She dusted herself off then pulled her cloak round her, she'd forgotten how cold it could get round these parts. As she patted herself down she recounted her inventory, lint, herb sack, picks, probes, she shifted then pulled the latter two from her pocket. "Secrecy is best" she decided dropping to one knee and tucking them into her boot, then she checked her other boot and for a moment the dim light glittered on steel. She knew no-one would blame her for carrying a spare blade, especially as a woman travelling alone. She grinned to herself, and then sobered. Yes. It was definitely best she hid her picks. There was no need to raise suspicion needlessly.
There was a loud bang as the inn door swung open, light spilled out, splashing over the cobbles, illuminating her surprised face. For a second her heart jumped, that stern silhouette framed in the doorway, then the drunk lurched down the steps and stumbled over her cursing. He stared at her for a moment, frowning like a child questioned on something they know they should know but cannot grasp what it is. She almost smiled as his eyes widened in recognition then he blundered past her, muttering about demons dogging his every step, and how dare they trouble a man with a few ales in him, who might be easily beguiled by and ah hah! Yes, beguiled was what He had said ... his voice trailed off and he was lost in the night. She stared after him for a moment, then heaved a sigh and bade herself walk up the steps and open the door that had slammed shut without her even noticing. She sprung forward up the steps, light flooded out again for an instant and then was swallowed by the dark and she with it. Darkness rattled round the inn, battering at every nook and cranny yet light forced it back as effortlessly as the noise of the inns patrons drowned out the retching sobs of a haunted drunk.
* * * * *
He came in at midday, had already had a brew or two~ or more she surmised with a disdainful sniff. He saw it and she knew it, and didn't care that he knew it also. "M'dear Landlady' he offered a swooping bow "a mug of your finest ale" he waggled his eyebrows at her. She narrowed her eyes, any other drunk would have been out on his ear by now, but she waited and he caught her look. With a mock sigh he dug into first one pocket and then another, after much searching he pulled out a single gold piece. "I don't suppose you've got change for this" he asked, she eyed him evenly but her mouth was dry. He was never short of a coin or two, but a gold piece. He shook his head then put it back in his pocket, then placed a smaller silver piece on the bar top. She reached out for it but he covered both the coin and her hand with his own. "Better make it two, aye, to start with", she knew it would buy him at least 10 mugs of her best ale possibly 11 and tried to pull her hand away, she gave him her best look, but he merely widened his eyes and added a "purrleeese" she nodded curtly and finally wrenched her hand free. She knew Josh wondered why she bothered with this one, but she knew, just knew that there was something about this one.