Jailyn bundled her broad girth into the thick lamb’s wool sweater and sighed. It had been a long and tedious day. Complaining customers, blustery winds, and an overwhelming sense of boredom. She shook her head and her thick braid of grey hair swung across her back. Jailyn shuffled about her small apartment over her shop. A small dinner and a steaming cup of tea by candlelight. Beneath her weight the floorboards creaked and groaned. Her wrinkled face shifted and moved as she hummed to herself. It had been some time since she had experienced any excitement. She sipped her tea and thought back, yes it had been over 5 months since she had passed a message along, even longer since she had hidden anyone in the small basement below her shop.  She wanted some spice in her life.

Her family had been travelers. Not quite gypsies but too nomadic to be townspeople. It had been a youth full of stories and faces and new roads. She had married her husband when she was 17. It had been that or watch her father beat her husband to a bloody pulp when he found out she was pregnant. So, she’d married Darn, a staid man of 23. Short of stature and slow of mind he wasn’t exactly her first pick. Jailyn had, nevertheless, been a good wife. If she passed messages on the side without him knowing it was no skin off his back. She’d run the house, subtly, but run it nonetheless.

She had once been a young woman who turned eyes. But boredom and an overindulgence of, well nearly everything, had changed that. Not that Darn had complained. He may have been slow but he did have some survival instinct. Not enough to have helped get out of the way of a run-a-way wagon two winters prior. He hadn’t survived that disaster and Jailyn had calmly continued on.  Jailyn didn’t see any use in wasting time mourning him. He was dead and that was that. She supposed it had helped that three days later she had smuggled three messengers into her basement and hid them as the patrols searched. Oh what excitement that had been! It had actually been a rather exciting six months. Messages flowing back and forth, people slinking in and out under the cloak of darkness.  Jailyn smiled to herself and sipped more tea. Time would bring more messages and excitement. She hoped sooner rather than later. She enjoyed being part of a network, it made her feel mysterious and powerful.

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