The young adventurer was gone before she could offer a murmured "you're welcome."
Responding was pointless. They never stayed long after their wounds were healed, but it was a compulsion to reply nonetheless.
Few took notice of her, expecting her services, which she did offer happily and free of charge. But if you were to ask any one of them to describe her, they'd never be able to tell you that her eyes were a wistful honey brown, glimmering in spite of her age. Or that her voice has a beautifully soft lit that contradicted the name she'd given herself over the years. Few even knew that name.
Leaning against the door frame to her hut, she looked out over the hills of Southern Nagnang. A smile settled on her lips. It was warmer now, no longer the need for a fire. No more snow piled up to her doorstep. In the Spring, she always felt reborn. But it was the past, her youth, that brought this strength, not some new excitement that her feeble bones could not endure.
When she was young there'd been nothing here. A single hut, that would later become the first Inn, was some distance away atop the nearest hill. The proprietress was very proud of herself. If it flooded, she would be safe. If there were invaders, she would have the high ground and her patrons were all very strong. Yet, it was still near enough to the river and not so far from the various tribes. It was an ideal location.
"One day, I'll build a hut here," she pointed to a very precise spot near the bottom of the hill "and I'll trade my art and beads and live off of nothing but beauty."
Her cousin laughed, shaking his head doubtfully as she went on, describing the flowers that were to be planted, and the routes she'd take to forage for materials. He indulged her, but clearly had his doubts. They were a hardworking people, they lived on the land. Selling pretty little trinkets would not get her very far.
It was her turn to laugh, a touch of sorrow tinging its edges. Her cousin perished when the gates were opened, so had all those strong men and the first Inn keeper. But she had built her hut that spring so long ago, a place of refuge as the souls of the fallen moved through her - some to find their final resting place, others to return to the flesh.
With a deep sigh, she breathed in the scent of the season's first blossoms and returned to her work as another young soul followed its thread to her.
"Thank you, Mountain." The young man said and left, before she could answer with "you're welcome."