Shadow of Uther


Original poster
Invitation Status
  1. Not accepting invites at this time
Posting Speed
  1. 1-3 posts per week
  2. Slow As Molasses
Online Availability
10AM - 10PM Daily
Writing Levels
  1. Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Female
Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy, Thriller, Space Exploration, Slice of Life
The town was so perfectly generic that Chloe was almost certain she had visited it three times before. Four or five dirt covered streets lined with small local shops and Inns. A few in-town homes for those that didn't own land outside of the village, and the obligatory town square water fountain where the village children liked the play while their parents were busy working.

Chloe herself looked no different than anyone else in town. Aside from covering most of her features and body with an over-sized tattered cloak, she appeared to be nothing more than the typical traveler passing through. It was a little odd that such a young woman was traveling alone, but she made sure that most of the time she hitched a ride with other travelers. Little traveling caravans. Families moving to a new town. Adventurers in between adventures. Traveling long distance was always safer when in a group.

For the moment, she already said her goodbyes and thank yous to the nice couple that gave her ride. Now she was walking up the street looking for an Inn & Tavern that wasn't too shady, but also wasn't too expensive. After being on the road for three months, the little savings she had left were starting to dwindle. Ever so often she volunteered to work somewhere for a bit of money, but it was always temporary. Something would spook her and she would leave in a rush.

Bawdy Horse Tavern caught her eye. It was just gloomy enough that she was sure she could afford it, but wouldn't be afraid of the patrons inside. Chloe stepped in through the door, leaving her hood up and cloak on as she crossed the room and slid wearily in to a seat at the bar counter. Only a few people were scattered in the place, a person near the large fireplace or over in a booth in the corner. No one took any notice of her outside of the elderly male server behind the counter, who gave her a curious raise of his eyebrow. He looked even more dubious when she asked for a glass of milk instead of a grog or mead like most of the patrons demanded. Yet, he served it up when she passed a coin over.

Chloe frowned at the last few circlets of metal in her coin purse. There wasn't much left. Barely enough for a night or two. She would have to do something soon.
One leg stretched out in front of him, the other's foot tapping on the ground, Nick was staring up at the sky. He had no idea what he was doing, but the small wagon he was riding in was taking him to the location he was to start searching in. Not that he knew who exactly he was looking for... All he was told was to look for a woman, though his employer didn't tell him much more than that. He figured out she was pregnant by eavesdropping on some of the others the man had searching for the woman. But he didn't know how far along she was.

Sighing, he sat up fully and looked forward.

"We're coming up to the next town," the driver said with a toothless grin. Nick nodded and gathered his stuff. "You sure this is where you wanna be? Seems like to small a town for finding work."

Nick had let the man determine his story. Since he had managed to get the ride for free, the man assumed he was a poor man looking for work. Instead he had a purse full of coin sitting in his bag. It was a guise he had used often when doing the jobs for his employer. He jumped out of the wagon when he came to a stop, and he waved the driver on.

Once the wagon was pulling away, he looked around. Now, where to go from here? He turned and found himself face to face with a tavern door. Shrugging, he went in hoping that the fare here wasn't all that bad for a comfortable room. He had a feeling he'd be here at least a day or two, maybe three at most given the size of the place.
Chloe really wanted to order dinner. But even as she sipped her milk, she knew that it wouldn't be the best of ideas. How nauseous could a person feel! Taking in deep breaths, she was trying to desperately keep the room from spinning around in circles. The milk helped to settle her stomach at least a little bit. But her body seemed determined to make a spectacle of her. Once the glass was empty and pushed away, Chloe slipped out of her chair and on to her feet. The last thing she wanted to do was throw up in the middle of a tavern. That would be embarrassing and make the wrong sort of impression...!

Crossing the room went over well enough, but the rushing in her head was making everything tilt dangerously. As if she were standing on the bow of a ship in the middle of the ocean. Chloe wasn't sure if it was herself sway or just her vision. At least no one seemed to notice or was looking her way. Apparently, she should have been paying more attention where she was headed, as she ran straight in to something solid. A person. Out of reflex her hands curled in to his clothing to prevent herself from stumbling backwards. Yet she found herself clinging at what had to have been an awkward amount of time.

