So Fayne and Shojin worked their ways closer to the old man and they were about as stealthy as a minotaur in a china shop, but I moved like greased darkness. They made their way closer to the old man but I held back. I didn’t trust the situation. I rarely do. And still I heard the whispers. Calling me from the darkness.
Next thing I know the three of them are talking with the old man in the road and I couldn’t hear what all they were talking about, but it seemed like he was some kind of a big deal. And maybe a merchant. He had a bunch of crap on the back of some poor donkey. So I crept closer and closer and he didn’t seem to hear me.
Finally I was close enough to say “boo” and he started swinging his cane at Shojin. Which was funny to me for some reason. The old man offered to trade us a meal for our story, so of course Shojin said sure. He was always ruled by his weird morality and his stomach. We found a clearing and set up camp near the road so that we were able to trade tales in some degree of comfort.
We regaled him with our tale of daring do versus the goblins and their boss and the reopening of the trade routes from the mountain and he sat there adding in all the oohs and ahs in all the rights places, which was weird cause our story was grand scheme of things not all that impressive, but he never let on. He humored us because it was the nice thing to do, or in retrospect it at least seemed that way.
And then we learned about him. He was something called a “Tinker”. A Tinker is a sort of revered travelling merchant/diplomat/storyteller who just sort of roams place to place spinning yarns and selling their wares. It was also considered both poor form and terrible luck to attack or cheat a Tinker, such was the reverence paid them. It was also like the weirdest yard sale of garbage on the back of that donkey, but he had some useful odds and ends and I was sure to purchase some potions.
So we set up a watch schedule and bedded down for the night. After we had all made it to sleep, that was when everything went sideways. We were beset in the night by a multitude of foes coming out of the trees. There were Gnolls surrounding us from what we believed to be all sides. Just Gnolls gibbering as they do and once we were all awakened, we waded into the combat like the heroes we believed ourselves to be. And. It. Was. Glorious.
The bodies fell around us like trees before a woodsman. Eventually we were so weary and battleworn, that the final Gnoll ran into the trees to try and escape our wrath. That poor Gnoll ran into the woods and smack into our friend from Hammerfell Vessa Ott who had been trailing us for some time. After dispatching that final fiend, she came strolling out of the woods and explained that Hammerfell was no longer the home that she wished that it could be and that she would, if we would allow it, travel with us. We were happy to have her with us, she was a pretty good pack mule after all.
So we finished the night with the Tinker and the next day bid him farewell and safe travel. A day and half later we found ourselves in Dillard. Things were finally looking up for us.