Water seeped up through cracks in some of the lower streets of Ankheim, but the mighty walls and heavy doors held fast against the sudden onslaught of water. The citizens breathed a collective sigh of relief as they began to tidy up what little mess there was by the gates.
“Mighty neighborly of you,” Brutus muttered.
Graham flinched, frowning. “I…I suspect we’ve both been at some fault for some time,” he said. He furrowed his brow. “Can’t for the life of me think of what would’ve brought the dam down. I just inspected it not a fortnight ago, and it looked just as it did the day it was built. The protective wards were all in place and everything.”
“Good thing we all made it to safety in time,” Monty said. “Very lucky of us.”
Temperance raised an eyebrow. “Lucky indeed,” she said, a pointedness to her words that wasn’t lost on its intended audience.
Monty opened his mouth to reply, and a knock on the gates rang out. A handful of citizens went to open it.
“Anyone misplace a she-Orc?” asked one of the villagers.
“Answer that at your own risk,” Aranza said, her voice clear and unmistakable.
Monty stepped forward. “My traveling companion,” he said.
Aranza entered, her cloak and leather thoroughly soaked and marked with intermittent spots of moss and dirt.
Temperance reached the duo as Monty finished whispering something.
“Hell of a swim,” Aranza said. “Saw some commotion on the ridge by the dam. Two mages got into a dispute over mushrooms or something, I think. Anyway, one of them threw a fireball. Should’ve seen the look on his face when he missed the other one.”
Temperance’s brow furrowed, and she crossed her arms over her chest. “And where are these mages?”
Aranza shrugged, digging in her ear with a finger. She tilted her head and tapped, resulting in a comical yet concerning stream of water pouring out of her ear.
“Suspect somewhere downstream, if not dead,” Aranza replied. “Best to not think about it too much. Looks like you all got to safety in time. I barely got away with my life.”
Temperance stared at Aranza for a moment longer before her expression softened. “Let’s get you cleaned up and in some dry armor,” she said. “I’ve got some additional funds for unfortunate circumstance purchases. Once that’s squared away we can start back to the Hidden Treasure.”
“How do you reckon?” Monty asked.
Temperance produced the scroll they’d been presented with at the start of the side-quest. The word ‘Complete” had appeared over its original message in large, crimson letters.
“Once we’re back at the Hidden Treasure we can hand this over for our reward,” Temperance said. “Satisfying to have completed something without much conflict, but…” She grumbled something under her breath, trailing off.
“With me,” Temperance said to Aranza. Returning her attention to Monty, she added, “Don’t cause any problems in our absence.”
“On your honor, I won’t,” Monty replied as the Paladin and his partner walked away towards the only armory visible along the main street of Ankheim.