They walked through some juniper and she caught the whiff of a rotting carcass and saw her soiled apron flapping gently in the breeze under her pile of forage.
“This is where I was ambushed.”
She walked with renewed energy, needing hardly any help from Argent at all. She had only been along this path a couple times before, but the circumstances of those times had burned it into her memory. Very shortly they were clearing the last of the foliage before the rock wall.
“Oh no …”
Martha’s new found strength gave out and she found herself allowing Argent to carry most of her weight yet again. A sudden gust of wind caused the open door in front of them to creak on it’s hinges revealing more of the crevasse behind it.
“What is it? Are we there?”
Bildad pushed past them and moved toward the door. Martha whispered to Argent and indicated some gouges in the ground with her chin.
“It’s gone … someone else has been here and taken it. Quick we’ve got to run!”
She moved to run but Argent stayed rooted were he was watching Bildad enter the mine alone. Without Argent’s support Martha stumbled on her wounded hip and fell. Argent looked down at her and whispered back.
“Bildad’s a True Warrior. There is no way we would be able to outrun him, certainly not with you barely able to walk. We just need to explain what happened and figure something else out.”
But that wasn’t the only reason Argent didn’t run. He broke eye contact with her and she was sure it had more to do with indecision. Bildad’s warnings had created doubt, Argent wasn’t sure Martha wasn’t just trying to trick him after all. It probably seemed a little too convenient that she wanted to pull him away as soon as they ‘arrived’ and Bildad was distracted. Still couldn’t he put himself in her shoes for a moment? Would any normal human be acting any different? Bildad had threatened to kill her, of course she wanted to get away from him. Bildad’s voice boomed from within the cave.
“I don’t see it anywhere, bring her here!”
Argent helped Martha back to her feet and she blinked as they moved into the relative darkness inside. Bildad grabbed Martha by her arm and pulled her roughly to the centre of the room.
Her eyes adjusted to the gloom and she saw the familiar bedrolls, now soiled and scattered about among mining gear, mess kits and shredded clothing. Argent bent down and picked up some of the mud in an area that seemed the most disturbed. He smelt it and then looked around the rough hewn cavern in more detail.
“So, where is it? Where is this chest full of silver treasure?”
Martha pointed her toe toward a furrow in the dirt near the ground and answered Bildad.
“Look for yourself. Clearly it’s been drug out of here by someone else.”
Bildad looked like he was about to let his anger burst out, but he stopped himself and took two breaths. Once calm, the warrior slowly drew his weapon. The Scimitar had a prismatic aura similar to Argent’s flute. This made it easier to see, but the look in Bildad’s eye convinced Martha it hadn’t been drawn for the purpose of illumination. She looked back to Argent only to see him watching helplessly.
“Killing you won’t make up for the loss of that silver, but at least it’s something.”