The Swallowtail Festival begins promptly, as scheduled, on the first day of autumn. The square before the church quickly becomes crowded as locals and travelers arrive, and several merchant
tents featuring food, clothes, local crafts, and souvenirs are there to meet them.
The turnout for the opening speeches is quite respectable, and the four keynote speakers each deliver short but well-received welcomes to the festival. Mayor Deverin’s friendly attitude and excitement prove contagious as she welcomes visitors to town and jokes about how even Larz Rovanky, the local tanner (and notorious workaholic) managed to tear himself away from the tannery to attend, much to everyone’s but Larz’s amusement. Sheriff Hemlock brings the crowd down a bit with his dour mood, his reminder to be safe around the evening’s bonfire, and his request for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the fire that claimed the town’s previous church five years ago.
At noon, Father Zantus and his acolytes wheel a large covered wagon into the square, and after recounting the short parable of how Desna first fell to earth and was nursed back to health by a blind child who she transformed into an immortal butterfly as a reward for her aid, they pull aside the wagon’s cover, releasing the thousand children of Desna—a furious storm of a thousand swallowtail butterflies that swarm into the air in a spiraling riot of color to a great cheer from the crowd. Throughout the rest of the day, children futilely chase butterflies, never quite quick enough to catch them.
Finally, as the sun begins to set, Father Zantus takes the central podium, uses a thunderstone to attract everyone’s attention, and clears his throat as he prepares to recite the Prayer
of First Dreaming. But Father Zantus doesn’t get very far into his prayer before distant screams are heard. Darren and Tristan look and see smoke in the distant — part of Sandpoint is burning.
As they fight through a panicked crowd, they hear inhuman voices singing a strange and off-key song in broken common:
“Goblins chew and goblins bite.
Goblins cut and goblins fight.
Stab the dog and cut the horse,
Goblins eat and take by force!
Goblins race and goblins jump.
Goblins slash and goblins bump.
Burn the skin and mash the head,
Goblins here and you be dead!
Chase the baby, catch the pup.
Bonk the head to shut it up.
Bones be cracked, flesh be stewed,
We be goblins! You be food!"
Before long, the Piecewright brothers are fully engaged in a battle with three goblin warriors. Using their firearms (weapons that the people of Sandpoint have never seen before) they dispatch the goblins easily, but more keep coming. Moments later, they come upon a group of goblins who have taken control of a wagon load of bonfire fuel, which leads to another fight with five more goblins.
Things at the festival itself have calmed somewhat. Here and there, the sounds of battle, clanging swords, calls of support by the town guard, and shrieking and singing goblins echo through the streets, but at the festival itself, most of the citizens have fled. One or two goblins remain behind to scavenge food, and many more lie dead (along with a few unfortunate citizens). Darren and Tristan search the streets, helping to get the injured to safety. Just then, a scream and a frantic barking can be heard from the north. The brothers head to the White Deer in where they find a goblin riding a goblin dog attacking a noble and his dog. The brothers get there too late to save the dog, but quickly engage the goblin and its mount in a violent battle. The dog proves to be more challenging than its rider, savagely biting Darren in the shoulder before its head is blown apart by Tristan’s pistol.
The nobleman runs over to the men and profusely thanks them. He introduces himself as Aldern Foxglove.
The battle has wound down, so the brothers go with Foxglove to the Rusty Dragon where they bandage their wounds and tend to the wounded.