The Secret Carriers

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Chapter 23

Anise had caught Eleanor by her arm before Trevan was about to whisk them away. “What’s his name?”

She flinched, and her eyes moved wildly, trying to avoid Anise’s. “What? Whose name?”
“The soldier. The one that you fixed, saved, changed. The one that is now immortal.”

Eleanor looked at her, her head cocked to one side, confused. “Edwin. Edwin Drury. Why do you want to know?”

“Because with you three gone, I don’t really want to go looking for Abigail all by myself. And what better protection than a soldier, and an immortal one at that!” she smiled widely.

Eleanor looked unsure, and then after a moment nodded slowly. “Okay, that makes sense. I wouldn’t want to go either, by myself.”

“Meet me there, when you get back from …helping out Silas.”

“Where? Where is there?” Trevan asked.

She looked at Robert and shrugged her shoulders at him, jerking her head in Trevan’s direction.

Robert sighed loudly and brought out the crudely drawn map. There was a sea monster floating in the water just next to the word Londinium. “Here,” he jabbed a finger at a spot just inland from the coast, north east of where they were. “That’s where Abigail is.”

Trevan looked it over with an expert eye. “I know of that place. It’s just outside the town of Ancaster. It’s a regular haunt for gypsy bands. It’s isolated but at the same time close to civilization.”

The man looked small and almost fragile sitting on the edge of a modest bed, moss coloured covers drawn neatly and tightly up around a small, lumpy pillow. Anise stopped. He didn’t look much like a soldier, even though he was bent over a rifle that was propped between his legs, cleaning it vigorously.

“Excuse me, but are you Edwin Drury?”

The man looked Anise up and down – taking in her corset tied as tightly as she could over her purple blouse that was now worse for wear, the sleeves were dirty, and there was a tear at the left shoulder. His eyes moved downward, taking in her trousers with a puzzled look, and the almost knee high boots. Anise didn’t know of any other women that wore tall boots like hers. The man wore boots that were similar, except they were a dull grey-black that faded into his navy uniform almost seamlessly.

His grey eyes narrowed with suspicion. “And who is asking?”

Anise strode forward, sticking her hand out. A good reporter always introduces themselves graciously.

The man took her hand and held it, still wary.

“Anise Buttersby. I’m a friend of Nurse Murphy’s.

The man drew his hand back like a piston and he nearly fell backwards off the bed. His brow creased. “What do you want? What are you going to do to me now? Isn’t it enough, what she’s done?” he cried. He had lifted his rifle from the ground and held it shaking in his hands.

Anise pressed her lips together. “So I have the right man, by the looks of it. You’re immortal?”

Edwin nodded slowly, barely inclining his head.

“No, don’t worry, I’m not here to do anything to you.”

“Are-, are you one of them?” his voice shook just as much as his gun.

Anise smiled what she hoped was her most comforting smile.

“Do you do what she does?”

“Yes, I am. And no, I don’t. But I’m not here about that. I’m here to ask you for your help.”

“My help?”

“Yes. You see, my friends have left me temporarily, and I need to go find a girl, another one of us. She’s just north of Londinium. Except I don’t want to go by myself. And I thought to myself, a soldier would be a useful companion, and even more than that, an immortal one.”

“So you’re trying to track down another one like you? Why?”

“Because she’s in danger. A man, a very bad man, is trying to find us – people like me and Eleanor – Nurse Murphy, I mean - and take our secrets from us. And they are secrets we are bound to keep safe, from people like him.”

Edwin nodded, and looked thoughtful. “I see. And what would I get out of this, if I helped you?”

“Gold.” The word was out of her mouth in a flash, even before she realized she’d said it. It was the one thing she could offer him. “I could give you gold. Lots of it.”

He looked at her a moment, considering, and then lowered his gun and took her hand again, this time shaking it.

“You’ve got a deal.”

“Great. We don’t have any time to waste!”

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