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 Fantasy  Open The Calm Leaf Tavern - for adventurers and explorers

Discussion in 'Open Roleplays' started by Abialla, Aug 2, 2018.

?

How can I help you?

  1. Quest

    27.3%
  2. Hints

    9.1%
  3. Tutorials

    6.1%
  4. Hand-Holding

    12.1%
  5. Just some good food, good ale, and good company

    81.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    From the corner of my eye the movement beside me told of the wakefullness of the man a table over from me. I turned my attention his way when he decided to share his opinion unbidden. "We all have our perceptions of the world. And if you think me and others fool hearty for our actions then so be it." The man's tone was condescending. Glancing about the tavern. "Were you one of those conscientious souls protecting tills, shops and homes from those with treturous intentions?" I made no attempt at disguising the humor in my voice. Thinking this man would be more likely to be found with his hand in the till when no one was watching.

    I finished my drink and set the goblet down on the wooden tablle top turning slightly in my seat to better see him. His meal was delivered and I was reminded I had not a single bite of my breakfast and realized firefighting could work up a poweful hunger.
     
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  2. Vitriosk

    Vitriosk Eyes of Grey Member

    Messages:
    104
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    "Ay... we do... Fair Maiden... We have a deadly difference in perception..." Came Crow's retort to the snide woman's remark. His anger untethered by the naive youth that crowned herself in a superior and unknowing air. He quickly finished his meal, hurriedly slamming down the stout drink, as he prefaced the words to follow with a very ominous grin "If I had sought to steal.... It would have already happened... and you" He paused to wipe away a light bead of drink that tickled the edge of his thin beard "You, young lady... would have been none the wiser either... Sleeping fully clothed, and with both boots still on..."

    The last words came as but a mere whisper. A grin adorning Crow's face as he tilted his head and let the green of his eyes catch the dangerous meaning of the uttered syllables. "Perhaps you believe...." He continued in a weary and faint tone "That just because you helped to save a meager home and shop from fire... that you are a hero... or a savior... Standing among those others who helped... "

    Standing as he spoke, Crow's eyes were alight with the depth of his understanding. Grasping more than the obvious, more than the untrained would see at a glance. "What if you knew... the fire was started... because of you? " The rogue let the words slide from behind gritted teeth: A sickening hatred for the noble and yet worthless wealthy heirs, building behind his facade of calm. "Perhaps if I told you... the begger from last night... who so eagerly sought to draw your attention, and be in your presence... Was the one who drew away dear Ol' Smith... The blacksmith's imbecile son."

    Crow fumed and yet hid it with a complacent smile, and gentle nod of his head as he spoke. Each venemous word holding a truth only the observant would know. Only those who looked beyond their own fate, and their own feet. "Tis the reason for the blaze.. M'dear... Everyone here knows that until Argent Hailsmith wakes, and opens his shop.. No one... I mean NO one... is to bother his son" The rogue dropped a gold coin atop the table beside him; letting its ringing song break the tension in his voice before he continued. "Yet that fool who had to help you... Set about causing the entire mess... All... Because... Of... You!"

    Crow leered at the heiress, his unchained anger boiling away at the composed demeanor he tried to keep, and as he finished speaking with a charged and caustic final word, he let the conversation end. Dead in its tracks and with a deafening silence. He turned and left the table's side, heading upstairs where he would fall face-first into a bed yet unmade, and begin the venture onward into sleep.
     
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  3. Overnight

    Overnight Under the Radar. Member

    Messages:
    18
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Argus saw the innkeeper coming toward him with a grim look on his face. He hadn't been in the tavern, nor had he tried of late. Surely there can't be that accusation. But before he could figure out why this man was here, he arrived and pressed a coin in his hand, saying it was from the woman and with advice to leave the town. There was nothing more than that Argus wanted to do. Given that the only thing keeping him was the mere minute or two he needed to see the woman.

    As the innkeeper turned on his heel to leave, he saw the smoke billowing and started to run toward the tavern. Seconds later people were rushing from the tavern and seeing the volume of smoke increased their haste.

    As if caught up in a wave of people, Argus headed toward the smoke. He was slower than them but continued as quickly as he could As he went he realize that he was carrying his crutch at his side and not using it for support. He kept his other hand clutched around the coin given to him. He hobbled with a limp, to be sure, but the pain was slight and he felt relief come over him knowing that perhaps his leg was healing.

    Realizing this he slowed to assess his leg. People were passing him and he caught sight of the woman, running with the others albeit slower wearing her dress and all the paraphernalia that women of her stature wore, but with a determination that matched the local townspeople. She passed him with her intent on getting to the fire, seemingly not noticing him.

    He figured the short-statured man would have been ahead of her. Perhaps he would be passing him soon. Argus hadn't seen him yet but in the confusion, he would have been easy to miss.

    By the time he was close enough to see that the blacksmith shop was ablaze, a bucket brigade had been started. Argus' first thought was of Smith. Was he okay? Where was he? Surely the confusion would have been upsetting to him, but he must have been aware that his place of employment was no more.

