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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1. The Arrangement

The fell dipped and climbed away before her, an endless landscape of short gorse heather, and clumps of firs that offered little shelter or chance of comfort. Her dress, whipped by the wind, tangled with her legs and tripped her as she moved toward the castle, only just visible through the fog and haze of the low lying storm. The rain stung as it cut at her and the thunder rolled overhead. The castle climbed toward the sky, a black nightmare crowning the hill. A raven’s harsh call could just be discerned above the mourning wind that whirled round her tearing at her hair and pulling at her clothes, like a jealous old crone. She shivered against the cold and the foreboding brought by the harbinger of doom. Whose end had she come to mock? What tragedy was to come?

She hurried on towards the castle she called home anticipating the storm that was brewing there.

********

Erica rushed through the door to the kitchen her skirts heavy with rain and her shirt plastered to her skin and her hair was limp under the weight of the water it held. She paused momentarily to ring the worst of the water out of her hair and clothes and into a copper basin before walking at a slightly quickened pace into the castle. She was keenly aware of the water dripping onto what seemed to be fresh rushes as she walked through the castle, just as she was aware that the linen of her shirt had gone almost clear. She took the servant passages up to her apartments in the hope of avoiding any unseemly encounters with gentlemen in the castle in her present state.

 

Once inside her room she shut and locked the door and worked quickly to strip out her wet clothes and change into some fresh ones carefully laying the wet clothes over a grate near the fire to dry off. Normally one of the servants would do this but as she wasn’t supposed to have been out she did it herself. Not that she relied on the servants, she usually did it herself, leaving only the bigger tasks to her maid. No sooner was the task completed than a loud knock on the door made her jump in surprise before she walked quickly over to open it.

“Miss Erica, yer da wants to see ye a matter of urgency I believe as I was told to bring ye over directly”

“Oh, ok Bess lets go then. Do ye know what he wants to talk about?”

“Nay miss.”

The walk over to her parent’s apartment was quick and traversed in silence. She signalled her arrival with two sharp raps on the wooden door. She was welcomed in by her mother who looked surprisingly grave. Erica’s heart sped up what was going on? She wasn’t in trouble was she?

She looked to her father expectantly.

“Erica, I have decided it is time ye get married yer almost fifteen. I have chosen ye a husband that I am sure will treat ye right. He is from the Commyn clan and yer marriage will help secure an alliance with their family. Yer fiancé Blair Commyn is also a well-respected man in his own right. He has the king’s ear; I hear they are close personal friends. Ye will be secure and well looked after when ye marry him.”

Horrified by the prospect of marriage and even worse a marriage that held no love she responded heatedly. “T’isnae fair ye havnae asked me if I want to be married. This is just another way fer ye to gain favour with the king and improve the McRae standing. Ye are willing to sell yer daughter to meet yer ends. Then ye justify it by saying I will be ‘secure’ ‘well looked after’ ‘treated right’ that’s no’ what I want papa I want to fall in love and be loved in return.”

“Erica life isnae always about what ye want. I only want what is best fer ye and I have chosen him”

“Ye have chosen him fer yer own benefit no’ mine”

“Erica Ye will obey me in this”

“Nay I will no’ obey ye. Ye canae make me”

“Erica…”

“Nay”

“Erica”

Erica ran out the room not even turning back to hear what her mum was trying to say to her. Her tears blinded her as she ran, she dinae care where she ran so long as it was out the castle. She ran blindly for some distance until her anger began to fade and she fell to the ground and cried till she had no tears left to cry. When she had exhausted her emotions she sat up and looked around to figure out where she was. She realised she had run out in the direction of Frazer land and she was near her cousins cottage.

 

She reached the door pulled it open and slid inside pulling it tightly shut behind her. This hut belonged to her cousin Elspeth. In looks and in temperament Elspeth was as much shadow as Erica was flame. “Erica, how are ye lass? Yer soaked. What ye doing out in weather like this?”

“Elspeth it is terrible papa wants me to marry Blair Commyn.”

“lass tis no’ so bad yer da he will no’ force ye to marry. Have ye got yerself all scared of a man, big, brave, I can do anything Erica, is scared of marriage?”

“Nay I’m no’ scared but if I marry it will be fer love, no’ fer anything else no’ even my da”

“What did yer da say?”

“He said about making me secure he talked about Blair Commyn being close to the king and he said something about it being a marriage to secure an alliance”

“Come now Erica ye know ‘tis yer filial duty to marry fer the family. Also it sounds to me like he is trying to look after ye he wouldnae choose a man he dinae think would suit ye”

“Ye know ye must marry soon”

“I know but I dinae want to marry yet”

“Go talk to yer Papa say yer sorry and agree to meet him but ask him what will happen if ye really dinae like this Commyn. He will probably let ye break off the marriage”

“But what if this man Blair Commyn doesnae agree”

“I’m sure if he is honourable he will let ye go but ye had better come up with a proper reason.”

“Will ye no’ travel with me?”

“If ye want lass”

“I’m no’ lass Elspeth. I am older than ye”

“Aye but ye dinae act like it”

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