Sam was discovered on the floor of Little Levy Balquhidder's bedroom, spreadeagled. unconscious, but alive; he had been missing for several weeks and his friends had been discussing him in the company of the little boy, now almost 18 months old and his mother Rilla could not fathom why they should want to do this, but Levy seemed always so delighted with the visits of Tavish Dalwhinnie and Jasmine Juniper-Green and they were relatives after all, so she left them, as she had when Sam himself had been Jasmine's companion; Sam had become something of a substitute father after her own, Nicodemus Dumps, the renowned Art Historian, had run away with a female escapologist and joined the notorious Circus of Desperadoes, based in Drumnadrochit, from where it tours the world in rapidly decreasing circles before it's annual winter break; indeed Sam had all but moved in to comfort and alleviate the loneliness Rilla's mother experienced as a single parent in a foreign land; Milla (short for Ludmilla) still misses her native Steppes and has recently retired to a neat little cottage near Steps in North Lanarkshire which she refers to as her Dacha! so Rilla welcomed the visits (oh, she knew that they were all employed by Scotland's Security Service and supposed there must be some good reason for their meetings, though for the life of her she couldn't make head nor tail of it) and truth to tell, she rather enjoyed the opportunities they gave her to visit her special friend, Myra Teitlebaum, mother of Levy's little playmate, Toots; and she had a lot to discuss with Myra – Rary (Rilla's husband) seemed to have scented that there was something in the mothers' relationship which crossed certain Rubicons and he had been plying Rilla with questions, casual at first and then recently much more direct, and she was afraid that the trickle-truth might be giving him other ideas! but right now, she had to help Sam, who was dazed and looked as if he had been rolling in mud, and gripped a ripped kitbag in his hands; "theine!" he gasped, when he had taken enough breaths to be be able to speak, and Rilla slipped a pillow under his head and a blanket over his body and then rushed to the kitchen to brew a pot of Russian tea; by the time she retuned, Sam was sitting on the futon and had Little Levy by his side and they were looking at a picture book about The Romans in Scotland, and Sam was pointing to an Artist's Impression of the Trimontium Camp nearby and telling Levy about the different parts of the Camp, the Parade Ground, the Temple of Mars, the Infirmary, the Baths and, in the background, rising high and mighty, and dominating the valley the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills, with the Signalling Station; he took the cup gratefully and sipped the strong black tea, with a slice of lemon floating on top; "thankyou, my dear, you cannot imagine how I have longed for a good cup of your tea!" and then he looked serious: "can you call Tavish and Jasmine, would it be okay for them to come round?"