Linnaeus leaned forwards and, lowering his voice, told Jenkins of Rob’s hilltop stranger, his questioning about the Wizardly William and Mirless, how he’d kept his back to the sun and Rob, too young to understand that he had been questioned by an expert, who gained knowledge but gave none in return. His solitary mistake was mentioning the heliograph. After pouring them both a tankard of ale Linnaeus went on, “Our poorly dressed stranger clearly has some knowledge…” said Linnaeus darkly.
“But Linnaeus, all that dark hoods and black druid business died out with the Blackmorn’s, did it not?”
“Well, my friend firstly let’s not have any talk of Druids, black or white, an old wives tale embellished by half-truths over the years, between us let’s call these monsters by their proper name! Mardokites is what they are…” replied Linnaeus as he watched the colour drain from Jenkins face. as he remembered the day when he and Wessex had save the Kin. No proof had ever been found but rumors abounded, of base treachery and deceit and a list of traitors linked to the Mardokites
“They have been around for five hundred years and more, it would be a quite arrogant of us to assume that our generation wiped them out completely. Let’s look at what we know. The Crone has escaped, Rob was interrogated by a professional and Jack and you saw a hooded rider, but only because he was illuminated by lightning otherwise you’d never have seen him. Let’s not forget we had no idea the Blackmorns’ would attempt to kill the King all those years ago.” Linnaeus paused, drank some a ale, and went on:
“That’s what we do know. These events may be mere coincidence, but just in case they are not, we should all be on the lookout for any sign of them. The Blackmorns and their treasonous friends are very much weakened, that’s for sure, but gone completely and forever I very much doubt. If history tells us anything at all they will always come back and try to have us all live in ignorance and fear. I will speak to the King and, meanwhile, let us increase our watchfulness. They have always used allies when they needed them, and will find few in this Kingdom.”
“The Norsemen?” whispered Jenkins