Oh and one more thing. disregard any breaks in paragraphs, i am not going through and pressing enter between each paragraph after i have pasted it onto here...that would take WAY too long.
(My NaNoWriMo) Word Count at end of week 2: 25,955, words written during week 2: 12,605
Letting her mind wonder she completely forgot her reason for coming to the wagon in the first place. After a little while of staring into nothing her slowly began to close, just when she almost asleep a shadow blocked out the small beam of sunlight that had peeked through.
Blinking the sleep out of her eyes, she looked up to see a man shaped shadow leaning over her. Her first thoughts were that it was one of the knights and she nearly jumped up screaming when she realized that this man shape was not covered in black metal. Squinting up she saw that it was in fact just Jason leaning over the side of the wagon.
“You nearly gave me a heart attack! Don’t do that to me.” Annoyed with him she pushed herself into a sitting position so she could actually see him and to keep him from hovering over her. Jason only smiled and leaned against the side of the wagon. “How long was I asleep? It felt like hours.”
“Well Gerald finished whatever it was he was making, gave it to your mom and now she’s all better. We camped there for the night, broke camp in the morning and now we are about to make camp again. So I would say a day and a half.” Jason said with a huge grin on his face. Emily looked around at the trees that surrounded them and then back at Jason. Trying her best not to smile back at him she instead punched him in the arm and jumped out of the wagon.
“You’re a bad liar you know. I would know this forest anywhere.” She said before searching one of the bags for something to eat.
“I’m a wonderful liar when I choose to be, but I was actually coming over here to see how you were doing. Since that was your first encounter with a knight.”
“I could be better. It was pretty weird though.” She said with her face in the current bag she was digging through
“What was? It seemed like a normal attack from the knights.”
Seizing an apple she took a bite before she explained. Jason waited patiently with his chin in hand and elbow propped up on the wagon. After a couple bites, Emily set the apple down and turned towards the campfire pa had going. “All of it. It was so sudden. We were getting ready to leave and then there was this scream. I thought it was mama and I think pa did too. After pa ran out the door a knight attacked me and said something about crimes. But the weirdest part of it all besides everything freezing was that the armor was completely empty. Emily shivered as she recalled the memory of the empty suit and the impaled helm.
“What did the knight say about crimes?” Emily turned back towards the wagon and rested her arms across the wagon and sighed.
“I don’t remember, all he or it or whatever that thing was said was something about my crimes against the crown or something like that. I don’t even know. Either way it was mistaken I haven’t done anything against the crown so I don’t know why they would even be after me.”
“Yeah odd. We will get it figured out, for now why don’t you help me set up camp and wait to see how things work out with your mother.” Jason grabbed a back from the wagon and walked to the other side of camp next to the stream. Emily found her own bag and did the same just farther up the stream that Jason. After everything was set she decided food for everyone else would be required so she grabbed her fishing pole and walking up river until she found a nice secluded spot.
Emily settled in and got ready to wait a while before she caught anything. With thoughts about the past two days running through her head she began to get restless. She was thankful that she wasn’t going to fall asleep this time, that would be a very cold awakening. Glancing down at herself she thought maybe that cold awakening would be required after all. Pulling her line in she leaned her pole up against a tree next to the stream. She checked the area to make sure there were no hunters in the area or anyone else that could be lurking behind a tree before she pulled her boots off.
Setting her boots on a rock she shimmied out of her pants and proceeded to take her shirt off. In the midst of unbuttoning her shirt she started to feel like there was someone watching her, out of the corner of her eye she checked the bank of the stream to either side of her, deeming it safe she lifted her head and caught sight of a gorgeous white deer on the opposite bank. Moving as slowly as she could so as not to spook the deer she started to button up her shirt again. Once she was done she attempted to pick up her pants that were lying on top of her boots, which in this case was very hard to do since the rock she was standing on was particularly slimy. Looking down she grabbed her pants and carefully straightened back up only to catch the tail end of the deer disappearing through the trees.
“Damn it.” She whispered quietly to herself.
“Damn what?” A voice said from behind her. Turning around a little too quickly Emily lost her footing and attempted to correct her balance, swinging her arms she tried her best to catch herself but instead fell straight into the stream instead. Laughter could be heard from the bank as Emily’s head emerged from the water.
“JASON!! What the hell!”
“It seems the rocks are a little slippery wouldn’t you say?” Jason said, still leaning against the tree. Emily wrapped her arms around herself as she watched her shirt try and float up around her. Making sure to keep only her head above the cold water Emily worked her way back to the bank of the stream, at the same time trying to keep her shirt down and stay on the other side of the rock so Jason could not see her. “Do you need a hand there or are you going to try and get out yourself?”
“I’m fine; I think you’ve done enough. How long were you standing there anyways?” Now right behind the rock she did her best to climb up on the small ledge that they rock sat upon.
Jason shrugged and turned his back, “Oh just long enough to watch the deer run off. I didn’t see anything I swear, well besides some really white legs.” He lifted his hands in an innocent manner while trying his best not to burst out laughing again.
“Ha very funny, and my legs aren’t white they are just light. Like your legs are any better, they are probably whiter than mine are!” Successfully staying behind the rock she managed to wiggle herself back into her pants in spite of her drenched shirt and damp legs. Once she was decent she climbed back onto the rock making sure not to slip or lose her balance again. Grabbing her boots she brushed past Jason, with everything she had she forced herself not to hit him as she walked by, no matter how much she wanted to. All the while thinking that she got in the creek like she planned on but not how she wanted to.
Too frustrated to even worry about Jason or the fact that her shirt was now soaked, she didn’t even notice that he was walking closely behind her until he spoke. “So how was your bath? I’m assuming that’s why you came down here.”
“Can’t you just leave me alone, every time you are near something bad happens. Just go away.” Fuming Emily kept walking without looking back. Much to her annoyance Jason walked a little faster to catch up with her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Stopping mid-step Emily shrugged his arm off her shoulder and turned towards him. “Seriously why won’t you go away? I don’t even know you. You just showed up yesterday and then everything went to crap. Why are you even here?”
Tucking his hands in his pockets Jason shrugged his shoulders and looked at the ground for a moment before he straightened up and crossed his arms over his chest. “You know what little miss; I’m here to keep an eye on you. I’m here to make sure you don’t get hurt. I’m here to keep your white ass out of trouble. That’s why I’m here. Your parents asked to me look after you and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. If you don’t like it then tough, because I’m staying whether you like it or not.” At the end of his rant Jason turned and stomped off back in the direction of the camp leaving Emily standing there once again with her jaw dropped.
