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Authors: Kathryn Le Veque

The Wolfe

BOOK: The Wolfe
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The Wolfe

 

An Epic Medieval Romance
Novel

 

By Kathryn Le Veque

 

Author’s Note:

 

Another Epic that has taken years for it
to see the light of day. Get ready for a nice, long read that is sure to blow
your socks off.

 

Welcome to the very first “serious” Medieval
Romance I ever wrote. This was after years and years of writing long-hand on
spiral-bound notebooks, plotting out storylines and getting a grasp of writing
as more than just a hobby.  I finally purchased a second-hand computer and
actually typed out my first story – this one.  This is the novel that started
it all.

 

Along with The Dark One: Dark Knight and
Rise of the Defender, The Wolfe is extremely long and only survived from those early
days in hard copy format.  A very old and degraded manuscript was scanned and
retyped by a wonderful woman who painstakingly pieced it together, page by
page.  It was a big project, no doubt. Kris Newberger, you are a jewel!

 

Once again, I have refrained from any
heavy rewriting, instead choosing to present William and Jordan’s story as it
was originally intended. I mentioned that it’s my first attempt at writing but
I didn’t want to re-vamp it too much. I kind of like the ‘style’. I hope you
like it, too. William de Wolfe was my first true love.  He embodies everything
a knight should be.

 

I’m so, so happy to be able to publish
this. I really never thought it would happen. Welcome to the untamed borders of
Scotland and the tale of the English knight they call The Wolf….

 

 

 

Part 1:  The Wilds of
the North

Part 2:  London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1:

 

The Wilds of the North

 

There upon a midnight
blue

The knights went riding
two by two

Out upon the moonlit
moors

Death consumed them, brought
by war

Into their midst, a
phantom came

Known by heart, this
gentle rain

A lady’s name…

A river, she was called

Loved and cherished, one
and all

This lady known to
knights so bold

This is now the story
told.

     ~     Prelude to
The Wolfe

           

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

The month of December

Year of our Lord 1231

Skirmish of Bog Wood
near Blackadder Water, the England/Scotland border

 

 

“By everything that is
holy, I do hate a battle.”

A soft female sigh
filled the damp, cool air. The reply was harsh.

“So help me, Caladora,
if ye faint again I shall take a stick to ye.”

Five women stood high
atop a hill, looking down upon a grisly scene far below in what was once a
peaceful and serene valley. Where lavender heather used to wash amidst the lush
green there were now broken, bloody corpses, the result of a fight that had
lasted for a day and a night. Now, everything was eerily still with only the
occasional cries of the dying. No more sounds of swords; only the sounds of
death.

The sun was beginning to
set over the distant hills, casting the valley in a shadowed light. To the
women waiting on the high hill, it looked as if Hell itself was setting in to
begin claiming its souls. It was ended, this battle; one battle in a mightier
war that had been going on for as long as anyone could remember. The war for
the Scots border.

The Lady Jordan Scott
waited with her aunts and cousins, waiting for the signal from her father that
would send them down into the valley to begin assessing their own wounded and
making sure any enemy wounded were sent into the netherworld. She hated it; all
of it. She hated seeing good men die, watching their life blood drain away and
listening to their pleas for help. She hated the bloody English for causing all
of this blessed pain and suffering because they believed themselves the
superior race. All Scots were wild men in their eyes, unthinking and unfeeling,
and somehow the English felt compelled to act as their cage-keeper.

But Jordan was anything
but wild and unthinking. She had a heart and a mind and soul, sometimes softer
than her clansmen would have liked. As the sun continued to set she pulled the
hood of her woolen cloak closer, staving off the chill and the gloom.  Just
when the wait seemed excessive, a shout from one of her father’s men released
the dam of women who now poured down into the valley.   As the dusk deepened,
the hunt began.

Jordan was one of the
last one into the valley, dragging her feet even when her aunts cast her
threatening glares. She ignored them.  In fact, she moved away from them so
they would not watch every move she made, removing her hood and picking her
targets among the dead.

Her long, honey-colored
hair hung loose about her as she bent over a young man and began to tug on a gold
signet ring. It seemed to be securely stuck to his finger and she swallowed
hard; her father would expect her to take out her dirk and cut off the finger,
throwing the whole thing into her basket.

She wrinkled her nose at
that prospect and let the dead hand fall back to the ground. She was not going
to cut off the finger no matter what her father said. She didn’t have the
stomach for it. But the man at her feet suddenly groaned and Jordan startled
with fear; without hesitation, she yanked her dirk from its sheath at her
forearm plunged the blade deep into his soft neck. The man stilled, silenced
forever by the cold steel of her knife.

