Chapter Twenty Nine
One Step Closer
The barmaid held in Dougall’s arms while he argued with the barman was wearing the half pendant. My wife’s pendant.
“Dougall we have to leave. Now, and bring the lass.”
He didn’t question me lifting the lass into his arms as we rushed across the room and out the door. Running down the street someone was shouting for the gendarmes.
I grabbed Dougall’s shirt and pulled him, lass and all into a doorway.
“Dougall we need to get out of here.” He ken my meaning, being to use the travel pendant.
He looked wide eyed at the lass then back at me. “Conall?”
I pointed to the pendant she was wearing, caught partly beneath her fingers where she was trying to keep her torn shirt closed. The lass looked confused her eyes flicking from Dougall to me. She hadn’t said a word, which was strange in itself.
I grasped the pendant and said the words, transporting us to the back of a church we had passed previously. Dougall instantly put his hands over the lass’s mouth to stop her from screaming.
“Easy lass we will not hurt you.” I whispered. “If you scream it will alert the gendarmes and we will all be arrested. If Dougall removes his hand will you be quiet?” The lass nodded. I nodded to Dougall and held my breath as he slowly lifted his hand. The lass didn’t scream, she did though look terrified her eyes flicking from Dougall back to me then at the church we stood behind.
“I assure you lass you are safe with us, we will not harm you.
The place was quiet, and thankfully empty, no one around.
“Lass, my name is Conall and this here is my brother Dougall. Can you tell me where you got the pendant from that you are wearing?” I kept my voice low even though I was sure there were no others close that could hear.
I gave Dougall a look as if to say why are you still holding her, put the damn lass down. He grinned at me.
“Someone gave it to me.” She squeaked out.
“Who? Who gave it to you?”
The lass bit her bottom lip. “Franchesca gave it to me, I’m sorry does it belong to you?” I sighed in relief to have found the pendant, grateful that we had taken Solai’s suggestion of visiting that particular tavern, not to mention if Dougall had not intervened in her rescue we would never have kent she had it. Solai had told us what had happened to Franchesca, it was a terrible end for anyone to suffer.
“Yes, lass it belongs to my wife.”
“If you could ask your brother to put me down, I will give it back to you, I’m sorry I didn’t know.” She looked genuinely reticent and disconcerted.
“Dougall put the lass down.”
Back on her feet she undid the clasp on the pendant with her free hand and handed it to me.
“Thank you, lass.” I said not knowing really what else to say.
I suddenly stumbled feeling Morgan’s scream, Dougall seeing the shocked look on my face grabbed hold of my shoulder.
“Connie what is it?”
“Morgan, I heard her scream, she’s in trouble.” I gasped at Dougall looking frantically around.
“I didn’t hear anything.” He said looking at me as if I had lost all my marbles.
“In my head, I heard her, I felt her terror.” Tears whelmed in my eyes. I don’t understand why or how, only that I ken she was in trouble, I could feel her.
“She’ll be alright Connie, she’s strong and smart, she has skills.” Dougall was trying to console me as I got my breath back.
“Well I had best be getting back. I won’t tell them where you are. I’m sorry about the pendant.” It wasn’t until she turned to thank Dougall, even though he wouldn’t understand her words, that I caught sight of the skin on her back where the shirt had torn away.
Someone had taken a lash to her back, some of it was old scarring but most of it was new.
“Lass.” I said placing my hands on her shoulders and turning her to face me. “Just hold on a minute.” I motioned with my eyes for Dougall to see her back.
He dropped his eyes and inhaled. She looked confused and then must have comprehended what we were looking at, dropped her head.
I lifted her chin with my finger to look at me. “Lass who did this to you?”
She dropped her eyes again, shook her head trying to pull away then looked back up to my face.
I was angry, no man has the right to take a lash to a wee lassie. “Where might this uncle be?”
“He…he is the barman at the tavern, the one your brother was arguing with.”
“Dougall, it was her uncle the barman that lashed this lass.” I spat thinking I should go back and give him the same treatment he had inflicted on this tiny lass.
Dougall’s face turned from one of pure concern and pity to one of outrage.
“What is your name?” I asked her.
“Fiora is there someone you could stay with for a while?”
She shook her head again. “No, I have no one, only my uncle. I will have to go back.”
“Conall we can no send her back to that animal. I will no allow it.” Dougall growled his fist curling and uncurling at his sides.
“Dougall I agree, but what are we going to do with her, we canna take her with us. We could take her to a nunnery, she would be safe there, at least.”
Dougall’s eyes grew wide, his jaw ticked. “We are not going to drop her off at a nunnery like a bag of spuds, bràthair.”
The lass’s eyes glanced from me to Dougall, not understanding what we were saying.
“I’m sorry I don’t want to be any trouble. If you would just let me go, I will make my way back to the tavern. I know how to get there from here, although I am not sure how we got here.” She looked around confused as how she had gotten here.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Dougall was right we couldn’t send her back to her uncle and dropping her off at a nunnery wouldn’t be right either. I could only imagine what Morgan would say to this, she would be furious. I was also worried about the time line, taking the lass could have a devastating effect, and I think we had already disrupted it enough. Still I couldn’t just let her go back.
“Fiora we can’t let you go back to the tavern. Would you like to come with us?”
She looked nervous flicking her eyes from Dougall to me, still holding her shirt up to cover her skin. “Where are you going and what would you expect of me?”
