As Amadi stepped out of the Desert Wind, a gust of warm air blew across the street, blowing his hair back. How appropriate, he thought. Kraldar followed behind him after saying goodnight to their fellow patrons.
“So Amadi, how does it feel to be famous?” he asked. Kraldar was of course referring to the small ceremony they had completed the day before in which the Par Chieftain awarded them with medals of courage. There were maybe a dozen spectators. Most of the residents of Koshepa care little about anything more than cheap ale and fresh air.
“They’re going to find me if we keep this kind of shit up” Amadi replied. “This town isn’t big enough for things like that to go unnoticed.” They began walking south toward Venelle’s.
‘Amadi, I’m telling you, you’re taking this out of proportion. You have so little faith. You even say the Black Knights’s numbers were decimated in their civil war. They could probably care less about you’
’That’s what you say. You don’t know these people. Brixx was bad, but that asshole wizard who leads them now may be even worse’
Kraldar sighed audibly. He began to speak, but was interrupted by a door opening just behind them. They both grabbed the hilts of their swords Pretty quick for someone who believe there’s nothing to be afraid of, Amadi thought. He turned on his heel and saw a figure step out of the door into the lamplight. The door belonged to Rimrunner Coach & Guide, one of a chain of businesses that provided guide and guard services for travelers arount Azani.
“Hey Amadi, wait!” said the young woman who stepped out. Amadi immediately recognized Noth Que’heha. Even at this hour she had her sickle slung at her side. Her uncle Abel ran the Koshepa Rimrunner’s. While they had not been close friends, they knew each other from growing up in Koshepa. She was 6 years his senior and he remembered hiding behind a stack of crates to watch her practice archery with the other guides when he wasn’t even old enough to handle a bow.
“Hi Noth. What are you doing out so late?”
“I wasn’t. I just heard you two walking by, and, well I have something I want to talk to you about”. She looked over at Kraldar. Kraldar gave a loud “A-hem” to Amadi.
“Oh, right.” Amadi put his hand on Kraldar’s shoulder Noth, this is my friend Kraldar. ’He’s a cleric of the Old Gods. The Defender. He was with us when we rescued the hostages.’
“Charmed.” she replied. “So, do you two have a minute?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
Noth led them into Rimrunner and began to tell them her story. Times were getting a little tough at Rimrunner’s since the hobgoblin attack. Nobody wanted to travel to and from Koshepa anymore. She had been thinking of ways to make a little extra dough when a memory struck her. Back when she was a kid, she and the other youngsters would dare each other to explore the old tombs in the Cairn Hills. Most were empty. She remembered one particularly difficult cairn to access though. They called it The Whispering Cairn because of the voices you could hear from the entrance.
“So all these cairns used to be filled with treasure. But the Whispering Cairn is so difficult to access . . . . plus, those voices always scared us from going too far in. When we were kid’s, anyway. I think that if any of the old cairns still have treasure, it has to be that one.” she was excited, and stopped for a quick breath, “but I don’t want to try that alone. What do you guys think? We could bring your other friends too if you want.”
It sounded fun to Amadi. Plus, it would be another opportunity to get out of town. He remembered the cairns from his childhood as well, though he never spent much time in them. His early years were too busy taking care of his father or making ends meet.
“It sounds like quite an adventure Noth, but I’m sorry we must pass for now.”
Her bubble burst. “Oh. Umm . . .”
“You see, we have been recently hired for a job out of town. Our employer asked for the utmost discretion so I’m afraid I can’t tell you more than that.”
“We’re going to Bloodweep” Amadi interjected.
Kraldar glared at him. “And that is ALL we can tell you. Come Amadi, it’s getting late. We’re going to wake Ms. Averin on the way in again.”
“Why can’t she come with us? You’re pretty good with that thing, right?” Amadi asked, nodding toward the scythe leaning against the wall. “We could always use a helping hand.”
“I mean, yeah that sounds -” she was cut off
“No, I’m sorry again Nosh, but like I said our employer is being very strict about this. He specifically asked for Amadi, Flex, Illyon, Scruffin and myself. We’d be betraying his trust to bring someone with us. Maybe in the future. Now come on Amadi let’s get back to Venelle’s.
With that they said goodnight and left Rimrunner’s. He’s right I guess. Bloodweep is farther from here anyway, and I’m sure that mine manager is going to pay well. As they walked to Venelle’s, he looked back toward Rimrunner’s. The Whispering Cairn. It does sound intriguing.
They reached Venelle’s shop and quietly creaked open the door. They weren’t surprised though when a lantern came on from the apartment above. He crept up to his makeshift bunk next to Flex’s. He tried to remain quiet taking off his armor but despite his efforts, he saw the lamp light flood in from under the door in Ms. Averin’s room. Damnit, he thought. "This may be our last night at Venelle’s. I sure hope this Bloodweep job pays off. We’re going to need a new place to stay.