    ###

    The fire having been put out, and most of the townspeople had returned to the tavern. There was no sign of Smith or his employer.

    With a thought half-formed, Argus noted the trail of water that had splashed from the buckets and followed it back to the waters' source. He followed it to its origin and found that it led to the town mill. The large wheel turned, without care of the recent activity around it. The mill pond beckoned Argus, and soon he was in the water feeling better than he had in a long time. He tried to wash his pants and the rag of his shirt used as a bandage for his leg. But soon, the refreshment of the water led him to splash with abandon with a smile on his face. He realized that for this moment, his life was good.

    He felt refreshed and clean as he left the water. He wrung out his pants and shirt the best he could, then wandered around naked not wanting to have this moment of time end.

    Then hearing a shout, he looked up. Standing at the mill, he saw the miller, who shouted, "You're getting pretty old to be frolicking around like that, aren't you?"

    Argus couldn't contain his smile and waved at the miller and put his damp clothes, as well his cares and worries, back on. His pants were damp and uncomfortable, but mostly clean. His shirt, tattered as it was, was somewhat serviceable. He then picked up his crutch, not wanting to leave it behind, and started walking toward the blacksmith shop. The worry about Smith, his message for the woman, and the mysterious man, weighed on his mind.

    Nearing the blacksmith shop, he saw Smith cowering at the berating being given to him, and the shouts of the man delivering this string of curses with anger. Argus looked at the older man and was surprised to see the resemblance of the man to Smith. Coming instantly to Argus, he realized the man was Smith's father. Argus realized Smith wasn't capable of running the blacksmith shop but had no idea that the man was his father.

    As he had this moment of clarity, the man looked up and recognized Argus and yelled, more of a bellow really, "YOU! IT WAS YOU WHO LURED MY SON AWAY! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!" The father started to run toward Argus. The man was as huge as Smith and surprised Argus with his speed. Quickly turning, and dropping his crutch, Argus ran as fast as his legs would go. Turning a moment later, he saw the father starting to tire and slow, then stop and shouted, I WILL FIND YOU AND BEAT THE COST OF MY SHOP OUT OF YOU! COUNT ON IT!

    Our of breath, Argus slowed then stopped to catch his breath. Then he walked on, back to where he started at the edge of the woods. The carriage was still there sans horses, and things seemingly had returned to normal.

    He leaned on the tree that he had leaned on previous and thought of his predicament, his coin still clutched in his hand. The innkeeper despised him. He would not be welcome in the tavern. The woman would not even let him come close to her. And now the blacksmith. Argus shuddered at the thought of the beating he would get from the blacksmith.

    Then the short-statured man came to mind. Apparently, he had known Smith. His ability to speak to him at his level had shown that. Aside from that, he knew nothing of him, yet had seen him prior. Argus tried to think where, but the events of his time in the village kept him from remembering how or where.

    Argus decided he would seek out the man. He had little to lose at this point, and perhaps the man would come to his aid in some way. Perhaps he could help him deliver the King's message to the woman, which would only take a minute or two, and then he would leave this place forever.

    Argus leaned against the tree and made his firm decision. I shall seek out this man and request his aid.
     
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  4. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Having no idea what had vexed the man at the other table I could only listen to his venomous words and become more and more shocked. My face reddened as he spoke of my condition while I slumbered. "Why you...you were spying on me? Are you a perverted voyeur?" Outrage grew inside as did a sense of being victimized. To make maters worse, the cad had the very nerve to accuse me of causing the fire. "I can assure you that your accusations are ludicrous. I had nothing to do with the smithy leaving the shop."

    My gaze rose to watch as he stood. "You know nothing about me. Am I to suppose you are a mind reader? You perhaps have a crystal ball hidden under your cloak?" Lips pursed in pure annoyance, then suddenly I realized that I was falling into a trap set by this audacious man. I turned to face forward but kept the man in the corner of my eye as I had not an ounce of trust of him. My hand gave a dismissive waive. "Be gone with you and your foolish prattling. The mindless accusations you cast about can very well land you in a great bit of trouble."

    I only looked at the man when he turned to go upstairs. It was with pleasure that he left. When I lifted the goblet my hand trembled. I berated myself for letting the man's words disturb me. Putting the goblet down with a forced gentleness as in reality I wanted to throw it. My mind turned over his words. Somehow the man had seen me sleeping. I gasped with eyes widened. Dear lord, had he been in my room? The thought sent my hands to the sides of my face as a sickened feeling filled me. "Ma'am, what has happened? What is the matter?" Annabelle sat down next to me with a look of perplexity. My hands lowered to my lap. "Oh I have had the most distressful conversation with a strange man." Her hand rested softly on my arm. "Men do cause us lady folk such trouble. But you must put it out of your mind." I nodded firmly. "Yes, of course you are correct. There is important work that I must do. Let us begin our adventure Annabelle. We shall need to keep our minds sharp and our hearts confident."

