Chapter 1

Vendall stood to hear his verdict. “Guilty of all charges”

Guilty! The word cut him. He was 24 years old and his life was over, he heard his pappir curse, his massair wail, as he listened to them he thought of prison, he had already spent 6 months in prison during the trial and could not imagine living there for the rest of his life. He turned to look behind him, he knew she was there. Looking so innocent with her beautiful face, clear blue eyes and soft blond curls that fell past her shoulders to her waist. When she was 14 years old Vendall had bought Keer•la, then he married her, illegally. But then most of what Vendall had done was not strictly legal. Some were of the opinion that he had not purchased Keer•la legally, that he had stolen her from her family. Keer•la would not say, either from fear or love no one knew. But she did tell about the other things he had done, her testimony had sealed his fate and her’s, she would never be completely free. Vendall had a brother Reesori, until recently he had been off-world, serving in the Royal Eskardian. He believed what Vendall told him and Keer•la knew he would hunt her down. She had to get off this island, and she had found a way, or rather, a way had been handed to her.

Vendall’s eyes grew dark as he watched her, with a roar he lunged toward her, only to be dragged back by the court frenjes. Keer•la couldn’t help but jump and wonder how long it would be before she could leave, when would her saviors come? A man touched her arm and she turned with a smile, the smile faded and her face went from pale to white as she recognized Reesori.

“So it’s the lying Keer•la? Pleased to make your acquaintance.” He sneered at her.

“I … I didn’t lie.” Her soft voice barely above a whisper. Keer•la looked up at Reesori, tall, good-looking and angry. He reached for her neck with a quick movement. Keer•la was quicker. She jumped and a swift kick placed behind his knee caused him to lose his balance and as he was falling to the ground, Keer•la’s fists smashed into his face and ribs. As soon as he was on the ground another swift kick delivered the ultimate humiliation. He was battled trained, Keer•la had learned street fighting at the hand of Vendall, he had taught her to be quick, effective and vicious. Keer•la placed her foot on Reesori’s neck, she leaned forward and as he gasped for breath she whispered into his face, “Your brother taught me this. I didn’t lie.” Then she was gone.

Reesori lay on the floor gasping for breath, he struggled to his feet, making great effort to stand upright. A man laughed at him, “Beaten by a 16 year old girl!” Reesori growled and grabbed the man’s throat. “What did you say?” “Nothing! Nothing!” Reesori was strong with a grip like iron, no one else said a word to him. “Besides,” he muttered to himself, “she couldn’t be 16, Vendall wouldn’t have married a child.” Reesori made his way to the door, he did not notice the two cloaked figures standing in the back up against the wall. Now they followed Reesori out the door, as he looked for Keer•la who by now had disappeared. Reesori walked toward his house, he kept a sharp lookout, he needed to soak his injury, he needed to think. “It’s an island.” He reasoned, where could she run on an island? He would find her.

Chapter 2