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Chapter 1


 

orth Side of Grampian Mountains, Scotland
August, 1272

“Da?” Annabel walked around the wagon to where her father sat on the high seat. At seeing the slump to his shoulders, she grew concerned. “Da!”

He weakly turned his head to look in her direction. His face was ashen; his eyes glazed. “Anna.” Her name came out little more than a whisper.

Panic swelled within her. She dropped the handful of purple heather she’d picked to add to her collection of herbs and medicinals. Her heart raced. “Da, what is wrong? Are you ill?”

His breaths came shallowly and he held his right hand over his heart. “I…I’ve always loved you… my sweet Anna.”

He had the look of death. She’d seen it many times over her nine and ten years. Too many. She was not ready to lose the last of her family, could not lose him. She blinked back tears and ignored the twisting nerves in her stomach. “Let me help you down. You…you just need to rest. We’ve been travelling too hard lately.”

His fading eyes closed for a second and then he opened them to seek her out once more. He reached down with his cool, clammy left hand to touch the side of her face. “I’m sorry. So very sorry.”

“For what, Da?” It sickened her to see him so weak, seeming to fight for each breath, each word. He was too young to die, barely forty. “You cannot leave me. Please,” she begged.

“At least I’ve gotten you back to the Highlands. To your home, sweet lass.” His face pinched in pain and he clutched tightly at his chest. “I hope you can…forgive me…and Katherine.”

She reached up to try and pull him down, but he shook his head.

“No, lass. You’re too small. You cannot bear my weight.” He sucked in a breath, his face growing even more ashen. “We had no choice. Loved you, always.”

Tears streamed down her face, she felt so helpless. “Da?” She spoke the word as a question. Why was he sorry? What home? What was there to forgive? What choice?

She dashed at her tears. “I don’t understand.”

For a second he simply looked at her, struggling to draw in yet another breath. Slowly, he turned his head and she watched him raise his face to the skies laden with heavy gray clouds, appearing to study them. He shivered against the air chilled this mid-August morn. Then he looked around at their surroundings, at the grassy area on this northern slope of the Grampian Mountains, at the spattering of low shrubs, birches, and patches of purple heather. He’d been so determined to cross over these highest mountains in Scotland as quickly as possible. He’d seemed oddly anxious to head toward the villages in the Highlands they visited as tinkers this time of year. It should have taken them longer to ride. She’d wondered what had driven him so hard this trip.

“We shouldn’t have hurried so.” She should have insisted they make this trip slower, although she had tried. He just hadn’t listened to her.

“I’ve always loved this part of Scotland,” he said wistfully. “‘Twill be good to end my days here.” He seemed to gather a bit of strength and slid his legs to the side of the seat.

End his days! Pain tore at her. “No, Da! Do not speak such nonsense.”

Somehow he managed to ease down from the wagon. The second his feet touched the grass, his legs gave out. He collapsed. His head dropped to his chest. His hand went once more to cover his heart.

Annabel knelt beside him and tried to gather him to her in a fierce, desperate hug. He was so weak, this father who had been so strong all of her life until this moment.

“Da.” She couldn’t say any more. Her throat was clogged with anguish.

He lifted his head enough to look at her. “I would have liked to…have seen you…married, Anna.” His eyes held such pain, such regret. “‘Tis one of many of my regrets.”

She didn’t know how to respond to that. They had traveled over all of Scotland, England and Wales as tinkers, but her parents had been very protective of her. At times she’d wondered why they had been so determined to keep her often in the shadows as they worked their trade from village to village. She had never been allowed to speak more than a few words to any man. Certainly she had never been kissed. So the idea of marriage had rarely passed through her thoughts. Although, in this last year, she’d begun wondering about some of the handsome young men she’d seen. Wondering…

This wasn’t the time to let her mind wander. She sniffed back tears and smiled gently at the man she loved with all her heart. “I regret nothing, Da. Only that…” She couldn’t finish the thought, couldn’t say ‘I cannot let you go now.’

He squeezed her hand with such little strength that her tears flowed even more freely. “You must let yourself find love, my sweet. Like I did with my darling Katherine.” He drew in a trembling breath.  His face pinched even tighter before he forced out pain-filled words, “Beware of Ala…”

“Nooooo!” she wailed. “Oh, God, no!”

