Play-by-mail game: opening scene

Kara is in the town of Ochre Gulch, a trading village about halfway between Fort Cruga and Phism. In the foothills of the Silver Mountains, it is an inhospitable place of bitter winds and extreme temperatutes, where no one would go except on the way to something better. It is Heat Wave, and while the weather is not predictable so far from the Palace and in a town with no Patron, the fortnight is living up to its name. The air is so hot and dusty people leave their shutters closed, and the creek has dried to a muddy, acidic trickle, clogged with the mining residues that give the town its name.

Inside Viola Witherspoon's boarding-house, even Hobby is moving slowly as she brings the guests their breafast drinks of iced lemonade. It is hard to believe that the winters get cold enough to stock mounds of ice in the cellars. The normally loquatious (sp?) Carters, Bill, Ann, Glenn, Hol, and young Tom, are sullen and passive, barely grunting greetings as Kara comes down from the second floor. Soon they'll be moving Dr. Lintmeister's cures and supplies to the next town of his circuit, heat or not. Only Fisishth seems energetic, standing on one leg on his stool as he regales the oblivious Carter's with his stories of his near-misses with wealth.

He doesn't seem to mind his audience's inattention, but drops his story in mid-sentence to shout a cheerful, ``Good day to you'' to Kara. He continues, ``Life is sure more eventful since you got here. Shilith seems to have checked out without giving notice. Can't say I'm sorry to see him go -- fellow gave me the creeps, always slinking around like he owned the place.''

Kara knows Shilith as the alias the assassin Tricksash had been using until she blew his cover last night at the tavern. How he recognized her, she's still not sure, but he seems to have spooked. He must have been getting reports from Fort Cruga; maybe the mining guards leaked her description.