The Duke and the Dryad – Book 2: Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can an elemental of the earth change a man set in his ways?

(Available as ebook, paperback and audiobook)

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from The Duke and the Dryad:

Wolfe knew this druid circle well. ’Twas the place he used to sneak off to as a child. He used to come here to watch the pagans, especially during a full moon. This had also been the place where his mother lost her life, thanks to him. He would never forgive himself for telling his father the whereabouts of the druids. His father hated all druids and their heathen ways. Wolfe learned to hate them as well.

He could see the white-hooded robes of the druids within the henge as he approached. The moonlight spilled down upon them, lighting up the midst of the stone circle, giving it an eerie, mysterious glow. He didn’t like coming back here, since it brought too many memories to the surface that he’d rather forget. He pushed forward, anxious to retrieve his bull and head back to the castle. Wolfe wanted naught more than to be out of this night air and far away from the druids and his past memories.

As he approached, he heard the chanting and shouting and realized he was too late. Sadly, the deed had already been done.

“Nay!” he cried, jumping off his horse. With a torch in one hand, he unsheathed his sword with the other. Rushing into the outer stone circle, he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the horrific sight from within.

His prized bull was tied down with many ropes and laid atop a huge flat stone. In the moonlight, he could see the carved adders encircling the outer rim of the sacrificial altar. Two phallic-looking standing stones were on each side with a carved spiraling snake with an egg in its mouth etched into each. Then his eyes fell upon his rare, white bull. Blood-splattered and not moving, his heart sank to see it was already slaughtered. He was too late and, because of it, his animal was now dead.

“What the hell have you done?” he shouted, fighting back the anger that was threatening to unleash itself on these people. Flashes of memory ripped through his mind of the night his father set up a raid on the druids, killing every one of them that were present – including his own wife. Had his father known his wife was hidden under a robe, Wolfe was sure he would have called off the attack. And if Wolfe hadn’t told his father the valuable information, none of it would have happened this way at all. If only he hadn’t been so stupid at the young age of eight to tell a man who hated druids where to find them. If Wolfe had known about the raid ahead of time, he could have stopped his mother from being killed and also saved his father from taking his own life afterward when he realized what he had done.

The anger that stewed within Wolfe all these years now rose to the surface. He felt like killing every one of the druids for the sins of those of the past. They were the ones who had convinced his mother to turn away from her Christian ways. It was their fault as much as it was his.

Most of these people were unarmed and Wolfe wasn’t one to strike down those that were helpless. That’s where he differed from his late father. He was used to dealing with warriors and facing those who put up a fight. He wouldn’t get a fight from these pagans, and that only made it harder for him since he really wanted to strike out and make them pay for the loss of his parents.

His men approached from behind him. The circle of druid priests looked at him, but his eyes were fastened to the odd girl standing over the bull with the bloodied axe in her hand.

“This is a sacred circle,” called out the man behind the girl whom he figured was in charge. “You and your men are not allowed in here and neither are your weapons.”

Wolfe’s men dismounted and ran to join him.

“Really?” asked Wolfe. “Well, I find that amusing since you’ve just used a weapon to slaughter my prized bull – which, by the way, you’ve also stolen from me.”

“We did not steal it,” protested the man. “Rae-Nyst brought it to us at our request.”

“Who is Rae-Nyst?” he asked.

“I am.” The girl with the axe stepped forward. Firelight from his torch reflected in her clear green eyes, reminding him of a cat.

 

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