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Lowenna Part 6 (chapter 8)
By
rbo

Lowenna Part 6 (chapter 8)

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

Chapter 8 PENBIRTH MARKET

The jewellery shop was where Mr Valery had said it was, although if Lowenna hadn't been told it was a jewellery shop, she would never have guessed by the outside sign or the window display. When she entered she got an unpleasant smell of sulphur and a taste of smoke, in the back of her throat.

The shop was very dark and not very big, there were lots of half-empty and completely bare display cases, and iron-spiked railings that cut them off from the customers.

Lowenna couldn’t see anyone, but heard muttering from the back room. She went up to the metal counter and knocked on it, which alerted the man in the back.

“Just a moment,” a voice came from the workroom, followed by a noise of grinding metal. Lowenna wandered around the shop while she waited, looking at some of the wares. Nothing was really taking her fancy until she saw two unique looking bracelets. They were made of silver and had dark blue gemstones, with an even darker blue swirl that seemed to be slowly moving. She couldn’t read the information below the display case, but an image of a flame and the chains securing the case made her think they were magical. “Can I help you?” A voice came from right behind her, making her jump.

“Err, yes," Lowenna said as she regained her train of thought. "I was looking to sell something,” she said while putting her hand in her purse.

The short man made a face and looked up to the ceiling. “I’m not really into buying small rings or family jewellery. I’m extremely busy, I can recommend...” The sentence stopped when he saw two large emeralds in Lowenna's hand. The man stood there completely still and silent for an age before Lowenna handed them to him, which he took over to his desk to examine, completely ignoring her.

“So you were saying where I should take them?” Lowenna asked knowing full well, that the jewellery shop owner wasn’t going to tell her.

“You may have just saved my life,” The shop owner stated, “these are just what I need I’ll pay you twenty dracnars, for the pair.”

By his reaction Lowenna thought they were probably worth more than that. “I was told they were worth more,” she lied, trying to see if she was right.

“Thirty dracnars,” the shop owner blurted out. Lowenna picked up one of the gems, the precious stone shone even in the dark shop. “Thirty-three dracnars, not a nars more” The owner sounded desperate, they were obviously worth more, but it was unlikely he had much more money in the shop.

“Deal,” Lowenna said smiling. The clothes she had purchased earlier came only to twelve dracnars, and she had paid most of that amount already.

The man went into the back of his shop and came back with a purse full of coins. “You have just about cleaned me out of money, was there anything else?”

“I was just looking at the silver bracelets,” Lowenna replied.

“Ah, yes, they're beautiful aren’t they, and terrifying. They used to belong to a powerful sorcerer, who killed an evil dragon. They came into my possession from one of his descendants,” the shop owner said proudly. “They're not for sale and are worth a lot more than the gems you just sold to me.”

Lowenna gave them one more look, before returning her attention to the shop owner, “Have you anything similar looking?”

The shop owner pointed to a small display near the window. Several bangles and wristbands were displayed on a short brass stand, “That is all I have at this time,” he replied

She looked at several of the wristbands, but none looked anything like the silver bands on display. Most were dull and cheap looking, and others were broken or missing gemstones, but then something caught her eye. There was a wide copper band with a small engraving of the half dragon half shield. The symbol she had seen in her dreams and on the shipwreck. “I will take this one,” it was nice, Lowenna thought, but it was missing its stone, an empty diamond shape fitting was just above the engraving.

“All bracelets are two nars each, but that one is incomplete, I’ll let you have it,” the shop owner said kindly. “Right I’m afraid, I’ve got to get on, but if you come across any more amazing gemstones, I’m your man,” he said with a chuckle.

“Thank you,” Lowenna said placing the heavy bag of money in her shoulder bag and attached the bracelet to her wrist. She smiled at the owner, who was now completely ignoring her, studying his new gemstones again, so she left the shop.

Rather than heading back to Valery’s, to repay what she owed, Lowenna headed towards the market and Griffin’s weapon shop. The streets were getting very busy. Some of the people were still heading to market, others were heading home and even more just wandering around window shopping, eating pastries or hot baps. She definitely felt the weight of the money in her bag. The strap was slightly cutting into her shoulder. She repositioned it to ease the discomfort.

