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Lowenna part 5 (chapters 6 7)
By
rbo

Lowenna part 5 (chapters 6 7)

A young woman awakes in a strange world of magic, the only clue to her past is one word Lowenna

Chapter 6 ANOTHER BAD DREAM

Lowenna opened her eyes, she was in a room with a large bar, several tables and there were old weapons and antique shields adorning the walls. There was a large, round, high window that showed off one of Orkenza's moons like a painting, shining perfectly against its dark background with just one star visible.

Three figures she had never seen before stood against a wall opposite the bar. They were standing over a boy, who was either dead or unconscious. It could have been Ryna, but Lowenna couldn't see his face. "What’s happening now?" she thought. Was she asleep? Was her memory or her mind playing tricks on her?

One of the three standing figures was an older man, who was wearing a plain shirt and colourful waistcoat over the top. Lowenna could see he was scared as his hands were clasped together and were shaking. A middle-aged lady stood next to him wearing a blue formal dress; her eyes were closed as if she didn’t want to see what was coming next. The final figure of the three was a young woman; she was crying, her clothes were ripped and damaged, and she held her arms around herself to make sure she was covered. The four figures, including the boy, slowly faded into the darkness with cries of pain and anguish ringing in her ears.

The screams stopped when they were no longer visible, but then Lowenna started hearing more voices. There were whispers at first, but the voices soon got louder. She turned slightly and now saw five more men all shouting all wielding swords, daggers and other weapons in front of her. All of them were threatening and shouting, and suddenly she felt someone grab her by the throat. She couldn’t break free. Another man was walking towards her, his hands were on fire. Lowenna screamed as there was a flash of blue light, and a surging pain went through her body. A second flash followed, this time of pink light which filled the room, and Lowenna opened her eyes.

Lowenna was back in the bath. The water was cool, and she had no idea how long had she been lying there. She was breathing heavily, remembering the figures and the pain from her dream. She felt a little sick and her hands were shaking slightly. She lay there in the cool water for another few moments before deciding that she had to move.

She felt a little stiff as she got out of the bath. It was still very dark outside. The candle was still lit but was now very low. "It isn’t going to last much longer," Lowenna thought. And as if on cue, it flickered in the slight breeze from the cracked window and went out.

She slowly dried herself and then wrapped one of the large towels around her body. A second large towel she wrapped around her hair. This was the first time she had felt clean since she woke on the beach. Even the pool had failed to give her that comforting feeling. She grabbed her clothes and dagger and left the bathroom. The thoughts of what she had seen while asleep still running through her head.

She followed the worn red carpet back to her room, entered and locked the door behind her. Removing the towels, Lowenna ran her fingers through her hair untangling it. Her hair was longer than she thought. When straight, it hung half-way down her back, and somehow this simple task had calmed her a little.

The sky was just starting to show signs of the sun awakening, when she finally lay down on the bed, wrapping the blanket around her, trying not to think about what she had just seen. The bed was a little harder than she expected, but she didn’t really care. She snuggled down under the blanket and closed her eyes.

She was so tired, but her mind wouldn't stop. It was still racing over what she had just experienced in the bath. Was it a dream? Was it a vision? It had felt very real, especially the pain. It had not been like the other dreams she had experienced at the waterfall. They had seemed like memories, they flowed. This felt more like a warning or a prediction of misfortune.

Lowenna awoke with a bang outside her room, a door slamming or something similar. She hadn’t realised that she had fallen asleep, but obviously she had, and she wasn’t sorry that she hadn’t had any more dreams or visions.

She got up and stumbled over to the basin and washed her face, to help wake herself up. Getting dressed, Lowenna tried to think about what she might achieve this sun. She had to get new clothes and underwear, maybe ask some people about ships lost over the last few moons and try to find out if someone knew her.

Grabbing her shoulder bag, she returned the water flask and her curved dagger to it. She also grabbed a gold nugget and two large, rich green emeralds from the large hidden purse, before replacing it behind the sturdy wardrobe. She had been of two minds whether she should take the lot but had decided it was probably safer locked away in her room and hidden.

Lowenna had no idea what the time was when she went downstairs. She was hoping that the kitchen was still serving first meal, as she was very hungry. The stew she had eaten last moon, although nice, had only been a small meal, but when she got downstairs, there was no one at reception.

Looking around the room, s he spent a little time looking at the old charts and maps on the walls. The one that caught her eye was one of an island. It was roughly in the shape of a long boot. The top half was all yellow like a desert, the lower half green. But although it was colourful, it could not hold her interest for long, as she couldn’t read any of the words or names on the map.