    I rose from the table and with Annabelle next to me, we went to see the innkeeper about a matter of importance. Next we went outside. As I approached the carriage I saw the shirtless man, well now with a shirt...of sorts, leaning against a tree. I explained the situation of the driver to Annabelle, although I knew not if he were dead or alive. "Annabelle, we need to secure the carriage so it is not stolen. I shall require your suggestion of who can assist with this. And then we must find another driver." With Annabelle becoming my ladies maid, I was responsible for the young woman. I thought better of approaching that strange man leaning against a nearby tree, as I inspected the carriage. "Also, I wish to visit the stables where my driver is and see to his condition. The care that he needs must be paid for before we leave." Sighing softly I looked at Annabelle who smiled to lend encouragement to me. "I know just the place where the carriage can be safely stored." I felt some relief with this news. Nodding, I explained to the ladies maid, "The innkeeper has advised the best driver." I gave Annabelle his name and she nodded with bright eyes. "Oh aye, tis an honorable man Thomas Avant is." I glanced again at the man who had brought the smithy to repair the wagon. What was he on about? Surely he had his own motivations, which I could not fathom.
     
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  5. Overnight

    Overnight Under the Radar. Member

    Messages:
    18
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Argus stood watching as the woman left the tavern. He was surprised to see a young woman accompany her. Argus' attention was drawn to the young woman and her natural beauty. She had an innocence about her, but a worldly knowledge, it seemed. The thoughts of her distracted Argus and he had to remind himself of his purpose: to find the man who had known Smith.

    Argus had seen this man and realized it was probably while he was entering or leaving the tavern. There were few other places Argus had spent his time.

    The thought of the lady and his mission of purpose returned. She was of higher stature than he was; higher than he would ever be. And even without his unfortunate events with her, she would probably dismiss him if he approached her, anyway. He smiled. Perhaps a severe dismissal would be worth it if only to see the young woman up close.

    He sighed and fingered his coin in his pocket. He could afford to eat now, anyway. But perhaps he could put this coin to better use. The thought rolled around in his mind.

    He was aware that time was of the essence as well. She would be leaving as soon as her driver was found and the horses fetched from the stable. He wondered if the young woman would be leaving with her.

    Argus decided to wander through the village and think about the idea that had come to mind. Perhaps his coin could be put to better use after all.
     
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  6. Vitriosk

    Vitriosk Eyes of Grey Member

    Messages:
    104
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    "CROW!!!" Came a horrendous howl, that was followed by an ear splitting crack of wood "Where the 'Ell Arya ya bastard?"

    To the rogue's horror: Evident in his wide eyes as he rose from his bed like a flash, and stood with dagger in hand --- he wasnt yet going to get the rest he needed ---

    "C'mout C'mout Ya thievin rat..." The words slipped under the closed door of Crow's room, as yet another thunderous boom signaled a nearby door had been broken free from its hinges. The rogue had little time to act, and even less time to think. --Who's voice was it that called for him?-- The lithe man: Though tired and thoroughally dreading each action he had to take, was left with little by means of options. Twas either the window, or the doorway. One of which led two floors down to the ground, and the latter was seemingly about to explode from some monstrous man behind it.

    The floorboards creaked outside of Crow's room: Heavy footfalls drawing closer to the door, as heavy breathing could be heard from beyond the thin ash frame. ---No choice--- Thought the rogue as he turned on his heels and dove headlong out the window. Glass shattered across his arms as he braced for the inevitable impact with the ground below, and even before he hit the hard packed dirt beneath, the sundering of wood could be heard ringing loud through the tavern.

    "YOU ENT GITTIN AWAY THIS TIME" The boisterous and deep words followed the man as he landed against his shoulder and rolled through the impact. His teeth clattered, body ached, and several small shards of glass were lodged in the fabric of his cloak: But Crow had no time to care about the small things. Whatever, Whomever was chasing him, would be hot on his trail if he didnt make haste.

    So he ran, headlong, full-tild, dead-sprint away from the tavern. His hood flapped against his back, as he escaped the location with a short lived burst of energy. ---So much for sleep--- The rogue mused. Too late to turn back and see the if he was being pursued, and yet too soon to stop, Crow aimlessly maneuvered through the nearby buildings, and made his way elsewhere. Anywhere was better than the tavern. Surely Crow would end up being blamed for the destruction on top of whatever the man claimed the rogue to be responsible for. Twas just his lot in life to be accused and flee. Better than ending up in prison, or twitching beneath the executioner's axe.
     
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  7. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    As I surveyed the carriage I kept an eye on the man and noted the attention he gave Annabelle. If t'was a proper gentleman heaping such attention it would be acceptable. Such was not the case with this one. I frowned at him in hopes of discouraging him. Eventually the man pushed off the tree and wandered away without a word. Annabelle knew she captured his eye and only with his back to us as he ambled down the village street did she look squarely at him. "What a peculiar man." she whispered. Slowly shaking my head while I too watched him. "I fear you nay know the half of it."

