Trouble had just ridden in in a cloud of dust and on a horse that was lathered from its run.
A smile curved on lips that were perhaps a little too lush for a male face even as intelligence and grim amusement gleamed in dark eyes; she knew what a Union solider riding at such a pace meant after the last year of her life. But it was doubtful others here would. Edmund or rather, to the few who knew, Emily MacLyone was one of the few crazy souls brave enough to be a Special Artist for magazines in New York and other cities in the North. It was her job to be able to sense when trouble might be coming, battles and the like, and to capture said battles in her sketches to be sent off via courier to the North. She had a better cover story then most in some ways, seeming to be a wealthy young man with merchant connections that traveled along the battle lines, sometimes offering deals to either army to seem a neutral and sending back orders and packages of notes to the MacLyone merchant base in the big bad city.
It had kept her out of trouble with the rebels more then a handful of times after all, the willingness to barter and do trade with them because not many merchants from the North would anymore and most industry came from the North. Her brother, Nigel, the second eldest, had insisted on the set up as a safety feature for her to carry out this 'mad' act in the battlelines and it hadn't costed her much to agree. The important thing to her was that she felt alive, that she did something of meaning, and most wonderfully she was utterly out of reach of her mother's managing here. No one would think of finding the delicate, if vivacious Lady Emily MacLyone on a battlefield, least of all Annabelle MacLyone.
Having been settled up in tree branches, watching the road when the Union man road in she closed her sketch book and tucked her pencils into her folding case before swinging down to the ground. Sketching birds and the trees had seemed a good way to pass the day while waiting for news. Her brothers and her publishers had been quite clear that she wasn't to cross out of Union territory and she had been here two days so far, enjoying the surprisingly quiet countryside. It wouldn't be quiet much longer she would bet. Standing she was of no great height, simply five feet with five inches in addition and she looked like most artist's these days she bet, thin, active, nondescript. Clothing was all in shades of grey, brown and green after all, the better to hoist herself up in trees and be unnoticed. Her gray cap she settled jauntily on her head, stuffing most of her wispy golden hair up into it even as a hand brushed off her trousers and she headed for the tap room to observe the new comer. It wasn't often she encountered just a scout of the Union so a few sketches of him wouldn't go amiss to Harper's Weekly, they liked everyday men after all.
Boot clad feet carried her inside, lashed fluttering and then squinting in the dim light to adjust more swiftly to the change. Sure enough he was there, the scent of horse flesh and leather marking him out to her nose first as she settled at a table. A barmaid appeared and gave her a smile that Em worked to return with casualness she didn't feel.
"What can I get you Mr. MacLyone?" The woman's tone was flirty, purring almost really. Good thing her brothers had ruined her of blushing years ago elsewise this woman, attempting to seduce a younger man into her bed, and likely his money too. Women flirting with her was the most awkward bit of her masquerade.
"Some water, please, and whatever the cook has handy to nibble on." With a nod and a lingering smile the woman left and Em shook her head, her nose wrinkling slightly in annoyance. She had better things to focus on then a flirt. Her pad went open again and she pulled out the graphite, eyes covertly observing the solider from beneath her lashes as her hands moved swiftly. It took her all of a minute to capture the mood of him, and perhaps another to detail his face enough that she had captured him. She loved working with her hands, proving her skill to the world at large. And as annoying as her charade was at times she was very well aware that a woman would not be allowed to ride through the frontlines, barter with the Feds, drink with the Union men, wear trousers, climb up trees or see anything that looked like death. Women's lives were truly dull, and she had fled the 'safe haven' of marriage the same time she had fled England and her mother.
The maid appeared with her food and drink and a hand dipped into her pocket to pull out money for it with a tip, less reason for the woman to linger. Her dark gaze was fixed on the scout, "Where do you ride then solider man?" Pitching her voice lower for a man wasn't that difficult for her, her voice was naturally a contralto and had decidedly worked against her as a delicately built, blond haired lady by startling men. Now it was a strong point of her disguise. Funny how life worked. Her fingers moved still, lazily now capturing his pose of talking to the inn keeper even as her free hand reached for her mug of water. If Feds were coming she'd either need to invest in a place to hide or ride north. North would make the most sense, it was doubtful they would pitch a battle here and battles were what she was meant to observe.