Vile Shadows

An Unexpected Encounter

As you enter the Inn, you notice a solitary soul at the bar. It is a woman who seems to be traveling as light as possible. Included in her belongings are several weapons, ranging from lances to flails. You sit next to her and notice as she gives you a glance. It looks like she always wears a grin across her face. Her eyes tell you she’s a bit jaded and has seen more than her share of horrors. She insists you share a drink with her if you’re going to sit there. As you speak to her you notice she looks to be in her twenties. She is rather beautiful, however you feel as though she’s a bit crass from the language she uses. You spend some time in conversation and learn a few things about each other.

“The name’s Aileen. Aileen McKensie. You could say that I’m a Monster Hunter. I’ve seen quite a few beasts in my day. Lotsa people don’t think they exist, but they do. I can prove they’re out there.” She pulls a long claw out of her pack and slams it on the counter. “That there’s a Dragon’s claw. Slew the beast. Yeah, I had a bit of help, but it was still an incredible fight.”

The conversation seems to shift towards your birthplaces after she tells you a few stories about some of the monsters she has “encountered”.

“Well, I’m originally from Hawick. It’s jus’ a small village in Estus and there’s nothin’ too special ‘bout it. Me father, well he was a war veteran. Served for awhile in the Estonian-Rostov war. He came back to our village and started a farm there. Yep, I started off as a simple farm girl. Nothing too special. But when I was about seven, me father’s crops were pretty bad. He started drinking more than usual and he’d beat me mother when he was drunk. Even though I was so small, I stood up for her one day, so he started beatin’ me instead. Broke my bones on a few occasions. He died a few years after that. Got into a fight ‘cause of his drinking that he couldn’t handle. They beat the livin’ shit out of him and he died right there in the fields. Son ofa Bitch deserved it. A right fucker, he was. I had to help me Mum out after me father passed. She had sewn all my clothes for me growing up, so she tried her hand at that. She was always good at it. I tried to help her out when I could, jus’ so we could make a living. Neither of us knew nothin’ ‘bout farmin’ ya know?.”

She has a few more drinks as you listen to her. You’re curious as to why she seems to be telling you everything there is to know about her.

“I grew up pretty quick. I left home when I was seventeen. There was nothing for me in that village, jus’ me poor old mother. Don’ worry, I send her money when I can. Most of the girls in my village got married around that time, but none of the boys ever seemed to take interest in me. I guess since I was bit of a Tom boy, I acted more like them than the prim an’ proper girls they wanted. That led me to my current life. I learned how to fight since that’s what I’m good at I guess.”

She looks into her drink still wearing her smile. “I’m happy with my life, though. I have good mates and I’ve seen more than I could have ever imagined. I’m still young and plus, I’ve still got my looks.” She gives you a sly smile as she finishes her drink.

“I dunno why I’m telling a complete stranger all this. Maybe it’s easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know a thing about you. I could never tell any of this to me mates.” She stands up and puts a few coins on the counter. She gathers her belongings and places her hand on your shoulder as she tells you, “I’m sure we’ll never meet again, stranger. Best of luck to ya.”

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