Blinking her eyes a couple times Emily looked around the forest and then started following Jason back to camp feeling like a complete idiot. Of course Mama and Pa would ask him to keep an eye on her, it just made sense. Clutching her boots in both hands she walked on until she made it back to camp and went to find another shirt in one of her bags, thankfully she thought to pack a lot of clothes.
Looking around camp she saw pa tending to mama but no Jason. She prayed she didn’t make him mad enough to wonder off in the forest, a forest he didn’t know. After changing her shirt behind a tree she went to check and see how mama was doing. Hopefully whatever it was that pa made for her would help and she would be back to normal in no time. Sitting a log that was sitting near the campfire in the middle of the clearing she grabbed a flask of what she hoped was water and took a drink. Pa looked up and gave her a small smile. Mama was still asleep but at least she didn’t look dead anymore so the concoction should have helped, or it looked like it anyways.
“Where’s Jason?” Pa asked looking around the camp.
“I don’t know, I think I made him mad and when I got back he was gone.” Emily looked over at the horses to make sure that all four were there and they were, sighing she turned back and took another drink from the flask. “Why did you and mama ask him to look out for me?”
Pa took a deep breath before laying mama on the palled they had made for her earlier. Mama yawned and rolled over before snoring really loudly, which made Emily giggle and pa chuckle. “Well because you’re a young girl and we knew that the Knights would be coming for us soon, we didn’t think it would be this soon but either way we wanted to make sure you were safe. We couldn’t exactly send you out into the world by yourself without any knowledge of any of it.” Pa glanced at mama peacefully sleeping as he made the last comment.
“But that doesn’t make sense Pa, if you would have sent me away then the knights would have still found you like they did and you both could be dead now. Something saved us earlier and I don’t know what it was but I’m glad that I was there for it. I don’t know what I would do if I lost either of you, pa.” Emily took one more drink from the flask before looking for something stronger than water. Leaving pa to tend to mama she went back to the wagon in hopes that pa had remembered to pack some of his homemade ale.
Scrounging around in the bags Emily kept trying to find something that resembled ale of any kind. Again that day Emily didn’t hear Jason come up behind her. As she dug around in what looked like a bag mama had grabbed from the kitchen Jason walked up to the side of the wagon and once again rested his arms on the side.
“I didn’t mean to snap at you, there’s just more to this than you know.” Jumping at the sound of his voice Emily fell out of the wagon but thanks to Jason’s quick thinking he caught her before she hit the ground. With Jason’s arms wrapped around her waist from where she fell backwards Emily looked over her shoulder. That would have been a very painful fall with her feet still hanging over the side of the wagon.
“Uhm can you put me down or at least help me back into the wagon?” Nodding Jason did his best to lift her back into the wagon, which turned out to be more difficult than it looked regardless of his height. Finally after pulling herself into the wagon and Jason trying to keep her from falling Emily sat in the bed and made sure that she couldn’t lose her balance again. “Thanks, and I’m sorry I was rude. Your right I don’t know the full story yet, but I would like to know if someone is willing to tell me.” Emily said with her best smile plastered across her face.
Without answering Jason leaned over the side of the wagon and dug around in a bag that Emily had yet to get to and pulled out a rather large and unusual looking flask. It looked like it was made out of tree bark and the mouth was the roots. Jason took a swig and grimaced before passing the flask to her. “I think this is what you were looking for.”
Emily grabbed it and took a small sip expecting a strong bitter taste, but instead she was overcome by what felt like fire being poured down her throat. Coughing and sputtering she handed it back to Jason. He just laughed and took it back before she spilled it from coughing. “Yeah it’s something you get used it. It’s called Fairy fire, which is quite fitting since the little sprites make it themselves.” Once she finished coughing all she could do was look at him like he was crazy.
“You’re kidding right? Fairies aren’t real…are they?” She had never heard of fairies before besides in books and stories that mama told to her that she didn’t think was real, but after the day she was having she would believe anything just about now.
“They are just as real as you and I are, little miss. Stories are just stories but when you actually meet one that’s when you realize that all those things you heard about them was completely true. I’m sure Mari has told you plenty of stories about the little devils. She has plenty of them after all.” Jason took another swig and offered Emily another drink; once she declined he just shrugged and pocketed the flask for later consumption.
Emily stood up to get out of the wagon as Jason reached out to give her a steadying hand. “Are you sure that’s necessary, it seems when you are around its pretty inevitable that I’m going fall.”
“That’s why I’m reaching out now so when you do fall it will be easier for me to catch you rather than you falling into me or even into a very cold stream.” Jason just smiled and Emily rolled her eyes at him but grabbed his hand anyways. Placing her other hand on the side of the wagon she attempted to jump out but her foot had other things in mind. As she was hoping over the side her right foot caught on the lip and she went falling forwards right into Jason. Frustrated with herself she pulled her foot back over and pushed away from Jason to fall the rest of the way to the ground. Luckily her feet were working with her this time for she landed firmly onto both feet.
“I have never been this clumsy in my life. I think I’m really beginning to hate you being around. Why don’t you go do something else so I will quite falling for maybe an hour or so?” Jason just crossed his arms and smirked at her as she got frustrated all over again.
“I guess I could go find something for dinner since you decided to take a dip in the stream instead of doing just that.” Jason’s smile got wider as she realized that she had left her fishing pole leaning against a tree.
“This is your fault anyways. If you hadn’t of sneaked up on me I wouldn’t have fallen in and then in turn forgot my pole. I think since it was your fault you should go get it and maybe fish something up while you’re at it.” This time it was Emily’s turn to cross her arms and smile.
“Oh I see, so it’s my fault that you’re clumsy and forgetful?”
Glaring at him Emily turned on her heel and stormed off in the other direction. She sure was fickle lately. Walking the path she had taken earlier she looked for the rock that she was standing on before she fell into the stream. Finding it farther off than she thought, she searched for the tree she had used as a support for the pole. A moment later she found the tree but no pole. Looking around and not being able to find it she started to get confused. “I swear I left it right here.” She whispered to herself. Hearing her own voice out loud she started to wonder when she began talking to herself.
“Are you looking for this?” A voice said behind her near the annoying slimy rock. This time the voice didn’t surprise her, but the fact that Jason made it over here before she did, surprised her very much.
“Seriously how in the world did you make it over here before I did?”
“It’s called magick.” He said with a wink. He tossed her the fishing pole and jumped down from the slimy rock with the grace of a cat. Catching the pole she grumbled under her breath about being to do that. Unfortunately for her Jason seemed to have the hearing of a cat as well. “Then why did you fall in the stream?” he asked as he walked past her.
