Hello again, Readers! (What’s this? I’m posting 3 days in a row? How can this be?!) Well, Stella’s story has taken root in my mind, and now I can’t stop writing. So here’s another installment based on today’s WordPress Daily Prompt word: Uneven.
A Rough Start
I awoke hours before dawn, a habit from working in the mill with my father. Quiet as a mouse, I dressed and grabbed the knapsack I had packed the night before. My eyes drifted to where my little sister still lay sleeping in her bed, and before I could change my mind, darted over and lightly kissed her forehead. “Goodbye,” I whispered. Then I was gone.
All was silent in town, the sun just barely beginning to peak over the horizon. I stood outside the village inn peering into the dim front room. No one was stirring. In the corner near the fireplace I could see a man, slumped over and still holding his mug. I crept around to the stables and was relieved to see Griffin’s horse still there. “So much for him setting out at the crack of dawn,” muttered. Griffin’s horse neighed in response.
The sun was nearly all the way up before Griffin himself strode into the stable, cursing. I jumped, having expected him to send a stable boy, not come himself to saddle his horse. He stopped dead at the sight of me. “You.”
“Me,” I said defiantly, refusing to be intimidated. “I told you. I’m coming with you.”
“And I told you. No, you’re not.” He brushed past me to get to his horse, nearly knocking me over in the process. My nose wrinkled as the stench of ale reached my nostrils.
“No wonder you’re so late,” I muttered. Griffin ignored me. He ignored me the entire time he saddled his horse, while I followed him from the stable and when he yelled for his page boy, Bart.
Bart was a gangling youth, thin with straw colored hair and a worry line between his brows. His eyes, however, were a bright blue and had a spark of intelligence in them, and kindness in the corners. I liked him immediately. He stumbled to a stop when he saw me waiting next to Griffin’s horse, and his worry line increased. “What are you doing here, Miss?” he asked, struggling with what appeared to be a few week’s rations and a barrel of ale.
I stepped forward and took a couple of the bags. “Stella,” I replied. “It’s Miss Stella. And as I told Mr. Lionheart last night, I’m coming with you.”
Bart’s eyes widened comically. “Oh no! No! You can’t Miss, it’s too dangerous!”
“I’ll take my chances.”
With a quick pleading look at me, Bart hurriedly set down the barrel of ale and ran to assist his master. I watched him go. “I am going,” I told the horse. I took a seat on the barrel. “One way or another, Griffin is going to take me with him.”