The abandoned Inn had escaped the fate of similar structures along the Duke’s Road, most likely because the invading forces weeks ago had traveled along the high roads to offer them better visibility of the surrounding foreign lands they traveled through.
Lars leaned against the window sill of a room on the second floor facing the road that passed by the Inn. He peered down at the cart that he and his band of highwaymen had overturned, creating a blockage in the road. He then looked to the distance and watched the green and black carriage and horsemen slowly approach.
Lars reached into his tunic and withdrew the small children’s picture book he carried there. A gift from his daughter that he purchased while on an adventure in the town of Dalusav in the Duchy of Highsee, the book was hand drawn with fantastical images of adventure and dragons and flying boats. He looked at the drops of blood splattered on the back cover. He had found the book under the body of his daughter when he returned to his homestead at the start of the war- too late to find his wife who no doubt had been captured by hobgoblins or worse.
“Ah, Lars, excuse me…” the one eyed dwarf poked his head into the door. “It looks like the carriage has stopped. They likely suspect something. Looks like you was right- they are floating the Tyn flag, but it looks like a Vermese entourage is with them also.”
“Yes Onus, the man we captured mentioned that some Earl was going south to escort a Vermese delegation to Tyn City to parlay…” Lars put the book back in his pocket and adjusted his chain hood.
“Do you think they want peace?”
“Perhaps. The lines have been redrawn. The hungry mouths thinned. The rich are richer. They may indeed want peace. But they won’t get it, if we have our say.”
Onus waddled into the room “Capture the Earl, kill the Vermese?”
“No Onus. Nobody gets any peace, and the Earl is an unfortunate victim required to make that happen. This war doesn’t end until there are no rulers left, and men are left to stand on their own.”
The dwarf exhaled, his shoulders sinking imperceptibly, and spun on his heels.
“In case I wasn’t clear friend. They all die.”