January 28, 1720 -- Grenville, Florida
Chantilly dashed into the tavern, breathing heavily and in a great panic. Was I followed? she thought, her mind racing. Her eyes flicked quickly from side to side, searching for an empty table, until her gaze settled on a small one in a dark corner. She beelined for it, nearly knocking over a barmaid in the process.
She quickly decided on the chair facing away from the door and pulled it deeper into the shadows before sitting down. Her hands were shaking furiously, as was the crumpled piece of paper crunched within her frightened grasp. Calm down, she told herself sternly. You're just a patron, just like everyone else in here. No one is looking for you.
She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly, trying to halt the adrenaline-fueled instincts to run and hide that would surely draw even further attention. Inhale... exhale... Slowly, Chantilly was beginning to turn the tide of her fears. Inhale...
“Do you need something, mademoiselle?” a barmaid asked, shattering Chantilly's carefully crafted calm.
Chantilly turned to the barmaid standing over her shoulder and shot her a steely look. It was the same one she'd run into a few minutes earlier. “No. Nothing. Go away,” Chantilly snapped.
A look of confusion flashed past the barmaid's face, but was promptly replaced by annoyance. “Good, because you're not getting any service in this establishment,” the barmaid retorted, stalking off in a huff. Immediately Chantilly felt a pang of guilt for her harshness. She reached up and pulled her hat down lower on her face as if to hide her shame.
The motion rattled the crinkled paper that Chantilly had nearly forgotten was in her hand. It was a wanted notice that she had found posted outside the magistrate's office just a few minutes before her panicked arrival. She had read it then, casually, looking for an easy reward to supplement her flagging business ventures, but as her eyes poured over the words, her blood ran cold. She just reacted, ripping it off of the wall and running inside the nearest building, which just happened to have been the tavern.
Now Chantilly unwrinkled the the notice that had upset her so much. Now that she was calmer, she re-read it slowly, diligently, afraid to miss a single detail: