Chapter 13 – Misery hates company

The last time Arthur Chubs wore such fine clothes was almost sixteen years ago, when he had been at the peak of his career. The yellow vest looked rather fetching with his fair complexion and hid the paunch of his years. All the travelling and hardships he had endured had done nothing to deflate that paunch. He had learnt to simply live with it.

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Chapter 12 – Love, loss and loneliness

A lone woman sat on a rock facing the rough sea. Her clothes told the story of her rank and status. She was a noblewoman, but also a warrior. The dress that she wore was a rich velvet but it was practical to the point of being severe. Her face though told the story of her grief and anger. There were no tear tracks. The spray of the sea had wiped those away. Now there was only fire in her eyes, like she would burn the entire world down given the right provocation.

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Chapter 11 – When life knocks you down…

Mr. Chubs had decided to give his personality an overhaul when he moved on from the Tully debacle. Whatever Tully had said, instead of pushing him into the bowels of despair, had lifted him out of the rut he had made for himself. And once his self-respect had risen, he hadn’t been able to squash it. Albeit, he hadn’t tried all that hard.

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Chapter 10 – Who won the jousting match?

It was hard, but Mr. Chubs forced his eyes to open. It took a surprising amount of coaxing for them to cooperate. He grimaced. He was too old to be getting blind drunk, he scolded himself. The sun that was falling right on his face was not helping matters so he heaved himself on his back, groaning loudly. He wondered how many rocks had found themselves under his temporary bed. Had he not swept the floor before settling in?

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Chapter 9 – A nest of intrigue

It had taken a surprising amount of strength, and number of people, to transfer Mr. Chubs from the tavern to their room. It was a good thing that when Tully’s father had withdrawn his purse, he hadn’t thought to withdraw his bodyguards. Between the three of them and another two who were at least half as inebriated as Mr. Chubs, they managed to transfer him onto the bed.

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Chapter 7 – Friendship given, friendship accepted

Two roads stood before her, an ordinary citizen, but who had the ability to wrought great things. One road was easy, it would lead her back to her ordinary life. But it would be safe and not without happiness. She could have a home and a hearth, do and be whoever she wanted to be. It would be an obscure life, yes, but it would be hers, and by choice.

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Chapter 6 – Of fights and cowardice

Tully was not at all what Mr. Chubs had thought he would be. He had assumed him to be a slovenly idiot who was creating mischief simply because he could. He had dreaded that Tully would start needling him about Arthur Uriel Banes the minute he got a chance. But the boy seemed content to be just his apprentice. Slowly he realized, as the days turned into weeks and weeks into four months, all Tully was really interested in…was knowing stories.

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Chapter 5 – The edge of danger

Once upon a time there was a manservant who did not behave like a manservant should. He was disrespectful, loudmouthed and poking his nose in things he had no right poking in. But the prince was indulgent and despite complaints, instead of banishing his manservant, or giving him a good lashing to discipline him, he ignored everyone, even the king, his father.

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Chapter 4 – A difficult bargain

It is another fortnight before Mr. Chubs finds “the one.” The time spent with the caravan that had picked him up from under the tree had been pleasant – in fact the most pleasant time he had spent in anyone’s company. The children had been fascinated by his harmonica and books, the younger ones never having even seen a book before. The conversation between the adults had been mellow, a swapping of stories both of performances and actual stories. He had never known so many people to co-exist peacefully when hardships were an everyday occurrence.

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