Bryn’s face took on a wry look, “I seem to have a habit of that,” she said her sense of humor peeking through.
It took Nolen a moment to register the joke, ”Aye you do at that,” he added with a grin. The old man’s face took on a serious look once again as he fortified himself with a deep breath to continue. Bryn noted the change and waited for the inevitable.
“It was hard at first, with you the way you were when you first showed up, but through love and understanding you eventually found your way back to mischievous imp of our fond remembrance. Things were grand for a few years; it was like having our daughter back again. I felt that I had been given a second chance to do things right this time. Your Grandmother and I even argued about your schooling just like we did with Shannon. I prevailed this time and you were taught self-defense along, with history and science. You however didn’t have the knack for science that I did and hated every minute of it,” Nolen finished on a laugh then continued. “Aye it was grand.”
“But it changed somewhere,” Bryn prompted.
“Yes…” Nolen sighed, “When you were sixteen you…killed a man,” Nolen added not knowing how to soften the blow.
“What!,” Bryn cried out in shock. The young witch hadn’t expected that revelation and all her surprised brain could think of was “I’m surprised you’re with these do gooders, What with your pedigree and all.” Scratch’s taunt echoed through out her mind and Nolen had to shake her to bring her back to reality.
“Bryn, BRYN!!,” he said shaking her, “You don’t understand, I didn’t even understand until later. When it was too late,” he finished weakly.
The young witch slowly clamed down and got control of herself. She fought her overwhelming need to run away from Nolen and gestured for him to continue.
“It…I mean he…,” the magistrate started stuttering, “He, Jarvis, had been beating his wife for years, but no one knew about it, or the ones who did didn’t tell anyone. One night after a late class you came upon him in a drunken rage beating his wife to near death. You knew that he was going to kill her so you attacked using your training to pull him away from his intended victim. Apparently Selena took the opportunity to run away and left you to defend yourself against her angry husband. So when the commotion finally drew people to the scene all that was left for them to see was you standing over the burned out shell that had once been Jarvis with your eyes glowing. The towns people that where there, some of them who called themselves your friends, started to throw stones yelling demon, witch, and other names that where far worse. I arrived in time to keep them from killing you. I arrested you then, stone faced, while you begged me to listen to you, blood streaming down your face from your wounds and covering your hands,” Nolen said in a whisper almost as if he didn’t really know Bryn was there anymore. Bryn was having a hard time staying in reality herself this whole story was surreal, a nightmare that she would wake up from any minute now. The young witch’s need to just run away was unbearable now. She had to force herself to sit on the bed and wait for her…grandfather to continue, and he did. “The problem was that no one had seen the man beating his wife, and she was no where to be found. The townspeople believed that you had killed both of them in a demonic rage, so you were sentenced to death for his murder and hers…without a trial. I…didn’t know what to make of it all…I mean elemental magic was considered the touch of the Sidhe (Shee) were I had come from and I was scared. Scared of my own granddaughter,” he added in disgust with himself. Bryn opened her mouth to interrupt but he stayed her with a raised hand. “Your grandmother believed you though, she went to you every day you spent in the city prison, but I wouldn’t listen to her. I think that it was the heartbreak of believing you were dead that killed her, she was just never the same after that, and I don’t think she every really forgave me. You see I was the one who…who was suppose to carry out the sentence, and no matter how many times you pleaded with me, told me what really happened I didn’t believe you. But the time came and I couldn’t kill you. That night I sold you to a captain passing through on his way to Baghdad as servant. It wasn’t until after the ship sailed that Jarvis’ wife, Selena, came forward, and confessed that you had saved her life. Later I found out that the ship had been wrecked in a storm off the coast of Baghdad with no survivors found,” he finished in the tone of the man confessing his sins to an unsympathetic judge.
Bryn digested this information in supriseing calm and out of habit touched her rainbow bracelet drawing comfort from its presence, knowing that this must have been the storm which cased her to receive the strange piece of jewelry. “Do you still believe I’m evil,” the young witch asked afraid of the answer.
