“Today’s going to fun, eh Derrick?” The man turned to face his companion with a wide grin on his face. Derrick was staring from the high wall over the shadows as they began to run away from the rising sun. “I guess. Last year, the festival was so busy that Kinna and I didn’t even reach the honey vendor.” His eyes were steady as he scanned the area before him. “Besides, I have duty again tonight.” Derrick’s companion shrugged. He, too, looked out over the field that lead south. “That stinks.” A whistle blew a short cadence. “Hey man, want me to try and get some honey mead for you guys?” The pair disappeared into a tower and their conversation went with them. A different pair of men marched out onto the wall and stood straight peering over the same field. The sun was just beginning to creep over the mountains. Its rays were warm and every moment allowed for further illumination. Birds were beginning their songs and the sounds of the city behind them were growing louder. There were already travelers on the road making their way towards the large gates. One of the men shook his head and rubbed some of the sleep from his eyes. His partner slapped him on arm and chuckled. “At least we’re not on duty at the bazaar this year.” This earned him a sideways smile and a small glare. “You got that right, Mark.” Both men looked back over the awakening day. “You got that right.” +++++ Kalaman was coming alive. Merchants had reserved their places in the bazaar weeks ago and were now setting their wares out in the most eye-catching displays that they could conjure. Officials and militia, already being burdened by disputes and accusations, walked amidst the sea of tents and carts. This would only get worse as customers, travelers and kender joined the mix. Shouts and whistles echoed from the port. The crimson and gold uniforms of the militia were here as well. The police presence was increased today and would be all week. Kalaman was a busy city, that is a fact, but this week was different. It’s the busiest time of the year; the High Summer Festival. Kids hound their parents for chores leading up to this week so they can buy all sorts of crazy and exotic goods from vendors that come from all over Krynn. Elves, kender, dwarves and even some Minotaur descend upon the human settlement to swallow its inhabitants’ coin. One merchant proudly proclaims that he never sets prices because each item always ends up being auctioned to the highest bidder. Another was heard saying that she makes enough steel at Kalaman’s High Summer Festival to fund an entire year of traveling. There are many things aside from the marketplace that attract people to Kalaman. Some people are fascinated with ships. Kalaman’s port is full of every kind imaginable this time of year. The city also boasts some very fine inns and tavern. There is no finer place to sleep than the Swirling Pearl. Its rooms are luxurious and comfortable, its bar is stocked with the finest drinks from every part of Ansalon and it is said to have the most accommodating services. There are even whispers of some services offered with such discretion that even the mayor spends a lot of his evenings at the Swirling Pearl. +++++ Nearly a mile into the lush grasslands that flow to the south of Kalaman, one businessman was already hard at work. His fiery red hair was pulled back into a ponytail. His bright green eyes darted about with a nervous bounce. He chewed on his lower lip and occasionally muttered a dry cough. All the while, his hands were steadily working; rummaging through the satchel of a sleep traveler. Coin, food, trinkets and jewelry were all lifted without a sound and set into a pouch hung across the man’s chest. When he was done and satisfied, he moved in silence to another unsuspecting victim’s gear. The man smiled revealing two gold teeth and accenting a small scar on his right cheek that ran next to his main laugh line. Solomon Gold, according to his wanted posters, was thinking to himself about how much he enjoyed festivals. He proudly stated that his sticky fingers actually helped people make space in their packs to acquire more stuff. Solomon was having a killer morning. He’d only been in packs for about an hour and was starting to realize that he’d be full up with goodies before lunchtime. He smiled and shoved a handful of steel marbles into his pouch. Today was going to be a good day.