Well, this is my very first Patriot fic. I’ve been reading them for a couple of months now, so I decided to give it a try even though it isn’t my usual fare. First, I wanna say that even though I minored in history, I am in no way a scholar of this period in history, so if any historical inaccuracies surface, chalk it up to the author’s ignorance. But I’m not writing a documentary here, after all, so deviation from history, I would think, is acceptable. Second, is the DISCLAIMER. I don’t own The Patriot, nor do I make a claim to it or any part of it. This piece and all its subsequent chapters are written for the pure enjoyment of myself and any others who happen to read them. I don’t own any of the characters previously introduced in the film, however the original characters that appear solely in this work and not in the film do belong to me. I’m not making any money from this, however if you wish to use this on your site or for any other purposes besides those of a monetarily profitable nature, I ask that you please keep my name and this disclaimer attached to it. And now, on with the show …
The sound of glass shattering somewhere in the house roused him and his wife from their restful sleep. More glass breaking and the sound of a door being broken down was enough to let them know that they had good reason to be alarmed. The sound of rapid footfalls pounding through the darkened abode sent a clear message that the couple was doomed.
Their bedroom door flew open and two figures entered, swords drawn. The master of the house, still on his bed, had no time to reach for his own sword, stowed away against the wall behind him. Even if he had reached it, taking on two members of the British Army was suicide. He might have had a chance against one, but not two. Sometime after realizing the futility of his situation, both he and his wife became aware of a steady set of footfalls making their way up the stairs amid the backdrop of chaos occurring on the lower level of the house. The footsteps continued, up the hall, closer and closer, finally coming to a stop right outside the master bedroom. The Mr. and Mrs. Of the household watched the doorway with intent and anticipation. And then he appeared, stepping out of the darkness into the moonlit bedroom.
Colonel William Tavington studied his latest prisoners. The sight of them huddled together on the bed made him sick. He hated these colonials. Always going on about their precious rights and freedoms. Rubbish. They were all a bunch of traitors, biting the very hand that feeds them. And they would receive what they duly deserved.
“Mr. and Mrs. George Harris,” Tavington began, taking on an official attitude. “You have been lawfully charged and convicted of treason for conspiring against Britain and the Royal Crown. Your sentence – execution by firing squad. Your possessions and property will subsequently become the property of the Britain and the British Army. Do you have any last words?”
Harris pulled himself up tall in his spot on the bed. A look of unshakable pride appeared on his face, and he said nothing.
“Very well then,” Tavington said. He stepped out into the hallway, back into the shadows. Two soldiers entered the bedroom, joining the other two and taking up positions inside so that collectively they formed a semi-circle which effectively enclosed the bed where the couple lay.
“Ready!” the order was announced. Then, “Take aim!” The four soldiers raised their rifles and aimed their barrels squarely at Harris and his wife. There was no escape for them, and they knew it.
“Liberty or death!” Harris exclaimed in what he knew was his final moment.
“Fire!” All four soldiers fired.
Death it was, Tavington thought sardonically, walking away from the door. He descended the stairs of the British Army’s newest piece of acquired property. Despite his distaste for its former occupants, the house had its merits. He reached the foot of the stairs, admiring the woodwork on the stair banister before he started for the door. He absently appraised the house’s contents on the way out, making mental notes of the items he passed, quickly assessing their value. The house would be torched of course, but that didn’t mean the valuables inside were destined to perish, as well. Once he was outside, Tavington was made aware of some additional ‘valuables’ that had belonged to that cad Harris. Two of Tavington’s men approached him on the way back to his horse.
“Sir, we found five slaves,” one of the officers reported. “What are your orders concerning them?”
“Tie them to the horses,” Tavington instructed. “We’ll take them back to camp along with the rest of the confiscated property.”
“Yes, sir.” The officer hurried off to comply with the colonel’s orders.
Juliana Harris kept her dark eyes focused on the ground as her hands were forcefully and tightly bound with rope and tied to the horse in front of her. She had no idea what was going to happen to her or any of the other slaves. She didn’t know if they were going to be dragged along at high speeds, if they were going to be killed, or they were just being tied up so that they wouldn’t run away. She wanted to look around, to see what was going on, but she didn’t dare look up from the ground and draw attention to herself. Right now, her one goal was to just stay alive. She would worry about the rest later.
