A Night on the Moors

    Chapter 1 - An Unfortunate Meeting

The sun was setting when I crested the rise and saw them, quite possibly the most beautiful women in the county, one was wearing a purple gown and the other a shirt and trousers with a scarlet cloak, but even from five hundred yards she was obviously female.   I had heard stories of the beauty of the Lady Blade and her handmaiden known only as the Gypsy, and given the waist length flame red hair of the rider in the purple dress it could only be them. I never in my life expected to meet two women so breathtakingly beautiful, especially out here. They appeared to be out for an
evening ride or perhaps on their way to a secret rendezvous. Didn't they know bandits controlled this area? I spurred my horse towards them, perhaps I could serve as their escort there may even be a reward for protecting them. It was an opportunity I didn't wish to miss.

       I rode toward them but alas, I was not the only one too see them and the others were much closer. I stopped my horse and watched, I was not about to commit suicide, I may be good but I knew twelve men were more than a match for Greyling and I, besides if I charged the women might get hurt. The bandits quickly caught and bound the two women and rode for their hideout, although they left three of their number for dead. The Lady Blade was as good
as the stories I had heard and her consort was no slouch either. I followed them formulating a plan as I rode. By the time they reached the camp I knew I was about to wade into trouble, this was the camp of Lothar One eye the single most vicious bandit in the country, and the stupidest. He had no idea who he had captured and would not listen to his men if they told him. He would rape, torture and kill Lady Blade and the Gypsy with no thought of ransom I would need to act soon.

      I watched from the shadows as they kicked and cuffed the women until they were near the fire then Lothar bade them cook. I knew that Lady Blade being royalty knew nothing of cooking, I could only hope that Gypsy new enough to make the men sick or perhaps she knew something of poisons, she was a mystery, I don't like mysteries. The women set about cooking while the men bandaged there wounds, the Lady was good with her rapier. I admire a woman who can take care of herself, and these two certainly could, at least if the odds are close to even.

      Apparently Gypsy managed something, or perhaps the Lady Blade was a worse cook than I had imagined, for shortly after eating three of the men became violently ill. "Hmmm six down, ten left plus Lothar" I whispered to myself, the numbers were rapidly getting better. Suddenly Lothar noticed his men and bellowed for the women to be staked to the ground. The men quickly set to this task using stakes from previous victims. In no time they had the two lovely ladies stakes spread eagle on the ground and were tearing off the Lady Blade's purple dress and Gypsy's shirt and trousers. Lothar was eyeing the Lady in a way I didn't like, "Ahh my pretty little dove, that would make a fine bridle for my horse after its woven" and with that he pulled a knife and began hacking at the Lady Blade's magnificent waist length hair.

      I knew what was to come next and could no longer to act. I quietly drew Heartfire, my rapier and Razor, my stiletto and spurred Greyling into the middle of the camp. I let Greyling have his own while I jumped off and quickly cut Lady Blade free. "Free her" I yelled and handed her Razor and pointed at Gypsy. I turned to meet my attackers trusting Greyling not to stomp me as he reared to the attack. I quickly realized my folly as I noticed that most of these men were military trained and not just common thugs. Risking a glance backwards I saw the ladies were loose and ordered them to mount Greyling and run. They tried and to their credit fought valiantly but alas we soon found ourselves all captives.

      Much to my amazement the expected rape of the women never manifested itself, although all three of us were whipped for our troubles. In the morning we were awoken by the sound of a wagon approaching. "What's that?" asked the Lady. "A slave wagon," came Gypsy's soft reply. "Looks as if we are to be sold" I added. "Oh by the way I am Sean Connel I came to rescue you." "Ohh and you are doing so well" came the Lady's scathing retort. I slumped in my bonds awaiting further developments.