Lowenna looked around the reception room again. The wood burner had gone out. The desk had the register on it, but then she noticed the large wooden door was no longer locked. She smiled thinking that she should have tried the door sooner, but when she went through it, she froze and gave a gasp of surprise.

The room was the same as the room from the vision. Lowenna could now see it more clearly. There were very old and battered shields and weapons displayed high on the walls. There were three large tables each with chairs, and more chairs and smaller tables around the edge of the room. The room itself wasn’t lit very well, and all the knick-knacks and weapons on the shelves and walls were covered in dust and had been stained by tobacco smoke. One large, high-up, round window and a couple of small windows were the main sources of light in the room with dim lamps set on each wall. There was a long wooden bar, which ran almost the whole length of the room, and long dark beams ran the length of the room parallel to the bar.

A man stood behind the bar with his back to Lowenna, but he was wearing a very colourful waistcoat which looked scarily familiar.

While Lowenna was taking in the room from her dream, a young woman walked over to her. She wore a dark blue dress and top and had a small red flower was nestled in her long dark hair. Her eyes were large, bright blue, and beautiful. Lowenna had a terrible feeling she had been the crying girl from her dream. “Err, hi, hello,” she tried to say, but the words trailed off to silence.

“Good sun to you, would you be interested in first meal this lovely sun? We have some nice pork strips, freshly laid eggs and some home grown vegetables and fruit, and I believe there’s a fresh pot of tea on the range.” The young woman said with a large smile beaming on her face.

Lowenna tried to smile back, but the image of the crying young woman, with the ripped clothes, wouldn’t allow her. “Err yes please, I am quite hungry." “I would like some pork strips, eggs, and some tea for now and a couple pieces of fruit to go, if possible,” Lowenna said as she finally forced a smile.

“I’ll get that for you, you can sit wherever you want." The young waitress said, before looking around at the man behind the bar and stepping closer to Lowenna. Talking very quietly so only Lowenna could hear what she said, "are you really called Lowenna?”

“Yes…” Lowenna replied slowly. To her, the yes didn’t sound very convincing, but the young girl looked very confused.

“One of THE Lowenna?”

Lowenna paused, what did she mean by that? “The Lowenna?" she finally asked after a long pause.

“The Lowenna, the powerful race which ruled almost all the land, long long ago, THE Lowenna. Very few of them still exist, in fact, no one knows the last time one was around these parts." The young girl was still speaking quietly but quickly. She hoped no one else could hear her, but Lowenna could see the excitement on her face and hear it in her voice. “They were fierce warriors and users of magic. They could stand one against an army, and the army would tremble. Well, that’s what it says in the stories,” the young woman finished slower and quieter. Lowenna assumed it was to see her reaction.

“I don’t think so,” Lowenna replied, also keeping her voice down, “I was shipwrecked and came here by chance, and I definitely couldn’t fight an army on my own." Lowenna finished trying to show a slight moment of humour, but the young woman looked a little disappointed and felt a little foolish.

“I’m sorry, I got carried away. I’ll get your meal now Miss." The young woman turned to leave, but Lowenna grabbed her arm.

“Wait,” she whispered, “after first meal I would like to hear more about THE Lowenna." She released her arm and forced a quick smile. The stories may not be real she thought, but they were the first suggestions of whom or what she may be, a possible descendant of the Lowenna? Her crystal was magic, and she definitely could fight... was it possible?

The young woman nodded, the smile returning to her face, but she rubbed her wrist where Lowenna had grabbed it, “I’m a bit busy this sun, but I finish work around sundown, we could talk then. I will meet you here, but I think we should talk somewhere a little more privet."

“I look forward to it," Lowenna replied, and sat down at the closest table against the side of the room, as the young serving girl went to get her bacon and eggs.

First meal was nice. Lowenna had eaten it quickly and was now sipping her hot tea. The food had come out quickly, but the young serving girl had just dropped the plate of hot food and the fruit on the table, with the tea. She had said a quick, “Thank you,” and then had left her alone to eat. she realised someone had told the young girl not to talk to her. She had seen the older man behind the bar talking sternly to her, and giving her a strict look. He had also watched her intently when she brought the food over. But now... now he kept looking over at his new patron making her feel a little uncomfortable.

