Beware the Baron's Wrath [vi]

When Alistair awoke some four hours later he was in his usual chamber bed. Beside him still wrapped in his cloak was the Princess Daphne. She slept well cradled in his arm. He looked down and drew her against him slightly. He did not want to wake her but she stirred gently, turning her back to him she nestled back against him without waking then he heard a soft humming. The musical tone made him smile and he indulged in being with her for a few moments more. He even allowed his mind to drift into a slight dream of this being how he woke every morning from then on, and he discovered that was a dream he wanted to realise.

Then his mind turned to her protection, and that of his castle, modest as it was, he was proud of his home. His mother had decorated the inner rooms with tapestries, paintings and embroideries; they added colour and warmth to the heavy grey stone. She had added to the chunky old furniture of his grandfather’s time, and now the solar was his favourite room where soft couches and chairs were ladened with cushions and small tables were set about for beverages looking like artworks themselves with tiny wood veneer inlays depicting patterns beneath the layers of shellac and beeswax. He missed his mother and her gentile ways. He had tried to emulate them in his running of the castle but it was hard for he was a man and admitted to forgetting the steps involved to create the overall impression. He looked down at his sleeping beauty and dreamed she would grace his table and his home and his life as his mother had his father.

He also missed his father but in a different way. The man had been his mentor his best friend. Burying him on the crusade had been hard! Watching his mother waste away from longing for him had been harder. Alistair had no siblings, his mother had nearly died bringing a still born brother into the world and so she could have no more. Would he make a fine father? Would this beauty waste away pining for him should he not return from battle? Did her father think things like this of her mother? Of her?

He doubted her father would harm her, how could he actually harm his child? But that man they call Prince Edger, just might! Alistair had heard stories of him that he did not like and he would not put it past the nincompoop to try and wage war for the sake of it! He knew he would not return to sleep now as he needed to be sure they would be safe. So gently he kissed her temple and drew his arm from beneath her. He heard her sigh as she resettled and he felt torn to leave her but he needed to ensure her safety.

When Daphne woke she was alone, still wrapped in the thick cloak and feeling safe. She was in a bed chamber in a round room with a fire in a hearth and windows allowing the sunshine in although she could not tell what time of the day it was. She tried to get up and at first felt nothing but stiffness, then she felt the pain from her shoulder and hip and then again more excruciating pain from her inner thighs. She dropped back onto the pallet with a soft groan.

From behind her a woman rose from an alcove seat in a second set of windows and placing her sewing down came to tend the young princess. She called the maid waiting at the door to fetch the water boiling in the kitchens and set to in bathing and tending to the rawness and tenderness.

‘Where is the Baron?’ Daphne finally asked from the tub she was soaking in.
All the time since opening her eyes she had been in a mental quandary as to whether she was happy that the Baron had left her alone or distressed about it. Had he locked her in or was she free to leave? Did he like her or was she being foolish over a man who just lusted and left? Would he try to hold her ransom from her father? She doubted her father would care, he had always been indifferent to her. “Keep her! I don’t want her!” would be his reply to any demands.

But what of Edgar? The horrible man who the mere thought of had caused her to demand the Baron take her as far away as possible! If Edgar demanded her return would the Baron comply? Would there be battle waged over her? Her father should hold a joust and the winner took her hand. She had no doubt Alistair would destroy the eel like Edgar. But what if it went wrong and Alistair lost? She would be the property of that ugly dangerous man! She couldn’t bare that and anyone would be better than that weevil!

But the memories flooded her mind of Alistair by the lake lifting her to her saddle, lifting her from the ground to his lap, holding her in his arms by the fire. She remembered his eyes catching hers. If she were to be his servant for the rest of her days it would not be a bad thing at all.

‘My Lord is seeing to his duties as lord protector of this Barony and all within it.’
‘My father will not harm him, I am not worth it.’ The warmth of the bath and the scented oils that were soaking into her aches and pains were keeping her in a pleasantly languid relaxed state.
‘There is another worry, my lady. I have heard that the Cornish Prince is wanting your safe return or your good reputation avenged.’
The woman squeezed a sponge of hot water over the princess’s tender neck and shoulder, giving her cause to wince and take note of the woman’s words.
‘The Cornish Prince is a dolt!’ she dismissed, not wanting any measure of concern to seep into her leisure.
‘May be so my lady, but even dolts can prove dangerous, especially when they command large bodies of men itching for a fight whatever the reason.’

Daphne froze. The woman was right Edgar would use it as reason enough to wage a battle and give fuel to his reputation as a mighty warmonger. It was the first time that she thought she could actually be in danger. Being the daughter of a king and only having Princes for brothers she could not help having some understanding of war and security measures. Since her mother had died she had taken over the castle management and knew just how much preparation war demands in case of a long campaign or siege. She had no idea of what this castle was like except for this room and the hazy memory of a drawbridge raising after them. Would it withstand a siege? Would the idiot campaigning against them give up quickly or become stubbornly resolute to starve them to death?

‘Are we safe here?’
‘As safe as any my lady, My Lord Baron will have us well guarded and our lives well protected. Please do not fash.’ At the use of the old Scot word Daphne could from then on detect the smoothed out almost unnoticeable Scottish brogue in the old woman’s lilt.

/

Baron’s Wrath [vii]

Beware the Baron's Wrath [vi]

adgray

Frankston, Australia

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Artist's Description

In the moonlight of a stormy night a castle looms. Two riders are making for the safety of it at top speed, with all the evils of the night on their tails ……

Well that’s what hit me when I looked at
Blaise Castle in the Moonlight by my dear friend Dawn Davies

Baron’s Wrath [vii]

Thank you for reading my words! ♥
Keep Happy! :O)
Chookas! X♥X

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  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
  • adgray
  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
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