So Flash Fiction #3: Illusions of Truth, which kicked off the medieval series, is a bit shorter than the others. That’s because I had about 770 words written and tossed it. I still finished within the hour, but I thought you guys might want to see how close it came to sucking.
I try to post on Facebook when I start writing, so make sure to like Crimson Glass there if you want to know when Flash Fictions are coming.
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” – Jane Austen
As the caravan of horses and carts approached the stone castle, a figure stood at the top of the stone wall, next to the guard house.
“That be yer bride, finally?”
Jason, Laird of Clan Morgan, did not spare his first a glance as he responded shortly, “Aye. If the messenger is to be believed.”
Though a hastily arranged marriage commanded by his king did not sit well with him, Jason knew he could not afford to refuse. One did not go against the Bruce without signing a death warrant for his clan’s future. If his king had a woman in his court he wished to be rid of, Jason would have to do as he was told.
The caravan bringing his future wife numbered only a dozen horses—and most of them, men at arms from the king. Two carts, only one of which was piled to the top.
He surmised his betrothed was the smaller figure in a brown cloak riding behind the more majestically attired couple astride expensive horses. His future wife came from money—why the need to marry her to an inconsequential Highland chief?
“See to Alice, and tell her to make ready for our guests.” Jason looked out over the vista once more before turning and moving towards the stairs. “I must make ready to meet my bride.”
Jason was in the court yard, his aunt at his heels as the riders came across the shallow drawbridge.
“’Tis an insult,” Aunt Tracy muttered as she squared her shoulders. “No settlements. No land. No dowry. We are Morgans—” She closed her mouth when Jason held up a hand.
A man in bright green descended from the horse. “Laird Morgan, I presume?” He bowed, dipping his head only slightly. “Baron Geoffrey Webber.”
“Baron,” Tracy repeated, even as Jason blinked at this title. “You—” Her eyes bulged. “Sassenach!”
“My wife is from the Lowlands,” the baron said, even as his lip curled. “We make our home there part of the year.” He gestured carelessly to the woman who had not even bothered to descend. “My daughter, I assure you, has been raised in Scotland.”
“In the Lowlands,” Tracy muttered. Jason clenched his jaw. His king had neglected to tell him of his bride’s ancestry.
“Elizabeth.” The baron turned, snapping at the figure clothed in brown. “Come. Let us make haste. Your mother and I wish to be in Inverness by night fall.”
“By night—” Jason bit off the protest. They would need to leave within the hour simply to make it there before midnight. “I have no priest—I wrote, but he cannot come until the morrow—”
“We have brought one from the court,” Baron Webber proclaimed. “Elizabeth,” he repeated. But he made no move towards his daughter—the woman was small and riding a horse much too large for her delicate frame. The cloak moved as the woman raised her head, but she was not visible beyond the shadows.
Since it was clear that neither the baron nor his men intended to help her, Jason stepped forward. “My lady,” he murmured, extending his hands.
She turned to him, and he could see her complexion was fair, her hair dark. “My lord.” She put her hand out for his shoulder, and he put his hands around her waist and gently slid her to the ground.
“I thank you,” she said. She turned towards her father who had already strode past Tracy towards the keep, her mother and the priest on their heels. “I must apologize for my father.”
He waited a moment, but she offered nothing more. “Is there some reason for the haste?”
She stepped back from him, and drew the hood from her head. Her hair, a riot of chestnut curls drawn back from her face by a thin gold circlet, fell below her shoulders. “You mean has our king saddled you with a soiled woman?” Her blue eyes held some amusement and she tilted her head to the side. “No. I fear the truth is much worse than that.”
Jason hesitated, a bit undone by her bluntness. “I never—”
“Elizabeth!” came her father’s impatient call.
“I told the king that his favorite courtier had put poison in his tankard,” Elizabeth said. She stepped away from him and gathered her skirts in her hand to ascend the stairs.
“My lady, I am afraid I do not understand—”
“I saw him do so,” Elizabeth continued, “from the safety of my chambers in the castle. Far from the court and the king’s men.” She turned at the entrance to the keep. “