The Hiring Hall stood quiet
except for a quartet of apprentices.
All of the experienced adventurers
were out on an assignment.
Vielle strummed her lute.
"Battle sounds so romantic,"
she sighed. "When I'm a bard,
I'll tour all the battlefields of the land."
"When I'm a fighter, I'll go with you,"
said Gret, stroking his sword hilt.
"If your Master is as stubborn as my Mistress,
though, it's a long time before we get anywhere."
"Too true," said Ruthanne, firefly lights
weaving trails around her fingertips.
"My Mistress won't even let me past cantrips."
The other apprentices nodded commiseration.
"I pray that we all see some excitement,"
said Pren, clasping his holy symbol.
"Otherwise we may die of boredom."
They drank to that, but it was only apple cider.
Just then, the Hiring Hall door slammed open.
Vielle's and Pren's Masters carried Gret's Mistress,
leaving a broad trail of blood. Every time Ruthanne's Mistress
put out her own robes, the flames rekindled themselves.
The Healers on duty at the Hall
quickly hustled the battered adventurers
into a back room and shut the door behind them.
Silence fell again.
"Well," Gret said a bit faintly,
"we should really get back to our studies."
"Yes," Vielle agreed, "I'm with you."
Pren and Ruthanne hurried after them.