Aragentha Part End of Chapter Two

            Truth be told, it wasn’t my life I was worried about.  I figured if he was willing to help me to find my sister then I couldn’t say no.  At least that was the way I started out feeling.

            By the end of the week I was hot, tired, and plenty bruised.  As it turned out Derek taught me magic only after our evening meal.  During the day Lady Katharine and Luke took turns trying to teach me how to fight.  Luke seemed to think I should have been born with a sword in my hand, and L. K. took a sick sort of pleasure in kicking my butt. 

            I sat at the dinner table looking at the plate of cooked meat and vegetables as I rubbed my leg.  I was beyond even Derek’s help to ease the pain.  He said my wound was one to the bone and even magic could only do so much. 

            “Tomorrow Luke will take you to the village to buy supplies and to be fitted for a proper sword.”  Derek held up his goblet as he spoke, “Time is catching up to us and now you must meet your people, Lady Bailey.”

            Okay, I didn’t like that idea very much.  Oh the getting off the island and having a relaxing day away from training sounded good.  It was the meeting my people part which bothered me. 

            I looked down the road to the first building of the village Derek spoke of.  I could see the town was little more than huts, and shacks built around a center market.  Most of the building looked to be about the size of a one room apartment back home or smaller.  History served me well as I realized they probably housed families of more than five in them.  Farms and herders lived to the outside while those who owned businesses lived inside the town.

            I tried to ignore the strange looks people kept giving me as I walked by.  One woman looked at my jean clad legs and seemed offended by them.  A man tossed water at my feet as if he were trying to ruin the blue tennis shoes I wore.  Before long a crowd of young kids had gathered around me.  One tugged at the black long sleeved t-shirt I wore while a girl kept asking why my short pale blond hair had blue tips.  Luke had to pull me free of them before they could tare my clothes.

            “I know I look strange, but was that necessary?”

            Luke pointed to a young woman my age.  “See there, she is dresses as a young woman should be.”

            The woman wore a dress of brown that reached the ground.  Her neck peaked through a very tiny v shaped opening at the neckline.  Although the top and long sleeves were fitted they hid nearly all her form.  Her long hair was pulled into twin braids to her waist.  She looked hot and uncomfortable.

            “Oh, I see.”  I clasped my arms behind by back as we headed for a shop.  “If they think they’ll force me to ware something like that they are wrong.”

            He sighed.  “Is your sister as obstinate as you are?”

            I laughed as I pictured my twin.  We were the same height and build, and had the same face, but that was where the twin thing ended.  Rosie kept her hair long and dye free.  She enjoyed wearing dresses and fitting in.  If she were here she would have went straight to the nearest dress shop to buy new clothes. 

            The man behind the counter took one look at me and instantly dismissed me.  I just rocked back and forth as Luke explained it was I he would be fitting for a sword.  I figured the man’s reaction would be worth it.  He didn’t disappoint.

            “I will not!”  He pointed a finger at me.  “She be confused enough about the proper role for a lady.  Thinks she’s a boy, she does.”

            Luke pinched the bridge of his nose.  “Harker, this is Lady Bailey of White Tower.”

            “White Tower!”  He looked me over before bowing to me.  “Beggin’ your pardon, my Queen.  I will fit you for a sword as quick as a wink, I will.”

            I looked at Luke to find he was rubbing his temples.  “Now, why did you have to go and do that, Luke?  I was enjoying the show.”

            It took the Sword Smith considerably longer to measure me for a sword than a wink.  At first he seemed excited about outfitting a queen.  Then he had to measure my waist and leg length and he got flustered.  I wanted to laugh as he tried to avoid touching me as he worked.  Eventually he grew flustered enough to ignore his rules of proper conduct to just get it over with.

            Luke had to tell the seamstress and the leather worker the same thing before they would consent to work on what I needed.  The seamstress complained the whole time that I was ruining my reputation wearing such revealing clothes.  She fitted me for several tunics, shirts, and leggings before she was done.  To make her happy I asked for a dress, but made sure it was above the knee short.  The leather worked didn’t like the idea of making a vest, boots, slippers, and belts for me, but at least he didn’t complain.

            “Luke, I am sorry.”

            “For what?”

            I looked around as we left the village.  Everyone’s attitude toward me had changed.  Now the women seemed fascinated rather than offended by what I wore.  The man who’d tossed water at my feet seemed awed as he laid a board over a puddle for me. 

            “I know this had to be trying.  Everyone instantly seen a girl trying to ruin the way people believed.  You had to use a title in order to defend me.”  I smiled at a farmer who bowed as I passed.  “It can’t be easy to do with someone who doesn’t want it, any of it.”

            Luke pulled me into some bushes off the side of the road.  At first I didn’t have any idea what he was thinking.  Then a rider in gray road by. 

            “A Grayman.  They work for the Black Mountain King.  They are the ones who want you dead.”  Luke whispered in my ear.

As he neared our hiding spot he lifted a small animal from his saddlebag.  He watched as it sniffed the air before turning toward us.  The Grayman turned his horse as he tucked the creature into the bag again.  I don’t know why but the man didn’t frighten me as he should have.  I was feeling to sorry for the animal to care about him.

“Move!”  Luke pushed me further into the trees as the man came after us.  “Stay low, my Queen.”

I looked over my shoulder as Luke shoved me beneath the roots of a tree.  The rider tosses something into the air as Luke stood frozen there.


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