Chapter 12

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England, 1245

Her fever got worse at an alarming rate. She fought delirium and dreams he knew nothing about and he was the object of her aggression as she lashed out at him in anger demanding to be let go.

He held her down as she fought his hold and cried out. But her strength was no match for his. She tried with all her might but weakness, heat and darkness surrounded her. Her eyes fluttered shut and she lost consciousness.

Duncan stood beside Moira and watched her tend to Tara quickly. The fact that her fever was not going down concerned them both. He saw Moira flinch when she placed her hand above Tara's  forehead.

"Poor lass is burning up," she panicked.

Thinking quickly he stepped forward and pulled her sheets to the side. He picked her up ,craddled her in his arms and walked out of the chamber quickly towards the stairs. Taking the steps in twos he was out the door to the greathall and in the courtyard. Brisk cool air made her shiver and inch closer to his warmth. Instinctively, he hugged her close alarmed that the heat rising from her body was very warm and getting hotter.

He cursed.

He needed to get to the river closest to them.

He turned and stomped off to the stables. The familiar voice that trailed behind him gave some relief.

"Duncan what are you doing?" Aidan asked.

Aidan walked to his side and gasped at Tara's state. She was pale and shivering in Duncans arms.

Turning to face his brother, quickly he placed her limp form in his arms and grabbed his horse and mounted him.

"I must get her in cold water she burns with fever," he explained.

Reaching for her, Aidan helped Duncan place her in his lap.

Pulling his steed around, he did not hesitate or wait for Aidan to join him. He rode as fast as his steed could take them both to the nearest river.

The sense of urgency to get her cooled down grew in him. Why did he care so much for her in this way?

He hugged her closer and she shivered with the cold air that blew on her with the horse ride.

In a matter of minutes he pulled up the river and carefully held her as he dismounted from his horse.

He walked with swift strides towards the edge of the water.

Using his toes he pried off his boots and braced himself for the cold plunge walking in.

Getting waist deep with an oath he growled clenching his teeth as the ice cold water slowly rose higher with his steps.

He finally stopped and looked down at her shivering form. Placing his lips above her forhead, he felt  it was scorching hot.

He held her tight and slowly lowered her into the brisk cool water. She gasped and burried her face in his chest and began to mumble.

Looking down into her pale face he watched her as she began to shiver violently in his arms and pull herself out of the water. He lowered her more until the water covered her completely up to her chin. He smoothed back her hair from her forehead and noticed she wasn't too warm. He continued to submerge her until she no longer felt warm. She slowly stirred awake, her fever induced sleep weighed on her eyes as she drowsily looked up into his face. Confusion and fear stared back at him. She panicked and began to shiver pulling herself out of his grip and the cold water.

At this noment, the fever had her still delusional as she pleaded for her life. He frowned at her words.

"P.pplease don't hurt me," she gasped trying to free herself from the freezing water.

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