Thirteen – 01

[This post is from Bryant Tapping’s point of view.]

“Are we sure this is the right place?”

Bryant Tapping closed his eyes for a moment, exhaling softly as his hands stilled in the process of checking his gear.  Travis’s question was understandable, especially given how far and how long they’d ridden to get here—and the risks they’d taken to get here.

His gaze strayed toward David and Isabelle at the far end of the one-room cottage.  Issy seemed to feel the weight of his gaze, glancing back over her shoulder toward him even as she leaned forward to check David’s fever, her expression pinched and complexion pale.  Bryant barely managed to suppress a sigh and not for the last time wished he’d paid more attention to what his father had tried to teach him after the end of everything the young doctor had known.

“Yeah,” he said, his voice quiet.  “Yeah, I’m sure.  That redhead that was there—he was definitely one of the Taleisins.  I’m sure of that much.”

“Based on what?” Travis asked, looking up from checking his own bags.  His voice was mild, curious—probing, but not angrily.  “Some stories you grew up with?  A child’s memory of a face?”

“I was more than a child when Aoife left,” Bryant said, glancing toward David again.  His lips thinned.  He could at least remember his friend’s mother clearly.  David didn’t have that luxury, only stories from his father and a few sketches—not even a photograph.  “But yeah.  Based on that and solid descriptions.”  He stared down at his hands for a few seconds.  “And the name.  Who the hell would take that name?”

“We don’t know it wasn’t uncommon before the end, though,” Travis said.  “Do we?”

“Uncommon enough,” Lilah said, depositing her bags against the wall, her canteen in hand.  “It sounds enough like what we’re looking for, anyway, doesn’t it, T?”

Travis grimaced and looked away.  “I guess.  I just have a weird feeling.”

Behind him, Issy choked on a laugh.  “That’s not your job, Travis.  That’s his.”  She gestured toward David, still unconscious under the blankets their hosts had brought.  Her gaze strayed toward Bryant then, too, and her forehead creased with a faint frown.  “What are we going to do, Bryant?  It’s not like they told us much.”

“But they’re letting us stay,” he said, looking back at her.  “That’s something, right?”

“For now,” she said softly.  “What happens when they figure out where we’re actually from and who actually sent us?”

“Hopefully, they’ll still help.”  He looked at David again, his lips thinning.  “I just hope they’re more forgiving than she was.”

“Maybe,” Issy said.  “But what if they’re not?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.”

“Yeah,” she said softly.  “I guess we will.”

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