Element of Eeriness

Fiane entered the house quickly and moved past the burning hearth. The warmth was welcoming even if the world out here was not. The woman then descended down the ladder and into the cold damp of the cellar where she laid her head to rest each night. Within the cellar was a scarce storage room containing her cot and nightstand tucked away discreetly. A little area by the lantern in the back was shielded with a short screen of wooden posts and scrap hide panels where they could bathe and relieve themselves. The empty crates and baskets of materials long run dry were used to create mock walls, allowing some privacy for her since the house was already so cramped.
Fiane was swift to bathe herself in the water she had warmed to an acceptably lukewarm temperature, and roughly washed her face. The dark cloth fell back into the bucket and the water rippled, polluted with ashy sediment. She gazed into the cracked hand mirror and carefully retied the patch over her eye, grimacing at the wound of pink flesh. After drying, she draped a furred cloak around her body and clasped it at the front. The woman then grabbed her pickaxe before leaving--which was more weapon than tool with a long pike at the handle and reinforced iron metalwork on the head. It wasn’t what she used to wield with vigor before coming to the frozen Spine of the north, but it was sufficient enough to keep her at peace. Peace, she thought momentarily and a grim smirk crossed her face, quickly souring in the faded light from the ladder hatch. She needed something to swing and this forest looked foreboding enough to meet her needs.
The floorboards squeaked while she walked to the door, and Duradel was seated in front of the fireplace now to escape the winter morning chill.

"What am I gonna do with you?" He asked softly.

Fiane paused upon opening the door. "I worked well out there," she grumbled low and defensively before leaving. Would be wonderful if you observed that.

Once she stepped out into the snow, Fiane followed tiredly toward the trees and put distance between like she was a hunter following a trail once again, resting the pick at her side for most of the walk. Her feet padded silently in the snow like a small fox as she passed tree after tree a few yards behind them. It was too dark to see much, but the mines were also rather dim. She had notably gotten used to it by now, but all was still the dark of night and she was but only half elven, and her ale lingered calmly in the background. Her free hand felt out in front of her when it was needed, swiping quietly over bark. It felt like no tree she had ever touched, but it had been a while since she went around feeling trees freely. Before she could entertain the thought, in their distant firelight something had reached down from above and flailed through the air, like a sweeping tendril of darkness, and soon withered away with a swoop from the trees.

Maybe she was not sober enough for this after all. The group seemingly hadn't noticed anything out of place and soon a small man had marched his way to their light, a shape and hat common in the tavern. Of course she recognized it. There was a distant dialogue and the miner continued moving forward to them, feeling for the trees and spotting their vague outlines as she went. Surely morning would come upon them soon, unless her concept of time was still off its rocker. The shaking, eerie sensation of eyes and movement above were certainly not the rustle of songbirds or company of tree rodents. That much was known. Her ears may have been rusty toward tracking sounds for some years, but they certainly weren't failing now. There was much more to this blackened, moving forest--more to the eye than the shadowy abyss nestling into civilized grounds. This place did not feel so civilized.

Close now, Fiane stopped to get a better visual of the group talking. As she did, the lingering presence of her past and daily labors caught up. A sharp pain shot through her leg and she winced, grunting and nearly collapsing to the ground. Fiane barely caught her balance on a tree in which the bark crackled as the fallen pick slammed into its side, and something beyond snow crunched beneath her boots. Holding onto the tree with heavy breaths, she lifted her narrowed eyes and saw movement shift ahead.
"Rats," Fiane huffed quietly. So much for the element of surprise. She shook her head lightly and regained her balance in a steady manner.

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