Beckoning from beyond the ditch a dirty rag-beswagged beldame who raven-croaked ‘Have pity, maid.’
Thinking any mishap to have been deserved I would have ignored but Gabriel, sobered from a pail of water and aiming to both delay due retribution and convert me to a charitable frame of mind, said to take her food and ale.
Reaching up she grabbed my wrist. Fingers over-strong. Fractionally faster than suspicion, mouldering hag became Mathias, hauling me a-sprawl.
‘The Earl’s new baby’s wet-nurse took fancy to me, unlocked my chains.’ Knife against my throat, laughing, ‘I said to tell them it was you.’
This is part 31 of 'The blacksmith's wife'. The whole is a prompt-led serial which began on the Friday Prediction, in March and continued, one hundred words at a time, for forty-one episodes. One of my aims in this 100 days project is to complete the illustrations for each episode and publish the tale in book form. The story can be read in its entirety here.