Mists of Time

As the mists swirled around them they joined hands and staggered forwards....or was it backwards?

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28. To the Hut

They came to a fork in the track. Tom reasoned that the left fork led to Boulderstone and the right led back towards the clearing they’d camped on. 

Straight on the woodland fell away into a valley. There were views out above the treeline. Sarah stopped to look.  

‘Well there were far more trees in the past’ Sarah said looking out towards Bradfield. Nearly all the area was trees with little of the moorland remaining. 

‘Quick, we need to hide’ Will suddenly shouted. They looked around and saw Will bolt into the undergrowth. They followed as quickly as they could. They threw themselves on the ground  as they heard the hooves of galloping horses coming towards them. Looking up from the safety of the thick dense foliage, they saw the same three horses as they had before come into view. They took the track down to the town.  

‘It’s the same men again’ May said sitting up and brushing herself down. 

‘It’s the Duke’s men. There’s lots of trouble around here between the Duke and Earl. I don’t know why but my dad says it’s too dangerous to be out on my own’ 

They were just about to emerge from the dark woodland when they heard the sound of horses coming the other way. Quickly they made themselves as invisible as they could, but only just in time.  

Six horses flashed up the road from Boulderstone and headed towards the clearing. This time the insignia that they wore was very different to the last riders.  

They lay still for a few moments afterwards in case there was anyone else was going to come chasing up the road. When it appeared that there wasn’t going to be anyone else Tom turned to Will. 

‘Who were those riders ?’ 

‘They were the Earls men, the Duke’s men must have turned off on the Bradfeld track. If the Earl’s men had spotted them they wouldn’t just have ridden past, they’d have stopped.’ 

‘I wonder what’s happening.’ May said  

‘ Someone must have spotted the Duke’s men and told them in Boulderstone. The Earl will have sent his men to search for them’ Will said. 

Will stood up and went to the paths edge. 

‘I think we’re better cutting through the forest from here’ Will said looking at the others. ‘someone may come along it and I don’t want to be in the middle of it’ 

Will led them through the forest. He’d obviously used this way before because he didn’t stop to check where he was. Tom thought he probably used these routes while setting his traps. After a few minutes Tom could detect the smell of wood smoke. They’d been following the ridge line when all of a sudden, Will disappeared down the slope. The four followed him down a steep track which led to the bottom. The track led for a few yards before merging into a clearing. In the middle of this was a shack. Smoke came out of its chimney. 

Will walked right up to the front of the shack. He turned to the others and beckoned them forwards. Suddenly the door curtain was thrown open and a huge arm grabbed Will 

‘Come here you little tyke, where’ve you been?’ a voice obviously attached to the arm bellowed. 

The four scouts retreated to the edge of the forest.  

‘Dad, Dad, it’s OK I’ve been out checking my traps’ 

‘I told you not to go out in the dark you little scallywag, there’s been some trouble in the woods. I’ve been hearing horses travelling back and forth, you didn’t see anything did you ?’ 

‘The Duke’s men have been around and then the Earls men have just been riding down the track towards the stream clearing. I think that there were a couple of men camping out in the clearing, earl’s men. I kept away from them like you always tell me to do’ 

Will suddenly remembered the strangers 

‘Dad, you’ll never guess what I’ve found in the woods?’ 

‘What?’ 

‘I’ve met a Princess from a far away land and her party.’ 

Listen young Will, you’re telling them tales of yours again, aren’t you. 

‘Dad, this time it’s true, they’ve come back with me’ 

‘Will what have I told you about talking to strangers, there’s people around that won’t think twice about snatching you.’ 

‘These are different though dad, they’re not that sort. I followed them for ages before I talked to them, come on have a look’ 

Will disappeared out of the door before his father could say another word. His father sighed and followed him out of the door, bending slightly.  

‘So where is this princess of yours, or is this one invisible as well, Will you have to stop telling these tales’ his father said affectionately, his voice sounding a lot kinder than before. 

In the forest four pairs of eyes looked out, their owners not breathing. They’d just seen the size of Will’s dad. He must have been nearly 7 foot tall. His arms and legs were huge. He had a huge black beard. He dwarfed Will. In spite of the gruffness of the voice he had a kindly looking face. Sarah looked on in amazement, Hagrid she thought and indeed he did resemble the Harry Potter character. 

‘She’s not here is she Will, she never existed did she? You just made her up so I wouldn’t be angry at you’. He knelt down at the side of his son and placed one of his huge arms on Will’s shoulders.  

‘What are we going to do with you?’ he asked no-one in particular 

‘But they are real dad, they were following me’ Will said, tears were beginning to come to his eyes.

 

 

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