Lord Ragan and The Tavern Owner’s Wife – Part II


The bitterly cold wind stabbed at Lord Ragan’s face like a thousand needles. They were in real peril. The snowstorm had snuck up on them two days ago. They had lost their way in the white blindness.Now it was just Lord Ragan and his oldest trusted bodyguard and aide, Simmons. His two other lieutenants had become separated from their horse train in the previous long night. He had to assume they were dead or dying somewhere, lost as he was in this desolate wasteland.He did not believe he would survive this next night. It was already getting dark. Their horses had died hours ago, and their supplies were long gone.And yet they kept walking, struggling on and on through the thick snow. Lord Ragan had once thought about just sitting down, curling up and letting the gods take him to the next world, if indeed there was one. But such thoughts he quickly banished from his mind.He would not lay down and die, he had to be strong. Strong for himself, strong for his family’s honour, and strong for Simmons. Simmons was weakening, he would surely not last much longer.Then he would be all alone in this wilderness. He did not enjoy that idea, and tried to put it out of his mind. Onward. Onward they must go.But onward to where? He had no idea. After they lost the trail, he and his men had then lost all sight of anything recognisable. Visible distance had been reduced to just one horse length.They could well be going in huge circles for all he knew. But they had to carry on, it was their only option.They had set out from Rhigord, heading to the citadel of Shanten. It was a journey Lord Ragan had taken many times in his forty years. Rhigord was the capital of the Northlands, with its defensive high walls, great market, and Lord Ragan’s castle at its centre.Shanten however was the unofficial centre of the upper Northlands. It did not have a great keep or castle. But it did have banking, a port, and was one of the largest trading cities in the entire kingdom. Ragan often travelled there to make trade deals, keep the peace amongst the minor lords, or pay tribute to the King on his occasional visits to the northern parts of his kingdom.The journey from Rhigord to Shanten usually took eight days on horseback. They travelled over the Rhigord mountain passes, through the grassland valleys, and then across the vast wilderness of The Badlands. Before they reached The Badlands, they had spent their nights at local inns along the Headstone Road. But when entering The Badlands, they had to pitch tents and sleep under the stars.Most travellers would continue along the Headstone Road to reach Shanten, avoiding The Badlands altogether. But it added an additional ten days to the journey from Rhigord, time Lord Ragan would rather spend doing other things. Besides, he was a decorated warrior, with three seasoned soldiering men at his side, so bandits and thieves would avoid them or pay the price.The real problem with The Badlands was it was such a vast flat plain, with no woods or canyons for shelter if bad weather loomed. There were a few hamlets dotted throughout this land, but they were at least a hundred miles apart, and not on the direct route along the narrow horse trails that wound across this wilderness on the way to Shanten.When leaving the Headstone Road to begin crossing The Badlands, the weather had been clear, if a little chilly. But two days into their crossing of The Badlands the snowstorm had hit, the worst Lord Ragan and his men had ever seen. They had battled a further two days through the storm until becoming separated and lost. Lord Ragan feared that battle was soon coming to an end.Lord Ragan held out his arm to Simmons to hold on to as the older man struggled to keep his balance on the uneven ground. The snow was two feet deep, often deeper in the drifts. The cold had penetrated their very bones. Ragan wondered how much longer they would be able to continue.Lord Ragan squinted his eyes, trying to pick out anything in the whiteout. The wind swirled in front of him, and for a moment Ragan could see for almost a hundred feet, but there wasn’t much to see. Seconds later the snow whirled back again and visibility was reduced back to not much more than arms reach.Simmons was wheezing. Even though they had both dumped their breastplate armour yesterday to lessen the weight they carried, along with Simmons’ beloved heavy war-axe, every step now felt like a monumental effort.Ragan