Adele: At the inn

I didn't like parting from the main group and there hadn't been time for goodbyes.  Now that it was just Gerald and me I felt vulnerable, despite the sword and pistol Gerald was carrying.  We travelled in silence, riding hard so we could reach the inn Gerald knew before dark.

The sun was just setting as we led our horses into the stables behind the inn.  I gently stroked the mane of my mare, whispering softly in her ear before following Gerald inside.  Working his way through the crush of people, he found the innkeeper, a short man with rapidly thinning hair, and introduced himself as a potential customer.

'Good evening Monsieur, M'amselle.  How can I help you this fine evening?'  I suddered at his fake hospitality and the way he was learing at me.

'I'm looking for a room for the night for myself and my daughter.'  Gerald kept a perfectly calm, stonelike face as he addressed the landlord.

'Oh so she's your daughter is she.'  There was something funny in his tone of voice that offended Gerald, because in the next moment, the innkeeper was sent reeling, a hand clutching his jawbone, Gerald moving in for another blow.

'Stop!'  I shouted, taking hold of Gerald's arm.  'We don't need this right now,' I whispered close to his ear.  'Please leave it father.'  I subconciously took on the role Gerald had set out for me, only realising as I said the word father.  But it seemed to work, Gerald straightened up, unclenching his fists and stepped back.

'You're a very lucky man.  Now, a room for myself and my daughter, Monsieur.' 

***

Half an hour later and I was settled in a small bedchamber with Gerald.  The only problem was, there was only one bed.

'You take the bed.'  I offered, looking around for a comfortable place to sleep and finally settling on the armchair that stood by the fireplace.  I sat down, making myself confortable.

'Don't be stupid Adele.  I can't have you waking up stiff tomorrow morning, not when we have so much riding to do.  You have the bed.'

'I will not give in on this one Gerald.  You are the only one of us who can fight and therefore defend us if we are attacked.  I can't afford for you to have a bad night's sleep.'  I put on my most stubborn face and folded my arms across my chest, my body language saying, I'm not moving.  But instead of arguing with me, Gerald just smiled.

'You remind me so much of your brother.  He had the same stubborn temper as you.  Not like your father.  He was quite different.'

'Will you tell me about him?  My father?  It wasn't until he died that I realised I didn't really know him.  Please Gerald.'

Gerald sighed.  'D'accord.  What do you want to know about him?'  He moved and sat on the arm of my chair, looking down at me.

'Everything.'  I breathed.  'What sort of man was he?'

'The best.  Very organised, kept the rest of the group in check and collected most of our information.  He was trustworthy, Guillame trusted him with his life and there are only your father and Nathaniel who can say that with any certainty.'  Gerald smiled, as if suddenly remembering something, a happy memory, but as soon as the smile was there it vanished again.

'It sounds like you were very close.'  I leaned my head against Gerald's arm, yawning.  I hadn't realised how tired I was and my eyelids were starting to droop.  I was aware that Gerald was still talking but the words didn't register as I drifted off to sleep.

The End

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