But her father had gone limp in her arms. His eyes were forever shut. The last of her family was gone. She was all alone in the world and so very frightened. What would become of her now? And what had he meant to warn her about? Who?

Annabel held him in the awkward position until her legs became numb, letting tears fall until there were no more, feeling her heart break into pieces.

Finally one of the pair of horses attached to the wagon whinnied and drew her attention. She couldn’t sit here forever. She had to deal with burying her father. Her parents had taught her long ago that tragedy happened, but you had to find the inner strength to get past it. They’d lost her younger brother when he was but two and ten to a freak wagon accident. Then she and her father had lost her mother a year ago to a fever. Each time it had been hard to deal with the grief and go on, but they had. Now she must do it again. But, oh God, she hurt so much.

******

Brodie was anxious to get back to Urquhart and had driven his men hard ever since leaving Middleham. It had been difficult to leave Maggie behind. But the sister he still didn’t truly recognize had enough problems of her own to deal with, without a brother who’d lost his memories. She didn’t need him and his moodiness, his darkness because of this overwhelming loss. He hadn’t wanted to make her unhappy or cause further problems with her new husband. And something he couldn’t explain had urged him to travel even faster, even harder this last couple of days.

He squinted at the sudden brightness as the sun rested high in the sky. The swirling gray clouds of the early morn had drifted away and now it was hotter. Sweat trickled down his back beneath his shirt. A warm breeze passed over him, fluttering the shoulder-length hair that he should have tied back.

As he rode with Sir Douglas at his side down the final slope of the Grampian Mountains, Brodie breathed a sigh of relief. The fifty men who traveled with them were a ways behind. Yet the sounds of so many hooves, so many heavily breathing horses carried to him even from this distance.

His thoughts wandered to Urquhart and what awaited him there: many people who would be disappointed that he returned still without his memories. Still, they could not be any more disappointed than he. His head throbbed with the now familiar headache that plagued him whenever he tried to think about his past. He reached up to rub his forehead and caught sight of a tinker’s wagon at the foot of the hill they were going down.

Douglas, too, had noticed it and stiffened in the saddle. “I sense something wrong,” he said gravely.

Brodie had the same gut feeling and tensed. Then he spotted a young lad bent over a prone man lying in the grass near the front of the wagon. The lad was removing the man’s boots. Then he crawled forward and began pulling something from the man’s hand. A ring?

Fury roiled within him. He would not stand for the boy stripping the obviously injured—or dead—man of his valuables! They’d heard too many tales of thieves traveling the countryside, too many people being killed for what they carried with them. Although he knew that usually the attacks were in the more forested areas. Nevertheless, he would not stand for such a thing happening. The boy would pay for his crimes!

He forced his warhorse into a gallop and thundered down the hill. He pulled his sword from the scabbard on his back at the same time he roared, “Stop, thief!”

The boy jerked away from the fallen man, gasping, his gaze darting toward Brodie and Douglas.

As they rode to within a dozen feet of the trembling thief, the lad pulled a dirk from his boot. Small hands shook, but kept the knife in front of him. Amber eyes were wide in fear, yet held determination as well.

“Drop the weapon, lad,” Brodie snarled, holding his three-foot sword in warning. “Step away from the man.”

The boy blinked and tears sparkled in his eyes. Slender shoulders shuddered beneath the dirt-dusted white shirt, and then straightened. A pouty lower lip trembled for but an instant. Then anger spread across a face that appeared too delicate for even a young boy.

“I’m not a thief!” the boy protested. He had the gall to glower at Brodie, to continue holding the ridiculously small weapon out in defense.

“’Tis a lass!” Douglas said in shock.

Brodie, too, had surmised that from the “boy’s” all-too-feminine voice, more so when the “boy’s” chest had thrust out in anger. There was no mistaking the swell of plump breasts shoving against the front of the shirt. It took him a second to come to terms with the surprising discover; it took another second to get beyond his surprise and back to his fury.

He slid from his horse in a quick move that caused his kilt to lift slightly before falling in place at his knees again. When he focused on the lass, he found her eyes had widened even more. Pink colored her cheeks and she didn’t appear to be breathing, just staring.

To his annoyance, Douglas chuckled behind him. “I dinna think the lass has seen a mon in a kilt ‘ere. Or what a mon doesna wear under a kilt.” He chuckled again.

