Author Topic: The Highwayman: Legacy  (Read 27046 times)

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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2008, 12:43:09 PM »
Jack eyed the small cottage from the cover of the deeper wood surrounding it. The information he had frightened out of Tom Wilmot was more than enough to lead him to the hovel, now the question was whether or not the men holding his son were indeed there. The light orange glow tinting the window to the left of the door told him someone was there, but it did not tell him who.

Roberts knew of the cabin, several local highwaymen did, and all of them had made use of it at one time or another. Far enough away from any nosey neighbors and hid deep in the wood between Devonshire and Bath, the place made for a suitable temporary hide away if one was pursued too heatedly by the footmen. It was far better than trying to equal Dick Turpin's ride, even though Jack knew that it had been Swift Nick Nevison that had actually pulled off the famous stunt.

There was only one way to know for certain. He quietly made his way towards the structure, leaving Raven in the deep shadows. The peaceful life he had led up to this moment had changed Jack. There had been a time when his anger at someone threatening the welfare of a loved one would have sent him into a mad rage. Though he still felt the edges of that rage, he kept his head now, far better than even he would have expected.

The added advantage of the abundant trees provided cover almost to the very doorstep and helped immensely as the dark cloaked figure slid silently onto the porch. The muffled sound of voices confirming that the cabin was indeed occupied. Jack stole towards the filthy window, hoping it would be clean enough to offer a glimpse of what lay inside. Had it not been for the single loose board, he may have succeeded.

The creak of the wood protesting against his weight sounded as loud as a pistol shot in the quiet darkness, producing an immediate effect. Raised voices and the sound of boot steps scrambling in all directions inside meant Jack had little time. Pulling one of his pistols he filled his left hand with Old Hob as the door began to open, the muzzle of a flintlock proceeding it's bearer. Before the door could open fully Jack kicked with all his strength slamming the door into the arm of the pistol's owner, simultaneously discharging the weapon and sending it flying off into the night.

The sound of Ben's cursing reverberated in the small foyer as Jack strode through the door. A second kick sent the slender ruffian sliding on his back across the floor and into the parlor. Jack raced into the single room in time to see a stunned Sam raise a trembling pistol in his direction. With a covert flick of his wrist Old Hob wound about the barrel. A quick jerk on the handle of the whip pulled the weapon from the pudgy man's fingers to skid to a halt at Robert's feet.

Sam's eyes were wide with terror as his mouth worked silently. Jack had forgotten that he was supposed to be dead and the sight of him might make many a superstitious fool believe they were face to face with a ghost.

"Where is the child?!" He demanded, the usual deep gravely voice he used as his alter ego made a bit more melodramatic with the knowledge. The chubby rogue promptly slid to the floor unconscious.

"If you would turn to your right slightly, I believe you would have your answer." The liquid baritone sounded casually, and Jack shifted his gaze.

Malcolm stood at the entrance of the door leading into the other single room of the cottage. One hand held firmly onto Jeremy's shoulder, the other held a pistol, but instead of aiming the deadly gun at Roberts he had it placed against the back of the boy's head.

"I would suggest you divest yourself of those weapons, if you please, Black Jack Roberts." Malcolm frowned, his black eyebrows knitting slightly above his deep brown eyes. "If that is indeed who you are. The last anyone knew you were supposed to be quite dead."

Slowly Jack placed Old Hob and the pistol he held on the grimy floor, quickly followed by his second flintlock and rapier. His blue green eyes never leaving Malcolm's. "I'm afraid not, Mate. Rest assured I am Black Jack and ye hold something dear ta me." he growled lowly.

Dagget smiled. "I thought as much, Mr. Roberts. Were I to hazard a guess I would think you have been hired by the boy's father to track him down. I'm afraid I've not done with the lad quite yet."

Jeremy stood completely still during the exchange, the eyes behind the black hood all he needed to know for certain. He had looked into those turquoise eyes too many times not to know that the man behind the mask was indeed his father. No matter what he would not let this brigand know the truth. Then an idea struck him.

"Is my Da alright, Black Jack?" He quickly asked.

Malcolm shook him slightly. "Hold your tongue, Mr. Johnson."

"You father be fine, Lad." Jack answered. "And he misses ye greatly."

"That's all very touching." Malcolm sneered. "But as I said I've business yet to conduct with young Mr. Johnson here, and we'll be taking our leave now, if you please Mr. Roberts."

Before he could answer Jack felt the pressure of a cold steel barrel against his own skull. Ben had awakened and retrieved Sam's pistol from the floor. Malcolm grinned wickedly as he pulled Jeremy back into the second room and the back door of the thieves cottage.

"I don't suppose we shall meet again, Jack Roberts, so I will bid you farewell." Malcolm turned his gaze to Ben. "After we leave collect that fool partner of yours, then see that Mr. Roberts here fits what the public believes about him. Kill him. I will meet you at the tavern later. Come along, Mr. Johnson."

Jeremy's eyes widened and a muffled "No!" was all he managed before Dagget's hand clamped across his mouth. Soon the sound of a single horse faded into the distance as Ben made his way over to the unconscious form of his partner in crime. His eyes and pistol never leaving the dark shadow of the helpless highwayman.

"C'mon, ye bloody coward!" He hissed shaking the rotund form with his free hand. "Wake the 'Ell up! We've work ta do."

The evil grin at Sam's incoherent moan quickly faded as the sound of a sharp crack filled the room and his weapon clattered to the floor from his pain numbed hand. Jack dove for his own weapons, rolling to his feet he found himself pointing his pistol at a woman dressed in burgundy leather riding pants, black leather riding boots rising up to mid thigh. The billowy white lace shirt held to form fitting around her sleek waistline by a black leather cincher. Her golden loose curls fell about her shoulders from beneath a deep burgundy caviler's hat with black and white ostrich plums trailing behind, A black silk scarf covered the lower part of her face up to just beneath her sapphire blue eyes.

"Heard a shot and figured ye might be needin' a bit 'a help here, Jack." The sensuous husky voice that he had only heard under certain more pleasurable circumstances filled his ears as Black Jack's eyes widened in complete numbed surprise.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 08:30:44 AM by Blackjack Roberts »

