Though the dim light of a nearby window, she found an inn with an overhanging second story and dashed through the pour to huddle underneath it. She was good at finding the shadows, and shrinking into them. She was human, but her youth and frail stature made her look almost elvish in the dark.
Her stomach grumbled. Yes, she was hungry, and that only reminded her that the other kids waiting in their hovel beyond the city wall were hungry, too. It was true they’d been out begging, as usual, but the rains had been steady for two days, so there hadn’t been many people out for them to bother. That meant that it was time to steal.
She could have done that in the OuterWall, of course, but, honestly, they were all tired of gruel and scraps. So, they convinced her to take the risk and hop the wall into the city proper. She’d done it many times, but this time, the wet rocks had been a bit more slippery than usual, so it had been more difficult.
She moved along the side of the building toward what looked like the back. As she came to a window, she crouched under it, then rose up to a corner and peeked in. The interior was well lit with candles and lanterns, shining a warmth and friendliness in sharp contrast to the chilly wet of the rain. There were a half dozen patrons of the inn at various tables, eating heartily. The tables were sturdy, but worn. The room was sparsely decorated with a few ragged hangings. The rafters were stained by years of soot from the fireplace, the candles, and the smoking pipes of the patrons. She looked deeper in and saw the bar area with the innkeeper and his wife busily cleaning and serving the tables. She saw them smiling at each other, pleased for a busy night.
These people don’t have much, either! What am I supposed to do? She turned away and hunched against the wall, drawing in her cloak for warmth. I hate this! She thought, but the others are counting on me.
The rain didn’t care. Their hunger didn’t care. She looked past some barrels down the dark, empty street. With a deep sigh, she moved.