Gasping with shock,
Jordan stared down at the man and could scarcely believe what she had done. She
didn’t know why she had done it, only that she had been terrified and afraid if
she didn’t kill the man that he would rise up and kill her. Her breath came in
short, horrified pants as she stared down at her kill.
Sweet Jesu’
, had
she deteriorated to such a scared rabbit that she would kill before thinking?

In disgust she threw
down her dirk and stumbled away from the dead man, wondering if indeed her
father’s warring ways were claiming her. Already, she had to get away from the
destruction and clear her thoughts. She didn’t care if her family thought she
was weak. They had tried to toughen her up, to make her strong and fearless,
but she didn’t have it in her. She was sweet and nurturing, kind and gentle. There
were those better suited to tend those on the battlefield and cut fingers off
for the gold they wore; she was going to find a place to hide and wait until
the hunting and killing was over.

Glancing over her
shoulder to see if she was being watched, Jordan wandered away from the field
of destruction and into a small valley. Nestled at the bottom among a few
scrawny trees was a small stream, the water glistening silver in the moonlight.

It was peaceful and calm,
and she could feel her composure returning. She knelt by the stream and washed
her hands as if cleansing away the confusion and revulsion she felt. She knew
she was a disappointment to her father on two accounts: not being born male,
and not being able to sufficiently deal with the normal aspects of being a
daughter of one of the fiercest war lords on the Scottish border. Although her
father loved her dearly and never made her feel anything less, she knew deep
down he wished she were stronger. Sometimes she wished it, too.

Her father did not
pretend that he always understood his only child, especially where her loves
for music and animals were concerned. Jordan could sing like an angel and could
dance a Scottish jig like the devil himself, accomplishments for which he was
enormously proud, but sometimes he just could not comprehend the female mind.
He was a warrior, a baron by title, and his world was one of death and
fighting, not the gentle world where his daughter dwelled.

Still, he would not be
pleased if he found out she had run off like a scared goat and sought refuge
this night. Jordan found a large boulder by the creek and sat on its icy
surface, watching the water bubble in the moonlight and wondering why she
wasn’t like the rest of her female kin, bold and fearless. Above her, a
nighthawk rode the drafts, crying out to its mate and she watched it for a
moment before returning moodily to the stream.

“If you are thinking of
drowning yourself, ‘tis a bit shallow.”

The voice came from the
darkness behind her. Jordan leapt off the rock, terrified as she whirled to
face her accoster. She could make out a form of a man lying at the base of one
of the bushy trees but could not make out much more in the darkness.

Panic rose in her throat
and she realized with deep regret that she had left her dirk back on the battle
field. She could scream, but he appeared to be large and would most likely
pounce and slit her throat before she could utter a sound. She froze, unsure of
what to do next. She certainly did not want to provoke the man with the
decidedly English accent.

“What…what do ye want?”
she demanded shakily.

The moon emerged from
behind the clouds, revealing the landscape in bright silver light. Jordan could
see right away the man was gravely injured, as there was a great deal of dark
blood covering his legs and the ground beneath him. It didn’t take her long to
figure out that he was unable to rise much less attack her. Her courage surged
and she was sure she could run back and retrieve her dirk before he could move
upon her, the damnable English devil. She would do to him exactly what he would
do to her given half a chance.

But on the heels of that
thought came another. Jordan’s blood ran cold with abhorrence; she had just
killed one man and punished herself endlessly for it. Now she was planning the
death of another. More of her father’s violent influence was a part of her than
she cared to admit. Perhaps this wounded man was innocent of any killing at
all, she thought naïvely. Mayhap he was a victim of the situation, forced to
fight by the hated English king. Perhaps he didn’t want to fight at all and then
found himself a casualty.

Jordan forced herself to
calm, realizing that the man could not hurt her. She took a step to get a
better look at him yet still kept a healthy distance between them.

“Speak up,” she told
him, feeling braver. “What are ye doing here? What do ye want?”

She heard the man sigh. “What
do I want?” he repeated wearily. “I want to return home. But what I want and
what will be are two entirely different things all together. What do you intend
to do with me?”

Jordan eyed him beneath
the silver moonlight. “I intend to do nothing with ye,” she replied softly. I
dunna need to. From the looks of that wound, ye will be dead by morn.”

The man laid his head
back against the tree in a defeated gesture. “Mayhap,” he said, eyeing her in
the darkness just as she was eyeing him. “Will you tell me something?”

“What?”

“What is your name?”

She saw no harm in
giving her name to a dying man. “Jordan.”

His head came up from
the trunk. “Jordan? A sound name. Yet it is usually a man’s name.”

Jordan moved a few steps
closer. “My mother, being a pious woman, named me for the River Jordan,” she
replied. “Jordan Mary Joseph is my full name. Moreover, I was intended to be a
male child.”

The man’s eyes grew intense
and Jordan felt a shiver run down her spine. It struck her just how handsome he
was, English or no, and her cheeks grew warm.

BOOK: The Wolfe
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