After finishing her tea, Lowenna put a couple of apples in her shoulder bag and walked over to the man behind the bar. He was smartly dressed in a white shirt and trousers, a little bit of stubble protruded from his chin. He had a dish cloth hung over his shoulder which he had been using to wipe the glasses behind the bar. The man had removed is waistcoat which was now lying on a chair, Lowenna looked at it for a moment, it still looked very similar to the one from her dream. The man turned and crossed the bar to talk to her, but kept a few steps away. She could see he walked with a bad limp and his left hand looked smaller than his right and was slightly withered. “Excuse me, what is the name of the girl who served me?" Lowenna asked.

“She wasn’t bothering you, was she? She is a hard worker but does talk a bit too much,” he replied, his voice rough, and slightly croaky.

“No, not at all, she was just being polite," Lowenna said, not explaining what she had been talking about, although she assumed the man knew which was confirmed with the next thing he said.

“Are you really called Lowenna?" The man asked, “And if you are you shouldn’t tell too many people, a lot of people fear the Lowenna, and a lot would want you out of the settlement or worse." He took a step back as he finished his remarks, waiting to see what the red haired woman did next. “Not that it matters to me what your name is, or who you talk to. As long as you can pay your bill, and cause no trouble, you are welcome here,” he finished.

“I am a survivor of a shipwreck and I am no threat to anyone,” Lowenna said, but then paused for a moment. “I will take your advice and not tell too many people. You can call me Wenna, if you prefer." She had been thinking about a change of name while she had been drinking her tea.

The young woman, who had served her meal, had said that the Lowenna were a powerful and feared race. The man behind the bar had confirmed that. However she did want to keep the name, mainly because other than her crystal, the name Lowenna was the only thing which seemed familiar to her. Shortening it to Wenna did seem to fit quite well, and hopefully it wouldn’t provoke the same emotions or looks that Miss Ziggle and the man behind the bar had given her.

“Wenna,” the man behind the bar repeated, “Well, it’s still unusual, but won’t have the same effect on the other settlers. I’m surprised you use that name, even if you are one of the descendants." A sudden look of dread appeared on his face, like she was going to hurt him for being so brazen. “Not that it’s any of my business,” he added quickly.

“It’s fine,” she said trying to reassure the man that she meant him no harm, but he stayed a few steps back from her, evaluating her.

“Rique” The man suddenly said as he picked up a glass and started wiping it with his cloth, not once taking his eyes of Lowenna.

“Rique?" Lowenna repeated, unsure what he was saying.

“The name of the girl who served you this sun, she works here and lives in the staff quarters with her father and brother," he said.

“Kia and Ryna?" Lowenna asked, but she already knew the answer.

“Yes, have you met their father?”

“Yes, he let me into the town and told me to come here," Lowenna explained. “Are you Vlad?" she inquired, but again she was sure of the answer.

“I am he," he said proudly, smiling at Lowenna for the first time, having relaxed a bit. "So Kia sent you here. I wondered who would be able to find us after sundown. We don't get many customers during the moon time."

Lowenna smiled and nodded in reply. “I’m in need of supplies, and some clothes, could you recommend anywhere?" she asked changing the subject

“The market in the lower square will be open and there is a good clothes shop along this street. It is owned by a cousin of mine, and everyone goes there. There is also an armour and weapons merchant close to the end of the street, but you won’t be able to buy a dangerous weapon without a permit. You might think about investing in a smaller blade or a staff as thieves sometimes target strangers. If I were you I’d avoid the alleyways, stick to where people are. Oh! And watch out for pickpockets! With so many people out of work and trapped with the main gate closed, there has been an increase of incidents.

“Thank you for the advice,” Lowenna replied, with a hint of nervousness, thinking maybe the town wasn't as safe as she had hoped. “Which way is the market?”

“End of the street past the clothes shop and the weapon shop. You will hear it before you see it." Vlad replied. He then turned to leave, but quickly turned back and added, “Welcome to Penbirth Miss Wenna,” before getting on this his work.

“Thank you,” Lowenna said and headed out through the main door into the sunny streets of Penbirth.

Chapter 7 CLOTHES

Lowenna looked around as soon as she was outside. The sun was bright and it took a few moments for her eyes to adjust from the darkness of Vlad's bar. She noticed that buildings and streets were made out of a bluish grey rock, which she assumed must have come from the mountain. The street was wide with several shops and traders on each side.

