The third in the Sword trilogy. Elaine's son Robert has his turn at weilding the sword but without true conviction, can he hold it as his father did before him?
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"I am sent by the Church's Holy Commission to fetch one Robert de Grance to answer certain questions." Robert stilled his wife as he felt her trembling. James moved closer to his lord and Robert's other hand came up to prevent him doing anything precipitous. "Speak on sir, how can I satisfy you?" "You are to accompany us to York to answer questions there put to you by the Church." "Do you have a warrant for my arrest." "There is no warrant sir, you are requested on your honor to accompany me." Robert thought swiftly, no warrant, it could be a nothing, a thing of non-consequence. If he declined though, he noted the arms, two with harquebus and all with pikes and swords, there could be bloodshed. Arianne could be hurt, he had few men they had at least a dozen. Strange to have so many come without a warrant. He knew it was a ploy, but he also knew that if he succumbed to the hot look in James eye there could be bloody disaster. He recognized a defeat and thought it better to go quietly. "Well gentlemen I will come with you if I may be allowed a moment with my man here." The mounted man nodded and Robert turned to a hot-faced James. Arianne gripped his arm as she white faced mouthed her fear wordlessly. He smiled at her then took James by the arm. "Take my wife, take her now to Marchamps, tell them what has occurred." "No!" The outburst came from them both. Arianne pleaded first. "Robert, I will go with you, please, please." He stared hard at her and for the first time in her life she saw true coldness in his eyes she prayed never to see again. He said through gritted teeth. "You will obey me." His pale eyes seemed to turn to cold stone, she paled even more and once again her mouth worked wordlessly. He turned then to James. "Take her to Marchamps, I will have your word on it that you will take a route that only we know and that your life for hers if any harm come to her." James too had been stilled by the look on Robert's face, though he had seen it thus before, he had never gainsaid it and now was not the time to but he felt he had to say something. "My lord, Robert, I should go with you." "You should obey me." "Yes my lord I will." "Your life James remember and no stopping, for anything or anyone. Do you understand me?" "Yes my lord, I do but." He leaned toward James away from Arianne, "No buts James, she must be safe and I have a feeling there is more threat to her than you would wish on any woman, in this action." Spoken quietly in James ear. James face whitened, he had enough of the story to know one other had sought this lady with a passion few men could muster. He understood suddenly that Robert felt that man to be responsible for this.
"He held to one dear wish, one absolute to his faith which I know you share, as do I."
"To rid this land of all dissention, mockery of the church and heresy."
"A noble desire, one which too few share in this land."