the basis. the foundation. this is how it starts.
It begins in a small inn.
He's sitting at a crooked table pushed against the wall in the most secluded part of the room, warming his hands around a tankard of something foul-smelling that the innkeeper had proudly proclaimed 'his personal recipe'. He hasn't made a move to drink it, though said innkeeper is eyeballing him from across the hall to see his reaction to the mixture. The only reason it's in his hands is because it was free; the gods know he has nothing of worth on him that he could give.
Still. It's good for chasing the cold away.
The man ducks his head further into the shadows. He's here to hear word of new work, of something to get him through the harsh winter. So far, however, no one has been willing to speak of work or bounties--it's as though the entire room is quiet but for the innkeeper's idle chatter and a few murmurs here and there.
Well, he couldn't blame them. Word got around about the murder incidents. The guards of this village are on high enough alert as it is, but with the string of killings... He closes his eyes, rubbing his temple with a dirt-stained hand. As terrible as the case is, there's nothing he can do about it. There's no work there for him, not for his kind. He's just about to stand and leave when among the hushed whispers comes a voice.
Across the room, closer to the innkeeper at his bar; a couple sitting close together, hunched over a plate of steaming rice and bread. The peasant's course. The woman looks at her partner hesitantly, then: "You know, about those corpses..."
"Darren, no," The way the other responds seems reminiscent of past similar conversations.
"I'm serious. There's talk of them leading into the forest. Don't you remember the lights and strange sounds Carlisle said were coming from deep in there?" The woman shakes her head, pulling her drink closer to her torso. "It's got to have some grain of truth to it. The roars...there's some great beast that's made it's home nearby, I swear it. We need to leave this place. Sooner or later it might be one of u--"
"Stop it, I mean it." Her partner's reprimand seems to get through to her. The woman falls silent, but her lips are trembling.
What could be so terrifying about the forest? Could there be coin in finding out? The man leans against the wall with an arm hooked around the back of his chair to better see the couple, his tankard slowly going cold without his hands there to keep the heat trapped.
"Colt, please. I don't like this."
"You know we can't leave. The guards won't let any farmers leave, not in the dead of winter." The other hisses, prodding the surface of the table they're at as if to further cement the point. "Eat your damn food and let's go home, you're just overworked."
He waits for the woman to practically burst from the effort of keeping in whatever's on her mind but she doesn't, and after a rather sullen moment starts nimbly picking at the food on plate in front of her.
Nothing else, then.
A pity. But at least he'll have something to look into, regardless of it more than likely turning out to be some silly rumor spread by stressed peasants. Yet...he won't discount it, not yet; he hasn't been in his village for very long. If this turns out to be a tall tale he'll still walk away with some more experience of what the common folk think, as a whole. He'll still learn how to better behave.
And the only way he'll find out the truth is by digging around for it. Luckily, he can start with that name. Carlisle. Male, female...they'll talk. He'll make sure of it.
Victor makes his exit slowly, a show of exhaustion and weariness.
The innkeeper seems disappointed that he hasn't touched his drink.