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Lowenna Part 8 (chapter 10)

Lowenna Part 8 (chapter 10)

A young woman awakens in a strange land with no memory of who she is.

Chapter 10 A NIGHT IN VLAD'S

Lowenna walked quickly back along the wide blue stone streets. There was just a touch of rain in the air and the temperature was dropping. The sun was just about set and both of Orkenza's moons were already visible defiantly showing themselves between the clouds. The larger of the two moons shone brightly, even in the twilight. It glowed illuminating the sky almost like a second sun. The moon's smaller twin was harder to see, it was like a red and brown large rock, just hovering in the sky, shown up by its brighter larger brother.

Lowenna had to get back to Vlad’s to see Rique, and she still had to pay Mr. Valery for the clothes she had ordered. As she reached Valery’s clothes shop, she saw Eryn locking up. “Wait,” Lowenna shouted as she briskly walked up to the door, receiving a smile from Eryn, who re-opened it.

“Hello again, I’m afraid the shops is now closed,” Eryn explained, still looking happy, even though she had a lot of work ahead of her.

“I just want to pay what I owe,” Lowenna replied, “is Mr. Valery still here?”

“Sorry, but he went out a while ago. You and Mrs. Catain were the only real customers in the shop this sun. I’ve nearly finished your alterations...”

“Eryn. Whom are you talking to?” A voice came from the back of the shop interrupting her mid-sentence, "You are supposed to be locking up!"

“It’s just the young lady who ordered the outfits earlier,” Eryn shouted back.

“Tell her she can’t have her money back,” Mrs. Valery shouted to Eryn making Lowenna smirk, Uma had a very cynical outlook on life.

“No she wants to pay what she owes,” Eryn shouted back to Uma, who suddenly appeared from the back looking very cross.

“My father let you have them without payment?” She asked Lowenna with a scowl on her face.

“He said, as long as I paid by sundown it would be fine. I’m sorry, I’m late, I... I got into... a little trouble.” Lowenna said, hoping not to go into any details. “My jacket got ripped can you fix it?” She asked, slipping the jacket off and passing it through the half-open door.

Mrs. Valery looked at the rip and shook her head.” I don’t think…”

“I can fix it, Mrs. Valery,” Eryn said interrupting her, “it’s only a small rip and it’s on the seam, so it should be easy.”

“And I will pay for the effort,” Lowenna added quickly.

“It will be at least five nars,” Mrs. Valery stated, with an evil smile, looking Lowenna right in the eye. Eryn looked shocked, but Lowenna just smiled back at her.

“How much in total?” Lowenna asked slowly, in a very fake grand accent, with more than a touch of sarcasm. In her mind, it was very similar to what Mrs. Valery had used on her earlier, “For what I owe, and the repair.”

Mrs. Valery pulled a face. If she had been more brazen, she might have tried to slap this red-haired woman, but both of them knew how that would probably end. Mrs. Valery disappeared back into the other room. “She’s over charging you for the repair,” Eryn whispered.

“It’s fine,” Lowenna mouthed back.

“It comes to four dracnars and two nars,” Mrs. Valery stated while smiling, not expecting Lowenna to have the money. Lowenna smiled back, put her hand in her bag, took out five dracnars and offered them to Mrs. Valery.

“I haven’t any change,” Mrs. Valery snapped at Lowenna, sounding very rude. Eryn was now looking down at the floor, trying not to look embarrassed.

“That’s Fine," Lowenna replied, "have your 'daddy' bring me the change when he drops my order over to Vlad’s tomorrow.” Mrs. Valery looked like she was going to explode, but she snatched the money out of Lowenna's hand, turned and left without another word.

As soon as she was out of earshot, Eryn started giggling, then tried to put on her serious face. “Sorry, I don’t mean to laugh, and she is charging you too much for the repair, but I think you actually got to her. She likes being in control.”

Lowenna took out another dracnar from her bag. “This is for you, for the fun we had this sun, and any trouble you got into because of me."

“I can’t accept that!” Eryn said trying not to be too loud.

