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Ireland – 1654
Kian MacTiernan’s jaw pulsed as he squeezed his eyes shut and bowed his head, letting his shoulder-length hair fall forward, hiding his pained expression. He fisted his hands, and the rope tying his wrists together behind his back burned his skin. The chain around his ankles kept him from running. He could do nothing.
That morning’s breakfast rose into his throat, burning all the way up, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. His wife stood less than four feet from him, tied at the hands and feet as he was. He no longer heard his wife’s cries because his thundering heart drowned out everything else, but he could see her yelling, calling to him. He saw her mouth moving, her face streaked with tears, and her body twisting to free itself from her captor’s clutch.
“Let her go!” he bellowed.
His mouth was his only weapon, and a powerless one at that. He wanted to destroy, to maim, to break limbs. The blood coursing through his veins heated his face. He lunged forward, but the rope tied around his neck went taut, yanking him backward and onto the wet ground.
The English bastard at the end of the tether laughed deeply. “Where do ye think ye’re going?” The Englishman hauled the lead straight up. His metallic gray eyes twinkled with enjoyment as he looked down at Kian.
Kian gagged and his eyes bulged as the rope squeezed his throat. He stumbled to his knees, easing the tension around his neck. Once on his feet, he glared at his captors. Someday he would kill these devils, he thought.