After two days of riding hard and fast, only stopping for a few hours to let the horses drink and get some rest. And us too of course. After being on top of Angus for over a half a day I needed to stop and rest or else I was going to fall straight out of the saddle, overcome with exhaustion.
When the end of our second day of travel came, I began to notice the slight but noticeable change in scenery. Where before, the forest was flat and pretty steady, now there was a slight adjustment in the level of the forest floor. It began to slant up and it was noticeably rockier. The greens of the trees and grass somehow appeared to be considerably more vibrant. The forest in itself seemed to have more life. It was teeming with it. The birds seemed to be more cheerful. The creatures much more active, almost as if they weren't afraid of the humans passing through their home. I saw many more animals then I had before we reached this point. Many a hare rushed across our path. And more than once I glimpsed a badger lumping through the trees. I even laid eyes on a few deer along the way. I wanted to describe this forest as magical but knew that was absurd. Magic doesn't exist.
"We're nearly there," I was so immersed in the life around me that I had failed to notice Aidan direct his horse to move alongside mine.
"It's beautiful here. I've ne'er seen so much beauty in one place before. It is quite peaceful."
"Aye," Aidan sighed. "It always seems as if I'm walking into a whole different world when I make my way up this mountain. It's like I'm leaving the ordinary plain world behind me and entering into the world of the fae."
"It's lovely, magical even."
"Aye, it tis. Catríona, I thought that I should warn you of something before we make it to Skye."
Glancing over at him, I noticed that he looked almost, embarrassed? No that wasn't quite it. It was more like nervous, apprehensive.
"Aye, what is it?" I couldn't begin to guess what he wanted to say.
"My mother, she will be very happy I am bringing a woman back home with me. Even though marriage tis not the reason I am bringing ye to Skye, she will nae see it this way. My mother is a verra manipulative woman. I love her but she wants me happy and married. She will more than likely see yer presence as an opportunity to scheme. I just wanted to warn ye so that her antics wouldn't confuse or shock ye."
As he was telling me all this my brain couldn't help but imagine what it would be like married to him. Would I have the freedom I desired? Or would it be the same I would experience if my faither had his way and married me off to that English lord? It might be quite nice to be married to this man riding next to me. He was verra handsome and verra brawny. It definitely wouldn't be a huge task to tolerate him. And she could only imagine how it would be to bed him. Aye, she could see herself enjoying married life with this man.
"Och! Stop thinking that was Catríona, it cannae be." She shouted that to herself. She would never marry. Or at least not for a long time. It would take years for this situation with lord Neville to no longer be an issue for her. She would always have that hanging over her head. But she made her choice and she would have to live with it. And odds were, living with this would be much preferred to living with the lord Nicolaus Neville.
"Thank ye verra much fer the warning my laird. It tis good to ken that I willnae be taken by surprise when we reach Skye." It was at moments like this that I am thankful that humans did not have the power to read minds. There was no way I wanted Aidan to ken that I was imagining what bedding him would be like. That would be a disaster.
"Aye well, I am glad we got that o'er with. I wouldn't want my mother to make ye uncomfortable. Ye've been through so much and I want Skye to be a safe place for ye."
"I am sure it will be. I cannae thank ye enough my laird. Thank ye fer giving me a place tae go. There tis no way of kenning where I would be if ye hadn't happened along and made this offer." Odds are I would probably be dead. There was no way I could have gotten Fiona and myself away from those men all on my own. I was strong but I wasn't that strong.
"Och my lady, call me Aidan. There tis no reason fer ye to call me laird. We're friends, call me Aidan.
"Very well Aidan," I sampled it, slowly drawled his name. It felt good on my tongue. I looked over at him. He cut out a very impressive figure, sitting tall and proud atop his black stallion. His eyes met mine. His blue eyes had darkened, barely but it was noticeable. They were a beautiful sight to see, like I was staring at the sky on a clear day.
A shout from one of his men broke the trance we both seemed to have been caught in. I shook myself, trying to calm my suddenly racing heart, I had to appear put together.
"We're almost there. Just through that line of trees lies Skye."
I followed Aidan's line of sight and saw the trees. We were so close. Would Skye be a place of safety? I could only hope, time would tell. Taking a deep breath I nudged Angus forward.
I'm so sorry this took longer than I told you guys. I started this chapter weeks ago and hadn't been able to finish it. I'm struggling big time with writers block for this story. Also I'm in a financial hole so the stress of that has been weighing on me. I am going to try harder to give you guys more regular updates.
I hope you guys enjoy this chapter.
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The Runaway BrideHistorical Fiction
Catrìona Adair is not your traditional damsel in distress. She is a fighter and has never needed or even wanted a man to protect her. She is independent, a spitfire, and refuses to take no for an answer. She also refuses to be placed underneath a ma...