    Looking now at the young redhead I smiled. "Never mind about foolish men. Lead the way to the place we can store the carriage." We walked the same direction as the strange man but were a bit behind him. As we passed the alley way beside the tavern the sound of broken glass caught our attention. I gasped at the sight of something flying out of an upstairs window. Blinking quickly it was to my shock a person was falling to the ground below. Then it was to my dismay I discovered it was that horrid voyeur. He ran in our direction as if he were a bat out of hell. I grabbed Annabelle's arm and moved her behind me as I stepped quickly out of the way. Turning my head to watch him as he passed in a flash I felt my heart racing. Then my ears were met with the loud voice of a man shouting the word crow. How odd, yet not at all surprising considering who just fell from the second floor, seemingly unharmed. The shouting man's head poked out of the window and a look of rage filled his face. I quickly turned and continued on my way, pulling Annabelle behind me. "Me thinks that little crow crossed paths with a furious husband." Annabelle asked me to repeat what I said under my breath. "Oh pay it no mind" I muttered. Looking up the road both strange men had vanished.

    Standing before a warehouse of modest size, the owner agreed to store the carriage and called out to a helper to take two horses to the tavern and have it driven to the warehouse. I paid for the storage and told him I would return in a day or two. Next was to meet with Mr. Avant. I learned upon arrival at his home that he was not in residence. Mrs. Avant was an older woman with a kind smile. She bid Annabelle and I to enter her home. She sent her young son on an errand to fetch his Father who was assisting the owner of the general mercantile with repairs to his roof. Mrs. Avant offered Annabelle and I tea and scones. It was only then that I realized I was hungry. The scones were delicious. Remarkable so. As we awaited Mr. Avant we ladies chatted about events in the village, firstly the fire then other notable people in the area. Mr Avant finally arrived and was agreeable to riding Annabelle and me to the palace. However, he looked pained when I asked Annabelle to fetch the luggage. "Oh begging your pardon Ma'am. It is too late to begin the ride to the palace. It would be well after sunset before we arrived and the road is not safe to be on after dark." My heart sank at this news. After knowing how easily someone snuck into my room at the inn I was reluctant to return. Annabelle sensed my concern. She said cheerfully, "Oh it's no bother Ma'am. You can stay at the boarding house where I live. There is an extra room available. Only ladies are allowed. We will not have any worries of strange men there."
     
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  8. Overnight

    Overnight Under the Radar. Member

    Messages:
    18
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Argus walked to the village keeping his coin in the firm grip of his hand. He reaffirmed his plan to himself; he would try to change his appearance to the extent the woman, the innkeeper, or the blacksmith would not recognize him.

    He found the mercantile first. He entered the store and was eyed carefully by the proprietor. He wasn't surprised. Being as polite as he could he be asked the proprietor for a pair of common pants, a working man's shirt, and perhaps a straw hat.

    The proprietor heard the request and asked if he could pay for these goods. Being smart enough to not show the coin, Argus asked the price and then affirmed that he did, in fact, have the have money to pay.

    As an afterthought, he looked at the barrel of canes next to the counter. Argus still walked with a bit of a limp and thought it only prudent to have one. They were hand-wrought of wood and skillfully carved. Argus looked them over, one by one, looking for one of the lengths that would suit him. They were well made and were probably made by an elder in the village somewhere to pass time.

    The merchant had his purchases wrapped and Argus had selected a fine cane. As the merchant was giving him his change, Argus asked if there was a barber in town. "See O'Dell," was the only response given. Argus took his change, nodded, and walked out the door.

    Argus found O'Dell quite easily. The storefront was larger than a store, but not quite a house. A hand-painted sign saying only "O'Dell" was seen and Argus went to the door, knocked, and then waited. He was unsure whether to just walk in, or wait. In a short time, a man opened the door. He had a round, jolly look to him that put Argus at ease. "Yes?" Was O'Dell's greeting to Argus.

    "I would like a haircut, sir," Argus said.

    "Certainly, sir," O'Dell replied. "Come on in."

    Argus entered and O'Dell shut the door behind him. "I will cut your hair, and perhaps give you a shave as well, but if you could help me with a quick chore first I would appreciate it."

    Argus shrugged. "Sure," he replied.

    "I thank you. I just need someone to help me move this body."

    Argus was a bit shaken, as O'Dell pulled back a curtain to the adjoining room, exposing a body laid out on an old table, smeared with blood.

    "We just need to put him in this coffin, and then we will get down to the business of barbering."

    Side-by-side, with Argus lifting the lower half of the man, and O'Dell at the upper half, they plopped him into the coffin. O'Dell slid a lid onto the coffin, brushed his hands together, and walked to the room across the hall. "Thank you," O'Dell said.

    They entered a room with a single chair and a table with pliers and tools of a sort that looked as if they were instruments of torture. Around the room were jars of strange-looking potions. Argus was uneasy, to say the least.

    "A shave and haircut, right?"

    "Yes," Argus replied. As he looked around feeling very ill at ease being here, he looked at the man again.

