14th of Patchwall 381ONT, Amberdale, Kezrenad, two days before Water Lookout
“We can’t allow this to keep happening, first it was the Yeoman, then Eddy Twinkets and Let’s not forget what happened the Shane’s homestead… we need to stand up and fight while we still have a fighting chance” Evard Ficken stood on a chair on the stage in the small town hall talking to the assembled townsfolk. There were some 50 or so people gathered in the town hall, some women and children and the fighting aged folk of most the township. It was Woody Tompkins who stood up next to speak.
“Still have a chance? He has at least 150 men, and he’s bought Sheriff Tait… we would be slaughtered” there was a murmur of assent throughout the crowd but Evard stood again, as he did, his daughter Addie tried to urge him down, but he shook back his hand
“I have fought my entire life for what we have now, I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let some rich bastard stroll in and take it from us. We have to stand up together now or He’ll pick us off one family at a time and…” Evard cut off his words as the door swung open. In walked four men, each had a chainmail shirt and a heavy crossbow in their hands, behind them was the none other than Sheriff Tait, he stepped into the room and stood beside the door. Next marched in Abraham Swanson a muscled bound half ogre cradling a massive musket in his arms and a nasty scowl on his face. At long last entered Count Aderal followed by his ever present shadow Prescott. The armed men fanned around the room as the Count worked his way to the front of the room eyeing the blacksmith and Saloon owner who both still stood as he did. Evard, at his daughters urging relinquished the stage to the Count and resumed his seat amongst the gathered villagers.
“Peoples of Amberdale, I come to you as not just a Count from Don-Ton but as a man of integrity, wisdom, education and…” he paused with a slight frown as he took in the simplistic decorations of the town hall “… taste”. I have found gold in the mountains here, and have brought workers and industry to the land, and instead of embracing me, you and your ilk continue to be an ever present annoyance, making trouble for my people… trying to enforce land claims and property lines… and other ridicules assertions. In my infinite generosity and wisdom, or perhaps due to the fact that next week I may well be a father…” he turned what some could only guess to be a smile on Prescott “I have decided to settle on these claims once and for all… I will offer 10 Don- Ton Gold Pieces for every parcel of land…”
“Are you nuts, my land is worth five times that” said Edwin Larsen, a local carpenter. The Count glared at the man and it would not be far-fetched to believe that the Count was trying to bore through his soul with his withering glare. Then as if coming to a quick decision the count nodded and pointed to Edwin
There were a series of screams and cries as a heavy crossbow bolt lodged itself in poor Edwins neck, he gasped and gurgled as he slumped into his wife’s lap before falling to the floor dead… some in the room tried to stand or rush to his aid, but the other men at arms pointed their weapons implying a similar fate to any who dared to intercede. The Count grinned a predators grin and continued
“I think you will find my offer most fair and generous, I have even decided to allow you all some time to think about it; My son will be born in Abarrow in two weeks’ time, When I return with him I will expect you all ready to sign over your land, if you choose not to… well I guess we will see what happens” The Count made a motion with his finger and quickly the towns folk found themselves herded outside at weapons point, women and children were push and bullied and the threat of weapon use was evident, once they were amassed outside the Count spoke “I think these gatherings are proving poor for the public good, there will be no more” with that several more men approached with barrels of oil and began soaking the town hall. Within moments they were finished and the building was lit up. People cried and screamed but the good people of Amberdale were forced to watch. As the flames reached their zenith enough was enough
“You coward!” Called Evard “You petulant little boy… you can’t do this to good people, I won’t allow…”
The count pulled his pistol and shot the old innkeeper in the chest, he fell backwards gasping. But he had been a catalyst, others turned and tried to fight and within the minute twenty five of the most able bodied townsfolk lay dead or dying on the ground, their children and loved ones brutally pulled back from their bodies and shoved into the remainder of the crowd. The Count turned to the Sheriff
“Leave the bodies to rot where they fell until I get back, let that inspire further contemplation from these fine folk…” he then turned to Prescott “I think our point is made… let us head toward Abarrow and collect my son from that whore”
“Yes my lord” replied the loyal steward