The sun was still high, but now was starting to descend. Lowenna was wondering what had happened to the time. She had obviously been in the clothes shop longer than she realised.

Watching so many people eating was making Lowenna hungry, so she took one of the apples out of the bag and started to eat it. It was very sweet, and the juice started running down her chin. Suddenly, a boy, who was running, swerved and bumped past her. She swung her arm out grabbing him by the scruff of his shirt. “Let me go,” he shouted while wriggling and trying to free himself.

“Not until you return what you just took out of my bag,” Lowenna replied with her mouth still full of apple. She wasn’t even sure how she had known he had taken anything, but he offered his hand out and passed her the smaller purse, which had the gold nugget in it. She took the purse back and swallowed her apple, “Now go, before you get in real trouble!” She stated staring straight into the boys eyes.

Lowenna released the boy, but as soon as she had let go, he made a wild snatch at the purse. She avoided the clumsy snatch easily and with a quick spin, she tripped the boy who landed face down on the street.

The lad jumped back to his feet and ran off holding his mouth. Lowenna watched him disappear round a corner before she replaced the purse back in her shoulder bag. She looked down at her apple which was now on the floor, covered in little stones and dirt. “I was enjoying that,” she said to herself before she took the other apple out of her bag and started eating it, but this one wasn't as sweet.

She continued down the street again, thinking about the lad, but as she rounded the bend, all thoughts of the pickpocket faded from her mind.

There, in front of her was a world full of colour and noise. The market was selling just about everything, fresh fruit, silver jewellery, sizzling hog in floured baps, old battered hats, and lots more. There were also a lot of traders with livestock and entertainers who were dressed in bright funny clothes, which made Lowenna smile. It was a lot to take in and although she had just obtained a purse full of coins, she wasn’t in the mood to spend it all of it. Just some of it.

She stopped outside a large orange tent, as there was a familiar smell coming from within. She peered into the back of the tent, where an old lady waved her in. The stall had lots of bric-a-brac some necklaces and pendants, bags, and some tribal statues and art. There was one long metal pole holding the whole tent up, and there were tables, and a desk completely covered in wears. There was so much to take in, Lowenna didn't know where to start.

The smell was driving her wild she didn’t know what it was, but it was so familiar she had to find out. “Excuse me but what is that smell?” She asked the old lady who was smiling at Lowenna.

“Ma incense,” the old women replied with a croaky voice. “Yee like some?” The old lady handed some incense sticks to Lowenna. She had grey hair, which was tied back and was dressed all in grey. A long grey blouse, a grey shawl, and a long dark grey skirt that hid her shoes. The only thing which wasn’t grey was a thick bright pink pair of glasses which were sitting on the end of her nose. The old woman seemed to be squinting, struggling to see the red haired customer, even through the thick glasses, which magnified her eyes.

Lowenna closed her eyes and smelled the incense sticks, hoping the smell would jog a memory, but apart from the fact she knew the smell, nothing came to her. “Yes, I would like some, what is the scent?” She replied.

“Many ‘erbs and spices, from far far away, ma sister collects ‘em, and I sell ‘em.”

“Where are the herbs from? I know the scent,” Lowenna took a deep breath through her nose, the smell was so amazing and so familiar, but from where?

“From a far land, don’t know where, ma sister collects them.”

“So you said,” Lowenna replied with a slight smirk, “is she around?”

“Who?”

“Your sister?”

“What you want ma sister for?”

“To ask her where she got the herbs for the incense.”

“Ma sister away.”

“When will she be back?” Lowenna asked.

“Who?”

“Your sister?”

“What you want ma sister for?”

Lowenna put her head in her hands, she knew the scent, but it wasn’t looking like she was going to get any answers from the stall owner. The lady turned around and grabbed a bag from behind her.

