Dougan and Valdred set off swiftly but silently along the dirt track towards the pillar of smoke. They are soon out of sight as the rest of you make your way more slowly down the rutted path that surely leads to one of the many steadings that lay scattered across the Harken Valley. Typically home to an extended family that work the surrounding farmland, these dwellings form the bedrock on which the spirit of Harkenwold is founded. Many a hero or heroine of the vale has been produced from just such places.
A tipsy breeze frolics chaotically in the wild pastureland through which you traverse, sending clouds of spore from the many wildflowers that thrive in the loamy soil. A few tired looking tan-brown cattle graze over in the far side of the field. The fluttering of early summer butterflies, above the hawthorn hedgerow that borders the path on either side, is mirrored by the growing knots in your stomachs as you imagine what you may find at the end of the track. For two of you that imagining is about to come to an end. The odd pair of Bounty Hunter and Barroom Battler creep into position for an unimpeded view of the source of the choking column of smoke and the source of a family's anguish.