Disgusted, Brodie strode toward the lass, who was now scooting back toward the wagon, still brandishing the useless dirk. He pointed with his sword at the clearly dead man. “If ye killed him, ye will die here as well.”

“I didn’t kill him.” She swallowed hard, tears creeping slowly down her cheeks. “He’s my father.”

Brodie heard Douglas dismounting, walking next to him. He lowered his sword, studied the young girl, puzzled at the dark hair cut roughly to chin-length. How could he have not recognized her as a female? God’s teeth, had his loss of memories affected his…

No. No, his cock was even now stirring to life. But, good God, she was but a child! His gaze went to her chest. All right, she was a very endowed child. He scowled in annoyance. She should not be affecting him so. Aye, he refused to allow it!

“Ye should no’ be out here alone,” he bellowed.

Douglas glanced at him with a raised eyebrow but said nothing.

The girl, though, shot to her feet, brushed away her tears, and scowled right back at him. “I wasn’t alone until my father died.” At the last word, some of the spirit went out of her. “You do not need to interrupt your travels because of me. You can leave at any time.”

His men started down the hill behind them. The many hooves plodding over the ground drew everyone’s attention. His shoulders stiffened. He didn’t like the idea of his big, brawny Highland soldiers seeing this tiny sprite of a female. Especially with her standing there wearing boy’s-sized braies, which fit her slender form far too well for his peace of mind. And, in her anger with him, her breasts had thrust forward even more, pushing against the fabric of her shirt. He could see her nipples, dark rose buds, pebbled hard.

“Ye have no’ hidden yer woman’s body well enough.” He motioned her toward the wagon. “Find something to cover up with.”

She didn’t move, simply continued to scowl defiantly at him. “You cannot tell me what to do.”

“I have fifty men riding closer by the second. Men who’ve been many days on the trail, many days without a woman.” That all might be true, but he knew none of his men would harm her. He would never allow it. And not a one of them would want to tangle with him.

As if she hadn’t heard the pounding hooves or seen their approach, she looked toward the hill now thickly covered with armed soldiers and powerful horses. The color left her face. “Please, take your men and continue on your way. Please.” She glanced back at the ashen-faced, middle-aged man near her feet. The dirk she held lowering to dangle in her limp hand. “Leave me to bury my father in peace.”

Brodie saw the miserable grief in her expression, fear as well. He knew all about fear, all about grief. Ever since the clansmen who’d brought him back to Urquhart from Tunis had told him about the deaths of his father and his older brother, he’d been grieving. But his grief hadn’t been as wrenching as hers clearly was, because he didn’t actually remember his father or his brother.

“We will see to the burying of yer da,” Douglas stated in a tone that brooked no discussion.

Nodding in agreement, Brodie grew more anxious as the other men neared. He reached over his shoulder to slide his sword back into its sheath. Thinking quickly, he went to his horse and pulled the plaid fabric he used to cover him as he slept on the ground at night from a pouch. He walked to her and easily relieved her of the dirk. Then, as she watched him in astonishment, he draped his plaid around her.

“There. ‘Tis better.” He stepped back, relieved at hiding her woman’s assets that had been making him uncomfortable. And now none of his men would see them either.

Frustrating lass that she could be, she started to pull the plaid off, but stopped when he gave her a fierce glower. “You’re a most annoying man.”

“Aye, he can be, lass,” Douglas chuckled, grinning when Brodie turned the glower in his direction. “He is not called the Great Scottish Devil for nothing.”

Her eyes flashed wide as she gasped, “I’ve heard of you!” But instead of cowering as many people did when they were around him, she gave a soft laugh. “Tales of you are known all throughout the lands. Tales spread by tinkers, added to by maidens fair—and not so fair—eager to be taken to your bed. Your reputation as a lover nearly surpasses your reputation on the battlefields.”

She smiled and studied him. “As such a feared warrior, I thought you would be more battle scarred. Breathe fire even.” She blushed and looked at his kilt. “I can understand why you are lusted after, Lord Devil.”

“Ye shouldna speak in such a manner, lass.” Brodie snarled at her, trying to erase the teasing smile on her face. It was doing things it shouldn’t to his cock. His kilt was starting to lift with his arousal and he didn’t like that at all. Not with Douglas standing there trying not to grin as he noticed, and not with his men fast approaching. He latched onto the only thing he could think of to get control of the moment. “Especially not with yer dead da lying next to ye.”