There was a large marble fountain, just to the side of Vlad’s inn, which had statues of three men, on top the top. All three stood back to back and were surrounded by a large bowl full of water. One was wearing a crown and robes. One was a hooded man or woman and was completely covered. And the last was a man who held a sword above his head. It looked impressive in the sunlight. Lowenna stared at the statue with the sword. There was something which she recognised, but the memory didn't surface.

She started walking down the street slowly, trying to remember something about the man, or anything else. In the distance she could hear music and lots of chatter, and she had to move out of the way of two men who were running towards the noises: The first was carrying wooden boxes full of live game birds, and the second was pulling a couple of smaller animals with horns, which were putting up a bit of a fight. The market was definitely in that direction.

Walking down the street Lowenna noticed that most of the women were either wearing, what she would call posh frocks with bows and lace, or rough and dirty skirts or aprons and simple white hats with their hair almost hidden underneath. Men wore either smart trousers and shirts, some with capes or simple trousers and vest tops. There was definitely a class divide here in Penbirth, but it looked like everyone went to the market. “I wonder what they think I look like?” she asked her crystal quietly, knowing it wouldn’t answer while looking down at the adjusted dress she had butchered the moon before.

Lowenna walked slowly, looking at all the different shops and traders until she came to the clothes shop, which Vlad had told her about. Although she couldn’t read any of the signs, a picture of a hat and a dress, plus a large window display of several outfits, made her know she had found the right place. As she pushed the door to enter, a bell rang to alert the shop’s staff.

The shop was large and well lit. She could smell the leather used to make some of the outfits and there was also a hint of perfume in the air. There were a lot of dresses, skirts, tops, hats and shoes all on display, some plain, some very colourful. Some were very eye catching and some left very little to the imagination. One of the manikins had a lacy shawl and skirt which was almost transparent and would show a little more skin than Lowenna thought would be appropriate. She stared at the outfit for a few moments not knowing what to make of it, before returning her gaze to the rest of the shop.

There were three staff in the shop: A woman in the back, helping a large woman, into a dress which was obviously too small for her, a gentleman with his back turned looking at boxes of shoes behind the cluttered counter, and a young woman who looked very striking, wearing a fabulous red and black dress which was exactly the same as the one displayed by the counter on another manikin. Her hair was styled but not too long, and her eyes were also enhanced with makeup. She came up to Lowenna with a slight wobble, obviously wearing shoes to match the dress, but not used to them, “Can I help you, Miss?” She asked in a rather fake upper-class accent.

“Yes, I’ve just arrived in town and I’m looking for a couple of outfits,” Lowenna replied.

“Certainly, we will need to take your measurements. If you take a moment to browse for something you might like, I will get the supervising lady to serve you as soon as she is free.” The girl spun around on the spot a little too quickly and had to grab hold of a rail, or else fall over.

“Are you all right?” Lowenna asked with a touch of concern.

“I am fine.” The young woman replied quickly, looking slightly embarrassed. She walked to the back and started talking to the older woman, who was now trying to remove the dress from the large lady. There was now a sizeable rip visible in the back of the outfit and the large woman was stuck.

Lowenna started looking around the shop again. Some of the dresses looked really classy. "It would be very easy to spend all of my money in here," she thought.

While looking at a beautiful all in one black dress with embroidered shiny crystals, Lowenna heard the woman in the back shouting, “For god sake you do it! And pass me a scissors!” She turned to see the young girl rushing out of the back room, grabbing a pair of scissors and going back in. After a few moments, and a few more words, the young woman came over to Lowenna quickly.

“I’m afraid Mrs Valery is a little busy at the moment Miss,” the young woman in the red and black dress said with an embarrassed smile. “If you would like to come into one of our fitting rooms, I will take your measurements.”

Lowenna followed her into another room at the back of the shop and the young woman blocked the door with a screen, so no one could see. The room was large and had lots of hooks and shelves on the wall for hanging outfits and there was a naked mannequin to show the customer what the outfit looked like on a person. There was also another door leading out of the room that was closed. “I will need you to take your clothes off, Miss, so I can measure you properly.”

Lowenna froze, and her cheeks flushed pink, “um, I haven’t any underwear on. I was planning on getting some, I just haven’t yet,” she said with a touch of embarrassment.

“Oh, well, would you like to see some underwear, Miss?” The young woman asked, keeping a straight face.

“Yes,” Lowenna said quickly, trying hard not to blush too much but feeling her cheeks starting to burn.

