Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 40

It was nearly midnight by the time Owain’s burns had been seen to and his hands bandaged.

“You should stay here,” David said as Owain was finally released to sit amongst the walking wounded in Dr Osian’s drawing-room, which had become a makeshift hospital ward.

“You can’t walk, Taid, and there isn’t a pony and trap or even a carriage to be had,” Merlyn told him anxiously. “We’ve asked everywhere, but all the ones we could find are taking the worst of the injured to the hospital, and won’t be back for at least an hour.”

Owain shook his head.

“I must get home,” he muttered. “Your nain will be wondering where we are, cariad. And besides, I don’t like the idea of her being at the cottage on her own. Not tonight.”

“You can’t think anyone would try to harm her, surely?” David asked, horrified.

“Of course not,” Owain replied, a little too hastily. “But I still don’t like the idea of leaving her there on her own. If only we could get word to Bethan.”

Merlyn met David’s eyes. Her grandfather knew as well as she did that her sister would be starting her shift at the woollen mill in Trefriw in a few hours’ time. He must be seriously worried even to consider asking her to risk losing a day’s pay, or even her post.

“There has to be a way,” she said.

David stood up. In the lamplight his face was pale with exhaustion and streaked with soot, but there was a gleam of determination in his eyes.

“I will rouse some of my men. There won’t be much work done on the bridge tomorrow in any case, as far as I can see. There has to be one horse or pony still left in Conwy!” He cleared his throat. “And I know at least one or two men who are handy with a firearm. We’ll make sure no harm comes to the cottage.”

“He’s a good boy,” Owain muttered, watching David leave. He leaned back against the cushions piled up around him, his breathing deepening as he fell into an uneasy sleep.

Merlyn gently pulled a blanket over him. The last of the men were being attended to in Dr Osian’s surgery, while the rest had settled down like Taid to catch some rest, or were already limping off home, leaning heavily on the arms of tearful wives or mothers.

Every part of Merlyn ached with tiredness, even her eyes felt scratchy and heavy. Yet a restlessness had taken hold of her. The room closed in around her, unbearably hot and airless. Pulling her coat around her, she slipped outside into the cool night air.

The streets of the little town were deserted. Around her the ancient walls rose up into the night sky, with the huge shadow of the ruined castle silhouetted in the moonlight. In the distance the river rushed gently, while the sea lapped against the quay, setting the masts of the remaining boats rattling.

Merlyn felt her stretched nerves begin to ease. Conwy was, as it always had done, settling itself protectively around her.

“What business is it of yours?”

Merlyn froze at the voice, hard with rage, which came out from the darkness.

She had imagined Harris, the steward, to have been miles away by now. Surely he must know he would be under suspicion after the explosion?

“If any of those men die I’ll make it my business, you scoundrel!”

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”.