Check out the start of the series.
Owin did not have trouble turning the four small pieces of silver into coins. He of course received less than the silver was worth, but the high quality silver netted Gwen a dozen marks. Assuming I don’t take any commission for the effort. Her risky behavior caused him to consider taking sixty percent in the hopes it would discourage her. However, he understood her frustration and really did not want to dash her dreams for a better life.
“But, what kind of better life will ever exist for any of us?” he mumbled as he made his way down the darkening streets. He kept his apparent attention forward, not wanting to draw attention by looking concerned. However, that did not mean he lacked awareness of those around him. Gwen’s comments about always looking over her shoulder bothered him. He knew the predators that existed, but had not considered the additional threats her and her mother would face. “I wish Elsin would let me take them away from here,” he said softly as he approached their flat.
He knocked on the door and stepped back as it immediately flung open. “What’s wrong?” he asked, trading shock for worry at seeing Elsin’s panicked face.
“Where’s Gwen?” she demanded. “Gwen’s not home and it is far too late.”
Damn it, he swore silently. Outwardly he kept his face as calm as possible; Elsin would lose even more composure if he showed his own concern. “Anyone see her? She go anywhere else?” he asked. “She stopped by my rooms yesterday on the way home,” he added as he stepped through the doorway and closes the door behind himself.
“Why would she stop by your place?”
“She wanted to talk.” Owin placed on hand on Elsin’s shoulder and took her opposite hand with his other one. “Do you have any idea where to find her? I’ll go out and look for her.”
Elsin shook her head. “What have you got her into?”
“I haven’t got her into anything.” He glanced into their kitchen and then back to Elsin. “Let me get my blades and I’ll go to Lord Darro’s estate and work my way back here.”
“Owin, bring her home safe,” Elsin demanded as she wiped away tears with her blistered hands. “She’s all I have left of him. I can’t lose her as well.”
“I’ll bring her home.”
Terrible things raced through Owin’s mind as he jogged toward Lord Darro’s estate. Initially he tried walking, hoping if he did not give into panic, that Gwen would not be in danger. However, that had lasted less than a block. As he moved through the streets, he argued warred with himself on whether he should approach someone in the estate or look for contacts he had who might have heard something. If someone grabbed her on the way, no one might hear about it until it was too late. Taking the other side, but, even if I follow her path home, I might not see anything to indicate what happened. He tried to focus on signs as he ran, but nothing stood out to him. “Damn it,” he swore as the large, walled-in estate came into view at the end of the alley and he still had not finalized a decision.
Slowing to catch his breath, he wondered if he had made a mistake in bringing his weapons. They would not help him convince the guards to let him inside and if he needed to use them against the household of a city Lord, he would have a very bad night. But do I even talk to them?
He nodded his head, I need to be certain she even left. “Perhaps she was forced to work late.” He glanced around, looking for somewhere to stash the weapons where they would not be stolen. “Please let her be inside.”
Spying a gap between some stones in the foundation of a building next to him, and still several building from the end of the alley he was in, Owing checked for watchers and finding it clear, stuffed his sword and dagger into the hole. “Just don’t let anyone steal these on me.” After a moment of hesitation, he added the coin pouch with the silver; someone dressed like me doesn’t carry that kind of coin.
Clearing his mind and dusting the dirt from his cloths, he continued toward the end of the alley. The street that crossed the alley, and divided a number of merchants from a row of large tree covered estates, still had a fair amount of traffic. Waiting for a horse and carriage to pass, Owin then quickly moved to the other side and approached the gate in the tall wall that protected Lord Darro’s home.
“Good evening,” Owin said in greeting to the three men standing guard. “I am inquiring after a friend of mine. I wanted to see if Miss Gwen had left for the day. She’s a laundress.”
Owin felt his stomach clench as the man dressed in leather armor glanced to the two men with him. Damn it.
“Are you family?”
“I am,” Owin lied. “She has not arrived at home and I was hoping someone would be able to tell me if she’s left and about when that might have been.”
The brown-haired man he was talking to glanced at the taller guard beside him and then nodded his head. The first guard turned back to Owin. “Give me your weapons. Eugin will escort you to the house.”
Damn, damn, damn, Owin swore as he removed a small eating dagger from his belt. It was the only thing he was carrying they would immediately identify as a weapon.