Crypt Of The Abernathys
by Matthew Acheson
Sabryna watched the old traveler recline in an oak rocking chair by the fireplace, taking one final draw from his clay pipe before setting it down beside him. After a dramatic pause, he leaned forward, and with a wry smile, he put the finishing stroke on the latest of his many tales.
“In the Desert Kingdoms, they say to keep your friends close and your purse full. I don’t recall the last time I was blessed with a heavy purse, but for the price of a few silver eagles, I improved my lot from being a foreigner under arrest for trespassing in sacred ruins to an honored guest who rode with a guide and stout bodyguards.” The old man raised his copper mug and laughed. “That, my friends, is the South.”
Sabryna’s ears were filled with the clinking of mugs and the calls of familiar voices as they bought another round and toasted to the health of the mysterious bard. The atmosphere in John Earthy’s Alehouse was usually warm and sleepy, but that night, the air had an edge to it that made her pulse quicken.