It hit me what she was saying, I was horrified that she would think we wanted something from her. “I have to find my wife and we expect nothing from you. You will not be harmed or touched. We will keep you safe, you can trust us.”
I could see the girl was thinking and assessing if we were safe to go with.
“Where do you come from, where do you live?”
This was the hard part, would she believe us, although we shifted from the tavern to this church and she hadn’t asked how we did it.
“Well, we are actually from 1735, but my wife is from 2016.” I just realised that Morgan and I had not spoken about which time period she wanted to live in. When I find her that will be something we will need to discuss. I didn’t care as I had her with me.
Looking down at the lass her face had paled, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to feint. She wavered slightly.
“What did ye say to her?” Dougall demanded.
“I asked her if she wanted to come with us and where we are from.”
“What, ye mean ye told her what time period we are from?”
Dougall ran his hand through his hair looking as nervous as the lass. “Well what did she say?”
I gave him a frustrated look. “Nothing yet ye keely, if ye haud ye wheesht, she might tell me.”
“You…you travel through time?” She asked still eyeing us both.
“Aye lass that is exactly what we do. There’s no need to be afraid though, it doesn’t hurt when you do.” I wasn’t sure if she was going to want to run back to the tavern thinking we were insane. “So, what do you say lass, do ye trust us enough to come with us?”
She looked to our faces then at the church not fifty paces away. “I…I guess so, but I have money hidden in my room, I should really go back and get it. It’s not much but you are welcome to it for letting me come with you both.”
“Dougall she wants tae go back to the tavern.” I watched his face fall. “The lass has some money hidden, she be thinking, she has to pay us, if we take her.” Dougall’s face split into his usual grin.
“Tell her she dosnae need it, it will no do her any good anyways.” I already ken this, I was just playing with him. I’m grateful he dosnae have the courage tae slap me upside the head.
“Lass ye don’t need the money, we do though need to find you something better to wear.”
She looked down at her torn shirt that she was still clasping tightly in her fingers.
“Dougall stay here with the lass. I’m going tae go and get her something else to wear. She cannae stay dressed like this with her shirt all torn up.” Dougall nodded.
I left the lass with Dougall and landed back inside the tailor’s shop. It was quiet as I snooped around looking for something for the lass. I found a rack with shirts and tunics and another with cloaks. These would have to do, they were at least better than what she was wearing.
I returned with the clothes and handed them to the lass before she slipped away behind a large tree nearby to change. I had not let go of the feeling of Morgan screaming making my body shake again. If someone has hurt her, I will rip them into pieces.
“Have a good conversation with the lass while I was gone?”
Dougall raised an eyebrow. “Ye ken Conall ye can be a right dick when ye want to.” I chuckled as I threw him a long black cape. I had grabbed one for him and myself, at least it would cover the gendarme uniforms we were wearing.
“Awww ye didnae get me a flash costume to wear, something maybe orange with purple stripes?”
“Ye will be seeing purple and orange stripes if’n I smack ye in the heid.”
The lass returned looking much better for the change of clothes, she even had a slight smile to her lips. Dougall helped her on with the cloak tying it under here chin. While ours ended just below our knees, hers swept the floor.
“Right then bràthair where to next?” Dougall asked.
“Well I was thinking that we should go back a year to the time that da Vinci and Solai handed Morgan over to the Romanian gypsies, and we watch for any signs that she has her memory back.”
“Do ye ken where the gypsies were hold up at the handover and the date.”
“Well that may be a wee problem, he couldnae exactly remember the date, I do ken the place though and the names of the couple he left her with.”
Dougall rolled his eyes. “Right so we had best get going.”
“Lass we need to travel through time, don’t be frightened, you may feel a little dizzy at first but hang on to us, we won’t let you fall.”
“Ok…it won’t hurt will it?”
“No lass, you will be alright.”
Dougall thought better and scooped the lass up in his arms to her squeak of a gasp. This time it was me to roll my eyes at Mr Chivalrous.
We transported back a year between trees close to where the gypsies held camp. From where we stood, we could see caravans and several people singing.
“I think only one of should go in and ask where the couple Rosa and Germaine are camped.”
“Well it canna be me, I no speak their language. I am worried though if Morgan is there and she sees ye what would happen, but more what ye would do. I dinnae think ye could control yerself. I also no think ye speak Romania.”
We could simply spy on them, but we could get caught either by soldiers who were camped not far away or by one of the gypsies.
What’s the problem?” Fiora asked obviously picking up that we actually had a problem. I explained as best as I could what the situation was, and that Morgan was suffering from amnesia.
“Alright then I will go, what was the name of the couple?”
I wasn’t sure that Fiora wouldn’t run away when she left us to go into the camp, not that she had a reason too, except two men had just whisked her from 1495 to 1494. I suppose if she really wanted to stay then there would be nothing we could do, she would hopefully be safer than back at the tavern with her uncle. She must have worked out what my internal thoughts were.
“It’s alright I will be straight back, now it is time for you to trust me.”
“The couples name is Rosa and Germaine.” She nodded then slipped from where we are standing towards the camp.
Before long she returned. “I’m sorry but they have left, some said it was ten days ago, and some say it was either twelve or fourteen they are headed to Bergamo on the east road.”
I punched my fist into a tree, again I had missed her.