Chapter 36

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England, 1245

Ian rode straight through the night towards the East wall of the fortress in hopes of catching the Earl of Chaswick before he returns home from the raid. Corbin a guard stepped forward and slowed down the restless horse that Ian ran tirelessly toward them.

"I must speak to Lord Duncan."

"I am here. What has happened? Why have you traveled without guards?" Duncan stepped forward looking at Ian as he paled.

"My lord..." Ian stepped forward sloaching on a rock. The moonlight made eerie figures of the few dozen dark guardsmen and their even darker lord.

"She is gone,"he looked up panting to catch his breath.

"Lady Tara is gone."

"What?" Ian found himself lifted from the rock by his neck until he was eyes length with Duncan's murderous glare.

A few faces behind Duncan glared at him as well, and he couldn't help his shudder of fright.

"One of the children playing by the bailey saw her leaving with a woman and he mentioned it to Moira, but at sunset she still had not returned. I alerted the guards, and the land was searched. We spent hours, but she was nowhere to be found."

"We ride," Duncan turned to his men.

"Ian, ride back and alert the rest of the men. Tell them to meet us in route to Marlaudes keep.

"Brother are you sure he has something to do with her disappearance?" Aidan asked.

"I am sure of it," Duncan said mounting his horse.

At his signal they rode off into the night.

*********

Slowly Tara stirred with a moan. Opening her heavy eyelids she focused on the dim lit space around her. A slight chill coursed over her skin as she moved.

Her body ached and a low whimper escaped her as she sat up slowly on the cold wet ground. The smell of wet earth and mold met her nose as she took an intake of breath.

Where am I?

She squinted at the sharp pain at the back of her head. Reaching for it she felt the knot on it and winced when she glided her finger over it.

Then she remembered.

Erica

"Finally your awake," a soft female voice came from the far corner.

Slowly turning to look at where the voice came from, she slowly sat up.

"Who's there?" she asked grabbing her head. The space and its darkness around her began to slightly tilt.

"Don't fret t'is just me," she stepped closer.

"Where am I?" Tara moaned. The mild thumps began to get stronger in her head.

A silence followed then Erica spoke.

"In my dungeon," she said.

"Why?" Tara clipped. Pissed she sat and looked where Erica stood.

"Because we need you out of the way," she explained. The slight tone of fright and determination could be heard in her voice.

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