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There was nothing overly remarkable about Sentinel. It was a sleepy little frontier town just like dozens of others. This one was also situated at a border between Earth and Thunder Realms. It existed simply because players traversing the wilderness needed a safe place to respawn should something go wrong. In a year or so when the frontier had moved, it may become something more, say a local hub for culture or trade, or a quest location, or it may disappear entirely. The Game was always growing, expanding to accommodate the wanderlust of thousands, sometimes millions of players. Towns like Sentinel came and went, just like growing pains. The NPCs here seemed oddly keen in their awareness of it, too. There was something just a little desperate in the way they fawned over "adventurers" here, because so few ever came through, and some who did wouldn't come back through the same way. Depending on the circumstances, it was sometimes better that way.

There was no border wall to this town, surprisingly. There was the broken down remains of one though, looking as if they had rebuilt it so much they had eventually stopped trying. You could pass right by Sentinel in fact and not know it was a town at all. There were no houses to be seen, just some makeshift looking tents pitched around the base of a stone tower, sticking up out of the rocky dry terrain like a beacon. That tower, however, served as not only lookout point but also the entrance to the underground town. It made the most sense, really. Lots of monsters could scale a wall, but far fewer could dig through solid marble. It was a smart, if bleak, way to survive. These weren't dwarves or other races for which living underground came naturally, but instead a mix of Elf, Beast, and Fairy with the odd Human. As such, they were mostly pretty miserable for being unable to sleep beneath moon and starlight. Save, of course, any who had the dubious honor of keeping watch in the tower. That was mostly decided by lot.

A few people, mostly the older men and women but with a smattering of town militia, wove in and out among the tents this morning making small talk and trading. Until through a wave of rumor it came to be known that an adventurer was coming. Suddenly the place was swarming like a hive of bees that had been kicked. Adventurers meant money, rare goods, possibly an exchange of favors, maybe a good story or a display of skill. But adventurers could also mean trouble. They were a magnet for luck both good and bad. By the time a shadow darkened the horizon, though, they had calmed and most of them had gone back home or back about their business. It was hard to disguise their curiosity or understated excitement. Hard not to look and stare, and pray to their chosen god or goddess that this would be a pleasant and brief visit. Because breaking down tents and hiding underground AGAIN was not at all appealing to any of them.

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