As the Lunar warband entered the village, they were observed by a pair of eyes other than those of the companions. Sandene Three-Death chewed on a strip of dried meat and considered her options. She was safe in the Tin Inn, and the Lunars were likely interested only in the old man and his shop. She could stay where she was, keep quiet and move on when events had concluded. But she was Sandene, warrior, huntress and outlaw. She was of Old Tarsh, and had no love for the Lunars. More, she was Sandene, and not one to merely watch events from afar. Hefting her weapons, she slipped out of a side window and made her way stealthily to the bushes near to the pawn shop.
As Sandene disappeared into the foliage, the Lunars and the companions traded insults. This was clearly not to be resolved without bloodshed. Sighing, Dronlan Swordsharp loosened his sword in its scabbard and signalled for the door to the inn be opened. Stepping out, he summoned his Harmony rune, calling on Issaries to coat his words with honey that they might soothe the warrior soul.
From their places in the pawn shop, the companions saw Dronlan hail the Red and Blue Woman and Darsten Black-Oak. As they parlayed, Tarshite Mercenaries continued to spread out, flanking their position and moving closer. As they watched, Dronlan’s body language became more strident and demanding, whilst Darsten’s became more placatory. Unnoticed by Dronlan, the Lunar woman dismounted from her horse and moved round behind him. In one swift motion, she drew her curved scimitars and plunged them through his spine, killing him instantly! As Dronlan slid lifeless to the ground, she wiped her blades on his body. “Kill them all and burn the pawnshop’ she shouted in harshly-accented Tradetalk.
Enraged by the cowardly act, Terrastal let fly with an arrow through the grille in the door. As if guided by Orlanth himself, the arrow arched through the air and plunged into a chink in the armour on her left leg. In shock, the sorceress fell backwards with a howl of rage and pain, allowing Dronlan to usher her back around the side of the Tin Inn, out of danger. Still, the mercenaries continued to move to the attack.
Meanwhile, Sandene made a decision; approaching the rear of the pawnshop, she decided to help these reckless strangers. Reaching the back door, she knocked and waited. For once not shooting first and then asking questions (probably through Randel’s influence), Terrastal saw a strong but marred face scowling back as he opened the grille. Whilst Terrastal and Randel suspiciously considered Sandene’s offer of help, a Lunar Tarshite appeared around the corner of the building to her right. With one swift movement, Sandene drew her bow and loosed a shaft, dropping her supposed countryman with one shot. Seeing this, Randel and Terrastal reached their decision and admitted Sandene. As they regarded each other tensely, there was a heavy blow on the door. Again Terrastal opened the grille, this time seeing the face of a Tarshite mercenary scowling back. Reverting to type, he thrust the blade of his broadsword through the grille and was rewarded with a howl of pain. Almost at the same time, there was a shout of alarm from Yrsa, who was waiting upstairs. The mercenaries were intent on smashing holes through the roof and then burning them out!
As Terrastal rushed upstairs to assist Yrsa, the battle devolved into a series of bloody vignettes.
• Sandene tricking mercenaries into entering the rear door, into the face of bowfire from herself and Randel.
• Randel and a mercenary hacking each other into a bloody mess on the floor of the shop, before Sandene shot the mercenary dead from a few feet away.
• Yrsa throwing a javelin with such force that it went straight through a surprised mercenary’s stomach, pitching him off the roof.
• Yrsa clambering out of the window to charge into the midst of the mercenaries, driven by her love for her Clan and the promise she had made to Baranthos to save Gringle.
This last action led to tragedy, however: as she charged forward, scattering her enemies, a mercenary thrust his spear forward and caught Yrsa in the throat. Choking on her own blood, Yrsa fell to her knees and pitched forward onto her face, whispering prayers to Redalda through the bloody foam.
Randel, Terrastal and now Sandene looked on in horror; they knew such a wound would prove fatal if not treated quickly, and yet Yrsa had fallen amongst her foes on the roof of the shop. How were they to reach her in time? More, they could hear the sound of splintering wood downstairs; was this a sign of more enemies, or of aid unlooked for?