The Last Lantern

Chapter 10 - Taken

@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009

 Phillip took a seat a bit away from the Lord's desk.  Brother Vaal stood just inside the door, watching Lord Rosslyn who was pacing in front of the fire. That Rosslyn was angry as well as frightened for Molly was very apparent.

Rosslyn finally stopped pacing and turned and ran his eyes across the room to impale Phillip. 

Phillip swallowed, but tried to look calm.

"Where did you find the locket?" Rosslyn asked.

"Near the marker at the edge of King's Cross," Phillip replied evenly.

"Not beyond it?" Rosslyn asked.

"No, my Lord. Molly did not go beyond the marker by choice."

Brother Vaal's eyes were on Phillip too, and Phillip had to fight the urge to squirm.

"Well, say it damn you!" Rosslyn finally said glaring at Brother Vaal,  his voice dripping with a mixture of anguish and fury.

The Bastard Priest said nothing, merely staring into the fire in the grate.

Lord Rosslyn finally walked over to sink into the chair behind his desk. He looked broken, Phillip thought.

"They won't harm her," Brother Vaal said quietly, walking over toward the desk.

"And just how do you know that?" Rosslyn replied, his voice sounding old and tired and, Phillip couldn't quite believe it, afraid.

"Either your son's people have taken her to protect her, or if the Northern King's people, they'll hold her in an attempt to force him to surrender to save her."

"Uhm...Sir?  My Lord?" Phillip said after a moment spent in shock. "I thought Sir Bryce Rosslyn, Molly's father, was dead."

Lord Rosslyn turned his head to regard Phillip.

Phillip forced himself to meet the old man's eyes.  His own father, set to inherit the title and lands of the Rosslyn estate, could only inherit if in fact the trueborn son of Lord Rosslyn was dead. Phillip believed most of his life it was so. His father had told him often that both of Molly's parents had been killed in the North, although no one seemed to agree on exactly how it had happened.

"He's dead to me," Lord Rosslyn ground out after a moment. "I was well rid of him," he added, again glaring at the Bastard Priest.

"We're wasting time here," Vaal finally said quietly. "I should be on the road to find her."

"And why should I trust you to bring her home safely?" Rosslyn hissed. "How do I know it wasn't you who arranged this abduction!"

The Priest met the old lord's angry eyes, his own full of concern. The Priest's eye began to glow. Lord Rosslyn stared at it, then looked away.

Phillip cleared his throat in the ensuing silence. "The publican and his family are friends of Molly's.  They might know if anyone in town seemed unduly interested in her."

Vaal turned to regard Phillip. "Thank you. I'll ask them before I rush off."

"I'd like to go with you," Phillip dared to ask.

The priest's eyebrow rose.  Lord Rosslyn cursed with words that nearly made Phillip blush.

"To the inn, certainly."

"I meant..." Phillip began.

"I know what you meant. Your father would never allow it," Rosslyn said after a moment. "And it's a foolish idea, even if valiantly offered.  We don't need to risk you as well."

Phillip kept his eyes on the Priest. He thought, if there was a chance, it was through him.

"Come with me to the inn. They know you there?" Vaal asked.

Phillip nodded. "A little. They know me to see me."

"Good. Then you asking them questions might be seen a bit less frightening for them than if I do so."

Phillip nodded. "I'll see our horses are made ready."  He hurried out of the room before Lord Rosslyn could say no.  As to his father, he'd worry about him later.


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