Back from my honeymoon with a new episode of The Young Ranger!
Episode 3: A Defenseless Town
At the entrance to the town, Laura stopped to ask the location of the local pub. A woman in a quite standard dress informed her that there were two pubs in town. Laura asked for the larger of the two and was directed down the street for about a three-minute slow ride and the pub would be on her left. After thanking the lady, she headed off.
From her training, Laura knew that pubs often had a good source of information on the going ons in a town. She rode along and made sure to slow Maddy down to her slowest speed as she neared the pub so that she could take a look at those walking around.
A figure slunk along the other side of the road, followed by two burlier figures who all had hoods drawn. Something about them grabbed her attention and held it. They just didn’t fit in in a town that felt more concerned with appearances than anything else.
The three roguish figures ducked into the pub after looking around in all directions.
Laura made a note to herself to keep an eye out for them. Until she was done presenting herself, they would have to be a problem for the town watch.
As Maddy reached the draw bridge, which looked like it hadn’t been raised in ages, the hoofbeats turned to a clopping and the noise continued as she crossed onto the very well cleaned road to the main building.
Two guards walked down the wide steps from the finely polished stone building and blocked the entry way.
“Stop there.” One of the guards hollered, sergeant’s insignia sat on his arms.
“I am Ranger Laura Selwyn, new Guardian Ranger of Leuvelen Castle and I am here to check in with the Earl.”
The two guards exchanged a glance. “There is no way you are a ranger lass, you are too young.”
Laura reached for an envelope in her right saddle bag that contained her official, sealed orders to report in and as she did the guards tensed. “I have orders right here.” She said, waving the envelope.
With another look the two discussed Laura in lowered voices that did very little to mask their conversation. She could hear every word they said.
“We will fetch the Earl.” The sergeant addressed her after the side conversation was complete.
Leaving her outside was an offensive act, one that an older ranger would never have been subjected to. She threw herself off her horse and landed with a satisfying sound. Despite being a small person, she knew how to make herself appear bigger. Both guards were on immediate alert again, raising spears slightly in her direction.
“I am Ranger Laura Selwyn, a ranger of the King of Kenwal. You will extend to me the same respect that you would of any Ranger in the service of the Kingdom.” She approached the two guards and noticed in their eyes that they were confused and at that point, Laura knew they would do nothing to her as she approached. “Show me to the Earl’s office.”
The guards hurried Laura through the castle as if they just wanted to get rid of her, but her forceful glance made them stay on track. If they interfered with the duties of a Ranger they could be in big trouble.
When they finally entered the Earl’s office she found a rather plump man with a scowl on his face. He turned to face the door and yelled, “who dares disturb me during my off hour?”
“I am Ranger Selwyn, new Guardian Ranger of Leuvelen. Your guards have done nothing but interfere with me getting here to report for duty.”
“As well they should have, you are interrupting me during my off hour!” He Hollard back.
If the guards were annoying, Laura could only label this Earl as a nudnik.
“My orders state that I am to report in as soon as I reasonably can.”
“Well you have reported in Ranger. I am Earl Tomlinson. You are staying in the castle?”
“No, I am going to be staying in the forest.”
“Well fine, get out of my office. I will send for you when I need you.”
Without any kind of acknowledgement, Laura left the office. It was not for an Earl or any other form of local leadership to summon her. Very few people in the kingdom could do that. Her first interaction as a fully-fledged Ranger did not put a good taste in her mouth. In fact, she was rather upset.