Authors: Patricia Scott
A Captive Heart
© Patricia Scott 2013
Patricia Scott has asserted her rights under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
First published in 2013 by Endeavour Press Ltd.
Table of Contents
Adam Carey clapped a hand on his injured left shoulder that hurt like hell and uttered a quiet prayer as he watched the carrier pigeon he’d released fly away into the bright blue sky overhead. With that small bird went the vital information he’d just risked his life for in the bloody skirmish between the Tresco Royalists and the invaders. The few Ironside troopers that still remained were imprisoned on their captured vessels after their attempt that morning to take the Scilly Isle of Tresco from the Royalists.
hoped fervently that what he had done that day hadn’t been in vain and the news the pigeon carried would safely reach those who eagerly awaited its arrival in Cornwall and further afield. So many lives depended on it, as did the safety of the young heir to the throne of England, the prince, Charles Stuart.
message it carried told the Royalists that the Roundheads had failed in their latest reconnoitre to seize and take over the small but vital Scilly Isle of Tresco: many of their troops had been taken prisoner or wounded in the fierce fighting that had followed their landing. It would not be a good day for Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell when he received the news at Bodiam Castle in Sussex that his troops had failed miserably when so much depended on success for the Parliamentarians.
was one of those that had been fortunate enough to evade capture from the enemy. His luck had held out so far but for how long? He had to trust to his memory to take him to where he hoped to find shelter without discovery for a while, as he badly needed to rest and recover from his injury.
Adam looked down at what remained intact of the torn, blood-stained sleeve of the brown fustian jacket he wore, where the musket ball had found its prime target in his shoulder muscle and collar bone, and he cursed again with renewed vigour as it made its presence known to him with sharp vengeance. His head swum as he tightened up the coil of heavy ship rope he’d tied securely around the large stone boulder standing at the top of the cliff. He knew that he must make a move and take a passage by ship from Tresco as soon as possible to get back to Cornwall. To start with he needed to get down the cliff side which lay behind him while he was still able to. The rugged cliff path would take him down to the seashore below, to the one safe hiding place he knew - the Piper Hole Cave - wherein he hoped to recover for a day or so to give him time to plan for his now vital escape. He knew that every available known hiding place on the small island would be searched most thoroughly during the next few hours but he had no choice - he needed time for his wound to heal.
braced himself for the long exhausting climb down the towering chalk Cliffside. He knew that with every step he took he was risking damage to his bleeding shoulder muscle, not to mention the threat of a missed footing and the long fall down to the raging, surging tides that charged in like wild horses and pounded up against the jagged stone rocks on the sea shore, tearing apart anything in their midst.
sea gulls in flight screamed and screeched loudly high over his head as he started to make his way down, holding onto the length of ship’s rope he had tied to the rock at the top of cliff. He paused briefly to look back over his shoulder at the cliff behind him. He swallowed, grimaced and winced with pain from his shoulder as he looked down into the churning sea and waves below. He had a long way to go before he reached the sea shore safely.
Holding onto the rope desperately with every painful, cautious step he took, he halted for a moment, and rested his head on his hands in an attempt to throw off the dizzy spell that threatened his progress. His hands reached out swiftly to grip hard onto a thick clump of grass above his head. He held on to every outstanding ridge on the cliff side as he reached it and slowly got nearer to his goal down below. He paused again briefly to look over his shoulder and saw at last the two tall standing stone boulders that masked and hid the narrow entrance into the Piper Hole Cave. He smiled and breathed a deep sigh of relief.
hadn’t visited it for many years now, not since he was a small boy of nine with his father and elder brother Benedict. Back then they had searched the large cave with huge excitement for the pirates’ treasure long rumoured to be buried in there, and for the chance to see the mermaids and sea nymphs who were said to visit it to bathe in the magical pool of fresh water that lay within.
