Maud walked quickly through the woods.

Maud walked quickly through the woods, her hands clenched into tight little fists. Alwy! She had been planning to say a few things to that insolent Scot, but that blockhead Alwy Hogge had spoiled it. 

And now, as she walked, she thought of more and more things she would like to say to him. He thought he could be free and easy with a queen, did he?

Then she heard a rustling on the path behind her, and saw a light darting wildly behind the trees. She walked faster. Whoever it was, she didn’t want to see them. At best, it was a peasant taking the short way home. At worst…

But the light moved more quickly than she in her heavy skirts. The light was running to catch her. The light was calling out to her – in Gaelic. Oh, that was it, was it?

Maud stopped and stood straight, her back to the runner. She heard him jog up behind her and felt the heat of the torch on her cold back.

She felt the heat of the torch on her cold back.

“Will you go home through the woods without even a torch against the wolves?” he asked her.

“Is it safer to go through the woods with a Scot?” she asked coldly.

“When it’s a Scot with a torch.”

She turned abruptly to face him.

She turned abruptly to face him.

He was grinning widely.

“You think you’re quite clever.”

“Aye,” he laughed. “Should I be ashamed?”

He laughed.

Maud scowled. Suddenly her hand darted out and grabbed the torch. Startled, he let go, and Maud ran down the hill and tossed it into the brook before he caught up with her. 

“And a Scot without a torch?” she sneered.

Even then safer than a wolf.

“Even then safer than a wolf – though a risk.”

Maud hesitated a moment, but he took a step closer to her, and that was too much. She turned and ran.

But this time he was ready for her, and she had only run a few strides before he grabbed her waist in powerful hands and painfully dragged her to a stop.

He grabbed her waist and dragged her to a stop.

“Meet me in the nursery tonight,” he whispered.

“Let go of me!” she hissed.

'Meet me in the nursery.'

“Meet me in the nursery,” he repeated softly, turning her around and clutching her arms. “No one goes there at night.”

Maud laughed mockingly. “I should send the guards up in my place. Are you mad?”

Maud laughed mockingly.

“Aye,” he said. “I would know whether you are, as well.”

Maud broke away and ran again. She stopped and listened as she neared the edge of the woods. But this time he had not followed her.

This time he had not followed her.