“No granddaughter,” he said sincerely, ”I only hope you can forgive me for what I did to you,” he added, afraid that she wouldn’t be able to, and knowing that he didn’t deserve her forgiveness.
The young witch didn’t really know what to say, it was all so new to her. Her emotions were in a shambles, and her mind still refused to allow her to treat these memories as her own. This was just a story to her, a past that she couldn’t remember that held no meaning. There were still so many missing pieces, such as what happened to her parents, and what happened to her before she was ten. She new that she would have to find the answer’s to these question if she were ever really to know who she was.
Nolen was silent as he watched his granddaughter try and understand what he had just told her. He wasn’t sure what kind of reaction he was going to get from her so he waited fearful that she wouldn’t be able to cope with her new knowledge of her past.
“I don’t know if I can forgive you,” she said softly and his face filled with despair. Seeing the older man’s reaction the young sorceress rushed to explain. “What I mean is that I still can’t remember what you have told me on my own and I’m not sure how I will feel when I do,” she added and Nolen gave her a confused look.
“What do you mean granddaughter,” Nolen questioned.
Bryn was starting to get edgy and she got up to pace around the room, “I mean that this is still just a incredibly sad and tragic story to me right now, It happened to a stranger, one that is hiding inside of my mind,” she added trying to explain. “Until I can access my own memory’s about what happened then I won’t know if I can forgive you or not,” she added pleading for understanding.
The light finally went on inside his brain, as he understood what she was trying to tell him. He also noticed the dark circles that were forming under his granddaughter’s eyes and decided the rest of this could wait until morning.
“I understand,” he said softly, “How about we continue this in the morning then,” he added as she bit back a yawn.
“Yes,” she replied tired, dazed, and confused. She then opened the door and let him out of her room. When Nolen had left Bryn turned around and leaned against the door. She knew that no sleep would come to her tonight only questions about a past that was just starting to open up to her, one that she wasn’t sure she wanted to know about anymore.
Sinbad awoke with the morning sun streaming into his open window. The room the young Captain had shared with his brother was almost the image of Bryn’s. Sinbad had to bit back a grin as his brother snored and rolled over. He had to admit that Nolen threw a good party as he wiped the sleep from his eyes. Deciding to let his brother sleep a little longer the young captain went in search of a bath and breakfast, in that order. He was getting dressed when the note by the door happened to catch his eye. With his chest bare the young captain padded barefoot across the room bent down and picked up the note. He caught site of his name printed on the top in Bryn’s unmistakable handwriting. A frision of fear shot up his spine as he opened the letter with trembling hands.
I’m sorry to say goodbye this way, but something has happened. I have found a piece to my past, to who I was if not who I am. My quest has begun and no matter were I go I will always remember the Nomad and the family that I have there. I’m sorry but I have to do this alone, tell the others goodbye for me and be safe, all of you. Please take care of Dermott for me and don’t follow me Sinbad; please just let me go.
Sinbad had to read the note twice before he understood what he was reading. Once the message sunk in to the captain’s tired brain he crumpled the paper in his fist holding it tightly and broke for the door. Sinbad ran down the hall half dressed, his bare feet striking the cold stone floor. The young captain of the Nomad burst into what had been Bryn’s room not bothering to knock, his panic driving him on.
“BRYN!! , BRYN!!” he yelled even though he knew she wasn’t there. He was so crazed he even searched the room and checked under the bed. Just then a bed rumpled Nolen and Doubar appeared in the doorway glaring at the young captain.
“Sinbad your making more noise than Jinn destroying a city,” his brother complained all the while holding his head in his hands.
“She’s gone Doubar,” Sinbad said his voice think with despair and hurt, “she just…left.”
“Who’s gone?” Doubar questioned having not awakened yet.