It had been a childhood adventure they had taken for fun but now that his life was at stake he hoped it could promise him safety and peace.
this in mind and with a last sudden spurt of strength he finally reached the bottom of the cliff. He groaned in relief as his boots scrunched down heavily at the bottom. He walked slowly over the wet shell-strewn beach to reach the boulders standing outside the hidden cave. He paused to take in his breath again and looked around him in case he was threatened by danger of any kind, but there were no boats out on the water that he could see and no movement up on the distant cliff tops above his head.
it safe for him to enter? Could he trust his instincts? It could be a trap. He had no way of knowing as he walked slowly forward and eased himself carefully into the narrow aperture between the two boulders marking the entrance to Piper Hole.
taking his first steps inside he paused for a moment to look around the large cave carefully. At a first glance around it didn’t seem to have changed at all. It was quiet, dark and shadowy through to the back walls within. Adam sighed with relief. In here it seemed he’d finally found the peace he required, a place to rest and recover from his injuries, but would he be left entirely alone? Had someone else knowledge of it and entered it before him? It seemed completely empty of life but for how long could he hope to hold out in there without food - fresh water he knew that he would have access to from his previous explorations of the cave.
was quite safe, he knew, to drink from the pool in the centre. Walking slowly over to where it lay he paused for a moment to see his face reflected back in the water in the shadowy half-light. He shook his head and sighed - not a pretty sight at the moment, he thought grimly, as he bent down to cup his hands and drink some of the fresh, cool water.
splashed some over his sweating face gratefully. As the water cooled him down he breathed another deep, longer sigh of relief. So now he would have to trust his faith in God’s will that no one else would dare venture in to the cave while he was resting.
saw the familiar ledge he remembered so well. It was said to have been used often by smugglers of old to stack some of their barrels of brandy and rum on. He had clambered up to sit on it as a young lad with his brother. It was wide and long and would, if needed, take his full length of nigh on six foot, as long as he was careful. It would give him a resting place for a while until he could risk taking to the cliff top once again.
seemed no other way possible of escape for him except by boat from Tresco. He already knew that unless he could find passage on a fishing boat from the harbour to reach the nearest port of Falmouth he would never make his escape back to Cornwall and out of danger. He had sufficient enough gold pieces in his purse to pay for it but he could be still be risking capture if seen in the harbour so soon after the attack that day, especially in the parlous state he was in at that moment. If he wasn’t careful he would soon be shot or hanging on the gibbet without a trial.
stood up on his feet again, feeling unsteady, balanced himself for a moment and shook off the dizzy spell before saying a few words of prayer. Yes, he’d think himself lucky indeed if he could walk across the cave now and manage to pull himself up and onto that safe ledge. He had to try it or else risk this cave becoming his prison, last hiding place and virtually his tomb.
this in mind he at last managed to pull himself up onto the ledge before, with his head spinning and his sensibility all but gone, he collapsed down on it and lost consciousness.
High above on the cliff top Tamsin Trevenian rode her chestnut mare along the long stretch of green grass thickly covered with bright flowering sea pinks and bushes of golden yellow gorse, as if her life depended on it. She was attempting to leave all the horror behind her of what had happened in Tresco that morning. What had started as a beautiful summer day for Colonel Richard Trevenian’s young daughter had been shattered when she woke up to find that Tresco was under attack by their enemies.
Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell had invaded Tresco, and his troopers were soundly routed and defeated, some even before they could leave their ships in the small harbour. Now the fighting and skirmishes were all but over and for now the Cromwellians were well and truly beaten. But after all the frightening things she’d heard had taken place that beautiful warm June day she needed to find a peaceful place to hide in to recover from her fears.
was only one place where Tamsin could escape to and that was in the Piper Hole Cave which she had so often visited since she was a small child. Unknown to Tamsin she was about to discover that someone else had also chosen it as their sanctuary and from that day onwards both their lives were about to change.
‘Good girl, Bella,’ she said to her tired chestnut mare, patting her gently when at last she brought her to a slow careful halt on the grassy cliff top and clambered down to sit on the grass. She needed to pause for a few minutes to prepare herself for the long dangerous journey she knew she must take down the cliff side.
