Wind howled through the forest with such force that the travelers nearly lost their footing. They didn't look at one another; they'd been on the same god-forsaken path for weeks, maybe months at this point. They were chewing on the last of their dried jerky, long-spoiled and gamey from some now unknown meat, squirrel or beaver perhaps. Their tongues ached for water but all they'd found were dismal, dirty puddles nearly dried to mud.

The sun was nearing dusk, dipping below the treeline, hushing the last of the season's birds and awakening a more sinister crowd. Whimpers could be heard from the bushier, wooded patches of forest just beyond the travelers' line of sight. Their packs were heavy but they were in no position to stop now. They had to find someone, something, anything.

At once, one of the travelers stopped. They sniffed the air, alert to a change in stimuli.

"What is it?" asked the companion eagerly, though meagerly with hunger and fatigue.

"Smoke," replied they who appeared to be the leader.

Their pace quickened with their hearts. A sound carried through the trees which all at once began to thin. The leader stopped. Pointed.

"What is it?" asked the companion.

Before them spread rows upon rows of bright, golden stocks, arranged so perfectly as if they had been planted by God himself.