Day 34

Prompt: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?


The tavern is abuzz with the chatter and laughter a hearty night of drinking inspires. Emilia and I sit by the door, motioning to the barmaid Elsa for two ales. We don’t speak, soaking in the latent conversation, listening for anything that might indicate a job’s afoot. Elsa plunks the mugs on the table, scooping up our gold with a nod.

Read anything? Emilia says in mindspeech.

She has telepathy as a dark gift from her goddess Calypso. I was born with it, a trait of my people necessitated by the seclusion of our tribe.

Nothing yet.

The bar continues in its merrymaking well into the early hours, drunken sailors trickling out into the starlight. Emilia makes a symbol over each, blessing them on the sea for the next day, accepting a few smiles and coin when offered. Eventually, it’s just the two of us in the bar, sipping our drinks and taking in the night.

“Long day for ye lasses?” Elsa asks, wiping down the front bar.

“Aye,” Emilia replies as we move to the bar.

Emilia usually does the speaking for both of us, another byproduct of my heritage. I never felt safe conversing aloud in the forest; there is more to learn in the silence. I listen to them talk, Elsa smiling at me when I catch her eye. She, like most, believes me a mute.

Ask about the cellar door.

“Elsa, why’s your cellar door closed?”

“We’ve had terrible trouble of late. I think something might be hiding down there. I told Red to have a go at it, but he’s been a useless lunk of late.”


Of course.

“We can take a look if you’d like.”

“That’d be mighty kind of ye. I have some coin I could give you. Or I could settle your tab from the last month.”

She winks and I smile. We’ve made this our temporary home while staying in the city.

Shall we?

Emilia nods and we head behind the bar, stretching as we walk. The cellar creaks as we descend. Elsa gone, I mutter an old phrase of my people aloud, pulling shadows around us to hide our movement.

I’ll take left.

Emilia slips to the right, inspecting the dark corners of the cellar. I search the barrels and ground, looking for tracks. One of the barrels feels light, and I peek inside. The barrel is empty, the bottom cut away to reveal a homemade tunnel.

There’s a tunnel beneath this empty barrel.

What size?

Small. Halflings or smaller, but you can squeeze through.

Should I feel insulted?

I can feel her smile in the words, a smirk echoing in my mind. Charisma has never been a strong suit for me.

We slip into the sewers below, the darkness still clinging to us. There are tracks here, dozens of overlapping footprints. I lean down, getting a closer look at the shape.

Goblins, at least six of them.

Lead the way.


This story is continued on Day 35.


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