Standing abruptly, Elspeth glanced around the table. She wanted to shout at them all. Did they not understand how exhausted they were? From the moment they arrived at Lord Sutherland’s castle, they were ushered into the great hall to await the king. No food given. Only wine served. Bright red splotches covered her nephew’s cheeks.
Moving away from the table, she went to her nephew and placed a firm hand on his shoulder. “My king. If you would be so kind, I shall see Erik to his chamber.”
King William smiled. “Do not fret, Lady Elspeth. There was not much wine in his cup. I deemed it best to acknowledge his new position as chieftain with a small amount.”
Relief coursed through her, and she gave him her best smile. “Then with your consent, may I fetch him some food from the kitchens?”
The king rose from his chair. “Lord Sutherland has prepared chambers for you both.”
“Chambers in the south tower?” asked Magnar, taking a hold of her elbow.
Lord Sutherland gave him a slight nod.
Startled once again by the man’s silent movements, Elspeth remained mute, trying to control the warring emotions from the man’s touch. The heat of his fingers seared into her gown and onto her skin.
Giving the king a small smile, she permitted Magnar to usher her out of the great hall. Erik kept a steady pace with their movements as he continued to entertain their overly bold guide with yet another tale of how they escaped their home.
Her steps slowed as the torchlight danced off the giant tapestry hanging on the wall near the stairs. The eyes of a white wolf bore into Elspeth as she drew near. Though only the head of the animal was represented within the woven threads, she half expected the wolf to jump out at her.
Elite Guards. Wolves. King William.
Elspeth returned her attention to the man holding her in his grip. “I heard my brother once mention the elite guards for the king. He spoke with reverence and with fear. They are loyal to the king but had one leader—one who all of Scotland should fear because of his magic.”
The man’s eyes darkened and a smile tipped the corners of his mouth. “Your brother was wise in his account.”