[original from 2002]
Tuber, Thal and Urki entered Redvale, tired and injured, they walked toward Hucrele’s home. Women, children and men walked along with them asking questions. Thal remained silent except for saying he wished to have a town meeting with Geonnyn, the Thane. Tuber and Urki answered some of the questions. They spoke of slaying goblins and orcs and defeating a great evil sorcerer. They knocked on Hucrele’s door and Kerowyn answered greeting them anxiously. “Have you news?” she queried as they sat around her table. “Yes, here are the things we found fighting and killing evil creatures,” Thalimar handed her a large sack. She started pulling the items it. She recognized the armor, the rings, and the weapons. “We did not find your kin. The only prisoner we found was this dwarf Urki of the Lonely Mountain.” Kerowyn turned away from them for a moment, overcome by emotion. “I am Urki son of Balin.” Urki introduced himself with a bow. “I helped these adventurers fight the evil creatures and the evil sorcerer.”
“Yes tell us what has happened to you since you left us.” Hucrele asked. Thalimar began the story omitting the dragon and the killing of the treeish northmen. He spared Kerowyn’s feelings by not describing the evil that had been done to her kin. He told them that the bramble monsters would no longer attack travelers on the road. She offered them 150 silver pieces but Thal and Tuber refused, not having the heart to take the mourning woman’s money. But Urki did take 60 silver pieces, he had suffered as a prisoner and also had no money with which to travel home. “Why do you risk your life on other people’s problems Thalimar?” asked Kerowyn. “My people are as old as the ages but I am a child compared to them. I have not lived through the great battles of old and I desire to be as wise and noble as my forefathers. I must go out into the world to gain experience because not everything can be taught except through experience.”
“You are welcome here any time. Here are some rations for your trip back to the Dwarf’s Gauntlet.” The three rose to leave, they had urgent business with the Thane. “Thank you for your hospitality Kerowyn and Hucrele. We will be traveling north again in a few days. We will stop by to see you.
They left the trading post and were immediately approached by a young fighter. “The Thane is ready to see you.” They followed him to the Long house. They entered the building. Inside were many townspeople and the Thane. A hush came over the throng. “What news have you of these attacks.” Thalimar recounted the tale of fighting two goblin bands, finding a dragon, and defeating the sorcerer. When he mentioned the dragon murmurs arose from the crowd that turned to shouts. “What will we do?” they asked. Thalimar said,”This wyrmling has no wings, and may not find its way out of the ravine for some time. I propose that Tuber and I, with Urki’s help, inform the Men of Dale and the Dwarves in the Lonely Mountain. We will come back with some help and defeat the wyrmling while it is still young.” Geonnyn answered,”We should not bother the Kings of Men and Dwarves over this, it is but a baby dragon and we can easily defeat it.” Urki grunted, “I council against this. Dragons have many weapons with which to fight, including breath weapons. This wyrmling did not show its teeth to us and we know not its power,” Thalimar replied. “Bard killed a dragon with an arrow. It should not be hard to kill a baby,” said Geonnyn. “Regardless, we will go to Dale and the Lonely Mountain, for we have other business there,” Thalimar refused to argue further and the three left the Longhouse.
“What do you think of this Geonnyn and his idea?” Thalimar asked Urki. “Men are fools,” answered the Dwarf. “Do you agree we should bring our news to Dale and the Lonely Mountain?” asked Thalimar. “Yes, we need wiser council,” answered Urki,”I fear this wyrmling’s sires. We could kill it and in so doing jump from the pot only to fall into the fire.” “We will travel together, but first we must go to Iach Celduin to pick up our money and belongings,” said Thal.
They traveled back to the Dwarf’s Gauntlet. They rested there for some days and bought a few things for the journey. A healer’s kit, horses, a pony, a donkey, rations, etc. They traveled north stopping again at Redvale to stay over night with Kerowyn and Hucrele. The next day they traveled north and stopped on the road for the night. On the second day they made it to the falls below the Long Lake. They stayed in a small town there and traveled north again for another day. They entered Lake Town (Esgaroth) and spent a day or so trading money in for gems. This would lighten their load.
Leaving Esgaroth they headed toward Dale. They were moving along at a good clip when a man jumped out into the road. He was shabby looking. “Stand and deliver!” shouted the man. “Deliver what? I have no messages for you,” said Thal. “Very funny, give us your money or die,” said the man. Thalimar was shocked and did not move. Tuber slid from his mount and quickly approached the man swinging his battle axe. Seeing Tuber move into action, Urki and Thal jumped off their mounts and Thalimar prepared his bow and arrow while Urki pulled a throwing axe. Arrows flew at them from either side of the road. The arrows struck Thal and Urki injuring them. Four other men had jumped out from behind trees. Tuber swung his axe but missed the quick man. Thalimar shot an arrow and the man fell. Urki threw his axe but it glanced off of the men beside the road. Tuber ran to attack a man beside the road, swung and cleaved the man in half. The remaining three ran into the woods. They found a small amount of silver on the man but nothing else. Thalimar tracked them for a brief time to make sure they had really run away and would not follow to attack again.
They traveled on toward Dale. When they met other travelers they warned them of the bandits. They reached Dale at night. They camped nearby the gates to await dawn to enter the city.