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|Visions to explain and warn. Tempers flare and lead to new discoveries.||
Grace returned with a delicate cup balanced in her hands. With great care she placed it into Yeager’s hands.
“Ah, about time Grace. At least this time, I hope it the right one.”
Grace shrank from Yeager’s words. She had brought the wrong tea twice, accidentally dropping the first cup too.
“Yes, well done child. ‘Third time’s the charm’ they always say. Morel dear, do quit sulking. You’ll be free just as soon as I know its safe out there for you.” Yeager drank deeply from the tea, and slid swiftly into trance. >>>
Storm callers worked in different ways. Each individual specializing in a way that suited her. For Yeager, it was plant law, which included her teas and infusions.
Grace watched eager to learn and Morel crept off to the door.
“Don’t even think to try it Miss.” Yeager turned opalescent eyes on Morel, though Morel felt sure they saw through her rather than on her. She slumped to the ground.
“Good, now…” Yeager’s voice trailed off.
Silence filled the small room. Heavy and expectant.
The minutes dragged their lazy feet along the course of time. All the two girls could hear was Yeager’s laboured breathing and the distant creak of the ships in the bay nearby.
Grace lowered her life, filling herself with the power the old woman emanated.
Morel was restless, yet she did not dare to break the oppressive silence.
Both girls were caught off guard as Yeager’s voice spoke loud and clear.
“The way is clear, the timing true.
Change and turmoil, a dangerous brew.
The High will fail, the Low will quail.
It is long past our chance to sail.
A storm blows our way…”
She wilted in her chair.
Both girls were stunned. Grace recovered first and rushed to her Mistress.
“Thank the Guiding Stars, she’s only asleep. That was a powerful vision that was. Morel, what do you think it meant? Morel?” Grace turned just as the door swayed shut. Morel was gone.
“Oh fish scales! I don’t think you really meant for her to run off like that, did you?” Grace asked the sleeping Yeager.
With a sigh, the young girl set about making her Mistress as comfortable as she could.
* * * * *
Morel slipped from one shadowy door to the next. Slinking along as only one raised on the streets can do. She was grateful that she didn’t have to go far. Yeager’s words had set her on edge. She wanted to be sure her home, such that it was, was safe and stocked so she could weather this ‘storm’.
She passed into the poorer quarter, known as the West End. There were still many Inns and Taverns here, although they offered more services than the richer quarters. She stuck to the shadows, and despite her desire to reach home swiftly she didn’t dare be seen. For men often mistook her for what she was, and made dangerous advances on her. Morel had grown up with this and knew exactly how to avoid their attentions, and fight them off.
Still, she was always very careful.
* * * * *
Karla had provided little fresh information to Marly and the others, when they slipped into the Dancing Sails that afternoon. They had talked well into the day and still had come up with nothing.
“Well perhaps we should just keep looking. Something’s bound to turn up.” Lesuki was bored with all this talk.
“Clearly, I’m worried that no one seems to have seen anything. That’s hard to believe. No offence to Morgan, but even the best of us leaves some trace.” Karla grimaced at the look Marlamin shot her.
“No Marly, I agree. Someone should have seen something. Even if they didn’t realize it.” Leontyne put in.
“Even so, we still have no leads. It’s getting late, perhaps an evening stroll may lead us to the answers we seek.” Marly stood as he spoke and the others followed.
“I’ve the night off Sir. Mind if I tag along?” Karla asked softly.
“Why not, come on.”
They made their way out the door.
* * * * *
Morel was hidden in an ally. This was the most exposed part of her route. The coast was clear. She took a deep breath and broke cover, running straight across the small square.
* * * * *
Horkas was first out the door. He turned to hear what Karla said and never saw what was tearing towards him.
* * * * *
The small shadow raced out from a nearby ally. Neither the shadow nor Horkas saw the other coming. Morel (for she was the shadow) tried to stop or swerve aside from the man who was suddenly in her path, but it was too late.
Both Horkas and Morel tumbled to the ground, such was the force of the young girls speed. Winded and startled Horkas’ reaction was delayed. Morel’s was not. Soon as she landed she was back on her feet and tearing off at a run for cover.
“HORKAS!” Lesuki shouted as Horkas recovered his feet and took off after the girl.
“Proud fool. Come on, we’d best be after him.” Marly grumbled, and then they began to chase the retreating shadows of man and child.
* * * * *
Morel slid and dived along the winding streets. Her heart racing her breath short, but her strides were long and smooth. She could hear the heavy thud of the man she had knocked down pounding behind her.
“Here! You! Stop!” Horkas shouted, to no avail. The girl just ran on, fast. He knew the others were behind him, he also knew he should just leave off and let the girl be. Further more, he knew his pride would never let him.
Abruptly the girl vanished. She simply disappeared.
Horkas drew up short, giving the others time to catch him up.
“Horkas! By the Stars! What are you playing at?” Marly’s voice was smooth. He was in very good condition for his age.
“Where’d she go?” Karla looked about at a loss.
Morel ran deeper and deeper down her bolthole. It wasn’t home but it was usually safe. She’d never explored its full length before, which she was regretting with every stride. Still she ran on.
It was Leontyne who spotted the tunnel’s mouth.
“Steady Horkas. This is very interesting. Why have we never known about this? Hmm, alright Horkas, lead on.” Marlamin produced a tiny lamp from his bag and lit it before following the others into the darkness.
