By about mid-day they had reached a sheltered copse, ideal for an alfresco lunch on such a frabjous day, but they only had a few pie-crusts and a small skin of a rather sickly wine, all that Brother Bede had been able to give them before their rather rushed departure from the Abbey; and sitting here they could see, on the western side of the valley that they had been skirting, a sturdy tower which Tammy recognised: “I wrote a piece about that place in The Scotsman: Blainslie Tower, the present owner's family – I mean in 2015, when I wrote it, not now – have lived in it since 1015, a thousand years, it's an incredible thought, before the Norman's came; it pre-dates Traquair as the oldest, continuously inhabited house in Scotland, but being on a lesser scale than Traquair, it's been outshone for the most eminent position, but lovely nonetheless; I remember that the family name sounded Scandinavian, Norse, Viking I suppose, he was the perfect host, charming, witty, though his wife seemed very passive, which I just put down to the effort of keeping up such an old and surprisingly large house with just a couple of daily staff, and all their children, too, I guess,” and Tavish added that among their ancestors they included “horse and cattle thieves, a protection racket more extensive and lucrative than anything the Krays had, intelligencers for the Kings of Scotland, kidnappers, murderers – one of them acted for MacBeth more than once, and then turned his coat and helped MacDuff overthrow his former employer – oh, and it was one of the Ingmarssons and his family who created the meaning for the term Blackmail as we use it today, turning it from a reference to the chain armour common at the time into the word used internationally for coercion and extortion through possession of a secret that the victim is so scared of being broadcast that he, or she, will pay through the nose, sometimes for years, their entire life, to keep it a secret; another . . . . . but I am getting carried way with my story, see, here, I took this satchel from the stable, it belonged to Sir Parlane MacFarlane and among other interesting things, it contains a list of the Founder Members of The Order of The Golden Ring: they are all there – MacFarlane and Doubleday, Martin Elginbrod, Father Pandelion Gillyfeather, Abbot of Melrose, and see here, Tammy, this name . . . . .” and Tammy gave a start, put her hand to her mouth, turned and was violently sick, while Bernie held her safe and whispered to her; at length Tammy looked up at her father: “and the present Laird?” and Tavish replied, “Sir Quentin Ingmarsson? oh yes, he's in The Ring in our time, I don't think there have been many generations without the Ingmarssons participation in that little nest of vipers, and Tammy straightened: “I stayed the night with them, they were a lovely family, six children, three of their own and three adopted,” and Tavish snarled, “aye, from Thailand – I've been working on that, too: he succeeded his father as Ambassador to Thailand, and I believe that between the pair of them they built up the biggest chain of under-age brothels in the country, all hidden by layers of middle-men, Thais, of course, but you could say – I do anyway – that the whole Ladyboy phenomenon was their idea - their project - to embrace the Thai Buddhist acceptance of sexuality and gender identity, the Kathoey, that concept of a 'third sex', neither male nor female, give it gloss and spin and marketed it to the West; add in prostitutes who are under the age of consent in every country in the West or – the beauty of their concept - look it, even though they might be much older and so, through their industry, they made Sex Tourism what it is today,” Tammy bent over again and Bernie held her as she retched and spat out puke; she looked up at her father, eyes questioning him: “is there anything we can do?” and he nodded, “maybe not right now, we're pretty ill-equipped and it's near enough to Melrose for word to reach them soon enough about MacFarlane and Doubleday, maybe already, I'm sure the Abbot will have sent out messengers; for now, the next few days, I think, our best plan is to head for Edinburgh, make contact with people we might trust – hey, you forget that we are also descendants of some pretty formidable folk and I think we can convince them, or some of them, of our identities, which should help keep us safe from arrest and hanging, listen – although our knowledge of what lies ahead for people we may meet in this period might seem to give us an advantage, omniscient we ain't and we will still have to keep our wits about us,” and he hugged his two companions, Tammy, his daughter, and Bernie, her lover and his niece also, “the three Musketeers,” he laughed, “'all for one, and one for all' and though I may not have legs to match your youthful ones for energy and stamina, we have a responsibility to the future and must play our part” and they joined him in the handclasp and, with one more look at the imposing Tower, Tammy followed Tavish and Bernie as they trudged northwards, ever keeping an ear open for the sound of any pursuit!