Elfwine gets locked up.
Chapter 17Baldwin and Thomas had been working on the front gate for two hours. “It’s good that you have so much timber stacked in the small bay and we can make the gates a lot stronger,” Thomas said.
“Dunstan was always storing things. I thought it was a waste of time sometimes but it has done us a favour now.”
"I was thinking when I was in the cavern. It can't be that far to the cliff face. If the rock is not too hard, we can work a shaft through to the cliff face and it would let in light and fresh air and would give a look-out point."
"I'm not sure. It might compromise our safety."
"It would be high up the cliff face," Thomas said. "No one could climb up there."
We best just try and get the gates finished for now."
“We should have both gates done by dark," Thomas said.
“I think you are being a bit optimistic, Thomas.”
Thomas looked over to the ship. “There’s a boat coming in,” he said.
“It looks like the Duke. I wonder what he wants,” Baldwin said but carried on working.
The Duke landed and walked over. “All the food has been spoiled. Do you have anything I can feed the men tonight?”
“Of course. We have a big cooking pot and the pirates haven't taken all the chickens. We also have plenty vegetables so we can make a nice pot of chicken broth.”
“That sounds good. Is there anything I can do for you in return?”
“Yes,” Baldwin said. “We are very busy. Can you send someone over to catch the chickens, do the preparation and the cooking?”
The Duke laughed. “Of course and I’ll also send a man to help you with the gates.”
The sun was about to go down when the Duke and the rest of his men came across for the broth. It was greatly appreciated especially as Baldwin sent Thomas into the cavern for two pouches of wine.
“How long until you get the ship fixed up?” Baldwin said.
“A couple of days,” the Duke said. “I’ll take the role of captain but we are not seafarers and I wonder if we can handle the ship at sea.”
“Can’t be that hard,” Baldwin said, though he thought he might be wrong. "But what are you gonna do with the ship when it's done? Are you thinking of selling it at Advent?"
"It's not really my ship, the owner was the captain but I'll take it to the registrar at Advent later and see if I can get a transfer of ownership. But for now, I have some business with a certain pirate ship."
"I would have an interest in that," Baldwin said. "But it's a big sea out there. How would you find them?"
"They have plundered this ship and have taken my gold coins. They will be eager to spend some of them. I'll wager that they are on the way to the quay at Sandway. Anyway, for tonight we have some of the accommodation cleaned up so you are welcome to come aboard for the night.”
“No, we’ll get back to Mossley but thanks anyway.”
“In the dark,” the Duke said.
“I’m used to travelling at night.”
“Yes, of course. Well, you can get off now if you like. My men can tidy up here.”
“I won’t say no to that,” Baldwin said. “I’ll be back in the morning though.”
Baldwin and Thomas set off for Mossley. “I am grateful for your help today, Thomas.”
“You’re very welcome. I just hope the mayor lets me back with you tomorrow.”
“I can’t see him refusing. We did get his gold back for him and I’ll tell him I need you because my arm is playing up.”
They got to the small gate. “Guard, put out the walkway,” Thomas shouted.
The guard looked out. “You’ll have to walk round to the main gate. I’m not allowed to let anyone in during the dark hours.”
“Where’s the other guard?”
“Er, he’s just gone for his supper.”
“Then you had better put the walkway out because I if have to walk all the way round with this battle injured man, I’ll call in and see the mayor and tell him you are here on your own against the new orders.”
The guard looked all around. “Okay,” he said. “I'll let you in but don’t tell the mayor will you?”
They crossed into the town. “I’ll go and report to the mayor about the duke's ship and then I'll ask about you tomorrow. No, I won't ask him, I'll tell him you're coming back with me in the morning. The inns won’t close for another couple of hours; do you fancy some ale after I've seen him?”
“No,” Thomas said. “I’ll get back to the block. I’m a bit tired but I’ll see you at Flora’s at dawn.”
“Make it nine o’clock, Thomas. I’m a bit tired as well.”
After seeing the mayor Baldwin went to The Bull Inn and the other town inns. He was looking for old seafarers and found a total of six men more than willing to put to sea again. He got to Flora’s dwelling. She looked past him. Is young Thomas not with you?"
“No, he's gone to the guard's block." He noticed Erica asleep on the bed. "Has she been sleeping all day?” Baldwin asked.
Flora laughed. “Of course not. I've tried to take her mind off things today but must admit, I didn't have much success. I took the day off though to keep her company. She has not long gone back to bed.”
“I’ll go and see if I can get a bed over the road then.”
“Don’t be silly. You can cuddle up on the bed with Erica. She’ll probably need you anyway; she’s woke up screaming a couple of times.”
“But where are you going to sleep?”
“I’m okay on the chair by the fire. I quite like it and I am used to it when me and Morgan have a row.”
“Is there any news from Morgan and Elfwine?”
“No. To tell the truth I’m getting worried. He said the raiders’ camp was only about three hours away. They’ve been gone nearly two days now.”
“Don’t worry about Morgan he can look after himself. The Vialians are probably on the run and Morgan and his men are in pursuit.”
“I hope you’re right and I see him back tomorrow. Goodnight then, Baldwin, and no rudeness. I don’t want to be listening to you two at it.”
Baldwin laughed and went to bed.
Thomas was at Flora’s door the following morning dead on nine o’clock. Flora invited him in although Baldwin was ready to go. “We’ve had breakfast,” Flora said. “But I can do you something if you like.”
“No,” Thomas said. “I’ve eaten.” He looked over at Erica who was sitting up in bed. He gave a smile and she acknowledged him but her puffy eyes and sad look showed she had not had a peaceful night.
