After a weary day Nathan dragged himself into the tavern of Tanninhold looking for an ale and a good hot meal. Looking around he found his friends Barnard, Gus and the lady Desire sitting at one of the tables. Barnard called him over, “Come have a drink with us Nathan!”
Nathan sat down and looked to his companions, “What be going on?” he asked.
Barnard looked at him and asked, “Nathan, will you stand with me at the trial? I intend to offer my defense and ask those who would stand with me to do so. It does not make you an accused nor cause you to be arrested or tried, but I want Bryantt to see for himself that I am not alone.”
Nathan looked at his friend, once a priest and now an outlaw. He looked hard at Barnard and said “I will, of course, my friend.”
Gus looked up from his ale, saying “So no raids? We sit and wait for warrants?”
Nathan looked at Gus then back to Barney, sipped his ale and asked, “When is the trial Barney? Have you heard yet?”
Before Barnard could respond, Desire said, “I would be up for burning their crops tonight.”
Gus glared at her and responded, “That will only hurt the peasants lass.”
Barnard interrupted, “I intend to have raids, should we survive the trial.”
Everyone looked at him, hoping that he would get through the trials but knowing that the odds were stacked against him.
Gus broke the silence, “Now if the tavern were to burn, or the castle…”
Barnard looked at Gus, clearly upset. “Karissa is living in the tavern.”
Nathan said, “I hear that most of the citizens of North March will be away tonight at a tournament.”
Desire looked at Nathan and said, “Ah, so the warrants will not be issued tonight.”
“Yes,” Nathan said. “There will be only a few guards left in the town.”
Gus asked, “I would like to learn to use a sword if that is possible.”
Barnard replied, “If I can, you can,” and laughed. “Nathan’s lessons were invaluable to me in defeating Bryantt.”
Nathan looked at the both and said to Gus, “I will be happy to teach you. We are going to need well trained swordsmen if we are going to raid North March. We will also need weapons. We cannot fight without weapons. Roxeter has an arsenal we cannot match.”
Barnard said, “Well we must get weapons from the North perhaps?”
Nathan responded, “That might work. We could raid North March for weapons while they are away.”
Barnard said, “I know where a store is kept–in the tower next to the abbey.”
Desire said that they could enter the caves from the woods to pass under the town without being observed. The men nodded in agreement.
They waited for dark and mounted their horses. They kept away from the main roads, riding through the woods to the cave entrance. They rode through the dark caves, exiting on the other side at the small peasants village. The tower was not far to the west. Once there they dismounted and secured their horses.
They entered the tower and were delighted to find horses on the lower level. Gus climbed to the second level of the tower and called out, “Holy Mother of God, you all need to come up and see this!”
The others climbed the stairs and found Gus surrounded by swords, spears, bows, arrows, and barrels full of black power.
Desire looked at all the weapons in the room. “There is no way we can take all of these back with us. We have to do something so that the ones we leave behind cannot be used.”
Nathan indicated the barrels. “Look at all this gunpowder. We could blow up the tower with this. Get all the weaons you can carry and meet me outside. When I shout ‘Run!’ you ride as fast as you can back to the cave.”
They grabbed swords, bows and arrows and left the tower. They started to ride for the cave, expecting an explosion behind them, but nothing happened.
Nathan said, “Wait, something is not right. You stay here.” He returned to the tower and climbed the stairs and discovered that the fuse had burned out before reaching the barrels. He replaced the fuses, lit them, and ran from the tower as fast as he could. He was not more than 20 steps out the door when the tower blew and he was slammed to the ground by the force of the explosion. His horse raced off, frightened, and he had to run on foot to the caves.
“Go, before we are discovered!” he shouted. As the others rode off toward South March he searched for his horse. He found her. Once she was calmed, he mounted her and looked back at the burning tower and black smoke rising up into the air. He rode off to catch up with his friends.