She stepped back against the wagon as if he’d struck her. Those tears she’d finally stopped shedding began falling once more. Her small body shook. “You…you’re a truly awful man,” she whispered.

Douglas drew up to his full height and pinned him with a look of disgust. “Aye, lass, he can be that at times.”

Now Brodie felt great regret for being so abrupt, so heartless. She just made him… Well, he wasn’t sure what, but she definitely knocked him off-kilter. “’Tis sorry for that, I am,” he mumbled.

The first of his other men rode up and he shifted in front of her, trying to block her from their view, which he knew was ridiculous. He looked at them and ordered brusquely, “We need to bury the lass’s da.”

He heard her suck in a breath and, again, felt bad about speaking so harshly. He glanced toward a small grassy area between several towering birches and a patch of heather. It seemed a fitting place for burial. “Lay the mon to rest there.”

 

Annabel shivered as she stood rigidly in front of the dirt and stone mounded grave The Devil’s men had finished only moments ago. She wasn’t cold on the outside, more cold on the inside. Cold and lost. But not alone, at least not right now. She knew that his large group of men was nearby, silent and watching as she paid her final respects to her father. “I’ll miss you, da,” she said in a pain-filled whisper.

She bent down to lay the bouquet of heather she’d picked next to the rough cross Sir Douglas had made. Such a big man, he was. A bit gruff when speaking with the other men, but she sensed the gruffness covered a good heart and a fierce loyalty to The Devil and to their men. She gently touched the foot-tall, wooden cross and felt their powerfully built, far-too-handsome leader standing a few feet away. He’d not said another word to her after his awkward apology. She doubted he’d apologized very many other times in his lifetime. The fact that he’d done so to her touched her heart.

“Good-bye, da.” She stood, dashed away the tears on her cheeks, and hoped she could find the strength within her to face life alone now. It was so difficult to turn around and look at the tinker’s wagon in which she’d spent so much time traveling all over the lands with her parents.

“Tavis will ride with ye,” The Devil said, nodding toward a young Scot near her age standing at the front of the wagon. Tavis’s face was almost as red as his hair.

“Ride with me?” She blinked in confusion.

“ We canna leave ye out here all alone. Ye will go with us to Urquhart for now.” That said, he strode toward his big black stallion.

She ran after him, stopping between the man who towered over her by at least a foot and his horse. “Why do you insist on telling me what to do, Devil? You have no say at all in where I go or when I travel.” Then she remembered the kindness he’d done for her when he didn’t need to do anything. “I do thank you for seeing to my da.”

“Devil?” He frowned down at her, his moss green eyes appearing annoyed.

Douglas said, “Ye’ve no’ told her yer name, Brodie. All the lass knows is yer the ‘Great Scottish Devil.’”

Clearly the bold Scot hadn’t thought about that. “Brodie. Brodie Durward, laird of Urquhart.”

Out of courtesy only, she said, “Annabel Henderson.”

“Now that the introductions have been made, ‘tis time we be on our way.” He began to move around her. “Tavis can help ye onto the wagon seat.”

Annabel once more moved between Brodie and his horse. “You can be on your way, but I am not leaving for another day or so.”

His massive chest swelled and he gave her a cold, flinty look. “We have been away long enough, lass. My men are anxious to get home. As am I.”

She shook her head. “Then go. Take your Tavis with you.” Now she stepped by him and pursed her lips in annoyance as she heard a number of low chuckles from his men.

He must have heard them, too, for he growled and all laughter stopped. He was on her heels in an instant. “I will no’ leave ye here alone. ‘Tis dangerous. Ye were jist lucky ‘twas my men and I who came upon ye.”

“I’ve a dirk and…and a sword—smaller than yours—and I—“

“Useless weapons against a mon, or men, determined to have their way with ye. Nay, ye will come along with us.” He clenched his jaw and looked ready to pick her up and toss her over his shoulder if necessary.

Although she imagined most people would be intimidated by him, she was not. What he said might be true, but she wasn’t ready to leave her father’s side just yet. And when she did leave here, she would be traveling on with their normal route. Their—her—wagon with all its tinker’s wares would be expected at the villages they visited this time of year.

“Urquhart is by Loch Ness, isn’t it? That is not the direction I am headed.”