The girl’s straight face slipped into a smirk and then she started to giggle. “I’m sorry, I don't mean to laugh, it’s just most people have underwear, and you’re the first person in an age that I have to do a full set of measurements for,” she explained, “and I’m wearing these stupid shoes which you can’t even see because the dress is too long. And my sister is having no luck with Mrs Catalan, which means me and my father are going to have to deal with that later.”

Lowenna started to giggle too, “You can take the shoes off, I don’t mind and won’t tell your sister. I just need some clothes and underwear. I want to look like I belong in Penbirth.”

“What happened to your clothes and underwear?” the sales girl asked, regaining her composure while untangling her measuring tape, and placing it around Lowenna's chest.

Lowenna paused for a moment, as the grin faded from her face, she had had enough of telling people a story which might or might not be true. “I was shipwrecked, and lost everything,” she finally replied.

The young woman in the fancy dress seemed quite excited by this news. “That’s amazing! I have never left the settlement. So where did you sail from? How long were you at sea? Is there anyone else here from your ship?

“Too many questions,” Lowenna blurted out, interrupting the young woman. She paused for a moment before replying, “I’m alone and was at sea for a long time.” She answered, not knowing if this was true or not.

The sales girl wrote down the measurements from her chest and then measured her waist. “I’ll get you some appropriate underwear Miss.” The young woman said. She had become very serious and a little apprehensive, trying not to upset her customer. She unlocked the side room door and slipped inside shutting the door behind her. Lowenna did notice she hadn’t taken the shoes off, as she had suggested.

When the young woman returned she had several sets of underwear, in several different styles and colours. Some were a little skimpy, and one set would have gone down to Lowenna’s knees. She picked up the biggest pair of knickers she had been brought and started to giggle again. “Get a lot of call for this style?” she asked with a grin, but the sales girl didn’t smile back. “What’s your name?” Lowenna asked smiling, and trying to catch the young woman's eye.

“Eryn Valery, Miss,” she replied making eye contact but quickly looked away again.

“Well Eryn, I don’t know much about the styles in Penbirth, but these can’t be popular, and these?” Lowenna said while picking up the smallest flimsiest knickers, which were just a band around the waist and a flap of transparent lace, “do you get a lot of customers asking for these?”

Eryn blushed, but then started to giggle again. “We sell a few, but very discreetly,” she had relaxed a bit. Lowenna smiled again, she had not wanted to upset Eryn, but would rather talk about clothes than shipwrecks and where she came from.

Lowenna grabbed a plain pair, which wasn’t too big. “Is there a matching bra?” She asked, “if so I’ll take three of each”

Eryn looked very pleased, and passed Lowenna a bra which was a similar colour, “I’ll get the others for you now, Miss, and what about the outfits you wanted to see?”

“I’m not well versed in the styles of Penbirth," Lowenna admitted. " Why don’t you pick several outfits you like, and I will decide from them? They have to be comfortable, and able to be worn at any time. I don’t mind the colour, but want to look smart.”

Eryn rushed out of the room with the largest grin on her face Lowenna had seen. While she was out Lowenna slipped her clothes off quickly and put on one of the pairs of knickers and it's matching bra. She then noticed a fancy pair of red shoes by the door.

When Eryn returned she had several outfits with her, and Lowenna suddenly felt an urge to try them all on. She started with a green dress, then a red one, then a plain beige top and skirt and a fancy black leather jacket.

The two young women were having a lot of fun trying the clothes on. Lowenna had found a few poses showing Eryn the outfits while giggling, and Eryn would tell her how fabulous, stunning or silly she looked.

Lowenna was enjoying herself and had stopped thinking about shipwrecks and bad dreams, but the fun was interrupted when the other woman worker burst in with the remains of the ripped dress in her arms. “What, in the name of the Angelus, is going on in here!” She shouted with a strict elevated voice. At first Eryn looked shocked, as she looked at the woman who had burst in, but she then looked at the pile of clothes, looked at Lowenna, who was standing there in her new underwear, and started to laugh again.

Lowenna tried to compose herself, but couldn’t remove the grin from her face. She tried to cover up, by wrapping her arms around herself, but after moment gave up. “My apologies if I have taken Eryn from her other duties. I needed some help, deciding on some outfits.”

“Well I need ERYN,” the woman who had just burst instated with real emphasis to her name, “to repair and adjust this dress for Mrs Catalan, I have her measurements.” She had an evil smile on her face, as she passed over the list of measurements.

“But Mrs Catalan will never fit in that dress, I would have to make another one from scratch Uma,” Eryn said with a hint of disbelief in her voice and a shocked look on her face.