“I am not explaining myself again. You know damn well why I fell, either way we need to find something for dinner and possibly breakfast. It looks like we may be here for the rest of the day.”
“Why don’t you fish something out of the stream?”
“I don’t want to anymore. Why don’t you go find something in the woods, you seem to be pretty good at sneaking up on stuff plus you got those shiny daggers.”
“Already did.” He said pulling two dead rabbits, two squirrels, and three fish out of his cloak.
“When did you even have time to do that? We haven’t even been here that long and you’ve already killed seven things!”
“Like I said little miss, magick.” He said with a wink before he took off through the trees back to camp. Emily wasn’t sure if he was funny, mysterious or annoying, nor could she decide if she hated him or not. What she did know was him sneaking up on her and scaring her all the time was getting old and quick, then again so was her falling every time he got close to her. She was so done with this trip already, and it had just begun.
Hitting the road
The rest of the day was spent sitting around the fire sharing Jason’s fairy fire and some of pa’s ale he had stashed in one of the weapons bags. Mama hadn’t awoke yet but pa said now she was just sleeping to gain back some of the energy she used and that she should be back to normal in a day or two. Jason showed off his culinary skills by cooking up his catch from earlier. Emily pretended she wasn’t impressed but in the process she learned a trick or two that she had not thought of before.
That night they had herb crusted rabbit, squirrel on a stick, and fried fish. How he managed all that with only the small amount of supplies they had brought was a feat indeed. Emily continued to think about what she had learned the past two days and the mystery behind how everything froze only nagged at her more as she thought about it. She understood that mama was a mage but if it wasn’t mama who did it then who was it? After playing what happened through her head a dozen times she began to wonder if she too had any magickal abilities or if it was even passed down through parents like other traits were.
Sitting by the fire she fought the urge to wonder off and walk around the forest for a while but thought better of it when Jason came back saying that a perimeter was set, whatever that meant. Deciding that it would be in her best interest to go to sleep she went over to her place near the camp fire and crawled onto her pallet. Curling up in a ball to keep out some of the cold she realized what it was she had forgotten, a blanket to cover up with. Grabbing her cloak she did her best to cover up with it instead. Not long after she started to fall asleep a shadow fell over her and then a moment later she began to get warmer. Peeking past hooded eyes she saw a figure walking away and a wool blanket that had just been draped over her. Smiling she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Emily awoke to the smell of coffee and rabbit left over from the night before. Sitting up she pulled the blanket around herself and wondered over to the camp fire that was surprisingly still going. Emily looked around camp and noticed she was alone so she found a cup and poured herself some coffee before grabbing a piece of rabbit. As she ate she kept an eye on her surroundings and did her best to wake up and stay warm, the latter wasn’t as hard to do as she assumed mostly due to the blanket she had wrapped around her shoulders. Looking at all the bags and blankets spread across the clearing she took note that pa’s was as disorderly as he usually was while Jason’s was in perfect order, including her blankets. Looking back to where pa’s pallet was she noticed that mama’s was missing. Hearing noises coming from the wagon Emily left her coffee behind and headed in that direction figuring it was either pa or Jason. There was a small scraping sound followed by a metallic bang and then surprising Emily mama popped up from inside of the wagon.
“Blasted old man you used my good herbs didn’t you? Why couldn’t you have used something else like sage, or wolfs tongue, or maybe even some venom root. Now I have to wait until we find some more for me to do anything.”
“Oh hush woman I was saving your life. I didn’t care if it was the good herbs or not you should be thanking me not yelling at me.” Pa’s muffled voice came from under the wagon on the opposite side. Mama leaned over and looked down before, as he said, yelling at him once again.
“Yelling? Oh I’m not yelling at you, not yet anyways. Either way if you wouldn’t have interrupted me then it wouldn’t have happened anyways. You should have just let Emily touch me and then run so I could take out the lot of the daemons.” Since mama’s back was turned she was unaware of Emily listening to their conversation. So instead of letting either of them know, she just stood with her hands on her hips and waited to see what else would be said.
But her willingness to listen in was quickly interrupted when Jason walked up and whispered in her ear. “Eavesdropper.” Hearing laughter behind her, mama turned around and saw Emily glaring at Jason as he walked off giggling to himself.
“Oh your awake, that’s wonderful, pack your things dear we got to get on the road if we are going to make it to the compound any time soon.” Pa stood from the other side of the wagon and smiled at Emily over the edge before helping mama out of the wagon with more ease than Jason or Emily showed the day before.
“Good morning mama, are you feeling any better today?” She asked as she walked with mama back to the fire. She looked to be a lot better than yesterday; in fact she looked better at that moment than she did the knights even showed up. Whatever it was that pa made for her really did wonders for her, or maybe it was all that sleep.
“Actually I’m feeling wonderful, got some much needed beauty sleep plus the potion pa made for me yesterday helped me get back much of my energy. I’m sure pa already told you but I should be back at the top of my game in a day or two.” Mama patted Emily on the shoulder as she walked past her to take care of the camp fire. Trying to take stock of what time is was Emily looked for any sign of the sun within the haze. Watching as the haze swirled and danced in upon itself, she thought it looked darker than normal. The only time that it was darker than it normally was was if there was a storm coming or if it was nighttime.
“Hey mama.” Emily called to her still staring at the sky.
“Yes dear?” Mama looked over at Emily then looked to the sky as well. “Oh. Well that can’t be good. PA! We need to make this quick! Jason get the wagon covered as quickly as you can.” Mama made quick work of the camp fire, and did a surprisingly good job of clearing it away completely. Once she was done Emily could barely tell that there was a camp fire there moments ago. Mama caught Emily’s eye and winked before she went about packing up pa’s pallet and grabbing his bags.
Emily followed mama’s lead and picked up her things as well. Not sure who to thank for the blanket she folded it up and stuffed it into her bag as well. Throwing her things into the back of the now covered wagon Emily looked to the sky one more time, this time she knew for sure that it was getting darker. Deciding not to take her time she went in search of the horses. Once everything was packed and the horses and mules were ready they headed towards the road. Pa had mama sit in the wagon despite her objection and her insisting that she was fine to ride a horse.
Leading the way back to the road Emily weaved in between trees trying to find the best route for the wagon to go through all the while trying to ignore Jason and his scouting ahead as he called it; every once in a while though he did seem to help on picking where to go. Emily made sure to keep heading north so they wouldn’t be back tracking and possibly run into the knights again. Up ahead Jason could be seen crouched beside a tree, his horse was a little ways back just in case someone on the road heard it. Turning around he waved for the rest of them to wait.
