Yan Faren dropped his silver pieces, one coin at a time, onto the decaying wooden table in front of Ol’ Bran Taber the Lodge Master. The small dusty shack he stood in was no different than any of the other piles of wood and sod that cluttered the city streets except that inside was where the Lodge conducted their business with the outside world. Yan did not like debts to settle any more than he liked dealing with unlawful men but some things could not be helped. He had needed the money when the taxes were levied and now it had to be repaid. It had taken him over three weeks in the market to sell enough barley.
The moneylender’s long gnarled fingers counted the silver with surprising speed for a man with such creaky bones. When he had sorted the last piece of silver into neat little stacks in front of him he looked up and his mouth spread into a grin, showing the yellow of his teeth. “You’re eight pieces short.”
“Come now.” Yan said “I don’t owe ye but twenty.” He may have been no master with numbers, but he was no fool either. “Count again. You’ll find it’s all there.”
“There’s twenty here. You owe me twenty-eight.” Ol’ Bran’s eyes gleamed the same grey color as the grease in his hair, daring Yan to disagree.
The attic cubicle was dark and stuffy, two conditions the tiny window under the eaves did little to alleviate. Luna reached up to the shelf over her pallet for her fiddle case, and froze with her hand less than an inch away. Her mother's nasal whine echoed up the stairs from the tavern sleeping rooms below.
Luna sighed, and her hand dropped to her side. "Yes, Mother?" she called over her shoulder. She'd hoped to get a little practice in before the evening customers began to file in.
"Have you swept the tavern and scrubbed the tables?" When Shara said "the tavern," she meant the common room. The kitchen was not in Luna's purview. The cook, Camille, who was also the stableman's wife, reigned supreme there, and permitted no one within her little kingdom but herself and her aged helper, known only as Granny.
"No, Mother," Luna called down, resignedly, "I thought Bev—"
"Bev's doing the rooms. Get your behind down there. The sooner you can get it over with, the sooner you can get on with that foolish scraping of yours." Then, as an afterthought, as Luna reached the top step, "And don't call me 'Mother.'"
"Yes M—Shara." Stifling another sigh, Luna plodded down the steep, dark attic stairs, hardly more than a ladder down the back wall.
We will be back tomorrow to reveal the Pubble(s), whilst the brave and willing plebe shall remain anonymous. Feel free to make comments about our experiment or the two pieces, but, as always, be respectful and courteous of your fellow writers.