stopped to let Simmons attempt to catch his breath. Again, Ragan squinted into the storm, hoping to see something, anything. But nothing, nothing but white. He turned back to Simmons, as the wind slowed, the blizzard clearing for just a moment.And just for an instant, over Simmons’s shoulder, in the distance Ragan spotted a flash of light. Ragan cried out in shock, and perhaps relief. He stood motionless for a while, attempting to spot it again. But the blizzard had returned to block his view.Ragan grabbed Simmons, pulled him to his feet, and started back in the direction of the light he prayed he really had seen. Ragan could only hope it was not a figment of his imagination. Every few feet they would stop to see if they could spot the light again.Onward they struggled, on and on through the snow. Ragan began to doubt himself, perhaps they had passed it, or worse it had never existed in the first place. But suddenly Ragan spotted it again, much closer now, a flame he thought. He heard Simmons cry out, so he had seen it too, it couldn’t be his imagination.Again, Ragan saw the flame, and now he saw a small building too, a shed. Then another, and one more. They passed a well as they moved closer to the buildings. There was the light again, a lone dark figure held a flaming torch as he moved through the snow.Ragan called out, but the cloaked figure kept moving on. The howling wind carried away any sound Ragan and Simmons could make. They struggled forward through the blizzard and into the compound of buildings. The light went out, but Ragan could see the main house now, a two-storey construction of stone and wood.Lord Ragan helped Simmons up the steps to the main house, until Simmons collapsed on the porch. Lord Ragan found the door and pounded over and over against it with his fist, calling out to whoever was inside.There was only silence. Ragan tried to open the door, but it was locked. Again, he pounded on the door and cried out to the inhabitants. Still nothing.Ragan tried one last time to open the door, trying to force it open by slamming his shoulder over and over against it, but it would not budge. Finally, he collapsed on the porch, exhausted. He stared over at Simmons, face down on the floor. It seemed incredible güvenilir bahis they had survived out in the wild in the storm, only to die on the porch of this house.Lord Ragan looked out through the snowstorm. The big white was about to claim two more victims, he knew it now. His hands and feet felt completely frozen, he could not move them. He closed his eyes, and started to drift off.But suddenly there was a commotion, and light, and movement. He was being dragged. Dragged to somewhere, someplace he knew not. Perhaps this is what happened when the gods came for you.No, it was not the gods. It was a young lad, and a girl, pulling him by his arms, through an open door. Across a stone floor, past a table and chairs, and up to an open hearth. A roaring fireplace was now all he could see.Lord Ragan could feel the heat slowly starting to warm his frozen bones. He turned his head on the floor to see Simmons was also laid out on the floor in front of the fire. Good, they had found him too. And with that final thought, Lord Ragan passed out.After a long, long deep sleep, Lord Ragan awoke. He found himself now in a large bed. There was a fireplace to the right with another roaring fire. It was fairly nicely furnished throughout.He slowly rose from the bed. He noticed he wore a white undershirt with grey undershorts. They were not his. He assumed whoever his saviours were, they had changed him into dry warm clothing before placing him in bed.There was a chalice of water placed on the table in front of the fireplace. Ragan walked over to it, sat next to the fire, and drank the entire contents of the chalice. He now noticed his clothing had been hung at the side of the fire to dry.Ragan stood and dressed himself.His sword and dagger had been left next to his clothes. He thought about taking them with him, but was there really any danger here? These people had saved him, and surely meant him no harm. After a moment, Ragan took the dagger, hiding it in a secret pocket in his tailor-made leather over-jacket.Now it was time to meet his saviours, and check on Simmons. Ragan opened the large heavy door and stepped out into the stone corridor. It was fairly dim out here, but there was light at one end of the corridor, and some muffled noises. Ragan headed toward it.The