“Please take it, it’s been too long since I’ve had some fun, and I really did enjoy trying on those clothes." Lowenna had been speaking from the heart, and it had been the only fun moment since she had woken up on the beach just suns ago.

“Are you all right?" Eryn asked again, her expression had changed, looking a lot more worried than before. "There’s blood on your dress and your jackets ripped.”

“I, err. I had an incident with a thief, but a lady in the market helped me.” Lowenna answered. She liked this explanation that had just come to her, and although it wasn't exactly true, it wasn't a complete lie either.

“As long as you are well,” Eryn said the smile returning to her face. “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to get on, Mrs. Catain’s dress won’t make itself.

“Well, hopefully, I will see you again soon. I’m staying at Vlad’s inn,” Lowenna replied returning the smile

“Well, you will definitely see my father again,” Eryn said. “Since mum died he spends a lot of his time there.” She looked sad, just for a moment, and then switched back to happy. “I would like to see you again Wenna, maybe we can meet up when I’m not so busy.”

“I would like that,” Lowenna said with a big smile of gratitude. She had only been here one sun, and between fighting for her life, and threatening people, she hopefully made a good friend. “Right, I’ll leave you to your work, you have a good moon time.”

“I will try, and thank you,” Eryn said as she nodded at Lowenna. She flicked the coin spinning it in the air, caught it, and then slowly shut the door.

The sun had set and Lowenna was now running back to Vlad’s, hoping not to have missed Rique. She rushed inside, through the main door, but suddenly had to stop, as the bar was busier than she had anticipated.

The large round tables had been pushed to one side of the room, leaving an open area, in which a handful of people were dancing. Most of the smaller tables had people sitting at them, and there was a man with a large stringed instrument, in the corner, playing music.

Lowenna looked around, she noticed a lot of the male patrons were wearing similar uniforms to what she had seen Kia wearing.

Vlad was behind the bar rushing around, Ryna was clearing tables and Rique was serving food. Lowenna walked towards her, hoping to speak with the young woman, but Rique spoke first. “I’m really sorry, but I’m not going to be able to finish for a bit. It’s a lot busier than expected and the new help hasn’t turned up. You need to see Vlad, he will take your dinner order, I’ll bring it to you when I have a chance.” Lowenna smiled and nodded as Rique rushed back to the kitchen for more food.

Lowenna went up to the bar. The room was a crazy sight, and everyone was having a good time. Vlad was grabbing another bottle off the back of the bar, and there was another member of staff, which she could see through a door behind the bar. She was doing the washing up.

The sweat was running down Vlad’s face, as it was pretty warm in the bar and he was obviously working hard, serving lots of patrons at once. “What would you like young lady?” he asked her while pouring a drink for another customer.

“I just wanted to order some dinner, when you have a moment. I have paid for it,” Lowenna replied.

“Yes of course you have, we have spit roasted chicken or beef pie served with veg and crunchy potatoes, but will be a little while, it’s been really busy this moon time.”

“I’ll have the pie please, there’s no rush,” Lowenna replied, looking around the bar quickly.

"Have you had a good time at the market?" Vlad continued while grabbing another bottle of wine from under the bar.

"Yes, I had a… productive day. I got my clothes and saw a bit of the market." Lowenna smiled returning her eyes to Vlad.

"Well you can get to Griffins tomorrow," Vlad replied, after finally finishing a large round of drinks, but Lowenna’s smile quickly was replaced with an angry look.

“I went to see Mr. Griffin after I left the market, was quite an 'enlightening' time,” she stated, staring angrily at Vlad.

“Oh, and you are well?” Vlad asked, suddenly showing signs of discomfort, not watching the pint he was pulling, as it overfilled.

“I am fine, and I’m sure you didn’t know what Mr. Griffin had planned.” She looked him square in the eye, and he turned away with a guilty look on his face.

Vlad took a deep breath, before turning back to Lowenna, for the first time ignoring all the other customers. “I’m sorry, Mr Griffin asked about any new customers, and I owe him a lot of money. I didn’t tell him your name, just that you had arrived in Penbirth, and were looking for supplies, and I had steered you in his direction.”