    O'Dell saw his look of unease and laughed. "I see you are ill at ease."

    With another laugh, he explained, "In this small village, I fix them, pull out their teeth, cut their hair, and bury them. That is what the townspeople say, anyway. See, this being a small village, I am the doctor, dentist, barber, and undertaker, all in one. Did you happen to notice the fine haircut I had given the body in the other room?"

    Feeling more at ease, Argus replied, hiding his sarcasm, "It was a fine haircut. I noticed it right off."

    O'Dell got down to business - the barber business - and soon O'Dell had finished his services. Holding a hand-held mirror in one hand and rubbing his chin with the other, Argus had to admit, he was given a fine haircut and shave. Thanking the barber, he left. He had one more stop to make and his planned errands were done for the day.

    The next stop was at the millpond. Taking off the old clothes, bathing, and then donning the new, he felt much better. It was all business here this morning. There was none of the magic and fun of the last time he was here.

    Wearing his new clothes and carrying his cane, Argus hoped he looked different. He certainly felt better and strolled back to the tavern.

    As he neared the tavern, he saw that the carriage was gone! The driver must have been found, the horses hitched up, and the woman was gone! He was too late. The thought stunned him and he felt that his purpose here in town was gone. There was no need now to find the short-statured man, and he realized that his preoccupation with the young woman was only a folly.

    The thought of the King's Mission came to mind and he knew in his heart he had done his best effort to deliver the King's message. If ever needed, he would tell the King with a clear conscious of the events and his efforts. Surely the King would understand.

    Having a small amount of money left, he walked to the tavern and entered. The innkeeper looked up at him and didn't recognize him. Sitting at a table near the front window, to be the farthest away from the bar and the innkeeper's sight, Argus breathed a sigh of relief and ordered a meager meal. While eating, he gazed out the window and reflected on the past few days. He wondered about Smith. And wondered if Smith would recognize him.
     
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  9. Vitriosk

    Vitriosk Eyes of Grey Member

    Messages:
    104
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Crow had hidden inside of the stables at the edge of town: Lodged between several bales of hay that were stuffed into the loft. He had removed all of the collected splinters of glass with careful patience, and found no wounds under his thick cloak: Much to his happiness. A wound, when running, or when dirty, was not a good thing. Infection was common, and the local do-it-all physician was more proficient at cutting hair, than saving lives. As several wide-spread illnesses had proven several winters prior.

    The rogue shook off the thoughts of the far past, and tried desperately to wrap his brain around the more recent events: Kicking up his legs, and getting comfortable --the best he could at least-- in the loft. Surely he hadnt done something so vile, or so horrible, that it merited a murderous rage. At least he didnt think so. He hadnt killed anyone, stolen from anyone ---and been caught--- and there were so few who knew his name, that it had to have been something else. Crow mulled over the possibilities from the shaded sanctity of the upper floor of the stable. Paying no mind to the neighs and whinnies from the nearby horses. He simply let his eyes close as the questions left him in a stupor. Far too tired, and far too stressed out to realize what should have been obvious.

    ---Someone had hired the man to hunt down crow---
     
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  10. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    I considered Annabelle's suggestion of the ladies boarding house. Actually, considering there were nay many options for lodging, I smiled softly at her. Her face as filled with excitement and I found it contagious. My smile widened. With a nod I agreed. "I shall be pleased to take a room at this boarding house of yours. Now as for our bags, I fear the burden is is too much for us." Mr. Avant had heard our conversation and politely spoke up. "My son can fetch a wagon and tend to your luggage.." he glanced around "...is it here?" Annabelle stepped toward him "Oh no sir. It is at the dressmaker's shop, where I work. I took them there for safe keeping." He nodded in approval of Annabelle's idea. "I'll send my son there. You two can ride on the wagon if you would like. Nothing fancy but it will save the time it will take to walk to the boarding house." Mr. Avant's suggestion gave me an idea. "Would you mind if your son took us to the Cobb's stable outside of town. My driver was taken there after he was found injured on the road. I would like to see to his condition." Mr Avant frowned. "I had heard about that. It's a terrible thing. Sure, my son can drop the luggage off at the boarding house then take you out to old man Cobb's. He and his family are good people. You will be welcome there." As we spoke with Mr. Avant, his wife had left the parlor. As Mr. Avant was giving directions to his son when she reappeared with two cloth covered parcels in her hands. "Now you ladies take this" she gave Annabelle and me each a parcel. "There are some scones, jam and apples. A little something to tide you over." I was warmed by Mrs. Avant's kindness. Annabelle gave her a kiss on the cheek and thanked her. I bowed my head realized that this humble family were so generous to a stranger in their village. I would remember this kindness and return the gesture one day.