corridor turned to the left and then came out into a small hall. The roof was pitched higher here than in the corridor or bedroom. There were four tables in front of a very large hearth, with a roaring fire. It seemed to Ragan perhaps this was the fire he was dragged to when he and Simmons had been saved earlier, but he couldn’t be sure.At one of the tables sat a single old man. He looked like he was in his seventh decade, with a slightly haggard face, and a long mane of greying hair. He was dressed in fairly expensive clothing, with a blue and gold tunic particularly striking. Certainly, this was no stable hand or old soldier.The old man sat quietly sipping at a mug of some steaming hot liquid. Ragan moved into the centre of the hall so that he was clearly in the old man’s view. The old man did not look up from his mug, however. Ragan cleared his throat to make the old man aware of his presence.Yet still, the old man did not look up from his hot beverage. Ragan thought for a moment the old man was being rude, yet he had saved his life, surely that could not be the case. Ragan moved closer to stand in front of the old man, the two separated only by the table.Ragan leant closer, peering deeply into the old man’s eyes. His eyes were all cloudy, or perhaps milky was a better description. Now Lord Ragan understood.“Sir, I think I owe you my life,” Lord Ragan said, in his distinctive, fairly deep voice.The old man suddenly looked up, putting his mug down on the table.“Who’s there? Is that our visitor?” the old man inquired.Lord Ragan moved to the other end of the table, but the old man’s eyes did not follow him. It was obvious to Ragan now the old man was completely blind.“Yes sir. May I sit at your table?” Ragan asked.“Yes of course, please sit,” the old man replied.The old man took a small bell from the table, and rang it a few times.“My servant will come, my eyes are not what they used to be I’m afraid,” the old man continued.“I understand, sir. Then I shall introduce myself. I am Lord Ragan, of Rhigord,” Ragan said simply.“Lord Ragan!” the old man gasped, “Lord Ragan? Do my ears deceive me too? I don’t hear so well either nowadays.”“Your ears work fine, sir. It is I,” Ragan replied.“Well, I never thought a lord so high as yourself would ever visit my humble home,” the old man said, shaking his head.“I’m very glad of your humble home, it saved my life,” Ragan said, “And what may I call you, dear sir?”“I apologise. I am Lord Godfrey, Ward of the Western Badlands,” the old man replied, “It is, in fact, I that should be calling you sir.”“Do not worry yourself with that, Lord Godfrey. I believe I shall forever be in your debt,” Ragan responded.Ragan had called the old man sir out of politeness. Other than the king, there were no other men in the kingdom that Ragan need look up to.“If I may ask, how was it you came this way, Lord Ragan?” Lord Godfrey asked.“We were on our way from Rhigord to Shanten. I decided to cross the Badlands to save time. When we left the Headstone Road, the weather was fair,” Ragan explained, “But this storm soon came upon us, and was so bad we soon lost our way.”“I see,” Godfrey nodded, “My wife tells me it is the worst storm she has ever seen. Of course, she is young, so I don’t know how many storms she has experienced.”“It’s the worst I have ever seen, Lord Godfrey, and I have seen many,” Ragan continued, “I lost two good men out there, only my trusted aide Simmons survived. Where is he? I would speak with him.”“Yes, of course, sir…” Godfrey began, but was interrupted by chatter coming down the corridor into the hall.Ragan turned to see Simmons appear, followed by a young woman. The young woman ushered Simmons to the table. Saying nothing, Ragan and Simmons embraced, then both sat together at Lord Godfrey’s table.Ragan introduced Simmons to Lord Godfrey, who shook the old man’s hand and thanked him profusely for saving him. Ragan also finally shook Godfrey’s hand.“Yes, again, our thanks,” Ragan agreed.