Emmeline finished securing the saddlebags on Goblin’s Gift, the reliable rauncy gifted to her by the lord of Calder Keep. On one side, the case of her ever-present violin suck up. On the other side of the horse, the saddlebag contained her Tome and the few extras she had packed for the trip. But despite the urgency to leave to meet Elemix and Tiffanie by the next morning, she delayed. She fidgeted with the bridle and spoke softly the horse. It would be hard ride, but she would refuse to ride so hard it would damage GG.That meant every moment she dallied might cost her and GG later.
Still, there were some things that needed to be said to Mazarin before she left. Finally, she turned to her uncle who had been watching silently as she and Rivanon had prepared to leave.
“I miss him, too. It’s been so long and I barely remember him, but I miss just as much as the day he left to go to sea.” She gave Mazarin a hug. “I know I’ve been a willful child to you and I understand now you were trying to honor my father’s wishes. I will make it up to you and my cousins, too. The magic will take hold and vines will do well. I’ll come back and do it again, too. I don’t want any one of your family — our family — to go wanting. Next time, I’ll stay longer. I have so many stories I wish I could have shared.”
The grumpy Mazarin replied, “Well, ah did ast good ast aye cud. Y’er cuzins Therise, Josephine, Germain, Maurice, Maurelle an de other one, Chandler – well dey be missin ya too. Ah jus dident git why you be leavin’ all da time, run oft to de dare tavrin to sing and danz. I thot dat dem boys wood take vantage of ya, spoil ya, and brek yer hart. Dat’s all. Good weddin’, like ya pére. Ah thought dey just got ya messed up in der head. Poysin ya wit stories an tales…” The old man paused, “Ah alsa think ya pére ist til alive. Hez too tuff ta be jus lost.”
Emmeline blinked at him. “Alive?” The thought made her stomach twist. If he was alive, then why did he never come home? It meant that he’d abandoned her willfully. But yet it could mean one day… No. She’d dreamed of that for years and it had never done her any good. She shook her head. “I don’t want to believe he’d leave me, Uncle. I don’t want to even hope that he’s alive after all these years. It hurts too much. I have to think about my future.
“I do love music and I love to perform. But I haven’t done anything that would bring shame on myself or my family. I promise. And I’m trying to look out for my future, too. I’m not going throw it away for the next man with a pocket full of gold and rakish smile.” She gave him a sly smile.
“Gud,” he said sternly. “Ya better than that. Ya shud be a great merchant’s wife, or a senator’s, or be the pants and marry who ya wish. Do wat wud make ya pére proud. Now, he wudn’t lev ya willin’ly. Ef he be aliv, he be a prisoner, or lost, or enslaved. Ah, may be a curmuddin’, a grouchy ol’ crank, but I’m sure as der be wind frum da west, dat yer pére ist somewhere. An he would be missin’ ya. His ship be the Ravenswood, lost some dozen yers ago. But no plank, no body, no debris was ever found. It jus don’t make senze.”
“The Ravenswood,” Em repeated, memorizing the name. She would make inquiries somehow. Mazarin seemed to really believe what he was saying and his conviction was at least a little contagious. “Pirates, do you think?”
“Wernt a storm,” Mazarin replied.
Emmeline considered, then nodded. “Okay. Then I accept he’s a live out there somewhere until we can find someone who really knows what happened. I’ll be traveling a lot this year, so I’ll ask every port we come to if anyone has heard of the Ravenswood and her crew.”
She gave Mazarin a final hug, the swung up onto the saddle. “Farewell, Uncle.”