“Well you better get on with it then, and it's Mrs Valery when we are working, and don’t forget it,” the older woman said still with an evil grin on her face.

“Yes, Mrs Valery,” Eryn replied, trying and failing not to look too upset. Lowenna felt a little guilty, she had been having such a good time and got Eryn in trouble.

“Now what can I help you with Mrs?”

“Wenna, Miss Wenna,” Lowenna answered though this was the first time she had thought about her marital status. “I was just deciding on a second outfit, something practical to be worn sun or moon. Eryn showed me the all-in-one dark green dress, with the belt, and black shoes.”

“The green?” Mrs Valery said, trying to sound shocked, “the royal blue is much more distinguished. It also comes in a burgundy.”

“I like the dark green, but it was a little long, and a little low and tight on the chest.”

“That’s why we have your measurements darling,” the sarcasm was noticeable in her voice and it was obvious that Mrs Valery was unhappy that Lowenna was going to choose something Eryn had shown her.

“The black leggings with the beige short sleeve top and black jacket work well, so I’ll take those as well,” Lowenna finished, losing any will to try anything else on.

“Very well,” Mrs Valery stated coolly, writing on a pad what Lowenna wanted. “I will make sure it all fits the measurements Erin took, and they should be ready to pick up around closing time tomorrow.”

“I will take this set of undergarments and the jacket now please,” Lowenna said while getting dressed in the clothes she had obtained from Vlad's.

“Of course, please see my father on the way out, he will take payment for everything.” The look Mrs Valery gave Lowenna wasn’t very pleasant. She passed the jacket with a receipt to Lowenna, and then started gathering all the other outfits.

“Thank you!” Lowenna said with the same hint of sarcasm which Mrs Valery had used on her, but Mrs Valery didn’t even look at her, much less reply. Lowenna returned to the main part of the shop and went over to where the man was standing behind the shop’s counter.

As the man turned around, Lowenna had to look twice. He was the spitting image of the drunken man she had dreamed about by the waterfall. “Um hello,” Lowenna said, not knowing how to talk to a man whom she had met in a dream. “I have an order,” she said as she handed the piece of paper to the man behind the counter. He was wearing the same purple short cape, which she had dreamed about, but the shirt was grey, not white.

“I will need your place of residence so if there are any problems with this order, I can let you know, though I doubt there will be, there are only a few minor alterations, I’ll get Eryn on it as soon as she is free.” The man said.

“I’m staying at Vlad’s inn at the moment,” Lowenna replied.

The man nodded at Lowenna and a kind smile appeared on his face, “Old Vlad’s ay? He’s my cousin, did he send you here?” Lowenna went to answer, but the man interrupted her like it had been a rhetorical question “Thought so, he recommends all of his customers come here if they need anything, where is he sending you next Griffins?”

“Where is Griffins?” Lowenna asked quickly, not wanting to be cut off again.

“Griffin is the weapon master, I think old Vlad still owes him some money. Some of his equipment is good quality, but he is a bit of a crook, and a little creepy, till you get to know him.” There was a short pause like he was expecting Lowenna to say something, but then he continued. “Not that I am trying to put you off, just agree to a price before you say that you are staying in Vlad’s. I've known him double the price, just because he can. He does it to knock off some of Vlad’s debt. Not that I blame him for sending you there. He’s just trying to pay off what he owes else, Griffin will take his bar.”

There was another pause, Lowenna eventually realised he was waiting for her to respond, but she was still trying to take in all he had said. “Well, I was heading there anyway.”

“Good! I didn’t want to interfere, I just talk a lot, that’s what my oldest daughter says, and her mother used to say that too, The Angelus bless her soul. I will prioritise your order and drop it over to Vlad’s tomorrow as soon as it’s done.”

“Thank you very much, how much do I owe you?” Lowenna asked quickly as Mr Valery had stopped talking. She poured all the coins from her purse on the counter but kept the gems and the gold nugget in her hand out of sight.

Mr Valery’s expression changed slightly “You don’t have enough. I will be expecting full payment before I deliver.”

“You will get your money before sundown if that is all right.” Lowenna said with a smile, and Mr Valery nodded, “Is there a jewellery shop near here?”

“Yes, there is, it's two doors down, a friend of mine owns it.” Mr Valery answered with a slightly confused look on his face.

“Thank you,” Lowenna said, with a cheeky smirk, as she turned and left the shop.

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