Having climbed straight up to the front of the cross, he thought he would climb down behind it, sheltered from the wind and where there was a path. He’d climbed down the first 20 feet when he saw something, or somebody, hiding in the rocks. He looked again: a man with a beard huddled up against the rocks in a black coat, sheltering from the wind.
“So you came,” the man said, his accent foreign. “You kept your mother’s promise – just in time too.”
“Who are you?” James asked.
“Listen, you have been true to us and done what had to be done,” the man replied. “Let’s just say that I am here to protect you. You will only see me when you most need it, wherever you go.”
“How can you be meant to protect me when we have never met before?” James laughed. “How did you know my mother?”
“Look, there are things that happen in this world we never talk about. Your mother knew of them all – she was one of the best, just like her mother before her. Seeing as her children are all boys she had no choice but to call on you.”
“Okay, so you are not the tramp I thought you were, but what exactly do you want from me?”
“Well that’s not up to me, is it? It really depends on what you do. The gates will be closing soon, and they’ll not reopen for some time. You just need to find out where it’ll be next time – overseas or here. That’s all you have to know.”
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