Lowenna’s nodded, “I know it wasn’t your fault, but I am not exactly happy that you told him about me.”

Both Lowenna and Vlad looked at each other, in silence, for a moment, before Vlad decided to break it. “Sorry,” he repeated before handing her a glass of wine. “That’s on the house, enjoy,” he said with a slightly guilty smile, before slowly turning away and refocusing on the other customers who were at his bar.

“Thank you,” Lowenna said slowly, as she tentatively sipped the wine. It was quite warming and sweet. She wasn’t sure she had ever had wine before but was definitely going to have it again.

She looked around the room again. She recognised some people from the market, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was at least one person who seemed to be having a bit too much fun, as he collapsed on the floor laughing. His friend helped him up and carried him out of the bar.

Suddenly there was a bang at the other end of the bar, which made Lowenna jump. “More beer!” A loud voice said, which boomed across the room. Lowenna stared at the person who had made the commotion. He was huge, his head almost touching the ceiling beams, and he was twice as broad as a normal person. His muscles were enormous, and his skin was very unusual. Lowenna was looking straight at him, and the only word she could think of which described his skin was… green. His long dark gray hair was tied back, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt, but a sleeveless black jacket, which hung open covering most of his torso. He had large yellow eyes with black pupils, and one long tooth poking out from his bottom lip.

The strange man was looking directly at her now, but she couldn’t look away. She watched as another full tankard of beer was placed in front of him, and he drank the lot in one go. “More beer!” He repeated, slamming the empty tankard down on the bar, but not taking his eyes off Lowenna. The large, green man wiped his mouth with his hand and headed towards her. His huge hairy feet were clumping along the wooden floor. “What you look at?” He said when he got close, towering over her.

Lowenna tried to compose herself, the man was definitely intimidating. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stare, I just have never seen a…" She paused, she hadn’t thought about what she was going to say. “I mean someone who looks like…” She paused again, she didn’t want to upset the very large green man. “I’m sorry my names Wenna, and you are?”

“Grilk,” said Grilk with a grunt.

“Well, Mr Grilk…”

“Just Grilk!” Grilk stated quickly, correcting Lowenna.

“Well, Grilk, as I was trying, unsuccessfully, to say I have never seen anyone with your colour skin before.” It didn’t sound too insulting to Lowenna, but maybe a little ignorant.

“You not seen any orcs?” Grilk replied with a drop of drool falling from his mouth to the floor, “or goblins?” His breath wasn’t that pleasant, but it was the fact, he had not taken those yellow eyes off her, not even blinking, that made her feel very uncomfortable.

“No you are the first I met in person.” she replied not taking her eyes off him either and trying not to look too scared.

Grilk snorted before replying “Not many orcs here. Some work as guards. I work in forge. You?”

“Me?" Lowenna replied, surprised by the question. "I’ve just arrived in town,” she said forcing a small smile, and Grilk finally blinked.

“You, a warrior!” Grilk stated like he knew, “You fight this sun. You got blood on you.”

“I got in a little trouble in the market, but one of the stall owners helped me,” Lowenna replied sticking with the story she had told Eryn.

Grilk gave a short laugh, taking his eyes off the young red-haired woman for just a moment. “You no need help. Not with fighting.” The orc said, then did a long sniff, inhaling Lowenna’s scent. She didn’t like the experience of being smelled, but she wasn’t going to stop him. “You do magic too. Me smell.” Lowenna looked around. No one was really paying attention to her and Grilk, most were still dancing, one or two were even deliberately not looking. Vlad was in earshot but was serving two very drunken lads, who were being loud, so she looked back at Grilk and narrowed her eyes. He sniffed her again to confirm the smell. “Me no like magic. No trust magic.” He continued, “You would be challenge to kill.” Grilk smiled as he said this, showing his yellow sharp teeth, and nodding his head to himself.

Lowenna didn’t know how to take that comment, was it a compliment or a challenge for him to try? She suddenly felt a little less intimidated. “I don’t want any trouble Grilk!” She stated not backing down and clenching her fists, looking straight into his yellow eyes.