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2008, 09:13:12 PM »
The woman's voice from behind the mask said, "Allow me to introduce myself, Black Jack. My name is Catherine Madison. And I just happened to be passing by on my way to conduct a little....business in these parts. I heard a bit of a ruckus and decided to investigate. Since this was a hide-out I intended to use for the night, I wanted to clear out any....vermin."
She nodded towards Sam and Ben.
"I take it these two have been giving you trouble?...Don't!"
She turned a pistol and towards Ben and said coolly, "Don't make me shoot you. I don't feel like scrubbing the floor after the long night I have had."
Jack recovered his voice and said, "Catherine Madison? I've heard of you.  From York, if I am not mistaken."
"Aye...I've been up that way plying my trade but the walls seemed to be coming in on me, if you get my drift.  And now I see these two miscreants have been giving you trouble.  Hand me their weapons, dear."
Jack reached over and handed their pistols over to her. She picked them up gingerly and said, "Just as I thought. Sub-quality. I recommend that you petition your employer for better weapons, gentlemen. See? Look how dirty they get."
She took the pistols and dropped them in water.
"NO!" Ben yelled just as it submerged.
"Oh, my!  Look! They don't float!"
Jack, in spite of everything, couldn't help but laugh. "I'm sorry, Catherine, but it seems you forgot one rule. The powder needs to stay dry."
She frowned. "I always do forget that part."
She turned her pistol towards Ben. "I highly suggest that you take that rope over there and tie your partner up. Like a Christmas goose."
Jack raised his eyebrow. "Wouldn't that be better left to me?"
She shook her head. "No, let him do the work. But check the ropes. We can't have them escaping now, can we? I mean, because of these two, I shall have to find another place to lodge for the night. Do you have any suggestions?"
Jack burst out laughing. "Aye, I do have a few, Miss Madison."
"I thought you would. And I am sure my husband would not mind."
Jack turned to Ben. "Now....here's the rope, swine. I suggest you start trussing your friend. Mr. Roberts will have the honour of tying you up like the pig you are."
"What the HELL are you doing, woman?" Jack exploded when they got outside.
"You almost gave me death from fright! I could have shot you."
Cecily pulled her mask down and purred, "You mean you aren't even going to kiss me?"
He pulled her to him and held her close, kissing her. "I saw Jeremy. He's safe. He's with Malcolm Dagget. We just have to find out where they went."
"I found a way to trail them. When I saw the carriage out back, I went into the barn and took two tins of red paint. I punctured a hole in the can for a slow drip, then I fastened them to the axle. Mr. Dagget doesn't know it....but he has now left us a trail. "
Jack shook his head, astonished by not only the way she looked in her highwayman outfit but by her smarts as well.
He whistled low for Raven. The coal black stallion trotted out of the woods followed closely by his lady Aphrodite.
"And how did you find out where I was going?"
She smiled, "I actually let Aphrodite find you. Like a woman, she knows where her man is. You know how in love those two are!"
"Let's head out. We can talk on the way. Do you think we can see the trail?"
Cecily lit a lantern and carried it high above her head. "See the red drips? The paint is rigged up so the hole I made gets bigger as the axle turns.  They went down that road. See the splotches?"
He helped her upon her horse, then mounted his.
"We have a lot to discuss, my darling. Including why you put yourself and the babe in danger."
She kicked Aphrodite gently in the flanks. "Lecture me as we ride, love. We've wasted enough time."
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 10:05:12 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2008, 10:05:30 PM »
As they rode through the wood, Jack held the lantern and the trail of red paint led them down the road.
"Cecily, where is Jamie?"
"I left her at Andrew and Jane's. She's quite safe there. No one can penetrate Moreland."
"How is she?"
"Scared. Upset. She wants her brother back. "
"He's fine. He's upset but the lad is smart. He pretended not to know me."
"I was afraid of this. He now knows his father really is Black Jack Roberts."
"We can deal with that once we get him home safe and sound."
Cecily said softly, "I saw Daggett take Jeremy in the carriage. It was all I could do to keep from lashing the man within an inch of his life but I knew that if we were to save Jeremy, I had to rescue you.  I couldn't do it by myself."
"Cecily, while I am grateful you showed up, I have to say one thing.  ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? You have an unborn child to think of."
"Of course I know that. Why do you think I wore a leather waist cincher?"
The lantern swung, showing the drops that were becoming larger.
"Where did you come across this idea, Cecily?"
"Actually, it was something Andrew thought up when we were children. Mother used to go out in her carriage. When Andrew was about twelve and I was ten, he did that to Mother's carriage to see where she went."
"And where did it lead? The dressmaker's? A tea party?"
She replied with a steel edge to her voice, "To Sir Peter Culpepper's."
Quietly, Cecily said, "Promise me that Jeremy will be alright, Jack."
Jack laughed softly and said, "I can promise you that. The boy is clever. And resourceful."
"Like his father. Jack, he must be just like you were as a child."
"He is. Lord, I wish my parents could see them. Mother would have loved them to death."
He became quiet. When he got that way, Cecily let him be. Jack grieved for his parents to this very day. She knew that they had carved out a meager existence and that poverty was what had driven Jack to becoming the highwayman she imitated in child's play with Andrew and then fell in love with as a young woman.
After letting him settle down with his bruised emotions, Cecily asked, "Did you hear anything of what the plans that Dagget has?"
He nodded. "He told those two hired thugs to finish me off and then meet him at the tavern."
"And what tavern would that be?"
"The Black Bear over by Exeter. It is the only one of any quality. And it is near Lovelace Manor."
"Lovelace Manor?"
"Home of one Sir Malcolm Dagget. Landed gentry but not quite royalty. And he is working hand in glove with one who is."
"And that would be..?"
"Lord Terrance Blackwood."
"You know him, Cecily?"
She nodded, "Terrance Blackwood. His father and mine used to sit on the House of Lords together. I hadn't seen him in years. He was ambitious as a young man. And from what I heard, he hasn't stopped.  What is his ambition now?"
"Oh....not much. Just to take the throne of England."
"Yes.  And I do believe our son is holding the key."
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2008, 10:52:29 AM »
"Mr. Dagget." Jeremy made his voice seem smaller and more child like that usual.

"What is it, Mr. Johnson. Have you decided to tell me what you have done with my property?" Malcolm's dark eyes locked with the small boy.

"Has I have said, Sir, that was the only folder I took from the barrister's." Jeremy's light eyebrows knitted the frown of a child upset at not being believed. "But I am in need of the chamber pot."

Malcolm chuckled. "You will have to control yourself until we reach the inn, Mr. Johnson. It shan't be long now."

"Would if I could, Sir." Jeremy squirmed in his seat. "I fear if I do not go out there, then it shall be in here." The light haired child nodded towards the wood.

"Very well, Lad." Dagget tapped on the shoulder of the driver who had been sleeping on the cot in the room Jeremy had been kept in. Malcolm had sent him to ready the coach as soon as Black Jack had burst into the thieves cottage. "Pull to the side, Mr. Miller. Young Johnson here must see to the call of nature."

"Aye, Sir Malcolm." The driver touched the brim of his tricorn and pulled the reigns to his right. Malcolm studied the boy thoughtfully. That Robert Johnson was wealthy there was little doubt. At the least one of the richest men in Wales. He certainly would have had the recourses to have hired a rouge such as Roberts, if indeed that was Roberts, yet how had the villain found them so quickly? And why would any man he had hired choose to disguise himself as the legendary bandit? Why not just send the kings men instead? There were too many unanswered questions and he felt certain the answers lay with this child.

As the carriage rolled to a stop Malcolm drew himself out of his reverie. "Mr. Miller. Keep our young charge company, if you please."

"As you wish, Sir." The coachman climbed down from the driver's seat and pulled a pistol from beneath his cloak. "Come along, Lad. Lord Dagget has not the night to await your desires."

Malcolm watched as the two took one of the lanterns and moved into the cover of the wood. Returning to his train of thought he again tried to sort out the night's revelations. For all he, or anyone else knew Black Jack Roberts had been executed by that fool Culpepper. At first the whole of England had wondered in disbelief, especially when the body of Peter had been found savagely beaten and shot. More than one had thought that the resourceful highwayman had not tricked Culpepper into hanging a lackey in his place for an opportunity to kill the nobleman.

Then, as the years passed, there had been neither word, nor deed from the dark robber and soon he had been regulated to the stuff of fairy tales. Malcolm knew that Culpepper had been involved in a vendetta against the rogue. The hornet's nest it had stirred up had put the plans to steal the documents on hold as the king increased not only the number of footmen in the country side, but around the Tower of London and palace as well.

Sir Terrence had sent him to Ireland, where Sir Peter had been in hiding to demand the fool resolve this useless feud at once. Not only had the idiot made it impossible to reach the forgotten papers, but he had threatened to expose the entire Jacobite mission as well. Not even Sir Blackwood's vast wealth was enough to make the proper arrangements for the coup and they had to resort to less than honorable methods to raise the needed funds. That inexcusable dullard had threatened to expose them all with his childishness. Malcolm was glad they were rid of him.

Miller stood behind the boy waiting, his eyes never leaving the child. "Come along, Lad. Sir Dagget doesn't have all night."

"Half a moment, Sir." Jeremy replied. "This is hard enough without you watching me."

The driver chuckled. "Oh, no you don't, Boy. I'm not fool enough to be turning my back on ye."

After Jeremy had finished he secretly buttoned the front of his trousers, holding his hands low he turned around. "I can't seem to get this fastened, Sir. Could you hold the lantern a bit lower, please?" As soon as the man stepped near Jeremy kicked out savagely into his shin and bolted for the forest.

Malcolm leapt from the coach at the sound of Miller's shouted curses. Ignoring the stream of obscenities coming from his servant's direction he followed his ears at the sound of something running through the brush and soon cut off the young boy from his escape route. The sight of the pistol in the man's hand brought Jeremy to a sullen halt.

