The next day the bells rung loudly as they echoed around the mountain. I emerged from the floor of the tavern, stumbling as I walked. I fell through the door and onto the white powder, its coldness woke me up. Hands helped me off the ground. “A bit too much to drink?” A voice asked.
“You could say that,” I replied. She placed one of my arms around her shoulders allowing me to lean my weight onto her, we stood in the crowd watching the knight ride in on his steed. He glanced at each and every one of us. It’s not often we get men pass through here.
“You better get to the Jarl and see what this man wants,” she said.
“Ha! In this state? No,” I replied and walked back into the tavern and returned to the flames.
“What’s going on out there?” My sister asked walking down the stairs towards me.
“Some knight, probably here for some mission for gold,” I said.
“You’re probably right,” she replied joining me on the floor.
“Haven’t you better be getting the tavern ready?” I asked.
“Nah, no one ever comes this early,” she said. We suddenly heard a knock on the door.
“Don’t they?” I quizzed her.
“We’re not open!” my sister yelled.
“Not even for your Jarl?” we heard her shout.
“What?” We both asked each other as our glances crossed.
“She never comes here,” my sister said.
“Well go get the door!” I exclaimed. She scrambled off the floor, raced up and slid the wooden bolt back.
“Is Autumn there?” she asked.
“She is, but are you sure you really want to see her now?” I turned to look at my sister.
“Don’t say that!” I yelled.
“Please come in,” she said stepping aside. The wind tore into the warm tavern.
“Hurry up and shut that door,” I yelled and turned my head to the approaching footsteps and rattling armour.
“Autumn is that anyway to address your Jarl?” she scolded me. I hauled myself off the floor and staggered over.
“This can’t be the warrior?” The knight asked looking at the Jarl.
“The very one,” she replied.
“She’s not what I expected,” he said.
“Let’s step outside and duel then why don’t we?” I challenged him reaching for my blade on my side.
“Let’s not,” the Jarl said standing in between us. “Be kind Autumn, this man has a proposition for you.”
“He does?” I asked surprised.
“Looks like Odin finally heard your words,” my sister said joining us.
“May we sit?” The knight asked.
“Of course, there’s a table over there,” she pointed. We sat at the table furthest from the door but nearest to the fire.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I am to travel to the south, to tread the dangerous paths of the elven territory and to make contact with the eagle riders,” he explained.
“Is there another war we don’t know about?” I asked. “I have wiped out most hostiles that far.”
“I just need an escort in case there are more hostiles left,” he said.
“You mean a big man like you can’t look after himself?” I giggled.
“I guess not,” he chuckled and ran a hand over the back of his neck.
“When would we leave?” I quizzed him.
“In a day or so, I assume you will need some time to think it over,” he said.
“Yes I think I may.” I replied.
“In the mean time sir, you can stay with me,” the Jarl said and ran her fingers down his forearm. The two of them left leaving us alone.
“So what are you going to do?” she asked sliding a flagon of water my way.