The two men left and as they went through the small gate they saw two of the Duke’s men pulling a heavily laden cart with the Vialian's grappling hooks and rope on top. They hurried after them.
“Do you want a hand with that?” Baldwin said.
“If you can give us a break now and then it would be appreciated. The Duke wants so much stores, he’ll probably send us back for more.”
They got to The Flashes. The Duke’s men loaded the boat and set off towards the ship. “The gates are done,” Baldwin said. “It was a good idea of yours to make them smaller. We’ll repair the broken furniture and have a last tidy ready to bring Erica back.”
“I have another idea, Baldwin. See that crack in the wall there. You can just see a glimpse of daylight so the rock cannot be that thick in that part of the cliff. If we get a chisel and break a hole through that crack, we should be able to look out over the shore from within the safety of the cave. I know you weren’t keen on my other idea but this will show us just how hard the rock is."
Baldwin smiled. “You have a good head, Thomas. I like that idea; the furniture can wait.”
It took them hours but the result pleased Baldwin. The first use and he saw the Duke being rowed over to the shore.
The Duke walked into the cave. “You must come to dinner on the ship today. Everything is almost sorted on the ship and I've plenty of supplies now from Mossley.”
“Thanks for the offer, but once we have repaired everything here, we’re going back to town. So when are you setting off, not today I hope.”
“No, I'm spending tonight with the mayor but we will be setting sail sometime tomorrow.”
“I would like to join you tomorrow then. And I have found six old sea dogs who are eager to join us on the voyage and show us the ropes."
"That's good news, Baldwin, you have done well. I was a bit concerned about going out to sea without proper knowledge."
And one of them is a cannon master. Did the pirates leave any powder?”
“There’s enough for what we want.” An hour later Baldwin, Thomas and the Duke set off for Mossley with two of the Duke’s men and the cart to collect their third and final load of stores.
Thomas went back to his duties and Baldwin sat with Erica and let Flora go to work in The Bull. “When we get back after dealing with the pirates, we can move back into The Flashes,” Baldwin said.
“I don’t want to go back there, Baldwin.”
“I think you should. You need to put this all behind you, remember the past of course but look forward to the future.”
“There are empty dwellings here now after all the troubles. Our future is here. You, me, and our child alone in a cave that holds such a terrifying past. No, Baldwin, I can’t do it.”
The door opened and Morgan walked in with a huge smile on his face when he saw Erica. “Hello, having a break from The Flashes then?” Morgan could tell from their faces that something was wrong. "What is it? What's happened?" he asked.
"There has been a tragedy at The Flashes," Baldwin said. He looked at the pain showing on Erica's face and thought it best to tell Morgan outside so as not to re-live the event in front of her. "Best if we go outside."
When they got outside, Baldwin told Morgan of the brutal murders by the pirates. “But what of your hunt; did you find your man?”
“He won’t bother anyone anymore. Elfwine took care of him.”
“Where is Elfwine?”
“I think he’s in The Bull celebrating. I left him earlier to go to the barrack block with the boys. He's probably drunk by now. I’ll go over and join him and leave you two alone unless you want to come over as well.” He thought of Erica. “Maybe not. I’d suppose I'd better give Elfwine the bad news if Flora hasn't already told him.”
Morgan walked into the bar. It was busy. Thomas was in with a few of the guards. Some of the Duke’s men were making a nuisance of themselves singing their bawdy songs. Morgan saw Elfwine sat at a table speaking to Flora and he walked over.
“Have you heard the terrible news,” Flora said.
“Yes,” he looked at Elfwine. “Are you all right?”
“No, Morgan. No, I’m not bloody well all right.”
One of the Duke’s men was laughing at something and Elfwine shouted over. “And what are you laughing at? What’s funny?”
The man carried on laughing. “And what’s it to you, arrow boy.”
“Boy! Boy!” Elfwine jumped up from his seat and hit the man with a cluster of punches before Morgan pulled him away.
“What’s that for,” the man said and put his hand on his sword.
“Don’t even think about it,” Morgan said. “We apologise. It’s just a misunderstanding.” Elfwine seemed to have calmed down just as quickly and Morgan led him back to his seat.
“Flora said Erica heard the name Captain Swing. I remember that name from The Mayfly. I’m going there and I’ll wait until the day he shows up and then I’ll cut bits off of him until he dies.”
“Don’t be silly,” Morgan said. “On your own, you won’t get near him.”
“Then I’ll fire an arrow through his mouth and into his throat. I’m going. I’m going right now.” Elfwine jumped up and dashed from the inn with Morgan not far behind. Morgan grabbed his arm. “You are not going anywhere until we have thought this through.”
“You do the thinking,” Elfwine said. “I’m off to deal with Swing and his crew.”
Thomas had followed them out. “Do you want a hand?” he said.
“Grab his other arm,” Morgan said and Thomas took hold of him.
Elfwine was becoming more out of control struggling and swearing. Morgan let go of his arm then hit him with a well-aimed straight punch and knocked him out. He looked down at Elfwine. "Now what," he said.
"We could put him in the cell overnight and give him time to cool off and think."
Morgan agreed and they carried him to the cell in the guard master's office.
Thomas looked at the duty guard. "On no account are you to let him out until we get back here in the morning," he said.
"This is a good idea, Thomas. We will get more sense out of him in the morning."
They walked outside. "He won't be pleased when he wakes up in the cell," Thomas said.
"I know," Morgan said. He looked at Thomas and started laughing.