Ring of Stone
Diane Scott Lewis
“These people and their paganism,” a booming voice cut the air. Catern jerked her head to the left. Lord Tideford loomed several yards off, framed against a bonfire like something risen black from the earth. He stood with the younger Gwynn girl and her parents. “More of an excuse for drinking, I daresay.”
“I thought it very quaint. I’m glad I insisted we come.” The girl beside him had a soft, sweet voice. Her long, nearly white hair feathered around her hood in the breeze. “We’ve enriched an ailing old man’s happiness.”
She’s so young, that innocent girl. Catern bit at her knuckle. “I must be off, Doctor.” Her stomach roiled. She turned about and staggered toward the darkness beyond the fringes of the fires, her head reeling as if she’d guzzled a keg.
“What is the matter, Miss Tresidder?” Nelson followed and caught her arm. “Are you going to faint? You should sit down for a moment.”
“Naw, I never faint. Please, let me go. Sorry, sir.” Catern wriggled free and hurried through the grass. The earl’s voice made her tremble like jelly. She rushed a great distance, tripping along uneven ground in the dark, then slowed and massaged the stitch in her side. Striding off once more, she had to truss up the strength to tell Miss Gwynn the ugliest part, perhaps visit Avallen herself, and very soon, to protect that pale girl.