Part Thirteen    July 28, 2016


“Look,” Harold said to Dwight in a hushed voice that Bran could just make out. “I don’t like da idea of goin’ near the hag.”  Bran saw him look around to see if any of the others were awake.  “Plus, da boy’s got dat magical jewel.  We haven’t really tried to ‘urt ‘im, but ye cannot tell if Angus will.  Da boy could be ‘er son fer all we know.   ‘e ain’t squeamish when we mention about bringing ‘im to ‘er.  Why don’t we let da boy go?  Anyways, ‘e’s just a burden. Sides I have a plan.”  Dwight gave no hint of disagreement, so Harold continued.  “We both know we’re stuck with Angus until we get da treasure, if dere is any.  But I thinks we both can’t stand ‘is arrogance.  So why not say a group of men searching fer da boy found dis site.  Dey attacked and escaped with da boy.”

“Not a good plan, unless…” Dwight hesitated. “…why not knock out Angus and den we can pretend we were struggling and got knocked off our feet,” he continued enthusiastically.  “Why den yer have a reason te accidentally fall on Angus, bashing yer elbow into ‘is ‘ead.”  Bran could hear the two men make muffled chuckles.

“Alright,” Harold agreed.

Bran could not see who was behind him but he could feel the rope around his hands and legs being cut.  “Don’t run till I say,” Dwight warned.  “Least da cut rope will suggest yer father were tryin te get yer out in a ‘urry.”

“Is ‘e free?” Harold asked.

“Yeah,” Dwight replied helping Bran to his feet.  Harold struck the side of Angus’s forehead with his elbow.  Bran didn’t see the old rogue stir.  His heart started pounding as he rubbed his wrists to get the circulation going.

“Go now!” Dwight commanded Bran.  Dwight relocated himself by Angus.  To Bran’s surprise Harold took his dagger from where it laid beside Angus’ and tossed it to him.  Bran saw a look of uncertainty in Harold’s eyes over relinquishing the dagger.  Harold turned away from him and nodded at Dwight who started shaking Angus awake.  Bran ran like he had never run before.  He heard Angus scream out in pain.

He forgot about his hunger and fled through the cypress trees until his feet finally refused to go on.  He listened to every sound to make sure Angus wasn’t hunting for him.  The others would probably ignore him if they saw him again, but he was fairly sure the old man would catch him and beat him.  Now at least he could relax.  If the rogues came near he would hide until they passed.

As he rested a thought occurred to him, the rogues had the string maker—he had nothing to give the campus!  For a moment he pondered retrieving it.  What would Angus do to him then?  Besides, they always had someone keeping watch.  He thought of turning home, but he was probably only a day or so from the campus.  He stood up and brushed the dirt from his pants. There was nothing left to do but go on, so he shrugged his shoulders, and began walking.

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