I clutched my long bow as I walked out of Ieuan’s shop. The first move in the game had been made, and I had a good feeling the rest of the pieces would fall into place very soon.
“Let me go!”
I turned, looking for the source of the outcry. A soldier held a boy by the ear and was dragging him away from a leaky looking row boat.
“Get your hands off of me!” The boy thrashed around, yelling at the soldier as he was hauled across the dock. The soldier slapped him.
“Excuse me,” I stepped into the soldier’s path. “What has this boy done?”
The man blinked at me. The boy stopped squirming, just a little, and looked up at my face with hopeful eyes.
“He stole that boat,” he pointed at the row boat. I glanced at it. The pitiful thing looked like it could hardly float, let alone hold a boy.
“It was abandoned! I didn’t steal anything!” The boy protested.
“Quiet! You took it from a nobles land without…”
I cleared my throat, “Have you taken a good look at that craft by chance?”
The soldier seemed taken aback, “Of course I have!”
“Then you know, for it is all too clear, that it is ready to sink to the bottom of the Derwent River. If it had been owned by the person whose land it was on, then do you not think it would have been in better condition?”
By now a crowd of people had gather around to witness the spectacle and several of them were nodding their heads in agreement. The soldier glared at me and threw the boy on the docks wooden planking. Without a word he shoved passed me and disappeared into the throng.
I watched his retreating form. I had wounded his pride. Good.
“You showed him!” I looked at the boy as he scrambled to his feet. The crowd began to break up and move away.
“You should be more careful,” I took note of his sandy hair and light blue eyes. “The Normans will find any excuse to be rid of a Saxon.”
The boy scratched his head, “Aw, I could have handled him if it had come to the worst. I have six older brothers that I wrestle with.” He grinned as if this were some vast accomplishment.
“Hmm,” I turned to walk away.
“Wait!” The boy grabbed my arm. “I’m Much, what’s your name? Where are you from? Is that a long bow? Where did you…”
“No questions,” I placed my finger over the boy’s mouth. “Go home Much, and keep out of trouble.”
He frowned, “I can take care of myself.”
“Then do so!” Before he could say another word I sprinted into the throng of people and he disappeared from my sight.