Chloe released his clothes in a quick rush. "Pardon me..!" she breathed out quickly, praying her face wasn't twinged with red, especially when she knew she had to be pale from all this sickness. The red would stand out so much. She took in a deep breath to steady herself again. Raising her hands as if she wanted to dust him off, but dropping them just as quickly. "Sorry." The phrase came out curt, but more solid, as she stepped aside to get out of his way.
As Nick, entered, he saw an unsteady looking woman walking and stepped towards her before he thought better of himself. What if she was just some drunk- Then she ran into him, and he got a closer look at her. She couldn't be drunk, not with as pale as she was. She should be more flushed than she was if she were drunk, he thought.

"It's no problem, miss. Are you all right?" he asked, steadying her with one arm. She still didn't look all that firm on her feet. He gave her a one over. There wasn't any outward signs for an illness, but she did seem to be down with something.

"Perhaps you should take a seat," he mumbled, more to himself than her as he led to to a table and helped her sit.

"What can I get for you to drink? Anything?"
Chloe found herself in a chair, which she was eternally grateful for! Everything was spinning so bad now that she had to squeeze her eyes shut. Afraid to even move a single muscle, her hands were clutching on to the man's arms. Surely it must have been an awkward moment, but Chloe was too busy swallowing and trying not to throw up all over the man, she didn't think about what her hands were doing.

"I'm... I'm just a little dizzy." she squeaked out, just barely above a whisper. Chloe took in a slow ragged breath. Once. Twice. Each time willing that nausea to go away. After several moments of repeating the process, she opened one eye. Then the other.

He looked so concerned, that she felt absolutely terrible! Chloe released his arms and leaned back in the chair. An apology written all over her pale face. "I am so sorry..! I just... I am a little ill and I... oh. I am so sorry..!" She covered her face with her hands. The past few months had gone so well, it was the first time she had ever made such a spectacle of herself.
"Hey hey, don't be sorry," he said with a genuine, crooked smile. "You can't help getting sick."

Thinking she was doing a little better, he grabbed a chair and sat close enough to be able to catch her if she fell again but far enough that she could have her space to breathe.

"Do you live around here? Maybe when you feel a little more settled I could help you home?" he asked. He wanted to make sure she didn't fall in the street on her way home, that was for certain. Besides, he had so long to do his task and with the place being as small as it was... he could do more than afford a small detour.
Chloe shook herself softly. A little bit of air was helping a lot, but focusing on a conversation seemed to be helping even more. Now she was watching him, examining his face and clothes without seeming like she was. It was really only a quick look to see what he was all about. From her limited experienced he didn't seem to be anything more than another active traveler, which helped her feel a little less worried.

"Oh no. I am just traveling and looking for homes. I haven't even found a place to stay here just yet." The information was probably more than she should confess to a stranger, but Chloe didn't think that was the important tidbit she needed to keep hidden.
Nick frowned but nodded. Now that he looked, it did seem like she was traveling. He felt a little embarrassed from this oversight, but pushed it away.

"You need to rest," he mumbled. "Come along, we'll find you a place to stay. This place is nice, but I think with you being sick it's probably not the best choice. You're liable to only get worse."

A few of the tenants around them sent glares his way, but did nothing. After all, it was probably true. This was a decent enough place for the money, but it certainly wasn't luxurious.

"We can step it up at least one notch, right?" he asked with a smile. "I'll help you get there, just in case you need someone stable again. Sickness is a horrible thing, unpredictable. Some fresh air will probably do you a lot of good too. In my opinion, there's a nothing better than a deep breath of morning air. It's not morning, but why not enjoy the air anyway? At least we're breathing it in, right?"
The girl looked a little surprised, but her expression quickly switched to a light suspicion. Then she seemed to realize she was watching him suspiciously and tried to look impassive. Clearly, she was terrible at hiding her inner thoughts and they all displayed across her face to be read as easily as any book.

"That's really nice of you..." she started off slowly. "But I am not sure I can afford a better place. Not unless I could find a job first." Her hands were raking through several curls of auburn hair as she fidgeted. With her sickness, she nearly forgot how important it was for her to find work in this town. Without it, she wasn't going to have enough money to stay anywhere at all let alone in a nicer place. The process was something she had repeated several times already in a few towns, but having to do it yet again left her feeling weary.

