Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 24

“I should leave,” Iona said regretfully, watching as the Daughter Of Conwy made its way downstream below.

“So soon?” Taran returned.

She glanced down at the sketch in her hand, held safely below the reach of the wind scurrying through the battlements.

“I have all I need to make the full painting, and I promised Papa I would be back before our guest arrived.”

“I see.”

“Not that I want to,” she added earnestly. “But Sir Edward Wynne appears to have become Papa’s particular friend and I daren’t disappoint them.”

Nor risk her father asking awkward questions. Since his visit to the Roman Spa in Trefriw with Rhodri, Papa had been most unlike his usual self. Before, she had always been able to read his moods and be confident in the fixed routine of his life.

But since that visit he had taken to spending more and more time alone in the summerhouse at the far end of Plas Arthur’s garden, overlooking the river and the castle. He never volunteered what the fascination of the place might be, and Iona dreaded that he might glimpse her escaping into Conwy.

She looked down to where the Daughter Of Conwy was rocking gently by the quay.

“Besides, I’ve caused enough trouble as it is.”

“Trouble?” Taran frowned at her. “Impossible.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to. I just didn’t think. If I hadn’t insisted on going on the paddle steamer that day, Rhodri might have left Merlyn and her family alone, instead of encouraging Harris and putting so much money into that horrible new steamer to punish them.”

Taran followed her gaze to the two paddle steamers sitting side by side; one gleaming new, one old and battered.

“I’d heard rumours.”

“They are true,” Iona said gloomily. “I don’t know why Rhodri does these things. Sometimes I’m not sure he does, either. He always seems to be trying to prove something.

“I’ve tried to make him see sense, but he insists it’s simply a good business idea put to him by Harris, and it’s the best business that will win. Which isn’t true, of course. He must know the Griffiths don’t have the money to complete. It’s so unfair of him.”

Taran gazed down at the steamers. He had not seen Rhodri since the day he’d rescued Iona from her brother’s wrath. He didn’t particularly want to see him. There was something of the spoiled child and the insecure youth in Rhodri that Taran found most unappealing, Iona’s half brother or not.

The power of her wealth and status had left Iona seemingly untouched. Taran could not say the same of her brother.

He frowned. The misfortunes of the Daughter Of Conwy were clearly weighing on Iona’s heart, and he hated to see her distressed and blaming herself for the family’s troubles. Rhodri and his father were not liked in the town, that was clear. Taran had been warned to keep his distance from them the moment he had announced his appointment as historian at the castle. Mam had known of them before, although she did not say from where.

Alice had been delighted when father and son had joined the visitors for lunch earlier in the summer, but Mam had not said a thing, despite the increase in visitors to the hotel over the past few weeks.

It stood to reason she must know more of the family and their history – maybe even the reason they appeared to dislike the Griffithses so much.

He would ask. He had promised to visit Mam and Alice in a few days’ time. He would manage to get Mam alone, and he would ask.

Alan Spink

I am a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. I enjoy working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, I also write fiction and enjoy watching football and movies in my spare time. My one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.