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Bhaltair's Pledge by Stella Knight

Bhaltair's Pledge by Stella Knight

Author:Stella Knight
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: Time travel
Published: 2020-02-28T16:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 13

A s he watched the messenger ride away moments later, both panic and anger gripped Bhaltair.

But there was no time for such emotions. He needed to get Cadha, Avery, and the others to safety. He turned to face Daileas and Avery, thinking quickly.

“Ye all need tae leave,” he said. “I’ll stay behind.”

“No!” Avery protested.

“We willnae be able tae fight them off; we’re nae prepared—I donnae have my men. But ye can get tae safety.”

“Are you crazy? They’ll kill you!” Avery hissed.

“No, they willnae.” At least not yet, but he chose not to tell her that. “They’ll likely take me prisoner, aye, but they want Cadha. Until they have her—and they never will—they’ll keep me alive. I need ye tae do what ye remained here tae do, Avery. I need ye tae protect my niece.”

Avery still looked mutinous, as if she were on the verge of another protest. But Daileas stepped forward, giving her a firm look.

“He’s right. The important thing is getting young Cadha tae safety. There’s an old friend of mine, Alpin MacGabhann. He lives on the outskirts of Clan Caithan’s lands; we can go there. Bhaltair’s plan is wise; they will focus on getting him tae the castle and questioning him. While they’re doing that, we can get Cadha far from here. It will give us time.”

“And the aingidh?” Avery demanded. “What if he’s with them? If I stay behind, I can fight him. You won’t—”

“This is about Cadha, nae me. I pledged tae protect her,” Bhaltair interrupted.

And now, he was determined to keep Avery safe as well. He didn’t doubt the strength of her magic, but they were grossly outnumbered. If the aingidh was with them, he could harm her again. He wouldn’t risk anything happening to her.

Uncertainty still lingered in her eyes, but Avery gave him a jerky nod.

“We need tae move quickly,” Daileas said. “I’ve no time tae alert Alpin that we’re coming, but he’s a good man. I ken he’ll take us in, especially when he learns a wee lass is in danger.”

They headed back inside, where a shaken Fenella and Cadha were waiting. As Daileas pulled Fenella aside, Avery hovered, watching as Bhaltair knelt down before his niece. He could tell his niece was frightened, but like always, she was trying to appear brave.

“The bad men I told ye about are coming here,” he said, holding her gaze. “Ye and the others are going somewhere safe. I’m staying behind. I need ye tae be strong, niece. Remember what I promised—that I’ll never willingly leave ye.”

Cadha’s lips quivered and her eyes filled with tears, but she murmured her assent. She threw her arms around him, and he held her tight. He would give his life to keep Cadha out of the hands of Clan Roideach. And, he realized with a lurch of his heart, he would do the same for Avery.

They all moved quickly, with Bhaltair helping them pack the belongings they would need and loading them onto their horses.

He bid farewell to Daileas and Fenella first.



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