Handing the reins to her horse to pa Emily dropped down and made her way to him as quietly as she knew how, which wasn’t that quiet. Several times Jason turned around and told her to hush and she tried but failed miserably, it seemed if there was going to be a crunchy leaf that she was going to step on it or a brittle twig, she was going to snap it. Finally reaching him she stayed behind the tree and tried to peek around but was pushed back by Jason as he squeezed himself behind the tree with her.
“There are three Knights on the road; they seem to be waiting for something, most likely us. I didn’t see any more but I doubt that is all of them.” Jason whispered to her. He peeked around the corner one more time before turning back towards her. “What do you suggest we do?” Emily was incredulous; he was asking her of all people what to do. He did realize that she had never been in this type of situation in her entire life, didn’t he?
Emily stared at him for a moment in disbelief before shaking her head and doing her best not to laugh. “You’re kidding me right? I have no idea what to do; I just can’t up here to see what was going on. Maybe you should ask pa or something.”
“You know this forest better than the rest of us; if anyone could find a way past them then it would be you.” Jason stole another peeked around the corner, only this time he jerked back as if avoiding something, a moment later whistle was heard as an arrow flew past their tree. “Uhm, I think we should get going. I don’t think I was seen but I don’t want to stick around and find out. So I recommend you find a way around them and quick before they realize that wasn’t an animal they just shot at.”
Emily sat frozen for a second before she shook herself out of her shock. Thinking about the forest and where they were she started to plan a route that would take them right past the knights and still get them north. “We go back to the stream; it’s the only way to get past them without them seeing us or being followed. I doubt they even know how to swim, so it might be the only way for us to go. “
“Is there a place we can take the wagon across?”
“I hope so.” Another arrow buzzed past a tree farther up the road. Jason nodded to Emily and silently crept towards his horse. Emily did her best to follow without making a sound and much to her surprise she did rather well. Once she got back to pa she explained the situation and he made preparations to turn the wagon around. Jason coaxed his horse over to them and motioned them follow back towards the stream.
They didn’t get far before they realized the wagon was too loud to take any farther. Stopping the wagon, pa unhooked the mules and started loading bags onto both of them. “The wagon is too heavy and to old, we can’t take it any farther. Unfortunately if they search this area they will find it and know we saw them. Grab your bags and load them onto the horses. Don’t mount up; it will be easier if we guide them through. Em what’s the best way through the area?” Pa whispered as they huddled around the wagon, luckily they were closer to the clearing than the road so they wouldn’t have much farther to go.
“We can follow the stream until we hit the rocks then we will have to head west to make it back to the road. Do you think they will continue to follow us?”
“Without a doubt dear. They have been trying to find us for over a decade now and they won’t stop. They don’t seem to be very smart, but they do have an advantage, they don’t have to sleep or eat. So we will have to keep moving and rest as little as possible. Also they must know we are still in the area or they would have continued following the road. The only advantage we have are the horses. But that’s also a disadvantage since they also need to rest and eat.” Mama said. It looked like she didn’t want to count herself as an advantage.
All in agreement they went about transferring bags to the horses and the mules. Jason took point while mama and Emily came in behind and pa stayed behind to cover their trail as best as possible. As quietly as they could they retraced their steps back to the clearing, once there they followed the stream north parallel to the road. For over an hour they continued in silence. Every now and then mama would check the sky. To Emily it looked the same as when they left the clearing but with every glance mama moved just a little bit faster as if she was trying to outrun the impending storm.
The hours started to pass more slowly the farther they walked and soon the silence began to get to Emily. Usually she was ok with silence but the energy in the air was starting to grate on her nerves. Just when she was about to say something Jason signaled for a stop up ahead.
Jason looped the reins to his horse around a limb and waved them over. “I think the rocks that you talked about are up ahead any ideas of how we should proceed? We are unaware of the knight’s location so we need to plan accordingly.” Emily stared at him for a moment before she spoke.
“You were in the army right?” Jason only nodded. “Well I can tell. Anyways, the rocks are too steep for the horses so we can either follow them until they run into the road or we can cut through the forest here and head straight for the road now.” Emily pointed as she spoke either direction.
“When did you have so much time to go exploring this part of the forest?” Mama asked from her left.
“You remember when you and pa took that trip a couple months back and you left farmer Lou’s daughter to watch after me? Well she figured I was old enough to take care of things myself so she kind of snuck off with the baker’s son who told his father that he was going to try and court the tailor’s daughter over in Westbridge. So while all that was happening I went exploring. I didn’t go any farther than the rocks though so I’m not sure what’s on the other side.”
Mama and pa shared a look before pa burst out laughing. “Oh Mari you hear that, Mark courting one of old Marcus’s daughters, that’s a side splitter. It’s even funnier because all three of them are already engaged.” Pa continued to laugh as mama just smirked at him with her arms cross. “What?” He asked when he realized he was the only one laughing
“Lorri just broke it off with Andrew, Veronika caught Stephen cheating, and Christopher lost all his money gambling. You need to catch up on your gossip.” Mama grabbed the reins to her horse and followed the stream to the rocks leaving behind a very stunned Emily, an amused Jason, and a very confused pa.
“Wait a second…” Hollered pa as he pulled on the reins to all three of the animals he had in town and went after mama.
“Well I guess we are following the rocks. I’ll walk with you if you would like.” Jason said as he turned and motioned for Emily to continue on.
“Thanks.” She said as they followed her parents. Even at a distance they could hear the confusion in pa’s voice as they discussed the local gossip.
“The things that happen in a small town.” Jason commented as they walked side by side. “Nothing ever goes unnoticed does it?”
“Unfortunately no. Can’t take a piss in a pot these days without someone telling a story about how it sounds. It’s a good thing we are leaving, because the story about the knights attacking yesterday is going to spread like a wildfire.”
“That bad, huh?”
“Yeah, I’ve wanted to leave for a while now so I guess it’s a good thing. But I am going to miss here. Since it is my home after all and I’ll admit the gossip can get pretty funny even when it is true.”
“Is it ever not true?” Jason asked with a smile.
“Honestly not very often. Usually the rumors that spread around here are the true ones. It’s the ones that are spread by jealous kids that are usually false. For instance after mama and pa got back; one of the rumors that were going around was about how the baker’s daughter, Mark’s sister, was being courted by this rich guy from a few towns over. No one had ever seen him or even knew who he was. Even her parents said they had no idea who this person was their daughter was always talking about. Turns out she was just trying to make old man Hinkle’s son jealous. And apparently it worked cause not even a month later they were seen up at Jinxie’s dancing and drinking.”