Grilk raised his head and stood up straight. His expression had gone more serious. “No, we no fight, unless we have too. Me no longer soldier. Me here to drink, have fun. Me no here to fight in friend's bar.” There was a moment of awkward silence before Grilk finally smiled again. He grabbed the refilled tankard off the bar and downed it in one and slammed it back down. “More beer for me, and Wenna!” He shouted. Vlad looked straight at him almost in disbelief but filled another tankard with beer for Grilk and a small goblet for Lowenna.

Lowenna now had two drinks. She started drinking the beer which was slightly bitter, and not as nice as the wine. She hoped that Grilk had brought it as a sign of friendship, so she was determined to drink it and enjoy it. Grilk pointed to a small table, and grunted, the people at the table got up and left, leaving the table for them to use. "I'm going to be spending a little time, at that table, this moon," she thought.

After a few more beers, which were starting to taste much nicer, Lowenna went to stand. She had enjoyed talking to Grilk, and he enjoyed telling his old war stories. How he killed hundreds in the war. How he had bested a pair of Dragon guards. How he had crossed the Dessert of the Dammed on foot, and how he still held the record, in Vlad’s, for the largest longest belch, which he had tried to demonstrate.

Lowenna didn’t know if these stories were true, though she suspected the belch story was, but they were good stories. In return she had told the, “I was shipwrecked,” story, but this time she told Grilk about the five Lizard creatures, but she kept her voice down, so no one else could hear. Grilk looked suitably impressed but had corrected her each time she had said reptilian or lizard “There called Spawn of Hydras,” he had said. Grilk had enjoyed the story, and Lowenna knew it was true.

“More beer,” Grilk shouted.

“More beer,” Lowenna echoed, and Grilk laughed. Lowenna then remembered why she had stood, she needed to relive herself, “I’ll be back,” she told Grilk.

She walked over to the bar, but for some strange reason was struggling to walk straight. Her head felt a little heavy and there was a slight ringing in her left ear. “Are you all right?” Rique asked as she passed Lowenna with an arm full of dirty dishes.

Lowenna suddenly opened her eyes wide, “I’m sorry, we were supposed to have last meal and talk,” she said quickly.

“It’s fine, I’ve been busy Vlad has needed me to work until close anyway. Are you hungry? I believe your food is ready now.”

Lowenna thought about the question for a moment. “Famished, I haven’t eaten since early sun, but it would be rude to eat in front of Grilk.” She slurred, swaying ever so slightly.

“Oh, he won’t mind. He ate a whole hog roast before you arrived, been on the spit since first meal, and was supposed to be on the menu this moon. I’ll bring you pie over in a bit, and some extra crispy potatoes for Grilk, he likes the potatoes here, there cooked in hog fat."

Lowenna smiled and felt her cheeks flush, “I err, I need to pee.” she said to Rique quietly.

“Door at the back,” Rique said, pointing towards the back of the room and smiling at Lowenna’s attempts to stand still.

“Thank you, we will chat later, or in the new sun, if that’s good for you?” Lowenna said trying to sound like she was fine, but not really succeeding.

“I have some time off after first meal. I’ll meet you here we will go for a walk. I could show you the gardens.” Rique replied now trying not to laugh at the fact Lowenna was a little tipsy and had a huge grin on her face.

Lowenna nodded, “sounds good. I have something to show you, but it will wait till then.” She planned to show Rique the book, she had obtained in the market. Turning quickly, Lowenna headed off towards where Rique had pointed, having to grab hold of the bar to stop herself stumbling while remembering Eryn stumbling in the red shoes.

There were several doors at the back of the room, all had signs, but Lowenna couldn’t read any of them. She decided to go through the door on the left, it was a little stiff, but with a good push Lowenna staggered through. She tried to stop but couldn't and bumped straight into the back of Mr. Valery, who spilled his wine down his white shirt.

“I’m sorry,” she gasped out, with an odd feeling of dé-jà vu.

“So you should be thiss wine is not cheapish,” Mr. Valery slurred out his words.