"We'll have no more of that, if you please, Mr. Johnson." Malcolm spoke lowly then motioned back the way they had come with the muzzle of the weapon. "If you would?"

Back at the carriage they found the injured coachman near the rear of the wagon, still bending over. Malcolm gripped the back of Jeremy's coat and shirt in one hand and slid the flintlock back into his belt. Half dragging the small boy he frowned angrily at Miller.

"Come now, Mr. Miller. Surely this child has not wounded you that badly." He growled, irritated at the incompetence of his driver.

"It's not that, Sir Malcolm. Have a look at this!" Miller pointed at the ground behind the carriage.

"Well, well." Dagget mused. "It would seem our erstwhile Mr. Roberts is as resourceful as the tales claim him to be. Good work, man."

"Thank you, Sir!" Miller brightened, pausing only to shoot Jeremy a dark glare while Malcolm examined the trail of re spots leading to his carriage.

"I have an idea, Mr. Miller." Malcolm stroked his goatee thoughtfully. "Should our Mr. Roberts somehow prove able to survive his encounter with Ben and Sam, what say we give him something else to chase after, besides our young Mr. Johnson here?"

Miller's face split into a wide grin. "What do you have in mind, Lord Dagget?"

Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2008, 03:35:55 PM »
"This does not look good." Jack mused as he studied the trail of red paint more closely.

"What is it, Darling?" Cecily called down to him from Aphrodite's back, one hand holding Raven's reigns as her husband examined the trail.

"For one that rather large pool of paint we found a couple of miles back, Luv." Roberts wondered, stroking his chin through his hood. "It was obvious they pulled to the side for a moment, or two. I had hoped it was some ruse by Jeremy to give us a clue as to Dagget's plans. Now, unless I am mistaken, the miscreant has changed his mind."

Jack walked back to the black stallion and taking the reigns from his wife swung easily up into the saddle. "Those spots are leading away from the inn and headed straight to Lovelace Manor. I fear we have been discovered, Dearest."

"But if they discovered the trail, why not just take the buckets off and then go to the manor to throw us off the trail?" Cecily frowned.

"Exactly, Luv." Jack raised his hood just high enough to blow out the small lantern. "No need for this now, and we can not afford to be seen now. It is safe to assume that Dagget has discovered your ruse, and decided to go to ground in home territory." Cecily nodded, glad that Jack had blown out the lantern which would have revealed the color draining from her cheeks and the fear in her eyes.

This will require a bit of the old sneak, Luv." Jack continued. "We will have to approach unseen and the hare is alerted to our presence. However, I don't think the quarry is aware of your entering the game, so we may have an advantage yet. Did you by any chance pack a change of clothing?"

Cecily brightened instantly realizing Jack's plan. "Of course I did, Mr. Roberts. I did learn from the best after all. I take it your plan is to have me show up at the front door as Cecily Johnson while you come in from the rear?"

"Close enough, My Love." Jack chuckled. "Let's refine the plan on the way. With luck our son will be out of Malcolm Dagget's clutches a good hour before he even knows the boy is missing."

A couple hours before dawn Miller approached the large double doors of Lovelace Manor in answer to the repeated echoing boom of the knocker. One hand on his pistol he reached cautiously for the latch and pulled the heavy oak open a few inches. His eyes widened slightly in surprise at the sight that greeted them. There stood a young woman. Her clothing, though of good quality, was tattered and as smudged with dirt as her face. Her loose blonde hair held bits and pieces of bracken and a look of wild terror filled her sapphire blue eyes.

"Please, Kind sir, let me in!" She wrung her hands pitifully. "I have been accosted by robbers! They have murdered my husband and I barely escaped with mu life!"

"Please, come in Mrs???" Miller threw the door wide and motioned for Cecily to enter the expansive hall.

"Morely." Cecily answered. "Cecily Morely, and I thank you for you help. Are you the lord of the manor?"

"Nay, Mrs. Morely. Just a servant." Miller shot a quick glance up the winding staircase. "I'm afraid Lord Dagget is....indisposed at the moment. Perhaps I may be of assistance?"

"I am most certain you may." The deep growling voice from behind the coachman was instantly followed by the pressure of a dagger to his throat. "If you would, Mrs. Morely?"

"My pleasure, Mr. Roberts." Cecily grinned as she pulled Miller's flintlock from his belt, cocked the weapon, and pointed the barrel at the servant's barrel chest. Miller raised both hands slowly to his shoulders, palms outward.

"That's a good lad." Jack murmured stepping into view. "Now if you would be kind enough to tell us which room Sir Malcolm's young guest is residing in, we'll be happily about our business. Other wise, I am not certain just how skilled the young lady is in the usage of firearms."

"Third door to the right." Miller grumbled, tossing his head in the direction of the staircase.

"Good man." Jack grinned under his hood, producing a length of rope from beneath his cloak. "Now. This way, if you please." He motioned to the door of the cloakroom.

Twenty minuets later Jack quietly opened the door to the lavishly furnished room. A small lump in the covers the only sign of occupancy. With infinite care he made his way over to the king sized poster bed and reached out for the still form.

"Jeremy. It's Da. I've come to take you home, son." The turquoise eyes widened in shock, then narrowed in anger as the pulled back covers revealed only a large pillow in place of a sleeping body.

Cecily had just finished changing back into her own costume, and brushed the leaves and twigs from her hair when she heard the approaching sound of footsteps in the forest. Jack owed her a new dress, for they had certainly ruined the one she had packed in her saddlebags. Though the thought of holding her little boy in her arms again was more than worth the price of a garment.

Jack entered the small clearing alone and her heart fell to her feet. "Jack?" She half sobbed.

"We've been tricked, Dearest." She could see the smoldering flames of rage in his eyes. "Dagget knew we would follow the carriage and arranged for his driver to bring it here and lay a trap for me should I follow."

"Then?" Cecily felt her anger and fear rise in equal measure.

"I couldn't get much more from him than that Dagget and Jeremy walked the rest of the way to the inn. We can go there and attempt to find out where he will go to ground at, but we can be fairly certain he won't stay there if he thinks he's being trailed. I wouldn't." Jack stepped into Raven's stirrup.

"But how do we find out for sure?" Cecily asked.

"First we need to find you more suitable clothing, My Love." Jack pulled his hat and hood from his face. Then perhaps Robert and Cecily Johnson can discover at the inn what we can not."

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2008, 02:43:08 PM »
Cecily had changed back into her tattered clothing and the leaves and twigs were put back in her hair. Jack had smudged more dirt on her face and scuffed her boots.
"You know what to do. Just enter the tavern with the same story we gave and procure a room. I will then come in a half hour later and see what information I can extract quietly. Cecily, love, you need some rest. If not for you, for the sake of our unborn child."

She dismounted Aphrodite and patted her gently on the nose. Jack was right. She would hinder the search for Jeremy if she didn't take care of herself. It would be a tragedy to be laid up with a miscarriage. Jack would never leave her side.
She whispered to the horse, "Be a good girl and take care of the men."
Jack took her in his arms.
"I'll be here as long as it takes. This is the best plan. Dagget will be looking for a man and a woman if those two cretins ever catch up to him."
She kissed him long and took a shuddering breath.
"I'll see you soon, love."
Cecily entered the tavern and threw herself against the door. She put her arm over her eyes and turned to the wall.
"Please...please help me!" she whimpered.
Five men immediately arose.
"Ma'am, what is wrong?"
"Good Lord, are you alright?"
"Here, sit down!'
"Please, bring her something to drink!"
She was led to a chair and managed to whisper, "We were set upon by highwaymen. Two of them robbed my carriage. I was on the way to see my sister in London and they killed the coachman and my husband. Oh, dear Lord, what am I going to do?"
She let out sobs that moved the men to pity. A tavern wench came up and put her arm around Cecily.
"Dearie, do ye need a doctor?"
"No..no.  I need....oh heavens, I hope I am not going to lose my child!"
She bent forward and rocked, holding her abdomen.
The men instinctively stepped back and the bar wench wiped her face.
"Are ye cramping, milady?"
She nodded her head. "I--I need rest. Perhaps they will stop."
She grabbed the tavern wench's hand.
"Please...Please help me. I have no money. The highwaymen took it all.  I'll never forget them. One was tall and thin with a pinched face and the other was portly. And the only thing they left me with was....this."
She held up a ring.
"It--it is my wedding ring. I shall exchange it for a night of lodging. I need rest."
The tavern wench helped her to her feet.
"Aye, luv, I'd not be takin' the last thing that means anything to a woman. 'Ere..the room is yours. Now ye men get back while I tend to this poor soul."
Maeve, the tavern wench, led her to an upstairs room. Cecily leaned on her for support.
"What be yer name, dearie?"
"Margaret Stafford. My husband was James Stafford. We live in Surrey."
"Is this yer first bairn?"
"Yes. And it will be the last thing I ever have of James."
Maeve was moved with pity. "Now, ye not be dwelling on that. I'll send men out to look for the...for yer husband's..um...yer husband."

