The Voyage

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Chapter 3

Life flew by for me after that day in the barn. The castle was abuzz with news of my upcoming wedding. I feared what Calum must be thinking. I had yet been able to escape the castle and return to him since that day; we shared a kiss. That kiss had haunted my nights. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw it and felt it. My body tingled for more to explore him more, and now I fear that it will never happen.

My father was very excited about the arranged marriage that he orchestrated. The Greum Clan was very well-known and respected. Our marriage would ensure the future of both of our Clans and the continuation of partnership amongst the land. With it only being a week since my nineteenth birthday, I had to admit I was surprised by how much my father had accomplished. The Greum Clan were on their way to the castle and would arrive tomorrow evening. Three nights from now, I was set to be wed, in what must have been one of the quickest weddings yet. The only say I’ve had so far was my dress. I was making my way to speak with my father now in hopes of coming to an understanding. I knew this meant a great deal to him, but I feared what my future would hold. Marriage was a sacred act, one that should be shared between a man and a woman that loved each other. I needed to speak with my father and see how far he was willing to take this wedding if Dougal and myself were not compatible.

I easily found my father within his chambers at his desk. I knew he was a busy man with Clan business and now my wedding arrangements. I was hoping he would have a few moments where we could speak. I desperately needed to know what lay ahead of me.

“My beautiful daughter, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?” My father asked with a warm smile.

It was one thing I loved most about him. No matter what he was doing, he always greeted me as if he had not seen me in years.

“I was hoping you had a few moments to speak with me regarding the wedding Father.”

“I always have the time for you.”

My father came over to me and pulled me in for a hug before he guided me over to the chairs he had.

“Now, tell me what is troubling your mind.”

“I fear what will happen if Mister Dougal and I are not right for each other. What if I cannot come to love him? What if he does not treat me well?”

I didn’t bother to hide my concerns at all from my voice. My father needed to hear how worried I was about all of this. He needed to listen to my fears.

“My dear, matters of the heart are complex to even the brightest of men. When I first laid eyes upon your mother, I knew within my heart that she would be the only woman for me. And she felt the same. Marriage is a sacred vow you pledge to your husband and God; it is not something that should be taken lightly or with lies in your heart. All I ask is that you give Mister Dougal a chance, if he is not the man for you, then ok. I will not force this upon you. You are my only child, my daughter; I will not see you unhappy.”

I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders, hearing my father’s words. It was a great relief to me to know that I at least have the chance to say no to marrying Dougal. It was not that I expected him to be a bad man; it was that my heart might already belong to another.

“But what will Mister Greum do if we do not wed?”

The very last thing I wanted was to cause future problems between the Clans. I could not put my people at risk of possible war.

“I will handle Mick should that happen. I do not wish for you to worry over it. This marriage would ensure a great deal for the future; however, it is not worth your happiness. You are my only child, and I will not fail you. I fear I may have already.” My father said with a slightly sad tone.

“Never, Father. How could you think such a thing?”

My father had always been there for me. Most lassies spent their free time with their mother or the older women within the castle. I was expected to cook and clean and learn how to be a proper lady. I did do all of those things; however, my father also spent a great deal of time with me. He taught me things most women never learn, like swordsmanship and how to throw a proper punch. He always wanted to ensure that I was capable of defending myself should the worst happen. It was unusual, and had my father not been a Lord to this land; it would have been looked down upon. However, my father was determined to ensure my life would be safe, whether I was with someone or not.

“A proper lady does not speak the way you do. And she most certainly does not wield a sword such as yourself. I fear no man will tolerate his wife to be strong like I have raised you to be. The fault is mine. I did not wish to lose you to any threat. I wanted you to be strong should you need to be in my absence.”

I could hear a great deal of guilt within his voice. I could understand why he had guilt. Most fathers would not have taught me what he has. They would have ensured I stayed with the other women and learnt my place. The way my father was with me was one of the reasons I loved him so much.

“I would not change a single moment. I love that you have taught me how to be strong and brave. I will find a man father that loves me for it and not despite it. You have not failed me, you never have, and I doubt that you ever will.” I gave him a warm smile, hoping he understood how much I loved him.

“All I ask is that you meet with Dougal and speak with him. If he is not the one for you, then we will call off this circus.” My father said with a big smile.

I could not help but think about how we would not need to cancel it, just change the groom. I kept that thought to myself.

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