Chapter 1

Scarlet stood in the open meadow, her fiery hair billowing about her face in the midday breeze, as her emerald eyes sparkled in the sun. There was no one around for miles and her only friend that day was the warmth of the sun. She closed her eyes and spun in a full circle, arms outstretched.

A rumbling sound made her stop in her tracks. She looked up and opened her eyes, thinking she would see thunderclouds rolling in from the east. Instead what she saw were horses, at least a dozen or two, racing towards her. The steed charging her was as black as midnight, as was the billowing hair of the rider.

Before she was able to run, she was encompassed in a circle of stallions and riders. Her head was hung low, afraid to look upon the face that watched her now. Slowly, ever so slowly, Scarlet raised her head and a gasp caught in her throat. The leader, she guessed, of this band of knights, blankly stared her down with stormy sea-green eyes.

“Good morrow, me lady,” he said through a husky voice.

“What do you want?” she asked defensively.

“A word me lady.”

“Aye, and what might that word be?”

“For ye to tell me if there be a village nearby.”

“’Tis no village, me laird, not for a few miles.”

“Then there be no one to hear you scream!” In one swoop of his arm, the rider picked her up and placed her upon his steed beside himself. As she struggled to free herself, his grip became tighter about her waist.

“Let me go!” Scarlet shouted.

“Nay, I will not!” he boasted.

“I swear to you, me Papa will find me and when he does, you’ll all be killed!”

“I hardly doubt that, me lady.” He looked down at her as they rode across the meadow and through the forest to the east.

“Why do you say such things?! You know ye cannot win!” She struggled once again to break herself free.

“But, me lady, I already have,” the rider said with a coy smile.

The rider, Algernon, held her about the waist with one hand while holding the reins with the other. Twas impossible for her to fight him and he knew it. He was amazed at himself for the choice he had made. It was not very often for a Scottish warrior to take a maiden from her home unless he won the lands under siege. His horse slowed to a trot, as did the horses behind him, as they entered a clearing. Algernon could see how feisty Scarlet was, so his arm remained secure around her waist even when the steeds were stopped to rest.

“We shall stop here for the remainder of the day. ‘Tis the best place to set up camp for the night. On the morrow we will head for the mountains,” Algernon said, pointing to the east.

“Ye will not get away with this!” Scarlet said, challenging him with a defiant stare into his blue-green eyes.

“But me darlin’,” he answered, a sly smile on his face, “’tis like I said before, I already have!”

 continue to chapter 2