Cecily thought quickly. "Maeve, please, it won't do any good. The highwaymen drove the carriage with him in it over a bluff into the lake below. Please...may I be alone in my grief? I shall be down in the morning to arrange new passage...home. And to make arrangements to pay you for your kindness."
Cecily burst into a fresh set of tears.
Maeve took her in her arms and patted her consolingly.
"Eh, dearie, what you need is rest. Are you hungry? Stew is on the house."
She dabbed her eyes.
"That won't be necessary, Maeve. I just need rest."
Maeve shut the door after giving her a basin and a pitcher of hot water along with a fresh towel. Cecily then sat on the bed to await for Jack. The thought of Jeremy was never far from her mind. She fought to keep the tears in check, all the time rubbing her abdomen.
'Take heart, my child. And we shall bring your brother home to us.'
Jack entered the tavern and scanned the crowd. No sign of the two thugs who were assigned to 'dispatch' him.  He took a seat at the common table and motioned for the tavern wench.
Maeve bustled forward, a frown furrowed on her pretty features.
"Aye, what will it be, milord?"
Jack removed his coat and said, "I'd like a bowl of beef stew and an ale, miss. And I shall be requiring a room. Do you have one available?"
She nodded. "Aye. But ye will need to be especially quiet. Poor young widow was beset by highwaymen!"
"You don't say! I tell you, no one is safe anymore. The King's men been patrolling lately?"
"No. And we rightly need it. As I was telling Malcolm when he was in here earlier."
Jack willed himself to remain calm.  He affected a laugh.
"Odd you mention a man named Malcolm. I have a cousin named Malcolm that I was on my way to see."
She brightened. "Malcolm? Malcolm Dagget is yer cousin?"
Jack laughed. "The very one! But I went to his estate--Loveland, is it?--and he was gone. It was a surprise visit as I have business up this way. You wouldn't happen to know where he went, do you?--And I do believe I shall have that apple tart you have under that glass."
Maeve bustled to get it for the handsome traveler. 'Perhaps he wouldn't mind a spot of company for the night, too...he seems to have funds.'
As she set it in front of him, she sat down and leaned towards him, tossing her black hair in a saucy way.
"Your cousin Malcolm showed up here with a young child. Right handsome lad. He told me he was his brother's son and he was delivering him to his father in Kent. Odd bodkins! It must be a family trait!"
"What, Miss---?"
"Oh! Maeve. Maeve Ryan, at yer service, sir. And ye are....?"
"Duncan. Duncan Dagget. Our fathers were brothers. He must be delivering the lad--name escapes me--to my cousin."
"Oh! Well, anyway, the lad had turquoise eyes just like ye. So that must be the family trait. Lord, the lad looks enough like ye to be yer son."
Jack laughed again. "Nay, he definitely is not my son.  Although the lad's mother was a right bonny lass that I wouldn't have minded taking a tumble with!"
Maeve slapped his arm playfully and said, "Oh, go on with ye!"
Jack stretched out his legs and said, "Well, Mistress Ryan, I do believe I shall be retiring for the night. "
"And will ye be wanting anything else? Ale? Another bowl of stew? Or maybe some company of the female sort?"
Jack grinned, "A most toothsome notion, Mistress Ryan, but I do believe the day's ride has caught up to me. All I want now is a good night's sleep."
She looked crestfallen but raised her head up in a slightly miffed tilt.
"Aye, then I shall bid ye goodnight, Mr. Dagget."

Jack stood up and swept his hat off to her. "If I am ever in these parts again, Mistress Ryan--I shall verily consider your---notion."
He bowed low and she hid a smile behind her hand. "Aye, that I shall remember then, sir."

As he turned going up the staircase, he said, "And which room is the young widow in so I don't intrude on her grief?"
Maeve handed him a key and said, "Yer room is the first on the right. Hers is the first door on the left."
He nodded, replaced his hat and said to himself, 'Da was right. Always treat a lady like a wench and a wench like a lady.'
« Last Edit: January 25, 2009, 08:21:47 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2008, 08:14:39 PM »
Jack gently knocked on the door. It opened a crack, slowly.  Cecily opened it wider when she saw who it was. He looked peripherally and then entered the room quickly.
She hugged him. "I thought you would never get here! Where are the horses?"
"Stabled. I gave the story that I was delivering the mare to my nephew."
"My darling, you think of everything. Did you find out anything?"
"Yes. Malcolm is on his way to Kent and he has Jeremy with him. Jeremy must be alright as Maeve--the tavern wench--didn't say otherwise. Dagget is passing Jeremy off as his nephew."
She handed Jack a towel and the cloth to wash up and then pulled the sheets back. She was wearing a chemise that was two sizes too big for her.
"Where did you get that?"
"Maeve gave it to me. " She proceeded to tell Jack the ruse she had pulled, including the implication of Ben and Sam.
He chuckled. "Well played, love. Well played! And I told Maeve that Dagget was my cousin and I showed up at his estate but he was gone. She had mentioned that Jeremy looked like me, the eyes gave it away."
Jack pulled the covers up over them and Cecily laid her head on his chest.
"Those were the eyes I fell in love with, Jack. There are no other eyes that colour of turquoise. Except for the twins."
He held her close and stroked her hair. "They were my father's eyes. Mum had beautiful green eyes. As green as the grass in Eire. He used to call her his 'colleen'."
She snuggled closer to him. "And I wonder how the new little one will look. It would be wonderful if he or she had her eyes."
He pulled back and said, "And if the babe has eyes like the mother, they will be wondrous!"
Cecily gave a shiver.
"Are you cold, darling?"
"A little. But mostly it is fatigue. A night's rest shall help. I would say a good night's sleep but I haven't had one since my boy is gone."
He kissed her and said, "He will be home soon. That I promise you, love."
But the response he got was only the soft sound of her rhythmic breathing.
He held her close and within minutes he, too, was asleep.
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2009, 03:06:13 PM »
A few moments before the sun had peeked above the horizon across the moor, Jack awoke with a slight start. He had not intended to fall asleep in his wife's arms, as it would put their entire ruse in jeopardy, but the soft promise of his love held closely had dropped his defenses. Smiling wistfully he carefully disengaged himself from her entwined limbs and slid to the edge of the warm bed.

"Leaving so soon, Mr. Roberts?" The drowsy jest punctuated with a small yawn.

"Damn! I'm getting far too old for this." Jack thought, though he realized that it was extremely rare he had ever been able to slip away without somehow alerting her.

"I'm afraid so, Dearest." He smiled and leaned over to gently kiss her. "It most surely won't do for Robert Johnson to be caught in the bedroom of a recently widowed damsel in distress, now. Would it?"

"No, I suppose not." Cecily gave him that small pouting frown that was at the same instant both childlike and sensuous. "Should we not pursue Dagget before he has too much of a head start, though?"

"Under normal circumstances I would say yes, Luv." Jack pondered as he tucked his shirt tail into his breeches. "But there are several routes he may take to Kent from here, and we would be better served if I can discover the most likely one before we set off. In the meanwhile you should rest, My love, for your and the child's sake. We are not beaten, yet, and the more Robert Johnson can wheedle out of the locals, the better."

