As he ran through the market on a rainy day similar to the one back in Dehlyn, Landon reflected on his life up until now.
He didn't do that too often, but today he did.
Why hadn't he stopped that girl in the market instead of meeting her at the palace? Told her what he knew? He should have, he knew now.
She could be dead, and she was their only hope. Yet here he was in Alvilaid, being chased by the Norwans. Oh, his Master would have been disappointed in him!
Remember what he taught you, Landon. Remember every single word. He told himself. He was more of a father then that Norwan general could ever be.
"Comin' through!" he yelled as he ran by frightened people, stalls of food and trading goods. He then rounded a corner, hoping that the coast was clear,
He rounded the corner, but it was too late. There she was.
"Alina!" He yelled, trying to dodge her. For some reason they thought alike. He crashed straight into her.
"Landon!" she excalimed as he gathered her things for her.
"I'll explain later!" Landon thrust the basket into one arm and grabbed the other. Practically dragging her, he rounded a sharp corner, right to the docks. As he ran past trade ships and called to a man on the large raft which took people to Dehlyn and back.
"Hey, hold up, old man! You've got passengers!" He yelled.
But Ben, the raft master, had already begun casting off. "Well hav' to jump it." he said to Alina.
"No!" Alina slowed down. A commotion began to erupt by the corner he had just rounded.
"I could leave ye to th'Norwan guards, my dear." Landon slipped his hand into hers. "I know how they like their women."
"I'd rathar that ye didn't insult me when I'm savin yer neck. Run!" he ordered.
Alina obeyed, easily keeping up with her old companion.
They ran, jumped for the raft.. . .
and missed it completely.
Landon kept his hold on Alina, surfacing with a splash!
"Oh, Landon, what did you do this time?" Alina sputtered as Benjamin Cove helped her aboard. Norwan soldiers shouted curses behind them.
"Great patrols, them Norwans. Almost nab'd me this time." Landon grinned shamelessly at her. "I apologize."
Alina turned away, not bothering to try and help.
"Couldna you have waited, Cove?" he whispered as he was helped into the boat. Benjamin Cove, the raft master, shrugged apologetically.
Meanwhile, Alina was still raving at Landon.
"You are such a pest, dragging me into this! I can't go to Dehlyn, I can't! I have things to do! I'm barely considered a servant, because of you. I'm lucky to have-" Alina stopped cold as Landon cupped her chin in his hand, laughing at her flushed face.
"Ah, but it was I who helped you in hard times, dearest. You would never have survived the winters without me and my ol' hut. Ye also hav' nowhere else to go. So why not come to Dehlyn with me? It's a last-minute trip, but I know a place we can stay."
"What do you mean?" Alina asked, completely disarmed.
"The Norwans haven't really gotten to Dehlyn quite yet. I'm safe there, and you will be too. I've a friend there who owns a very successful inn. I can get you work there." he added. He knew full well she couldn't refuse that offer.
Alina looked away sharply and stared at Alvilaid, her only home, which was gradually shrinking. "You owe me three silver coins." she snapped.
Landon grinned at the raftmaster, who laughed softly at his friends antics and continued steering the raft.
The night of secrets
Landon walked into the Plough Stone late that night, sitting himself down on his favorite stool. He motioned for Alina to join him.
Landon waved to innkeeper and greeted him warmly. "Hello. I trust all is well here as usual, Jacob! How 'bout the house favorite for my friend here?"
Jacob Martell waved back, nodded and quickly mixed up two dark cordials.
Landon smiled and placed two silver coins onto the table, which the Reverend put quickly away under the counter. "Now I owe you two silver coins." he said to Alina, who shrugged and sipped the drink.
"It's good." she said, barely heard above all the noise. It felt good to drink it, she had never tasted anything like it.
"So what do you know, Landon?" the Reverend asked in a low voice.
"I know that the Norwans have Alvilaid, and they almost nab'd me earlier today." he grinned, showing the Reverend a bruise on his arm "But I've a little trad' to make." He motioned for the Reverend to come closer.
"Which would be. . .
"Her." he said, nodding to Alina.
The Reverend looked a little surprised, but did not question the bargian. "For?"
"I want in, Jacob. I can get you information. I've more contacts then your Kate could pull. More friends under the radar. Their Law hates me, but that's because I'll hav' nothin' to do wi' Norwan Law. I want in, and I want Alina's safety in exchange for the infermation you need. Alina is a very hard worker when she puts her mind to it.
"Hav' we a bargin?" he asked. Jacob looked thoughtful.
"Done." a voice behind him said.
Landon froze at the voice, his face carrying no expression. Everything seemed to stand still.
"Done." Landon found himself shaking the Reverend's hand.
Landon turned around on his stool. Looked around the room. He turned back to the Reverend, feeling confused. He glanced at Alina, who was sipping her drink and talking with another bartender, Lalaine.
Landon shrugged, thinking it was probably Kate looking for a talk. With a last look around, he drained the glass. Placing two more silver coins on the table, he asked for a room.
"The usual room, go up when ever you're ready." Jacob told himreadily, handing him a key.
Landon thanked him, and tapped Alina's shoulder. "Let's go, we hav' a place to sleep for the night."
"But-" the door opened, cutting Alina's protest short. A figure materialized in the doorway.
"Marcus!" a girl called, rushing to catch him before he fell over.
Ha! He probably had news of a seige force heading for Dehlyn.
Landon practically dragged Alina upstairs to their room. "Get some sleep, Ally, you'll need it for tomorrow. If I'm right, it'll be an interesting day." He smiled at her, like he always had.
Alina, thinking nothing of his order to sleep, shrugged and sat down on the bed, glancing around the room.
But what she didn't notice was Landon's look of regret once he was out of sight. What had he done? How had the they survived, and how in the world would he keep up this charade with Alina?
Wasn't that waitress the girl from the marketplace?