Bored and frustrated, she decided to take one of the horses out for a ride. Twas a gorgeous day - crisp and sunny with a light breeze. She inhaled the fresh air with pleasure, day dreaming as she leisurely made her way across the property atop one of her favorite chestnut geldings. She had crossed the pond when the sudden clash of swords and a loud swear cut into her thoughts. Quickly nudging her mount in the direction of the noise, she paused when she reached the glen, her heart racing as she took in the intense scene in the distance.
One of the men, it appeared to be Garrick of Balthar, was standing over another man who lay splayed at his feet, his sword threateningly held at his throat. The fallen man grumbled something and held up his arms in surrender, but Garrick did not relent. In fact, he put a foot to the man’s chest and raised his sword as if he was going to do serious bodily injury to him!
Absolutely appalled and terrified by the obvious brutality, Arianna raced her way over and leapt from her horse, running toward them.
“Garrick of Balthar cease!” she cried with authority, rushing to block his great sword. “What, pray tell, do you think you are doing?” she demanded wide eyed, and then turned her attention to the downed man. “Let me help—Alaric?!” she gasped, shocked and immediately concerned. “What happened?”
Alaric shied from her helping hand and angrily tore into her. “What is the matter with you?!” he barked incredulously, his eyes blazing silver. “Is naught a thought in your little head?” He pushed himself to standing and bent to retrieve his sword, which lay well within reach at his side.
Confused by his lack of gratitude or fear, Arianna took a broader look at the full scene before her with growing embarrassment. Garrick was now standing with his sword harmlessly at his side, a mix of complete bafflement and humor on his face. Weapons were strewn about the glen and a heretofore unnoticed group of men were hunkered down by the trees, obviously watching the “fight” she had interrupted.
A slow tingling burn crept up her neck and face. “You were training—”
Eyes sharp as glass whipped to her, effectively cutting her off. “How observant,” he stated sarcastically. “Next time, you might notice that before you insert yourself where you are not needed, or welcome.”
His attention returned to his men who were now openly smiling and chuckling at his “rescue” by naught but a girl. He would never live this down. “Let us start again. Hedrig, tis your turn.”
He spared her one last glance, making a mock bow, “If you would not mind, M’Lady.”
Arianna heard the jeers and mockery follow her as she remounted and got out of there in a rush. She was absolutely mortified. How could she have been so silly and stupid? She wondered how many men had seen her ridiculous display. She prayed twas only the closest few.
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