“No thanks are necessary. We would have course attempted to save any man lost in the blizzard. But especially for such a noble lord,” Godfrey nodded.Godfrey introduced the young woman as Mabel, his servant. She was quite young, perhaps sixteen or seventeen, fairly slim, with an auburn bob hairstyle. Ragan thought she was mildly attractive, and she seemed to have a pleasant manner. Godfrey ordered güvenilir bahis siteleri Mabel to get some wine for his guests.Another figure appeared at the end of the hall. Mabel scolded him for daring to bring in the stink of the stable with him. It became apparent this was Mabel’s younger brother, Rolfe. He was the stable hand, and it had been the two of them who had dragged Ragan and Simmons inside from the storm.Rolfe seemed rather simple, and his left eye did not look in the same direction as his right.But on learning the news from Godfrey that it had actually been Rolfe who was the dark figure with the flaming torch they had spotted in the snowstorm, Ragan got up from his seat and shook Rolfe’s hand. Apparently, Rolfe had thought he had seen two figures out in the storm, and had gone out to investigate, but could not find anyone. He had later heard Ragan banging on the door, and he and his sister Mabel had dragged Ragan and Simmons inside.Ragan then kissed Mabel on the hand too, and thanked them both.Mabel was quite taken with this. It was probably not the proper done thing, a great Lord kissing a serving wench’s hand, but Ragan felt he owed them both something. He made a mental note to leave them both some coin before he left here.Apparently, Rolfe stayed in the stable with the horses during any storms, to calm the horses, and keep the fireplace well-lit so the horses and other animals that had been temporarily moved in there did not freeze to death. That explained the smell Ragan had noticed when he shook Rolfe’s hand. But if he was sharing the stable with horses, pigs, and chickens, it was to be expected he supposed.Mabel said she had killed a few chickens in their visitors’ honour, and was roasting them in the kitchen. Mabel told her brother to go bathe and change his clothes, as he would be needed later to help her serve supper.The three men sipped at their wine and chatted for some time. Godfrey spoke about how he had been on the minor lords’ council years ago, and that Lord Ragan himself had attended one of their meetings in his youth.Ragan did not recall this at all, but then the minor lord’s council meetings were often a bore, which is why he rarely attended. But it was obviously a significant moment in Godfrey’s life, and so Ragan nodded, and even went so far as to lie, stating he remembered Lord Godfrey had spoken well at the meeting. Not only was Ragan grateful to Godfrey, he quite liked him. He reminded Ragan of an elderly knight who had given him sagely advice in his difficult teenage years.An hour passed, and then another dark figure appeared at the end of the hall. It was a woman, and a very shapely one at that. As she came closer, Ragan rose to greet her, as did Simmons. This must be the lady of the house.In the light, Ragan could now see she was stunningly beautiful. She had a fair, unblemished complexion, with high cheekbones, and full luscious lips. Her dark hair was platted into a long ponytail. Ragan estimated she was about 5ft 6in tall.She wore a long, dark blue dress, which was tightly fitted. So tightly fitted, in fact, that Ragan could see she was quite slim at the waist, but with nice wide hips, and with a very large bust. Ragan could not help but smile at her, and she smiled back, nodding her head. She then turned to Godfrey.“My Lord,” she said.Lord Godfrey turned in the direction of this gorgeous young woman.“Ah, yes my dear. My Lord, this is my wife Katherine,” Godfrey said, reaching out to hold her hand, to present her to Ragan, “Katherine, this is Lord Ragan, and his aide. The gods have blessed us with their presence.”“Lord Ragan? Of Rhigord?” Katherine inquired, turning to Ragan and smiling again, “My goodness, we are truly honoured, sir.”“Lady Katherine,” Ragan nodded, taking her hand and kissing it in the usual manner, “It is I who is honoured to be in the presence of such a beauty. Lord Godfrey, you are very lucky to have such a lovely wife.”Godfrey seemed to enjoy the great Lord Ragan showing just a little jealousy to a minor lord. Certainly, Lady Katherine also enjoyed the attention from Lord Ragan, holding on to his hand after he kissed hers a little longer than was proper. She eventually let go, and shook Simmons’ hand briefly, before sitting at the table next to her husband.“I am, as you may know, unmarried,” Ragan explained, “I wonder, Lord Godfrey, if perhaps Lady Katherine has a sister that I might meet?”All four at the table then laughed. Godfrey was very much enjoying knowing Lord Ragan approved of his choice in wife, patting her leg under the table.Ragan wondered how much of an age gap there was between Godfrey and his wife. It was certainly not unusual for lords to marry women a fair bit younger than themselves. But this marriage took that to the extreme, Ragan thought.