Returning triumphant to the village, the Squad are greeted by throngs of applauding villagers. With their trophy in tow, the party are at first elated and somewhat bewildered by the stunning battle… until ther see Boris on the sidelines. As is their wont the villagers have excluded him from the proceedings, even though it was Boris who arranged for the party to travel to the village, and again for them to take care of the problem. Pushing past the revellers angrily, they congregate in Boris’ hut.
As he tends to Alva and Nathanew’s wounds, the squad berate Nathanew for his rather poor choice in magic use; though the Fiend’s flashy pyrotechnics are impressively destructive, they are somewhat unsuited to closer quater fighting… especially in forests important to the local economy. The party only hope that the village assumed the torrents of billowing smoke and new if rather molten crater in their landscape wasn’t entirely their doing.
As the conversation progresses they touch on the subject of Boris’ abuse at the hands of the villagers. Though he is supplied with ample animal guardians and a fierce winter wolf companion by the name of Ezra he has suffered heavily at the hands of the supersticious peasants. Nathanew in particular looks noticably distant and agitated. Boris himself seems to accept this as part of the price of a healer’s life, much to the consternation of the party who have grown fond of the man.
Debating with themselves about the looming summons to Chiconis, the party decide to spend one more night in the village; once the healing was done they would have been late arriving in Kirasanct, and no one relishes the thought of traversing this frigid land at night.
Boris calls Melanth to one side. Recalling a promise fifteen years earlier when the dragon was freshly exiled from Dralk he makes the offer of an animal companion; a large and sleepy polar bear named… Daisy. Boris had chanced upon Melanth when near dead after seeking shelter from a winter storm in a cave that was occupied by a similar creature. The resulting fight between the beast and dragon armed only with his teeth had nearly cost Melanth his life. Melanth is less them impressed with Boris’ joke- the experience had instilled in him a pathological hatred and fear of bears. After protesting that Daisy would be too large and conspicuous for the Squad to move around undetected at their need, Boris instead offers an eagle. The dragon accepts gratefully, naming her Ha’rok.
As this is happening, Alva tries her hand with skills at wood carving. Using some of the ample wood taken from the fallen treants and skills honed during her years in Feledan with the Elves, she attempts to craft for herself a flute using a pocket knife. After testing it on Hathril’s ears her design isn’t successful, and exasperated she throws it into the fireplace. Hathril retrieves it beforei t is damaged, extolling her to keep trying. Alva vows to accomplish the task through dint of patience.
That night, silence creeps over the village. A silence too thick for a hut and house full of animals… who upon closer in spection seem to be absent. Especially conspicuously absent is a certain Fiend… one with a known grudge against the town. Long years of campaigning have sharpened their instincts to a fine edge; sensing something amiss, both Alva and Melanth are awoken seperately, though Hathril remains asleep. Having bedded down in different buildings and unknowing of each other’s actions they begin to investigate, fearing the worst. Melanth wakes Boris and together make their way back into the charred forest.
Seperately, both Alva and Melanth converge upon a small camp-fire where Nathanew and a goodly number of Boris’ animal companions are gathered in attendance. Sneaking through the darkness they hear talk amongst the group; Nathanew sits with a map on his knees, Ezra, the three crows and other creatures, seemingly scheming the destruction of the village. Though his grievences with the peasants are well known none had imagined he would go this far- what is more his words seem to indicate that he would be willing to strike tonight. Melanth creeps through the grass, hoping to startle the plotters when he in turn is startled by Alva, who ambushed him from the shadows. Both agree that action must be taken- Nathanew might be unstable, and though neither are overly fond of the inhabitants of this squalid slive of earth they cannot stand by idly and let him commit a massacare.
Emerging from the shadows, Melanth spooks the meeting with a loud cheerful bellow, idly twanging the string of his bow. Whilst they’re distracted, Alva approaches from the other side and startles them again. Realising he has been made, Nathanew tries to keep up the facade of innocense despite knowing he has been caught red handed. Angry, motivated by vengeance and with a host of animals at his call the situation seems tense. Neither Alva or Melanth will let him go through with the planned attack; it would be a betrayal of Boris’ trust and likely end up traced back to their guild, which would wreck the Redscale reputation and land them all on the gallows. Nathanew seems irrational and likely to attack before Boris makes his own presence known.
With the argument looking to grow violent it is Boris who defuses the situation; begging Nathanew not to go through with it. He confesses that he suffered their mistreatment good-naturedly in the hopes that one day they might grow accustomed to him, and for their own sake seek penence for the harm visited upon him. Alva berates the Fiend with suggestions of what would become of the rest of the guild and the Squad and Boris if they were found to be a party to such actions; Melanth whispers to him that the Fiend might get his vengeance another way; through in-action, by persuading Boris, the only healer and animal handler in the village, to abandon it.
Under the combined pressure Nathanew finally seems to relent, stating he will think on it. Greatly relieved, Boris an the rest of the party prepare themselves for an uneasy night.