Windmera Desperation

By: Claudy Conn


Youth rambles on life’s arid mount,

And strikes the rock and finds the vein,

And brings the water from the fount,

The fount which shall not flow again

Matthew Arnold





~ Prologue ~



1782



GODWIN, LORD OF RAVENSBURY, STOOD, a lone figure on the craggy cliffs of Land’s End in Cornwall, England.

Before him lay the ocean, its whitecaps foaming as they crashed into the jutting rocks. Those jutting craggy rocks, harsh in their greatness, looked much like weathered turrets of castles of long ago.

He loved this scene. He belonged here. He supposed he must look to any passerby as a rough figure of a man against such a wild background. He was proud that he was much like his father had been, of imposing height and broad shoulders. Enough to make a quarrelsome chap a charmer, and his mien…he knew was a buck in his heyday and fiercely honest in his beliefs.

His red hair swept over his eyes, wild in the wind, and he pushed it away from his face. He held his cloak with his free hand close to his chest as it whipped around him.

A pool of water had collected from the night’s rain and he gazed at himself in its shallow depth. Aye, he thought, could she love such a devilishly looking man with such black eyes and brows? Could she?

He had come here to his favorite place to be alone. He had to make a decision. He was young, too young, at only one and twenty, to have to make this decision, but he had no choice.

He was lord and master of his home, and his home was empty and lonely.

He had lost his parents while he was at school, when he was seventeen. Still a boy, he lost his older brother a year later, when his brother sailing a rough sea had been found with the wreckage of his sloop on the rocky beach.

At eighteen, he was alone. He had no other family to claim as his own.

Aye, he was Godwin, Lord Ravensbury, and with all his wealth and position, he knew deep sorrow.

Now, though only one and twenty, he knew he wanted a family to brighten his home. He needed a family, and although he was still so young, he was quite (he told himself) grown up. He was a man. He had taken charge of his father’s prosperous holdings, of the estate, and he had done well with those responsibilities.

Now what he needed was to keep the name alive. He loved children. Aye then, children running around his house, making it a home was what he wanted—what he needed. He could picture them dashing about, laughing, arguing, playing, and how he wanted them. They would breathe life into his stale home. The notion of fathering such a pack made him delirious with pleasure.

A bride? Oh, but he had one in mind. She was lovely, a gentle being whose full youthful body was something he dreamed about making his own. He wanted the lovely Lisa…no, no, what was he thinking? It could never be Lisa. Lisa was lost to him.

It would be the lovely Sara, Sara of Farenday. She would be his bride. She was a beauty, with hair the color of sun-ripened wheat and eyes the color of a clear sky. She was an innocent, so very different than Lisa.

He would take Sara for his own and teach her what pleasure could be had in the bedroom.

Hot blood raced through his loins, but a nagging voice, a voice that would not be stilled, asked if he loved Sara.

He must love her, he answered himself. How could he not?

He had made up his mind to take the hand of Sara Farenday and he would bring his bride to his castle and they would make it a home!



* * * * *

Sara Farenday sat alone on a hilltop not far from her home. Heather filled the air with sweetness as it swayed in the wind and she absently ran her hand through it, picked a few sprigs and breathed deeply.

Her long blonde hair blew across her face and she pushed it away. She was only seventeen, and her family was forever telling her that with her beauty she could have anyone she wanted as a husband.

So then, why didn’t they let her choose the man she wanted?

She gazed back at the modest Tudor home in the distance. She loved her home, but her mother had inspired her to want more. Jewels and beautiful clothes, her mother had said and wagged a finger. That is what you need, what you deserve.

Indeed, she grew up believing this was true.

She liked those things. She liked having servants to take care of her every whim, and the only way to achieve her goals was through marriage.

She needed a wealthy and noble peer of the realm. She would settle for nothing less and the thought of such a life became an obsession.

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