Friday, February 13, 2015
My Lady Valentine Part 11
“Then we must prove that Viscount Nicolas is a fraud,” Elizabeth directed her statement toward Baron Drake.
“Your aunt,” he remarked. “She must have met him before.”
“She’s resting.” Elizabeth had thought much the same thing. If her aunt had sensed something amiss, surely she’d have warned them. “Perhaps on the morrow she’ll feel more inclined to speak.”
“Perhaps.” He set his jaw in a grim line. “Unless tomorrow is too late.”
With the treacherous game unfurling, Elizabeth remained on her guard. Around them voices swirled and the music ebbed and flowed. The merriment continued, unheeding of the danger. “You don’t think Viscount Nicolas, the impostor, has something villainous in mind?”
“Your brother has done a fine job with the castle.” Baron Drake’s questioning gaze took in the tapestries lining the enormous walls fashioned of roughhewn stones. “The construction will surely aid in the defense of the structure. But with no men to guard these walls, his efforts are for naught.”
The accusation in his voice raised her hackles. “My brother left a contingent of men. He’s most concerned with my safety and the safety of his keep.”
“He’s left you to oversee the festivities alone. What better time to attack?”
A drunken man lurched by, spilling his wine at Baron Drake’s feet with a mumbled apology. No one paid them any mind. The guests were too sated from the feast and too relaxed from the copious amounts of wine served.
Elizabeth stared at the boisterous crowd of people in growing horror. Baron Drake was correct. They were weak and exposed. The portcullis had been raised for most of the day. How many servants and revelers had passed beneath the gate unchecked in that time?
“Where is Baron Nicolas now?” She glanced toward where she had seen him last, and her stomach clenched. “He’s gone.”
Baron Drake caught her hand, tugging her along behind him. She lifted her skirts, her feet flying to keep up with his swift pace. He halted before a darkened alcove and faced her, catching both of her hands in his own. The intensity of his gaze stole her breath away.
“Elizabeth…If something happens...I…”
Sudden, panicked screams overwhelmed the music and Baron Drake's husky voice. Her knees weakened and a haze of fear clouded her vision.
Sir Drake unsheathed his sword from his scabbard and thrust her behind him. “The keep is under attack!”