Jake sat at the head of the large rectangular table of the private dining room on the second floor of the Angry Bear. He had several private rooms, but he reserved them for his most honored guests. Not that the Kados village Council was not honorable clientele, but there were others who would pay him to use the rooms. Around him sat the other six members of the village council. To his left sat Bryan Hegan, one of the farmers in Kados, and Katie Moran, who made every stitch he was wearing with the exception of his leather boots. Bryan and Katie were both very skilled at what they did and were vital to the running of the town, but lately they had been very disruptive to the relations with the elves to the north. He could understand why they were chosen for the Council, but they were hard to get along with at times. On his right sat Gerry Tainter and Mikal Childers, ther leader of the Kados militia and one of the blacksmiths of the town. Both men lived here longer than he and were also vital to the running of Kados. The steel that was mined nearby in the Yarith Mountains was some of the best in the world, and Mikal knew exactly what to do with it. Gerry was a farmer, but Jake knew the look of a fighting man when he saw one. William Breeden sat next to Aline Corova at the far end of the table. Those two always had their heads together. While everyone in Kados knew of Aline's demon ancestry, William was the only one who put it to good use. He was the most respected man in all of Kados. By trade William was an apothecary. There were some who thought that Aline was only on the Council at the insistence of William. Jake thought it was her wisdom and objectivity.
"Why have you called us here, Aline?" Katie asked pointedly. She was still wearing her dark brown wool cloak despite the fire Jake started in the very large fireplace. Either she was still cold or was not planning on remaining very long. Katie put a hot cup of chocolate to her lips and sipped at it softly. Jake could tell that she did not like Aline, but she had never been openly rude about it before.
"I am worried, friends." Aline whispered as her red eyes swept their way across the room. Jake listened even more intently. He knew that Aline could feel things sometimes. No one was sure how, not even Aline, but she was accurate most of the time when she talked about it. Some of the others did not share his interest though. Particularly Bryan, who sighed audibly and leaned back into his chair, and Katie, who rolled her eyes. The other Council members seemed interested enough not to be rude.
"I really don't want to hear this, Aline." Bryan said. "I am tired of your tales of death and destruction. The fact is that no more than a handful of demonspawn has come within miles of Kados for half a century. Rou Shinto has driven the Darkling Kings into hiding. They are the only ones who can gather a force large enough to do anything more than be a nuisance to the daily operations of this town."
"You should listen to her, Bryan." William interjected.