I thought I’d share a very short excerpt from my work in progress, “Passages”, which will be the fourth book in the William Fylbrigge series.
A bit of setup: The family has returned home to Stonehaven, and are slowly acclimating to life among the people who were largely responsible for their flight to New France. This scene takes place a year or so after their return, in March.
Ian and Melly 1616
“M’lady, please. You must calm down,” Ian hurried after Mehlyndia as she rushed past him on her way to the court yard. “M’lady—Melly!”
She stopped and turned on her heel, eyes blazing. “Do not, presume to be familiar with me ever again, Ian Proctor.”
Ian drew himself up straight and met her look with a glare of his own. “Oh, do forgive me, Lady Sutherland, by all means let us keep with formalities. It will serve everyone so well if we remember our places after all.”
“I do not have time for this, Ian—”
“Father Proctor if you please. I am ordained, as you recall. And since I took the vows primarily for the benefit of your husband, I believe it only fair that you remember that I am rightfully deserved to be addressed—”
“Oh will you two stop squabbling!”
Both Ian and Mehlyndia turned red faced to Elinor, who stood with her hands at her sides, tapping her foot.
“Now then, what is all the shouting?”
“He let them go off alone—again!” Mehlyndia huffed.
“The lady believes I have some sort of authority over her husband and can grant him leave or bid him stay at my pleasure.”
“The good Father Ian forgets that my husband hangs on his every opinion and thought. If you were to tell him you believed he could fly, he would without question leap from the parapet expecting to sprout wings!”
Elinor stood between the two, her hands raised to each. “Hear now, what has come over the two of you? Fighting like bairn in the yard. You’ll bring on your pains early if you don’t settle,” she warned, pointing at the growing bulge at Mehlyndia’s middle. “And you should know better, Ian. Now, what has brought this about? Where has who gone?”
Mehlyndia drew a long steadying breath, placing a thoughtful hand on her stomach. “William and Seany have gone up to the standing stones on top of the tor.”
Elinor’s eyes went wide? “To the well at the little kirk?”
“I told her there was nothing to be alarmed about. Many people go there to pray to the Virgin.” Ian raised his hand in a gesture of truce. “Yes, I know what your worry is. And I can assure you, m’l—Melly, that your fear is completely unfounded.”
“Can you?” Mehlyndia asked. “Can you really? You should know better than anyone it is not safe for him to be so open about going to the old stones…you know what people will say.”
“What? That William of Drumoak is a pious man? What harm is there in that?” Elinor asked, gently, resting a hand on Mehlyndia’s arm. “Ian is right, my dear. There are naught but a few souls left in Stonehaven who consider the well to be for the Blessed Mother of the old religion, and they are nae likely to be telling anyone, aye?”
Mehlyndia relaxed at Elinor’s logic. “No, I suppose they’re not.”
“And remember, dear, that there are cairns up there in the old graveyard,” Elinor pointed out. “He could simply be paying his respects, and teaching Seany about his uncle and namesake. You know how he likes to teach the lad.”
“You think that’s it? He’s simply teaching Seany about the family history?”
“I’m sure of it,” Elinor said, smiling. “Now, go on to your sitting room, and I’ll be along with a warm caudle for you. Go on, no arguing. You and the wee one need to rest.”
Mehlyndia blushed, and offered an obedient smile. “All right, but you’ll send for me the moment they come back, aye Ian?”
“Absolutely,” Ian said, placing his fist to his chest and bowing. “I shall bear him upon my own back if I must.”
Mehlyndia smiled, seemingly placated then left them.
Ian and Elinor watched until she had closed the door of her sitting room before they spoke.
“So?” Ian asked in near soundless whisper. “What is missing from your kit?”
“Two vials.” She drew a deep breath. “And the blue chalk.”
Ian crossed himself, rolling his eyes skyward. “So, we were not lying to Melly after all. William really is teaching Seany a bit of …family history.”