13 months later

As the security detail reluctantly turned over their weapons, the rest of the team advanced into the town itself. There were no people on the main street, but from several windows frightened faces could be seen peering out at the outsiders.

“It is not us they are fearful of,” Isamura told the others as they continued along the thoroughfare. “Several days ago, a party of orcs waylaid a caravan, and staged a surprise attack on the town. Several of the guardsmen were killed and more were injured before they could be driven off.”

“Should we expect another attack?” Tegan asked.

“Yes. But the other town gates have been closed and sentries are watching every approach. There is little chance of another assault going unnoticed.”

“All the same, I’d rather have my weapon close at hand than locked away.”

“I understand your concerns and I will keep an eye out for trouble,” Isamura assured her, patting the sheathed blade at her side.

“I noticed that you didn’t have to turn your weapons in. Why’s that?”

“I told you, I am known around these parts. In fact the sentry at the gate is someone I know well.”

“How do you know him?” Caroline asked curiously.

“I rescued him from captivity, along with a number of other townspeople. Such deeds are not quickly forgotten.”

“I’m going to be hearing that answer a lot, aren’t I?”

“I have a lot of experience with daring rescues, yes,” Isamura remarked.

At last they arrived at the trader’s shop. It was a well-kept establishment in the centre of town, with a sign that simply read, Seeble’s Goods.