With her mind made up she tethered the mare securely to the small sturdy rowan tree that clung valiantly to the cliff top and without wasting another moment she turned her back on the view of the sea behind her and began her scrambled passage down the rocky path to the sea shore where she could hear the waves crash loudly onto the silvery sands, their white sea spume splashing up and over the large seaweed covered rocks surrounding the bottom of the Tresco cliffs.
At last, breathing hard, she felt her feet touch the sandy shore at the bottom and she paused briefly while the tide touched and lapped her boots playfully till she caught her breath.
made her entrance slowly into the dark shadowy cave through the oval boulders that stood tall and silent like sentinels outside the Piper Hole. It was still and quiet in there when she peered through the narrow gap between them.
felt blessed instant relief as she touched their smooth stone because she knew that here in the cave, at least for a while, she would be perfectly safe from harm. Few people knew about it and rarely did the locals visit it. Certainly few would come near it today of all days.
her leather boots slipped on the seaweed covered rocks as she made her way over the wet boulders that led further into the large cave, welcoming her with silence and shadows. Except for the echoes of noisy sea birds shrieking and screaming overhead it was the quietest place she knew in Tresco.
had often explored the cave during her two year stay with her Royalist military father in the castle the army used on the island because the Piper Hole had its good share of fairy tales and legends. Tamsin had not entirely given up the hope that one day she might find a real Mermaid or Merman living in there.
wished that she could forget everything that had happened that morning. It seemed as if things were destined to be worse still in the days to come for all those loyal to the King and his young son and heir, Prince Charles Stuart, who was believed to be attempting bravely to make his way over to France to eventually join his mother the Queen. Even now he could perhaps be making his journey through Cornwall.
The Royalist defenders of Tresco under the command of her father, Colonel Richard Trevenian, had firmly quashed their Roundhead invaders, and those left alive and taken prisoner would soon be shipped over to St Mary’s and put on trial in the Star Chamber.
for the moment she wished to leave all thoughts of this behind her. She sighed, she knew she could not remain in her peaceful cave for long - her father would be worried about her.
She was thirsty and decided to take a drink from the pool before she made her way back up the cliff again. Despite the heat and humidity outside, inside the spacious cave it was cool, damp, and shadowy. She lost little time in seeking out and lighting up the precious candle stump she kept with the tinderbox on a small dry ledge near the entrance to the cave.
the candle up high above her head she could see the light from it reflected in the large pool of water. She ventured across the sandy floor that gleamed underfoot, silvery in the pale candle light, but stumbled and halted abruptly, frozen for a minute on the very edge of the pool. She looked around the empty cave quickly. She’d heard something, a sound that had both frightened and startled her... a sound that came from somewhere quite close by, near the back of the cave - was it a cry of pain? Or a call for help?
candle dripped thick wax onto the sand at her feet and she heard it more clearly this time, another odd sound like a low moan coming from somewhere close by her.
heart thumped hard in her chest when she heard the sound again and her legs moved unsteadily under her. Certainly it sounded louder this time and nearer too. She was no longer alone. Then there it came again. What could it possibly be?
tried hard to quiet her fast, beating heart and listened carefully. It could just be a lost seal pup, crying pitifully for its mother. Then there came another, muffled, deeper groan that echoed throughout the cave from deep in the back. It sounded human!
smothered her mouth with her hand as she felt alarm fill her up and then she called out, bravely, ‘Who is there? Who ever you are show yourself to me. At once!’
held up the candle to lighten the shadowy darkness at the back. But no answer came to her call.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the gloom, she realised
she could now see someone lying along a ledge. Moving forward slowly across the cave, one foot at a time lest she alarmed him, Tamsin saw the young man who lay there, stretched out along the wide stone ledge near to the rocky pool underneath. Dangerously close, much too close for safety, she gasped out loud and smothered her mouth instantly with her free hand. Any careless, involuntary movements for his part on the ledge and he could fall over into the deep pool below.