Liadan came out of Hendren's odds and ends shop. She was a bit
cleaner since she had first came to Buckley village, and wasn't as
thin, but Lia didn't think about her appearance much still. Her red
hair was still just as wild and her freckles were plainly visible and
there was a smudge of grease on her nose.
She was enjoying living here and helping with the shop, most of the
people were friendly. Of course there were a few people who'd give
her a hard time, but most of them were crankpots anyway who'd give
anyone a hard time. And even the worst crankpots in Buckley were nice
compared to some places Lia had been, especially compared to the
village Lia was born in.
So of course Lia hoped that she'd be able to stay here like this, she
actually had friends and wasn't in danger of being chased out or
stoned by angry villagers. But Lia was worried that something'd go
wrong.
Anyway, Lia shook off that irritating fear as she walked down the
road. She had 'found' a few knick knacks the other day and remembered
that Aislyn had been wanting some that night Lia had 'given' her that
birdcage and Liadan hoped she'd still be interested.
Liadan let herself into the bakery. Aislyn wasn't there so she
waited. Liadan could smell something freshbaked and found some bread
in the oven. Liadan 'rescued' the loaves and helped herself to one.
Munching on the warm bread Liadan sat down.
Liadan ate half the loaf already. She cleaned up the crumbs then
continued eating again. It gave hersomething to do while waiting.

~*~

The Inn was exceptionally busy for the lunch crowd, and while Brighid
Blacke appreciated the extra coin it gave her. It wasn't easy for a
girl to support herself without doing the wrong thing, and she was
grateful to Aislyn's family for giving her a job and room when her
father died.

She had been angry at first for him leaving the blacksmith shop to a
man she didn't know, but as she tried to run it before Tabor arrived,
she realized no one would purchase from a female blacksmith.

Brighid slipped into the kitchen to pick up an order and Yevella, one
of the cooks called out, "Can you go next door and see if Aislyn has
more bread? We're down to one loaf."

She nodded and slipped next door. Brighid walked through the kitchen
door, not seeing Aislyn out in the shop. "Aislyn, do you have..." her
words trailed off when she found Liadan alone in the kitchen. Shyness
kicked in and Brighid lowered her eyes. "Hello, Liadan. Where's
Aislyn?"

Lia had just finished the loaf of bread when Brighid
came in.
"Hello Brighid. I don't know where Aislyn is, I've
been waiting for her for a while." Liadan frowned,
picking at the crumbs.

Brighid struggled not to laugh at the sight of Liadan covered in
crumbs. She looked shyly at Liadan, "I, uhm, that is, the Cook at the
Inn asked me to come see if Aislyn had more bread, and let her know
we'll need more for the evening rush."

She glanced at the four loaves of bread cooling on the counter, the
air filled with the scent of fresh baked bread. Brighid's mouth
watered, she hadn't had a chance to eat yet.

Liadan shook off what crumbs she could.
"Well, there are a couple freshbaked loaves there,
they're pretty good, I mean I think they're good."
Liadan said slyly, already coming up with a story
about why there are breadcrumbs all over the place.
Liadan noticed that Brighid was drooling- er watering
her mouth- Brighid's mouth watering. Must be
over-hydrated or thirsty, Liadan thought.

"Well, uhm," Brighid said, looking down at her feet, "I've always heard the best compliment a cook can have is to have all her food eaten." Brighid twitched her nose and shuffled her feet. "I wonder if Aislyn would mind if I just take these on over to the Inn. Would you tell her I took them and that we need more for tonight?" Brighid asked hopefully.

She picked up the loaves and headed for the connecting door but stopped, hearing voices from the other side. Brighid walked back over and set the loaves down, sitting across from Lia. "Another complaint about me. If I lose this job I don't know how I'll support myself." Brighid clasped her hands on top of the table and stared at them.

Liadan all but fell under the table with silent laughter at "The
highest compliment a cook can have", in that case Liadan's paid
Aislyn so many compliments her head should've swollen to the size of
the inn. Liadan's bread-filled stomach ached from that mental image.
Liadan recovered as Brighid sat down.
"I get complaints about me at least four times everyday- at least
complaints that I know of." Of course they weren't all work related
but no need to tell Brighid that, "I still got my job. Cheer up, pay
Aislyn a compliment." Liadan gestured to the loaves of bread thinking
Brighid'd be happier with something to eat.

Brighid eyed the loaf of bread, her stomach growling fiercely from not being fed yet. She blushed and mumbled, "Sorry." Her nose twitched again, if she didn't get the bread over there, Cook would be more than a little angry with her. Of course, it wouldn't be polite to just stroll out with Aislyn's bread.

Absently she tore off a piece and popped it into her mouth. She chewed thoughtfully and swallowed. "They scare me and they know it," she finally admitted.

Liadan tore off a bit of bread. "Why do you let them scare you like
that?" She asks before shoving it in her mouth.

Brighid shrugged, getting up to grab some jam from a high shelf and sitting back down. "I'm afraid they'll hurt me in some way. With words or hands, doesn't matter. That's why I stayed in the shop and helped Dad all the time. I didn't have to be...friendly there. But the inn customers expect it." She slathered some jam on another chunk of bread and popped it into her mouth.

"Hey, gimme some o' that." Liadan reached for the jam, then frowned
at Brighid, "Don't let them get to you. If they give you any trouble
say that Wild Liadan'll beat them up, or rob their homes..." Liadan
trailed off, "You just can't take garbage from people, especially not
here where you're expected to work."

Brighid grinned, tearing off another bit. "Wild Liadan, eh? I'll keep that in mind. I know I should make small talk and things, the inn's supposed to be a friendly place. But I don't know what to say that'll be interesting. Jeremy told me..." Brighid's voice trailed off and she glanced down at her hands. "I...I should get the bread to Cook.

Liadan put lots of jam on a chunk of bread. "What'd he say?" Lia
asked, carefully balancing the jam on the bread so it wouldn't fall
off.

Brighid looked over at her, "He said everything I said was stupid. Among other things." She flushed with shame, pulling her blonde braid over her shoulder to play with. Brighid stood quickly, knocking the chair over. She bent down to pick it up.

"I...I'll just tell Cook Aislyn needs to make some bread if you can tell her when she gets back that Cook needs some," Brighid rattled on, heading for the door.

Liadan growled about what he said and a bit of jam fell off her bread
and onto the table but Liadan didn't notice.
"What a shmegegge." Liadan had picked up that word somewhere and she
liked it. "Want me to beat him up? I'll tell Aislyn if she ever gets
back over here." Lia sighed, taking a bite of the jam coated bread.

Brighid shook her head, "No, thank you, Liadan. He moved away to another village with the girl he left me for. "Shmeggee. I like that," Brighid grinned. "Thanks, Liadan." A thought struck her before she opened the door and she quickly wiped around her mouth, removing crumbs and remnants of jam.

"Can't let Cook know I was eating some of the bread," she added before opening the door and going into the inn.

"Ah, then I can track him down and rob the shmegegge's house!" Liadan
offered, then set to finishing off the remaining loaf.

Liadan is bored of just sitting so she snoops around
for something else to eat. Liadan comes across some
sweet rolls. She does a small victory dance only
requiring five or six backflips (Lia had to move the table
first for room) then she sits down, or tries to and
falls on the floor because she had forgotten that she
moved the table and chairs. Liadan goes to pick up the
sweet rolls, they're a little dusty but still edible.