Through the hustle and bustle of the bazaar, you make out a pair of city watch officers dragging a manic woman through the street. “You must do something for my children!” she wails, her shrill cries a portrait of anguish. “My friends please, can’t you see this woman is deeply troubled?” cautions a merchant, gathering his cloak up he approaches the woman “tell me… what has happened to you?” he covers her and tries to pat away her tears with corner of the robe. The watchmen interrupt “No time my lord, we’re escorting the lady to Constable Redhelm.” the more brutish of the two watchmen presses on, budging the merchant aside. More people gather around the scene until a small mob trails the woman, they throw up their hands and protest “let her speak!” “are we in danger?!”.
Two legionnaires walking by mid-conversation halt and redirect their attention, pressing through the mob “Calm down!” “Come on, move aside! Let me speak with her. Hush up!” The legionnaire moves closer, nearly whispering to the watchmen #1 DC 15 Perception check she winces as suddenly, a young lass runs up to the crowd shouting “Smoke to the north, look! look!” The legionnaires exchange knowing looks and rush off towards the stables.
The party is met by Gedem Oppajonwho is outside the Constable’s house. The party can attempt gathering information about the woman from a city watch officer #2. Gedem rides for the farm at once to investigate, following the black tendrils of smoke that coil up into the air.
Taking the road north the party encounters a small band of fleeing refugees nearing the city, an elderly woman and her husband in the front of an oxcart laden with hastily stacked furniture and home goods. A maidenly girl sits legs dangling off the end, a younger boy trudges behind the cart on foot, shouldering a scythe bigger than he is. The pair of teary eyed youth cast a nervous glance over the party as they pass. Rounding the turn you move downhill along a road bordered by strangling, thorny growth #3 DC 16 Listen check. The stranger assures you that the poultry certainly aren’t stolen #Sense Motive directing you the nearest of the smoldering farmsteads…
A well worn path winds from the road through tall, golden-hued grass for 20yrds nearing a cleared area. Entering this clearing, the air is choked by smoke that stings your eyes and your overwhelmed by the scent of burnt wood and flesh, bits of ash slowly fall all around you. Through the haze stands the husk of a simple single-story farmhouse roughly 1,000 sq ft. The roof has collapsed and the face of the home has been completely razed, the remaining walls rest atop a blackened stone foundation. Behind the home is row after row of hops stretching 200yrds or so, most of which seems to have survived the blaze. Nestled beside this is a medium sized oast house and a small horse pen with a lean-to.