Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 46

Iona reached for her bag and waited as the train drew into Liverpool station. First light was breaking over the city as she made her way out into the streets between tall buildings looming up on either side, already stirring with the bustle of the day ahead.

The noise of carts and carriages and voices of numerous passers-by, along with the smell of horses and people crammed in close proximity, assaulted her senses.

A wave of homesickness rushed over her for the clean air and the calm flow of the Conwy River, the quiet business of Conwy town.

But this was her life now. To return was unthinkable. Iona took deep breaths, steadying herself. There was a certain excitement to the rush of so many unknown people, and a sense of endless possibilities.

She squared her shoulders. There was no going back.

Filled with a new sense of determination, Iona secured a room in a small, respectable-looking hotel, firmly ignoring the curious glances towards a woman travelling on her own.

The room was clean and the lock on the door strong. And no-one demanded that she return home to her husband or father. She began to breathe a little easier.

Having washed her face and smoothed her hair and her clothes, Iona used some of her precious earnings to hire a cab to the offices of Garamond and Son, Publishers.

It was still early, but to her relief the offices were open and Mr Garamond was already at his desk. She didn’t feel she quite had the courage to enter a restaurant on her own, and besides, she needed all her strength for the interview ahead.

“The representative of Mr Ioan Thomas,” the young man at the front desk repeated, eyeing her dubiously as she announced herself. “Very well, miss. I shall inform Mr Garamond that you are here. I can’t promise that he’ll see you. He’s a very busy man.”

Iona settled herself down on one of the slightly greasy chairs, as if prepared to remain there a week, if necessary.

The young man sighed.

“Very well, miss. And what name shall I give?”

“Thomas,” Iona said firmly. “Miss Iona Thomas. And tell him I shall wait.”

*  *  *  *

It was light when Rhodri opened his eyes again. The cottage was silent. The curtain had been pushed aside, allowing him to see an open door and sunlight streaming into the kitchen. His eyes focused slowly on the face bending over him.

“Papa!” He struggled to rise, but fell back on the pillow.

His father was eyeing him intently with an expression Rhodri had never seen before.

Hugh Tudor’s face was pale, his eyes shadowed. He looked like a man shaken to the core.

“I told you I’d deal with Harris,” Hugh said abruptly.

“I didn’t need your help,” Rhodri replied with his familiar sullenness.

For once, his father didn’t seem ready to argue.

“It appears we both underestimated him. The militia will deal with the man now.”

“Are the soldiers here?” Rhodri peered out at the kitchen.

“They arrived some time ago. I came with them.” Hugh’s voice shook slightly. His hand rested on Rhodri’s.

“I hear you were quite the hero.”

Rhodri blinked. He could detect no trace of sarcasm in his father’s voice.

“I think I was the one who needed rescuing,” he admitted. “If Ross hadn’t arrived with his men, heaven knows what might have happened.”

“It took courage, Rhodri. And it also takes courage for a man to admit he’s wrong.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve sent Miss Griffiths and her grandmother back to Conwy in the carriage, accompanied by Ross and his engineers for safety. It will return for us shortly.”

Rhodri pulled himself up.

“The family can’t stay here, Papa. At least not until Harris is caught.”

“They will be staying with Doctor Osian until a cottage can be found for them,” Hugh replied gruffly. “It seems to me their old cottage is simply in need of some repair and can be perfectly habitable again.” He met his son’s eyes. “Owain once saved my life. This is the least that we owe them.”

Rhodri flushed.

“I think that might be for the best. Those houses are sturdier than they looked from the outside. At least, within Conwy’s walls and amongst their friends, the Griffithses should be safe.”

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”.