Chapter 1 Runaway Bride
Brinklow Castle, Warwickshire, England
Circa 1119 AD,
Sir William Fitzriley bowed his head covering his face with his hands in mortification as his lady wife announced to the whole congregation assembled at the church that their youngest daughter Lucille was too ill to stand at her wedding to the the Baron of Shropshire.
A nudge on his shoulder reminded him that he was in front of a multitude of people. Raising his head with dignity he turned to the irate young Baron and offered his apologies. Making a promise that he would resolve this problem immediately and the wedding will take place once he has determined her illness was of no consequence.
The tall, young, rather austere Baron nodded his head briefly and marched out of the church followed by his entourage. As soon as they left the church Sir William immediately grabbed the arm of his wife and dragged her back into the castle where he would face his daughter and unleash the wrath of heaven and hell for he knew deep in his heart his daughter was fibbing.
As soon as they reached her chambers he burst into the room but found it to be empty.
Turning to his wife he barked “Where is she?”
Oranya Fitzriley stood calmly behind her husband and shrugged her shoulders “She’s run off”
“Run off! Run off you say?! Where the bloody blazes would she run to?”
His oldest daughter Gertrudis was just behind her parents bouncing a fretting young infant on her arm staring into the room, baffled at her sister’s sudden retreat.
“Did you know she would do this?” Her father’s wrathful gaze was directed at poor Getrudis who trembled slightly at the force in her father’s voice.
“I know nothing of her plans father. She was fine last eve” she replied defensively.
Turning back to his wife “Find her Oranya or there will be hell to pay. That chit better not embarrass me!” Storming out of the room he thundered down to his solar where he hoped he would appease Shropshire while his wife solved the problem.
“Humph! Men! All they do is bark orders and command respect.” Oranya shook her head and walked to the window, staring out at the vast demesne that lay before her. A few miles down the lower Bailey she could see the thick wall of trees that led to the forest.
“Where could she be mother?” Gertrudis asked standing beside her mother as her infant son suckled on his thumb.
“One name: Elenis” her mother sighed turning to the Gertrudis
“Come with me, we shall ride to her hovel perhaps she might know of her sister’s whereabouts."
Elenis Fitzriley paced in front of the hearth cursing in Gaelic as she darted a glance at Caedmon who was enjoying comforting the chit!
Son of a goat! She fumed as she thought of more expletives to hurl at her friend. He seemed to be enjoying rocking her weeping young sister back and forth as the chit repeatedly denounced her marriage to Shropshire.
“ 'Tis a foolish thing you did Lucille, now father will probably bring his army of cutthroats to my door step and throw me into the dungeon like he"s always threatened.” Her voice was calm but laced with irritation.
“I can .....not. Cannot marry..h...him” she hiccuped as she tried to speak. Clearly her tears were not trumped. The distress in her voice was genuine.
“For heaven’s sake Lucille why ever not? There seems nothing wrong with him.” Elenis said resting her hands to her hips she almost spat the words atop her sister’s head. In fact Lucille was lucky the Baron was the handsome son and not gaped tooth father that would have been her husband if destiny had not intervened.
“Take a hold of yourself Elenis your sister’s grief is not to be trifled with.” Caedmon said looking at Elenis arrogantly.
“Just wait until I trifle with you you lout! Let her go!” Elenis stomped to the two seated individuals and pried her sister from Caedmon’s arms.
Holding both of Lucille’s arms “You get back to the castle and marry that decent Baron, get out of this place Lucille, there’s nothing for any of us here.”
“No! I cannot marry him” Lucille replied defiantly. Her tears had ceased but her nose and cheeks were puffy from all off her weeping.
“The match has been planned by our father for the longest time. Our families are allies, would you drag our name into the mud by your defiance?” Elenis tried to reason with her wayward sister.
“Have you not heard what I said” Lucille shrilled.
“I heard that you cannot marry him but you never said you did not want to marry him so what logical excuse do you have this time Lucille?” Elenis stared into her sister’s face seeing that the sudden argument made the twit hesitate.
It was common knowledge that of the three sisters, Lucille was the most innocent and illogical.
“Either one or the other, it is the same thing!” Lucille replied stubbornly.
" Just a few days ago you said he was handsome, decent, a true knight of the realm and you were half in love with him. Now, what on God’s green earth made you change your mind? And did it have to be as dramatic as your wedding day?” Elenis was desperately trying to control the rising energy that was starting to feed her rage.
“I only found out that’s why?” Lucille replied defensively.
“Lucille, what did you find out?” Caedmon stood from his crouched position on the floor, standing to his full height, the small cottage looked more like a shack with his presence.
“It came from your own lips Caedmon” Lucille turned to the hulking giant just behind her.
“What?” Elenis was incredulous ”What did you say?” She was reaching the end of her rope
Caedmon darted a glance to and fro wondering what he could possibly have said to ruin the wedding. Try as he might to recall anything that would have swayed the youngest daughter of the overlord to change her mind. Seeing Elenis stomp toward him he quickly started backing up until his legs connected with the table behind him, for the wrath in her eyes was deadly.
“I don’t recall anything” he said hurriedly raising his hands defensively. He had been the victim of Elenis wrath once and the outcome was not pretty.
“He said Harold cheated in the joust last spring winning the lands adjacent to Shropshire falsely” Lucille replied firmly.
“He said that?!“Elenis bellowed
“I said that?!”
Both Caedmon and Elenis were incredulous for different reasons. Punching Caedmon on the arm Elenis turned back to Lucille and realized that she had to do something or the wrath of her father would not be appeased.
Dragging Lucille by the arm she turned to Caedmon “You come with us!”
The man could only follow as the women mounted a horse and he was left to mount the donkey. Well at least it was better than chasing them on foot.!