Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blasted Past: Part Eight

"There are some people," the man in brown told Lady Sylvia, "who say that the lake at Nanteos is the same lake from which King Arthur took Excalibur from the Lady in the Lake."

"And are you one of them?" the brunette's eyes twinkled mischievously.

"No." The man's voice carried a trace of irony. "That would be silly. The Holy Grail is supposed to have come to Strata Florida from somewhere else, for safe keeping at the end of the Middle Ages. This is a nice lake, but the idea is absurd. I have shown you this place because strange things have been happening around here. This house is not that far from the nursing home that Sparrowhawk was taken from. A number of people stayed in the hotel for a few days before she vanished - and they asked lovals whether there were any rituals associated with the use of the Grail for healing."

"And were there?" the young aristocrat's eyes widened with interest.

"None at all," he replied, "not even the use of special water. I suspect that means they might be anywhere in the county."

"Or the world..." she mused.

"No." The man in the trenchcoat was emphatic. "Sparrowhawk's mind is still fragile, she couldn't take being moved too far. She will be nearby, not at Strata Florida, and not here, but she will be close. Perhaps your friend will uncover the exact location. The staff here remember that the men who stayed here had to check in with someone else every few hours. Probably they've gone to be with him. And taken her with him." The man clenched one fist.

"What do you know about Sparrowhawk?" Lady Syvia leaned towards him - I mean, who is she?"

"As big a mystery as the Green Man," came the enigmatic reply. "All anyone knows is that the Green Man once loved her. He recognised her when he saw her unmasked. But no-one else ever has. And remember, she was in that nursing home for about a decade. Perhaps, if you find out who she is, then you find out who the Green Man is. Maybe that's the idea of snatching her and healing her. That way the bad guy will get to find out who the Green Man is."
"So you think that's what this is all about?" Lady Sylvia smiled.
"I hope so." The man in brown looked down. "You see, the alternative is that someone's got a grudge against Sparrowhawk herself, and they want her to be fully herself when they kill her."

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