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Subject: CHAPTER 68

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Date Posted: 18:17:54 10/17/05 Mon


“Marriage! That’s insane. Mikelle, you’re not serious, are you?”

“Why not?”

Anthony spat out a curse. “I can think of about a million reasons. First of all you’re a Roman General, and generals don’t marry slaves.”

“No, not normally, but her father was a Celtic Lord. Our marriage would appease the warring tribes.”

“Since when did that concern you? Anyway, still seems a little drastic to me. Isn’t there another way?”

Mikelle shifted his weight, and the horse pawed the ground. Anthony was right; marriage was a radical solution, but this woman was different from all the other women he knew. She had gotten under his skin. Besides that, he owed her for saving his life. “No, I don’t think so.” He spurred the horse, and they rode in silence for the next few minutes.

The setting October sun cast long, purple shadows over the uneven countryside. Anthony waited until they were under the shade of the large oak at the top of the hill before re-opening the conversation. “You’ve heard from your parents again?” His words were more of a statement than a question. “And you want to produce heirs?”

“They’re old. They deserve to see their grandchildren before they leave this world.”

“So you want her for breeding purposes?”

Mikelle laughed aloud. “Yes. I am bound by my profound sense of duty and honor.”

“I’m sure you will do your best. Have you spoken to the girl?”

Mikelle thought back to the last time he saw Nicadea, remembering the feel of her lips on his. He had been both pleased and surprised by her unexpected response. Maybe she didn’t hate him as much as he’d imagined.

Nicadea bend down to pick up another pile of rushes. She had been at it all morning, and her back was aching from the effort. The work was hard and monotonous, but still preferable to the tasks required in the master’s bedchamber. She shook her head, hoping to clear the general’s image from her mind. Impossible. She had been able to think of little else since he kissed her. Her mind, following a will that was not her own, brought up remembrances of her first meeting with the man. She had watched him make love.

“Girl, get back to work.”

The stern voice of the overseer brought the present back sharply into focus, but not before she had envisioned the long, male length of him—virile in the flicker of the candlelight. What was wrong with her that she should have such wayward thoughts about her people’s worst enemy? She emptied her basket, and walked purposefully, heading as far out into the field as she could safely go. She would work harder, faster, letting the grueling exertion clear her mind and banish his face. Only then, would she be free. She had almost succeeded when she felt the heavy hand against her shoulder.

“Follow me.”

Niki felt the curious stares of her fellow slaves as trailed behind the armored soldier through the fields and into the palace.

“Where are you leading me?” she asked, not really expecting a reply. Soldiers generally had only one use for female slaves, and she hoped that wasn’t what this one had in mind. He ignored her question, but came to a sudden halt at the entrance to the baths.

“The General wishes you to bath and change. He will send for you shortly. The women will assist you.”

Fear coupled with a niggling sense of expectation worked together, as Nicadea walked down the earthen steps to the bathing pool, to create a growing sense of panic. The faces of the women she passed became a blur as her mind fought against facing the reality of her situation. By the time she reached the bottom step, she was trembling. Her mind screamed to the gods for help and mercy.

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Subject Author Date
It's time to run away again. Quick, Nicadia! Run, run!! (NT)Sheila15:54:24 10/18/05 Tue
"Maybe she didn’t hate him as much as he’d imagined."Jan16:30:57 10/18/05 Tue
Quick, Nicadia, Run!! Before Kitkat posts the next chapter!! (NT)Sheila22:07:20 10/23/05 Sun

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