Chapter 2 Adventures In Town
Once she Arrived at the vendors she was almost overwhelmed by the selection. When she had come here with her mother there were maybe four vendors with clothes at the most. She could easily see a dozen at first glance, and with it being the outer arc of the market they went around the corner as well. She took the next hour or so looking at tall the options. Her father had taught her the value of exploring all of ones options before jumping in. She also knew how to sew from her other, so being able to determine the quality of each item was a good thing as well. Many of the vendors were asking more than she thought their items were worth. Sure they may look good but many either had shoddy craftsmanship or used poor material. Some even had both.
Her main problem though was finding something that didn’t require a team to put on. She saw a lot of dresses that were true works of art, but it would take her too long to put on even with help. She wanted something simple, yet elegant. She finally found what she was looking for at a vendor near the end of the row. It looked like a summer dress, but with full arms and a nicer collar. It fastened in the front and had running horses on the lower portion. They were well done and beautiful.
“How much are you asking for this dress?” she asked the man in the booth.
“I am not sure that is something you would like. I would recommend something more like these,” the older man said as he motioned towards the left side of his booth. She saw that they were dresses far cheaper than she wanted. They were suited more for working on a farm. She knew they were good for their function but was confused. Then it dawned on her, she had ridden all day and was wearing her traveling clothes. She was dirty and the man must assume she had little money.
She had an idea after her realization. She shifted to the dresses he pointed out and looked at some of them. “Well these do look pretty, not as pretty as that fancy one I asked about. But I could get maybe two of these.”
“I thought so. Many a fine lady would like a nice dress. But those are far more expensive and Ladies that get those are normally of leisure and status. I don’t think you would even know how to put it on.”
Angilik could see a sign advertising price for the work dresses at 10 copper each. She reached into her pocket and pulled out three gold crowns, she could buy thirty of the dresses at the price the sign said, but she had an idea the vendor had other ideas. She was sure by her appearance, he thought she was just a dumb local girl. “Can I get two of those pretty dresses for this much?” she asked.
“Of course dear. And because you are such a sweetheart, I can actually give you five of them for that price.”
“Wow, five dresses. I don’t think I own that many dresses right now,” she said in a louder voice. It caused a few people to look over.
“Well if you just give those coins and tell me what dresses you want, I will even wrap them in pretty paper for you.”
“But my father said I couldn’t spend that much on myself. I really want a new dress though. I would be the prettiest girl in the village then,” Angilik said in a way that sounded a lot younger than she was, or at the least a lot less educated. It was a little louder than it was than the last time she spoke. Now some passerbys were looking at them both.
“How often does a young lady get to spoil herself though. I will tell you what, for you i will make a special deal. You can have the five dresses for only two of your coins. Does that sound good to you?”
Before she could answer someone else spoke up, “I would actually say that a good deal would be to give her the five dresses you promised for the actual cost of them.”
The vendor started to speak before he looked up, “Who do you think you are butting into my business?” As he stared at the man speaking to him, he almost turned pale. “I am sorry sir. I didn’t realize….”
“You shouldn’t have had too. Trying to steal from people is wrong and shouldn’t be done at all. I believe I will have a word with the town administrator about your place here at the market.”
“There is no need for that sir. I was just negotiating with the young lady.”
Angilik turned and looked at her benefactor. He was a tall, dark skinned and rugged looking man in nice clothes. He was obviously someone with influence in the town for the vendor to be so scared by him. Her plan had worked better than she thought. She was just trying to get at least another vendor to stand up for her, but this was an unexpected bonus.
The conversation between the two men continued with the taller man speaking, “Then why don’t you sell to her at the price you put out. Though I think that maybe you should make a deal to her for trying to rob her.”
“That is an excellent idea sir. She was looking at this nice dress over here earlier. I could find it in my heart to sell it her and her five other dresses for one crown.”
The younger man pondered a moment then looked at Angilik. “That is actually a good deal for you, if you are willing to take it my lady.”
She was almost shocked at the words. He was obviously from the noble class, but he was speaking to her as if she was as well. “If you think it is good, then I will. That other dress is so beautiful,” she said, still feigning ignorance. She handed a single coin to the vendor and was given the six dresses. She thanked them both and gleefully tookoff towards Mr. Wellman’s house after fetching Benjiman.
Scene 2 Home Away From Home
She knocked on the door before her after tying Benjiman to fence in the front of the house. She had trouble getting here, it had been a long time since she had visited Mr. Wellman’s actual home. It might have been three years since she had been to the town, but even longer since she had been here. From what she remembered it was pretty much the same. A modest home, by town official standards. Only half of it was two stories, even at that it was of standard workmanship. Nothing that was going to fall in any time soon, so it had the feel of an every man’s house, but was just big enough to let you know it belonged to someone of status.
The door opened and Mrs. Wellman greeted her in a warm fashion and invited her in. “My dear how you have grown.”
“It has been a while ma’am.”
“I hear your father is not doing so well.”
“You heard right. The stress of recent events has made him very ill. Our doctor can’t seem to figure out what to do. He started to feel ill after mother died and he put all his efforts into business to make sure Joshua and I were taken care of. Once that failed, he got much worse faster.”
“Well when you see him next give him our love. He was always a fair and kind man. Unlike many of these new so called businessmen that have moved into town.”
“I can see that from personal experience.”
“Well you will have to tell that tale at dinner dear. It will still be a little while before it is ready. I have a room made up for you as well.”
“I can’t impose on you like that.”
“Don’t be silly. We have empty rooms and no one to fill them. Once Harold sent word that you were joining us for dinner I decided to let you stay.”
“I can only say thank you.”
