Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the sixth chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound
Turning and leaving the tent Bella noticed that Stanley was standing at the edge of the road. She walked up next to him and touched his shoulder slightly. Knowing somehow that things weighed heavy on his mind and heart. Such a task for such a young man. But for some reason she felt he was capable.
“Ahh Avatar. You startled me. I have been reading through Edvard’s book. Tis a wonder that man survived at all. He is a strange one for certain…Now as to you. I think food and rest are instore for you. And I will see about getting you fitted for your journey. Not too fancy mind you. We have not much to offer here. There are merchants in and about town though that are fairly reasonable for their wares.”
“Captain. What of these swords. What should I do with them. And I have this note as well from one of the fallen guards.” She showed the swords to him and the note. Her shook his head and swore under his breath. Apparently, he knew who the sword belonged to. And told her to look for Emily. Either in the camp or the Inn. She would have to break the news to her alone. He needed to write a dispatch for Commander Cugel and find a courier. As for the note she held it would have to be delivered to Celestis. The woman, Zorabeth resides there. Walking away he headed towards the town. Bella followed a few steps behind him.
The path into Soltown was a solemn walk. Stanley made an even-tempered walk towards the entrance. Knowing what he had to do Bella did not regret that part. Asking for help was not always an easy task for anyone. Especially one who was in charge of so much. She looked about at the homes along the road. Some fancy some plain. And many had their hawkers out selling wares to would be travelers. Having only a few coin in her pocket she though best to just hold on to it for now. She would assess what Captain Stanley finds for her and go from there. As she approached the gateway into town she noticed a man waving to her. She walked up and introduced herself.
“Hello good sir. Might you tell me where the inn and tavern are?”
“Aye Outlander. Tis up the road to the left. Nice little place for some rest. Not fancy mind you but it’s better than nothing. I am Merrick the town crier. I can tell you just about anything to do with this town.”
Frowning at the man she just did not understand why everyone kept calling her Outlander. It was beginning to get a bit annoying actually. And she had only been of this world for two days. Maybe it was obvious she was not from here. Looking down at her attire that very well might be the case.
“Thank you for now. Just need the inn for now. I am in need of a bath, food and sleep. Neither which comes first matters to me right now.”
The man looked her up and down and smiled. “Indeed, M’lady. No offense but you look a bit worse for wear. I have seen a lot lately though with all the attacks and such. Dismal times it is. Poor folk from Solace Bridge finding their way here after the attack. I heár tell Blood River and Highvale are in the same situation. Mad times for sure.”
Looking at the man she could see fear and sadness in his eyes. Something terrible indeed has been happening here. Shaking her head, she smiled at him weakly and turned towards the inn. A few people walked about aimlessly. Guards walked about with that lordly manner like they were better than the rest. She thought to herself the faster she got out of here the better. Her temperament would not last long with the likes of some of these people.
In front of the inn sat the hooded woman. Arabella. What was she doing here? How did she get here so fast? Shrugging Bella walked up to her. “Hail Mistress Arabella. Tis good to see you again.”
Arabella looked up. Sadness in her eyes as well. Bella thought to herself that she would never get used to that look. But just as quickly a sparkle appeared in Arabella’s eyes.
“Ahhh Avatar. Tis good to see you made it. I feared you might not make your way through Solace Bridge. I hear that it is forsaken and lost for sure.”
Confused by that comment she just smiled softly at the lady. “Aye. It was a bit more than I had expected. Master Edvard was helpful though. I did rescue a small child from there but brought back troubling news to Captain Stanley. He is sending a courier off to get aid.”
“Ahh. Good, good. That is good news. Perhaps Ardoris will come to aide these poor folk. I know the garrison at Solace Bridge outskirts is trying its best to fend off the undead and cultists. Many of the people have gone there before coming here. I am not sure how goes their fight. Perhaps you can go and see if you can help.”
Sighing deeply, she nodded. “I would like to find some food and a short rest if possible. A lot has come about in such a short amount of time. And I need to outfit myself better as well”
Arabella looked her up and down. “Yes. Yes, you look like you could use a meal and bed. Go into the inn and tell Richard that your meal and bed are on me. I will scour around town and see what I can get for you.”
Nodding her head, she turned and walked up the rickety stairs into the inn. The air was stale and reeked of moldy bread and old ale. The floors were littered with leaves and dirt. As hard as the barmaid tried to clean it seemed useless.
She walked up to the counter and cleared her throat to get the innkeeper’s attention. Standing with his back to her he continued to clean the mugs with a dirty cloth. Rolling her eyes, she knew how this was going to be. She had been in enough dirty dank taverns to last her a lifetime. Again, she cleared her throat and finally the portly man turned.
“Ahhhh. Welcome welcome! And what can I do for you today? Perhaps an ale or pint of beer?”
Shaking her head, she smiled wryly. Typical. “Nay sir. No spirits for me today. I am in need of a bed and food if you can accommodate me. The Lady Arabella said she would pay the bill for me.”
Looking at her with a curious eye he eventually smiled. “Of course. You must be one of them Outlanders. Come to help defeat all this riffraff across the lands….All I can say is good luck to ya. Tis a bad bit of news indeed about Solace Bridge. Bad for business at first but now its picked up some with all the travelers and you Outlanders.”
Again that word. She just looked at the man and waited. “Emily will get you a bed ready and then bring you some food. Would you be wanting a bowl of water to wash with. She can get you that too.”
Emily. She looked around at the woman sweeping the floor. She now knew where to take the sword. She would wait til she could get her alone to break the news to her. She didn’t need to do this with so many around. “Thank you…..what was your name again?”
“Aye. I be Richard. Proprietor of the Soltown Tavern and Inn. “