Jason listened as Emily told another story about the local people and how easily a rumor got started around there. For some reason he just couldn’t help but listen as she continued to talk.
Once they made it to the end of the stream and the rocks veered off to the north-west Emily stopped talking. Looking around she noticed that it was really quiet. “You hear that?” She asked.
“Hear what?” Jason looked around too and got his daggers ready.
“That’s my point. It’s really quiet. Also where are mama and pa? We should be able to see them from here.” Jason walked off the path and once again looped the reins over a branch. Following Jason’s lead Emily did the same. Motioning for Emily to be quiet he headed off into the forest straight towards the road. This time Emily decided to stay put.
After walking all day, standing still in a deathly quiet forest was pretty hard to do. So Emily did the only other thing she could see to do. Looking for a decent spot to climb Emily made her way to the rocks and climbed up the side. At first the ascent was slow but as she went farther up it got easier and faster. Finding a ledge a good eighty feet up Emily maneuvered herself around the rock face to more easily access it. She pulled herself up just high enough to look over it, seeing that it was clear and wide enough for her to sit on, she managed to pull herself up onto it and sit down.
The view from her spot was magnificent. She could see for miles around, and it was gorgeous. In some places she could see where the lack of proper sun was taking its toll on nature and in others it seemed to flourish instead. After looking as far as she could see and taking in the sight to hold forever she figured it was time to scan the forest and see if she could see anyone at all. Her hopes were that at this height she would be able to see Jason and possibly her parents. She even wanted to see if there were any knights in the area. Then she realized if there were then they could probably see her as well, if they actually saw that is, she wasn’t so sure about that to begin with.
Looking down to where she started, she realized how high she was and thanked her lucky stars that she was sitting down, for if she was standing then she most likely would have fallen to her death. Taking a deep breath and steadying herself she scanned the area she saw Jason disappear to. Seeing nothing she kept scanning until she got to the road, being able to see only half of the road due to the trees being in the way, she hoped that if anyone was actually on the road they would be either in the middle or stay on the other side.
Emily followed the road as far south as she could see and only seeing a few travelers began looking to the north. Not far to the north she saw the rock cliff and how the road went through it. Just past where the rock cliff and the road crossed paths she saw a few black clad figures, she watched them for a moment and realized they were knights. Remembering she was supposed to be looking for Jason and her parents she began to search the forest again.
In the middle of the forest between the rock cliff and the road she saw two horses and two mules, praying they were theirs she kept looking in that area until she saw a glint of light just off the to the side of the horses. Focusing the best she could, she studied that area until she saw it again. Then she realized what she was seeing was actually a sword and pa was holding it. He had seen her and was waving to get her attention. Thinking better of jumping up and waving she lifted her arm as if to stretch and then dropped it quickly so he would understand.
Figuring she needed to get to her parents she attempted to turn around and work her way back onto the cliff face, which turned out to be much harder than she thought. After a couple of close calls she finally got her footing and started to work her way down. Halfway down she thought she heard an owl, which was strange for this time of the day, owls usually only came out at night. Pausing in her descent she listened to see if she would hear it again. A couple of seconds later she heard it again. Trying her best to not fall she looked down and saw Jason just inside the tree line waving at her.
Rolling her eyes since she couldn’t exactly wave back she continued to climb down. By this point her legs were burning, she was definitely not used to this kind of activity. As she got closer to the bottom her legs started to give out. Twenty feet or so from the bottom her left foot slipped, hanging with both hands and trying to support her tiring body with one leg she tried to pull herself back up. Below her she heard the sound of an owl again, this time she risked looking to the ground. Standing just below her with arms spread out in front of him, Jason stood ready just in case she fell.
“Will you catch me?” Emily called down to him. She prayed no one was in the area; the last thing she wanted was the knights finding her when she was clinging to a wall of rock.
“All you have to do is let go, it’s not a long drop just a couple feet. I’ll catch you I promise.”
Taking a deep breath Emily tried to allow herself to just fall, but she just couldn’t do it. She had no way of actually knowing that he would catch her, yeah her parents trusted him but she had only known him two days and every time he was near accidents seemed to happen with her. Looking back down she held her breath, closed her eyes, and let go.
She didn’t particularly like falling, and she definitely did not like the jarring sensation when she collided with Jason and they both went down in a heap, but at least she didn’t get hurt. Like he said he did catch her. Laying there for a second she attempted to catch her breath, a couple deep breaths later she rolled over and checked to make sure that Jason was alright as well. She had landed right on top of him, but now that she was looking she noticed that he wasn’t moving. Starting to panic she grabbed his shoulder and shook him to try and wake him up, all the while hoping she didn’t accidently kill him.
“It’s a good thing your small, otherwise that would have really hurt.” Jason hadn’t moved yet but he did open one eye to peek at her, he smiled knowing he scared her and found it very funny that she was getting all worked up.
“You’re a jerk, I thought I hurt you.” Emily punched him in the shoulder and got up. It was just like a man to do that, she thought.
“Nah, I don’t think you could hurt a fly if you landed on it while wearing a suit of armor.” Laughing he sat up and rubbed the back of his head. “But I will say this; I’m going to have a nasty bump on the back of my head. You could have warned me at least, something along the lines of ‘I’m letting go, get ready’ or maybe even ‘look out below’.” Jason continued to laugh even though Emily was staring daggers into him.
“Yeah I was right you are a jerk.” Crossing her arms she stomped off towards the forest.
“Well are you going to tell me what you saw up there on the little perch you found?”
“I could or you could be quiet so the Knights on the road at the end of the rock cliff don’t hear you. Plus I have to find mama and pa. I saw them over in this direction. Pa had his sword out so I hope they didn’t get into any trouble. Speaking of, what did you find while I was climbing some rocks?” Emily continued walking in the direction she had seen her parents, Jason had to run to catch up when she walked off. Laying his hand on her arm he turned her towards him and put a finger over his lips.
“I didn’t find anything. I didn’t even see your parents. I looked this way and I found the horses and miles but your parents weren’t anywhere. I did find a sword lying next to one of the horses though. I don’t know what you saw but I don’t think it was Gerald.” Jason whispered to Emily. He continuously watched the forest for any signs of anything, but there was nothing not even an animal. It was almost as if the local animals knew something was wrong.