She was in a small side room with a bar and a wooden floor. There was one large table and several chairs in the middle of the room. On the bar stood several full and empty bottles and glasses. There was a bookcase, that stood against the far wall, and three shields above the bar on the wall.

Lowenna looked around. She knew this place. Her mouth felt dry, and her mind suddenly sobered up. She had stood in this very room before, in her first dream, at the waterfall. She looked to the corner expecting to see a dead body, but there was only a drunken man, sleeping, sitting on a chair, with his shirt on the floor. He gave a loud snore on cue as if to prove he was alive.

“Oh don’t mind him," Mr. Valery said, "Mr. peaz can’t hold his drink, not like me, or you for that matter." He smiled at Lowenna knowing she had obviously had a few drinks.

It was different from the dream, but not very different. Lowenna racked her slightly dulled memory, trying to remember what happened next.

“You vere in my shop earlier vere you not?” Mr. Valery said trying to sound sober.

“Yes, I was,” Lowenna replied, still unsure exactly what was happening.

“Wherez your jacket?”

She looked down at herself. The dark dress could have been the same as what she had been wearing in the dream and the black shoes looked identical. She wondered how she had not noticed until now. Her jacket had also been ripped, but a major difference was she had given the jacket to Eryn to repair it and not kept it on. There was even the splatters of blood and a slight smell of sick, which she had failed to notice, until she had been looking for them.

Lowenna’s mind was racing, and all thoughts of everything else left her, as she concentrated on the vision. She wanted to test it see how close it was, she could remember what was said next “I got into a little trouble.”

“No doubt, there’s a lot of that going around, pit pockets and thieves,” Mr. Valery said, trying and failing not to slur.

"Very close," Lowenna thought, but then Mr. Valery smiled, finished his goblet of wine and stared right at her breasts. “Maybe you would…”

“No!” Lowenna shouted with a backward step, interrupting his advances. “I don’t think you could handle my form of trouble." She had remembered the words, and it had made sense to her to use them, but Mr. Valery looked confused like someone had answered his question before it had been asked. “At least I said no,” Lowenna added think about Mr. Valery wailing on the floor in pain.

He grabbed the almost empty bottle of wine off the table and took a big swig. “I need some mar wine,” he said as he went past Lowenna. He went to grab the door, but it swung open quickly, hitting his outstretched hand. Mr. Valery fell down to his knees, shouting and cursing in pain and confusion. He staggered to his feet holding his hand, “be more careful,” he snapped at Vlad in his shopkeeper's voice.

“Sorry, I’ve been meaning to fix that door. Your daughter is here.” Vlad replied looking around the room. He smirked when he saw Mr. peaz, who suddenly made some incomprehensible noises

“Vich one?” Mr Valery asked with another swig of wine.

“Uma,” Vlad replied sounding serious, and Mr. Valery cursed under his breath. He took another large swig from the bottle and handed it to Vlad, before heading out the room to face his daughter.

Vlad followed Mr. Valery out of the room, and Lowenna was about to follow when she remembered the book in the bookcase. Excitement flashed through her mind, this would be the ultimate test. She went over to the bookcase, which looked the same to the one in her dream, but the book wasn’t there. She felt a little disappointed, not that it really mattered, but then another thought entered her mind.

Lowenna took her book out of her shoulder bag. Was this the book? She thought as she examined it. It had a removable protective cover, and when she removed it she could clearly see the red leather book from the dream with the symbol etched into the cover. This almost freaked Lowenna out, and she realised that because she had removed the cover by the bookcase, she had made that part of the dream-state come true... sort of.

It hadn’t been perfect, but it had been very close. Everything important had happened, the wine on his shirt, Mr. Valery’s hand being hurt, the book, even the conversation had been very close.

Lowenna shuddered. She was now more worried about Rique and Ryna, as they had appeared hurt in a dream-scape, and she also had the knowledge that she had died in an alleyway, not too dissimilar to the one she had walked down earlier. These thoughts filled her with dread.

