Sikhandyn speaks with the merchants for awhile, examining their wares and talking about prices and distribution. The sellers seem pleasant enough, if a bit surprised to have a fellow traveler interested in their goods.
Annette saw the two men, and did not like the feeling she got from them. This early in their first mission, the last thing they needed was trouble.
"Karn, we should go."
Being sure that her hand was Unable to find any characters in game 2775 from the two men when she did so, Annette made a fanning motion to the rest of the group. She hoped Karn would stick with her, but all of us being see together would do us no good at all.
Fortunately, the two men seem not to notice the group, and Sikhandyn makes his way back through the crowd without running into the the newcomers. As he tells you of his discussions with the merchants, you suddenly hear shouting in the market: the burly men are having a heated discussion with the cloth sellers. You can't make it out from here, but the word "taxes" does come out clearly several times.
The townsfolk are quickly and quietly spreading out away from the central square, having remembered something better to do than get caught in the middle of a fight.
His attention caught by the dispute, Sikhandyn's eyes went from the burly men to the merchants and the fleeing populace. The wizard quickly decided to turn his gaze away.
"Let's go..." he repeated in a low voice, leading his horse forward and away from the town square.
Although the itinerary recommended by their employer did include human settlements, it was clear that the party would have to revisit its strategy regarding towns and villages, and come up with a more cautious approach. In fact there were many issues to discuss, and it was urgent for the party to regroup somewhere safe.
Sofia sighed and instinctively raised her hand to her holy symbol. She always felt guilty in situations like that, but she knew she couldn't do anything now. In her city and under the protection of her temple she had some power, but here she was just a nosy outsider. She knew better than to drag her companions on one of her quests for justice too - it would be no help if they made a scene when they were supposed to be discreet.
She followed her companions out of the town, her eyes firmly focused on her horse's back. "I think it's better if we send one person to the city in the future, just to buy the supplies. Armed, on horseback and without anything to mark us as guards or the lord's people we are just asking to be thrown in jail."
The group retreats, following Annette's lead, to a stand of woods along the edge of the river, north of town. A quick snack of the rations provided to you by the Black Crocus's quartermasters--above average for trail rations, but still not a gourmet feast--is enough to purge away the hunger from riding through the night. In the early afternoon sunlight, you can see a number of small boats out on the water. The occupants are all joined in the ancient struggle of man versus beast... fishing.