“Bryn,” he said again his voice bitter. He just couldn’t believe she would up and leave just like that. No goodbye, just sneaking out in the middle of the night, like a common thief. To say the least the captain was in a state of shock. What could have triggered this he questioned himself? He got the answer to his unspoken question when he saw Nolen brace himself on the doorjamb to stay steady on his feet.
“By Allah,” Nolen said his voice filled with shock and guilt, “I never thought that she would…I mean I wouldn’t have told…” he started to say but trailed off.
Nolen’s words shook Sinbad out of his own shock as his blue eyes narrowed on the magistrate.
“Wouldn’t have told her what,” Sinbad questioned his whole body radiating suspicion. Nolen was too lost in his own guilt to notice the change in the captain.
“About the past,” the oldest of the three men said dazed, “I wouldn’t have told her about the past, oh my poor Elly,” he added and sunk to his knees in despair hanging his head.
Sinbad saw red, rage filling him beyond anything he had ever known as he stalked toward the fallen magistrate. The young captain lifted the older man by the lapels of his sleeping gown, hauling him up and slamming him back against the wall. Storm tossed blue eyes met green as Sinbad growled.
“What about the past, Where is she,” he practically yelled. Then Doubar was there trying to calm his brother before he did something stupid like killing their host.
“Sinbad.” Doubar exclaimed as he unclenched Sinbad’s hands from the magistrate, “Sinbad let him go, let him speak,” he added trying to reason with him.
The young captain barely heard his brother’s soothing tone as the big man tried to reason with him, but finally Doubar broke through the young man’s rage with logic. Sinbad shook his head as if to clear it and let go of the older man. He looked at his hands as if he had never seen them before realizing that he could have easily killed the magistrate with them. He started to shudder and raked both hands through his long hair taking calming breaths.
“I’m…sorry,” he said still a little shaky from the emotion that had gripped him.
“It’s all right captain,” Nolen said in a tired voice, “I should have told you the truth when I invited you to stay. I just wasn’t sure it was her until after the feast,” he added having aged fifty years before the sailor and his brother’s eyes.
“Who is Bryn to you,” Doubar questioned suspiciously since Sinbad was unable to speak at the moment.
“She’s my granddaughter,” Nolen said on a sigh.
“What!!,” Doubar and Sinbad exclaimed together not believing their ears.
“She’s my granddaughter,” the old man said again and then in anger at himself, “I told her about part of her past, but left out what little I know of her parents. I should have told her then maybe…maybe…On No!… By Allah she wouldn’t,” he exclaimed fearfully his eyes wide and then with a questioning look at the captain, “would she.”
“Would she what,” Sinbad asked tightly liking the situation less and less as the magistrate spoke.
“She has gone to find out about her past hasn’t she?” the old man questioned the lean sailor.
The young captain looked at the crumpled note in his hand and simply answered, “Yes,” his voice low and harsh.
“By Allah you must go after her, she doesn’t know…the townspeople,” Nolen said his voice breaking with worry and fear.
“Doesn’t know what,” Sinbad question grabbing the old man by the shoulder’s and giving him a small shake. Nolen didn’t answer right away just shook his head in denial. “Doesn’t know what,” Sinbad asked again harshly this time locking his intense blue eyed gaze on the magistrate.
Nolen finally met the captain’s eyes and said gravely, “They blame her for her mother’s death, If she goes back, they will kill her,” his eyes were serious and intense.
The young captain released the magistrate and stepped back his eyes wide. Doubar seeing his brother’s distress asked, “Where did she go, Nolen,” in a tone that demanded an answer form the old man.
“To Ira, she went to Ira,” the old man said his voice weary and old. What had he done Nolen questioned himself. What by all that was holy had he done?
