt as well. Hahn walks over, and is not impressed with this less than manly display of flashing one another their bare chests… except, they aren’t bare. They’re dragon-marked. Both of them. But why—? How—-? He doesn’t join in the show-and-tell. Korag is talking excitedly about these marks, showing his vast knowledge of the Twelve Houses and their respective Dragon Marks. Although… well… Korag and Malark both had aberrant dragon marks. It wasn’t necessarily a terrible thing, there were many among the aberrant dragon marked, but still… the Houses were proud of their individual marks, and having an aberrant one was still looked down upon in many places. At least they were easily hidden beneath clothing if it ever came to having to worry about it. Surely, this boded well for their adventure, right? Surely…
Over and over again… those words. Kat doubted she’d ever forget them. What was going on in Rissa’s sleeping mind? Surely, it was none of Kat’s business, but it didn’t make her any less curious to know. For Tymora’s sake, she’d been repeating the same phrase over and over again all night like a ritual, or probably more like a curse. It’s not as if Kat knew everything about the dwarf, to be true, she hardly knew anything about her other than her huge disdain for goblins, and her probable slight disdain for the party after keeping the two alive after their fight in the cave. Oh well, Rissa could kill them later when no one was watching if she was that torn up about it. Kat laid back down, pillow over half her ear, facing the wall. Maybe she could fall back asleep and use Rissa’s words as a lullaby…
A burning pain shot down Kat’s right thigh, almost like it was being seared. She almost screamed, but stopped herself and opened her eyes. She was still facing the wall, in the inn, Rissa still talking on the other bed. Kat looked down at her leg and saw it. What the—- Why would there be—- But her mother—- No, she was dreaming. Just like Rissa. No big deal, nothing to worry about. She rolled over, ready to get the day started, and hurried putting her pants on before Rissa woke. She sat down on the bed and started to get her boots on when –
Rissa shot up straight like an arrow. A dream, always a dream. Well, not always, but nowadays it seemed she was constantly dreaming. She could usually recall many details of her dreams… but this time, well, she just couldn’t. No details, no vivid imagery, no monsters even. But she knew she had to be dreaming. She looked across the room at a wide-eyed Kat. “Was I snoring?” she asked. Kat looked visibly uncomfortable. “Um… yeah. Yeah, you were,” she replied, “I guess it’s true what they say about dwarves and their snoring, ha…ha…?” Rissa didn’t know what they said about dwarves and their snoring, and she didn’t really care. “Oh, yeah, sorry about that.” Kat looked amused now, “Oh no, it was fine, no big deal.” Kat got up to start packing her clothes up. She heard a soft, surprised noise coming from Rissa’s side of the room. Did… did she have one, also? Surely not. Kat slowly turned around, “So umm… have you noticed anything unusual about yourself this morning?” Rissa looked at her like she was crazy. Well, she was, but crazier than usual she supposed. “No, why?” she answered, a little too quickly for Kat’s liking. But she guessed it really wasn’t her business either way, why try to become too close with someone you’d just met a few days ago. “No reason… just, uh, think I got a rash, probably from all the woods and stuff, ya know,” she explained. Rissa looked down, at her leg?, it was too fast to really tell, and back up at Kat, “Yeah, the woods…”
Groaning “They saved me, Harbin. I tell you, if it weren’t for that group, I’d be dead in that Goblin cave. They got them all, how they got Krag so easily, I’ll never know… but you won’t have trouble with goblins from that cave anymore, at least, not anytime soon. There weren’t any left to tell those up at their “castle”, Sildar said. “I see,” remarked Harbin Wester, townmaster of the young township, Dalinphan. “Well then, we should reward these adventurers! Let them know how grateful we are. Yes, it would be good for our people to know they are safe.” Sildar nodded in agreement, groggily. “Now, you keep resting up, Sildar. We can’t send you back to Passage until you’re fully healed up.” Sildar was back asleep before he even heard his name.
When the party reconvened with Wester, he gave them two hundred gold pieces to thank them for their work in the cave. Though not expecting a reward, the group did not deny his generosity. He also guided them to Sister Garaele at the Shrine of Luck, where they received potions of health to take with them on their journey.