    After saying our farewell to the Avant's, Annabelle and I were on the back of the wagon bouncing on a wooden seat that had me wishing the village had smoother roads. We rolled through town at a slow pace of the donkey pulling us. Our journey took us past the burned blacksmith shop with red embers still glowing. The cart slowed as we passed the tavern as a group of five men crossed the road in such an intoxicated state it was a wonder they were standing upright. Soon enough we came to a stop in front of a two story stone structure. Bright color flowers filled boxes at the windows on the first and second floor. Entwined willow formed a wreath and was merrily adorned with blue bows. The house was a charming sight and my worries of where I would rest my head this eve faded. The young boy Tom helped Annabelle and me off of the wagon and began removing luggage as I walked along the cobbled path to the front door. Before I reached it the door opened and a petite, round woman with salt and pepper hair stepped out on the porch. She gave me a curtsy as I stopped before her and I smiled softly. "I've brought Lady Erina to stay the evening." The older woman looked at me and gave a nod. "Welcome Lady Erina. My home is modest but it is safe and you will find good company here." My gaze roamed over the sweet scented wisteria vining on a trellis, rockers with soft pillows just calling one to sit and linger over conversation and tea. My attention returned to the owner. Annabelle completed the introduction. "Lady Erina, this is Mrs. McIntosh." She curtsied again. "Mrs. McIntosh I am so pleased to meet you and grateful to be staying in your lovely home." She blushed at my words and noticed Tom Avant struggling with our luggage. She ushered him inside and showed him what rooms to put the luggage in. Although we still had to visit the Cobb's stable it would be rude to rush off. Annabelle and I had tea in the front parlor and Tom happily ate a plate of Mrs. McIntosh's fresh made ginger snaps. We spoke of the fire at the blacksmith and when she learned of our visit to my driver she had heard of the event and lamented at how decent folks were not safe these days.

    Soon enough Annabelle and I found ourselves back on the wagon and to my displeasure the condition of the road only worsened the farther we got out of the village. I shifted on the hard seat to try and get comfortable. Annabelle pointed to a rambling wooden structure that was surrounded with paddocks dotted with horses. As we approached a man in his 50's and a younger man looking to be in his early 20's came out of the main house ten yards from the stable. "Hello Tom" said the older man with a smile. Tom pulled the wagon to a stop and the man patted the donkey's neck. He looked at me and Annabelle with a quizzical expression. "Hello Mr. Cobb" Tom said with a tip of his straw hat. He looked at the younger man who seemed quite interested in Annabelle. "Howdy Jed" Tom added. Tom turned on the front seat and pointed his thumb over his shoulder toward us. "This here is Lady Erina a stranger in town and Annabelle from the dressmaker's shop." I bit back a smile at Tom's casual introduction and Mr. Cobb gave Tom a disapproving look before turning his attention to the ladies. "Well to what do I owe this pleasure?" I hesitated as I felt dread at what I might find out about the driver. In a soft voice I explained, "Mr Cobb, I understand my driver is here, recovering after being injured. I came to see as to his condition." Mr. Cobb's expression turned somber. "Your driver, well he's in a bad way. A little better than yesterday but it looks like he will survive." I released a sigh "May I see him?" I asked. Mr. Cobb nodded lifted his hand to help me down. "Of course. My wife she knows the ways of healing and has been looking after him." Standing in front of the stable I looked around and could see the buildings were remarkable well cared for and the horses in the paddocks were fine specimens. As Mr. Cobb led us toward the house, we passed the barn with the doors wide open. I saw inside stacks of hay, tack and farm equipment all very tidy and in order. A woman in her 40's stood on the porch of the house. She had dark hair and a plain but kind face. She smiled shyly as Annabelle and I approached. "My Dear, this is Lady Erina and Annabelle. The Lady has come to see to our patient." Her eyes widened as she curtsied. "This is my wife, Marie. And this is my son Jed." Smiling at Marie I stepped toward her. "I understand the driver has survived due to your compassion for taking a stranger in and your skill as a healer. I am most grateful to you and Mr. Cobb for the kindness you have shown." Marie seemed uncomfortable at the praise she received. "I am happy we came upon him when we did. I will show you to him." I turned to Annabelle. Seeing the bashful glances between her and Jed I smiled. "Annabelle, why do you not visit with the Cobb's while I see to my driver. I shall not be long." She agreed and I followed Marie down a hallway and into a small bedroom.

    "I'll leave you to visit" said Marie before stepping out of the room and closing the door behind her. The sight of my driver made me catch my breath. His head was bandaged from where he received blows from the attacker. One eye was black and swollen shut and his lip was cut and swollen. He rested with his eyes closed but as I approached this bedside one eye opened. I could tell he recognized me and he tried to move. Holding my hand out to gently touch his arm my head shook slowly. "No, please do not move. It is important that you rest and recover. I had been so worried about you and was told by the guard in the village that you might be here. When I was told what had become of you I was so very worried." I pulled a chair to the side of the bed and sat on the edge. His voice was soft and raspy. "I never saw him. He came at me from behind and struck me with a solid metal pipe." My hand went to my chest as it tightened, hearing the horrific details of his attack. "And my horses were stolen." I could see how agitated he was. "Please do not preoccupy your mind with this. I shall replace your horses. Perhaps Mr. Cobb has horses available. They are of fine stock. And I will pay for your care while you stay here." I could tell my words gave the driver comfort. "What matters is that you get well. So you must not worry about anything." I was unsure if the Cobb's were literate. Before I left the room, I had the driver tell me an address where I could send a letter to and explain his situation. I was certain his family would be worried. His lids blinked slowly and I knew he was tired. Rising from the chair I again touched his arm lightly, "You just rest and you will be right as rain soon." He gave a faint smile as he closed his eyes and appeared to drift to sleep.
     
