The tree and bush-lined path led onto a large opening, beyond which stood a group of buildings.
“Oooh… Skundersthorpe’s lovely!” declared Gemevere as she and Hempsty walked into the Village Square. “Such quairnt buildin’s, a well! Ah’ve alwes larked wells!” She pointed toward the well she’d spotted. “An’ look, an arch!” She pointed to an archway that led from the square into what looked like another square. “A fair few squares together.”
“That leads to the marketplace, cousin.” Hempsty offered helpfully.
“Oooh… a market. Ah’ve alwes luvved markets! Let’s go!” Gemevere danced a jig in excitement.
“‘Tis only open at weekends, dearest Gemevere!” Hempsty frowned and shook his head toward Gemevere, who immediately stopped dancing.
“Do you not think we should now go back to the horse, my good fellow?” Æthelstan asked, his eyes scouring the village.
“Back to the ‘orse?!” Gemevere glared at her former travelling companion. “Naw. We’re leavin’ you and ‘er ‘ere!” She thumbed toward Katherine who had walked over to look into the well. “We’re only spendin’ tarm ‘ere with you to let the ‘orse rest. One of these folk’ll give you a lift into Nottin’ham.” Gemevere looked around the empty square. “Where are the folk?” She asked.
“Well, the market isn’t open.” Hempsty pointed out the obvious.
“But fok’ll still be potterin’. Folk alwes potter!” Gemevere was seriously puzzled. She bit her bottom lip.
All four made their way to the centre of the square. The sun wasn’t high in the sky, so it was still early in the day, but not so early people would still be sleeping.
“Per’aps they’re a lazy lot!” Katherine commented, noticing movement in an alley behind Hempsty and Gemevere. She looked at Æthelstan, and smirked slightly. Æthelstan was still obliviously looking around the village. His attention had moved to the rooftops. “What time would you say it is, Stan?” Katherine asked the king with as much disrespect as she could muster. He glared at her for longer than was needed, causing her to look away from him.
Æthelstan lifted his left sleeve and looked at his wrist. “It’s 10:15!” He said. “In my town, people would have done a full day’s work by now. Perhaps they are all hard at work in the surrounding fields?”
“Even the blacksmith?” Hempsty pointed toward an abandoned forge he’d spotted.
“Ah.” Æthelstan couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Whaz that noise?” Gemevere could hear a strange snorting sound, but couldn’t exactly make out where it was coming from. She noticed Katherine smirking widely but it was too late. A large pig ran through her, knocking her off her legs and backwards over the pig. “What the ‘eck?!” She managed to bring her senses around and levitated gently to the ground, although her hovering had been noticed by both Katherine and Æthelstan.
“By Odin’s beard!” Declared Æthelstan, his mouth gaped open. Katherine, equally shocked said nothing.
“Cousin!” Hempsty dashed over and helped Gemevere back to her feet. Gemevere noticed the expressions on the other two faces, and started laughing.
“By the ‘eck! Did time stand still or what then? What ‘it me?” It was now her turn to glare at Katherine.
“A pig.” Katherine said, sheepishly. “I saw it running art of an alleyway over there,” she pointed to where she first saw the animal’s movements, “I then saw it runnin’ at you. I didn’t have time to tell you it was coming over though.”
“Rart.” Gemevere continued her stare. “No ‘arm done!”
Another noise from behind Gemevere made all four look to where it came from. A curly-haired woman hurried over to them. “Oh, me days!” she said. “Oh, me days. Are you alright, deary? Oh, me days!”
“Arm farn!” Gemevere answered, smiling at the fraught woman, who frowned when she heard her speak.
“Verily, she is!” Hempsty bowed his head toward the woman. Gemevere also bowed her head, but then turned it into a nod.
“Oh, me days. It’s the king!” The woman then curtsied toward Æthelstan, who bowed back. Katherine didn’t know whether to bow or curtsy, so did both.
The woman bowed at Hempsty, curtsied again at the king and Katherine, and bowed again at Gemevere.
Hempsty curtsied toward Æthelstan, and Katherine bowed toward Gemevere.
“Enough of all this bowin’ and scrapin’!” Gemevere declared. “Where’s the pig?”
“Oh, she’ll be around.” The woman said. “She always goes for a run at this time of the day. She’ll be back later. Are you sure you’re alright, dear?” Gemevere nodded once again with a smile. “Good. Ooh, where are me manners? I’m Urs… ulondix. I run the tavern over there. Come, let me make you all breakfast!”
“That’s truly kind and generous of you, my lady!” Hempsty gushed, noticing his stomach rumble.
“I agree totally!” Æthelstan forcefully patted Hempsty on his back. “Lead the way, kind lady!”
The woman, Hempsty and Æthelstan walked toward the tavern at the far side of the square. Katherine grabbed Gemevere’s right arm, and pulled her back. “That’s the woman from the carriage roof,” she whispered, “the one who turned into the bird.”
“Doorn’t think I ‘adn’t noticed,” Gemevere whispered back. “I also think she’s Mother Skipton. An’ she needs us fer somethin’, by the looks of it. Ah’ll ‘ave to keep a close eye on this Ursulondix.”
This is the sixth part in the Reverence storyline. The previous five parts can be found in my Storylines menu.