The Last Lantern
Chapter11 - To Find a Lady
@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009
"So, what did you learn?" Phillip asked Brother Vaal. They were riding away
from the Last Lantern. The sky was darkening, the air smelled of snow.
"I know who abducted her," Brother Vaal replied. "I am not certain if I should
be glad or afraid for her."
Phillip swallowed. He hadn't really thought Molly was in serious danger until he
heard those words. He stole a glance over at the Bastard's brother. He sat a
horse like a warrior, even when he was lost in thought, Phillip could see the
habit in him. His own master of arms was drilling such things into him. How to
sit, how to make certain your sword hand was always free. Even the horse was
trained, Phillip could tell. The slightest movement by the priest was reflected
in the horse. A bond between them. Forged, or so his master at arms would say,
in the fires of combat.
"I need to go with you," Phillip finally said as they neared the gates that
marked the entry to Rosslyn Manor proper.
The Priest's horse came to a stop and the Priest turned in his saddle to regard
Phillip fully. The priest's eyes raked him from head to toe, a judging look.
Phillip colored under that scrutiny.
"Your father will not allow it," Brother Vaal replied. "And it would be
dangerous. Even if I'm right about who holds her, and why... We might well
attract the attention of ... well, everyone. No doubt all sides know of this
abduction by now."
"How? No one but those of us at the manor know of it," Phillip pointed out.
"Oh yes? And what of all the people Little Todd spoke to when we were searching
"Oh." Phillip had forgotten about them. "But they are Molly's friends."
"Aye. And will say, innocently enough, to others, in the hearing of those who
are not Molly's friends, that she is missing and that they hope she will be all
"Even so," Phillip replied.
"Even so..." the Priest repeated. "Your father will refuse you. He has no love
for Bastards. But he has a good deal of love for you."
Phillip snorted. "I'm his youngest son. Love or no love, I will have to make my
own way in the world. He brought me here only because I'm closest in age to
Molly. I was to make her like me. Trust me."
"And does she?" the Priest asked.
Phillip shook his head. "No."
The priest grinned. "Good. At least you understand the world."
The priest's horse took off, hurrying toward the house. Phillip had to kick his
to get him moving that fast.
Neither Phllip nor his father were allowed in the study when the Bastard's
Brother met with Lord Rosslyn.
Sir Reginald was too dignified and offended to hang around the closed hallway
door. Phillip wasn't either. He got a book from the library and sat as near to
the door as he could manage. Rupert gave him horrified looks but did not chase
Now and again Phillip could hear raised voices. Well, one really. Lord
Rosslyn's. The priest did not shout in return. The meeting seemed to last for
hours. In truth, as Phillip studied the grandfather clock across the hall from
him, it had been less than an hour when the doors to Lord Rosslyn's study
The priest strode through the doors, his face and mein intent and his focus
inward. He hesitated though when Phillip jumped to his feet. The man looked down
at the boy. He raised an eyebrow. "I leave in half an hour." That was all he
said as he swept past, taking the main staircase, three steps at a time.
Lord Rosslyn then exited the study, just in time to look daggers at the hurrying
"My Lord," Phillip said. "Can I.."
"No, you cannot," Rosslyn hissed as he slammed the doors shut between himself
Phillip stood there a moment. Why would the priest tell him when he was leaving?
Was it, as Phillip finally dared to hope, an invitation? A subtle one? One that
he could deny if accosted by either Rosslyn or Sir Reginald?
There was only one way to find out. Phillip bolted for the stairs and up to his
room. He stuffed his things into his saddle bags, taking only the things he'd
need, leaving the fancy clothing, taking the warm things, his dagger and sword,
and a few other things he kept with him.
He stepped out of his room set to hurry toward the stables, when he stopped. He
turned on his heel and went up another set of stairs to where he knew Molly's
Thankfully Miss Throckmorton wasn't about. He let himself in and closed the door
behind him silently. He looked around, wondering if there was something of
Molly's he should take for her.
He went to her jewelry box and opened it. He didn't know who now had the locket
he'd found, but inside her box were not only a few things he'd seen her wear,
but it also contained a treasure box. Things she'd loved. Phillip bit his lip
and slipped the small box into his pocket. If the priest refused to let him go
with him northward, he'd return it unopened.
He turned, slipped out of Molly's room silently, then ran down the stairs and
out to the stables.
The priest was there already. Little Todd was stroking the Priest's huge black
warhorse as Vaal secured his saddle bags. The priest turned as Phllip ran into
the barn. Phillip skidded to a halt. The priest's eyes, as well as Little
Todd's, were on the bags Phillip held.
"I'm going with you," Phillip announced.
Little Todd went pale. "Your father will blame me if I let you," he finally
Phillip could easily imagine exactly that. Even so he said, "My decision. You
have no right to stop me. You don't even work for my father."
Phillip hurried to his horse and began saddling him. Little Todd after a moment
spent staring at the priest as if he expected Vaal to tell Phillip that he could
not go with him, hurried over to help.
"If you don't keep up I'll leave you, no matter how dangerous the place might
be," Vaal said as he swung up into his saddle.
"I'm coming with you, no matter," Phillip replied. "I'll keep up."
"And will that horse?" Vaal asked. Phillip swore there was a trace of humor in
the priest's voice.
"All right then, let's be off. There's no time to lose."
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