The Search for Seryth

Chapter 5: The farmers were engaged in candle-making when Ezran rode up to the Saldean's farmland. Or that's what they seemed to be going. One of them, which Ezran later learned was Saldean himself, was telling a funny story about how he had taken a candle from a kobold, but as the story went on and the farmers kept giving Ezran meaningful looks at key points in the plot, Ezran began to catch on.

“The “kobold” in the story was a metaphor for one of the local lords. Ezran didn’t pay much attention to human politics, but it seemed this lord had recently come into power, following several raids by gnolls and then human bandits that had nearly destroyed the Westfall farmlands.

The “candle” Saldean bragged he had stolen was then the taxes and labor due to the lord. It seemed none of the farmers liked the man, seeing him as tyrannical and not a little mad.

“How does the story end?” Ezran interrupted when Saldean got off on a tangent of exactly how comical the “kobold’s” expression had been when Saldean had stolen three candles from him in a row.

The farmer’s expression grew dour. “Tales say the kobold still stalks the land, of course,” said Saldean.

“Stealing candles from others who can’t take the loss as well as you,” Ezran suggested.

“You suggesting I should pay up to that tyrant?” Saldean snapped. The others looked at each other and shuffled in unease.

“No,” said Ezran quickly. “Only fight smarter. Your thefts are doing nothing to sway this kobold from his course, correct?”

“Correct,” grunted Saldean.

“So you have to find someway to hit him where it really hurts…”

“We could attack him!” cried one of the other farmers, a man just out of adolesence. The women around him quickly shushed him quickly with frowns.

“Too risky,” said Saldean. With an exchanged glance with one of the women, he said, “You see, this kobold is a warlock. It can control demons.”

That was the reason for the scent of fel at Sentinel’s Hill, then. Ezran swore under his breath.

“Is there no one with the power to stand against him?” Ezran asked. “Surely one of the Stormwind authorities–“

“Don’t care what happens to us,” Saldean said bitterly. “They haven’t cared for years. So long as our taxes keep flowing — and the kobold collects them regularly — they won’t check in.”

“There is the Farstrider,” said one of the women.

Ezran’s interest was immediately piqued, but he tried not to show it. “Farstrider? You mean one of those elven archers? There’s one here?”

“Has been for years,” said Saldean first. “Usually he protects us against gnolls — and kobolds. He hasn’t been able to do anything about this one.”

Ezran swallowed hard. He had finally found his mark.

“Regardless, I actually have business with this Farstrider,” said Ezran. “I’d be obliged if you could tell me how to find him.”

“How can we know if we can trust you?” said another of the women, eyes narrowed. “You might be one of the kobold’s spies.”

“I assure you, I have no idea who this kobold is–“

“Oh, don’t you?” said another of the farmers. “He’s a half-breed just like you!”

Ezran’s breath caught in his throat, as he reached a hand to his ears. Oh, right. He had shortened them with illusion so he didn’t pass a full-blooded quel’dorei anymore.

“He’s…this kobold…is a son of the Farstrider?” he asked in surprise.

Saldean nodded. “Why do you think he can’t do anything about the kobold?”

Ezran nodded, thinking fast. This was going to make things more difficult for sure.

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