With a start, Leah spun on her heel as a howling wind passed her, the very same that had awoken her. Very abruptly, raindrops began to fall around her, soaking the cloak she wore about her and causing a chill up her spine as the wind rolled by once more. She took a moment to be grateful for the hood of her cloak already being pulled over her vivid crimson hair. It had been at least four fortnights since the last time she had encountered any one person, let alone a civilization of a sort. And yet here she was, chasing a rumor of stone. However, it what not just any stone or ore she was in search of. The travelers she'd encountered called it 'the mystic blue', appropriately named for it's color. Whether or not it actually held magical properties had yet to be proven. But, it was very valuable and Leah knew of at least a dozen of merchants willing to pay her very good coin for the slightest bit of it. And so here she was, traveling through an unnatural storm to the enclosed city of Cudsul in search of a more definite answer.
The earth beneath her feet was eagerly soaking up the water as it fell, causing her feet to sink in as she walked, clinging to the fabric of her boots. Leah ignored the squishing noise beneath her and kept her eyes and ears alert. The sky was shrouded with dark, low clouds and though it was storming, she could tell that it was approaching dusk. She would need to pick up her pace if she were to make it to Cudsul before nightfall, according to Phyllos directions. In her path through a thicket of trees, a venison lay lifeless and still. Leah paused and bowed before the creature, placing a hand on the coat feeling an eerie vibe coming from it. Perhaps that is what others would call an aura, but to her it was just a very bad feeling in her gut. Quickly muttering a soft wish for the life spirit it lost, she began to speed walking once more, a groan filling the air behind her. Looking over her shoulder she could see the deer struggling to stand on its feet moving very slowly and unnaturally. Her green eyes widened and without a second thought, she began to sprint towards Cudsul, never taking the time to look back.
The guards at the gate were hesitant to let her in, but eventually allowed her in, seemingly fearful of the impending nightfall. The town was quiet and somber at this time, many faces looked worn and guards appearing to be at the end of their physical rope. She had heard little about the town itself, save for the fact that it was primarily a mining town. In the distance, one building seemed particularly busy. Dim candle lights were flickering from within and the sound of many bodies could be heard from within, though not very loud conversation. It was a pub of sorts and as she entered, it startled her how quiet it was. It was filled with the physically and emotionally injured... and yet everyone was so silent. This was grieving. And it was thick in the air.
She slowly moved to a seat in the darkest corner of the room, pulling her bow off from over her shoulder and resting it on the table. Behind her, she heard whispers of adventurers having come earlier that day and heading out to the mining camp. The comment was quickly followed by chatter of the injured that fled the camp because of a goblin attack. Goblins? Could it really be true? Before she could ponder the question, a young woman with a dirt covered and yet pleasant face brought her an ale and slinked away without so much as eye contact having been made.
A few weary guardsmen returning from the mines took seats at a table close to Leah, all dead silent as a barmaid passed them. One took off his skullcap and gave her a quick nod and a weak smile before he hunched over the table to whisper to his mates "Goblins... goblins we can deal with. Goblins are nothing new, but that?
" The man seemed to shiver as he looked away from the other two, staring at the table. So, the goblins rumor was true. Leah shifted in her seat, resting her forearms on the table to lean closer in the direction of the guardsmen that had just arrived.
The one across the table from him scanned the room for any peeping eyes and ears before he leaned in and gave his friend a significant look, saying, "That ore is valuable though... and our pay doubled
when the Baron found what the workers were mining into." The last of the three shoved a hand into his pocket for a moment and then slipped out a silvery blue rock, holding it out in the middle of the table in the palm of his hand, "You mean this stuff?" Immediately, the first of the guards threw his hand over his and closed the other's fingers over it, glaring at him, "You took
some of it?"
Leah struggled to keep her eyes glued on her table, her pulse quickening from hearing that it did in fact exist. It was not just a bedtime story told to her to fill her with the thoughts and desires of enormous wealth. It was real. And these men seemed feared of it. She stood silently, placing her bow acorss her chest once more and walked to the foot of their table, keeping her hood pulled over her ace so they couldn't quite make out her face. "If you do not want it, I will take it from you and you will never hear a word of it again. You will not be connected and your positions will remain intact. No one will have to know of your thievery against your Baron or town." Slowly, still unsure of how they would react to her sudden presence and proposal, she slid her fingers into a small pouch at her waist, placing six very bright gold coins on the table.
The guards looked up at her, almost startled that she came to approach them, but very soon the first guard pried open the hand of his mate (much to his dismay) and took the stone out of his hand. He opened Leah's palm and slapped it on her hand and said, "Here, take it. The blasted thing is probably cursed anyway." Leah smirked and tucked the stone into her purse, turning away from them not having touched the coin. "Keep the coin and enjoy your ale men." and she silently slinked out of the pub building in search of a place to stay for the night. They all exchanged glances with each other before the first guard nodded to her and divided up the coins evenly among them, choosing not to watch her as she slipped outside.