“Hello dearie,” she said as if she was only now meeting Lowenna, “you wanna bag. It magic.” She showed her the white shoulder bag, with a flower embroidered on the flap. It was about the same size as the bag she had, but the strap looked smaller and more comfortable.

“What does it do?” Lowenna asked unsure whether she needed another bag.

“It fireproof,” she said waving it over a flame from a candle on the desk, “put a charm on it, could be struck by lightning and bag would survive.”

“But would I?” Lowenna joked. “I will take the bag and the incense but before I go I have a question,” she knew this was a long shot, “have you ever seen this symbol?” showing the lady the symbol on her wristband.

The old woman grabbed her wrist and squinted at the symbol on the copper wristband. "Oooo, seen that somewhere I have” she said then she suddenly dived under the counter, Lowenna peered over the counter, only for the old lady to suddenly reappear again, slamming a book on the counter. On the cover was a ship, and on the sail of the ship was the symbol. The old woman opened the book.

“Can you read it?” Lowenna asked, with a hint of excitement in her voice.

“No, got pictures though, for you one dainar,” The old lady replied.

Lowenna smiled, “All right, one book, one bag, and the incense sticks.” She took out one of the dracnars “How m…” Before she had even finished asking, the old lady had the coin in her hand.

“This will do, this will do. Me and my sister thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Lowenna said sounding surprised, unsure how she had taken the coin so quickly without her noticing. She was thinking about the pickpocket and how she had known he had taken something, but the old woman had beaten her reflexes and she was looking right at her.

Lowenna put the book and incense sticks in her new bag and turned to leave.

“Until next time Lowenna,” the old lady said with a small wave.

Lowenna froze. How did he old woman know her name? Only the people at Vlad’s knew that name. "How did you know my name?” Lowenna asked turning back to face the old woman, looking more serious.

The old lady looked down at the floor then up at the ceiling, “You told me you did.”

“I did not!” Lowenna said sharply.

“You been here before, tell me then,” the old woman replied not looking Lowenna in the eye.

Lowenna looked at her hard. Unless her name was actually Lowenna, which was very unlikely, there was no chance that what the old woman was saying was true. “Want to try again, and I would like the truth this time.”

“You no believe me. Saw it I did. In a dream me did. Me saw you fighting two men, you told me you were Lowenna.”

Lowenna looked unsure, but she had visions and strange dreams herself was it possible? “When did you have the dream?” she asked.

“Three moons ago, ‘twas late, I went into dreamscape.”

“Dreamscape?” Lowenna asked, looking very confused.

“Magic visions, of past and future. This was my fifth and they always come true, but not always right,” the old woman said, wagging her finger at Lowenna. “It’s not set in stone see, you should take all visions of the future as a warning.”

Lowenna paused, was she telling the truth? The dreams or visions she had experienced did seem real, but none had come true... yet. “I had strange dreams, but none have come true, but I have met people for the first time who were in the dreams.”

“They will unless you have changed your fate.” The old woman said nodding and still wagging her finger. Lowenna suddenly felt a little queasy and was just thinking that she had died in an alleyway, being chased by a lion beast monster. She definitely wanted to avoid dark alleyways.

“Did you say I was fighting two people? Because that is very unlikely,” Lowenna asked, still looking slightly baffled.

“I only say what I saw dearie,” the old woman stated with a smile. “And don’t worry about my glasses.”

“All right…” Lowenna replied now feeling even more confused. “Well I bid you good fortunes,” Lowenna said as she turned and left the tent before the old woman could say anything else.

“Not true, can’t be true, she’s crazy!” Lowenna muttered to herself unsure of what to believe. The conversation had left her with more questions, but as soon as she got outside of the tent, there was a large man who was barring her path.

The man was very tall, broad and his hands were about the same size as Lowenna’s head. He was dressed all in black, looking quite official, except his nose which was very bent and had obviously been broken a few times. The man held his hand out level with Lowenna’s chest and he pushed her back into the tent, followed by another man and a boy.