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  11. Overnight

    Overnight Under the Radar. Member

    Messages:
    18
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    As Argus sat in the tavern eating his meal, he was pleased to see the drunks leave. Drunks in a tavern, well, you just never know what trouble will erupt. Argus watched out the window as they crossed the rutted and dusty street. As he watched the drunks disappear, he saw a wagon pulled by a donkey nearing at a slow pace. Finishing his meal, he watched it as it came down the street, and was shocked to see the woman, and the young girl both riding in the seat behind the driver. He looked and looked again to be sure. All the conclusions that he had were wrong. He smiled to himself as he realized that his interest in the young red-haired girl thought of as only folly was wrong as well.

    Argus tried to be nonchalant about leaving the tavern. He stepped out the door as the donkey and wagon passed and then casually followed the wagon. He felt fairly confident that if the woman or young girl should glance behind they would not recognize him.

    Following them, he found they went to the stable. Standing casually as if looking about the countryside, he saw them leave the wagon and enter the house.

    Argus wandered seemingly about and looked in the stable. He was impressed with the neatness and order of the place.

    The thought came to him that perhaps the stable would be his place to spend the night tonight. The hay seemed fresh and new, and he could perhaps go in the loft after dark and not be seen. He took a mental note of this; he coinage was running low and earlier when he had inquired at the tavern about a room. he was told that there was only one room available. And the available room had a broken door and a broken window.
     
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  12. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Standing alone in the hallway after silently closing the bedroom door, I paused. Needing a moment to collect my thoughts and quiet my emotions, I was not yet ready to be with the others in the house. The sounds of voices in pleasant conversation could be heard as I closed my eyes. The scent of duck roasting in the hearth wafted past my nose. Yet nothing impacted me. My senses seemed to be in reserve as I had to muster all of my energy to quell the turmoil within me. Above all that, my need to be in control of my emotions was paramount. I gave myself this respite to consider all that I must do and to formulate a plan. My hand dropped from the door handle and began to smooth the fabric of my skirt absentmindedly. Once my vision of the future was firmly in place within my mind, I took a deep breath and turned to move in the direction of the voices as I felt my stomach rumble in response to the aroma of the supper being prepared.

    Upon entering the front parlor Mr. Cobb, Jed and Tom stood. "Please do not let me interrupt." I said as Annabelle turned to me with an expression of worry. "How was he? Did you have a chance to speak with the driver? Was he awake?" The words quickly spilled from Annabelle's mouth without a chance for me to answer. Wanting to calm her fears I smiled and nodded my head. "Yes, I did speak with him and he is recovering. Although slowly, he will improve." Annabelle was pleased to hear this and I turned to Mr. Cobb. "My driver is naturally worried about the loss of his income as his horses were stolen by the cowardly fiend who almost killed him. It is my wish to replace his horses. I am hoping that when the driver is well enough, he can view your stock available for sale." Mr. Cobb nodded. "Why certainly Ma'am. I can show you my youngest yet best trained horses, that is if you are interested." Many women of my station paid no heed to horses beyond their use of getting from one location to another. However, as my Father had no sons, he educated me in training, care and selection of horses and in his absence from home, expected me to ensure the safety of the estate's horses, all livestock, barns, ranch lands, and all employed in its upkeep. Inclining my head to Mr. Cobb's offer. "Actually, yes I am keen to survey your stock." Annabelle rose from a settee and Jed jumped to his feet. He spoke with her and offered his arm. "I'll be happy to escort you Miss Annabelle, if you care to take a stroll." I could not help but smile as I made eye contact with Annabelle who looked to me for approval. Nodding my head she then took Jed's arm and the five of us ventured from the house back to the paddocks. A few ranch hands worked to replace lumber on one of the paddocks. Mr. Cobb called out to one of them who jogged over to us. He directed the hand to gather certain horses, calling them by name. It would take a while to gather the horses up but one by one they were lead to the paddock where I could look at them more closely. Tom hopped up to the top rail of the paddock as Mr. Cobb spoke about each horse and the ranch hand looped a rope to the bridle and put the horses through their paces. We spoke of the positive and negative attributes of each horse. Although for all of them, their strengths far outnumbered the weaknesses. I was very impressed by Mr. Cobb's husbandry.

