|(Last sentence of last entry) I'm off track again, I'm sorry. Where was I? Oh, my father had decided I would marry one of his war buddies and I was about to bolt...|
Chapter the Third in which Plans are Set in Motion and Much Theivery Occurs
The man they had chosen for me was nice enough but he was easily three times my age. I think they chose him because he was the most tolerant man my father knew and he had been a widower for some time. He already had his heirs established, they chose him because they didn't think I could screw up his life. They underestimated me.
Now, I suppose I should take a moment here, Beatrix, to say that my parents didn't hate me. I know it seems like I was only a problem to them but that's not how it was. I think in a small way I reminded my father of himself a bit. I think I may have even been his favorite. The thing was, I really was a troublemaker. I was constantly causing problems. It's a wonder my parents didn't send me off as soon as they could.
Anyhow they had made tennative arrangements to marry me off and I wasn't about to do it. I stole some supplies from my father's army: a bedroll, water bags, some better knives, saddle bags, a short sword, some of the pages' clothes and such. It took all my best trickery and the better part of two months to get it all. I packed my treasures in the saddle bags, those I couldn't bear to part with: my knitting needles, a few bits of ribbons and some combs for my rebellious hair, a few special trinkets and jewelry (if I had to I could use it to barter with), and one dress. Once I knew I had everything I needed (apart from the food and water which would be easy enough to come by when the timing was right) I set about the two most difficult parts of my task: contacting Penryn and securing a horse.
As it turned out contacting Penryn was easier than it should have been. By sheer coincidence the message I sent went by way of a messenger with a serious drinking problem. He ran into her in a tavern only three townships away. Neither of them should have been there (I had, in fact, sent him in the opposite direction) but there you have it. She didn't bother to send a message back with the drunken messenger but instead snuck into town and let her sister in the kitchen know of her presence and to alert me that she wished to speak with me.
Durring the nine days it took the messenger to get to her I was busy. I was trying to figure out where I would go if I couldn't contact Penryn and when I should give up on her and bolt. I knew it could take months and that if I had to leave before she knew about it I may not ever be able to reach her. Being young I decided not to worry about that (luckily I didn't have to but I didn't know that yet) and I started watching the stables for a time when a horse could be stolen.
Now, I've told you that we were central in this war-mongering that was going on to fight off the Northerners but I may not have told you why. I'm getting lost in my narrative, Beatrix. Don't worry though the boring set up is almost over and the action and romance is about to start. The reason why we were so central was partly because of our location and partly because we had the best horses and horsemen. So as you can imagine, the horse were guarded very well. To well for me to get my hands on one without an accomplice within the guard. I needed help and then it finally dawned on me that I might be able to convince Bolan.
I didn't want him to get in trouble so I had to come up with a plan to get the horse on someone else's watch perhaps using him as a distraction. No matter what the plan I was sure it would take some convincing so I started in on him right away. The next time I went down to the stables I pulled him aside. Nothing suspicious there since I was about the only person who could stand him and often enlisted his help for things like elaborate practical jokes on pompous army captains. I told you I was trouble. We were good enough that though everyone knew it was one or both of us no one could ever prove it. Not even a little bit. Anyway, I told him how I planned to leave and that I had everything I needed except the horse.
"You want me to help you steal a horse?" he asked, scrunching up his eyebrows like he was in pain.
"Well... yes I suppose that's what it ammounts to," I replied as stoically as possible.
"Do you know how hard it would be to steal a horse from here?" he countered, roll9ing his eyes a bit.
"Moderately?" I asked feigning ignorance.
"Oh, moderately. Moderately. Mmm-hmm. Alright, no problem then," was the snarky response.
"So? Will you help me do it? It would be a challenge," I said attempting to bait him.
"Of course I will. You know I can't resist the oppertunity to make any of the captains look rediculous. In fact, I already have a plan..."
And did he ever, Beatrix! Not only did he have a plan that could get me a horse but it would completely humiliate the Horse Captain who was a drunk jerk most of the time (to clarify, the rest of the time he was a lecherous twit). Actually, it wasn't much of a plan. It was mostly just drugging the Horse Captain so that we could take a horse on his watch but still, there was a bit of cunning that would be involved in getting a whole horse out of the grounds unseen, or rather, unnoticed.
So, as you can see, when Penryn's sister gave me word of her presence, I was already ready to go but Penryn had concerns. She was afraid that I wouldn't be prepared for life outside of a palace. She was afraid that I might treat her as a servant. She was afraid my father might think I was kidnapped or that if he found out I was with her she would be in serious trouble. I did my best to ease her concerns and after a few days I convinced her. I told her of my plan to not be noticed and how I had already made plans to get a horse. She told me of a few other things I should pack and that we should be on our way as soon as possible since sooner or later someone would discover that she was around.
Everything was going pretty much according to my plan. In fact everything went perfectly until I had made it just outside of town, horse and all. That's when it all started to fall apart...
(Chapter Two, Chapter Four)
Labels: Ill-fated story