(Click HERE to familiarize yourself with where we last left our story!)
Author: Myself (James)
SETTING: The lonely outskirts of a small, vaguely medieval village. A full moon bathes the densely forested area in a soothing blue light as a young girl— but definitely 18, at the very least — stoops to collect firewood. She is quite stunning. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a cloaked rider makes his presence known.
“Good evening, my dear. Beautiful night, is it not?”
The girl, startled, curtsied politely, as her parents had instructed do if she found herself in such a situation. She did not immediately look to see who was addressing her, but could tell from the aristocratic tone that she was being addressed by someone of noble birth. She then glanced upwards and swallowed noticeably. She’d never seen such a majestic steed. Such a handsome rider.
“—yeh—yes, m’Lord!” she stammered. “Quite lovely!”
“My dear, let me ask you – have you ever wondered what it might be like to work as a maid in a great household?”
The girl’s eyes suddenly shone as bright as the moon above.
“Oh, yes! Yes, m’Lord! Most nights! With my help, after a year or two in such a position, my family might be able to afford—”
“—hwa!-hwa!-hwa!” the rider laughed.
“…I–I apologize, m’Lord!” croaked the girl. “I meant no offense! It was presumptuous of me to—”
“–Fret not my dear,” said the rider. “Tell me – what do you know of fence construction? Of hand-to-hand combat?”
The girl did not reply quite at once.
A faint shout in the distance.
The girl instinctively looked towards the sound and saw six or seven flickering torches crest over a hillside some two hundred yards off.
“Eva, my dearl!” came the shout again, with an air of desperation. “Do reply if you can hear me!”
“I’m sorry m’Lord, but I must go,” said the girl. “My father seems to think that there is danger in these woods, which I know like the back of my ha—“
The girl stopped herself, for as she turned to face the rider, she found that she was alone.
All she could hear was the thunder of hooves bubbling down the well-trodden path somewhere distance.
And then, most curiously – laughter.