Authors: Felicia Rogers
y Felicia Rogers
Published by Astraea Press
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO
Copyright Â© 2011 FELICIA ROGERS
Cover Art Designed b
y Elaina Lee
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:21 or Luke 12:34
stood behind the chair,
fingers drumming upon the wood.
“Do you have news to report?”
“I'm afraid so, my lord
, eyes shifting
“What is th
I am but the messenger.”
“Of course, I understand.
Now get on with it. G
news of my brother.
Was he successful?”
trembled as he
“Nay?” Wilt widened
caused sweat to bead
on his brow.
he waited for more.
The mistress of Greenbriar wasn't to his
arms into the air
, stomping his feet
ands flipped t
decanters full of whiskey against the wall.
k trailed down
silently on the white
yes narrowed in
tiny slits as he saw t
At least someone recognized
tirade passed, Wilt jerked his
down, placed thumbs
his ribcage and asked the servant to continue with
the servant began again
with a trembling
“Your brother returned home and, well, heâ¦”
Let me g
pent the whole week in
room weeping like a child!
Our family is in ruins.
Our wealth completely disappeared because of his âhabits
ur one chance to rectify the situation and he finds the bride unsatisfactory.”
Taking a deep breath
to calm his wildly beating heart
stared at the servant.
“You will travel to see my brother.
You will tell him he
go back and marry the mistress, claim the land
for his own, and
I don't care whether the woman is to his liking or not!
I will not lose everything because my brother is unwilling to experience the least amount of discomfort!”
The servant shuffled his feet.
“Do stop your fidgeting
and do as I say!”
“What is it now?”
“I am afraidâ
What is it?
Come out with it then?”
“I'm afraid your brother is dead
knelt awaiting the announcement of
the English king
Some would say this was an unusual position for a Scot, but others would take th
opportunity to remind the uninformed
wasn't truly a Scot.
In his experience
those people on his heritage
explaining the situation
did little good.
It was best to stay focused on the here and now, like
not the sounds of a crowd snickering at
These wayward thoughts ended when the sound of the young
“Cedric MacNeil of Scotland, it is an honor to have you in my court
His eyes shifted
around and notic
how the King's minions
their heads in agreement.
“You came to this court and offered your sword as a service to the English crown.
In the beginning, it was
opinion perhaps you should be denied this privilege.
But, after much thought and consideration the opportunity was extended to you
ot because of you, of course, but because of your mother, Elinor.
Father was fond of her.
She was a
of his court and held a prominent position in our English society.”
Heads around the room nod
, as the King
“I can also say
agreeing to send you
to compete in the tourney
on behalf of my crown has brought me much reward.”
the King paused and beckoned a
unintelligible words, causing
“In order to reward you
as you have rewarded this court with your service, I wish to offer you not only the gold you
earned, but also a worthy piece of land.”
At the word
Cedric's head popped up.
The faces around the room
The King motioned his secretary forward.
In a businesslike fashion, the
the dimensions of the land
t the end,
added one more detail. “
n order to secure the
as your own
, there is
Cedric stared at
shiny floor, which reflected back to him his expressions of honest interest.
In order to a
quire this piece of property permanent
ou must marry the previous land owner's daughter.”
the whole court burst out in
ing dismissed everyone in the room,
leaving in a flurry of robes
On bended knee
alone in the vast room wondering about his future.
What could have been so amusing to the crowd?
after his experiences in the King's court
covered hill with the wind sweeping behind him, star
at the castle
nestled in the valley below.
This was to be home?
It was not the Scottish highlands with purple fields of heather
envisioned at night.
But it was close enough.
in fact, nearby Scottish clans had been known to kidnap local village wenches, as well as plunder the sheep from the surrounding hillsides.
one of the reasons the King had graced a Scot with a chance at claiming this particular parcel.
Cedric surveyed all before him
heart was coming to pass.
this would be
Land to call his own.
Land to grow crops.
Land to raise sheep.
Land to raise a family.
After the King's pronouncement,
d not been the first choice for Lord of Greenbriar.
In truth, he
d not been the second or third choice either.
