The Amulet Saga
Volume Two: The Defector
Other stories in this series:
Rose brushed a strand of sweat-soaked hair from her face.
Myrta brushed past her, carrying a tray of tankards. “You’d best get back in the kitchen. If Mistress sees you resting, she’ll take a piece of your hide.”
Rose nodded and hurried back to the kitchen. She’d never worked so hard in her life. Her once-soft hands were callused and dry, her elegant fingernails chipped and dirty. Her gold hair hung in greasy strands rather than soft, clean waves. Fine clothes and jewels had done much to disguise her plain features, but now, wearing a plain dress and covered in grime, she was acutely aware of how homely she really was. Myrta, with her full bosom and dimpled smile, drew eyes and coins from patrons in the common room, while Rose was relegated to the basin to wash dishes more often than not.
Mistress Lambkin bustled into the kitchen.
Rose straightened quickly and thrust her hands into the dishwater.
“The rain is bringing folks in by droves. Hurry up there, we need clean cups and bowls.”
“Yes, Mistress,” Rose mumbled. She scrubbed the dishes more vigorously.
Nearly a fortnight since she and Myrta had begged for employment at the inn, and still Rose’s father’s soldiers hadn’t caught up. Or, perhaps they’d passed this little town entirely. At any rate, Rose knew she couldn’t stay here much longer. She was ill-equipped to spend all day on her feet, running back and forth and scalding her skin. It was high time she and Myrta moved on from this place.
That night, after the patrons had drunk their last and meandered home, and she and Myrta lay on their hard pallets in the back store room, Rose rolled over to face Myrta.
“We should continue our journey soon. It seems as though my father’s soldiers aren’t coming for us. We’ve saved enough wages to get us to the city where there will be more opportunity for both of us.”
She didn’t say it aloud, but she considered that from there it would be easier to get a message to her father asking for rescue. Washing dishes and being spat upon by drunks was not the adventure she’d pictured when she left home…
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