    The sound of a bell rang out and I turned to see Mrs. Cobb ringing it to get the attention of hands and family as it was supper time. The sun was still shining brightly. I did so enjoy the long days of summer. As the horses were released out to pasture, Mr. Cobb, Tom, Jed and Annabelle and I ventured back to the house. I felt a peacefulness descend upon me. I enjoyed this land and the friendliness of the Cobb family. Mrs. Cobb smiled upon our return. "I do hope that you and Annabelle can stay for the evening meal." Realizing that Annabelle was enjoying Jed's company yet not wanting to be a burden, I answered her request. "You were not expecting two more for supper. We would not wish to impose." Mrs. Cobb chuckled and waved her hand toward the ranch land. My gaze moved out over their land. Suddenly more men that I had realized worked the land began walking toward the well outside the house to wash up. "Goodness Lady Erina. I cook for an army, as you can see. Two more is no burden at all. It is so nice out, we can eat under the oaks out back." Mr. Cobb jumped in, "We will enjoy the new company. You can tell us about what is happening in the village, Annabelle." Then he glanced at me. "And you Lady Erina can tell us about the world beyond our little village." Annabelle did not speak but I could see the hopeful look in her expression. Looking back to Mr. and Mrs. Cobb, I smiled brightly. "Then we shall be honored to dine here tonight."
     
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  13. Overnight

    Overnight Under the Radar. Member

    Messages:
    18
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Argus realized that he was feeling better of late. He still walked with a limp, and probably always would, but was no longer in the constant pain.

    His clothing, although simple, was not tattered and torn.

    He stood out of sight waiting and watching the ranch. He knew it would have to be after dark before he made his move to go to the barn and sleep.

    He also had the inclination to go back to the village. He had not seen the short-statured man of late. He knew to try to seek him out would probably be fruitless, but he knew that there were better odds of seeing him in the village than here. The thought came that the man he was seeking knew Smith. Perhaps he had a connection to the blacksmith shop. If he went and asked Smith, perhaps he, Smith, would know something. When the thought "... would know something" came to mind he almost laughed out loud. Then a feeling of remorse came to him for even thinking that.

    He was curious as to how Smith was doing and what he was doing. He would like to visit him. Argus realized that he would be on the dangerous ground attempting that. But Smith was the only one in the village that he had a connection with, however limited it was.

    As Argus stood out of sight watching, he realized that it was daylight and there were ranch-hands about. Being seen here was a real possibility. He thought that if seen here, he could use the story that he was on foot and it would only be natural to seek a horse. He could offer a story to the stable-keeper of some problem along the way. Or something. Then he realized that if he were believed and the woman recognized him things would fall apart. And then he wondered why he would want to do that, anyway. His mind was conniving in ways that were of no real purpose and thoughts of this sort surprised him.

    If a purpose was to be had, perhaps he would apply for a job as a ranch hand. It would be honest work and the pay would be welcome. "I am an honorable man, and the reason for being here was I had fallen, hurt myself, and was on the run from being falsely accused of a crime. But I am honorable," he thought to himself.

    It was at that very point the thought came to him. "The reason I am seeking her is to tell her of a Mission from the King. That is a good and honorable thing. She is in the ranch with the others, and in there she will probably not create a disturbance. I shall go and announce my intention - first thing - And she will be honor-bound to listen. Then I will deliver the King's message and be on my way."

    And with that thought in mind, he started to walk with confidence toward the door of the ranch.
     
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  14. Lacinia

    Lacinia Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    33
    Local Time:
    1:12 PM
    Mrs. Cobb's gaze was diverted down the dirt path leading to the barn and house. My gaze naturally followed hers as I turned my head to look behind me. There I saw the lone figure of a man walking toward the house. "Would you look at that" she said in a soft voice. Getting the attention of Mr. Cob and Jed, they too looked and saw the man. As he drew nearer both men moved to stand between the traveler and the women folk. Tom had a mind to act as a protector. However, as he was provided by his Father, I felt his protection was now under my authority. Tom took two steps forward but was halted by my hand on his collar. He looked at my with a frown and I drew him back to my side with a stern but silent gaze. Annabelle stood at my other side, she too was interested in what this man was about.

    By now all of the ranch hands, approximately 10, had their gaze on the man as they walked toward the road. They said nothing to the man. They sized the stranger up as he passed them and the cold glint in their eyes warned him not to make any trouble. Finally the man stopped in front of Mr. Cob and Jed, both formidable, muscular men. Mr. Cobb tipped his hat. "Greetings. We don't often get strangers stopping by. Something I can help you with?" Mr. Cobb observed everything about the man. How his dress was plain but newly made and he realized that he had never laid eyes on the man before.

    During the stranger's stroll up the road, Mrs. Cobb had left the porch and returned with a wooden cup. She walked past her husband and son, reaching her hand out to offer the cup. "Don't know where you came from sir but we are a mighty long walk from pretty much everywhere. Here is some water. You must be thirsty." Her plain features were softened by a smile that made all visitors comfortable at her home. I had nay seen the man before and awaited his answer to Mr. Cobb with interest. I whispered in Annabelle's ear "Is this man from the village?" She shook her head with a light shrug of her shoulders as she studied him carefully. "No, I've never seen the man before."
     

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