“ Riders approaching.”
Jerold looked up from the papers he was working on and stood. He moved outside and looked at the soot-ridden people that now walked into his camp. At first he had not seen his niece or cousin.
“ Uncle.” Isabelle cried as she leaped from the wagon. Jerold leaned down and scooped her into his arms and held her close.
“ I feared you had been killed.” Jerold whispered.
“ Nearly.” Brian said as he approached him.
“ The fire had started and Isabelle had become afraid and hid in a corner, where I found her and led her from the burning rectory. The mother superior wasn’t as lucky.”
“ She was a kind woman.” Jerold said.
“ Aye that she was.” Brian said.
“ Where did you pick up the Irish accent cousin?” Jerold asked.
“ We had a visiting minister. He was the one that alerted us to the fire. I fear he parished in the fire as well.” Brian said. Isabelle held onto Jerold as his men moved around her gathering the wounded.
“ Isabelle I have news for you.” Jerold said pulling her away from his body so he could look into her frightened eyes.
“ Your father has been found.” Jerold said.
“ He is here. He was wounded by one of my men and was brought here.”
“ Show me.” She said. Jerold nodded and led her down the walk to where the injured where being housed. She heard talking of a young woman, her voice sweet and full of concern as she spoke to the wounded soldiers that lay within the building.
“ He is alone. I had no choice but to put him alone.” Jerold said.
“ Why?” Brian asked.
“ Partly because he’s my brother, another reason he was fighting for the south, that makes him a traitor and will be tried for that.” Jerold said quietly. He watched Isabelle as she slowly opened the door. She shrieked and entered the room rushing to her father’s side. Kevin held his arms out and pulled her close to him.
“ Shush now. It’s all right.” Kevin soothed. He could see his brother and cousin standing in the doorway. Dianna watched the father and daughter reunite. Isabelle finally made note of another presence in the room and stood up.
“ Hello.” Isabelle said quietly.
“ Hello you must be Isabelle. Kevin speaks about you a lot.” She said with a smile.
“ Really father?”
“ Of course.” Kevin said with a smile. “ You’re my beautiful daughter. I wish I never had left you.” He said running his fingers over her cheek. He could see the soot from the fire; he looked at her cloths and saw that they had been burnt slightly.
“ I am safe father.” Isabelle said quietly. Kevin noticed that her voice was less forceful than it had been years before. Before the war had even began.
“ How about I take you to find another dress.” Dianna said looking at Isabelle.
“ That would be good. I need to speak to Kevin alone.” Jerold said looking at his niece. Isabelle nodded and let Dianna led her from the room.
“ What?” Kevin asked.
“ She doesn’t know that you where captured as an enemy of the states. I didn’t tell her that when your well there will be a trial.”
“ You didn’t tell me there would be a trial. I was doing what I thought was right to protect my family. Jerold you had slaves on your land, our own father had slaves how can this be any different?”
“ President Lincoln wanted them freed.”
“ I know this Jerold. But what do I have to go on trial for? If I am found guilty Isabelle will have nothing. She will have no one.”
“ She will have me. She will have Brian, and mother.”
“ She will go insane. What happened to her here? She was a young vibrant woman that loved life, now she seems to almost fear it.”
“ She was captured by some mountain men. When we found her, they had her bound and gagged she was terrified.”
“ How long had they had her?” Kevin asked.
“ I would say no more than an hour.”
“ Long enough for them to assault her. My god Jerold, I would have assumed she would be safe here.”
“ She was safe here. She was angry and upset. So she took off into the woods. My men and I went searching for her. I am sorry brother but she is a very strong willed woman. She is safe and sound. She became ill after the ordeal because of her time in the rain. But she is fine.” Jerold said as he looked up to see Dianna and Isabelle return.
Brian sat back and watched his cousins argue and then saw Isabelle coming towards the building. She had heard everything, and he could tell she was very upset.
“ Come child.” Brian said leading her away for a moment. Isabelle wasn’t used to Brian calling her a child.
“ What is wrong?” Isabelle asked.
“ I am worried about you. That is all.” Brian said looking at her.
“ But why cousin?”
“ Because I know you heard what your father said.”
“ Yes I did. Father has a right to worry about my safety.”
“ But so does your uncle.”
“ Yes I know.”
“ I fear that you will be unable to stay here for long.”
“ Your fathers trial starts in a few days.”
“ Isabelle, your father is a traitor, he will be tried as one.” Brian said calmly. Isabelle looked at him with wide eyes and then turned and ran back towards her father’s room.
“ Jerold I don’t want to discuss this right now. Isabelle is frightened enough. I don’t need her anymore upset.”
“ Too late.” Dianna said seeing Isabelle standing in the doorway, she could see the tears in Isabelle’s eyes. Dianna quickly moved to Isabelle’s side as she looked about to pass out.
“ Come on how about you and I take a walk?” Dianna asked looking at Isabelle.