Due to illness this one is a little short. If I have time I’ll do a second edition this week.
Bella roamed the market looking at all the brightly colored goods and smiling at the hawkers trying to pitch her their wares.
Leaving the palace for the day was the very best relief from the hustle and bustle of castle life. For such a big building the place had a constant buzz in the air. From people, from machines, she didn’t really know from what but the constant sound wore at her nerves like a river eroding stone.
The pure lack of humming calmed her nerves.
A stand of knives drew her closer. One set of throwing knives had amazingly detailed dragons on the handle. Her oldest brother would love it and as his birthday was in a few weeks she debated purchasing them.
The seller stood politely to one side, his face confused as if he’d never seen a woman look at knives before.
She picked one up to check its balance. With a sigh of disappointment she set it back down.
“What’s wrong madam?” the seller stepped closer to look at the knives.
“That knife isn’t balanced correctly. It is heavier on the left. It’ll pull when you throw it.”
The man made a scoffing sound. “How could you possible know that?”
Bella shrugged. “My brothers taught me a lot.”
Folding his arms across his chest he raised a brow. “Toss it. If it pulls to the left I’ll give you your choice for half price.”
“Deal.” Bella shook the man’s callused hand.
Picking up the knife she turned to the throwing target placed just outside the stand to test out weapons. Flipping the weapon with her hand she saw with not surprise that the blade landed off center.
The seller laughed. “I’ll be damned.” He gave her a delighted smile as if the loss of revenue didn’t matter. “I’m Gallien Berr, weapon master.”
“Bella Tiazza, the king’s new chef.”
“I’m very pleased to meet you miss Bella. It’s rare to see a woman who knows her weapons.”
Bella gave him a grin. “I grew up with four older brothers who are all battle mad. They taught me everything they know.” She scanned the table. “I was looking for a present for my oldest brother. His birthday is coming up. He can always use a new weapon.”
Gallien rubbed his hands together. “Well let’s see what we can find.” The smith’s attitude warmed as he showed Bella the various knives and swords at his booth. After looking everything over she found a nice collection of throwing stars and a new dagger for her boot. She hadn’t been able to clear her last one through customs.
Haggling consumed the next fifteen minutes and the pair parted with Gallien promised to have her weapons delivered after he polished them up. Bella left the booth satisfied with her purchase and pleased with her deal.
Walking back into the crowd she came up short when a pair of guards approached.
“The Duke of Greel has requested your presence.”
One look at the guard’s stern face made Bella sigh. It didn’t appear there was any way out of the meeting.