She placed one tender hand on his cheek and softly kissed the other. Jack's argument made perfect sense, despite the fact that every motherly instinct in her screamed to track down the man who had stolen her son immediately. Fortunately, Cecily Roberts was not a woman to be overly ruled by her emotions, and despite her bravado as her newly acquired persona, she knew Jack had far more experience at this sort of thing. Over the years together she had come to trust his judgment far more than she had any man she had ever met.

"I shall, Dearest." She smiled genuinely, then a twinkle came to her deep blue eyes and she smiled wickedly. "As long as you have no intention of leaving me behind and sneaking off on your own in the manner you try to sneak your way from my bed."

Jack had to clamp his hand over his mouth to keep from guffawing aloud. "Bloody Hell, Darling!" He half hissed between his teeth in merriment. "At the moment I'm trying to sneak from your room and save your reputation!"

"As I said before, Sir. I am quite certain my husband won't mind." She winked.

Jack shook his head ruefully and cracked the door enough to ensure there were no prying eyes in the hallway. Quickly turning back to his beloved wife, he winked and blew her a quick kiss before slipping silently from the room.

"And I say it's yer own bloody fault, ya superstitious fool!" Ben groused as the two men trudged up the muddy road leading towards the Bell and Book tavern. "I'm sick to death 'a hear'n ye complain about that wee bump on yer head."

The shorter, heavier Sam's face screwed up into defiant anger. "And I'm tell'n ye I were there! I saw Jack Roberts hung with me own eyes! The sight 'o him livin' and breathin' should be enough to make any man with a brain in 'is 'ead take leave 'a his senses!"

"Ahhhh! Yer daft, is wot ye are!" Ben swatted one hand in Sam's direction. "That were no ghost! Most like it be some blighter what knew a superstitious fool like yerself would piss his self at the mere sight 'o him!"

Sam stopped, placing his fists on his hips. "I seen the real man a few times before, Benjamin Bower!" He thrust his chin out. "That were no other than Black Jack Roberts his self, and make no mistake about it!"

Ben sighed in resignation, arguing the point further would be nothing more than a waste of time. "Be that as it may, Sam. I've a feelin' the one we should be worrin' about more at the moment be Malcolm Dagget." He looked up at the gray covered sky. "Providin' we make it ta the inn a'fore we catch our deaths."

Jack removed his boots and shirt. It would be a few moments before the tavern downstairs opened up for the day's business and a few more moments of sleep would do him no harm either. Unless he missed his guess the tavern wench Maeve would prove his best source for more details about the road Dagget had taken. Before he met Cecily he'd had more than a little time spent with tavern wenches and this one gave out all the usual signs. It wouldn't be too hard to glean all she knew and if she proved un-useful there were sure to be others among the inn's patronage he could pull into his web.

He could afford to give the blackguard a bit of a lead, but there would be little doubt that once he had run the villain to ground, he would make certain Malcolm Dagget would rue the day he had ever threatened the son of Black Jack Roberts.

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2009, 08:41:22 PM »
Cecily washed her face and looked at the torn and muddy clothes that were lying in a pile. She dreaded having to put them back on. But a smile crossed her face. The daughter of Sir Wallace Morley of Moreland playing the part of a highwayman's victim!
'I guess playing highwayman with Andrew did have its benefits.'
She hesitated and a melancholy feeling came over her. She opened the window and looked at the morning sun. She remembered sitting with the children at the kitchen table when they were toddlers and every morning they would kiss their fingers and wave to the sun.
'Good morning, Mr. Sun.' Cecily recited. Then she added, 'Please watch over my children today.'
She could feel tears welling up in her eyes and she willed them away. The tears would be stored for tears of joy when her Jeremy was home safe and sound.
She put the dirty clothes back on and brushed her hair with a brush she managed to smuggle in her pocket. 
Folding up the chemise, she left it on the bed. As she shut the door, she hesitated about knocking on Jack's door but resisted the urge. She could hear Jack moving around inside the room but it wouldn't do to arouse any suspicions.
Sam and Ben stumbled into the tavern as the sun was just breaking over the horizon. Maeve caught sight of the two and rolled her eyes. More riffraff.
'We need a better class of clientele, more like that dashing Duncan Daggett.'
She sighed with regret of what could have been. Perhaps the next time....
'' 'Ey! Tavern wench! We need some food here!"
Ben snapped his fingers towards Maeve. Sam was leaning on his elbow and had fallen asleep. Ben knocked his arm out from under him and Ben's face fell on the table. He took a swing at Ben and missed, hitting his hand on the back of the chair.
"OW!! Ye lousy nit!"
Cecily had descended the stairs just at that moment. A second of dread filled her in fear they would recognize her.
And then an idea came to her.
Maeve caught sight of her and hurried over to her. "'ere now, dearie. Did ye sleep well?"
Cecily rubbed her stomach and mustered up some tears.
"The cramps had stopped. I pray that the babe will be alright. It is all I have left to remember James by. And if I can make it home...."
She stopped in midsentence. Putting a fist to her mouth, she turned to Maeve with terrified eyes.
"Th-those--those two men at the table..."
Maeve looked over and said, "Aye, those two. They are a piece o' work, they are."
"N-n-no..you don't understand. Those are the two highwaymen that robbed our carriage and killed my poor James."
Maeve whispered, "Are ye sure?"
Cecily nodded vigorously. "I am. I'll never forget them. Oh, my Lord, what am I going to do?"
Maeve took her gently by the shoulders and said quietly, "Wait in the kitchen, I'll handle this."
To a young man, she said, "Lucas? Fetch the constable. And I mean NOW. Tell him it is a matter of life and death."
She took Cecily and put her in the kitchen.
"Just wait 'ere, dearie."
Within fifteen minutes, the constable arrived.
"There they are, Constable Hamilton." Maeve nodded at Ben and Sam who were devouring their eggs and ham.
"Alright, you two! ON YOUR FEET!"
Ben looked up and Sam continued to eat. The constable and his two men hoisted Sam out of his chair. He choked and one of the men pounded him on the back till a piece of ham flew out of his mouth and hit Sam in the eye.
"Ow, ye bugger!"
The constable said over his shoulder to Maeve, "Bring the young woman out, please."
Maeve went into the kitchen and brought Cecily out.
She visibly trembled at the sight of Sam and Ben.
"Young woman--what is your name?"
"Margaret Stafford, your honour. Of Surrey."
"And are these the two ruffians who beset upon you and your husband?"
Cecily covered her face with her hands and the muffled reply came, "Yes...yes, that is them. Oh, Lord, that is them!"
Ben and Sam exclaimed at the same time, "WHAT???"
"Take them to the gaol and we will straighten this out later on. I hate to be taken away from my morning tea."
Sam and Ben were hustled out amidst their protesting and yelling.
Cecily sat in the chair by the fire with her hands over her face and her shoulders shaking with sobs.
Maeve patted her on the shoulder and clucked in sympathy.
Jack came down the stairs and took the scene in. He motioned to Maeve.
"What happened? I heard yelling."
Maeve nodded towards Cecily who sat staring into the flames of the fire in the grate.
"That there is the widow I was tellin' ye about last night. The highwaymen--dissolute louts!--showed up 'ere as she came down the stairs. Divine bit of providence, says I. They are now in the custody of Constable Hamilton and lounging in the gaol of this shire."
Jack marveled at the talent his wife had showed for improvisation. He walked over to her and gently laid his hand on her arm. She looked at him with a tearstained face.
He cleared his throat.
"Madame, I am sorry for your loss. Where are you from?"
"Surrey. The Staffords of Surrey."
"Do you have transportation back?"
She shook her head. "No. I--I can get a carriage back if they wouldn't mind getting payment when I arrive home."
She took off her wedding ring and fought back tears. "I--I can use this as surety."
Damn, she is good, Jack thought.
He gently said, "I need to wrap up some business here and get something to eat, shouldn't take more than a half hour. I have a mare I am delivering in Kent. If you don't mind riding her, I shall see you make it back to Surrey."
Cecily looked at him with gratitude on her face. "I shall see you are well-paid, Mister....?"
"Daggett. Duncan Daggett. Please. Get yourself something to eat. On me. Maeve? Get the lady some food, please."
And he whispered to Maeve, "And a moment of your delightful company that I missed out on last night, eh?"
Cecily caught that and raised an eyebrow so only Jack could see. He stifled a laugh.

