She came to on some soft grass. She rubbed at the bump on her head and winced at the pain. She knew she was in Penrith. The sign on the bakery said so. She could not quite remember how she had arrived here. Where was Mama?

She slowly got to her feet, her head still pounding, and she walked toward the tavern. Surely someone in there may have seen her Mama. She pushed open the door and the smell of sawdust, wood, old ale and wood smoke filled her nostrils.

There were a few people seated around the place and one man sat up at the bar. The bartender seemed friendly but she was unsure of the man sat there. Ele took a deep breath and walked up to the bar. The bartender smiled at her and spoke in a strange accent, "Wha' can I be gettin' ya missy?"

Ele nervously went forward and held out her hands. Her voice was shaky with nerves as she spoke. "Um, sir I fear I have no money and no possessions. It seems I was robbed and...Something happened to my Mama, have you seen her?"

The bartender could see that Ele was very shaken by whatever ordeal she had been through and he offered he a seat then went off to prepare her a bowl of soup after setting a drink down on the bar for her. She bowed her head meekly, grateful for his kindness but embarrassed that she had no way to pay.

The man next to her spoke in a surprisingly soft voice, "Aye, never fear lass...we'll look after you here. What's your name, girl? I go by Richard but most call me Merks."

Ele smiled shyly at the man and offered her hand, "My name is Elensar."

Richard's eyes opened wide and he stared at Ele in a very odd way that made Ele feel rather uncomfortable. She twisted her fingers together and turned back to the bar hoping that the soup would be good and vowing to pay back everything she owed for the kindness she had been shown.

The bartender returned with the soup and Ele sat and ate. Richard was talking in whisper with the bartender and Ele peeked over. The bartender's eyes grew wide just as Richard's had and Ele's cheeks burned red. She finished off the soup, it was very good. She was about to thank the bartender and tell him that she would pay him back when she could but before she could speak Richard laid a hand on her arm.

"I think I know why you are here. I'm not sure about your Mama that you spoke of but I strongly suggest you head to Morgan Manor. They will be able to answer all your questions and probably even those you have not thought of.” He kindly patted her arm before explaining the directions to this Morgan Manor.

Ele was taken aback and wondered how this gentleman might have known of her. She decided that she would head straight to the manor he spoke of and see if they could help find Mama and perhaps the reason why she had come to Penrith in the first place.

The End

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