“How long is it you have been married, Lord Godfrey?” Ragan asked.“Oh dates, I’m afraid my mind does not remember them so well nowadays,” Godfrey replied.“Almost two years now,” Katherine interjected, smiling.“Ah yes. Yes dear, two years now,” Godfrey nodded, “My first wife died many years ago. Katherine’s father is a landowner in the South Badlands. He offered me his daughters’ hand, in exchange for extending our troops’ patrols into his lands.”Even though Lady Katherine’s father probably had extensive lands in the South Badlands, he was probably in a similar financial standing to Lord Godfrey, Ragan thought. The Badlands could not be farmed to any great extent, and so their lands were almost worthless.Bandits hid out in these lands, however, and occasionally raided travellers along the Headstone Road.“So, you do have troops of your own then Lord Godfrey?” Ragan enquired.“Well, they are under my local rule, yes. But the crown provides the funds. They are stationed in barracks a few miles from here,” Godfrey explained, “But in a storm like this, there’s no chance of us reaching them, or them reaching us.”“I understand. With your permission, we will wait out the storm here with you,” Ragan replied.“Of course, I’m glad of your presence, Lord Ragan. Usually, there are two guards posted here at the house, but we assume they got lost in the storm whilst doing their local patrol. I’m afraid it will be at least a week before this storm clears enough for you to continue your travels,” Godfrey continued, “It goes without saying Lord Ragan, whilst you are here, what’s mine is yours.”“Well, my Lord, we will enjoy having your company for the next week then,” Lady Katherine, said, smiling again, “Fear not, we have a shed stocked full of fire-wood to keep our hearths burning; and plenty of wine, beer, bread and meats to sustain us all.”“Well, it’s good iddaa siteleri to hear the lord and lady are well prepared for these situations,” Simmons finally spoke up.Lady Katherine suddenly stood up from the table.“My lords, if you will excuse me. I should check on Mabel and our supper,” Katherine announced.Katherine smiled again at Lord Ragan as she departed.The three men continued to chat about various subjects. Ragan smiled to himself as eventually talk turned to the taxes by the crown, a subject he noted all minor lords complained about. Lord Ragan assured Godfrey when he had returned home, he would look into helping out The Badlands, to return the great hospitality Godfrey had shown him in his hour of need.Ragan could not put the gorgeous Lady Katherine from his mind, and decided to ask Godfrey more about her when a break in the conversation occurred.“If you don’t mind me asking, how old is your wife, Lord Godfrey?” Ragan enquired.“Oh, she is in her eighteenth or nineteenth year now, I forget which,” Godfrey replied, smiling, showing his wizened, stained teeth.Godfrey still seemed to be enjoying a great lord showing interest in his young wife. Ragan had often used compliments to minor lords of their lands, houses, horses, or even their wives. It made them feel relaxed and comfortable, perhaps before then asking them to do tasks for him that they ordinarily might not be too happy with.Godfrey’s answer to his question must mean he had married Katherine when she was just sixteen or seventeen, the randy old goat, Ragan thought. He chuckled to himself. Ragan wondered if Godfrey had ever actually seen how beautiful Katherine was, or just relied on what others told him of her beauty.Lady Katherine spoke in the style of a minor lady, which meant she spoke fairly eloquently, with the clipped tones that proper ladies were taught by their instructors. But as with most minor ladies, she still had a hint of her childhood ‘agricultural’ accent. She had the graceful manner of a lady of the court, but with an approachability that Ragan was sure her subjects appreciated.To Ragan, Lady Katherine also seemed a fairly bright and vivacious young woman. Often when lords married some pretty young thing, they were just that. They would sit in silence next to their lord, and smile and look pretty, but had nothing much to say, at least not publicly. Lady Katherine seemed quite different, Ragan could see her fitting in easily in the court at Rhigord, or even the King’s court in