Chloe finally offered her hand for him to shake. "My name is Chloe."
Nick blinked and frowned, watching her expressions. Why did she not trust him?

He could have smacked his forehead. Of course she didn't trust him. He was a stranger, someone who she just happened to run into. He wouldn't trust him either.

And he was stupid to think she would have come here if she had enough coin for a nicer place. If she was traveling long, she would be low on coin. He thought this over, and came to a conclusion. He just needed her to agree to it.

"My name's Nick. It's real nice to meet you, Chloe." He smiled again to ease her worry. "I'd hate to see you get any sicker... Would you ease my mind, and let me buy you a room for the night? I don't want you to think ill of me, and I'll find a whole different place to stay if you don't trust me. I certainly wouldn't blame you."

Now, if she agreed... Was there even a nicer place in this town?
A part of her loved the idea. What was better than a free room at a nice place that wouldn't have bugs in the bed or smell like old cheese? But there was that other teeny little worry that it was an offer that came with a catch. There were lots of reasons a man offered to buy a woman a room, and she already learned that one the hard way.

"I don't know..." she admitted. "It would be nice but, that is too nice. I couldn't just take it..." Chloe was still mulling it over even as she spoke. A clean bed in a quiet room would be such a reprieve!

"Um... maybe! But I will have to do something for you! Do you have a business or a job I can do? Oh! But I won't sleep with you! I won't do anything like that. Or anybody else for that matter, too." The look on her face gave away that someone had previously made the suggestion before.
Nick chuckled.

"I won't ask you to do anything you do not want," he responded, trying to ease her worries. "I hope you can trust me on that one. And, off the top of my head I cannot think of anything you can do for me except regain your health. But I shall sleep on it and get back to you should the need arise."

The thought crossed his mind to ask her to help him with his quest, just so she would feel useful, but given the task he wasn't sure it would be a good idea. It might raise her suspicion once again, and he wanted to help her. If anything, it would make him feel better about what he was going to do to the poor woman he was hunting down when he finally found her for his boss.
Chloe was ready to accept his offer far easy than any smarter woman should have. She nodded, quickly realizing that wasn't the best of ideas when she was dizzy all over again. Her hand pressed gently over her head as if that would still the motion. Chloe laughed softly with embarrassment, as she cast him a small smile.

"I'm still a little dizzy still. It's not as bad as it seems really, just a little over whelming sometimes. Um.... but yes! I'll accept! A room would do wonders even for just a night. I could even mend some of your clothes for you?" Her hand reached out to flick at a small hole in his shirt sleeve. It wasn't a major thing, but any little errands she could do to make it up to him would have her feeling less guilty about accepting his offer. Chloe didn't want to be one of those women that took advantage of people. Especially knowing how bad it felt.
Seeing her start to tip a little after nodding her head, Nick reached out as though to steady her. He was overjoyed that she was going to accept his offer. And when she pointed out the fact that his clothes were getting ragged he felt his cheeks warm up a little.

"It's not that I neglect my clothes," he mumbled shyly, "I just don't notice that they are getting in such a shape. But I would be grateful to you if you would do that for me."

He stood and returned his chair to its place.

"Let me help you up," he offered, moving to put his arm around her waist to steady her.
"It wouldn't be a problem at all, and I would be very glad to do it." He seemed almost offended by her observation of his clothes... did that mean he was no so used to traveling like this also? That thought seemed to drift out of her head just as quickly as it came when he helped her stand. Chloe was sure her emotional instability was really jumping up and down then. Nick was going out of his way to be kind to her, and her she was blushing as if it were something more. Her stupid assumptions and over active imagination was what got her mixed up and entangled with the wrong sorts of people. Just thinking about how that happened was making her tear up, which would surely make poor Nick think she was really, really sick. ...or worse. A crazy person!

"Well...!" She said in a quick rush, trying to stop her mind from running away with itself. Chloe had to keep herself focused and not do anything ridiculous! "On our way, then? I can walk all right, I'll just. ...Hold your arm." It almost seemed as if she thought he would bite her when she hesitated at putting her hands on his arm. But her grip was gentle and she finally wasn't swaying back and forth so dangerously.
Nick watched as her face changed as her thoughts did. He couldn't figure out what most of them were, but he knew he saw a brief moment of wet eyes. Or so he thought. It was brief enough that he didn't know if he imagined it or not. When she said she would be fine but would hold his arm, he released her and offered his arm. Once she had put her hand on his arm, albeit with reluctance that he didn't quite understand - hadn't he proven himself already?

