Since the ladies had their heads together in a closed conference, I believed that I could get into town and meet with the two Elves without being missed.
John Lee came back in a few minutes with a beautiful roan mare. He handed me her reins and smiled.
I took a few seconds to look her over. She had a big white spot on her forehead between her two big, brown eyes. Her left leg was white from the knee to the hoof. She was smaller than Stonewall, but she appeared sturdy enough. She never averted my gaze, but seemed to be studying me as intently as I was studying her.
I turned to John Lee and said, “She’s beautiful. What’s her name?”
John Lee replied, “I thought ya’d like her. She’s called Miss Dixie Belle.”
When I approached her, she never laid back her ears, and when I got close to her, she turned her head and nibbled the left sleeve of my coat. I laughed, and so did John Lee.
John Lee chuckled and added, “She’s quick as greased lightning. Maybe not as fast or strong as Stonewall, but she can change direction in a trice.”
I nodded and gently ran my hand down her forehead to her nose. She gently lipped my hand and I chuckled. I took her reins, laid them over her neck and climbed into the saddle. Taking a few seconds to tie her reins into a knot, I prepared for our initial journey.
Having finished my machinations, I turned to John Lee and said, “If anyone asks where I am, tell ‘em I am at tha school house. I might go by Hattie’s place on my way back, but I hope to be back by 9:00 tonight.
John Lee nodded, and I gently nudged Dixie Belle with my knees. She moved forward quickly and went into a very easy canter. I waved at John Lee as I left the stables and proceeding on the hidden path down to the Potomac Bridge.
In no time, I had passed through the pickets and entered the east end of town. Proceeding to the old schoolhouse, I dismounted and didn’t tie up Dixie Belle. I watched her for a moment to see how she would react. She immediately began to eat the grass in front of the school house and didn’t stray from the area.
I nodded my approval and entered my favorite place in Shepherdstown. A lot of memories came flooding back as I struck a lucifer and fired up the old lantern on my desk. I pulled out my plans for the Washington City foray that I had kept in my desk drawer and began to go over the details.
Dark descended quickly and I grew tired. I put my head on the desk and dozed for what seemed just a few moments. However, it was dark when I awoke. Almost immediately, I sensed a presence, pulled a Colt from my belt with my right hand and looked up.
Almost at once I heard a familiar voice say, “It’s only us Jim.”
I smiled and tucked my Colt back in my belt. Standing in front of my desk were Kann Mer Ray and San Cirr Ray.
The two Elves smiled back.
I began, “Well, I found out that there are seven Union check points along tha C & O pathway between tha village of Antietam and tha northwestern part of Washington City.”
Kann Mer Ray didn’t make any comment, but he crossed his arms, put his right hand on his chin and appeared to be lost in thought. I sensed he was analyzing how the Union check points could be put out of commission.
Finally, I nervously asked the most important question as far as I was concerned, “Were y’all able to make Greek Fire?”
He looked at me with a stern expression and said, “Yes.”