The final pile of crates were being loaded onto carts. Zehra let out a sigh. The hideout in the forest had been found. That meant everything needed to be moved, and moved quickly. She had spent 3 days tracking the goblins that had entered the hideout. The guild had hesistated to call her in so it had really been too late to track them effectively. Two had returned to the forest and the other three were lost among the farms. She kicked the dirt to vent.   She knew enough not to fully trust the guild member's stories. They claimed the goblins used the password for the guild but then stole items and ran off. If they were looking for loot, why wasn't the vault touched? Why wasn't anything taken from any of the farms? Still, there wasn't any choice. They needed to move the stashed supplies and merchandise.   "Thom, we are ready to go." Zehra called to a tall thin man. He was looking into the forest. "Right, ok." He looked up to the first driver. "You need to take the cart to this address in Etonia. Let the guard know you are traveling up the road from Durniate." He handed the driver several forged papers. The other carts followed behind.   A low rumble came from behind the carts as they pulled away. The entrance to the underground hideout had been collapsed. "If the goblins are captured by the guard and talk about this place the guild will be finished," Zehra said. "I know," replied Thom "and they saw me as well. They requested I draw up these papers." He handed her forged documents that would let the Goblins travel on a ship to Coral Gate. "This just doesn't make sense!" She growled. Zehra continued, "They had plans, they would not have made off with a few trinkets and left these papers behind." Thom nodded.   "I sent the merchandise to the Miners Guild." Thom looked at Zehra, watching for her reaction. "I think we should close the other hideout too." Her eyes were wide but she wasn't throwing things or swearing. "We don't have enough information, something is going on at the mine. Now this incident." He continued. He paused for a minute waiting for her reaction. "I see it too." She replied somberly. "Let's clean up loose ends and lay low. I haven't seen my husband for 2 weeks and my daughter is involved in this somehow too. I need to take care of my family." Thom nodded.   "I'll arranged it. You get home. Hope we get to work together again." Thom packed up his last set of papers, hefted up his backpack, and headed out across a field toward the other hideout. Zehra kicked the dirt again. She tighted the straps on her backpack. It was heavy with the coin from the vault that her and Thom split. She headed home.

Cover image: Forest During the Daytime by Tim Mossholder


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