Episode 10: . . . the tough get going.

A rough looking character near the front of the group stood up. He was appeared to be in his early forties, had several scars, and was missing his right ear. He glanced about at the people around him, then spoke.

"I'd like to say something."

Arthur nodded. "Go ahead."

"I'm not a very big fan of the Empire. Neither are a lot of people here. But I don't think that any of us would really like to see Black Jong in charge. Now maybe that's not going to happen, but there'll be a whole lot of blood and destruction before this whole mess is over. People are going to die. Now Black Jong's people are threatening us. They're invading our forest. They've got people working for them that can control wolves and take out Imperial heroes. Maybe not anyone as good as us, but we're not there anymore. We're here. And maybe we shouldn't be. Now I'll admit that a lot of us aren't in any shape to go running about with swords anymore, but some of us are. And people need us. People are going to suffer if we don't do something. A lot of us became heroes to stop that. Now we're trading our peace for others' pain. But I'm not going to sit here and let it happen, and neither are some of you I'll wager. I'm going to do something about it. Who wants to join me?"

Arthur cut off the first couple of volunteers. "I should like to point out a few things: First, we have several children in this town. Most of them are too young to go adventuring, but I can think of a couple that aren't. Now it's the parent's decision whether they go or not, but it would be a great time to get them trained in the family business, so to speak. Second, the caravan guards are both active adventurers—" Isabelle started; she hadn't realized that Silent Thunder was a hero as well. "—and can be sent out on this mission if they accept. Thirdly and finally, a lot of us have abilities such as information-gathering that have little to do with age and physical ability. Why don't you all go home and think it over for the next few hours? We'll hold a meeting for all of the volunteers at the tavern a couple of hours past noon. Anyone who's got an idea or a plan can present it then." He glanced over at the fat man who had opened the meeting.

The fat man rose and waved a hand. "Meeting adjourned." He then returned to his seat and the crowd began to disperse.