The Lord of All – A thrilling fantasy with a strong female protagonist!
The Old Duke hotel was one of the finest in the city, with a history spanning more than five hundred years. It certainly considered itself to be an upper class establishment, even though its glory days had long faded.
Despite that, it still liked to think of itself as too good for the ‘common man,’ and Velvet thought the only reason the doorman had even let them pass was because he wasn’t foolish enough to go head-to-head with an enormous warrior carrying several large swords.
The lobby reeked of refinement, and she felt terribly out of place standing on the beautifully embroidered carpet. It made her want to rush to the bath house and take a shower or something. The room was decorated in muted colours, with portraits of various aristocrats from ages past hanging at regular intervals on the walls. Overhead hung the biggest chandelier that Velvet had ever seen, and she wondered how it didn’t tear the ceiling out.
They approached the long wooden reception desk, and she could see the panic rise in the conservatively dressed young woman who was manning it. The clerk wasn’t fast enough to go and get reinforcements though, so she put on a brave face as Velvet leaned on the counter.
“May I help you?”
“Yes please,” said Velvet with a smile. “We require…” she hesitated and looked at Lord.
“Two rooms,” he said. “One for Nurn and me, another for yourself. I would prefer it if you stayed close.”
Velvet nodded. She didn’t like to waste money, but the opportunity of staying here was too good to pass up. She looked at the woman, who smiled nervously and asked another question.
“How long will the party be staying?”
“Er,” Velvet looked at Lord again.
“There is no specific period,” he said. “It may be as little as a day.”
The receptionist started to look relieved, but expression quickly changed as the Lord of All added more.
“On the other hand, it may be considerably longer.”
“Oh,” the clerk said. “I’m afraid we have to ask for some security up front. We usually require a week in advance.”
“How much for a reasonable room?” asked Velvet, feeling she should contribute something to the conversation.
“For a standard room the cost is Half a Crown a night. We have better of course.” The girl looked hopeful as Velvet paled.
Half a Crown a night! That was more than she was paid in a month! She was about to open her mouth to bargain when Lord casually threw ten large gold pieces onto the counter. Velvet’s argument stopped dead as the coins rolled about for a moment, before coming to rest in an expensive pile. He’d just thrown ten Crowns on the desk more casually than she’d have done for ten bits! She had hardly even seen a Crown piece, let along ten all at once. The large gold pieces were rare, and too big for normal purchases. Her new horse had probably not cost more than two of them, at most.
If Velvet had been surprised at this sudden windfall, it had nearly given the receptionist a heart attack. She stammered for several moments before squeaking out an apology and asking them to wait a moment, and fleeing through a door behind her.
“What did I do?” asked The Lord of All, looking puzzled.
“You just put more gold on the desk than most people see in a year!” Velvet hissed. “Listen, next time let me bargain first okay? You can’t go throwing that kind of money around, even you. You’ll have half the thieves and pickpockets in the city after you before the day’s out.”