“Has everything been secured?” Juliana heard a man ask.
“Yes, sir,” another man replied. “Valuables have been secured.”
Footsteps. And they were coming closer to where the horses were. Juliana heard them slow to the pace of a leisurely stroll. She could hardly breathe at this point, she was so nervous. She nearly stopped breathing altogether when a pair of boot-clad feet came into her line of vision on the ground.
“Well, well … what have we here?”
Juliana kept her ebony eyes focused on the ground, using all her will to do so despite her burning curiosity to see the face of the man standing before her. Even when he reached out and gently lifted her chin so that her head was no longer bowed, her gaze remained steady on the ground. Finally, she couldn’t no longer resist, and she raised her eyes. They timidly connected with a crisp blue gaze.
“My, she is quite the beauty, isn’t she?” he commented appraisingly. “Much too delicate to be traipsing along behind a horse.” He turned to the officer beside him. “Cut her loose; she’ll ride with me.”
“Yes, sir,” the officer obliged. He pulled out a small knife and promptly cut Juliana loose from the horse. Then he cut the rope away from her wrists, which she rubbed, feeling where the tight restraints had dug into her skin.
“Come with me, my dear,” Tavington instructed the slave.
Juliana didn’t like the term of endearment with which Tavington had addressed her. She didn’t understand how the two words ‘my dear,’ which ordinarily had such a positive connotation when spoken, could leave her feeling so ill at ease. She gave a final look of uncertainty to the man who’d cut her free. She didn’t want to go with … she didn’t even know his name. All she knew about him was that he had penetrating blue eyes and that he had saved her from a walking trip behind a horse. For all she knew, he could be one of the kindest men she’d ever met. She turned and watched walk away toward his animal. On the other hand, he could be one of the most vile men who ever walked the earth.
Tavington turned back to the girl. “Are you coming?” he asked. “Or did you want to be tied to the horse?”
Juliana walked over to where Tavington stood, her head once again bowed to the ground. She intended to keep it that way, but she couldn’t help but look up and openly admire the beautiful brown steed that she now stood beside.
“Have you ever ridden a horse before?” Tavington asked her. Juliana shook her head, indicating that she had not. She chanced a brief look at him before averting her eyes to the ground again. Tavington effortlessly mounted the massive animal. Then he reached down towards Juliana, offering his hand to the young woman. She timidly placed her hand in his, momentarily marveling at the odd contrast of her brown hand against his much paler skin. With strength that took her by surprise, he pulled her up into the saddle with him. She sat behind him, awkwardly at first, as she had no idea what she was supposed to hold on to. She found a spot on the back of the saddle that seemed alright enough for the moment but would probably prove to be a different story once they actually started moving.
“Tell me, do you know who I am?” Tavington asked.
“No, sir,” Juliana replied simply.
“I am Colonel William Tavington,” he said. “What is your name?”
Tavington snorted. “I see you’ve adopted that habit of taking on your master’s last name. Very well, Juliana Harris. You said you don’t know how to ride a horse?”
“Put your arms around my waist,” Tavington instructed. “And hold on.”
“I feel like I’m going to fall off,” Juliana said, her arms already around Tavington.
“You have to use your legs to hold you in place,” Tavington said. “Squeeze the sides of the horse with your knees.” Juliana did so and immediately felt more stable in her seat. “Are you ready?”
“Yes, sir. I believe so.”
Tavington gently spurred the horse with his boot heel, and the animal trotted into motion. Juliana’s grip around Tavington’s waist instinctively tightened, and her body pressed tightly against Tavington’s. Tavington’s hand covered Juliana’s, a motion that shocked her so that she nearly fell off the horse right then and there.
“Are you alright?” Tavington asked.
“We don’t have very far to go,” Tavington informed her. “Perhaps next time, I’ll have you ride in the front so that I will have a better hold on you.”
Next time? Juliana merely stared at the back of Tavington’s head, not knowing what do think about ‘next time’. Tavington turned his head slightly, in her direction, and she averted her eyes as she realized that she and this William Tavington might be spending more time together than she originally thought.