The Last Lantern

Chapter 13 - Who Are You?

@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009

 Molly awoke with the sun. They allowed her to use the privy, wash herself, and then fed her. All this took place under the watchful supervision of the pretty woman. Molly was feeling dizzy and shaky so any attempt at escape she'd thought about had to remain as just a private wish for now. She wouldn't get far, and they were watching her too closely.

Screaming was a possibility but her throat was still dry and sore and she doubted she'd be heard by anyone who would actually help her. And Sir Donal's threat...

The woman helped her dress in clean clothing then combed Molly's hair.

"If you give your parole that you won't misbehave, we'll let you sit up and not wrap you up in the furs. We're well into the Northern Kingdom now, anyway, so you won't find much help here."

"Where are you taking me?" Molly asked. She tried to make her voice sound interested rather than sullen but she wasn't sure she'd managed it.

"We're taking you to safety," the woman replied.

Molly glared at her. "Sir Donal threatened to beat me!  That doesn't sound like safety to me."

"Molly," the woman said, kneeling down in front of where Molly sat in order to look directly into her eyes.  "Sir Donal is afraid for you. He knows you want to flee and you hate us. But he also knows that worse enemies are looking for you already. If they find you they'll kill you."

"Why? Why does anyone care about me? I'm just.. No one."

"Ah. There you are wrong, my sweet," the woman replied.  "Come on, the carriage is ready."  The woman slipped a warm cloak over Molly (surprisingly everything - all the clothing including the underthings fit her).  "Give me your hand. Walk out quietly and behave or we'll just drug you again. Your word, Lady Elizabeth?"

Molly nodded grudgingly.

"Aloud if you please."

"I promise to walk out of here and not cause a scene," Molly whispered.

"Thank you. Just wait until you understand things a bit better. Then.. we'll see. No one will hurt you. None of us, anyway."

Sir Donal eyed Molly when the pretty lady led her down the stairs and out into the bitter cold of early morning.

Molly tried her best to look bravely back at him. He was dressed in fighting leathers under a warm furred cape. His sword was at his side. It wasn't fancy, surprisingly given how he'd dressed at the Inn. This sword looked... deadly. So did he, Molly admitted to herself.  He was no longer the handsome dandy she'd thought him when she'd first seen him at the inn, or on the road in Kings Cross.

The Inn didn't give Molly much of a clue about anything. It was a fairly modest Inn, named the Boar.  There didn't seem to be much custom. Mostly just the group who was abducting her.

The carriage sat nearby. It was an expensive one, Molly noted. No coat of arms on it though. But it wasn't the sort most people would rent, and it certainly wasn't a public conveyance.  The horses too were strong and matched and well bred.

Before Molly could step up into the carriage, Sir Donal's hand clasped her shoulder from behind her.  He bent down until he was whispering in her ear. "Don't do anything stupid, Lady Molly. Find out first who your friends really are."  Then he was scooting her into the carriage.

Molly looked out after him once the lady was seated with her, but he'd opted to ride his horse today. And Molly saw they had Tansy!  A groom led her out of the stable and Sir Donal tied her reins to the back of the carriage.  Molly almost cried with relief. Just so they wouldn't hurt her!

That was when Molly saw him. The man whose voice she knew from Kings Cross. His name was Harden. He was a friend to the Sage in Kings Cross. But why was he helping them take her?

Harden met her eyes and bowed his head to her. He put a finger to his lips and then the carriage pulled off and Molly couldn't see him any more.

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