Eight. Kinion counted the minutes silently. He knew he was in the right place. Knew to the second what was coming. Yet his heart pounded like a jacketed fist against the inside of his ribs. Seven. The icy wind danced and surged, slapping cold sheets of rain against his exposed face and neck. Six. A branch cracked in the darkness and he froze, scarcely breathing as the tall man appeared like a wrath through the trees. His height and broad shoulders were unmistakable Five. The man leaned, as if carrying a heavy weight, glanced about, and set a bundle on the damp ground. Four. It was impossible to see what was happening, but Kinion knew anyway. He’d scouted the log with the hidden compartment carved into it earlier in the day. Three. The man straightened, cocked his head, listening, and stepped back. Two. This was it, he was watching history, but soon he’d be making it. One. For a split second Kinion was sure the man had sensed his presence—it wouldn’t have surprised him in the least—but no, he checked the log one final time and disappeared into the night. Crouching low, Kenion scuttled through the woods, pulled back the bark cover and grabbed the sack. The gold plates were his.
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