It was late evening then the carriage arrived at the small town, Brentwood, that was just beside the border of Danelaw.
“We have arrived” The driver yelled as the carriage stopped and woke up Alice, who had been asleep since the departure.
Aoi went out of the carriage, into the dark evening which still had some light in it, and Alice followed.
“Mr. Driver, could you please take down our belongings from the carriage roof?” Alice asked while rubbing her eyes.
“No way you damn spoiled brat, I will take it as my payment” The driver yelled and snapped the reins. The carriage drove along the empty street that was lilted up by street lamps and disappeared into the darkness on the other side of the village there the street lamps ended.
“What?” Alice said in confusion of not grabbing the situation.
“You got ripped of pretty bad there didn’t you?” A male voice said from Alice left. “It is sad that so many of those has emerged then the times are this bad” Alice looked surprised to her left. A young man, with a pair of dull grey eyes, pony-tail and a short bang, meet her eyes. “I guess everyone would do anything to live. And steal from the rich is never wrong to do” He continued.
“I got ripped off? How can that be?” Alice said with an hysteric voice. Everything we brought with us was on that carriage! Money, clean clothes, everything” Alice said and started to breath in a higher speed.
“I could give you roof over your heads for the night if that is to any help” The man said and stretched out his hand to Alice. “I am Blaze”
Alice unsure shook the hand. “I am Alice, daughter of the Mayer family”
“It is a pleasure meting you Alice and what’s you name young man?” He stepped in front of Alice and directed his hand to Aoi.
“Aoi” Aoi answered and bowed.
“Oh that was new” Blaze said and pulled back his hand. “I get the feeling that he is the quiet type” He directed his look at Alice again. “So do you accept my offer?”
“You seem like a reliable person” Alice stopped, threw a look at Aoi and then back at Blaze. “So we will take your offer if it is alright with you”
“As long as you promise to not mess up my place and one more thing but we can talk about the other one at my place” Blaze said and turned around and started to walk along the street.
Blaze was living in a small shack there the wind went pass the wall and didn’t have any furniture at all. In the middle of the one and only room was a fire-place with a wooden construction that a warm pot was hanging on, over the fire.
Blaze stirred the contents with the soap spoon and filled a wooden bowl with brown soup with carrots and potatoes. “Here” Blaze said and handed over the bowl to Alice together with a spoon.
“Thanks” Alice said unsure and looked suspicious at the soup “What is this? Is it eatable?” She continued and poked in the soup with the spoon.
“Yes of course it is eatable. It is just normal potato and carrot soup” Blaze said while filling another bowl with soup. “It may not be something a lady like you usually eats but it is really good. I promise you. And here” He gave Aoi the bowl.
Alice filled the spoon with the soup and blew at it a couple of times before she started to look at it with a pair of scared eyes. She closed her eyes and pressed the spoon into her mouth. Her eyes were pressed closed even tighter as she excepted the worse but in surprise, she reopened her eyes as a taste, that were far from disgusting, spread through her mouth.
“It wasn’t that bad was it?” Blaze said and took a spoon of soup himself.
Alice responded with a nod and filled another spoon.
“Then shall we start talk about the second agreement for the staying?” He continued serious. “You two are headed into the Danelaw right?”
“How did you know that?” Alice asked surprised but serious.
“There isn’t anything in this town that makes it worth visit more than the short distance to the Danelaw border. So it wasn’t that hard to figure out”
“I take it as you want us to do something in the Danelaw for you? What exactly do you want us to do?” Alice put down the bowl.
“I don’t want you to do anything really, just let me follow with you two. I think you two will gain more than I gain from following with you.” Blaze continued and ate another spoon of the soup.
“What would we gain?”
“Well a guide or something like that. I know how the Danelaw works but even so I can’t go there without any protection since I would be brutally killed by the Danes.
“So what do you want to achieve by going into the Danelaw?” Alice asked curious.
“You see I lived on a small farm about two miles north of here together with my dear little sister. Well she isn’t that little maybe around you age Alice. But a week ago” Blaze stopped for a moment and his hands formed a pair of tight fists. “Then I was out in the forest” his voice had anger in it now “The damn Danes raided my farms and my sister was kidnapped”
Forgotten memories blossomed up within Aoi from what he had heard. His eyes grew of anger for just an instance just to grow narrow with sorrow. He stood up and went out of the shuck quietly and without giving any looks.
“She is still just a child, and has all of her life in front of her” The anger had disappeared out of his voice “Why does a pure life, like hers, need to be destroyed so easily by the Danes and be sold of like a slave? Why couldn’t it have been me? My life is already destroyed by my parents’ debts and things that are even worse.” He grew quiet for a moment before he looked up and met Alice eyes. “That is why I want to save her even if it is going to cost my life” The sadness had disappeared out of his face and been replaced by the strong determination he possessed. “I know this isn’t something you ask or tell to strangers but you are my last hope. I can’t be delayed here any longer or my sister may go away from there I can still reach. So please let me follow with you” He bowed down on the ground in front of Alice.
“I don’t mind you follow us since it is better with more people and I don’t think Mr. Aoi mind either” Alice said and to her surprised, realized that Aoi no longer was in the shack.