If the man puffed up any more in his frustration, she feared he’d explode. “Ye. Are. Coming. With. Us.”

She stood toe-to-toe with him and inhaled his scent, which sent shivers of awareness through her, and ignored all but her irritation. “No. I. Am. Not.”

It surprised her how silent so many men could be, but they appeared to be avidly listening to this strained conversation. She sensed their amazement that she dared to stand up to their determined leader. And from the corner of her eye, she noted Tavis practically gaping in shock. But she had to take a stand, had to learn to deal with problems she would face from here on out. Brodie Durward was merely the first one of many, she imagined.

Douglas walked over to them, oddly studying them both. “The day is passing quickly, my lord. Mayhap we could camp here tonight.” He looked calmly at Brodie. “Mayhap ye can talk this matter out while the men rest. We’ve been traveling hard now fer days.”

At first she didn’t think Brodie would give in, she didn’t think he backed easily down from anything. But he gave a curt nod. “We leave on the morrow. Make camp.”

“I—“ She started to protest, again, that she wouldn’t be going with them, but Brodie turned and walked away to give the order to his men.

“He’s a good mon, lass. Suffers much pain at the moment, though ‘tis on the inside.” He watched the slightly younger man striding away. “He’s no’ a patient mon, but he’d give his life fer any of his men and they all know it.”

“Pain? On the inside?” Annabel asked, irritated with Brodie but unusually drawn to him. She didn’t like the idea of him suffering. She didn’t like for anyone to suffer. But the thought of him doing so, worried her and pulled on her heartstrings.

Douglas furrowed his brow in thought, but finally made a decision. “Our laird lost his memories fighting in the Crusades. Came back to us hurt bad, though his physical wounds have healed. But he doesna remember us.” His voice became even sadder, quieter. “No’ even me and I grew up with Brodie, his brother and his sister.”

“It must be very hard on him. His family as well.” She couldn’t imagine dealing with an awful thing. And now she’d added to his burdens, even if he shouldn’t be worried about her.

“’Tis harder than any of us can understand, I fear. Fergus, his older brother, died in the battles in Tunis. As did their father.” He glanced back toward the mountains they’d crossed over. “We ride back now from Middleham, from going to see his sister Maggie. The lass is heartbroken that she couldna help him.”

Annabel’s thoughts turned to her supply of medicinals. Did she have anything that might help him? She didn’t speak, just wandered toward the wagon.

******

The men were breaking camp, preparing to leave for Urquhart. Brodie returned from doing his private business in the small stand of trees. In truth, he wasn’t anxious to go home. Home. He still had no real recollections of the vast castle and its grounds, nor of the people there. He knew his continued loss of memory concerned them, especially Douglas. Yet he worried the memories were gone forever. He wasn’t sure how to begin a completely new life.

His glance moved to the tinker’s wagon. Annabel Henderson would be beginning a new life, too. He didn’t think he was a man who had much of a soft side, but the tiny lass had gotten to him. She’d admitted to being all alone in the world now. He felt her pain, her grief, her determination to survive. And he respected that grim determination, although he was more than frustrated with her stubbornness. They’d talked late into the night about her intending to continue with her family’s tinker trade. Well, she’d talked about it. He’d listened and tried to give her the voice of reason, tried to make her understand the dangers of being a woman and traveling alone. She’d finally acknowledged he was right about that.

So why wasn’t she getting ready to leave? He’d seen her wander off to take care of own personal matters, but she should be back by now. She should be helping to hitch up her horses. Unless she’d changed her mind about going with them this morn. But had she actually told him she would? Aye, she had. He was certain she had. Well, almost certain.

Irritated, he strode off in the direction he’d seen her go. She was coming with them! There was no question about it in his mind. Behind him he heard the sounds of men packing up, saddles being put on horses, talking and laughing. They were eager to get on their way. Now they were delayed even longer because of this contrary lass. He had a good mind to warm her bottom over all this nonsense.

 

Annabel squirmed for all she was worth. “Let me up! Right now! You have no right to do this!”

Brodie’s large hand went right on swatting hard against her bottom. Even through the layer of her braies she felt the burning sting getting worse and worse.

“Nay! Ye’ve earned this spanking.” He tucked her closer to his firm stomach where he sat on a boulder with her draped over his lap. His hand rose and fell faster, harder. “Ye’re being foolish and I willna put up with it any longer.”

