The insides had been stripped out and the watch was more like a charm box in which this angel resided. A mesh covering kept the object from falling out of its casing, from how it was all designed; both Sherlock and I could see that the entire contraption was made thusly with great care.
“He made this after the Gathering, and gave it to me at the ruins,” she said, “but that was only after he made sure that we had found haven again when he sent a runner.”
She then took back her trinket and placed it in her boot, as Sherlock asked, “I suppose that Master Windibank was cross and beat the foundlings two days later?”
Mistress Sutherland gave a small shake of her head, which surprised us both. She then said, “He was very good about it. I remember that he waved off Mother’s apologies and said there was no use denying anything a Mistress, for she will have her way.”
Sherlock gave her a curious look when he asked, “When did you meet Master Angel at the ruins?”
Mistress had to pause a moment at the specific question, “I met him in daylight, though at the time I had misplaced my best day glasses, and had to use one of the pair that is less effective. Then I met him at the fire pits at night, where we a shambled shack and an old mattress. He gave this to me the night we knew each other.”
She was more hesitant now, as if she was contemplating whether or not she should include pertinent information.
Sherlock caught this too and asked, “Mistress I know the roles of Hunters and Mothers very well. Are you expecting?”
She said that it was indeed 2 months since she had known her body was harboring a future baby. This of course explained her emotional swings, as well as how thin her body was. In a way, her body was feeding the babe what it could; all excess fat was what the fetus was surviving on. Her motive to find Master Angel was to hold him accountable for the child, as our society allowed women to choose their role.
“I am like my birth mother,” she said in a small breath, “she gave me to my Master and Mother raised me. Master said she was a great hunter, and the last he heard from her was when I turned fifteen. As I am now eighteen, I will never know if she is living or dead. The last two days of his life, my Master insisted I was her, and that he had felt something more than just the need to procreate.”
At this admission she became slightly upset and Sherlock asked if she would like a tonic, which she refused. We understood that even though she entrusted this information with us, as a warrior, she would never drink in a stranger’s haven for fear of poison.
Sherlock allowed for a pause in the questioning and allowed Mistress Sutherland to breathe for a few moments. She was not as uncontrollably so the wait was not long. After she composed herself, Sherlock began with another question, “As you have said you are with child. I would not like to know, how long have you and Hosmer Angel been courting one another?”
The Mistress’ fingers began to twitch, counting something only she would be able to reference. She looked at Sherlock, “I would say two months and three weeks.”
He nodded, “And where was your Master Windibank all this time? Did he not get suspicious of the two of you?”
Mistress Sutherland gave a slight tilt her head, trying to tally the moments again. She then looked at Sherlock with some hint of interest, “Master Windibank was scarce much of the time. He didn’t like anything of the sort. He wouldn’t have any of the living matriculate throughout haven. He never allowed us to induct new members either. He used to say that a Mistress should be happy in her own clan haven. But then I said to Mother one time, a Mistress wants her own clan to begin with, and I had not got mine yet,” this was the first time we saw her touch her stomach.
“Does your mother know?”
Mistress Sutherland shook her head, “I have never trusted the woman with a single breath in my body since Master died. I would not tell her such things now.” Sherlock nodded his understanding of the matter, “Does Master Angel know of your condition?”
Again the poor girl, for at that moment she could not be older than twenty, shook her head, “I have not told him, as I have not seen him in the past two weeks before the planned vows were to be taken.”
Sherlock raised his eyebrow, I concluded with that look that such new would, indeed, best be told in person.
Sherlock decided that more information was necessary for this investigation to continue. Therefore I was not surprised when he asked the particular question, “May I ask how did you keep up communications while Master Windibank was in residence?”
Mistress Sutherland began to explain that there was a runner in debt to Master Hosmer. “We became well acquainted with one another over the span of our courtship. He did not have a name before I met him. I decided it was pointless for such a swift child to not have a name.” She smiled at those memories of communications and familiarity with two persons outside her clan, “I call him Fleet now.”
Sherlock and I knew very well the danger of calling any child be a name, as it was a sign of emotional connection. Then again the Mistress was to have a child, and though she did not plan to keep said object, the hormones made every woman more perceptive to connecting with the younger generations.
“Ah Fleet! A fitting name for a runner,” said Sherlock with some spunk.
Mistress Sutherland gave a tentative smile at his reaction, encouraged by his enthusiastic listening she continued. “The last day I saw Fleet was concerning though. I am fairly certain that he was ill, I have been concerned about him along with Master Angel.”
Sherlock gave her an equally concerned expression, “Tell me, what concerned you?” She became curious at the question; usually no man would ask the reason for concern.
-To Be Continued-
Editors Note: Linda K. Strahl graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Lewis University. She is currently a volunteer poetry editor for Jet Fuel Review, as it is the catalyst to her ongoing pursuit to join the publishing field. To keep her writing fresh she is currently working on integrating old classics with more present superstitions and fads, while also keeping her own word journal, and Evernote app on hand. To keep her finger dexterity, she knits, and practices piano.