1. Goes a Courtin'
This latest pocket of mithril had been pure, but the vein that led to it showed no sign of resuming. The words of his fellow miners echoed still within the small room. “Ah, lad, the deposit had to play out eventually.” And “It was a fine, long-lived bounty. We’ll be toasting her memory for years to come.” The problem was that he still sensed her. She was being coy and it frustrated him beyond words. Had he not been a steadfast lover? Had he not whispered his devotion with each new day? Had he not bathed each gift given in his own sweat as a token of his gratitude?
And then he laughed; a great booming laugh - a laugh that built, layer upon layer, and filled the small cavern before its fading echo became a base beat that was answered in the pulse of the mountain itself. His eyes teared with mirth and as the last echo of sound was absorbed again by the silence he looked at the now empty pocket with a new-found respect. He walked to the wall and caressed it. “You have shown your mettle, it is only fair I show you mine. Play the coquette; it is a game we will both enjoy.” Smiling, he hefted his pick and waited for the air to carry to him a hint of where he should begin his pursuit.