He led her carefully out the door and looked up and down the street to see if he could see a nicer looking place. Frowning, he looked past the buildings to see if there was one on another street. The town only had three roads, so he could see just about every building in some way.

"I think I see a place," he muttered before leading Chloe in the direction of the building he was looking at.
With a town that size, it couldn't have taken too much searching to find other available Inns. But Chloe was grateful one was spotted almost immediately. She wasn't sure if she had the energy to walk up and down the streets and inquire about prices. ...Though, now that she had a very generous benefactor for the evening, haggling wasn't something she needed to be concerned about.

As they walked down the street, Chloe's grip on his arm was soft. Most of the time was spent watching her step, but fairly often she would glance around, examine local faces or take note of building names. It was strange how the pattern always played out. Her first day in a new town she was always very nervous. Then she would relax and get used to the faces there. After a few weeks there would be strangers in town and she'd be far too worried to stay in town any longer. Having to repeat the process was so tiring!

Upon entering the Inn, it did indeed look much better maintained than the tavern. The front was clean and tidy, though not at all overly fancy. At a front desk was an old woman who needed to squint to be able to see them. In fact, she didn't seem entirely sure they were there until the pair was standing in front of the desk and within reaching distance.

The old lady stood there, standing. Waiting. And finally croaked out an impatient, "Whaddaya want now?"
Nick's only concern as they walked was making sure that Chloe was holding on to him and stayed standing. He was tense the entire walk, prepared to catch her should the need arise. Luckily, it never did; he wasn't so sure he'd be fast enough with as hard as he was concentrating on it.

They walked into the inn, and his eyebrow rose at the impatience of the old woman across the desk.

"We'd like two rooms please," he said, opening his pouch at his waist and fishing for several gold coins. Surely this place couldn't be more than two pieces a room for the town they were in. Finding the coins, he set them on the counter.

The old woman stared at them, and then picked up the coins to squint at them. He was afraid for a moment she'd say it wasn't enough and began fishing for another set of coins.

"That's a night for ya," she said finally. He nodded and put another set of coins on the counter as she turned to get the registrar and a couple keys. He was surprised at the lack of questions from the woman though. When she turned back and saw the extra coin, she gave him a look but said nothing, handing him the registrar and Chloe the keys. He scratched out their first names and handed it back. The old woman didn't seem to notice as she picked up the extra coins.

"Down the hall, last two doors on the left," she told them before ignoring them again.
With keys in hand, Chloe led the way down the hall. Her eyes wandered over the door crooked door numbers until she found the last two on the left side. She tapped her chin for a moment, as if picking a room just by looking at the door was an every day task for her. Finally, she handed Nick a key, keeping the very last door for herself. There wasn't any particular reasoning behind it, she just thought it would feel a little safer knowing he was the only one she shared a wall with.

"There! If you can give me yours clothes, I could get to work on them right away! Um, well I suppose you wouldn't want to be naked, but if you have an extra set of clothes I could mend those first and then you could switch and give me these to mend when I am done. I don't think it will take me long, I have some things in my bag..." Seeming to suddenly remember that she had one, loosely hanging over her should and partially hidden by her cloak, Chloe pulled it forward so she could flip open a flap and dig around inside.

"I even have a book you could read, unless there is something important you need to be doing... I hadn't even realized I never asked what you were here in town for! Or did I? I'm sorry, I'm just really... out of my element lately!" Out of her element and out of her mind. Chloe wondered if being pregnant would be less complicated if she didn't have to pick up and move so often. If being completely scattered brained was because she was ill half the time, or because she could barely remember which town she was in after moving so often.
Nick chuckled and handed over his bag after pulling out a couple knives. "All that's in there now are my clothes. I prefer to travel light. Anything else can be acquired along the journey." He opened the door to his room. "Let me know if you need anything, I'll go get it for you. I'd rest, though. I don't want you to get any sicker."