Ben and Sam were taken care of. Cecily--or the Widow Stafford, as he now had to call her--would be remanded to his protection. And Maeve would be eager to please, be it in information or accomodating.
Once they cleared the woods on the path out of town, Cecily would be a woman with an undead husband.
Thank God.
Jack didn't like being dead.

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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2009, 12:48:51 PM »
Maeve returned quickly enough with the food, set one filled plate down in front of Cecily, then promptly moved to deposit her buxom body on Jack’s knee. An act that was just as quickly adverted by Jack placing his hands about her slim waist and guiding her gently into the chair next to him. The look of disappointment on the tavern wench’s face soothed by the smiling explanation the highwayman instantly provided.

“Sorry, Luv. But with all this poor widow has been through, I believe it would be bad form to demonstrate affection that may remind her of her loss. Wouldn’t you agree?” Roberts reached deeply into the bag of charm he had used countless times in his more reckless days, before his heart had fairly run him down in Soho.

The girl colored slightly and turned sorrowful eyes to Cecily, who’s attention was forcefully centered on the meal before her to hide the rush of jealousy that had unexpectedly rose within her.

“I’m sorry, Mum.” The anxious waitress mumbled. “I weren’t thinking.”

“Think nothing of it.” Cecily Roberts smiled as sadly as she could manage, then returned to her meal, while listening intently.

Jack ignored the meal before himself, but reached for the tankard of ale Maeve had brought as well. His blue green eyes sparkled as he spoke. “Now, that I think of it, cousin Malcolm may have a solution to our dear Mrs. Stafford’s dilemma.”

“And what would that be, Sir?” Cecily stopped to ask.

Jack reached out to lightly pat his wife’s hand. “Why, how to make your way in the world, Mrs. Stafford. Now that your husband is gone, God rest his soul, I’m certain you have not given much thought to your future.”

“Why…Why, no. I haven’t.” Cecily fell into her part with an ease that astonished Jack. He wondered if life with him had not influenced her beyond measure. First, donning the persona of a highway robber, and now her incredible ability at acting. Thank God he was no longer involved in the old trade. Between the two of them they could bankrupt the whole of English society.

“I thought as much.” Jack continued light heartedly. “Malcolm was saying to me not long ago that he was in need of a reliable housekeeper to head his staff. If we could discover by what route he has taken to Kent, there are several, we could overtake him and see if the position is still available.”

“That would be wonderful, Mr. Dagget!” Cecily exclaimed. “My late husband was not a wealthy man, and with his child on the way…” She let the sentence trail off hopefully.

Maeve took the bait almost immediately. “Perhaps I can help.” She offered. “I do believe that I overheard Malcolm saying that he would be traveling by the Townsbridge road toward Reading.”

“Excellent, Maeve!” Jack grinned. “Then it’s settled. I shall procure some more suitable attire for Mrs. Stafford and we shall make all haste to catch up with my elusive cousin.”

As he rose from the table he kissed Maeve’s hand, simultaneously pressing a gold sovereign into her palm with a wink. “I’ll not be forgetting this on my next visit, My dear.”

After he left the tavern maid sighed wistfully. “Such a gentleman. A girl could fall for a man like that.”

“Oh, I don’t know, Dear.” Cecily interjected. “Didn’t you notice? He has bowed legs.”

Malcolm Dagget walked into the Bronze Bull tavern, Jeremy in tow. His brown eyes swept the patrons until they settled for the merest instant on three men who sat near the furthest corner from the door. Just long enough for one of the men to nod slightly in acknowledgment of his arrival. Gaining the attention of the innkeeper he motioned the man over to them.

“My nephew and I have had a long, tiring journey.” He smiled beneath his waxed mustache. “Would you have a suitable room available, my good man?”

“Certainly, Sir!” The tavernkeep grinned widely at the prospect of having such an obviously wealthy man spend the night beneath his roof. Guests of this quality were rare and he intended to take full advantage of the opportunity. “Right this way, Sir!”

He led them up stairs to a room at the far end of the hallway where a modest room awaited them. After paying the man handsomely, Malcolm ordered food and drink for himself and the boy, then sat down at the small, though serviceable table. Once the food arrived he ate sparingly, watching carefully as the half starved child dug into the meal with gusto. After a few moments the blonde boy yawned and soon fell fast asleep.

Malcolm picked up the child and placed him on the bed just as a certain rhythmic knock came at the door. Letting the trio from the tavern in he motioned for quiet with one finger placed to his lips and half nodding towards the sleeping boy.

“We were expecting you, Lord Dagget, and the papers, but what’s with the boy?” The leader whispered.

“A slight delay I assure you, Mr. Worthington.” Malcolm whispered back. “It would seem that this lad has hidden the documents. It’s just a matter of time before they are safely in our hands once again.”

“Give me a few moments alone with the little bugger,” the second man hissed menacingly, “he’ll talk, and make no mistake about it!”

“You will do nothing of the sort, Martin Hammel!” Malcolm leapt to his feet, his right hand gripping the hilt of his sword. “The Jacobites are not torturers of children! Make another suggestion like that and I shall kill you where you stand!!”

The other man held up one hand one hand in defeat and Malcolm sat down glowering. “Besides that we have a more pressing problem, unless I miss my guess.”

“And what would that be?” The third whispered.

“I’ve good reason to believe I am being followed.” Malcolm leaned slightly over the table.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 02:38:01 PM by Blackjack Roberts »

