Glancing furtively around, Spartus leaned against the tree he was hiding behind, out of breath. His hand shook as he wiped the rain from his brow. Thunder echoed through the valley and lightning danced in the skies, illuminating the forest where he hid. Not daring to look around as he heard the crunch of small twigs as the ones searching for him, grew ever nearer.
He had ran through the forest, hoping beyond hope to lose the ones following him. His knees trembled in fear, knowing if they caught him, they would not only take the precious cargo he carried in the pocket of his worn vest, but his very life as well. How they had found him, or knew what he carried he did not know. He only knew he was in grave danger this dark stormy night. Silently he crept away from the tree, his mind reliving the events of the last hour….
“Give us a ale, luv, this not a night for man nor beast to out and about” he said to Tessa, as he sat down at the bar of the Shattered Skull.
Tessa brought him the ale with a sad look upon her face. “Wot’s wrong, girl, I aint been seeing you in ages,wot’s the sad face for?” he asked as she placed his ale before him.
“You haven’t heard ‘ave you Spartus? Of what happened to Mowdly? He was found dead, his soul bound to some cursed pirate ship sunk down deep in Davey Jones locker”, she replied. ” I know ye were a friend of ‘is. As were the other I heard about being jailed in Yew..Rouso is his name, I be thinkin”
” Mowdly dead??! Rouso in jail??” he stammered. “Lass,tell me more!”
” All I know of Rouso is he were put in jail for supposedly thievin some coin. Where it be true or not I don’t know. Mowdly, he had joined up with a ship to earn a few coin,and it were a cursed pirate ship, the crew all dead like, ghosts they were, only come to flesh like you and me when the moons lined up. They killed Mowdly and the capt’n cursed his soul, bindin it to tha ship. Later there were a great battle and the Capt’n were killed. Freein Mowdly’s soul.” she sighed.
“Odd though, people were comin in ‘ere left and right, askin me about a piece of old map. I didn’t know nuttin bout no map, they spoke Rouso’s name as well. Then they started askin me bout me favorite flower! And look , *pointing to counter*…Tobias from Buc’s Den shipyard broughts me a vase full…” she smiled.
“I’m thinkin he be sweet on me now that Mowdly’s gone.. he’s a right good man..” she rambled on as Spartus sat with beads of sweat dotting his brow, a worried frown on his face. Mowdly dead, Rouso jailed. Two of the four that held fragments..
Suddenly the tavern doors swung open by a gust of wind, rain blew in as several cloaked figures made thier way inside. Looking towards Spartus, they moved towards a darkened corner table and sat, glancing his way and whispering amongst themselves.
Spartus know in his heart that the cloaked figures were looking for him. His mind was in turmoil as he reached up and unthinkingly touched his vest pocket. The figures at the table straightened up as he did so, then their whispering grew heated.
Glancing around, Spartus called Tessa back to his table, motioning for her to draw near. As Tessa leaned over the table in pretense of mopping up a spill, he whispered to her.
“Here be enough coin to buy the group at yon table a drink..mayhaps when you take it to them. ye spill a bit on them? Give me a chance to slip out, luv?” he asked in a tremulous whisper.
“What ye be gone and got yerself into Spartus?”, she asked. ” A debtor be after ye hide?”
“Err, yeah Tess, I owes em a bit of coin, and they want it tonight it seems. Now be a luv, and go give their drinks. and ‘elp a old friend out”, he said with a trembling small smile.
“Get on with yourself then Spartus, I’ll give ye a few minutes diversion” she replied.
Going to the bar, Tessa filled her tray with drinks and approached the table were the strangers sat. In a loud voice she said, ” ‘Ere ye go gents.Drinks for the lot of ya, bought and paid for” and started placing the drinks on the table. As she sat the last drink down, she seemingly absent mindedly turned over two of the drinks, spilling the contents in the strangers laps. The strangers jumped up in a rage, as Tessa fussed over them. Glancing back over her shoulder, she saw Spartus slipping out the tavern door….