man reached across his table and picked up a charred leg of some animal. Broc
had never seen a sheriff eat in court before and hoped this was a sign of his
gluttony. Men with deep desires always had a price.
and Elizabeth walked between them, leaving Broc in their midst. With his broad
sword strapped to his back, it wouldn’t have taken him long to cut through them
if he’d had to. Most of them were boys, even compared to his own years, but
more importantly, they were not well-fed nor well-trained. The soldiers were in
use elsewhere and those who remained filled what boots they could.
someone threatened Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s voice wavered, but she executed a perfect curtsey, staying near the
floor until he bade her rise.
her spilling décolletage, more like. Broc shuffled uneasily. She played a
burped and set down the leg of fowl. A wild turkey, by the look of it. Large,
browned skin, dripping with fatty juices. He licked his lips like the lecherous
fool he was and leaned over the table. With a smile, he followed her rise.
release of my husband, Lord Andrew de Moray, Twelfth Viscount of Avoch and
Strathaven, servant to the king.”
assume Edward, who had taken the rule
of Scotland along with England. But when Andrew said it, he meant Robert Bruce,
whom he considered to be the true King of Scotland.
Elizabeth and grinned. “I’ve heard of your coming, lady. I trust you were safe,
even with your company.”
to the dungeon door and cringed visibly. “I’ve heard of my husband’s capture
and impending doom. I wish to bargain for his life.”
lifted her chin. This was at least not the posture of a woman who planned to
prostitute herself for her husband. For that much, Broc relaxed.
by Spanish monks in the 11th century for my lord’s father.”
from his side pocket and began to pick his teeth. “Yes?”
fill three chests, but I’m sure I could get more.”
flicking pieces off the blade to toss at various courtiers. Each one looked
disgusted at the act, but smiled in return. He had these men well-trained
Elizabeth turned to Broccin and a hint of regret passed across her face.
to the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw, ten long spears had come
down around him. Each tip was so close to his neck, if he moved in any one
direction, he would be a dead man.
leader of the renegade group of Highland warriors that have been falsely raiding
and plundering in my husband’s good name.” Elizabeth sank into another curtsey.
“As a token of my good fellowship, rather than having him killed upon capture,
I offer him to you in exchange for my husband’s release and the clearing of his
there hadn’t been ten sharp edges within striking distance of his throat, he
would have pushed forward and demanded she speak sense.
snuck forward and twisted rope around Broc’s hands. Suddenly, the knot was so
tight, he couldn’t move at all. The spears raised and one of the guards pulled
his sword from its sheath, and tossed it forward.
way through the circle of guards, almost to Elizabeth’s side, and she glanced
back in her curtsey. Broc met her eyes and seethed, but her countenance did not
over-pronounced the Gaelic like a true English, then returned to the refined,
long tones of the court. “Sons of the Rightful King.”
call themselves anything. But to the English, there was nothing more
fearsome than an organized group of rebel warriors from the unknown mountains.
He struggled against his bonds and one of the spears sliced into his shoulder.
thick blood flowed down his back in double time.
man behind this legendary Highlander who raids English strongholds and beheads
shire magistrates.” The fat sheriff stood and walked around the table.
The fat man spat from outside the circle of armed guards. “Friends who were
killed by some band of rebels, intent on savagery and filth.”
feet. “And yet you captured this man? How do you intend to prove it was him and
not your husband who led these raids?”
the raider out.”
man in chains was pushed forward. Broc’s heart sank. The man they’d assumed
dead, Tearny MacDonnogh, was almost no better off than if they had indeed
killed him. His once muscular frame was now emaciated, with skin hanging from
his arms. He was bare to the waist and the scars of beatings reminded Broc of
just how long it had been since they had been to Berwick.
at Carlisle?” the sheriff asked. “And is he leading the Mac Ri Albannach?”
swung around his face as he nodded. His eyes were half-closed and his mouth
hung open, but he managed to make his affirmation known.
Elizabeth to the ground. “I’ll be knighted for this for certain.”
pointed to Tearny and then the dungeon door. “Release both of them to her care,
as we agreed. And take this one down to the bowels. I want the smithy to make
him special chains with double-thick cast and no slack.”
guard by the throat. “And by God, he had better be who she says he is, or it’s
going to be your head on a silver plate instead of mine.”
captain scratched at his throat where the fat hands had gripped him. “He bears
the marks from Lord Hobble’s double-bladed Arabian weapon. I saw the scars on
such a scar, and he had been the one to kill the perverted English lord in the
battle of Carlisle, but only because the man had nearly killed Andrew and was
about to disembowel him when Broc discovered and beheaded the man.
lost to him, bound, and soon to be imprisoned. Fighting back now would only
mean Andrew’s certain continued imprisonment and possible death. At least if he
kept quiet like a captive, he could know Andrew was free. Even if it meant he
would rot in the dungeon himself.
the Highland Renegades series of medieval romance novels by USA Today bestselling author R.L. Syme
(also writing as Becca Boyd). Please visit http://rlsyme.com today to get The Outcast
Highlander for FREE! Happy reading!