"Go fetch the horses Gainsley. They are tied to a tree just west of the arches."

"Yes, Master Niklaus" replied the balding man, who trudged off in search of the horses, still a little out of sorts and breathless from the pursuit. Damn woman, he thought as he walked away. Making me run through the woods all night. She even had the gall to thrust her elbow into my gut! Hmph! I hope Master works her to the death! Although it'd be a shame to waste such a pretty face. Damn woman…

Niklaus adjusted the unconscious woman in his arms, and peered down into the delicate and still face that rested on his chest. Well this makes things interesting, he thought. She is quite the beauty. And apparently can handle herself quite well judging by the reports the men had given him earlier. Running barefoot through the woods for several hours. Even injuring that fool Gainsley along the way! Impressive woman. They certainly made out well in today's raid. She was even better than the small fortune his men took off the Viscount traveling with her. Yes indeed, he had much use for her back at the Abbey…

As Gainsley arrived back with the horses Niklaus gently dropped Clara to her feet again, propping her up against him, keeping one arm around her waist and assembling the reigns of his steed with the other. He propped his foot into the saddle, and smoothly swung his body over the horse, carrying Clara with him as if she weighed nothing. He settled her in front of him on the saddle, resting her back against his chest.

"Markus, what has Gainsley done with her cape?"

"It's here, sir."

"Bring it to me." Markus handed him the cape and Niklaus proceeded to drape it over Clara's still form, the other men snickering at the gesture.

He then looped his arms around her waist and grabbed the reigns. He nudged his horse and the men began their trek up the steep hill towards the Abbey, the bright moon the only thing lighting their way.