Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 25

“This is very good of you, my dear,” Mrs Tanner said as Merlyn led them into the ruins of Conwy Castle. “I hope this isn’t taking you out of your way.”

“Not at all,” Merlyn replied cheerfully. “I have some questions I want to ask of the historian here.”

She left the Tanners marvelling at the remains of the towers and the battlements, and made her way up the spiralling stone steps of the nearest tower. As she reached the little room on the first floor of the tower, the sound of voices drifted down towards her. A happy laugh. Merlyn felt a faint twinge of envy.

“And now I really must go – oh!”

“Miss Tudor,” Merlyn murmured, attempting to hide her surprise at the figure appearing at the door of the room.

“Merlyn!” Iona clutched at the folders underneath her arm as if for dear life. Her face flushed scarlet, then turned a deathly white. “Merlyn, it’s not what you think. Please don’t tell Papa.”

Merlyn glanced behind her, to where Taran Appleford was frowning at them both.

“Of course not, Miss Tudor,” she replied slowly. “And anyhow, your papa is hardly likely to listen to the likes of me.”

“He might, if you were determined to curry favour with him, and get him on your side to stop Rhodri from being so vile to you. And I wouldn’t blame you,” Iona said earnestly. “Oh, dear, now I might have given you ideas.”

There was something childlike in Iona’s openness, yet the line of her lips was set in perfect determination. If Merlyn were ever to like a Tudor, it would be Miss Iona.

“I wouldn’t dream of such a thing. And anyhow, what is there to tell?”

Relief flooded Iona’s face.

“Thank you. I promise I’m doing nothing to be ashamed of. I just don’t want anyone to know until I’m ready. I promise I’ll tell you, as soon as I can.” She bit her lip. “I hate what Rhodri is doing, Merlyn. I do wish there was something I could do to help you.”

Merlyn met her eyes.

“I think we have much to thank you for already, miss.”

“Oh!” Iona blinked. Colour flooded her face once more. “Well, I’m not sure . . .”

“It’s quite impossible to keep a secret in Conwy,” Merlyn said gently. “And how else could Sir Edward have known of our troubles?”

To her surprise, Iona’s eyes filled with tears.

“I only did what was right. Rhodri wasn’t always like this, you know. I don’t know where all this bitterness has come from. It isn’t fair that he takes it out on you.”

“It’s not me,” Merlyn replied. “It’s Taid. It’s something to do with my taid.”

“But your grandfather saved Papa’s life. I don’t understand. Rhodri should be grateful!”

Merlyn’s eyes travelled to where Taran was listening intently. There was something else. Something she had never been told, just the odd whisper – that dragging Hugh Tudor from the wreck of the river ferry that day so long ago was not the only saving Taid had been responsible for. Something Nain and Taid never spoke of. Something to do with the Tudors.

And something for which the Griffiths would never be forgiven.

“I couldn’t say,” she muttered awkwardly.

In the town, the church bells began to strike the hour.

“I must go,” Iona said, fleeing down the steps and out of sight as if her life depended on it.

Merlyn found Taran watching her face, a puzzled expression on his face, as if trying to drag a memory up from some unknown depths. She was suddenly aware she was alone with a young man. She took a deep breath.

“Could I have a word with you, please, Mr Appleford?”

“Of course, Miss Griffiths,” Taran replied with quiet courtesy.

“I would like your help.”

He smiled.

“Anything. My mother always speaks warmly of you and your family, and I have heard of the injustices of the Tudors towards you in your business. I’ll help you in any way I can, with the greatest of pleasure.”

Merlyn felt her body relax at the warmth of his tone. Taran would help them, she was sure of it. And then, maybe, the Daughter Of Conwy might stand a fighting chance against the odds, after all.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.