NaNoWriMo Day 2 Part 2
posted at: 11/3/2014

The Tanner's house wasn't very far away from the Blue Pigeon. Matilda was able to make it there in good time. She knocked on the door with some trepidation. She didn't know what Cagil had in mind and it felt a bit impolite to be visiting a stranger at this hour, but she trusted the Innkeeper.

After standing outside the front door for several minutes, leaning heavily on her staff for support, it became clear that someone was at home and awake. Their head kept appearing at the bottom of the window, peering out but apparently trying to remain unseen. With the room's only candle positioned directly behind the bobbing head, it was hard to miss the house's stealthy resident. Matilda knocked again. The head appeared again, then disappeared. Cupping her hands to the door, Matilda made an attempt to draw out the recluse. "Hello. I was hoping you could help me? Cagil sent me."

The head popped up again, then descended, but this time it was followed by the sound of approaching steps. The door opened just a crack and two bulging eyes looked her over and scanned the street before the door creaked open slowly to reveal a thin man with a pale, flabby face. Before she could move, he grabbed Matilda's arm and pulled her inside. The door slammed shut behind them.

She tried to struggle away from the man's grip but found that either he was stronger than he looked or she had grown even weaker than she had thought. He let go of her after a few seconds and she tried to regain some composure, which was made more difficult when she noticed that he was holding a long knife in both hands, pointing it at her as if she were a terrifying bandit king. "Wh-Why are you here?" he asked.

There had been many times in her long life when Matilda had had knives pointed at her, when she had been threatened or had had to fight, but none of those times had been very recent. And in this incident she had the distinct feeling that she wasn't being threatened, she was the one doing the threatening. "Are you Herman?"

This seemed to enrage her host. He slashed the air a few times with the knife. "How do you know my name!?"

Speaking soothingly in hopes of calming the knife weilding Tanner, Matilda produced the note from Cagil. "Here. I just talked to Cagil. I have a journey to take and he said you could help me."

Herman looked over the note and his face hardened, but he lowered the knife. He started muttering to himself and walking towards a back room. "Bartenders. Calling in their debts. Never owe anything to anyone. That's what I always say. It comes back to you if you do." He gestured for Matilda to follow.

They went through a door in the back of the house and into a small stable. Three donkeys slept in the straw and two carts were pushed up against a back wall. Without further explanation, Herman went about hitching what looked like the oldest of the donkeys to the more worn down of the two carts. When he was finished, he handed the reins to Matilda and said "Name's Sugar Bell."

He started back towards the house. Matilda called after him, "Wait! Do you mean I can take her?"

Herman looked annoyed and Matilda feared another confrontation with the knife but he just said, "That's what the note said" and disappeared through the back door.