Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Author:Emily Tesh
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi, azw3
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates



The voice had been calling for some time. Tobias did not look up from the flint he was working on. He needed another knife. The cottage could not be found as long as the wood kept it hidden.

“Mr Finch, I can stand here all day and I will,” said the voice. Tobias looked up. Bramble, at the window, gave him a long questioning look: Shall I?

“And don’t think you can send me off with thorns in my ears,” added the voice tartly. “The very idea! I don’t approve of you using a dryad for a guard dog, either. She’s much too old to be running about this way; you’ll go peculiar, young lady, if you keep this up.”

“Who’s there?” said Tobias, suddenly wary.

“Aha!” said the stranger. “I knew you must be around here somewhere. Come on out; let’s have a look at you.”

Tobias picked up his crossbow, loaded it, and went outside.

He recognised Silver’s mother at once, though he’d never seen her before. She was shorter than he’d expected from Silver’s description, and plumper. Her hair was scraped neatly back from her face, and greying, but it had the same muddy colour and loose wisps hung in the same curls. “Mr Finch,” she said. “There will be no need for the crossbow. You are the Tobias Finch my son has been visiting regularly, yes?”

“The same,” said Tobias.

She nodded, once. “And you are also, I believe, the individual known to local legend as Bloody-Handed Toby, a bandit and general good-for-nothing who haunted these environs some four hundred years ago as a member of Fabian Rafela’s robber band.” She brought up a hand and Tobias flinched, but all she was holding was Silver’s little leather-bound notebook. “And you are, of course, the Wild Man of Greenhollow Wood. Or Greenhallow, perhaps I should say. Henry’s notes comment several times on your unusual pronunciation.”

“Ma’am,” began Tobias.

“Henry appears to have taken an embarrassingly long time reaching the obvious conclusions,” said Silver’s mother, “but then, he is rather new to this sort of thing. I am Mrs Adela Silver. You may call me Mrs Silver. And you, young lady?”

Bramble glowered suspiciously at her.

“I call her Bramble,” said Tobias hoarsely.

“Bramble. Very good. Mr Finch,” said Mrs Silver, “do put that crossbow down. You shall not need it in the immediate future. Let us sit down like civilised people, and then you will tell me what has happened to my son.”

Tobias didn’t move as she walked past him to the cottage door. “Mr Finch,” she said in a voice like the snap of a whip, and he finally followed her in.

In the end he barely needed to speak. Mrs Silver seemed to know almost as much about his wood as he did. “Greenhollow has been a source of professional curiosity for some time,” she said briskly, “but since it was plainly also being managed, quite adeptly, it was hardly a priority for investigation. Henry has always been more curious than practical, and although I attempted to dissuade him he could not resist the challenge.


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