Jack

fallsilently


Fall Silently

A fantasy story by Itsasu Deauxnim


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Chapter 8
Jack
fallsilently

“Conrad,” Natasha said as she knocked the door to his shack. “Conrad, are you there?”

“Yes, m’lady,” Conrad swung open the door. “What seems to be the problem?”

“Did you do what I asked you to?” Natasha asked. “You know. The matter?”

“The… oh oh oh! Yes I did! I did, actually. I didn’t forget. Old McCullen doesn’t forget stuff like this, no he doesn’t.”

“Very good,” Natasha said. “Where is she?”

“Come here,” Conrad said. He walked out of his shack, closed the door, and led Natasha out the gates. He walked about five blocks, right into the peasant’s community. Conrad, with his dirty peasant garb looked right in place here.

Natasha, however, looked out of place with her colorful flowing robes, decorated with runic calligraphy and beautifully woven sigils. What’s more is the clean, expensive long leopard fur sash, the symbol of nobility, a definite contrast against the shacks made of mud and wood in the area. The civilians cast a look at the oddity with suspicious eyes and conversation. What is a woman like that doing in a place like this? Led by an old peasant, no less?

Natasha just ignored their stares.

“Here we are, m’lady,” Conrad said. He stopped near another shack, undistinguishable from the rest.

“Thank you, Conrad. Would you accompany me in?”

“Of course, m’lady. I was going to do that anyway.”

Natasha knocked the door gently, afraid to ruin the frail-looking structure, only to be pleasantly surprised to see the building more sturdy than she thought. A woman opened the door, her skin darker than the brown Natasha sees in the nobility. The woman bowed.

“Um… good afternoon, uh… madam. How can I help you?”

“It’s me, it’s me,” Conrad said, waving his hand at the woman. “This is the woman I was talking about. Rania, meet Lady Natasha. Lady Natasha, Rania.”

“Good to meet you, Rania,” Natasha said, giving a more subtle bow to the peasant woman. Not subtle enough, however, for the other peasants to not take notice. “May I come in to discuss our matters more… privately?”

“Oh, oh, aye, of course, Lady Natasha! Please, please come in!” Rania stepped out of the way to let Natasha and Conrad come in.

“So, Rania,” Natasha said after she closed the door. “Did Conrad inform you of the matter?”

“Aye, madam. He told me you needed a maid. But isn’t it usually… that I am supposed to be the one coming to your mansion for interview?”

“Aye, that’s how it’s usually done,” Natasha agreed, “Yet my father is far from usual.”

Conrad didn’t say anything. His mouth twitched, but then he just nodded.

“He’s not right in the head,” Natasha continued. “He does not like his mansion cleaned because he cannot let things go. It has been this way since Mathias died.”

“I see.”

“Yet I cannot stay forever, you see,” Natasha said. “I cannot take care of him forever. I must go back to battle, now with both my brothers gone or dead, someone must avenge them.”

Natasha’s fists tightened and shook while her face remained calm, unnoticed by Natasha herself.

“And may the gods damn me,” she continued, “If while this battle rages all I do is play the gutless civilian.”

“I see. But your father, he does not want a maid?” Rania asked.

“Aye.”

“Then you would hire me as a maid of someone who does not want one?”

“Aye.”

“How would that… how would you explain that to your father? I don’t imagine he’d approve.”

“He won’t. He wouldn’t approve. He won’t like a maid.”

“Aye, ma’am so…”

“Except if she is his wife, maybe.”

Conrad and Rania widened their eyes and placed their looks on Natasha. For a single moment, looking at both people’s expressions, the smile on the lady’s face was one of mad satisfaction, yet it disappeared just as fast.

“What are you saying, m’lady?” Conrad asked.

“Exactly as I just did.”


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