AIMNÉISE Place of Pendants 2

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Chapter Thirty One

Falling Star

I reiterated to Dougall what the lass had said, adding that we should travel back to each day until we found the right one.

“No, how about we get some horses, these caravans don travel fast. We could catch up with them in less than half the time it would have taken them to get where they are going. It will also be less strain on the time line.”

“And how do you suggest we get some horses, I don’t have any money, do you?” I shook my head.

I told Fiora what Dougall and I were talking about, so she wasn’t in the dark.

A wicked grin crossed Dougall’s face as he pulled a pouch from a pocket. He emptied the pouch into his hands, gold coins. The lass’s eyes went wide.

“They’re ducats. You have enough to buy a hundred horses, and stables with that.” Fiora gasped.

“Where the hell did you get that from?”

“In a pocket of this cloak. Oh, there was also this.” Dougall reached back into his cloak and pulled out a rolled-up paper tied with a red ribbon and sealed with wax.”

I felt bad for breaking a seal, but I needed to ken if this gold belonged to someone important and needed to be returned. Fiora leaned around me so she could see what it was.

I looked up to Dougall’s still grinning face. “Dougall this is an agreement; the gold is payment for the death of the libertine Roderic Llançol i de Borjia...”

Fiora took a step back. “The Papa!” She exclaimed making the sign of the cross over her body.

Dougall looked confused. “Her da, but I though he was dead.”

“Not her da, ye bampot, the Pope. Roderic Llançol i de Borjia is Pope Alexander VI.” I can see in the corner of my eye that Fiora is crossing herself again.

Dougall returned the coins to the pouch, then scratched his chin. “So, this gold is fer knocking off the Pope, shite, well that could change history.”

I shook my head. “Pope Alexandra VI died in 1503 after being poisoned. The poison turned his body black and bloated, they had to cover him with a tapestry for the viewing, in fact the bishops had tae beat him tae get his bloated body into the coffin.” Dougall looked horrified and wrinkled his face.

“Bràthair, now that’s just disgusting, ye didnae need tae tell me the details.”

“I don’t think we should tell the lass any of this. There’s no name or signature on this document, I have no idea what to do with these ducats.”

Fiora tapped me on the arm. “There is only one place these ducats could have come from.” I narrowed my eyes waiting for the rest of it. “de Medici.” She said in a whisper.

“de Medici, aren’t they the bankers of this time?” Fiora nodded, her eyes scanning the area as if she thought someone would be listening to our conversation.

“Conall we can no give it back, when ye got these cloaks where they be hanging?” Dougall asked with a rise of his forehead.”

“At the tailor’s store where ye got ye turkey outfit, they were hanging on a rack, er no, now I come to think about it, the three cloaks were hanging on pegs near the door.”

“If the Pope dosnae die for another eight years, then this assassination ne’er occurred. Well my mind is made up, we get horses, have a good feed and get on our way tae finding ye wife.” Dougall snaps the document out of my hands and pushed it back in the pocket inside his cloak.

I couldn’t see anything else for it, I couldn’t exactly take the cloaks back in order to return the gold or get involved in this country’s political and religious battles. It could very well be that the de Medici family where responsible for organizing the death of the pope, from what I could remember of the banking family, there had been many a time their messengers carrying gold were robbed. This made my decision final, I was not giving the money back. My only objective is in finding Morgan.

“Ye are right Dougall and damn the consequences of taking this gold. Besides the Cailleach owes me fer sending me into a trap, she can fix this herself, after I find my wife.’

Dougall patted me on the shoulder. “Ken ye would see reason, let’s go.”

I explained to the lass that the Pope would be alright, and we needed to retrieve some horses. She bopped her head seeming relieved that the Pope was safe, and the gold would not be used for his demise.

We made our way to a local tavern and ate a hearty beef stew with freshly baked bread, before purchasing three fine horses with saddles, and food for our journey. Dougall and I took the horses and our supplies into the trees while we waited for Fiora to return from a tailor’s store. She was there to purchase somewhat better clothes for Dougall and I.

We caught sight of Fiora making her way towards us, unaware of two unsavory characters trailing behind her. She gasped as Dougall and I stepped out from behind trees and grabbed the two scoundrels, knocking them out clean. They had no doubt watched her handing over ducats for clothing, following her hoping to snatch any more gold she had.

Once ready we rode taking the east road that Rosa and Germaine were travelling along. I was surprised the lass was an accomplished rider, for a barmaid. We rode hard until darkness set in.

Setting up camp Fiora mentioned that some years ago she had travelled this road with her father before he was killed, falling from a horse. Lucky for us she remembered the road and would tell us when we needed to turn north towards Bergamo.

I lay there watching the stars thinking about Morgan. Remembering the nights, we were travelling through Scotland sleeping under the stars. My breath caught in my throat when I spied a falling star, and what Morgan had said about making a wish. I closed my eyes tight and made a wish.

“What are ye doing?” Dougall asked leaning over me.

I pushed him away. “Will ye get tae yer own bed and leave me tae mine.”

“Tell me what ye were doing, ye eyes were all screwed up, are ye in pain?”

“Nay am no in pain I was making a wish on a falling star, if’n ye must ken, nosy beggar.”

“Why?”

Huffing I rolled over with my back to him. “That’s what ye do on a falling star, make a wish.”

“So, if ye saw it, and I missed it can I still make a wish?” Dougall asked sounding serious.

“Nay, now go to sleep.”

“What does a blind man do then?”

I turned my head to look at him confused. “What d’ya mean, what does a blind man do?”

“Well if a star is falling how is a blind man supposed to make a wish if he cannae see it, dosna seem fair does it now?”

I ran my hand down my face in frustration, Dougall asked the most idiotic questions at times. “I suppose someone would have to tell him then, now will ye shut ye gob and go tae sleep?” I lay back down.

It was quiet, for about twenty seconds.

“So, if someone tells him and even if he cannae see it, he can make a wish?”

I groaned. “Aye.”

“Right so seeing as I dinnae see the star, but ye did, can I still make a wish?”

God’s blood, this bràthair of mine is going to be the death of me. “Ye ain’t fucking blind lad.” If I didn’t let him have his wish, he would pester me all flaming night. “Fine Dougall make ye damned wish.”

“I wish we…”

“DOUGALL! It’s supposed to be a secret wish keep it to yerself.”

I closed my eyes but still heard Dougall whisper his wish.

“I wish we find Morgan, soon and that she is ok.”

“Connie?”

“What Dougall?” I would have lost my patience with him by now except I had heard his wish, the same wish that I had made.

“I made two wishes, do ye think that be ok?”

“Aye Dougall it’s fine lad, now close yer eyes and sleep, we need tae be up by the dawn.”

“Nite Connie.”

“Nite Duggie.”

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