The tunnel sloped steeply downwards, plunging the party into an eerie silence. They could barely hear their feet on the ground, let alone the girls already ahead of them.
Morel ran towards the growing light and noise, when she stopped dead in despair.
Horkas saw the girl’s helpless silhouette standing at the mouth of the tunnel. He slowed his pace and saw why she had halted. Karla placed a hand on his shoulder, pulling him back. Once she was sure that Horkas had got the message, she stepped towards the child.
“Hello there, are you alright?” Karla’s voice was soft and soothing.
Morel said nothing, and remained still.
“Child?” Karla took a pace closer.
“Ta reever… e’m beyond ta walls. Sha… sha say noot to end I’ave…” Slowly Morel turned, her face pale with shock.
“Easy child, we’re still near the walls. What’s your name child?” Karla sank down to her knees so as not to frighten the girl further.
“E’m Morel, end e’m nay a chilled. I laft ma chilld’ood, sooch as e’ was v’en I was abunduned as a wee larss. Whee d’ye cheese me?” Morel eyed Horkas and the others warily.
“You knocked me down and did not stop to apologise!” Horkas blustered.
Morel stood taller. “Perps tar was a raisen fur ma noot stooping! Boot ye deedn’a tink o’tat. Deed ye?”
“Hush all of you/ Lesuki, do you see what I see across the river?” Marlamin asked.
“There are foot prints! The tide is going slack too.” Lesuki pointed.
“Ou are ye?” Morel’s mind raced.
Marlamin looked down at her for some time. She held his stare defiantly. “You’re a strong character Morel. I’d like to know why you ran outside the walls before I say who we are.”
“Awrete, I was rooning fram ‘im, end I deedn’a woont ‘im ta see ware I slape. So I roons dune tis ‘ole I neu, cept I never roon all o’ it before. If e’d noun e’d ‘ave garn ills ware. Sha varned me ta ‘emamber ta peum, end as sun as I lave ‘er, I unds up ware sha deen’a woont me going.”
“Yeager, Sturm Calleer o’ ta Weist und.”
Morel gawped. “I shooldn’a ‘ave toold ye tat.”
”No it was well done. I am Marlamin. This is Karla, Leontyne, Lesuki and Horkas. We work for the Master.”
Morel looked with disbelief. “I tink I should tal ye wart Yearger saw…”
“We cross the river first, before the tide turns.” Lesuki took control with ease.
Before Morel knew what was happening, she was holding Leontyne’s hand as they waded the low river.
Lesuki got a fire going and as they dried off, Morel told them the vision Yeager had had. Leontyne examined the footprints while she talked.
“Wart ye leuking far ten? Or ou?”
“What ever makes you think that?” Marlamin’s smile was disarming. A single glace at Morel proved it didn’t work. “Very well. As I said we work for the Master, and yes we are looking for someone and -”
“We’re close to finding them. There four sets of tracks here.” Leontyne cut Marly off abruptly. “Two sets are definitely female. I’d say they’re a tide ahead of us at least.”
“Well its slack tide now, then it’ll becoming in, so at least six hours old. But surely they’d been gone more than that?”
“Ta mood is suft, trarks leerst a long time.” Morel offered.
“So either this morning, but more likely last night, they crossed… why?” Lesuki mused aloud.
“We should keep moving till full dark.” Leontyne put in.
“We’ve no supplies, left no report, and have a child, sorry, a young one with us. How exactly do we go on?” Karla asked pointedly.
“Boot ye deedn’a nead souplies…” Morel began.
“I’m not a complete imbecile Karla. I have food to last us sometime. Leon you have some store too I don’t doubt.” Leontyne grinned. “And Lesuki, your knives have never failed to find us a meal. No?” Lesuki’s eyes danced. “And what of Horkas, who showed us the way to the girl? There’ll be no taverns for you to earn a meal out here.”
“I have a spare cloak and my tools.” Horkas replied sharply.
“There see Karla, we’ll be just fine.” Marly beamed.
“Oh and what about Morel? Hmm?” Karla was adamant.
“I ken feesh end I knuw ‘erbs end ta leek.”
“Hmm, Karla she seems to want to join us.” Marlamin considered.
“She has no idea what we’re doing!” Karla fought on.
“Sa tal me!” Morel hated being spoken over, as though she wasn’t there.
“I can’t tell you Morel unless you are certain you with to come. Karla, I think she’s important. Leading us to the trail giving us a Storm Caller vision… it all fits.”
“I don’t know…” Karla wasn’t sure it was right to take a child beyond the walls.
“I knuw tere is a resk, boot I ken ‘elp.”
Karla looked at the girl, too thin and wiry for a child. She looked tough though. A child of the West end, to have lived this long, she must be a survivor.
“Sir, we’re wasting light.” Leontyne urged.
“Very well, let her come if she wishes. But she must do as we tell her, you. Sorry Morel.” Karla gave in.
“Right enough time wasted, come we shall walk as we inform you of what you have just signed yourself up for, young Morel.” Marlamin took Morel by the arm and led the others after Leontyne, who was following the spoors.
|Chapter 11 Attack of the Gulls prt 1||Chapter 09, The Hunter or the Hunted|
|Chapter 13, Plots Thicken Pt 1||Chapter 08 - The Scout, part 1|
|Chapter 06 - Deep in the woods|