Something shrieked down the street, trailing a shower of sparks behind it. A reddish glow preceded a concussive blast that sent the people of Sandpoint scrambling and drowned out the high-pitched laughter of the goblins who had sent the rocket on its way. The fiends melted into alleyway as the sheriff and his men came into the square, too late to catch them. Balor ordered them to search but knew it was hopeless – the vermin had a knack for vanishing. At least nobody seemed to be hurt, outside of a battered looking mongrel that bore a long but shallow slash along its side.

Turning around he saw the point of impact from the firework – where the goblins had gotten them from he had no idea, but there had been harassing both the town and passing caravans for weeks now – a deep divot in the ground just shy of the statue depicting the heroes of Sandpoint. Walking over he saw that aside from some dirt it had suffered no harm, the town’s saviors looking eternally primed for battle. Had it really been ten years since they’d cleaned discovered the caverns below, stopped the goblin invasion and cleaned out Skulltop, taken out the Skinsaw Man, and obliterated an invading army of giants. Seemed like yesterday. He glanced at Lyssa as she approached and wondered if she was still in touch with the sorcerer – they’d been pretty friendly back in the day.

The Captain of the Guard ran up to him and saluted. “They’re gone. They left the remains of one behind – I would guess one of the fireworks went off prematurely and blew it to bits.” Lyssa pulled off her helmet and ran a hand through her short hair. “Definitely Licktoads. I’d love to take a squad into the Brinestump and make this stop.”

Balor shook his head. “We don’t have the manpower, and as usual Magnidaar isn’t interested in our petty problems.” He sighed. “We still have those notices for bounties on goblin ears?”

Lyssa frowned. “Probably. It’s been what, eight years since we had that? Even since those idiots got swept out to sea?”

“Told them not to try to get to Skulltop. They didn’t want to go into the swamp.”

“Can’t blame them. Can we get the funds to back it up?”

“10 gold for every right ear? Sure. The mayor will talk to Ethrem and Amieko. I don’t think Titus has two coppers left to rub together – the Baron has pushed him right out of the lumber game.”

Lyssa lips curved into an odd smile. “Sounds like the Baron.” Her eyes snapped back into focus. “What about Shalelu?”

“She’s around somewhere, but I think she’s training another elf off in the woods. Hasn’t been around much.” He stretched, wincing as his breastplate rubbed the wrong way. Getting old sucked. “We have a few caravans in town, probably plenty of would-be heroes who could use some cash. Give some notices to the masters and post the rest in the taverns. I’m sure they’ll be at least a few brave or stupid enough to head into the Brinestump.”

“Or both.”

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