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   Chapter 27 No.27

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5359

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03

Now that the desperate fear had released its grip on her, she became aware of three things. First, the cold was absolutely biting. The night she had spent away from it only served to make it feel many times worse. Second was the pain in her shoulder. It had been burning steadily from the cold, but she had only now become aware of it. Last, as the horse began at a gentle trot, she heard a peculiar jingling. It was different from the sound of the various buckles and straps of the horse's equipment. Curious, she looked about for the source of the sound. She soon found it. There was a bag, tied to one of the horse's straps. The removed the satchel and opened it. The sight made her head spin.

It was the bag of coins she'd had stolen from her. There could be little doubt. Everything from the ancient-looking bag to the weathered coins were familiar to her. How? How had it gotten here? The killer must have been there, in that tavern, that very night. How else could he have the bag? And why would he give it to her? Did he want her to know? She shook the bag and discovered the sheathed stiletto had been placed inside, along with a note. Eagerly she snatched it out, sure that the message had not been there when she had last had it.

It was on a coarse paper, written in a precise hand. The words read:

Your life ended the day you touched that sword. By nightfall, every gossip and snitch will know your name. By sunrise, every guard and soldier will know your face. When night comes again, you will find no safety among your own people. Use your last few hours of anonymity to get as far fro

t another visitor. . . for now.

Even with the rock-hard proof she had offered herself of her current safety, she could not help but feel stares, as though she had been changed by what she had been through, and every man, woman, and child could look upon her and know. As though the smear of blood staining her cloak spelled out the tale of its creation. Her rumbling stomach broke through the thoughts swirling in her head. Down the street, a gaily-painted sign with a picture of a roast turkey beckoned her to its door. After seeing that her horse had been attended to, she stepped inside. It was a far cry from the establishments she'd been to recently. For one, the windows and lamps kept the place quite well-lit. Also, it was spotless. Nowhere were the flies and vermin that had called the Lizard's Goblet home. Finally, there was barely a soul in the place. Only the lone waitress, a plump and energetic young woman who sprung eagerly to her feet to greet and serve the new arrival, and a single patron, accompanied by a pile of bags and packs, could be seen.

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