Collecting the PiecesMature

     The sun had barely crept over the horizon as he stepped out of the tavern's storage room into the open air. Though a bath and fresh clothing had him looking alive, inside he felt empty. The residual withdrawal from the cloud powder accounted for some of this emptiness, the sheer joy one usually experienced when using it was nearly always followed by melancholy the next day.

     Matrim could run the tavern, that left him free to spend the day hunting... he was going to find those responsible for her departure, and make them rue the day the plan drifted into their pitiful minds. Death would be too kind a punishment for these, they would need to feel pain, the pain they caused him would pale in comparison.

     But first, he needed to obtain a few things. He glanced around to see if anyone was out and about along the main road. The glance was casual and only awarded him a crowd of people streaming in and out of the village, merchants primarily, the traveling sort who peddled their wares at ridiculously high prices. It was his sense of smell that told him no one he knew was nearby.

     Armed with this knowledge, he proceeded out the gates and followed along the wall, searching for a small patch of woods that lay just outside the village. Once more, he surveyed the area to be sure he wasn't followed. Satisfied of this, he paced out the steps from the wall into a small patch of bushes. Scraping the dirt aside revealed a small plank buried in the forest floor.

     Without hesitation he pulled it up to expose the small hole and chest concealed underneath it. "One of these day's you're going to pay for your carelessness old man." The lock had begun to rust, he'd need to return with one that had been treated properly. A key produced from a pouch on his belt fit snugly and resisted a he tried to quietly open the lock. When it failed to budge he gave it a sharp twist and then paused to wait as the sound echoed off into the woods.

     He took his time in carefully withdrawing each item he wanted, laying them out on the forest floor. A rolled up kit of tools, a small box of strange herbs, a folded bundle of clothing, a pair of bracers, and a set of blades were each looked over and given his approval before the chest was sealed back up and returned to its hiding place. A large sheet of canvas hidden under his tunic was then used to bundle up all the items for the short trip back into town.

The End

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