“That is all i require. I get bored with nothing to do and no one around. The local wives are much younger than I, most of the people we knew have wither passed or retired to the city. Now child you are in a state. We need to get you cleaned up as well. You have journeyed all day and are quite a mess.”
Angilik blushed a little as she realized she was right. Her clothes were al dusty and she was covered in sweat and dirt herself. No wonder the vendor had mistaken her for a simple farmhand. Mrs. Wellman took her cloak and showed her to the room she would be staying in. A portable tub had been set up in it already filled with water.
“I am sorry that the water might be a little cooled. I didn’t know when you would arrive.”
“That is alright. The fact that you drew a bath for me is good enough. The water could be ice cold and I wouldn’t mind.”
As Angilik put her things on a table Mrs. Wellman looked at the dresses she brought with her. “That is a fine dress you have there.”
“I bought it today. I heard that the Lord might be in town tomorrow and I wanted to look nice incase he was looking to fill positions in his household.”
“That is good idea, though it looks like you might be searching for a husband with that kind of wardrobe. When harold gets home we will know for sure if he is coming tomorrow.”
“That would be good, I wouldn’t want to get all dressed up for nothing.”
Scene 3 Dinner
Mr. Well arrived home shortly after Angilik had finished her bath. She was in the waiting room with Mrs. Wellman trying on her new dress when he walked in. “I did not know we were expecting royalty tonight?” he said with a coy smile.
“Oh stop that Harold or I might get jealous,” Mrs. Wellman said. They looked at each other and laughed. Mrs. Wellman was adjusting the dress in certain places to make sure that it fit better.
Angilik had just looked at it and thought it would fit just fine. But she was used to wearing dresses that were more for work than for show. Her eye was not as refined in this area as Mrs. Wellman who had to deal in town politics and society with her husband for the better part of forty years. So she was helping t make sure that the dress accounted for more of Angilik’s fairer assets. The 5’6“ girl was just below the average height for most of the girls in the area but she carried it well. She was heavier as well, not in figure though. While most maidens sat around learning the finer art of taking care of a household, Angilik had been helping with her father’s business in more than just record keeping. This made her very muscular compared to most as well as firm.
Her strength was impressive for a girl of nineteen as well as her skills. She could ride a horse better than most and even had basic knowledge of how to fight. Her best was with a bow though. She had gone with her father and brother on many a trip and bandits were always a threat. They always brought men at arms with them, but just the same they wanted to make sure that she could handle herself. This also included the ability to take of herself out in the wild if she ever had to flee an attack.
The thing that made her really stand out though was the red in her hair. She wasn’t a straight redhead, those were rare, she was more of a strawberry blonde. But any red in a person’s hair was seen as a sign of being touched by magic. No one really believed in it anymore. But in more distant and rural areas stories still persisted of red headed witches that roamed the woods and hills. Even in towns the tales could be heard from older people and the fortune tellers that tried to make a living if you paid them.
Another odd feature were her blue eyes. Though not as uncommon as hazel or green, she would still get the occasional glare from people. She thought it odd today that she didn’t get that many until she realized that most of the day she had her cloak on with the hood up. She wanted to appear as ordinary as possible until she could get a feel fr the town.
Soon Mrs. Wellman was done making her adjustments. “Now you run up to your room child and get in something more comfortable. I will make the changes tonight so that you will look good tomorrow.”
“I still can’t thank you enough, but I know I can do it myself.”
“Don’t be silly. You are my guest, and no offense, but I am sure I will be quicker about it. I do have a few years more experience at this than you.”
“Well I can’t argue with that.”
“Hurry along now, I don’t want dinner to get too cold. We had to wait long enough for this old man to get home,” she smiled as she pointed to Mr. Wellman as she said it.
“Hey now. I got home as quick as i could. But the Lord’s advanced team arrived this afternoon and I had to work with them to make arrangements for his arrival tomorrow.”
“So he is coming then?” Angilik asked while on the stairs.
“Yes, my dear. I am not sure if he is looking for any help. But word is he will be holding audience in the morning at least. I am sure that also means he will have his staff looking to hire anyone needed nearby.”
She smiled at this news and went upstairs to get ready for dinner. She threw on one of her other new dresses quickly and went downstairs. It hadn’t occurred to her how hungry she was until Mrs. Wellman mentioned that dinner was ready. Angilik last ate that morning before she left home, and that was just a small amount. She entered the dining room and there the cook was bringing the dishes out to the table. She had forgotten that they had a couple of servants. They weren’t that rich but it was one of the perks of being the town administrator. They were not full time servants just local apprentices that were tasked with helping them. They even got their own cleaning lady once a week.
They were having ham and potatoes tonight. There was also going to be a dessert and some other vegetables. An elaborate meal like this was something she hadn’t had in a while. After her father lost most of his wealth they had also lowered their quality of meals. Once in a while hey got lucky and Joshua was able to catch some game to bring home for food. Angilik also did from time to time as well, but taking care of the home and her father offered her few chances to hunt. Even when she did she never ventured far and usually only got a rabbit or two at best. This was just a feast though. It lacked the seven courses that nobility got, but to her it was more than enough.
Conversation at dinner was sparse and covered most of the things already talked about, except Angilik’s story about the vendor that Harold loved and almost spat up his dessert while laughing. He said he was told of a shady vendor trying to ripoff a girl but he had no idea it was her. But he had it on good authority to keep his eye on him. After dinner Angilik made her way to her room and got changed for bed. She hadn’t felt this wonderful in a long time. She had nice new clothes, a full belly and a soft bed to sleep on. She didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but she was full of hope for the first time in a long time.