Prophecy’s Power: Continuation of Chapter 5

By Emma Messwilde | Jan 30, 2011

I opened my eyes. Only a moment seemed to have passed, but all three conspirators looked at me with concern. I pointed my shaking fingers at the dark-haired boy next to me. “Conor,” I said. “Conor needs to come with us.”

For a moment nothing happened. Then a grin spread across Antho’s face. “You’re sure?” I nodded.

Murrow gave me an understanding smile. Conor’s face was confused. “You mean I have to leave?”

“It looks like you may,” Murrow replied, warily. Something like relief crossed Conor’s face.

“We’re going to the capital?” The two men nodded in unison. After a moment, Conor inclined his head. “I’ll go.”

“That’s that then,” Antho said with a stretch as he got up from his chair, setting aside a tall gray sock, repaired with yellow yarn. “I’ll go to the kitchen and see about food for you, and meet you at the stables in half an hour. Maks can fix you up with some sort of papers, I’m sure.” He swept out, spilling the ball of yarn onto the floor as he did so. Murrow picked it up with a resigned smile.

“You two should go pack. Conor, bring everything you have, or almost all of it. We may be gone for a while. You have a horse?”

Conor nodded.

“Then meet us at the stables. Keep this quiet, I don’t know who that messenger answers to.”

Conor left, and I began to follow. “Lia. Thank you.” Murrow smiled gently. “Let’s hope you were right about Conor. I’m very glad that he is coming with us. See you at the stables.”

I nodded and ran to my room. I was astonished that Antho and Murrow trusted me so easily. But I supposed that when you were trying to overthrow a monarch, it made sense to take the son of the King’s, rather, Queen’s, spymasters with you.

There were only a few things to get ready, for my clothes were freshly laundered. I thrust things into my pack haphazardly and drew the drawstring shut. Swinging my cloak over my shoulders against the driving rain, I went downstairs.

Murrow was in the stables, tacking up Flyt. Rowin was next to her, saddled and with two saddlebags across his hindquarters. I murmured my thanks, swinging my pack in front of the saddle.

As Murrow was tightening the girth, Conor sloped in, toting a bedroll and a pack like mine. He whistled loudly, nodding cursorily to Murrow and me.

I turned in the direction he was looking. Down the main aisle a horse was trotting, the horse in my vision. Black, tall, with a flowing mane and tail, I could tell this was a creature intended for a life charging forward in battle. The animal stopped in front of Conor, nuzzling his neck. I thought I saw him smile behind the horse’s mane. Then Conor walked past Murrow and me to the tack room, the horse following like an overgrown dog.

Murrow glanced at me once he had gone, draping his saddlebags over Flyt’s rump. Before he could say a word, though, the stable doors creaked open, and Antho staggered in, laden with food parcels and dripping wet. Murrow went to help him, adding food to both of our saddlebags and leaving out a pile to go with Conor.

“It’s wet and chilly out,” Antho wheezed. “You’ll have nearly all day to ride, though. Hopefully you can make it to Innes before dark. I was talking to the messenger. Kasha has begun to institute higher road taxes, and random searches along the road. You’ll need some sort of story, think one up on your way. The papers should help," he gestured to a canvas-wrapped bundle, which Murrow took and out inside his cloak. “They’re not official, but they’ll do. When you get to the capital, be discreet. With luck, you’ll get there in two weeks or so.”

He was going to continue when Conor emerged, the horse still following him, but now saddled and with Conor’s belongings packed on its back. When Conor spotted the food, he wordlessly began to stuff it into his saddlebags. Antho seemed irritated by Conor’s stony silence, and ceased his cheerful chatter.

Fifteen minutes later, we were ready to go, and Murrow, Conor and I stood in awkward silence under the eaves of the stable, as Antho did his last check to make sure we had everything for the third time.

“Cloaks, oh, of course, you’re wearing them, blankets, maps, papers, food, ah…. Well, if it’s that important, one of you will have remembered it, whatever it is.” He wrung his hands, then shook Conor’s and mine and clapped Murrow on the back. “Travel safely. We have contacts in the capital, Murrow, if you need anything.”

“I know.” Murrow’s voice was quiet. He mounted up. Conor and I followed suit quickly.

We put up the hoods of our cloaks, and nudged our horses into a trot. Antho waved one last time before retreating inside the courtyard. I glanced back at the weeping reddish stone, more like home to me than the Temple had ever been. We entered the trees then, their damp greenness closing in on us. Behind me, Conor began to whistle, very softly. It was a happy tune, but slow, matching with the plodding of the horses’ wet hooves on the wet ground.

 

Emma Moesswilde lives in Belfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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