The freak storm passed and Grolach, Mokk, Duco, and Ailyn headed back to the muddy trail leading north to Murias. A chaotic and tragic scene greeted them – the crushing hail stones had wrought havoc on the caravan. Several oxen had been killed and others crazed, dragging carts into ditches and spilling grain, pottery, textiles and many other goods onto the mud. The bodies of two merchants lay battered and bloody in the back of one of the intact wains. The survivors salvaged what they could and resumed the slow march through the muck.
The destination was Murias, capital city of the Sessair, but the next stop was Buail Le, the Meeting Place, a sleepy fortified village that came alive only during festival times. Ringed by a ditch, earthen ramparts and log palisade, Buail Le was home to the family of Bran Rib-Crusher. Bran had made his name in battle with the Fomorians and was granted lordship over Buail Le by the King himself. When the caravans came to town he held court in the Golden Goat public house, his wooden mattock and his two vicious mastiffs keeping drunken revelers in line.
The exhausted travelers were in a foul mood as the caravan pulled within the walls. Other merchants had arrived the previous day and a marketplace sprang to life. Rare items could always be had here before they went for sale in the stalls of Murias and Grolach procured a particularly fine iron axe, paid for with gold from the tomb of the Master. It was at this time that a young local warrior named Dugal unwisely decided to taunt and goad Grolach into fisticuffs to prove his toughness to his mates. An icy glare and a fist or two to the noggin proved otherwise.
As darkness fell and rain returned, the travelers packed the Golden Goat to capacity. A beautiful young bard named Kiely regaled the patrons with the epic story of the days when the Sessair first arrived in Eriu from Atlantis and conquered the land from the Titans.