The Lady and The Highwayman

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Lady Alainn, Sep 28, 2014.

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  1. The bouncing of the carriage along the well-travelled dirt road counteracted the steady clip-clop of the horse's hooves, keeping the young Lady Abigail quite awake and quite sore. Her father's carriage was too large by far for one woman and a manservant and Abigail found herself jostled about forcefully without the cushioning of other bodies. She had no hope for sleep to claim her and shorten the journey to her aunt's house. Across the coach from her, the manservant nodded his head, struggling to stay awake. Envy settled in Abigail's bosom. How she wished she could do the same!

    Perhaps it was the anticipation that dragged the hours so long. A whole summer of freedom awaited Abigail as soon as she stepped foot inside her aunt's house. No snide remarks from Father about finding a suitor, no reprimands from Mother for not holding her cutlery just so, the only chore awaiting her was keeping her favourite aunt company and that would be pleasurable.

    Tucking a stray curl of blonde hair behind her ear, she leaned her forehead against the carriage window and blew gently on the glass. As her breath frosted the pane, she lifted a finger to sketch a rather stick-like horse before it faded away. Surely, they must be nearing the inn where they would sup before too much longer!
  2. Sitting in a tree over the dirt road, a young man was adorned in old, mildly torn black clothing. His dark blue gaze was focused on the road, waiting for an unsuspecting carridge to appear. He narrowed his eyes and made a small bird call when he heard the thundering of hooves. This could be a good score.

    The man dropped down from his perch, landing in the middle of the road as the carridge came into sight. A small smile played on his tanned face. Black hair fell to his thick but surprisingly tamed brows, where a pale white scar was made painfully obvious. His build was athletic, with both speed and strength on his side.

    A slight gesture with his hand brought a decent sized group of men of all sizes out from the bushes. They were wielding somewhat crude weapons, though they could be considered effective in their own ways. The darkly clothed man was one of the few wielding decent swords in this mix- only about three others were armed with this type of weapon. They waited unflinchingly for the carridge to stop.
  3. "Ho, there! Whoa!" Abigail sat up straighter as the driver's muffled words penetrated through the carriage. Once glance out the window told her they had not reached town yet. Then why were they stopped? She hadn't felt the jolt of a wheel disconnecting, nor heard the snap of a broken rein, nor even the quiet thud of a suitcase tumbling to the ground. Was it an unplanned rest stop? Abigail moved to open the door, but a solid grip on her wrist from the manservant prevented her.

    "Stay here, m'lady," he said sternly, pressing her back into her seat. His hand then travelled to the short sword strapped around his waist as he disembarked from the carriage and closed the door firmly behind him. Abigail flew to the other side of the coach, pressing her nose against the glass to try to obtain a glimpse of what was obstructing the road. Her heart beat wildly in her chest as her mind jumped to conclusions. Were they under attack? She'd heard tales of travellers waylaid on the road by cutthroats and robbers. The infamous Robin of Locksley, the people's hero, preyed mainly upon the Norman nobles though he never took a life if he could help it. But with the Saxon crest upon her father's carriage so proudly displayed, there was no hope of it being Locksley. No, whoever blocked their path had no loyalties.

    Outside the carriage, the driver held the reins of his horses nervously. His voice wavered slightly, "Clear the road and let us pass, good sirs. We have no quarrel with you."
  4. "We don't have any quarrel with you either, sir, as long as we both get what we want from this encounter. I'm afraid that the taxes for travel have gone up quite a bit though." The man clothed in black took a couple steps forward, revealing himself to be the leader of the group due to the orderly manner he was presenting himself in. His stance was anything but aggressive, though it was clear that he could shift in a millisecond should things take a turn for the worse.
    "Of course, a big carriage with a big old crest such as that surely means someone capable of paying this tax is hiding inside." His words were strictly business, laced with a strong sense of logic that drove them.
    He waited patiently for the responses of the driver and the manservant who had stepped out from the carriage. He kept his gaze even with them both, though he reasoned that the servant would be more trouble than the driver. A good servant would fight to the death to defend their lord and master.
  5. Brandishing his sword, the servant took a step forward to match the masked man's. "You will keep away from the coach, sir," he said tightly. "We have nothing of interest to you and wish to pass peacefully on this public road."

    Abigail could only hear murmurs from her seat within the coach. A man's voice she did not recognize. Her servant's. He said something about the coach and passing peacefully. Her breath caught in her throat. What she had supposed must be true! They had been assaulted by highwayman robbers! She looked wildly about herself in the carriage. What did she have of value inside here with her? Nothing but the jewels strung upon her neck and dangling from her ears. A hand flew to her necklace. In no way would she part with her mother's jewels! Quickly, her fingers felt along the strands for the clasp at the back of her neck. Oh, why couldn't they make clasps easier to undo? Her fingers slipped in her haste. At least she could remove her earrings. Easing them out of her lobes, she stuffed the jewelry in her bodice. Now onto the necklace again. She fiddled once more and the clasp came undone. Relief flooded her breast as she stuffed the beads into her bodice as well. She would like to see those men steal her jewelry now!

    "If the men do not relinquish their position, spur the carriage on," the manservant said quietly to the driver.
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