Mount Hakobe, as was expected, was living up to its unsavory reputation of being very inclement, with its unforgiving temperatures and rugged scape. Today, however, it had chosen to make itself even more unpleasant, with the screaming blizzard which seemed to have been created somewhere on the highest point of the mountain, and hurled down the steep slopes of the range by some vengeful god of frost, intent on bringing suffering to the world, or at least, those it could place its influence on. With the weather like this, only fools or unnatural folk would dare climb any higher.
Obviously, the woman who sat at a corner in a tavern located in one of the villages on the higher slopes of Mount Hakobe would easily fall into the 'unnatural folk' category. For all intents and purposes, she looked absolutely normal; the only relatively strange thing about her was the lock of white hair, with the rest of her hair being blonde. But she was young, and youths tended to do all sorts of things on whims of fancy, so her differing hues of hair color could easily be explained as some youthful vagary. However, on closer observation, it would be more evident that this person was probably more than she appeared to be. For starters, unlike most of the tavern patrons who stayed as close as they could to the fire roaring in the stone hearth, the young woman sat in a corner of the tavern, where it was empty and cold, her gaze staring out into space. Also, there were whispers that she had come in long after the storm had begun, and those who had seen her approach from the window though she may have come down the mountain. As a result, naturally, no one was eager to strike up a conversation with her. Also, despite the fact that her body was covered with a thick grey cloak, which was quite normal for the temperature level and weather, when she had ordered a drink for herself, which was the only interaction she had done so far, it had been noticed that when she put forth her hand to pay for the drink, her arm was bare. Even under traveling cloaks, people wore thick clothes in this kind of environment.
Beira, for her part, didn't mind. Not particularly one given to craving human company, she was most certainly not going to get over to the folks huddled by the fireside and immerse herself in conversation. She didn't have the social skills to do that. Besides, she increasingly felt that speaking to them was a waste of time. Thanks to her heightened senses, she could hear that the current discussion amidst the fire lovers was herself. And what these people were saying about her was rather hilarious, at least in her opinion, though her deadpan expression told not a soul that she was amused. One of the men seemed to be commenting that she was probably a snow witch, to which another answered that most supernatural creatures were not physically comely. Someone else, a woman, this time, refuted that hypothesis, to which another fellow attempted to lend credence, informing the group that any person unfortunate to talk to her would be invited by her to go out into the storm with her, and such a person would be compelled to obey. Of course, said unfortunate soul would never be heard of again. Unless, curiously, he had salt. If salt was thrown in the witch's face, she would vanish. One of the men, a cynical chap, noted that he just might try the endeavor, but as neither he nor his fellows had salt, and the barkeep was unwilling to share his, the project died before it could be hatched.
Beira allowed herself a giggle, and more than five heads swiveled her way, even though they didn't hear the sound. To what had the witch been laughing? The Utgardian paid them no heed though. Her attention had been drawn to another group of heavily clothed people, these ones more furtive than the villagers, and obviously strangers as well. They spoke in a tongue she couldn't understand, but Beira sensed something was not right about them. Whatever it was, though, she could not say.
WC: 717 words