She?d stayed out too late at the Red Dragon Inn, but it was nice to be out among people and meeting new friends. The night had been going so well. Now she was pale and shaking, spooked beyond words by her final encounter of the evening. Her flat shoes rustled over the cobbles and bricks and her skirt flapped back around her ankles as she hurried ? where? Her first instinct was to look for Ollie, he?d always protected her, but ? well, what could Ollie do against someone like that? That man, Anubis Karos, had said to take the message to the family, but he meant Guild business, so that was really Papa and Great-Uncle Humphrey and the others. But it was too late to go to any of their houses, far too late?
Lola hesitated on a street corner, looking one direction and then the other, dye-stained fingers twisting and pulling at the straps of her purse. She could still hear the strangely accented words, etched in her brain. The warning, the demand -
?I want 10 percent of your textile business's profits. If this cannot happen...pirates will intercept the trade routes. If it can... they won't. Cooperate, and all will flow like water through a sieve. Can I entrust you to give the message??
She shuddered, still frozen with indecision, and turned her steps in the third direction ? toward her house. She wanted to be somewhere safe, behind locked doors. Because that demand for the GrangerGuild Conglomerate, awful as it was, wasn?t the worst of what the notorious slaver had said. He had looked her over, after she managed to pull out a halfway coherent reply, with eyes that seemed to look right through her clothing. He had smiled? Another shudder sent chills down her spine.
?So you know? if worse comes to worse, you are curvy enough to keep naked. And you will be the first target. And the Granger deal will increase your value.?
Lola was still shaking, the color gone from her face and her fingers stiff and freezing. Fumbling through her purse on the doorstep of her small house, she found her keys and tried to shove the correct one into the lock. Her hands were shaking too hard ? she dropped the key ring with a clatter that made her jump. Ducking, she grabbed the keys and finally managed to unlock the door. She hurried through the entrance and shut the door behind her, slammed the lock and deadbolt into place.
Ahead the light from the kitchen beckoned, and the warmth from her banked fire in the oven. In the morning, she would figure out who to talk to and who to tell first. In the morning ? not tonight, in the dark, alone.
[size=9]((adapted and expanded from live play with Anubis Karos; 11/21/2010 02:57am - 03:37am EST))[/size]