Just then they heard a scream. It was a scream of pure rage, a scream filled with so much pain. Emily and Jason looked at each other before they both took off at a run towards the road. Neither of them paid much attention to where they were going or how much noise they were making. As they neared the road Jason picked up speed so he could reach the road before Emily did. Just at the edge of the tree line Jason stopped and stood frozen, Emily barely had time to stop before she barreled right into him. Emily went around Jason to get a look at what it was he saw and she too froze. Before she could even react Jason grabbed her and attempted to drag her back into the forest.
In the middle of the road a body laid, blood covered its clothing and the ground beneath it. Lying next to it was a very grey haired head with blood dripping down the sides of the face. The only other occupant in the road was a screaming woman. Once Emily got a good look at whom it was in the middle of the road she too started screaming. Mama lay draped over pa’s body screaming and crying. Jason didn’t know what to do but to keep Emily safe. She had said there were knights on the road and the last thing he wanted was to lose her to them as well. He made a promise to protect her no matter the cost and he would carry it out, even the man he now considered his father was lying dead in the road.
“Pa!” She screamed while thrashing in his arms. Mama still lay over her dead husband’s body. “Let me go! Pa, please no.” Emily screamed on more time so loud Jason almost let her go just so he could cover his ears; gritting his teeth he did his best to hold her so she wouldn’t hurt herself or run out there and get herself killed. Pulling her farther into the forest Emily kicked and screamed all the while cursing Jason and ever empty devil that walked the earth.
“You have to calm down; please you have to calm down. Its ok, everything will be alright. Emily you have to be quiet please. Shhh Emily. Breathe calm down.” Jason whispered in her ear over and over again. He hated that he had to leave Mari in the middle of the road, but one screaming and ranting woman was almost more than he could handle let alone two.
When he got her far enough into the tree line where she couldn’t see pa’s body anymore he sat her down in front of a tree. As soon as she touched the ground she crumpled and bawled. Feeling very inadequate Jason stood there watching not knowing what to do. He never before had to take care of a crying woman, and he was beginning to hate it. Squatting down in front of her he took her by the shoulders and attempted to get her to look at him. The moment she saw his face she latched on and cried into his shoulder. Almost falling over again he braced himself, for the second time in less than a minute he was unsure what to do.
Allowing himself to fall back onto his behind, he pulled her into his lap and wrapped his arms around her, hoping that it would offer some comfort. Not far off the screams of an angry woman could be heard. Jason prayed that the knights wouldn’t kill her too. Other than Andrea she was the only thing he had left. Realizing what he had to do, he pried Emily’s arms from around his neck, by now his shirt was thoroughly soaked from her tears. Jason took her face into his hands and looked her in the eyes. Such beautiful green eyes that should never have to see something like that again, eyes of a woman who should not know the pain she now felt. Wishing he could change what she had just seen, he wiped the tears from her face and set her on the ground.
“You stay right here, I’m going to go get Mari, and I won’t let anything happen to her I promise. I’ll fix this, I can’t bring him back but I can keep this from happening to Mari as well.” Emily stared at him for a moment before giving him a small nod. Pulling a dagger from his boot he handed it to her. “If anything or anyone besides me or Mari comes near you, kill it. Ok?” Emily took the dagger and stared at it a moment before looking at him and nodding again. Jason stood and started to jog back towards the road when Emily’s voice stopped him.
“I’ll kill him; I’ll repay him for what he has done to me and my family. King Kinkaid will know pain like he has never known before.” Emily lowered her head and started crying all over again. Jason stood staring at her for a moment before turning on his toe and running back towards Mari.
When he got back to the road he felt like he had missed a lot in the couple minutes he had just spent in the forest. Empty suits of armor were scattered all across the road, almost a dozen or so still stood while another dozen lay upon the ground. In the middle of all the chaos stood Mari still screaming. Flames rushed around her as lighting struck the ground randomly, sometimes even hitting one of the Knights. He knew that she was one of the only people who could kill a knight, so he could only assume that she was working some kind of spell. Every time a knight got close to her he would drop to the ground like a bag of stones. He wanted nothing more than to grab her and take her away from this place. Too much had happened in the two days that he had been back and a part of him felt responsible for the outcome.
Pulling his daggers he rushed toward the nearest Knight and used his own magickal blade to tear through its armor. A hollow scream rent the air as he rode the knight to the ground and jumped back to his feet to attack the next one. Fire blazed, lighting struck and metal screeched as one by one the knights fell to the ground. As Jason took down the last knight a final scream was heard from Mari as she collapsed on top of Gerald’s body once more.
Hoping that was the last of the knights, Jason rushed over to Mari and did his best to pull her from the ground. His efforts were futile though since Mari would not let go of her dead husband. “Mari, we have to go. There might be more Knights nearby.” Mari only shook her head and held onto Gerald’s body for dear life. “Please Mari, Emily needs you.” At the mention of Emily’s name Mari looked up at Jason. Her eyes were filled with pain and sadness. He knew the feeling of losing a family member but he had yet to experience the loss of someone he loved like the way Mari loved Gerald. Sitting down in front of her he placed his hand on her shoulder and did his best not to cry as well. “I promised you both that I would take care of your daughter, now I have made a promise to your daughter that I would bring you back. We will bury Gerald but then we have to leave. I can’t lose you as well.”
Mari lowered her head and closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath she summoned the last of her strength to let go of his body and stand up. When she looked into Jason’s eyes once more there was something different there, something more than pain, it was the same look he had seen in Emily’s eyes just minutes ago. “She has to make it to the oracle then we will take care of the rest of them.” Walking off into the forest she left Jason standing there with the body of the man he had considered family for a decade and a half. Silently he vowed that he would not lose any more people he loved.
What an odd sight he was, one man surrounded by the empty armor of almost two dozen knights of Glore with a headless body at his feet. Figuring it would be in his best interest not to be found standing in the middle of them all he decided to move them all off the road and into the forest. Hopefully no one would see them and if they did then he prayed they were long gone before that happened.
Meanwhile back in the forest Emily sat in front of a giant oak tree clutching the dagger Jason had left her. Of all the things she had to protect herself the dagger was the only thing she held. Back on her horse she had a bow and arrows; pa had been teaching her to shoot but she wasn’t very good at it yet. Plus she didn’t have the strength or will to move. It had been a couple of minutes since Jason walked off and still she had not budged or even lifted her head. She didn’t care, pa was gone and that was all that mattered at that moment. Oh how she wanted to say goodbye or even tell him she loved him, but now she would never get the chance. Vaguely she heard footsteps but they didn’t register in her mind.