“You sure this was her?” The second man asked the boy. This man was a lot shorter than the first but was wearing very similar clothes. He had short black hair, had several rings on his fingers and when he smiled, Lowenna could see most of his teeth were gold. The boy nodded, and then Lowenna recognised the boy. He was the pickpocket who had tried to rob her earlier. He was a little scuffed up and had a swollen lip. She assumed someone had slapped him a few times, possibly for failing to rob her. “You can leave.” The second man said, and the boy ran out of the tent. “Now then Miss, my boy tells me you took something from him.”

“More customers!” The old lady suddenly said as she popped out from behind her desk. She walked quickly around to show the second man some of her wares.

The man swung his hand, catching the old woman around the side of her head. Lowenna heard a small gasp of pain as she fell to the floor, her glasses falling off her face, and the man stepped on them. The crunch of the breaking glass was clear to hear.

“Leave her alone!” Lowenna shouted, but both men looked at the old woman then each other and started to laugh, both now looking at Lowenna.

“Now hand over your bags or I hurt the old lady again!” The second man said bending down and grabbing the old woman by the arm.

“Leave me alone!” The old woman shouted trying to break free.

The larger man who was standing between Lowenna and the shorter man turned his head to look at the old woman again. He was still laughing. Lowenna felt anger building in her and launched herself at the man. Her fist hitting his face, and her knee catching him in the groin. The man gasped for breath and doubled over in pain, and a swift elbow to his face sent him staggering, his head bouncing off the solid metal post that was holding the tent up. He fell to the floor blood running down his face, his nose broken again. He grunted to show he was still conscious but didn’t move.

Now the second man turned to face Lowenna, but she had already drawn her dagger, and moved very close to him. The blade tip almost touching his throat and the fight was over before it had even begun.

“My mistake,” He said trembling, the sweat running down his face. He released the old woman who fell back down to the floor. "Don't kill me, please don’t kill me," the man said as he tried to back up not taking his eyes off the dagger. The smile on Lowenna’s face grew. She liked this feeling of control and this man was just a bully. Lowenna was thinking should she teach him a lesson, but thought better of it.

“I think you owe this lady an apology, and any coins you have on your person.” The man nodded and slowly took out a small purse and dropped it on the counter.

“I’m sorry” he stated, trying to back up, but his back was now against the shop counter.

Lowenna took one step back, still pointing the dagger at him “Now take your friend here, and leave. If you bother me, or this lady again, you will regret it!” The man gave another small nod and walked over to his friend who was now starting to move. Lowenna didn’t take her eyes off the pair, making sure they didn’t try anything stupid.

“Let’s go.” The man said helping his large partner to his feet. He took the weight of the larger man and dragged him out of the tent, supporting him as he stumbled and groaned in pain.

Once they had left Lowenna helped the old woman up and then retrieved what was left of her glasses “Are you hurt?” She asked, hoping the old woman would be alright.

“Told you,” the old lady replied, again not making much sense. “Dreamed it, I did. You fighting two men.”

“Technically I only fought one man and threatened the other,” Lowenna said, the smile still on her face. She looked at her hand which she had smacked the thief with. Her knuckles were a little sore. “I’m sorry your glasses are all broken,” she said while passing them to the stall owner.

“I told you not to worry about them,” she replied, “you should go now Lowenna, you still got more to do this sun.” The old woman picked up a new pair of glasses, which was on her counter ready for her like she had put them there to replace the broken ones.

Lowenna wondered what she meant by the comment, more to do? But decided not to ask “goodbye then, and if those men come back...”

“They won’t," the old woman suddenly said, interrupting Lowenna. "They in trouble themselves, won’t want to admit they got beat up by small, young woman.”

“Wouldn’t do their reputation any good, would it?” Lowenna said and laughed. She was surprised by the fact she could fight so well, and in that instant, she felt like she could take on an army. She felt strong and powerful, and no one was going to stop her from getting answers she wanted now.

“Goodbye then Lowenna, and don’t get overconfident in your own abilities,” the old woman said throwing her a serious look.

Lowenna stopped laughing. “Your right,” she said, as she put her dagger back in her bag. She nodded at the woman and left the tent, the smile still across her face.

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

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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