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had the time piece for almost three years.
It was worth something.
No cheap trinket to be sure and so he treasured it, protected
it, kept it near … and showed it off every chance he got.
It’s worth was only intensified by the miniature of the
breathtaking beauty found on the inside of the lid.
Sometimes he would open it just to look at her, no interest
in the time at all. It
was just time to see her again.
Blonde and blue-eyed, smiling to the one who gazed upon her
with an ethereal loveliness that a common man could not find
anywhere except were he lucky enough to be in possession of such
day had started off chilled but had warmed considerably.
He sat on the edge of the well, gazing at the woman he had
come to call Mon Reve in his mind.
A rider had come to pause at the well.
Somewhere outside the trance of admiring Mon Reve he heard
the bucket brought up and the ladle scoop out water to drink.
Nothing registered beyond the blue of her eyes, there was no
sound of drinking.
did you find that?”
words didn’t mean anything to him, so mesmerized, as he always
was, by Mon Reve’s smiling back at him.
asked where you got that?”
splash of the bucket falling back into the depths of the well had
him flipping the lid of the time piece closed.
Normally he would have flaunted his possession, but the tone
of the stranger’s voice did not bode well and he fumbled and
fidgeted to get it safely hidden away in his pocket.
forearm was grabbed and thwarted his effort.
will be the last time I ask … Where. Did. You. Find. That?”
followed the hand that held him up over the lace-heavy cuff of
shirt, then further up the expensive line of coat sleeve, jabot and
then met the dark eyes of the man who held tight to prevent him from
stowing away his treasure.
swallowed hard with the demand for answers he saw there in that gaze
and his initial response was a stutter of words.
He cleared his throat. “It’s
smile that followed on the stranger’s lips was not one of
is not the answer to my question and I told you that would be the
last time I asked.” The
stranger leaned toward him and collected the pocket watch, almost as
if he expected no reluctance to have it handed over.
grip tightened only for a second, he didn’t offer any resistance.
My Lord. I found it
dangling from a tree branch, as if it were placed there for me to
find. Tis true, it was
meant for me to find it and have it.”
noble flicked open the lid with an easy motion of thumb and let out a
soft gasp of breath when he saw the picture of the woman within.
she not the most beautiful of ladies you have ever seen, My Lord?
She is Mon Reve.”
brown eyes moved to look up to him, the other palm cupping the lid
and easing it closed with a reverence of familiarity.
“Your dream?” He
shook his head. “You
will show me where you found this.”
cannot leave my post at the well.”
will show me where you found this…and you will show me
where…now.” The man
motioned with a sweep of hand to do as was bidden.
started to decline once again, but instead, he looked longingly at
the watch in the stranger’s grip, then up to the determined
features. A nod moved
his head and he slid from his perch.
by the standing stones, the fairy stones, in the woods off the
Hambrith road. Some say
that’s where the girls disappeared to. God
be with them.” He
crossed himself "The
families, they each were talking with those three men what
came up from Luneberg.” He
had a limp to his step since childhood, one leg shorter than the
other by several inches. “And
was those three men what went looking for them girls there.” He
shook his head with the air of regret that none had been able to
find the missing girls. Seven
of them. The perfect
number. “You think
that belonged to one of those men?”
stranger didn’t say anything at first, guiding his mount
behind him, their steps heading them in the direction of Hambrith
Reve. She is a beauty.
Not any man could leave such a vision behind to step through
those stones. Then
again, not many what can step through the stones at all.
You think those three were able to step through?”
They continued on, but this time the stranger spoke. “At this particular moment what I think is …you will show me where these stones are. And that is all.”
one half hour had passed since the most recent lass disappeared from
tending the garden in the back of her house.
‘As if the earth opened and swallowed her into it.
I looked and she was planting the potatoes, I looked again
and she was …’ her mother sobbed quite loudly into the solid
barrier of Vincent’s chest while
he stood as still as a statue looking out over the fields.
had come north from Luneberg because of the family that had arrived
at the castle gates, distraught with the disappearance of their
daughter. The sixth to
be gone in such a manner that none had any clues as to their
location. Now, they
stood with the mother of the seventh lass to go missing.
No closer to answers than the magistrates had been prior to
you smell that, Griffon?” Lazare
tilted his head upward, the breeze blew back to them
and brought with it the scent of foul deeds, a faint odor of
sulphur…of magic. His
head jerked to look over to his commander.
“We could still follow it, if we go now.
Before that rain approaching washes away the trail.”
Lazare spoke, the woman pulled herself away from Vincent’s
begrudging support and looked over to that Kingsman.
“Aye, do you smell it still?
It was here when Madeline first went missing, strong then,
stronger than now. And
I’ve heard it was so with the missing of
Hedrina, Marlene and the other four.”
Beauvais and Carno both kept their eyes on Karl as he scanned the
distance. The entire
time they had been there to question the woman, he had said nothing,
allowing Lazare and Vincent to inquire about the circumstances of
lingers on the breeze, My Liege.
But we will need to make haste if we mean to follow it.”
Lazare shifted his gaze to Vincent and their eyes met.
offered the slightest of shrugs before he added,
drew in a deep breath, filling that broad expanse of chest with air
and then released it slowly. Even more slowly he turned his
attention to the woman “Since
the magistrate and his men have been unable to present answers, we
will do what we can to help.
Pray, do excuse us.” A
dip of head and shoulders sufficed as his bow of departure and he
turned away to walk to their horses.
two left behind looked to each other with
brows raised, but then uttered their own farewells and yes,
they would definitely do all in
their power to bring her daughter back. The woman was left to
her hopes and fears as they caught up with their leader.
first, nothing was said as they each took to horse, but Vincent
pulled his mount around so he was facing opposite along
Karl’s side. “Speak
it now, Karl. I prefer not going into the unknown with unspoken
words between us.”
looked from Vincent to Lazare and then back to Vincent.
“Would that it could just be some demented soul that we
could track down and set to justice.”
He drew in another deep breath.
“Magic and the supernatural.
Never a big fan of it.”
nodded the once, a smile showing in the depths of his eyes alone.
“Aye, we’ve always known that, My Liege.”
He lifted from his saddle to reach out, thumping his King,
his commander, his friend once on the shoulder.
are exceptions, as in all things.”
Karl smiled to Vincent then drew up his reins, tapping his
heels to the horse’s side. “Carno!
Allow that breeze of yours to lead us to what we seek.”
Carno dipped his head to his King. “Aye, My Liege.” Then clicked his tongue, setting his own horse in motion.
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