The Warning

Its early 1600 and Erica a young girl living in scotland is being forced into a marriage she thinks she doesnt want. At least thats until she meets her fiance Blair Commyn, she is falling in love fast and so is he. But there is a problem, Erica has discovered she has a gift that could lead to her death by the kings order. Her fiance a loyal man of the king is now torn by his love for Erica and his law abbiding behaviour. the question that has to be answered; does he love her. His answer comes when she is taken in a raid by the MacDonald’s to get her back he will have to fight for her. But trouble is looming visions begin to plague Erica of the gun powder plot. Blair a loyal supporter of the king must step up and warn the king stopping him from following his quest for revenge. How can Blair convince the king without implicating himself or setting his lover up for being accused a witch?

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10. A Trial and A Chase

Blair paced the room in aggressive strides that swallowed the distance from one wall to the opposite in no time. His anger was a roiling mass in his stomach that festered ever growing and shrinking in a pattern that was making him physically ill. He had just been arguing with his fiancé Erica again and she had fled the room, but not before he had seen the way she blanched and her eyes had filled with tears of fear and hurt. That had all been due to the threat he had so callously thrown out. He hadn’t meant it and had regretted it instantly only his pride had stopped him recanting and calling her back. Damn his pride he cursed as he slammed his fist against the wall and laid his head against his throbbing hand that stayed curled against the cold hard stone. His temper began to cool and his pride lose his resolve he wanted to run after her draw her in his arms and soothe away the hurt he had caused he wanted to earn her trust again. Standing upright in a swift sharp decisive movement he chose to go after her and flung his door wide.

 

She wasn’t in her rooms or her mother’s room and she never went to her brother’s or cousin’s room. So were had she gone? Maybe she had run out the castle like she seemed prone to do on occasion despite his warnings not to and urgent pleas against such recklessness. He turned and strode towards the castle yard hoping if she had left by horse he could catch her before she escaped and if by foot he could grab his horse and catch up. He barely set foot inside the yard when a young page boy called out “She took ‘er ‘orse an’ went ou’ the gate, mi lord” a wry smile curved Blair’s lips. Where his staff already so used to this that they could anticipate the outcomes? Clearly the answer to that question was a resounding yes he thought as he shook his head in mild amusement. He barely noticed that someone had already partially prepared his horse only the saddle was missing but Blair didn’t care he was going after her now. He grabbed the reigns and mounted in one smooth motion and then rode out following Erica.

 

He could easily see which way she had gone; her tracks were clear in the wet ground. He followed them urging his horse to go faster and faster till they were flying like the wind. He kept his eyes on the track looking for an indication of where her final destination would be so he could perhaps cut her off. But by the looks of the tracks she had no destination in mind only the aim of getting away from the castle. The only problem was she was heading for Mcdonell land. He would have missed it had it not been for the sudden ray of sun that made it glisten in all the chewed up mud. It was her beautiful clan broach. A vice seemed to close around his heart when he saw another glint further on this time it was all her weapons lying half buried at the base of a tree. The sound of horses permeated his shock and he turned and saw Danny, Andrew and Elspeth. Letting out a breath he hadn’t realised he had been holding and released his grip on his sword.

 

It didn’t take long for the four of them to piece together what had happened, as the pieces of the tale began to fall into place and Elspeth began to break down. She tried to hold it all together she didn’t want to cry she wanted to be as strong as the men around her. A sudden anger overtook her and she saw red, she flung herself round to face Blair “What did ye say to her ye brute? What did ye tell my cousin to make her flee the castle? This is yer fault.” This last part was said on a chocked sib as she succumbed to her tears. Danny who was still too shocked by her words just stood slack jawed. It was Andrew who stepped up and drew her into the comforting circle of his arms just as her knees began to buckle under the weight of her despair. He rubbed her back gently trying to console her and contain some of the anguish he knew she must be feeling. He cast Blair a dark look over the black curls that were now tucked firmly beneath his chin. His eyes were accusatory and their anger cut Blair to the quick.

 

He hadn’t meant for this to happen it wasn’t his fault, except for all his reasoning he knew it was his fault, his guilt and anguish tore at him. Then a wave of anger overcame him and he thirsted for MacDonnell. “I’m going after her and damn the consequences” Blair announced his jaw tight with anger as he mounted his horse. “I’m coming with ye” Danny declared also mounting his horse. A now Drained Elspeth, made moves to follow suit but, Andrew gently pulled her back. “Come with me. Ye and I need to go to the castle to warn the others and make ready for war” At first Elspeth tried to Pull away to get to her mount but after a couple more words she accepted her position and turned to Blair Her expression taunt and her eyes flashing “Bring my cousin back to me” with that Blair rode towards MacDonnell land without looking back.

 

Erica came round to find the world slightly blurry before snapping into sharp focus. She was lying tied across the back of a horse that seemed to be slowing down. She couldn’t twist far enough to see what was up ahead. However as she tried to change her position to figure out what was happening her memory of the incident with the MacDonnell’s flashed back and surmised she was tied to  one of their horses and being taken to wherever her supposed trial was to take place. Although she supposed it was nothing more than a formality an accusatory hearing really.

 

The proceeding went much as she expected they accused her brought people to testify against her and she wasn’t given a chance to speak before she once more tied up and thrown over the back of the horse.

*******

Blair and Danny had been riding on MacDonnell land for less than an hour when they were waylaid by four MacDonnell men “What are ye doing on McDonnell land Commyn?”

“Looking fer what ye stole McDonnell” to his surprise the leaders face changed pity and sadness ran across it and he dismissed the other men.

“Lord Blair I’m really sorry, she had been accused of witchcraft and condemned to death. If they stick with tradition it will be death by drowning at witch rock if ye hurry ye may find her still alive. They will stop for only one break once the sun sets then in the morning they will tie her to the rock. Ye cannot make it there in one go ye will also have to stop to rest yer horses but dinae delay too long or yer fiancé may not be alive for ye to rescue her. Good luck.” With that he beckoned his men over and they rode away leaving behind a perplexed pair of men.

 

 Danny and Blair wasted no time to figure out the puzzle instead they turned their horses and rode hard in the direction of the cove that held witch rock.

*******

 

Erica shivered slightly her wet plaid clung to her like a second skin and froze all the warmth of her right to her marrow. She couldn’t stop the shivers that wracked her bodies, she was terrified. She was going to die. She was cold and the water was beginning to lap around her breasts and she had so far been unsuccessful in breaking her bonds. She tried more frantically no pulling and twisting and turning but the bonds didn’t give an inch. “I ducked under the water and sawed my binding ropes against the rocks to which I was bound” the voice of her grandma telling her one of her old stories flitted into her mind. She had always been sceptical about that tale, she had never thought anyone would condemn the gift of a taibhsear, but here she was apparently in the same position, it was at least worth a try. Her bound and almost numb hands began to search the rocks for anything that could be used to cut through the bonds. She found a spot of sharp jagged rocks and began to saw her bonds against it. The water was now lapping at her neck and splashed up over her head with each downward stroke she made against the rock.

 

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