Robert was unaware of the three following him as he forced his horse on towards the tall, broad-shouldered man. The noise of his approach startled the lone rider who then stopped his mount and turned to face the large, dark stranger that was barreling towards him. Charles and Gordon spurred their horses on as Robert caught up with Stephen and, leaping from his horse, grabbed the surprised blond rider, knocking them both to the ground. Fists started flying as the now angry Stephen battled his attacker, rolling about on the ground, coming dangerously close to the stomping hoofs of their frightened horses. Lord Dagon and Gordon drew their mounts to a halt, vaulting off of them as Jesep came breathlessly to a stop behind them. It took all three of the men to pull Robert and Stephen apart, getting several cuts and bruises themselves in doing so. Gordon and Jesep finally had Robert’s arms pinned behind him while Lord Charles put a strangle hold on Stephen. Robert glared ominously at them all, enraged that they would stop him from seeking his vengeance on the man that had kidnapped his wife.
When both had seemed to have cooled down, Charles released his hold on Stephen, signaling his friends to do the same with Robert.
“What the hell is the meaning of this outrage?” Stephen demanded as soon as Charles had released him. “Who are you people?”
“You filthy bastard! Where the hell is my wife?” Robert screamed, advancing towards Stephen again only to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck by Gordon. “Let go of me you son of a . . . shit!” Robert turned his angry, swollen eyes on Gordon.
“Settle down now, gentlemen,” Charles spoke sternly, gaining their attention with the cold ice of his voice. “Let us try to resolve this situation without any further violence! Robert, I want your word that you will not attack Sir Stephen again until after I have finished speaking!”
“I don’t see that there is anything to be said,” Robert growled, releasing himself from Gordon’s grip. “Why are you defending this . . . this man!”
“I’m afraid that we have made a terrible mistake and must apologize for accosting you this way.” Charles turned and said to Stephen, ignoring Robert’s scowl and the looks of disbelief the others had. “You are Sir Stephen Montieth, are you not?” Stephen nodded his head in assent, skeptical of the rugged man standing beside him as he spoke, “And you have a twin brother named Simon, a captain in His Majesty’s service?”
“Yes, but he is dead now,” Stephen answered, becoming more intrigued by the mention of his hated brother’s name. “He was killed in some battle in Scotland. Something about someone named Lord Clairemont helping the Young Pretender. Simon was sent to stop the man and was killed.”
“And stop him he did!” Robert exclaimed. “He killed him and then tried to take Lord Clairemont’s daughter, our Leigha! She killed him and came to us!”
“So, it was a woman that did him in, hmmm. I assume that she is now your wife by what you have said.” Stephen kept his voice level, trying to contain the anger he felt for Robert. “But why have you come after me? I am not responsible for my brother’s actions in Scotland.”
“But you are responsible for your actions at Dagonmoor! How can you be so callous as to stand here innocently before us? Where is Leigha?!” Robert screamed and tried to lunge for him again but stopped as his father stepped in front of Stephen to block him, much to Stephen’s relief.
“He is not the one responsible for Leigha’s disappearance as I was about to tell you!” Lord Charles spoke sharply to his son. “You have been caught up in such a rage that you are blind to certain differences between this man and the one we knew as Stephen Montieth!”
“What differences are those?” Gordon asked, coming to stand beside Robert, angry and puzzled by Charles’ statement. “I see nothing different about this man. He is the one that was at Dagonmoor!”
“No, Gordon, he is not,” Charles said firmly. “In case you haven’t noticed, this man has a scar running the length of his jaw, the man we knew did not!”
“Weal, I’ll be damned, yer right!” Jesep exclaimed as he stepped over to the group and looked intently at Stephen’s face. “Tha’ means tha’ the captain is still alive! But I was at Clairemont’s Keep fer several weeks after Leigha had left, und everyone there believed that he was dead! Why, tha’ means tha’ he has taken Leigha fer revenge! There’s no telling wha’ he has done ta her, und we dinna ha’ any way o’ knooin’ where they might ha’ goon!”
“My brother is alive?” Stephen exclaimed, trying hard to hide his disappointment.
“Yes,” Charles said, mistaking Stephen’s quick shudder and giving him a smile, said, “It seems that he is.”
The meaning of their words were sinking into Robert’s numbed brain as he stood there listening to everyone. He barely heard his father introducing them all to Stephen and explaining to him how and why they were there. All Robert heard was a mad buzzing in his ears. All he saw was his Leigha. All he knew was that Simon had her and that she was probably lost to him forever. His heart fought the dreadful idea that weighed so heavily in his brain, this feeling that Simon might even have killed her by now after having done God knows what to his lovely wife. He was in shock, and all reality left him as he slowly wandered off. The others were so immersed in their conversation that they did not notice he was leaving until they heard his horse galloping across the open field. Gordon quickly jumped on his own horse and rode after Robert, leaving the others behind.
Lee, Virginia. Dagon’s Blood excerpt (p. 311 – 315). Xlibris. Kindle Edition.