The plan was solid. Tara secretly thanked God that her friend and sister would finally know what happened.
“Do you think I’ll come back?” Myra asked when they stopped and sat on a fallen tree.
“God, I hope so.” Tara took her hand without looking at her. “I don’t think I could bear losing two sisters in one year.”
“How will I know when to return? It isn’t like Ma can tell me. I’ve never had any premonitions like her. Amber seems to have that gift, but I don’t.”
“We have to believe something more powerful than us is pulling these strings. Have faith if nothing else. And pray.” It was all Tara had to offer.
“The real question is if you’ll want to return.
Between the indoor plumbing, clothes and food, we may lose you because you’ll want to stay.”
“I’d miss my family too much.”
Tara squeezed her hand. “Good. The list I’m making is growing by the hour.” The list was what Tara wanted Myra to bring back with her. It was loaded with everything from medication, to seeds for every plant available, and books about how things are made in the future.
Including one on plumbing.
The night before her expected departure, and exactly three weeks before the winter solstice, the family gathered for their evening meal. Even though everyone tried making the conversation and mood light, they failed. Everyone agrees that Duncan, Tara, and Myra would go together outside the walls of the Keep where they would activate the stones without notice.
If the entire family were to leave, someone would certainly notice and might question where they were all going.
This night was for goodbyes and final thoughts.
The servants were sent away for the night. The knights who guarded the keep while the family slept were asked to remain on watch in the towers. Even the dogs slept outside the main hall.
“How long should I wait before I return?”
“A month, maybe two. After that…” Lora cast her eyes to her plate of food that sat untouched.
“I’ll return in two months.” Myra sighed with relief saying this out loud.
“Nay, Myra. Wait for a sign,” Lora encouraged.
“I want your safe return. Not one which will put you in harm’s way.”
Ian MacCoinnich glanced at his daughter with fear in his eyes. “If you’re ever in danger in that time you must return.”
“I will, father.”
“Has anyone thought of how we could go to her if needed?” Tara asked.
No one answered. No one could.
“I see.” Tara’s hand found Duncan’s under the table. Are we doing the right thing?
His reassuring smile helped lift her spirits. My mother’s visions have never lead us wrong before.
Amber and Cian went to bed near midnight.
Duncan and Tara returned to their bedchamber shortly afterward.
Myra stayed up late talking to her parents. Over and over she told them her plans. Each time she listened to the advice they gave, grateful for their council.
When she left their side, she had a family heirloom that would be worth currency in Tara’s time and afford her a way to take care of herself if Lizzy was difficult to locate.
Fin caught her in the hall when she made her way to bed. “I didn’t want the others to hear what I have to say. They’d worry too much.”
“What is it?” She and Fin had always spoken so candidly and yet he hadn’t said anything of importance since Lora announced she had to leave.
“If Grainna learns of you, she will stop at nothing to…” He turned away, his words trailed off.
Myra read him so easily. “Use me,” she said, finishing for him.
“Aye.” Fin sought her eyes and held them firm.
“Unless you are of no use to her.”
His implication would have shocked her if she hadn’t already thought of it.
He took her hands. “Dammit, Myra. How can I be saying this to you?”
“Tara and I have already talked of this. When I return, if I haven’t been given a sign that I’m safe from Grainna… I will be of no use to her one way or another.”
“Oh God.” He pulled her into his arms. “If you don’t return, I’ll find a way to go to you. If it takes the whole of my life, I will know you are well.”
Myra hated the fear that crept inside her heart.
“When I return, if I’m no longer… chaste, what then, Fin?”
He took her head in his hands. “Any man would be lucky to have you as a wife, chaste or not.”
He lied she knew, but she didn’t call him on it.
There was no purpose. Besides, life was more important to live than chastity was to keep.
The three of them rode is silence. The fog covered the land and cloaked the riders in the perfect cover. The sun peaked over the horizon, slightly burning off the fog when they stopped and set the stones in a circle.
“Remember, Lizzy is short for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth McAllister. If for any reason she won’t listen, find Cassy. Cassandra Ross.” Tara thought she was missing something, and found herself rambling.
“You’ve told me all of this. I won’t forget.” Myra pulled off the cloak covering the modern clothing she wore. “Here, I won’t be needing this.”
Tara held her tears back and smiled like she meant it.
Duncan held his sister for one last moment, listened as she whispered, “Congratulations, brother.”
“For what?” he asked.
She smiled and said, “You’ll see.”
One by one they touched the stones activating them until they glowed and pulsed.
“God’s speed,” Duncan called.
The wind started to turn and light shimmered and burned.
“Hey, Myra?” Tara called out distracting her from what was to come after sensing her fear.
“What?” she yelled over the noise.
“Have Lizzy take you to Magicland. The rides don’t compare to this, but you’ll love it.”
Myra held onto her sack and waved with her free hand. “Magicland. I’ll remember.” Myra started the chant.
Duncan pulled Tara back when the ground began to shake. In a flash of light and a thunderous roar, Myra vanished.
The earth was scarred where the stones had been placed.
Both of them couldn’t help but wonder if they would ever see Myra again.
So this is what it’s like to say goodbye, Duncan thought.
At least you know where she’s going. Lizzy never knew. Maybe now she will.
Duncan kissed the back of his wife’s hand and made their way back home.