“Well, P.C., here we all are again. What are your big plans this time? Something a bit more exciting than last, I do hope!” G.P. laughed.
“I think so,” Percival Cedric replied. “There is some question, even nine hundred years later, about the death of King William 11, William Rufus. I am going back to August 2nd, 1100 AD, and see if I can find out. Was his death an accident, or murder, and if murder, was it planned by his younger brother Henry, who took the throne immediately, becoming Henry 1?
“I’m going to go back to that time, get to the New Forest before the royal party, and follow William. I have had clothes made so I will blend in that era – as a game keeper. That gives me a legitimate reason for being in the forest. I plan on stalking William, so my clothes will blend in with the background. Maybe I can solve the mystery. I’m taking a Brownie Box camera with me; I may be able to shoot a picture of what happened. Think of it! The historians would go wild.” He chuckled, eyes sparkling.
“Well, if you come back with an arrow in our shoulder or elsewhere, I can do something about it. But what are we to tell everyone, especially Scotland Yard, if you don’t come back?” G.Ps voice was serious, and he was frowning.
“I thought of that, and have written a statement telling all my plans. My barrister has it, to be opened in the event that I am gone for two months without sending word. He and I both signed the sealed envelope, witnessed by his secretary and a clerk. So, no worries for you chaps, though I expect you will, anyway. I don’t think there is any danger, though.” He sat back, relaxed and confident.
“All right,” Digger said. “I don’t like the idea, though. If you blend in with the scenery, what’s to keep someone from shooting you by accident, or a stray arrow finding you? We certainly will worry, but it’s your life to risk as you choose. I think you’re mad.” Digger smiled slightly, and nodded.
“Well, you’ve all been to circuses and such, and seen sword swallowers, fire eaters, tight rope walkesr and so on. People take risks all the time, but, like those folks, I will take all the precautions I can. I could be run over by an automobile or a runaway horse next time I go out. Life can be risky, and I have this planned as carefully as possible.” P.C. stopped and waited.
G.P sighed and nodded. “All right, you are correct, you seem to have taken everything you can into consideration. I’ll keep an eye on things here. When do you plan on getting back?”
“I’m going to July 23rd, 1100, the death was August 2nd, so I’m setting my return for the workshop one week from today.”
“In that case, why don’t we go to the basement and see you off?” G.P. said.
“Right. You chaps head down, I’ll change and meet you down there.”
Fifteen minutes later, P.C. walked down the stairs clad in his Game Keeper’s garb. He wore a knee length green tunic, patchy in colour because of a poor dye job, with a matching floppy, flat hat, over shoulder length dark hair. His skin was darker, too.
There were leather coverings on his bare feet and lower legs, held in place by cords made of deer gut. Over his left shoulder, he carried a long bow, with a quiver of arrows hanging on the right from a rope around his waist. Tucked into the rope was a long, hilted knife, and he had a large club in his right hand.
The rest of his gear was in a wool satchel worn over his head and hanging down the left side. His time machine was in a hidden pocket in his tunic. He was wearing short linen drawers under the tunic. That wasn’t strictly in line with what he was supposed to be, but was a concession to his modesty.
“Well?” he asked, as he stopped and struck a pose. “What do you think?”
The others gazed at his silently for a moment, then Jimbo started laughing. “You look just like the pictures I’ve seen. But how did you get your hair to grow so long, and so dark? And what did you do to your eyebrows, and your skin?”
“A wig, and some hair dye, like the ladies use to hide the grey. I used it on my beard, too. And some walnut juice darkens the skin nicely. It makes quite a difference, doesn’t it?”
“It does!” Jimbo exclaimed. The others all nodded and murmured agreement.
“Fine, then. It’s time for me to go. All ready?” when they all nodded, he checked the setting, said “Goodbye, see you in August.” Pushed the stud, and was gone.