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They were close now, possibly only hours before reaching the remote village. The scouts had returned with news of sightings of chimney smoke in the distance and the terrain was showing frequent markings of human activity.

The reports caused a stir amongst the Dragontamers. It was as if they could smell it in the air - the imminent adventure, the honor within their reach. Their loud speculations on the Dragon's potential whereabouts filled them with enthusiasm and antecipation. Someone was already creating heroic tales and another was boasting the marks of glory on her tattooed body. With vivid gestures some practiced moves against their future foe, and others were demonstrating the intricate and clever functionality of their latest Dragon-taming contraptions.

With a different kind of yearning for what lay ahead, the Witches kept a clever eye on the Dragontamers. In keeping their distance they might have appeared mostly uninterested in the Dragontamers. Only they themselves would know that they were anything but indifferent. Tending to their own agenda, they would occasionally share hooded looks in mute commentary to their companions' eagerness. They were close now. One of the Witches raised his arm with a wave forward. "Let's move on!", he boomed.

It was about to begin.