It was a rather busy afternoon in the markets of Evanda. Merchants called from booths and stalls, townsfolk rushing here and there with the natural motion of the hustle and bustle; everything seemed in motion in the city. This week, however, was special.
The Spring Festivities were in full swing. Bright greens, whites, and purples decorated the entire town. The celebration of the life and the rising of the sun around them had the desert folk itching with excitement. There were performers on the streets and in the theatres, all sorts of food native to the area, laughter, and storytelling. As she sat on her wooden stool, Syless watched over such festivities from her booth of herbs, poultices, and other natural things only found in the woods to the north. Even though the road going through is known for bandits and highwaymen, the Forest of Thieves had many wondrous things to offer. It was where Syless and her companion rat, Kipopi, called home.
In a pine colored cloak, hood large and covering her hair, the woman smiled as children with sticks went running across the stone road. They liked to pretend to be fighting each other, giving the “bad guys” the names of the latest conflict in the area. A few months back, it was the bandits to the north, requiring a toll on the road that was free to use for travelers. At the time of the festivities, it was the Blooddrake Syndicate. Sticks were swords in the imaginations of the children, gruff voices were like harps trying to be lutes, and if their mothers knew, they would have none of it.
Times were rough in Evanda, and the Syndicate running amok in the city didn’t make it any better. They ran the city under the noses of the guards, always finding a sly way to sneak around and handle their bidding. Many speculate there are undercover Blooddrakes hiding in the guard posts. These are simply fleeting rumors, gossip on the lips of scared townsfolk. Yet, Syless listened, always keeping an ear out for such things. The Syndicate managed to stretch to her neck of the woods, spilling from the streets into the cities beyond, and caused troubles unlike the usual bandits and scavengers. People went missing, others died to be found in the open the next morning, and no one wanted to be caught alone after nightfall anywhere in the city. Despite all that, the Spring Festival went on, and it was time for Syless to take down her booth.
Hopping off her little stool, the woman adjusted her Ironwood plate armor under her cloak. It frequently became uncomfortable after sitting for long periods of time. With a stretch and a yawn, Syless packed up and cleaned the booth for the next merchant to set up shop. Kipopi squeaked in protest when she slung her bag over her shoulder. “Oh hush, you,” she told him, chuckling at his little voice now ranting about how she never minds him. Kip hated it when he wasn’t coddled, but he would never admit it. Grumbling, the rat begrudgingly nestled into his usual spot on her shoulder and in her hair. Syless nuzzled her companion and went off into the festival with a sparkle in her eyes. There was food to be had and shows to watch. The first was going to be the talk of the town; a performance that was to be the grand show for the night. Faust was his name, and his reputation said he put on shows that were a must-see. With the coins from her market day, Syless bought bread from a nearby stall and then her ticket. Kip poked his wiggling nose out from her hood to watch the show with her when she sat down.