Little Red Cajun Hood
Thrice-Told Tale #9
by Rus Hall
"Uh, Erik. I think the troops could use a rest," said Justin tentatively.
Erik replied, "We've GOT to rescue Marko."
"Yeah, well, we've been walking for hours and you don't want them exhausted before the fun begins, now do you?" Justin pressed.
" . . . all right, five minutes, then we push on."
So the motley crew stopped for a breather. It was not so much the exertion that was weighing them down, it was their destination; Dirk's Dungeon of Death. Morale was starting to sag so Floyd the Feather took it upon himself to try and alleviate the creeping malaise.
"Thank the gods, my dogs are tired." quipped Floyd as he sat down on a nearby log.
"Dogs?" said Rutger
"Feet! I was referring to my feet, longshanks. Hey, anyone got a light for this stoker? Uh, besides you Coulter?" he said.
"Hey Floyd, you don't seem too worried about this job." said Rutger.
"Nah, this sort of thing runs in the family." he said proudly.
"Vaht, being short?" Talia remarked snidely in her deep accent.
"Careful you tightrope tart, I may just forget you're a lady. Besides, being vertically-challenged has its advantages, we get overlooked easily, we can get into small places, and being close to the ground we see things others miss. But, what I meant was that breaking in, sneaking around, and escaping dungeons is kind of second nature for me and my kin, especially my sister, Flora. And yes, she was about my size." Floyd took a long puff then continued, "Yeah, I remember that Flora had a pretty good gig going for a while."
"What'd she do?" asked Coulter.
"Well, she masqueraded as a gypsy fortune-teller. 'The Anonymous Lady' she was called, because she would never give her name. Sounded mysterious and it added to the mystique. She did quite well at it. Her favorite scenario was to read someone's fortune and tell them that a windfall was in their stars, but only if they became a generous person. Then after they would leave, she would put on a beggar's disguise, slip out the back, and meet them again asking for donations. What a racket!"
"Vaht happened to her?" inquired Talia.
"Seems she ticked off some petty noble by telling a fortune that ended up coming true, but in a very embarrassing way. So, he had her thrown in the clink. But they couldn't keep her; no, not Flora. I taught her everything she knows about the art of escape, and two days later, she was nowhere to be found. That lord scoured the countryside looking for the short, nameless, fortune-teller that had escaped his dungeon."
Floyd took another long puff on his cigar.
Justin chimed in, "You know, now that you mention it, a few years back, I remember hearing a town crier blathering on about a small, medium at large."
"On that note," said Erik, "Break times over. Marko awaits."
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