“Well I’ll be damned, right where he said it’d be.”
The rider muttered more to herself than to present company, lowering a spyglass from her eye and slapping it shut with a metallic thunk. Present company was only her mount, a black-furred warg– he chuffed in agreement anyway, being the intelligent beast that he was.
She peered out across the valley at the warlock’s tower with her own eyes, watching the building closely for a few moments. There was no growth in this valley, only frozen earth and snow, and the occasional stone. It made the morning sun glow harshly against the white horizon, and the tower seemed like a black monolith standing in defiance of that light.
Watching closely for movement was an important step in the scouting process, the rider reminded herself as she stared at the various open windows. She was not the patient type, and staring at the dark openings in the stone walls quickly turned into a chore. No one was conveniently sticking their head out of the windows, and there were no obvious signs of coming and going from the tower itself. No cart tracks, no footprints. Just an endless sea of undisturbed snow around the tower. It had to be abandoned.
While forcing herself to maintain her post and monitor the boringly silent tower, the rider started picking at her hair. She twirled it in her fingers, the long black side-locks that hung over her pointed ears and protected them from catching the wind. The rest of her hair was shorn short, barely brushing the nape of her neck and her fringe just past her eyebrows. This was the only part of her hair that she allowed to grow long, and it proved a good distraction when she was bored. By the time she realized she wasn’t paying any attention to the tower at all, she’d already built herself a hair-moustache by pinching the ends of her hair between her lips and nose.
She pffted the hair out of her face and growled impatiently, leaning forward in the saddle and staring hard at the building for a few more heartbeats. Already hearing the sound of her mother’s scolding voice, she balled her fists in the red tabard she wore over her chainmail. It had the emblem of her mother’s house stitched into the bottom of the cloth, the Thousand-Mile Eye. A burning eye that wept blood, it was a symbol of diligence and infinite perception– she tried to do right by her house and her mother, and forced her eyes open in a staring contest with the tower, until her golden eyes watered in the freezing wind.
Still nothing. “UGH. This is ridiculous, Ripper. It’s clearly abandoned. Let’s head back home, and get ready to meet our new comrades. Then we’ll ride here together and search the place!” She had infinitely more enthusiasm for her first adventure with her new warband.
Ripper chuffed again, following the reins as the rider wheeled him away from the edge of the ledge they stood on, going back in the direction from which they had come.