Druid Myths

Parte Siete

Christina Smith

Carlos held Brighid in his arms, cradling her like a baby. Diego looked at Bernardo and Professor Murcia. They both wore the same expression of surprise as Diego did.

"So this is our mysterious Kelley," he said.

Once Diego broke the silence, Carlos looked up and glared at him.

"I thought you were a better man than this," he growled.

Diego took a step back. "What?"

"Her," he indicated Brighid. "I mean, I know your reputation with women is succeeded only by your skill with a sword. But tell me, Diego, do you always beat them when you're done with them?"

"Now, wait a minute," Diego understood. "I didn't do this. The man you want is Ricardo Fuentes."

"He's right, son," Professor Murcia broke in. "He brought her here for protection; he's been taking care of her ever since he found her. She'll verify that."

Carlos looked at his father than Diego, and finally back at Brighid. The words sank in and his anger turned to sadness.

"I'm truly sorry, Diego," he said at last. "I apologize."

"Apology accepted. It's understandable how you reacted. I probably would have done the same. You obviously care for her."

"Yes, I do," he gazed at her a little longer before looking at Diego. "How did you come across her?"

Diego was going to start his story when Brighid stirred.

"We better put her to bed where she will be comfortable," Carlos said.

Carlos called for the servant and gave her instructions to prepare the guest room. The lady left but quickly returned announcing the room was ready. Carlos lifted Brighid and as he did she awoke.

"Kelley," she murmured, "Ah made it to yah."

"Yes you did."

"Ah have so much to tell yah."

"And you will. Rest now."

The servant helped Brighid up and led her out the room. Once they were gone, Diego recounted his tale while Carlos listened intently. When Diego was finished, Carlos looked to his father then Diego.

"I must thank you," he said after a few moments.

"I did what I felt was necessary."

"Tell us, how did you meet Brighid?" Professor Murcia asked.

"It was after the end of the semester when I decided to tour Europe. You remember, don't you?"

Professor Murcia nodded.

"It was during a tour of Ireland when I came upon Brighid. I know I was supposed to stay with the group, but curiosity got the better of me and I started to wander.

"I was walking through the forest when I came to a small clearing and there was Brighid. When I first saw her, I thought she was a wood sprite; so small and delicate. I think I stumbled or something and she heard me. The poor girl looked so scared. She started to run off, but I yelled for her to stop or wait. She just sat there, staring at me with her wide, green eyes.

"I tried to speak to her in English, hoping she would understand. Thankfully she did. I tried to calm her fears about me. Apparently, she thought I was one of her father's spies. I assured her I wasn't and we started talking.

"The first day we meet was all too brief and I asked her if she would meet me here the next day. She seemed reluctant, but agreed. We started to meet on a regular basis. I found out more about her family, their religion, her religion, and she got to learn about me.

"Then one day she told me they were going to sacrifice her! I grew enraged. I asked her if she trusted me. She said yes. Then I asked her if she would leave with me. She was more reluctant and I could see the pain in her eyes. I knew this was her home and the only family she knew, but then again she wanted to live. After much talking, she agreed.

"Oh, Diego, if what you say is true about Ricardo Fuentes, then I'm afraid everything which has happened to Brighid is my fault."

"What do you mean?" Diego was stunned by Carlos' confession.

"I had spoken to Capitán Tortosa about passage for me and Brighid. We made arrangements to meet at the dock at a certain time. The tour wasn't going to be leaving for another month and it would have been too difficult to explain an extra person especially with her family looking for her. A foolish and stupid mistake I made."

"You couldn't have known what was going to happen," Diego said.

"No, but I should have been more careful; thought it out more instead of rushing into it like I always do." Carlos stopped to compose himself, then continued. "I arrived at the clearing, but Brighid wasn't there. I started to panic. I called her name, but she didn't answer. I looked around and found signs of a struggle. I feared the worst as I ran to the docks. When I got there, I found the ship had sailed away only moments ago. I rushed to port to find another ship, but the next one would be leaving in two weeks. I suppose Capitán Tortosa had other plans and I wracked myself with guilt thinking of what they might be.

"The ship finally came in and I sailed off with it, but I was too late. I found the Santa Catalina had already left port a few days before. I was wondering what I was going to do when my father told me about your return from your trip this morning."

"When did you arrive?" Diego asked.

"Yesterday," Carlos sighed. "I only wished I had arrived sooner."

"No wonder you were acting so strange at breakfast," Professor Murcia replied.

"Yes, I had wanted to tell you so much, but I was afraid you would think I had acted irrationally," Carlos answered.

Bernardo made a motion and Diego caught the signal.

"Can you tell us one thing, Carlos?" he asked.

"What do you want to know?"

"Why does she call you 'Kelley?'"

"When I told her my name she said Carlos was too foreign and harsh for her to pronounce. I told her to come up with a name she liked. Well, she said Kelley sounds close to enough to my name and I became 'Kelley.' I'm just thankful you found her and she's safe."

"As I said earlier, I did what I thought I should do," Diego replied. "What is going to happen now? You've heard my story about what happened in Arturo's quarters. Ricardo will not stop until he has Brighid again."

"I know," Carlos sighed. "Do you have any suggestions?"

"A few, but they require much cunning."

"Like a fox?"

", like a fox."

Bernardo made a gesture to Diego about the time.

"It is late, we must be leaving."

"Are you sure it's safe?" Professor Murcia asked. "They are probably watching your place right now."

Diego looked thoughtful. "You're right, I hadn't thought of that."

"Then I suggest you stay here," Carlos cut in. "We can go over some of your ideas."

"True."

Professor Murcia called the servant and had her make some tea and bring in some food. The four men stayed up and made plans while others lay in the dark making plans of their own.

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