The day after the discovery of the boat was one of frenetic activity for Brin. He was a slow man to make decisions, but once made he was not one to be idle.
He had three jobs to finish for the townspeople before he could move on. It was simple work really, and would require only a few more days to complete. He worked with wood, and while the tools he had at hand were primitive, it seemed his skill was unsurpassed by those in the town and they paid him as they could for what he did... and he knew he would need that money.
He had plenty of gold, but it was gold that he could not use... at least not if he didn't want to be found. It was gold marked by the brotherhood he had abandoned when he had some to this far land. He needed some local currency to use in placed where he did not want to be tracked.
Finding the boat lat night had scared him more than he liked to admit. He had found more wreckage at first light. It appeared the boat was part of a larger ship that must have been destroyed considering all of the debris that had washed up. The squall that had only calmed the night before last must have done for them, since all manner of kegs and broken pieces of wood could be found on shore now. What would have happened had that ship actually made it ashore into a port on this continent. He could only shudder.
He wanted to run now, but he knew that he was being irrational. He knew they were motivated to put an end to him and Elsa, but he also knew their arrogance. They would have known that one ship would have held enough of the brotherhood to finish them, and it would be some time until they sent another.... and by then Brin expected to be long gone.
That night he came home and decided that Elsa needed some truth, after all it was her life he was going to be uprooting and not just his. After supper he built a great fire and sat in front of it and thought about what it was he wanted to say to Elsa.
It wasn't long before she was nuzzling in his lap again, but today instead of asking for stories she was looking up into his eyes with her brows drawn together. It created a little crinkle at the top of her eyebrows on an otherwise flawless forehead.
"Tell me what has you so sad?"
"You don't miss much, do you little mouse? I am sad because I think we have to leave here, and I was hoping that we wouldn't have to."
"Why? Why do we have to leave. I think we are happy here."
"The reasons are many and I cannot tell you all of them."
Not those secrets again." Elsa exclaimed. She seemed to collapse under the weight of the things she did not know. He had to give her a reason, and not a lie. She deserved that much.
"I think it is time I told you what happened to your second mother. I have not told you before because it is a very sad story and I did not think that you would enjoy knowing."
"Please tell me..." Brin could tell that Else was trying hard to sound as grown up as she could. Bless her heart but she was still so young. How could he...
He absently fingered the amber pendant around his neck. It had served as his reminder all these years and today it spurred his tongue. "Before I say more, you have to promise not to speak of waht I am about to tell you. It is important that you keep these secrets, just as you have done with the story of how we came here. Can you do that?"
"Yes I can. You know I can. I won't fail." Her eyes looking up at hi as she said this seemed earnest enough to swallow him whole.
"Good. Else, there are people across the ocean who would kill us if they ever caught us."
"Kill us!" she exclaimed. "Why?"
The next was hardest. She was only seven... but she had to know. "Because of who you are and what you might be someday. Your first mother and father were not supposed to have you, and when they did, these people became afraid and they wanted to destroy you."
"But why?" this last was a wail as tears stood out on her lashes. She truly did not understand this. He didn't either, if the truth be told.
"I cannot really explain it to you, except to say that you are a very special little girl, and many people were afraid of you because you were so special. I cannot explain it better than that, so don't ask."
"Don't ask, Elsa. You listen." His tone made her clamp her mouth shut and look up to him expectantly, so he continued. "I was one of the people who was afraid, but I knew your father and your mother and so when they asked me I took you and Urs and Jan to an island south of here. We thought we were safe there."
"I don't remember that. You have never told me about another island."
"No I didn't trust you to keep secret like I do now." He gave her a meaningful look and she looked up at him with somber eyes and nodded t him.
"they came for us... after two years we had thought they would give up, but we should have known better. They caught your second mother, and while I fled here with you, Jan tried to rescue her. I do not know if he succeeded, but if they had they would not have come to us for fear of leading them to us, so I will never know if they are still alive."
"I won't tell anyone, I promise."
"That is good, my mouse. It seems they may have found us again. I found a boat washed up on shore, though the passengers were dead. We have to go before they send another boat. Secrets are the only thing that will keep us safe when we get to the next place."
After that there was nothing else to say, and so she wrapped her little arms around him and hugged him tighter than she had in a long time. He expected she would be trembling or crying or anything, but she was firm in her hug and seemed to be breathing normal as she held him tight. After a long time he felt her grip lessen and then her breathing told him she was asleep.
He carried her to her bed and as he tucked her in she gripped his hand tight. He stood there for a few minutes until she relaxed in sleep again, and then he moved into the main room looking in the fire.
He fingered the amber pendant and thought of all the parts of the story that he had left out.
Did she really need to know that he was a member of the brotherhood that sought to destroy her? the only reason that he still wore the pendant was because it could only be removed or destroyed in death, and he was not prepared to offer that last defiance yet.
Did she need to know that one day she would become powerful enough that they wouldn't have to run anymore. No... no need for that yet. He had to make sure she got that old first; and that would be no small feat. he knew that he had to get her south out of the islands. As much as it pained him, he knew that he had to get her away from the sea.
He wondered if he would ever get to make Elsa a doll house. There was never a child who deserved it more. Brin fell asleep in the chair that night, with tears still standing out on his cheeks.