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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4. The Ride

She urged her horse into a gallop feeling the wind whip her hair felt it slide over her form like it glides over the wings of the eagle it carries. She felt like she was flying and she spread her arm wide and she lifted herself in the saddle so she could touch the sky. A bubble of elation built within her and escaped in a gleeful laugh as her freedom filled her. Out in this wild landscape she was free: no marriage proposals bound her, no rules, no instructions and no limits could be placed on her. Here she lived if she fought, hunted and scrounged for it. A fire for warmth, wild meat and gathered berries to fill her stomach, this is the way it should be she thought. The wild landscape called out to her offering her freedom and begging her to run into its centre. But before she could answer the call a restraining hand was put on her arm. “There is a steep gully up ahead.”

 

Erica reined her horse in to a slow trot and looked at the landscape around her admiring its timeless beauty. Danny had fallen a short way back to give them a chance to talk without his intrusive presence.  The majestic mountains towered enormous pinnacles boring into the sky and crowned with soft wispy clouds the peaks visible above the cloud line. Ancient guardians frozen in a time that has long since passed our eyes. The path of the stream, like a claws gauges down the mountainside, ran straight toward the base. The stream, a white ribbon in the centre of the gauge, gurgled and gargled, cascaded and sprung over its uneven bed in its eagerness to reach the sea.

 

The tall tangible guards lined each side of the path. Dark shadows cast by the leafy boughs of the sentinels’ seemed almost to move and Erica wondered if the Sidhe were watching their gaiety. Overhead she heard an eagle’s proud call soon answered by another. Breathing deeply of the fresh pine laden air Erica’s pride swelled she loved her country and she loved the freedom of the land. She couldn’t help the smile that rose to her face as she allowed the joy of the ride and her pride to fill her.

 

Blair turned his attention to her, he was eager to share his homeland with her, and he wanted to see her reaction. He glanced over at her and was dazzled by the smile that had taken over her face. His heart swelled with pleasure. “What gives my lady such a big smile this morning?” he asked curious about what had caused this turn around she had been in a foul mood when they left the castle.

 

“This land is so beautiful; it is wild and free and untouched. It has no rules it is no’ bound by archaic ideas and it remains untouched by our years.  I feel more at home out here than bound by castle walls” She said her tone slightly wistful and yet serious as the wind dragged her words away on its breath.

“Do ye feel trapped then my lady? “

“The world always tries to tame us, make us ‘civilised’ and many men seek to gain power to control and to dominate.” She paused for a moment and then added “Aren’t we all trapped lord Blair?”

“No one is seeking to tame you. Lady Erica a person may tell ye what to do but if ye follow that is up to ye. The only thing it is important to remember is yer actions will be judged at the end of time by God.”

“But every action has a repercussion is it right to make a decision without considering whose life ye may be affecting?”

“Aye ye are right lady Erica; those in positions of power must always consider those they are responsible for”

 

They rode in silence for a short while. Blair was unable to control his curiosity and his regular glances betrayed it. He noted her straight back with her shoulders back, at first he thought it was tension but the he noticed the smooth rocking gait she was using and realised it couldnae be tension. His mind turned back to the night before she had held the same posture then. It was an elegant bearing and regal, it showed her pride, her stubbornness and her nobility. Yet he had seen a softer side to her this morning when she had been dealing with the servants, she knew when to step down to another person’s level and he sensed she was kind and giving in all she did.

 

Finally unable to contain his curiosity he spoke “Tell me about yerself Lady Erica?”

“Firstly it’s just Erica please. I am the only daughter and one of Lady Mary McRae’s two children. I grew up in Dulsie often looked after by my grandparents Elspeth and Duncan McRae. It was never that my parents’ dinae love me.” She added quickly “my da is always very busy and he felt we would be happier if we lived a more settled and secure life as he moves around a lot. This meant I grew quite close to my Frazer cousins. It is like having extra siblings. We ran wild but slowly each of us was tamed into the responsibilities of adulthood” she smiled to herself as she said that “There isnae really much else to tell. Tell me about yerself”

 

She blushed slightly as she gave out the light command, her eyes met his and she quickly averted her gaze. He realised his fiancé was incredibly shy despite her very confident demure. “I am one of three sons; we grew up slaying dragons and other myths. When we were old enough we were sent off to school, we took to it easily and did very well but only my youngest brother showed any real enjoyment of it. He is now a law keeper. My parents died the year after I got out of school. I held my ma in my arms as she died. My da made me swear to run the clan with thought fer others who depend upon it.” He rattled the story off but his voice remained level almost cold and distant as though it was nothing to him, but she guessed under that layer of ice lay a fountain festering hurt that had never been dealt with.

 

“Sounds difficult”

“I try never to look back” he said ruefully

She wanted to ask him to talk about it to get rid of the emotions he was trying to bury but she knew she had no right so she looked around at the landscape hoping for a distraction. Blair noticed the way she opened her mouth then closed it firmly shut till little white brackets appeared around her lips displaying the pressure she was putting on them then she looked away. Curious about what she had been about to say he asked “What’s on yer mind Lady Erica?”

“It is nothing Lord Blair I was going to ask ye something but it’s no’ my place” she formed her words carefully not wanting to encourage anymore questioning but trying not to be rude.

“yer to be my wife no topics are taboo” He said his pride pricked a little but his curiosity overwhelming it completely.

“Do ye ever discuss yer past? I mean what happened with yer ma and yer da?” she asked her voice tinged with concern.

“No. Does that bother ye?” his tone inquiring as though he actually cared what she thought and that warmed Erica

“A little; events like that stay with us and sometimes the pain that we hide underneath comes out” she said carefully.

“The past doesnae bother me Lady Erica” he said his voice stiff trying to put her off the topic, she inclined her head in response to his tone and answer.

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