Sarn woke in the morning with Sala sleeping next to him. His clothes were cleaned and folded at the foot of the bed. Looking down at her head on his chest he realized how comfortable he had become in just one evening. Stretching he turned toward the still sleeping girl, her head slipping off his chest he cradled her in his arms. He thought how easy it could be to stay in the soft comfortable bed, in her arms, for a week or longer and not miss a thing. He touched her shoulder softly, waking she lifted her face to him kissing his lips. Yes, at least a week right there he thought, smiling to himself.
A minute later a scream from out of the room brought him back to reality and the two lovers came up off their bed. Sala ran naked out of the room, with Sarn close behind, that is after he took the time to put on his pants. Reaching the bottom of stairs they found the blonde girl lying in a pool of blood close to the front door. The blood pooled about her head her throat having been cut from ear to ear. She had been dead for some time. A few hours at the very least she was pale and her limbs were already stiff. Dagger came down the stairs fully dressed, without saying a word he pushed past the growing crowd in the tavern.
“She robbed me,” Dagger said coldly when he reached the bottom of the stairs. “I only did what was right, bury her and buy yourself another girl.”
Dagger handed the tavern owner a small handful of coins and said nothing more of the incident. Calid may not have been very happy about the dead blonde, but he agreed with Dagger, besides it was not the first time she had been accused of stealing. The blonde had stolen many times from his customers as well as from him. She was already costing him some customers and if word were to spread he was running a bad house, his business and his reputation would be ruined.
“It would be best if you were to leave and not return again.” Calid told them both, before turning to Sala. “As for you wench since you seem to be working on your own anyway, you can take her place. That is unless of course you would rather be turned out into the streets as a common whore.”
Salas’ eyes widened as she listened to Calid before turning away in tears and running back upstairs to the room she had just shared with Sarn. She did not want to take the girls place, she was happy working as a cooks helper; she had kept herself too useful as a scullery maid and a cooks helper for too long to let herself be turned into nothing but a common tavern girl that easily. There was no way she was going to let Calid make her take the blondes place. He may have paid for her, but she was a scullery maid and cooks helper and that was all. She had been in the tavern for just over three years and was only a few gold pieces away from being able to buy her own freedom. If Calid made her become a tavern girl she no doubt would be at least two more years away from being free if not more depending on whether or not the men liked her. According to the other girls once you were a tavern girl you could never pay off your ‘debt’ to him, especially if you were well liked.
“Say your farewell quickly,” Dagger told Sarn. “We have things to do before we leave and we have a long journey a head of us and now we must leave today.”
Back in his room Sarn finished dressing quietly, while Sala sat on the floor near the bed crying.
“Please, take me with you.” She pleaded.
“I do not know what to do, or what I can do.”
“Please my love,” she began, “I can care for you and your companion. I can cook, I will treat you well. You know that I can be loving, please, do not make me stay here and become one of…, of them.”
Sarn was not sure what to say or do for that matter. What would Dagger say, would he even let her come along. What could he say to this sweet girl that would help? If he brought her with them there was the chance that Dagger would leave her in the woods or somewhere alone on the road. When he was fully dressed he lifted Sala from the floor and held her close. Holding her still naked body, he took in her smell and the feel her soft skin, not wanting to let go. She continued to plead with him whispering in his ear to help her.
“If I were to give you enough gold would you be able to get yourself away from here,” Sarn asked. Finally realizing what he could do, that would not anger his companion.
Sala smiled over his shoulder and she had a plan as soon as he asked. Hugging him tighter to her she did want that he forget the night they had shared, but then again she was not about to give him time to. He let go of her long enough to reach for his pack. He reached inside for some of the coins that Dagger had given him the night before. He did not count them as he pulled them out of the pouch that they were in. He only knew that it was nearly all that he had, other than those that his father had given him. Sarn handed her the coins before taking her tightly back into his arms. They kissed for what seemed forever, neither of them wanted to let go. When the two finally did let go of each other, Sala dressed quickly and with her gold in hand she took off to her room. Closing the door behind her, she pulled her own coins from their hiding place, counting them over and over. As she worked through each step of her plan she placed the amount of coins aside that she would need. Calid could have three new girls by the evening meal hour with the money that she would give him. She figured she would have enough left over to buy a horse from the stables and enough food to get her away from the village.
“She did not try to rob you, did she,” Sarn asked Dagger as he entered his room.
He was not sure why he asked him the question and was not even sure he wanted to know the answer.
Dagger turned to face Sarn, staring at him with his sightless eyes from under the ever present hood of his cloak.
“You should not question what I do, or think that I do not tell the truth when I speak.” Dagger shook as he spoke, pulling the hood of his cloak even lower over his face.
Sarn backed away from his companion as the stare sent an eerie feeling through him. It was a cold shiver that ran through him then pressed against his chest as if it were meant to crush him. He would never again ask of the blonde or question a word that Dagger would tell him.
However, the truth was, she came into his room just as he was getting in to his bed, Dagger said to himself, as if to keep his conscious clear. He was not paying attention and did not hear her until it was too late. It was then that she tried to rob him, but by then she had learned his secret and at that point she could not be allowed to live long enough to tell anyone.
“We need to get you the proper clothing of a thief, some better boots, a sword or two and some better knives for protection.” Dagger pulled at Sarns arm as he spoke.
The cold pressure left him as quickly as it arrived and he found himself being gently pulled out of the tavern. He counted his gold in his mind as they walked down the street, hoping that he had enough to get what was needed as he did not want to have to ask Dagger for more.
“You gave the girl half of your gold did you not,” Dagger said sounding more disgusted than surprised. “These girls do not care for you; they only wish your money. You could have done just as well to have tossed the gold out the window.”
“She is not a tavern girl like the others,” Sarn began. “She works as a cooks’ helper, not as you think. She can save what I gave her to buy her freedom back from Calid.”
“Ah an indentured,” Dagger said catching on. “But, make no mistake; if Calid wants her to be a common tavern wench, then that is what she will be no matter how long it takes to get the message across.”
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