From rumors passed in the King's court
learned many individuals of noble quality and birth had been chosen as potential
of this fair
Many had traveled far and wide to claim their prize, but none had succeeded.
It was said some had taken one look at the main hall falling in on itself
spoken with the mistress of the keep
tailed it back to the city with
out elaborating on an
for their return
refusing the land offered. Some came with
the repairs needed required funds beyond their means. Others returned with
reasons such as
that denied them the ability to
this specific parcel and its inhabitants.
Rumors abounded as to the “real” reason these nobles had departed the grounds.
But no facts seemed to be had.
assumed some of the English
had come north to the border castle were
terrified of the local Scots liv
he investigated the rumors
heard such tidbits of information
“the castle was in complete disarray
with mention of everything
from sagging walls to crumbing village homes. He
d also heard spirits frequented the castle even in the daylight hours, and anyone
stayed longer than a fortnight was struck with a disease of the bowels.
One of the most interesting rumors overheard was
the mistress of the keep
said to be
an ugly, witchy character
wielded a tongue of fire.
In his opinion
Scots would be easy enough to control once they learned of
the new Lord's
s soon as Cedric took control
the rowdy neighboring Scots would step back
t least that was
The castle walls and sagging village huts could easily be repaired
with hard work and time
were not a concern, since they didn't exist
prepare his own food
or keep a close eye on
was to be
to keep his bowels in check.
left only one concern
worse than constant dripping, or so he
worried about his future
deter his goal.
ather only lived a short time.
clan to erupt.
They refused to have a
and an Englishman rule.
Rather than fight to hold only a tenuous grasp on his land
and perhaps destroy
is own family from within,
voluntarily handed control to his uncle and headed to court to serve the English King.
chance at redemption.
here was no way he would give up
land; and no ugly, witchy woman would stand in
Scanning the road, Cedric thought he saw what he was looking for.
Indeed, he had.
armth filled his hea
Cedric approached the castle.
Stopping in the nearby
he drawbridge was down
villagers to come and go freely.
ith just his sporran, claymore, and the
he felt exposed
The few gold pieces sewn into his kilt were the only other items carried
All else had been left behind.
He preferred to live off the land
What else did
not purchased a horse
no reason to hasten his arrival, nor did he wish to feed the beast.
needed the extra time foot travel provided
a strategy for conquering this foe.
Without knowing her name or what she looked like, how was Cedric to find the woman he sought? The King's court said the mistress was young but old. Beautiful, yet wrinkled and witchy. No two descriptions ever matched.
On the long walk from court to Greenbriar land, Cedric rolled many options about in his mind. Of course he'd considered the direct approach. Introduce himself as a suitor and attempt to gain the lady of Greenbriar's favor in a forthright manner.
The idea of taking the castle by force had also crossed Cedric's mind. The act of doing this would make him no better off than if
stayed on MacNeil land.
No, he needed a plan. Something sneaky and well thought out. The
of asking the villagers where to find the mistress was another option. Perhaps he would see this lady of Greenbriar without revealing himself and then decide whether pursuing her favor was worth the effort.
As Cedric waited
there was a sound of movement behind him. Within seconds Cedric held the intruder against the tree
a dagger to his throat.
“Calm yeself me Lord, it is I.”
Cedric released the servant and backed away. They grasped hands in greeting and Cedric said, “Thank ye
Barney nodded. “I left Duncan and the others in town just like ye said and I'm here to do yer bidding.”
“Good. Now let's discuss what I need ye to do.”
As much as he tried to convince himself this would be an easy task, he knew otherwise.
Others had attempted to conquer this
languidly stretch in bed.
Looking around the unadorned room,
happy and content
bed filled most of the room.
Up against the wal
Its wood shone bright as the sunshine peeped through the wooden
Sadness threatened to engulf
other's passing when Sarra was a wee child had been a major factor in who she'd become.
She should be grateful.
a lot to be thankful for.
a review of blessings was
had been tilled and planted.
wardrobe was filled with
if there was ever an occasion to
adorn herself in
Everyone in the
beyond a shadow of a doubt
this was the most
comfortable mattress in all of England.
Oh, there were other things to be thankful for
With spirits lift
threw back the coverlet, hesitating a moment before placing her feet on the cold
The maid had yet to stoke the fire and the room had grown cold during the night.
