Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 44

“Look out!”

At Rhodri’s shout, Merlyn stopped in her headlong rush. One of Harris’s men had turned towards her. Moonlight glinted on the metal in his hand as his arm was raised.

A shot rang out. She was pulled to one side and heard Rhodri yell out in pain as he collapsed to the ground beside her.

“You fool!” It was Harris, tearing the pistol from the man’s hand. “Don’t you known he’s a Tudor? If you’ve killed him they’ll never stop hunting us down.”

Merlyn crouched down by Rhodri. She could hear his breathing. It was shallow and rapid, but at least he was still alive. Her fingers touched the warm stickiness of blood.

“She’s a witness,” the man who had fired the shot was muttering. “Her and the old woman.”

Merlyn braced herself for the next shot. She made herself as small as possible, her hand feeling in the grass beside her for her branch.

The shot came in an instant, but not from close by. It was a warning shot, over their heads, from the edges of the wood.

Harris swore as riders raced towards them. The three men scattered, running in different directions, towards the cover of the trees.

The next minute, David had jumped down beside her.

“Are you hurt?” he demanded, taking her in his arms.

“No, but Rhodri is hurt badly, I think. We need to get him into the cottage before he bleeds to death. Nain will know what to do.”

“Of course.”

He shouted to the engineer who had stayed behind as their companions disappeared into the forest in search of the fugitives.

“Rhodri saved my life,” Merlyn said, her voice shaking. “He’s done us so much harm, and I’ve hated him for as long as I can remember. He was frightened, I know he was frightened. Yet he saved my life.”

“He’s strong; he’ll survive,” David said, kissing her briefly.

He bent down over the wounded man.

“Use all that belligerence for a good cause for once, Rhodri Tudor, and keep yourself alive!”

A streak of orange lamplight warmed the moonlight as Nain gingerly opened the door to the cottage.

“Merlyn? Merlyn, cariad, is that you I can hear?”

“Yes, Nain.” Merlyn rushed to hug her grandmother.

“My, am I glad to see you. I’ve had that Harris banging at the door, demanding to be let in. Threats and everything! Terrible things he was saying about your taid . . .”

“Taid is safe,” Merlyn said hastily as her grandmother’s voice faltered. “He’s been hurt, but he’s not in danger. He’s with Doctor Osian until there’s a horse and cart free to bring him home.”

“Thank heaven!” Nain hugged her again. “I was so afraid. I could have sworn I heard shooting. They broke one of the windows, you know. I was afraid it was your taid they were trying to hurt. I never dreamed it might be you, child.”

She lifted the lamp, sending its beam to where David and his fellow engineer were lifting up Rhodri as carefully as they could.

Nancy Griffiths gasped as the light reached the face of the unconscious man, her free hand flying to her mouth.

“Merciful heavens, what have they done? Merlyn, cariad, it’s us they’ll be blaming for this. We’ll never be able to stay near Conwy. If this Tudor dies . . .”

“Then we’d better make sure he doesn’t die,” Merlyn replied, placing an arm around her grandmother’s thin shoulders and guiding her back inside the cottage as Rhodri was carried in behind them.

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”.