The Black Wolf looked the girls over carefully.
“Where did you get them?” he asked his brother.
“Right at the market in Deliburgh. The Earl of Maltonrose went straight there with a group of his men to meet with them. we saw him,” replied Lord Lance.
“So he had them hidden away in the covenant there?” noted the Black Wolf.
“What better place is there when you are at war?” replied his brother.
The Black Wolf nodded.
“Isn’t one of them supposed to be ugly or something?” asked the Black Wolf.
“Apparently the rumors are wrong,” replied his brother.
The two brothers stood together looking at the girls while the other two knights stood quietly to one side, very respectful of their lineage Lord. The Duke of Claymore was two years older than his only surviving younger brother, the only relative he had left. The two looked a lot alike, both were hard muscled big men with natural fighting skills that stood them out as exceptional warriors but very few men could ever match the Duke in combat, which was why he was the champion and topmost General of the King of England, the Black Wolf.
People were terrified of the Black Wolf but Lord Lance Westwoodmond worshiped his elder brother and would do anything for him.
The Black Wolf eyed the two nuns with satisfaction.
Jennifer was transfixed with fear but fought hard to control it because Emma was clinging desperately to her almost weeping in her. She had to be strong for both of them. Jennifer knew exactly what had happened to her and her sister, knew exactly where she was. They had somehow been kidnapped by men of the English Army and brought to their camp. They had been brought directly before the commander of the English Army and he was none other than the Black Wolf, the Spawn of the Devil, the curse of Scotland. The black coat of arms with the head of a snarling world on the golden walls of the large tent confirmed it and the golden spurs on the boots of the men around him confirmed it too, everyone knew about the Black Wolf and the famous Knights of the Golden Spurs who guarded.
But a lot of things were not right. According to her father, the Black Wolf was practically Satan himself and so he was supposed to be coal black all over and ugly with forked hands and two horns. A devil who, legend had it, ate babies for breakfast. But all that Jennifer could see was a normal man. A very normal man speaking to another.
Jennifer saw the way the Black Wolf was watching her with a scornful smile and she suddenly felt resent well up within her. She also realized that a high-born Scots woman had no business groveling before English folk, however terrible they might be.
Jennifer got to her feet carefully and, pulling herself to her full height, stood to face the two men. The veil covering her hair had fallen now and her thick mass of white gold hair fell abundantly around her shoulders. Her sister Emma, weaker of nature, had come to her feet too but was hiding protectively behind Jenifer, clinging to her with trembling hands.
Jennifer gathered all her courage, looked directly at the Black Wolf and spoke in a calm voice.
“Your grace, I presume you are the Duke of Claymore, commander of the English Army?” she said.
The Black Wolf lifted his black eyebrows in surprise. “You presume right. And who might you be?”
“I am Lady Jennifer Mettrick, first daughter of the Earl of Maltonrose and the lady with me is my sister. We are nuns of the convent of Deliburgh for which your men kidnapped us. I demand that we be returned safe and unharmed to the convent at once.”
The Black Wolf stared in disbelief at the fearless young woman standing before him. Where most women and even battled hardened men would be covering in fear in his presence, this girl wasn’t. She was even making demands.
“You demand?” the Black Wolf chuckled. “Prisoners don’t demand, they keep quiet and obey whenever they are told to do something, and that’s exactly what you two are going to do until you father surrenders and asks to make peace.” The Duke glanced at his brother. “Put them in the tent next to mine and have Geoffrey and his men guard them. They are to stay in there at all times, I don’t want any soldier mistaking them for camp whores and throwing them to the ground to have his fun.”
“As you wish, Royce.” said his brother.
Lord Lance waved a hand and the two knights standing to one side stepped up at once and led the nuns away. Lord Lance followed them out of the tent.
Left alone again, the Black wolf went back to sit at the dining table again and continued with his dinner, attended to by his squire. After the meal, he circulated new orders. The army would not be marching to war the next day but would rest for two days.
That night, for the first time in months, the Black wolf slept the dead sleep of a very tired man.
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