It had been a loud and exciting night in Goldshire, especially in the tavern. Many travelers had stopped by on their way towards the capital. Some only stayed long enough to get a bite to eat, others stayed until the skies outside darkened. Somewhere in that time, one of the customers produced a mandolin and began singing to the crowd. He wasn’t horrible on the ears and the customers seemed okay with it, so the owner shrugged his shoulders and let it go.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, one young lady kept dancing through the crowd as she carried trays of drinks or food to the various customers. She favored everyone with a smile and never ignored a customer. She was a good hire, the owner thought to himself as he poured another drink for a man sitting at the bar. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail and swayed from side to side as she moved through the room.
She moved over to one of the smaller tables and set down two mugs and a bowl of nuts for the two men sitting there. She smiled and waited for one of them to say anything, but the two were so involved with their own conversation that they merely nodded and smiled and continued on. Sure that they needed nothing more, the server turned, tucked her tray under her arm and moved back through the crowd to the bar.
“The place is really busy tonight,” a young man at the bar said to the server as she stopped next to him. “Is it always like this?”
“Don’t know,” she answered as she set her tray on the bar. “I haven’t been here that long.”
“New to the area? So am I. Where are you from?”
“Little bit north of here. You?”
“Had been staying in Darkshire for the last month, but before that I was down in Stranglethorn.”
“Now those sound like exciting places,” she said with a warm smile.
“I’d love you tell you about them,” he replied, returning the smile. “When are you finished here?”
“I don’t know.” She turned at looked at the tavern owner, her eyebrows raising slightly as she asked the question without speaking it aloud.
“I guess you’re done for the night,” the owner said with a smirk and shake of his head. “Go settle things up in the back first then you can go.”
It wasn’t long before he was leading her up the stairs to the room he’d rented for the evening. He unlocked the door and opened it, then stepped aside so that she could enter first. She smiled again and looked down as she crossed the threshold into the small room. She immediately walked over to the one window and pushed the old curtains back.
“Do you mind?” she asked, looking over her shoulder at him.
“No, go right ahead.” He walked over to the window and stood behind her as she pushed them open. Below they could hear the sounds of horses that were tied down near the front of the building.
“Is your’s down there?”
“No,” he answered. She stepped to the side as he leaned out the window to look down. “Mine is in the stables across the street,” he added as he pointed.
“That makes sense,” she said as she moved behind him. She rested her chin on his back and put her hands on his shoulders. “You know what would be really fun?”
“What’s that?” he asked, reaching his right hand up and placing it atop her’s.
“If you’d jump,” she said in a whisper.
The guards pushed their way through the crowd that had gathered around the body on the ground. The puddle of blood beneath was still spreading. One of the guards looked up to see an open window on the second floor of the tavern.
“Someone get the healer!”