It was a beautiful day to be at sea, with a strong wind and nothing but calm crystal clear waters as far as the eye could see. There was a mood of contentment in the air aboard the Midnight Run as the sailors went about their various chores. There was one passenger though who was not enjoying the marvelous day that was dawning around them. Bryn stood by the starboard rail making sure to keep out of the way of the working men. It was strange to be on a ship and not working, the luxuries of being a passenger she thought ruefully. The young witch sighed, she wasn’t sure if she made the right choice, but it was the only choice that she felt she had left to her. After Nolen had left Bryn had lain awake staring up at her ceiling thinking about all that Nolen had told her. She was from Ira, or so Nolen had said. The young witch finally had a place to look for her past and during the dead time, the time surrounding the witching hour, she decided to find go search for it. She still recalled how she had silently crept out of her second story window using the vines on the walls outside her room. Nolen’s old hound had bayed at the moon giving the young sorceress a moment of panic, but no one had been awakened. Bryn had slipped away into the night with the sole thought of finding a ship to take her to Ira, and here she was. Despite the emotional rollercoaster she had been on since Nolen had spoken to her she was still able to find humor in the appropriately named ship that now carried her to her supposed homeland. Bryn absentmindedly rubbed her rainbow bracelet for luck and thought of Sinbad. I’m sorry, she thought hoping that maybe a connection could be made with the captain, but I have to know. The young witch sighed again, soon she would know and she wondered if her life would ever be the same.
“Doubar I’m going after her…alone,” the young captain said in a tone that booked no arguments.
The young captain and his red-faced brother stood toe to toe facing each other down in the middle of the bustling port of Tangier. Many of the sailors loading cargo on the various ships only gave them cursory glances as they continued to load supplies and goods into the different holds.
“We will all go after he little brother,” Doubar countered not liking the unreasonable panic that had come over his brother. “She is our family too. She belongs on the Nomad and we will find her, but we are going to find her together,” he said in his over protective stubborn big brother voice.
Sinbad was about to start yelling in less than a candle mark, his brother’s frustrating logic not sitting well with him. The young captain’s insanity however found a moment of clarity pushing back the must find Bryn thought that had been the only thing to occupy his mind for that last few hours. He took two deep breaths calming his churning emotions and turned to his brother. “Doubar,” he started calmly, “I can’t just let the crew suffer from the blow our reputations would take if we don’t fulfil our contracts,” he said and then added. “You know that many of these men have families that relay on the wages they receive from us,” he replied his eyes filled with the truth of his words. Doubar just gave a gruff Hurmph, but he was listening to his brother. Sinbad sensing his victory in this argument said the one thing that he knew his brother would have no retort for. “Big brother you know that Bryn would not want one man’s child to suffer on her behalf,” he said knowing the sorceress better than he knew himself. “That is why I have to go alone.”
The big man hurmphed again not liking the situation in any way, shape, or form but having no choice but to yield his brother the victory. “I still don’t like it Sinbad, but I have a feeling it would take a bigger man then me to stop you,” he said his eyes laced with a mixture of frustration and humor. Sinbad didn’t reply right away he just quickly gave his brother a fierce hug and then pulled back to look him in the eye.
“Thank you big brother, and don’t worry we will both be back, safe and sound,” he said his eyes determined and filled with fervent purpose.
Doubar laughed at this and added, “Aye I know little brother, you and the lass are just to ornery to die,” he said with a grin. “Besides I’m sure that Allah wouldn’t want to put up with both you, might just give you both immortality to spare himself from your pig headed ways.”
Sinbad just laughed at his brother his blue eyes dancing, “You are probably right Doubar, you are probably right.”
They both laughed for a minute or two longer and then Doubar suddenly became serious, “Be safe little brother,” he said and pulled him into a bear hug.
Sinbad returned the hug and told him fiercely, “You too big brother.”
The two brothers released and Sinbad gave Doubar one last look silently communicating all the feeling that most men just can’t put into words. He then hefted his travel pack, turned and got lost in the crowd of sailors. Doubar being a man of action and not one to believe too much in fate uttered the first prayer he had said in years, “Bring them back to us Allah, both of them,” he whispered to the unseen supreme being. Then the new captain of the Nomad turned and headed toward his ship. He had a cargo to load and a ship to get out to sea.