Tears continued to stream down her face as the picture of pa’s body replayed itself over and over again in her head. Wishing more than anything that this was all just a bad dream she squeezed the dagger harder and let the tears fall down her face. Feeling something touch her, she whipped her head up as she struck out with the dagger. Those bastards would pay for hurting her pa. Awareness kicked in a moment later when the dagger hit nothing but air. Wiping her eyes she looked around for the first time since Jason carried her away from the road. Tears poured from her eyes anew when she saw mamas face. Dropping the dagger she leapt into her arms and buried her face into mama’s shoulder. She didn’t care where they were, pa was dead and mama was alive.
Mama wrapped her arms around Emily and squeezed as tight as she could. They were all each other had left and they were never letting go of each other. At that moment Emily wished she had even a fraction of the power mama had for if she did she would rip the world apart looking for the one responsible.
Mama squeezed one more time before leaning back and taking Emily’s face in her hands. “My little girl.” She said. “You are my whole world, and now you are all I have left. I want to bury Gerald, he deserves to be buried. I can’t leave him in the middle of the road for an animal it’s just not right. Will you help me?” Mama’s eyes pleaded with her to say yes and to help her. Emily could only nod as she held onto her mama. With strength she did not know she had, Emily let go of mama and stood up. Reaching a hand out, she helped mama to her feet. She swayed for a second before she was able to steady herself. “I’m ok dear, just tired.” She said when Emily looked at her uncertainly. Holding each other they walked back towards the road. When they got there they were surprised to see the road empty except for pa’s body and Jason sitting beside it.
Jason looked up as they approached with sadness written across his face. Standing up he took mama in his arms and they both held each other as they cried. Standing beside his body Emily knelt down and placed her hand on his chest. Sadness over came her and she dropped down and cried again. Trying to pull herself together she forced herself to back away from pa. For the first time in her life she felt true pain, true anger, and the taste of revenge was like acid upon her tongue. Getting to her feet she took mama’s hand and stood beside Jason. The stood there together remembering the man they had lost in silence.
After a long moment Jason looked at mama and nodded it head, it was time. Mama took a deep breath and reached her arms out in front of her, focusing she slowly lifted pa’s body off the ground and together they all walked his floating body back into the forest.
Two hours later they stood at the edge of the forest with all four horse and the two mules. It was time for them to get back on the road. Pa was buried and the knights were hidden in the forest, there was nothing left for them here anymore, nor was there anything left for them to do. Mounting up Jason took the lead once again and lead his horse and the mules down the road. Mama and Emily rode side by side behind him thinking of nothing but revenge.
The next morning Emily awoke to the sound of squirrels chattering. Opening her eyes she started at the haze filled sky. Feeling numb she laid there and did not move. The day before still hanging heavy within her mind. No one had spoken since they left the forest and went through the pass in the rock cliff. Mama had taken pa’s death hard and Emily knew it, she just didn’t know what to say to her so they had rode out the rest of the day in silence. Jason had chosen to stay ahead just in case they ran into anymore Knights and he too was mostly silent except for a few words here and there.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw smoke drifting up. Turning her head she found Jason sitting next to a fire with a chicken roasting over it. How he managed to find a chicken she would never understand. Taking a deep breath she sat up. The only thing that went through her mind was of coffee which was a change from the emptiness she felt everywhere. Overcome with shock she could barely think of anything at all, so even the thought of coffee was an improvement or at least she hoped.
Standing up she stretched and then popped her back. Who knew sleeping on the ground could be so uncomfortable. Finding a somewhat flat and steady rock she took a seat by the fire across from Jason. Leaning over she placed her hands and chin on her knees and stared into the fire. Getting lost in the dance of the flames she barely noticed when Jason sat a cup of coffee in front of her. She only lifted her head when mama sat down on a rock beside her. Straightening up she leaned over and put her head on mamas shoulder. Mama wrapped her arm around Emily and rested her head on top of Emily’s.
Remembering her coffee she took a sip and waited for the heat to fill her. Finally finding the courage to speak she looked over at Jason. “What do we do now?” Jason paused and looked over at the two women. Up until that point he seemed very interested in turning the spit the chicken was on.
“We keep going I suppose.” He said returning to the cooking chicken. Mama looked down at Emily and gave her a sad smile.
“We can’t stop now; if we do then Gerald would have died for nothing. He would want us to make it to the oracle.” Emily only nodded and took another sip of her coffee. Another moment of silence followed until Jason took the chicken off the fire declaring it was done. They all sat around the fire eating their chicken and drinking their coffee in silence. Once everyone was done they went about breaking camp. No one was sure what to do with pa’s horse so instead of making either woman take it Jason kept it with the mules.
Before they left the spot along the road Jason turned to Mari, “There’s a town just north of here that’s only about half a day’s ride. We can either stop and pick up supplies or we can keep going it’s up to you. But if I recall correctly it’s the last one before we make it into the city.” Mama looked over at Emily who only shrugged her shoulders. Sighing mama nodded.
“We will stop. Maybe the activity of the town will help clear out minds, plus a nice glass of wine and a bath would be a welcome distraction. What do you say Emily?” Emily thought about it for a moment before nodding.
“Yes mama, a bath would be most welcome. I would also like to see if I can do a little bit of shopping. I need new boots.” Lifting up her foot she showed mama the hole that was developing on the bottom of her shoe.
“New boots!? I just bought you those. What do you do that would cause a hole in the bottom like that? You’re a lady not a child you shouldn’t be running around in pants and boots anyways.” Mama huffed, climbing onto her horse. Grabbing her reins she pulled her horse next to Jason and reached her hand out. He looked at her confused for a moment before she pointed to Pa’s horse. Reluctantly he handed over the reins before mounting his horse as well. “And another thing, you need to learn to be lady like. Running around playing with fish and animals in the woods is not lady like at all. When we get to town I’m buying you another dress…” mama continued for what felt like another hour; going on and on about woman wearing slippers and dresses and learning to cook, not fight. Emily did her best to drown her out with her own thoughts but at the moment those thoughts were fleeting. No matter what popped in her head and no matter how hard she tried to lock onto it she just couldn’t keep it.
By midday the town of Dulak could be seen through the trees. It was a small town with no wall besides tree stumps carved into spikes to ward off the random animal or troll, in these parts one could not be too careful. Guards could be seen patrolling the outer ring of spikes; it appeared the town was on edge. Small wooden buildings lined the outside of the town while the outskirt farms got little to no protection from the town. As they got closer Jason began to tell Emily about the city. He didn’t see the need to tell Mari since she had already known about it. In fact she had been there many times when Emily was still a very young girl.
