The sun slipped behind the gently rolling hills and sturdy trees of the Ethieven countryside, as the fine spring day (which is to say, there was only a bit of soft rain in the early morning) came to an end. The western horizon was still a thick band of red and orange in the sky but the fading beams of sun were giving way to the deep purples and blues of twilight. The village of Corwen, roughly two day's light ride from Wycombe on the Taunton road, bustled with travelers, finding a place to stay for the night, in one of the three coaching inns the settlement boasted. The Lost Yoeman and The Teamster, were both built in the village proper but The Dog, perhaps the finest of the three inns, was settled just a little northward, a warm beacon for anyone coming south along the road. Not so far away, that it wouldn't be counted as part of Corwen but far enough that it was a little too far to walk in the dark.
Jack Hunt sat with both his brother and business partner, at a table in the back, left corner and fought the urge to slip a finger under the well fitting wig, to scratch a growing itch. Normally the thing, black as pitch, with a curl at each temple and a tail for the nap of the neck, didn't brother him but for some reason, it itched tonight. He was sure that it had picked up a flea or two from a coachman, when they held up Squire Gosebourne the other night. Determined not to give in, if only to spite the man they had robbed for the pitiable haul, he picked up his nearly empty tankard and took a pull of the good brown ale The Dog served.
While William, his younger brother, bartered softly with Braith, over the price of the good Squire's pocket watch, the older highwayman glanced about the common room of the inn. The heel of his left boot scuffed over the floor, as he shifted a little, eager for the night to get on. It had been over a week ago, when Braith, maybe the slipperiest man in the underworld, had come to them with a job. Apparently, old Duke Cyril of Starford, would or already was coming down from his vast northern estates, for the wedding of his eldest daughter and he was bringing her dowry with him. It was hard not to drool over even the lowest estimates, of how much the old buzzard might be bringing in his coach.
Of course both of the Hunt Brothers had been interested in the prospect of lightening the load, those poor horses would have to pull but there was a small problem. The Duke was a smart man and would have more then coachman and a driver with him on the way to Wycombe. He'd have more men then even the bold pair could take on and live to tell about. They would need more robbers for this job, a small gang of their fellow knights of the road and while that meant smaller shares, it would mean they could spend the money. However, most of the men they used to run with, were either awaiting trial or buried at Harrow Hill.
So they had sent out the word, through the system of fences, less-then-completely-honest inn keepers, whores and other members of the underworld, that the Hunt Brothers were planning a big job and wanted some help. Anyone interested should show up at The Dog in Corwen, after sunset on Tuesday, the tenth of April. Look for the men wearing a red and black cockade on their hats.
Now all they had to do was wait. The Brothers did have a bit of a reputation, which might turn aside some of their fellows. After all, Black Jack and Bill had robbed more then one army officer and been chase by more then just a sheriff or the local yeomanry but by the cavalry. While not the most infamous of highwaymen, they did go after those who were more capable of killing or driving off mounted robbers. If they wanted hep, how dangerous was this job and how much could it be worth?
Jack raised his tankard, wordlessly and politely calling for a serving women, while keeping his eyes on the door.
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