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2009, 09:32:52 PM »
Jack had paid the tavern billl and gave a kiss to Maeve's cheek. She looked at him and said, "Do you think the young widow will be alright?"
He looked at Cecily and sighed, "I am sure she will be. And if Malcolm is not able to use a new housekeeper, I am sure I can find something to do with her."
She gave his hand a squeeze and said, "Hurry back this way, luv."
He winked and gave her another gold sovereign.
"I'm sure it shall be a wonderful respite."
He tipped his cavalier hat to Maeve and then turned to Cecily.
"Mrs. Stafford? If you are ready to leave, we will stop off at the shop about fifteen miles from here and the least I can do is purchase a new garment for you. And a cloak. Yours seems to have disappeared.
Cecily gave him a warm smile and said, "I truly have faith in mankind again, Mister...excuse me, what is your name again?"
"Daggett. Duncan Daggett, at  your service."
He gently touched her elbow and guided her towards the tavern door.
"I hope you don't mind the mare. She is very gentle."
"I'm sure it will be fine, Mr. Daggett."
Outside, Cecily didn't say much as they walked towards the stable. Jack whispered, "We can take the Townbridge road. It is wide enough for a carriage and we can ride side by side and-----Cecily, don't walk so fast!"
Jack had given the stablehand a few shillings and led Aphrodite out of the stable.
He extended his hand to help her up onto the back of the mare. She quickly held it and threw her leg over the horse's back and trotted out of the tavern courtyard.
Jack sighed and patted Raven on the neck.
"Aphrodite been a bit distant too, friend?"
Raven whinnied and shook his head up and down. He took the reins in his hand and sighed again. "I thought so."
Jack caught up to Cecily, letting Raven and Aphrodite set the pace.
He said quietly, "I know I am in the proverbial doghouse, Cecily, but---"
"What was in your head, Jack? She all but had her way with you right at the table!"
"What are you talking about?"
She turned her head away so Jack wouldn't see her cheeks flaming red.
"She wanted you."
Cecily jerked her head back. "So? That is all you have to say? So?"
Jack tried to stifle his laughter. "Cecily, you are jealous!"
"Jealous? Jealous? Of course not!"
"Then why are you upset?"
"I have my reasons."
"And that would be....?"
"How DARE you offer me a job as a housekeeper!"
Jack burst out laughing. "So that is the reason for the ice princess routine!"
Cecily said hotly, "It is not! I mean, I'm NOT an ice princess. But I am certainly not housekeeper material either. Did you think I would go around in a black dress and a white kerchief around my shoulders wearing a dour expression on my face and jingling when I walk?"
"Jingle or jiggle?"
"Don't change the subject. I'd be clanging like the clapper on a church bell! And shaped like one."
Her voice had a catch to it.  Jack knew it only too well. He quickly reined Raven in front of Aphrodite and jumped off the horse.
Jack looked up in time to see the tears streaming down Cecily's face. His heart melted at the sight of her anquish.
He held out his arms and she fell into them, sobbing against his chest.
Jack held her close and rocked her as he would his children.
Her sobs subsided. She dabbed at her eyes with the handkerchief she had stuffed in her bodice.
"I--I'm sorry, Jack. I don't know what came over me."
He held her close and stroked her hair. "I do. And we will get him back. This I promise you, my darling. And have I ever lied before?"
She laid her head against his chest and shook her head.
"No, you haven't.  You have always....oh. OH!"
Jack looked up in alarm at Cecily. "You are alright? The baby.....Good Lord, not the baby!"
She stepped back and rubbed her stomach.
"There it went again. Jack, the baby just kicked!"
She took his hand and laid it upon her abdomen. His hand jumped slightly and his face broke out in a smile.
"I can't believe it!"
She wrapped herself in Jack's arms once again and looked up at him.
"It's a sign. A sign that all is well and that we will bring Jeremy home with us very soon. After all, he has to be a big brother."
Jack helped Cecily back on Aphrodite.
"Then I think it is time we set off to Kent. I have a feeling Jeremy is there. Find him we will and bring him home."
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 08:36:53 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2009, 10:49:42 AM »
An ill-timed shot that shattered the bark of an oak tree barely two feet in front of them was all the warning Jack and Cecily received as they immediately reigned their horses into the cover of the near by wood. Dismounting with all the speed they could muster the couple took shelter behind the injured oak, weapons drawn and ready for the next assault upon their persons.

A quick slap to the flanks of their horses had sent Raven and Aphrodite racing deeper into the safety of the trees. Jack knew that Raven would refuse to stray further than a few dozen yards into the brush and Aphrodite would by instinct go no further than his four-legged companion. He allowed himself a quick glance at his wife to assure himself she was unharmed. Cecily stared hard at the dirt road they had just vacated; pistol drawn and a grim look in her sapphire eyes.

“This road be closed, Mate!” A disembodied voice rang out from somewhere ahead of them. “I suggest ye turn about and take another!”

“By what right do you bar the way of honest citizens of the crown?!” Jack shouted back, and then held one finger up to his lips as he passed one of his twin pistols to his wife.

“Our reasons be none of yer business, Mate!” The voice answered. “Turn about, or face the consequences!”

Jack leaned closer to Cecily. “On my signal, keep them talking, Luv. It will help me find where they hide.”

“Our horses have bolted, surely you can’t expect us to walk back near twenty miles to the nearest inn!” Jack shouted back. As soon as he finished he moved a few yards away into the forest with the uncanny stealth that had never failed to amaze Cecily. Just before he vanished into the underbrush he nodded to her.

“I care not whether ye walk, or run! Turn about while ye still can!” Came the reply.

“My husband can not, Sir!” The golden haired beauty called out. “His horse threw him and I fear he has injured his leg!”

“That is no concern of ours, Missy!” A second voice sounded. “Drag him back if’n ye must!”

“What guarantee do we have that you won’t rob and murder us once we show ourselves?!” Cecily shouted back, putting no small measure of the fear she felt into her voice.

A second shot hit the tree she hid behind, and Cecily cringed as she felt the vibration of the impact through the dense wood.

“Stay, and the only thing I’ll guarantee will be the death of ye both!”

Cecily squeezed her eyes shut tightly. All the events of the past few days threatened to overwhelm her senses. The kidnapping of Jeremy, the hunting of his kidnapper, the failure to regain her child, all of these events pushed their way into her consciousness and almost drowned her reason.

Before she could protest again the sound of a whip cracking filled the air, followed quickly by a pistol’s report. She leapt from her hiding place in time to see a cloaked figure beak cover from the right side of the road. Knowing that Jack had left his cloak behind she took aim and pulled the trigger of the French flintlock he had given to her, holding her own pistol in reserve. To her relief the man stiffened and crumpled to the ground.

Cecily ran the few short yards that separated them, hoping that perhaps she had just wounded the stricken figure. Before she could stoop down to examine him Jack appeared, his pistol holding another man, who cradled his injured hand, at bay.

“Well done, my dear.” Jack grinned, nodding his head slightly at his prisoner. Cecily nodded back and trained her second pistol on the scowling ruffian.

Jack knelt down beside the still figure. His wife’s shot had proved true. Here lay one villain who would never again harm a living soul.

Jeremy awoke with a start. The small room was dark save for the window silhouetting the dark figure standing over the man lying on the floor. Slowly the dark cloaked man turned to him and he could see by the moonlight streaming in through the window behind that the man who lay prone was his captor, Malcolm Dagget. His head felt funny, as if he couldn’t shake off the last vestiges of sleep.

“Da?” He mumbled. Hope rising in his small chest like a caged bird suddenly freed of its prison.

“It’s me, Son.” The dark figure whispered into the gloom. The young boy flew as best he could to wrap his small arms around his father’s thighs in a desperate grip.

“I didn’t tell them, Da!” Jeremy wept. “They’ll never find those papers! I hid them in Uncle Geoff’s office!”

“Thank you, Mr. Johnson.” Malcolm’s deep voice startled the boy and in the sudden light of the lit lantern he looked up into the face of a stranger. Malcolm standing a few feet behind them.

“It would seem Mr. Worthington and I have some back tracking to do.” Dagget removed his own cloak from the peg behind the door and fastened it around his shoulders. Turning he looked back at the child, who had scrambled backwards to the small bed in fear. “I shouldn’t worry, Mr. Johnson. I am certain someone will be by to collect you soon enough. By then my compatriot and I will have those papers well in hand.”

As the men left Malcolm tuned once more and smiled at the weeping child. “Oh, and should you see Black Jack Roberts again. Please give him my regards.”

Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2009, 08:17:04 PM »
"Geoff, will you stop sitting there staring into space?"
George sifted through papers and files.
"I can't help it, George. I feel so responsible for Jeremy's disappearance."
George touched his brother's shoulder. "I know you do. But have faith that everything will be alright. I just can't understand what Jeremy did with the papers that he and Jaimie took."
"Did you get  a chance to go to Andrew's and talk to her?"
"I did. She said Jeremy took it and ran. She stayed behind. Quite proud of the fact that she was able to kick one of them in the shins and he hopped up and down. Jaimie said he used bad words."
George continued to look through file after file. "They aren't here in this stack. Geoff, if those papers fall into the wrong hands, this country will be at civil war again. "
"We can always go to the Colonies, I suppose. Can you take this rubbish out to the burn barrel?"
Geoff sighed. "I still can't help but feel responsible. Lord, those children were so engrossed in the Black Jack Roberts legend. Heaven forbid if they ever realized that the legend was their da."
Geoff took the refuse out to the burn barrel. Crates were stacked neatly in the back of the building. He leaned over and picked up some papers.
"Nice to have kindling right here to help start the...HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! GEORGE!"
George dashed out of the office.
"What? WHAT?"
Geoff thumbed through the papers.
"I can't believe it...here they are. HERE THEY ARE!"
George grabbed them and looked. "Oh....what a clever boy he is! Right under the carrots! Let's put these in the safe and---"
"No! George, when--not if but when--they come looking, they will blow this safe to Kingdom come. I'll take them over to the Crossbow and have Josiah put them under the loose floorboard in the safe room that Jack used to use."
Geoff grabbed his hat and as he put his hand on the doorknob, he looked over his shoulder and said, "I won't rest for a minute until I have this matter safely hidden away."
« Last Edit: February 28, 2009, 08:09:58 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Welsh Wench

