“Wha’ is tha’ smell and tha’ commotion?” Jesep interrupted him, his voice sharp with worry as he went over to the door and opened it enough to look out. Seeing the soldiers setting fire to the main house, he yelled, “The bastards are burnin’ the manse!”
Richard ran to Jesep’s side and saw several soldiers moving about the grounds. Some were mounted and, with great ropes tied to strategic places about the mansion, were pushing their horses hard to pull down the great stones of the structure even as the torches within accomplished their destructive game. As the crashing and crackling of the death throes of the manse reached him, he saw the soldiers that were firing the place, come running out as the house roared with the quickly climbing flames. Richard stood in stunned silence as he watched the atrocity, the screams of the servants who were trapped in the inferno, echoed horribly in his ears. Before he could stir himself, Jesep mounted a horse and was charging out of the stables.
“They be killin’ the people in the hoose!” he screamed as he swept past Richard. “I mist ge’ the poor souls oot!”
“Wait!” Richard shouted after Jesep’s retreating back as the old man spurred his horse towards the laughing soldiers, “Ye’ll ge’ yerself killed!”
Jesep ignored the warning and rode towards the troops as if the devil himself were at his heels. He was enraged beyond thought as he raced past some of the men and kicked out at those who were in his way. He was pulled off of his horse, yelling and screaming all the while, when he tried to get to the house to help the people there. The men who had caught him took great sport in beating the old man until he lay crumpled and unconscious on the hard ground. Leaving him as if he were but an irritating insect that had been squashed, they then returned to their sadistic and hellish game of destroying Clairemont’s Keep.
“They’re all insane!” Richard thought to himself as he saw Jesep pulled down and beaten. Running for his own horse, the screams of the dying and the laughter of the soldiers clear to his ear, he exclaimed sadly, “I’ll ha’ ta try ta ge tha’ auld mon out o’ here fer Laird Dagon though there’s naught I kin be dooin’ fer those poor souls inside the manse, may God ha’ mercy on them all!”
Richard kicked his horse sharply and sped from the stables to where Jesep was now kneeling, dazed from his beating and the shock of the night’s terrible events. The troops stood around the grounds that were lit as bright as day from the blaze of the mansion, laughing demonically at the burning death before them and ignoring the tough old man that had ridden insanely into their midst.