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The Castle! She had finally made it! She was already through the gates of the outer wall, but it had taken her considerable time and persuasiveness to get past the nervous guards. Her lover Percival was Lord over several castles and she had never been to this castle. The guards therefore did know her name but not her appearance. It was a miracle that she had made it up to the castle in the first place and she had often thought of her servant who had offered to accompany her.
It had started at 50 miles or so from the Castle. Maybe even more! Thousands of people fleeing the area towards the South and the West. Closer to the castle she had seen men, dead or badly wounded, lying in fields and besides the road. Some women trying to take care of the wounded, but there had been more work than they could manage. The stench had been horrendous!! This was not “some violence going on”. This was war!
She considered herself fortunate that Agnes had given her clothes. Not lady’s clothes, but clothes of the wife of a gentleman farmer. Her own clothes were torn when she fell of her horse. This way she drew less attention, although a woman on a horse never could pass without some attention. In normal days she had liked that in some occasions, but now she could very well do without it!
Ralph had handed her a floret and a flintlock pistol for her protection. The pistol had been untouched, but she had used the floret frequently, to fence of the wounded men that were near starvation. At first, she had stopped trying to help such a wounded man but, when his comrades got close and aggressive she had had to pierce one in the leg. No stopping after that!
All in all, it had taken her more than a fortnight to reach the castle. It was a two days ride to the castle, three at the most. She had spent three days on and of in unconsciousness and stayed a bit longer at the farm to recover. This recovery though had taken her longer than necessary. She had lingered because she was intrigued by that huge gentleman farmer. Ralph was a man of very few words, but the words he said were kind and meaningful. He had been away a lot, working, but when he was around he had shown full attention to his children and to her as well. Before this period of absence Percival had been in her presence a lot. He had always been busy doing business though.
After a few days she had raised enough courage to ask if there was a woman in Ralph’s life. He had looked at her with his bright eyes for a long time and then had said: “After Lily gave me Vera and Robert, she gave me Miranda, but died doing so.” She had felt so embarrassed! Later Agnes told her he had grieved over Lily a lot but than had left for the North because his Lord had demanded so. He had come back wounded badly in his face.
Felicia had wondered what would have been if Ralph had had similar pedigree and they had met earlier. But this thought had once again disturbed her, and she had made for her lover abruptly. Now she was at the castle. Although it was a sunny day the sky was darkened by smoke and she could hear guns and sabre rattling nearby. Oh my, how worried she was now! How she wished to see her Percival and feel his strong arms around her!
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