Continued from part I.
Lorcan was a sadistic person who took delight in the torture he visited upon her. The money was just a bonus for him. Something was wrong with him on the inside, and he craved control over others. When he met her, he made himself out to be a savior of sorts. He took her to the kingdom where he lived and worked. He worked in the stables where they tended the king’s guard’s horses, but was not skilled or sane enough to be a guard himself. Because of his relationship with some of the guardsmen, he was able to act with virtual impunity, and acted as though he was a guardmen too. She wasn’t the first one he had hurt. In the beginning, he was seemingly an upstanding citizen of the kingdom, and everything she believed she wanted. And then her daughter was born.
Knowing her love for her daughter could be used as a tool to prevent her escape, he began to show his true intentions. He abused and tortured her mercilessly, and delighted in her screams and fear.
As much as Lorcan delighted in torturing her, he did love their daughter. He was never physically abusive toward his daugher, Clar, although he certainly was verbally. Lorcan loved Clar, even if he did not know how to love properly, and even as he kept her mother locked in the house.
After one night where Lorcan had nearly choked her to death, she attempted her first escape. She made it to a nearby village, but was tracked by the king’s guardsmen who brought her back in irons to Lorcan. He took her, beat her, and left the irons on, securing them to the wall when he was away.
Lorcan went off to the stables the next morning. Chained to the wall, she did not even attempt to struggle. Five-year-old Clar, however, had other plans. She had witnessed all that Lorcan had put her mother through for years, and managed to pick the locks that held her mother there.
“Go mommy. Run. I love you!” Clar told her.
“No, baby. I can’t leave you, and they will just bring me back anyway,” she told her beloved Clar.
“I can’t watch him kill you,” Clar told her mother.
“I shall take you with me then,” she said.
“If you take me, he will kill us both. He won’t hurt me here. Not truly. Go! I will find you, when I am of age,” Clar told her.
“You are wise beyond your years,” she beamed with pride.
“I am your daughter,” Clar replied.
“I love you, I will come for you!” she told Clar as she hurried away with tears in her eyes.
As she ran from the house, and the boundaries of the village, she considered turning back as the guilt of leaving Clar behind began to eat at her. She thought about what her daughter had said, and knew she was right. The only way to protect Clar, was to leave her behind for now. The tears streamed down her face as she ran. She didn’t have long to think about it.
The thunderous sound of hoofbeats bearing down on her was unmistakable. It was a guardsman, about to run her down. She increased her running to a speed she didn’t know she was capable of, and headed toward a dry gully. Just as the horse was within striking distance, she jumped the ten feet down to the bottom, rolling to absorb the impact before leaping back to her feet. The guardsman was so focused on catching her, he failed to lead his horse into the jump and they crashed into the far bank wall. As the horse struggled to get up with the guardsman’s leg pinned underneath, she grabbed a bolder and bashed his head in until he lay there, bloody and motionless. The horse was struggling, but seemingly okay. She grabbed the reigns of the horse, and in a calming voice, helped to right the majestic black creature. She considered mounting and taking the horse, knowing that she could make better time to another kingdom on horseback, but seeing the fear in the animal’s eyes, elected to remove the saddle and pack from the horse as she stoked its muzzle. She unhooked the reigns, and told it to be free. The horse wandered down the length of the gully, until finding a place shallow enough to climb out, and galloped off.
She turned her attention to the pack, and to the weapons of the guardsman. She took his sword, his dagger, the pack, and his canteen. She put the canteen to her lips, took a drink, and plunged the sword into the guardsman to ensure he was dead. She removed it, and sheathed the still bloody blade before walking off to the neighboring kingdom, hoping to elude the guardsmen until she reached safety.
The pack was heavy, and she was growing tired. She was nearing the river and knew she was close to freedom. The king’s guardsmen were not going to cross the border into the next kingdom of Galicia, knowing of the superior forces on the other side that would decimate them. She had heard Lorcan speak in jealousy of the Galician forces, and knew that even the elite guardsmen feared them. She wasn’t sure how she would be treated there, but figured she couldn’t fare worse than she had.
As she neared the river, and the border, she heard the hoofbeats riding her down from behind once more. They were guardsmen to be sure, only this time, there was at least four. She knew she could not close the distance in time, and turned to fight, raising her sword.
She readied herself as they came near, unsure how she would defeat four mounted guardsmen, when she saw one fall from his horse. Then another. Then the third. Then the last. She saw arrows protruding from the final body to fall, and realized that the forces from Galicia had just saved her life. She turned to face the river and saw a lone warrior, with his bow at his side.
She saw Conor.