I did not see Catt today. She was not in the bunk where I left her, but it is possible she felt uncomfortable in the castle. She does not know people there, save for me, and with her memory the way it is, I don’t know if she would remember Helene or Valene. Vedis maybe, but with her being elsewhere, that’s unlikely.

Talking of memories, I may possibly have found a way to help Sophia with hers. We were in the castle when Maric and Aoibheann turned up. I suspected that Maric was trying to find a moment to show Aoibheann the vaults and wanted a bit of privacy to do so. The mental message to that effect helped in my assessment of the situation. Thus warned, I invited Sophia over to the tavern for something to drink, and maybe something to eat.

We chatted for a while about her experiences at the convent and her observations of the sea-monster. She asked if she knew Aoibheann, so I had to tell her that she did, from the Lucky Leaf in Jasper Cove. She said again that she remembered the name Jasper Cove, but had thought it to be a person’s name rather than a place. Since that was where I was telling her she was from, she asked me to tell her about it. I decided to start the story in a different place, and a different time.

I rummaged in my bag and pulled out the old playbill from the concert where I had first come across Tory and showed it to her. I told her how I had gone to Richmond on business, how I had gone to the concert and become enamoured of the pianist. Things had not worked out, I told her, leaving out the bit about me being a vampire and my biting Tory. I told her how I had returned to London and found Tory had moved there, but by now she and I were on opposite sides of a political divide, which was the nearest I could come to explaining about the Sabbat and Camarilla. We had become friends, although it had been tricky, having different political affiliations. Some time later, Tory, and all of her faction left London and I heard nothing of her for years.

Until, that is, a woman turned up in Jasper Cove, a woman who kept to herself at first, but came to the tavern where I had been working, and that was how I came to learn of her liking for Irish Coffee. She had told me that she was the adopted daughter of this Tory, and how Tory had taken her life in tragic circumstances, but not before she had ask her daughter to find one Nathaniel Ballard and pass on a message of forgiveness. She and he became friends, and when Jasper Cove fell to dark forces, we had fled together and ended up here in Ashmourne Wylds.

She was silent for a while, sipping at the coffee. She recalled something of Richmond, remembering it to be a port. Other memories apparently surfaced as she asked if Jasper Cove had burned. I told her yes, it had burned, and that is why we had fled to here. Richmond, I agreed was a port, which is why I had been there, having worked for a merchant shipping company. She sat, watching the swirls of cream in her coffee and then said that she wished that she could remember, or that she had been allowed to stay at the convent. I said that I wished I could help. I had a good record of the times she had spent in Jasper Cove and here in Ashmourne, since I kept a diary, but they would only be words, from my point of view, and not necessarily of her experience. I wondered aloud if maybe Maric had some potions that would help with memories, or maybe one of the healers in the sithen.

As it happened, Royce started batting at my ear. I did not realise what he was on about for a moment until I realised he was getting me to turn my head, where I saw Gwyn had slipped into the tavern and made herself comfortable by the fire. She had been waiting in case we were engaged on village business. She said hello to Sophia, so I had to explain about them having met and how Sophia was having memory problems.  While I was hugging Gwyn, the thought occurred to me that maybe Sophia had left the island somehow and that the Boatman had taken her memories. I had no idea if they would be returned to her if she returned, and the only person I could ask about was Alex, and I had not seen him in ages. Sophia was asking if there were any books in the castle library about Richmond. Now that I could not answer, and given my suspicions about the local time frame, I wasn’t even sure if Richmond had been discovered yet

Just then, a different solution presented itself. Orie came into the tavern in search of whisky. I remembered him saying that he was from that part of the world. I made introductions and explained that Sophia was from Virginia, but had lost some of her memories. Perhaps the two of them could chat and maybe that would trigger some of the memories. They got to chatting and Gwyn and I made ourselves comfortable by the fireside for a quick drink. Gwyn suggested that we go back to the sithen to make use of the hot pool there. I was more than happy to go along with that idea, but wanted to show her something first. We went back to the cottage and I revealed the bed I had been working on, shaped like a rowing boat, with the back half upright as the headboard and shelving. She was much impressed with this, and decided that the pool could wait, as this bed definitely needed testing.



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