She wriggled and then hissed at yet another solid Swat! She’d been picking heather and some wildflowers when he’d come upon her. He’d ordered her back to camp. Of course, she’d refused. His patience had disappeared in that instant. He’d spotted a nearby boulder large enough to sit on and dragged her with him to it. He’d given her a chance to change her mind and do as he’d told her. When she’d stubbornly shaken her head and then made the mistake of calling him some colorful names for being so pigheaded about this, he’d announced he was going to spank the very devil out of her. Which he currently was doing.

“I’m perfectly capable of…” Her protest faded away as he sent another rain of bottom-blazing smacks down. The man’s hand was hard as iron.

She arched backward from the pain, kicked her legs. Finally she cried out and hated that probably every man in camp had heard her. How she ever face them again?  “I’ll never forgive you for this! Ooooohhh. Oooowwww!”

“Lie still! Havena ye ever been spanked ‘ere?”

“Of course I have,” she yelped. Her father’s strap was in one of the boxes in the wagon’s bed. It hadn’t been used often in the last year or so, but she was very familiar with its sting. Even her mother had taken her over her knee from time to time over the years to give her a hand spanking.

“Then ye should know enough to take what ye’ve earned.” The smacks seemed to go on and on. It hurt, a lot!

She hit his leg with her fist. “I did not earn this!”

“Aye, ye did. This foolish insistence aboot no’ going with us. Thinking ye can just travel these lands all on yer own. Worrying me.” He smacked her extra hard at that admission. “I’ll no’ have it!”

Suddenly even through her misery she remembered all that he was dealing with, the loss of his memory, his family. She’d lost the last of her family, too. But at least she could get comfort from her memories of them. He didn’t have that. And now he worried about her. As irritated with him as she was about this spanking, she hurt for him. Would it really be such a problem to go with them for now? Mayhap she could find someone in his village to join her in her travels.

“All right,” she said on another hiss and craned her head back to look at him. “I’ll go with you.”

His hand froze in mid-air. “Ye’re no’ lying to me, are ye?” He looked doubtful.

“Nay. I’ll go with you. For now.”

He released her and she immediately wriggled off his lap. Her hands flew back to cover her throbbing bottom. The stubborn, bossy man watched her with no hint of apology. “It’s going to be hard to sit today,” she grumbled. But it was something else she was experienced with: having to sit on the wagon seat while being jostled about on a tender bottom from a sound spanking.

“Ye’ll survive.” He stood, tugged his chainmail hauberk down, and nudged her back to camp.

She continued rubbing her bottom and glanced back at him. “I’m unhappy about this, you know. About being turned over your knee and spanked like a child. I’m not a child.”

To her surprise, he gave her a hint of a smile and it nearly took her breath away. “Nay, lass, ye’re far from a child.”

The huskiness in his tone made her feel warmth in another place besides her burned bottom. Tingles as well. Feelings she’d begun having this last year when she was near a handsome man. They were something new to her, something she didn’t know how to deal with. But she was pretty sure that she didn’t want to have such feelings for this man.

She walked even faster to put distance between them. Maybe she’d made a bad decision to go with the handsome, gruff Scot and his men.

“Ye’ve a verra nice ass.” He caught up with her and gave her bottom a light swat just before they came upon the camp.

She glowered at him. “Stop that!”

“I’ve a feeling, Anna lass, this willna be the only time I’ll take ye over my knee.”

He escorted her to the wagon where Tavis had already hitched up the pair of horses. Then he lifted her up and planted her on the unforgiving wooden seat.

She gasped at the contact to her tender bottom and shifted awkwardly. It annoyed that far too many men seemed to be looking in their direction. And far too many of them appeared to be trying to hide smiles.

******

“He’s not going to like this bit of news,” said one of the pair of mercenaries hidden in the trees at the top of the hill. “That Henderson died. That the girl’s still alive and now without anyone to hide her.”

“We could have gotten rid of her,” the other man said in disgust. “It was just bad luck that The Devil and his men came across her.”

“I guess we’d better get a message to him. Find out what he wants us to do now.” The taller man walked back to his horse and mounted, shaking his head in annoyance.

The balding man gave a final scowl at the large party heading out into the valley. “He isn’t paying us enough to take on The Devil.”

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