Chapter 37

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Beady dark eyes observed his daughter as she spoke to him in his Solar.

"Tis true papa she claims she is from the future. I fear....I hit her too hard that it has made her daft.," she fidgeted with her fingers as she relayed her news to him.

Marlaude stood and began to pace. He broke out in a cold sweat when she claimed the girl lost consciousness again.

He needed to think of something quick and fast.

Before he could speak, the knock on the stopped him.

A squire stuck his head through the door and nervously spoke.

"Mlord, They have setup camp outside the walls."

Marlaude turned away furiously waving the squire away.

"Papa what do we do?" Erica asked.

Silence followed as she fiddled with her fingers and waited for his answer.

But he said nothing for a while.

"Has she been fed?" he asked grumbling.

"N...no mlord," she answered nervously.

"Do so immediately or we will have nothing to negotiate with." he ordered.

He waited for the door to close then suddenly his stiffened shoulder sank and he lowered his head. Defeat. He would claim it if his will could. He has come to realize too late that he was no match for a well-fed, well-rested army.

He could tell the Earl was impatient because he sent another missive.

You have 2 hours to hand over my betroth or I will attack.

***********

Moments had passed that turned into a torturous 3o minutes. He was determined to go through with it he was not going to back down.

The hard knock on the door pulled him out of his thoughts. He turned to watch one of his men enter and pull along his struggling captive.

Tara was shoved towards him and nearly toppled to the floor.
Holding her in his arms he crushed her to him.

She looked up into his bitter gaze as his beady dark eyes rested on her. The guard that shoved her through the door exited and slammed it shut leaving her alone with him.

He let her loose practically shoving her away and began to circle around the room.

"I dont know why you insist on holding me if you know Duncan will come for me," she said.

He said nothing.

"He is here outside my gates, already he sent missives with a demand to release you." Marlaude spoke with a hint of disdain to his tone.

"So what are you waiting for? He won't marry Erica. You know that." she tried to make him understand.

It was no good.

"I have no intentions of releasing you," he informed her.

Tara frowned shaking her head.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean you will remain my prisoner. I will use you to my advantage to assure he marries my daughter as it was planned and when it is done I will send you off." he said.

A knock at the door made him stop briefly what was about to say.

The young squire entered with a pinched face filled with worry.

"Mlord what are we to do they have set up camp. The people beyond the walls have fled and there is talk of an attack that has everyone scrambling," he informed Marlaude.

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