the south.Simmons began talking to Godfrey about his favourite subject, horses. It went on for some time. Ragan went to the small windows in the hall’s walls to peer outside. He couldn’t see further than two horse lengths, so the storm had not subsided yet.Then Ragan heard a commotion coming from the other end of the hall, and he turned to see who it was. Mabel and Rolfe entered with plates of steaming hot food. Behind them followed Lady Katherine. Ragan could not help but notice the change in her appearance.Lady Katherine was now dressed in a flowing long black dress, that had a split in it, so when she walked it showed off her legs, right up to her thighs. It was tight around her hips, very tight, showing off the curve of her pert young bottom.However, it was around the bust her dress was most revealing. It had a plunging neckline, showing off an amazing, large, full, gorgeous cleavage. She had also untied her hair, which made her look even more beautiful.Ragan had seen such dresses worn by women in various brothels he had frequented all around the kingdom. But certainly, he had never seen a Lady wear one. It was quite scandalous, especially wearing it when the Lord of the house had guests.Lady Katherine smiled at Lord Ragan first. Ragan smiled back at Katherine, getting a good eyeful down her cleavage as she ushered him back to the table.Mabel and Rolfe laid the table, with roast chickens, boiled vegetables, bread, soup, wine, and beer. It was quite a feast, Ragan thought, especially for a minor lord like Godfrey to put on under the circumstances.Lord Ragan sat back at the end of the table. Usually, a lord would sit at the head of his table, but Lord Godfrey sat in the middle for some reason. Perhaps due to his blindness, he was unclear as to where the head of the table was.Simmons sat opposite Godfrey. Lady Katherine sat in between her husband and Lord Ragan. Mabel and the newly cleaned up Rolfe served the food and drinks. Once everyone had a full plate, they all began to eat.Ragan ate like a lord, politely, slowly, with a knife and fork, as did Lady Katherine. Godfrey ate rather more carefully, as he could not see what he was consuming, Ragan thought. Simmons ate like his poor roots had taught him to, wolfing it down using his hands before some other poor savage tried to take it from him. Lady Katherine did not raise an eyebrow to Simmons’ dining ways, she must have seen the local guards eat like this, Ragan assumed.Rolfe then disappeared back to the stable, gratefully taking a plate from Mabel with a roasted half of a chicken and a bowl of soup with him. He looked very pleased with himself as he disappeared out of the hall. Ragan guessed he did not usually get the quality food from his lord’s table.Mabel ensured everyone had what they wanted, then disappeared back to the kitchen. Conversation at the table ceased whilst they enjoyed their food. Simmons had ravenously finished one chicken, and was starting on another. Ragan finished his meal, and drained his tankard dry.“Lord Godfrey, would you pass the wine?” Ragan asked.The large glass wine decanter was in front of Godfrey, but of course, he could not know exactly where.“Mabel. Mabel! Where’s that girl?” Godfrey asked.“Let me serve it, my lord,” Lady Katherine replied, reaching for the decanter.Lady Katherine then stood, and moved one step down the table, a little closer to Lord Ragan. She then bent at the waist to reach further, so the decanter in her hand could reach Lord Ragan’s glass.As she bent down her huge bosom became even more prominently visible to Ragan. He stared down Katherine’s huge cleavage, taking it all in. Katherine looked him straight in the eye, grinning. She knew exactly what she was doing.Even Simmons looked up from his chicken to enjoy the show. But Simmons then glanced at Godfrey, thought better of it, and went back to concentrating on his meal.Lord Ragan smiled back at Lady Katherine. He decided to see how far she was willing to go. As Katherine continued to very slowly pour the wine, Ragan pulled his glass slowly toward himself.This meant Lady Katherine had to bend further, and lower, to reach the glass, meaning even more of her large bust became visible to Ragan. Katherine giggled, knowing exactly what Ragan was doing. Ragan thought she might even fall out of her dress, as it strained to contain her huge breasts. She certainly had some fantastic, young, big firm tits.

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