Lowenna shook her head trying to sober herself up. “I will do whatever possible to not let any harm come to Rique and Ryna, and I will not die alone in a dark alleyway,” she said, this out loud as if it were a promise. If it was possible to break these dream-states, she would find a way. She placed her book back in her bag and returned to the bar through the door which Mr Valery and Vlad had gone through, smiling when the door this time actually opened.

After finding and using the toilet, she returned to the table where Grilk was halfway through eating her pie. “You gone too long, I was hungry.” Lowenna smiled, trying not to laugh, seeing the gravy running down Grilk’s large chin, as he tried to justify eating her dinner. Lowenna turned and went back to the bar, now feeling even hungrier than before.

“Do you have any food left?” she asked Vlad, who had just stopped serving customers and was enjoying a momentary lull at the bar.

“Got a couple of chickens left may be some potatoes.”

“I’ll take them, can you bring them to Grilk’s table, and more beer.”

Lowenna took a couple of her dracnars out of her bag and passed them to Vlad, and his eyes opened wide, “Anything else?” He asked.

“Not yet,” Lowenna replied as she grabbed the bar, to stop herself swaying, as the effects of the beer and wine had suddenly returned.

“Let me know if you need any more,” Vlad said as he took the coins from her and put them in his back pocket. He then called out to Rique while pouring another tankard of beer for Grilk.

Lowenna looked around the room again. It was later now and wasn't as busy as before. There were definitely a few very drunken patrons. A man was passed out lying on one of the large tables and another man and a woman were embraced, kissing each other before leaving together. There was also a small mean looking man in a uniform similar to Kia’s. Lowenna hadn't seen him enter the bar, but now the music had stopped, and most of the other people in the uniforms had sat down and were looking a lot more somber than before.

She returned to her table. Grilk had devoured his potatoes, and her pie, and was finishing another tankard of beer. As he finished his drink, he wiped his mouth and chin on his arm before he slammed his tankard down. “More…” Rique had suddenly placed two tankards of beer down in front of Grilk, along with a tray with two chickens and a large pile of slightly overdone potatoes. Grilk smiled greedily as he licked his lips, and started munching on one of the chickens.

Lowenna decided manners were wasted on Grilk and grabbed the other chicken, ripping its legs off, devouring the meat quickly and washing it down with a mouth full of beer. The potatoes were crunchy and salty and Lowenna was very hungry and she ate until she couldn’t eat anymore. Grilk was laughing again finishing his second tankard of beer when two more appeared for him, and a goblet for Lowenna, both friends started laughing, clinked their drinks together and both downed them.

Time passed, and more drinks were drunk. Grilk was having a great time, loads of food, beer and stories. He really enjoyed the one Lowenna had told him about the two bandits, the magic ring, and the severed finger, but Lowenna now wasn’t feeling so good. She didn’t want any more beer and was feeling a little sick. She tried to steady herself, stood up, fell to her knees then after a couple of moments toppled forward onto the floor.

Grilk dragged her up by her dress “My friend needs sleep,” he shouted, looking around, but apart from Vlad there was no one else left in the bar.

“Finish your drink, and I’ll make sure she gets to her room. You took advantage of her and got her very drunk.”

“Maybe,” Grilk admitted, “but needed to know if she was what I smelled.”

“And?” Vlad asked.

Grilk shook his head violently before replying. “She can’t drink like a warrior, but she is strong, young, kind, heart in right place, but has dangerous side too."

“Whatever you say,” Vlad replied having lost interest and hoping Grilk would just go.

“You doubt me?” Grilk said with a slight growl.

“You said Rique would be a warrior too, remember?”

“She stronger than you think, just need training.” Grilk replied with a slightly hurt look. He then shook his head again, as the amount of alcohol was making the room, seem like it was moving.

“Whatever you say," Vlad repeated, not wanting to continue the chat. All he wanted was Grilk to go home, so he could finish cleaning up and then go to bed.

Grilk finished his last tankard of beer, and then left with a growling yawn, leaving Vlad and a semi-conscious Lowenna. "Bye Grilk," she managed to say but did not try to move or even open her eyes.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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