“The spikes are there to help ward off the random troll. Usually they stick together in packs or tribes as they like to call it but sometimes they go rogue and do as they please. As far as we known they don’t usually attack people but instead go after their animals, so we have to be careful while we are out here.”
“What about the farmers and the people that don’t live inside the city?” Emily asked spotting a farm a ways off from the city.
“The local militia patrol around the farms and along the edge of the forest. But they can’t always protect them from troll or animal attacks. Living this close to troll territory people have to learn to protect themselves. You see that man over there with the sheep and two dogs?”
“Yeah, what’s he doing?”
“Well, he’s making sure no wild wolves get his sheep. And those aren’t actually dogs, if you look close enough you can tell they are actually wolves, or well part wolf. Some of the farmers breed their dogs with wolves to help protect the farm. They are usually really loyal and do really well at it, but sometimes they decide to take a sheep or a cow for themselves.”
“Why doesn’t the farmer just give the wolf a sheep every once in a while so they don’t do that?”
“Sometimes they do but then it gets the taste of the sheep and well the only way to stop it from killing more sheep is to kill it. And if they kill them who will protect the sheep?”
“Ok, I understand. That sounds like it’s just a pain in the first place.”
“Yeah but what are you going to do? Some of these people have been farmers or sheep herders their entire lives and it’s all they know. We are almost to town, it would be best if we didn’t mention to anyone anything about the knights, they might see us as a threat and make us leave.” Both Emily and mama nodded, falling silent as they rode.
As they approached town Emily was able to see more of it, the small buildings she saw lining the inside of the spikes looked like houses to her. Small plumes of smoke drifted from their chimneys. Even from the distance they were at she could hear the voices of the people who lived, traveled through, or just came to town to pick up supplies, talking within its spiked walls. It was the first time she had traveled this far, and the first time she had seen a town besides the one just south of their home. The home she would never see again, the home she grew up and learned to hunt and fish from her pa, the home that she last told pa that she loved him. Shaking off the memories she did her best to focus on the town and the guards standing at the break in the spikes.
“When we get to the guards, don’t say anything, let me do all the talking.” Mama spoke up from the other side of Emily. “If anyone asks, Gerald got killed by bandits a two day ride south of here.” Both Emily and Jason fell silent as they nodded their heads in agreement. Approaching the town, the guards came out to stand in the middle of the road.
“Halt, state your business.” A tall scrawny man said. He worn farmer’s clothing and had the build of a man that worked on one as well.
“We are just passing through and were hoping to stop at your local inn for the night and catch our breath before hitting the road again.”
“How long do you plan to stay?” The man on the right said, he was almost the exact opposite of the tall scrawny man, except for the clothes and dark dirty brown hair. Emily assumed the man on the right was the tall ones father since he was older and did look a bit like him.
“Just the night; we were just hoping for a nice hot bath and maybe a warm meal as well. We have been on the road for what seems like ages and my daughter is starting to feel ill from lack of sleep.” Emily glanced at mama from the corner of her eye and fought the urge to roll her eyes. Beside her she could hear Jason snickering.
Playing along Emily yawned and rubbed her eyes in hopes to make them just red enough to convince the men that mama was telling the truth.
“We just have one more thing to ask you before you can enter.” The short older one said.
“Ask away my good sir.” Mama said bowing her head.
“Have you seen or heard anything strange on your travels here?” Mama closed her eyes and bowed her head before she answered. Emily knew exactly what mama was going to do, and if it worked then the men would surely let them in.
“The only strange thing that has happened to us was two days ago. You see my husband, god rest his soul, was protecting us from some bandits. He and my son,” she said pointing to Jason, “fought to protect our lives and our things, but my poor husband didn’t make it.” Bursting out into tears once again mama sold the act, or in this case the false act if there was such thing, and secured their way into the town.
“Oh you poor woman, please let’s get you and your family into town. We can’t have poor souls like you standing out here almost begging a troll to attack.” The older man said stepping aside and ushering them through the spikes. Mama rode past the two men in front of Emily while Jason stayed in the back. Knowing that mama wasn’t completely faking her tears Emily pulled her horse next to hers as soon as she had the chance.
“Mama, are you ok?” She asked placing a hand on mama’s arm. Mama looked over and Emily and did her best to smile through the tears that streamed down her face. Nodding she took a deep breath straightened up and wiped the tears from her cheeks.
“I will be my dear, I will be. Now, Jason can you go find a place for the horses and Mules? I doubt that the local inn will have the room for all of them. Emily and I are going to see if we can find the local inn.”
“Yes ma’am. And the inn is down that road on the right.” Jumping down from their horses Emily and mama handed their reins over to Jason before turning towards the street he indicated. “I’ll meet you there when I get the horses taken care of. Also it should be called the Stuffed Pig, or at least it was the last time I was in town.”
“Ok be careful dear.” Tipping his head, Jason led the horses and mules away. Mama linked her arm with Emily’s and guided her down the road. “It has been so many years since I have been here. You were just a small child the last time we came through. Back then they weren’t worried about the trolls or animals attacking, back then they were worried about the Knights. It seems they have been left alone in the passing years.”
Mama pointed out the buildings she recognized as they passed them and the ones that were built since the last time she passed through they took the time to stop and guess as to what they were. Some had signs while others held no indication as to what their insides held. Towards the end of the road stood a three story building, almost as wide as two houses sitting next to each other. Stopping in front of it mama looked up at the sign and read it out loud. “I do believe the inn has been taken over by someone else since the last time Jason was here.” Beside her Emily giggled as she too read the sign. “The slippery Nipple. I’m beginning to wonder if this is an inn at all.
“Maybe we should look farther down the road. Or maybe Jason was mistaken by which road it was on.” Emily suggested as they stood just outside the building. Behind them a laugh burst out causing both Emily and mama to spin around. Seeing Jason standing there they relaxed.
“That damn old man. I should have known he was telling the truth. Aye this is the inn. And eyesore if I ever saw one.” Jason laughed as he walked towards the door. The two women stood staring at him like he was crazy. When he realized they were not following her he turned around, “Well aren’t you coming?”
“This is the inn you want to take me and my daughter too?” Mama asked incredulously.“Yeah? Oh the name, don’t worry about the old bat that owns the place lost a bet and had to change the name. I promise it’s still an inn and there won’t be any naked women hanging on any of the chairs… well unless they are already drunk that is.” He laughed once more and waited while Emily and mama shared a look before following him through the door.