I have been working on a story for some time now, though I'm afraid I've come to a bit of a writer's block, and was wondering if anybody here could help. Basically, the protagonist and his father live in a forested town and cut wood for a living. Every year, a group called the Traders come and sell their merchandise. This year, one of the men offers the protagonist a job in his caravan. Thrilled at the prospect of raising enough money for himself and his father to move away from their small town, the protagonist leaves with the Traders to their next stop. On their way there, however, the Traders are ambushed by a thieving group of bandits who take the whole of their supplies. (The leader of these bandits will later become a significant character.) Dissapointed and without a stock, the group heads back to the town they originated in. They realise that the only way they would be continue in this year's endeavors is if someone was to enter the quarantined city of Sessadan and retrieve some stock from their previous headquarters. The protagonist volunteers to do so and enters the town from the sewers. (The city was quarantined after a plague was released, causing those in the city to become vampire-like creatures. The government then blew up the two bridges that lead to and from the city. Similar to I Am Legend, I suppose.) After a long journey in, our hero follows a map made for him to the Traders' headquarters. He takes with him as much as he can carry, but on his way out is ambushed and kidnapped by one of the few human survivors left in the city, a military man called Doakes. Doakes demands the protagonist to show him how to get out of the city. Obviously the hero has no qualms in helping this man, and does so without hesitation. Now I don't know where to go next. The two get out of the city, but I need a hook to get the hero to not go back to the Traders and instead go with Doakes back to the capital. I considered making Doakes a villain (but I'd rather not) or having the heroes hometown burn down, but both seemed a bit cliche to me. If anyone has any ideas, please share them.