2. Jauntxo and Chafeveleyn
She was Chafeveleyn, the young woman who looked after the old couple in the great-house on Market Street. He loved her to distraction. His first day in town, he had watched her sweeping the flagstones in the courtyard. Her long golden hair was swinging back and forth above her slim waist. One look, and Jauntxo lost his heart.
He knew no shame. He followed her at every opportunity. Often he would jog a mile out to the Bee Sisters' farm, pick fresh flowers from their fields, and bring them to the porch of the old house. Chafeveleyn thanked him once. Then he brought flowers every day. He forgot his efforts to find work and took to hanging about Market Street, watching for Chafeveleyn and trying to think about the upcoming Market Fair. When Chafeveleyn passed by, his heart pounded like a sick person's who has climbed the stairs. When her gaze fell on him he yearned to speak but his usual courage failed him and his traitor tongue refused to say anything except "Uh, uh…." The townsfolk felt sorry for him. He did not care.
Chafeveleyn had a pack of troubles, starting with being an adopted stranger in a town founded by Rhûn and Dale traders, and ending with a collection of ills that could be described in two words: the Inn. On the same day that Jauntxo arrived in town, the Lawspeaker visited old Aurken and Udara, who owned the great-house and were Chafeveleyn's foster parents. But the Lawspeaker first made sure the daughter was not at home.
"You can put Go-Fast on the map of every traveler in Rhovannion," he said. "We are at the cross roads of the Dorwinion wain route and the Dwarf Road – and that leads to the rich markets west and south. Up north there is Lake-town."
"Remember that fellow, Bard, from Lake-town?" interrupted Uncle Udara. "Always looking…."
"Ahem," said the Lawspeaker. "The autumn market fair has almost outgrown Go-Fast. But here is this great-house with only Chafeveleyn and you to fill it. Why not make it an inn? You could call it some memorable name. 'Bird and Baby,' 'Eagle and Child,' something. What do you say?"
Aurken and Udara stared at the Lawspeaker for a good minute. Then Udara voiced the general consensus.
"You're out of your mind, young fellow." This utterance took all his energy so they had to wait for him to continue. "Take a look at this house. It will take years to make an inn of it, and it will probably fall down first."
Aurken took over the explanations. "What about the meat and drink, and the servants for the travelers? Where do we get those, and who pays for them? We have no money."
The Lawspeaker said, "Chafeveleyn can be cleaning woman and barkeep. I shall be happy to lend you a store of food from my house. All you have to do is sign a parchment promising to pay me back once you are successful." What he meant was, they would become indebted to him without hope of escape, the Lawspeaker would possess the great-house, and he would turn them out into the streets unless Chafeveleyn married him.
"Well that sounds fine," said Udara, although Aurken was not so sure. But before she could muster her thoughts, the Lawspeaker produced the parchment. The old folks signed it and the Lawspeaker hastened away as Chafeveleyn returned home.
Aurken and Udara were settling down for a nap, which they could do at the table without leaving their chairs. Before he slept Udara handed Chafeveleyn a dust rag, saying, "Congratulations, my dear! You are now the Mistress of the Inn of Go-Fast."