Swords and Shields (Reign of the House of de Winter)

Swords and Shields (Reign of the House of de Winter) by Kathryn Le Veque Read Free Book Online

Book: Swords and Shields (Reign of the House of de Winter) by Kathryn Le Veque Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathryn Le Veque
    By now, there were a few men standing around Drake, including Brittany, who suddenly wasn’t so angry at the knight when he saw the arrows sticking out of him. In fact, he became rather aghast when he realized that the knight’s actions quite possibly saved his life. With that awareness, he changed his attitude rapidly.
    “Do not touch this man!” he barked. “I will have my personal physic tend him. Do not touch him, I say! Quickly! Call for my litter bearers!”
    A couple of the men began to scramble as thunder rolled overhead, signaling the onslaught of yet another rain storm. As Drake tried to get a look at the arrow in the back of his thigh, a heavily armored knight knelt down beside him.
    “Good Christ,” the knight muttered. “You took arrows for that fool. Why did you not let them hit him?”
    Drake managed to grin up into James de Lohr’s face. “I should have,” he said. “Look at me. Now I am a martyr for Idiotdom.”
    James laughed. He and Drake had been good friends for many years, as long as they had both served de Bretagne. But his smile quickly faded. “How bad is it truly?” he asked. “Can you breathe well enough? You took one in the back.”
    Drake nodded his head. “I can breathe fine,” he said. “If you can remove the arrows, I would be grateful.”
    As Brittany stood over Drake and screamed at de Lohr, James ignored the man and quickly removed both arrows. Carefully, he inspected the open wounds.
    “Neither one of them went very deep,” he told Drake. “But the wound in your thigh has mail shoved into it. You will need to have a physic remove it.”
    Drake pushed himself up onto his knees. “I can walk.”
    “Nay!” Brittany cried. “You will not walk. My litter bearers are coming and we shall remove you to my tent, do you hear? Stay where you are!”
    Drake rolled his eyes, looking at James, who shook his head at Brittany’s antics. “Let his physic tend the wounds,” de Lohr mumbled. “You will never hear the end of this if you do not. Besides, he may feed you fine wine to ease your pain that you would otherwise not have the opportunity to sample. You know he travels with the finest wine money can buy.”
    Drake wasn’t in any mood for Brittany and his foolery, but as he struggled to stand, Brittany’s litter bearers appeared and Brittany began shouting at them, demanding they remove Drake immediately. Drake found himself manhandled by six men, all trying desperately to move quickly to do Brittany’s bidding. Soon enough, he was on the litter and being carried off towards Brittany’s tent. He had to hold on to the sides of the litter or risk being bounced off because of the rapid and unsteady pace, and he caught a glimpse of James’ grin as they carted him away. He cursed James under his breath.
    Drake and the litter reached Brittany’s lavish tents by the time the sky opened up above and the storm began in earnest.

    The wine had been extremely fine, just as James had suggested. Something from the Bordeaux region that had been rich, red, and sweet. It had been delicious. Brittany had poured him cup after cup, just as fast as he would drink it, as Brittany’s physic had plucked debris from both arrow wounds. By the time the physic was finished, Drake was drunk from all of the wine he had been given. He lay on his belly, half-unconscious and snoring on occasion, dozing on and off as the physic worked and the rain pounded outside. At that point, he really didn’t care about the state of the battle. He wanted to get his hands on more of that wine.
    But the rain meant that the battle had been called off, at least for the moment. The sun was beginning to set and even the heavily-fatted torches wouldn’t stay lit in the torrents of water falling from the sky, so Edward’s army had backed off from Caerlaverock for the moment. Drake could hear the sounds of men outside the tent, mingled with the thunder, but the wine had him so drowsy that he was

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