Although spring was ending and summer was well on its way, the nights in the keep continued to remain cool.
and dressing gown
stoked the fire.
She used the water left
over from the night before to wash the sleep from
Bristling when the cold water touched
he dressed hurriedly, eager to start another day as Lord â no, Lady of the castle.
down the stairs in a childlike manner,
surveyed the castle in her charge
it remained so
A smile spread wide across her face at
all she saw.
The rushes along the floor were fresh and clean.
of fresh baked bread
emanating from the kitchen
caused her mouth to
. This was home.
took a moment to reflect.
ather had passed two years ago
leaving no sons to replace him.
she had acc
ted the challenge of running the keep.
In the beginning
respect of those in her care
had not come easily
Proof of Sarra's abilities was
in every area.
The knights respected her only after seeing her ability with a blade
which admittedly was limited.
ook gave respect only after
he understood Sarra was
The parson ignored her
because of the issue of gender
As a woman, she held no sway in religious matters.
Since she took no time to change his mind in this area and
. From him, this was enough.
Each individual in the castle required a different or unique approach to convince him or her
was capable of taking care of most situations, either on her own or with the help of others.
In the end, each person just wanted to know their place was secure, and she wouldn't attempt to usurp what little authority they had.
Of course, Sarra's
ways had helped immensely.
d never been one to put on airs or to succumb to behaving better than the others.
the villagers most days
from adorning herself as royalty.
she woke early
, commanded the household as need be, and let those with more knowledge put it to use
. She worked alongside everyone in the keep
Everyone was on a
They were family.
Taking over the castle, while not easy, had given her a purpose
It had been something
er father's sudden death had
dealt a crushing blow to
But as she settled into
new routine, the precariousness of
came to light
She was in truth not the “heir” to the castle.
Since her father had no sons
the king could pick a new lord for the castle
at any time.
Sarra would be expected to marry this Lord with
say in the matter.
After the passing
to inform the king
was no longer around to show fealty to him.
After several months passed and visitors and passer
looking to visit with the
be discovered and thought to be a hidden plot of a nefarious nature, she
sent a letter with a trusted servant to the King.
had an idea what response the King would inflict.
Her estimation had
the King knew of her father's demise,
would never be left alone as the new
over the castle
ut she had a plan.
carried out successfully
almost a year
and currently it
all potential lords away from the castle
and the lady within
But how much longer
Sighing to herself,
continued on to the garden.
With Charism's help she
d been learning more about herbs
but not enough to use them alone without killing someone.
she knew just enough to make a few annoying people very, very sick.
Even without the healing knowledge of Charism,
servant and trusted friend, the garden brought solace when none was to be had.
pulling made the time she spent in the garden practical as well as comforting.
she was quite adept at finding weeds.
of the garden
she was waylaid by one of the castle's knights.
“Mistress, I have news.”
as he stood before her
The young man
was short with brown
beady eyes level with Sarra's own.
Currently his helm was pressed under
his arm as he addressed her
with a frown
didn't speak further but
continued to shift from side to side
She was fast becoming exasperated with the
but remained silent and pretended patien
while waiting for Gavin to continue with his urgent news.
When he failed to
began to wonder if there was
unknown knightly code where the lady had to respond before a knight could continue with speech
she would comply
At her voice
Gavin opened his mouth.
y Lady, Sir Henry requests your presence on the battlements.”
perplexed by the request
Of course, at various times during her twenty years of life, she
away and walked the battlements
of Greenbriar's daughter
removed from the area for fear of danger and told never to return.
woman did not belong
in such places
But never in memory had she been “requested” to come to the area.
Again Gavin resumed
his fidgeting motion
making Sarra wonder if
had gotten into some itching potion belonging to Charism.
“Aye, my lady.
Sir Henry requiresâthat is requests
It seems to be of some urgency.”
“Oh, very well.”
headed to the stairs leading to the small walkway around the castle walls.
approached the top step
she spotted Sir Henry
toward one of the distant hills beyond the wall.
eyes indicated for fear of losing her footing on the stairs and plunging to an untimely death.