#MedievalMonday2016, How to Travel Safely from The Saint by Cathy MacRae
Please welcome Cathy MacRae to give us an interesting lesson on how to travel safely in the middle ages.
“You will ride with us,” Geoffrey informed her, changing his mind once again. Simon and Walter gave him startled looks and his neck warmed. “The Church teaches us to care for women and children,” he reminded them. He returned Marsaili’s furious stare. “And those unable to fend for themselves. ’Tis not safe for you to travel alone, and you will be under our protection until your journey ends or you are passed on to another for safe-keeping.”
“Here’s a miracle for yer impending sainthood, Lord de Wylde! ’Tis a miracle no one has kilt ye out of a fit of total aggravation for yer interfering ways. I told ye I dinnae need yer care, and I meant it!”
“I heard you, and you do,” Geoffrey intoned evenly, reining in his building annoyance with supreme effort. Never had anyone—much less a woman—gainsaid him as this woman did. “I am used to having my orders followed to the letter, so let me speak plainly. You will ride with us until we reach my estate at Galewood, which is not far from the Scottish border. At that time, escort will be arranged for you that will take you to your destination. No other options, opinions or attempts to sway a change in my order will be entertained.”
He paused, waiting for the woman to explode. Her cheeks flamed, her neck arched, and sparks flew from her clear blue eyes. Impressive! The only drawback was the thinning of her full lips, marring their lush perfection. And, of course, ’twas now likely she had a full arsenal of vindictive words ready to hurl at him.
“Do I make myself clear?” he asked, forestalling her tirade.
“Ye amadan!” she hissed. “Ye dinnae care what damage ye cause. I have reason to not ride with ye, or any man. I willnae have my journey impeded by such as ye.”
“Such as me?” he returned, curious as to what specific fault she found with him.
She waved an arm in the air, encompassing everyone in the room. “Ye have two horses where four would give better service pulling that wagon. Yer driver is elderly and likely not capable of demanding the best of what nags he has. And two men are an impressively small guard for a landed English lord.” She cast a look at their booted feet. “And, ’twere it not for the gold spurs ye wear, I’d find myself wondering at their abilities.”
Stung, Walter rose to his full height. “The three of us are completely formidable, milady,” he informed her, his voice rising with each word.
“Everyone knows the might of The Wolfe rides at our back,” Simon added with a nonchalant shrug. “It has been quite some time since anyone was foolish enough to challenge us.”
Marsaili drew back, a chill coursing up her spine at the thought of these men aligned with the formidable baron, Lord William de Wolfe, the king’s champion.
She suppressed a shudder. “Nevertheless, there are but two of ye now, unless milord fights from his chair. Though he has a commanding presence, I have yet to see him without his cane.”
“Despite our grievous faults, the fact remains you are safer with us than without us,” Geoffrey clipped. “Make yourself presentable and begin your sojourn with our lackluster party by helping with a few of the chores. We will bide the night here and leave at first light.”
Following in the footsteps of his uncle, the famous Lord William de Wolfe, Geoffrey de Wylde was counted among the greatest knights England had ever known. Revered for his justness and strict adherence to the chivalric code, he was known as The Saint.
Fleeing the unwanted attentions of her late husband’s brother, Marsaili de Ville runs headlong into the path of The Saint. She wants nothing more than to reach the safety of her family’s home in Scotland before Edmund de Ville’s henchmen capture her, but Geoffrey de Wylde insists on becoming her protector, slowing her flight and putting her unknowingly at risk.
As her past catches up with her, Marsaili will find more than a safe haven in The Saint’s arms. And Geoffrey de Wylde will discover his code does not tell him what to do with a woman who has been accused of murder, yet has captured his heart.