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2009, 08:10:21 PM »
"Jack, what do you intend to do with this--this---Lord, I can't even think of the word for it!"
Jack turned to the injured man and said with venom, "I should just put a ball in your head right now!"
"Have mercy, sir! It--it weren't my idea. It were all Lucas' idea!"
Jack spat, "You were just as much to blame!"
Cecily added, "I heard two distinct voices. You said, 'Drag him back if'n ye must.'
Well, I have the perfect solution for him. Let him walk the twenty miles back to the inn. He can drag Lucas with him. And then---well, what have we here?"
From the darkness of the woods, a beautiful bay came out, shyly pawing the ground.
The injured robber, holding his arm, said, "That's my horse. At least help me up so I can ride him back."
The bay loped over to Cecily and gently nuzzled her neck.
"I think he likes you, darling."
She laughed. "And what is this horse's name?"
The man was silent. She leveled her pistol at him.
"The name?"
The man snarled, "Hermes."
Jack laughed, "Well, it seems we have a learned man in our midst. Hermes just happens to be the god of flight, thieves, commerce, and travelers."
Cecily patted the horse's nose. "At least his name isn't Petey or Bucky. That I couldn't bear."
Hermes stood there patiently, surveying his surroundings.  From the shadows of the woods, Raven and Aphrodite trotted out, checking out the young steed. Protectively, Raven stood between his mare and the intruding horse.
Cecily tapped her fingers to her lips. "You know, I think that 'Johnny'--that's our son--could use a new horse. What do you think, 'Roger'?"
Jack, so in tune with his wife's thought process, picked up on the aliases.
"Susannah, that is a capital idea! Johnny has begged for a horse of his own."
"And his third birthday is coming up. What a grand present for him!"
The man shouted, "Ye canna be takin' me horse! That's---that's thievin'!"
Jack leveled his own pistol at the man. "I'd be watching my mouth if I were you. What is your name, by the way?"
The thief looked at him with hatred.
"Well, Ezra, you have just lost yourself a fine horse," Cecily declared.
Jack beamed with pride at her ingenuity. He kissed her hand. "My dear, your ideas continually astound me!  If I may....?"
He helped her onto Aphrodite. From his saddlebag, he produced a length of sturdy rope and tied it to the bridle of Hermes.
To Ezra, he said, "you have just made a two year old--"
"---soon to be three--"
"---very happy."
Jack looped the rope through the reins of Raven and Hermes obediently followed.
From the saddle, Cecily asked, "Ezra, where do you live?"
"In Hastings. Why?"
As she gently tapped Aphrodite in the flanks, she said over her shoulder,
"We will be sure Hermes drops you a note every now and then. Ta!"
Jack turned to Ezra and tipped his cavalier hat. "Have a safe journey, sir. Please watch out for highwaymen. I have heard that Black Jack Roberts is alive and well."

From the woods, Cecily's laugh rang out.
"You are so bad!" she said when he caught up to her.
Well, my dear 'Susannah', I think a fine young horse will be a very nice surprise for 'Johnny'."
"At least he can ride his new horse back. But you know what this means, don't you?"
"That we have to build a larger stable?"
"No. Now we have to 'steal' one for Jaimie. Do you honestly think she will let him have a horse and she doesn't get one too?"
Jack grabbed her hand and kissed it.
"My dear, I am sorry we didn't meet when I was in the trade. Together, we would have made history!"
She blushed at his compliment but said, "My love, we make history whenever we are together!"
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 04:25:12 PM by Welsh Wench »
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Offline Blackjack Roberts

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Re: The Highwayman: Legacy
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2009, 12:39:05 PM »
Jack decided that their best chance of success in retrieving their son from the villainous noble would be a two-pronged attack. In light of the two thugs who had attempted to bar their way on the road there would be no telling how many hirelings Malcolm Dagget had watching for them. While Cecily would enter the tavern proper and use her considerable guile to worm their son’s location from whom she may, Jack would gain entrance through one of the upper windows in the guise of his alter ego.

Cecily quickly hid a pistol at her back, and a dagger in her bodice as Jack donned the costume that had made him infamous. “Dearest.” Her lovely jewel like eyes sought his in the gloom. “They won’t try to hurt him, will they?”

The worry in his wife’s voice tore at Jack’s heart, yet he was determined not to show his own fear to his beloved wife. “Nay. They would not dare as long as he is their only hope of regaining those documents.” Jack smiled lovingly before pulling his hood down across his face. “As near as we could gather form that lout we left back in the wood, I believe Dagget is merely being cautious. We still have the element of surprise.”

She reached up and raised the black silk high enough to kiss him tenderly before pulling it back to its original position. “For luck, my love.” Cecily whispered.

Jack scanned the upper windows of the Bronze Bull tavern, his blue green eyes hard as chips of flint. “If any be in need of luck, Wife, it is Malcolm Dagget. Though I wish him none.” He hissed through the mask. “Now let us retrieve our child, and God help any who stand in our way this time.”

Black Jack quickly began climbing the huge oak that stood behind the inn. Its branches grew over the roof in places, and those were thick and strong. He had noticed that all of the windows of the upper floor were dark save one and as luck would have it, that one was open.

Cecily rode around a few yards away from the tavern, leading the pilfered bay behind her. Should anyone be loitering outside the building they would have thought she had taken the road the whole of the way. By necessity Raven had stayed behind the tavern with Jack, even though Cecily could be sure the midnight stallion was not at all pleased with the arraignment.

Jack made his way cautiously across a limb almost a foot wide in its girth. The large branch thinned more than he had anticipated as it reached out to partially cover the tavern roof, and he dared not try one of the higher branches. Gripping one overhead branch tightly he revised his plan. The branch was, fortunately, within a few feet of the lighted window. Crouching down as far as he dared he looked inside.

Cecily walked into the Bronze Bull, her beauty turning more than one head of the several patrons who had gathered there to relax away the toils of the day. It was not common for a woman that was not a serving wench to show up alone, and several wondered why she would be traveling alone. The owner strode across the wooden floor to greet her.

“Evenin’, Mum.” The stocky bronzed man rumbled. “What can we be doin’ fer ye?”

Cecily smiled sweetly, more than a little aware of her unusual position. “My cousin, Malcolm Dagget, was to meet me here with my son. Has he perchance arrived?”

“I’m afraid he and another gentleman left some time ago, Mum.” The innkeeper scratched his head in confusion. “Didn’t have no boy wit’ ‘im though. Come to think ‘o it. He did arrive wit’ one though.”

Cecily felt the cold hand of fear clutch greedily at her heart. “Which room was he in?!” she asked desperately. “Please which room?!!”

“Far end ‘o the hallway, Mum. On yer left.” The perplexed man replied, obviously shaken by the sudden change in the noble woman’s demeanor. “I’ll take ye there right away.”

Jack’s eyes widened behind his mask. The room seemed empty save for one lone child weeping at the far side of the lone small bed. Could it be? If it were his son this could very well be a trap. Dagget could be using the boy as bait, to see whether or not they had been followed. Jack couldn’t worry about that now. This could be his one and only chance to retrieve his child from the clutches of the traitor. Taking a deep breath he dove for the opening and prayed.

Unknown to the highwayman he missed cracking his skull on the open sill by a mere fraction of an inch. Rolling into the room to absorb the shock of his desperate leap he came up to his feet with both pistols drawn and cocked. The small ash blonde boy looked up at him through tear stained eyes, so similar to his own.

“D-da?” Jeremy’s look of disbelief began to give way to hope.

Black Jack un-cocked his twin French flintlocks and shoved them into his belt. Dropping to one knee he held his arms out to his son. “Jeremy.”

Without a seconds hesitation the boy was in his arms, gripping his neck in a bear hug of pent up emotion. “Da! Oh, Da! I knew you would come for me! I knew you would!”
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 12:59:58 PM by Blackjack Roberts »


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