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Authors: Anna Markland

Carried Away

BOOK: Carried Away
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Carried Away
The FitzRam Family [1]
Anna Markland
Bleubelle Press (2011)
A beautiful love story, battles, a kidnapping and a window into the politics and monarchy of the year 1113.
Lady Blythe FitzRam was a sixteen-year-old, very unhappy lady-in-waiting to the twelve-year-old Queen Matilda. After the royal wedding, the king left to battle in the rebellion in Koln and was gone a number of years.
Handsome Count Von Wolfenberg and his followers decided to kidnap the Queen from her church to use her to force Heinrick (the King) to withdraw from their lands. But the plan backfired...



Anna Markland


FitzRam Family Book I


Kindle Edition














What Readers Are Saying


“This was a lovely, short read that had everything. A beautiful love story, battles, a kidnapping and a window into the politics and monarchy of the year 1113…you won’t be disappointed!”

Mimi Barbour, author of
My Cheeky Angel


“Another great story.” Laurie Tomandl


“I really enjoyed this book.” Johanna Armstrong

Cove Art by Steven Novak

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Nothing matters but being with you,
Like a feather flying high up in the sky on a windy day,

I get carried away.

~George Strait





For my daughter-in-law, Samantha,

one of the most creative people I know



Bolton, Northumbria, 1113 A.D.


Caedmon FitzRam was more than distraught. Four years ago it had been a source of pride for his family when their fifteen year old daughter, Blythe, had been chosen to go to King Henry’s court as a lady-in-waiting to Princess Adelaide. Now Blythe had been commanded by the Princess to accompany her to Germany where she was to wed the Holy Roman Emperor.

Caedmon had made the long journey south to Court and tried every diplomatic move he could think of to extricate his reluctant daughter from the obligation, but the spoiled Adelaide was having none of it.

“I’m afraid, FitzRam, my little girl has dug in her heels,” Henry had drawled. “She insists Lady Blythe attend her in Mainz.”

Blythe hadn’t blamed her father, but her unsuccessful determination not to cry at their farewell had made his gut clench. He might never see her again as a result of this dreaded journey. He’d failed her.

Caedmon imparted this bitter news to his wife as she welcomed him home. He enfolded her in his cloak in the bailey of their manor to protect her from the biting east wind sweeping across the moorland on its journey from the North Sea. Agneta sagged against him, her last hope gone. “Blythe has been forbidden to marry as a lady-in-waiting to the Princess. She’s nineteen. What are her chances of marrying if they carry her off to the Holy Roman Empire? Adelaide is no doubt taking many ladies-in-waiting, surely she wouldn’t miss Blythe?”

Once inside the shelter of the front hallway, Caedmon put his hands on his wife’s shoulders. “There is no other recourse. I’m sorry. I did what I could. Adelaide is going to marry Heinrich and she intends to take Blythe with her. Henry is adamant about building alliances, as evidenced by his betrothing his ten year old son to the daughter of
Fulk of Anjou. Think of it. A Norman prince, grandson of the Conqueror, betrothed to an Angevin! William of Normandie must be turning in his tomb.”

Agneta wiped her eyes and blew her nose as Caedmon escorted her into their solar. “You of all people should remember that old enmities can be put aside. Your hatred of Normans almost got you killed.”

Caedmon chuckled as he handed his cloak over to his steward, Alain Bonhomme. “Ironic, isn’t it? When I discovered I was the illegitimate son of a Norman Earl, I despised myself and Ram de Montbryce. Now, here we are bearing a Norman patronymic and proud of my Montbryce heritage.”

Agneta motioned to a maidservant hovering in the doorway with a jug of ale. She filled a tankard and gave it to her husband. “Your father was indeed a man to be proud of, Caedmon. I loved him. We wouldn’t have this beautiful manor house were it not for his influence. I was nothing to him, yet he saw to it my family home was rebuilt.”

Caedmon slumped into a chair near the hearth and eased off his boots. “My father loved you, Agneta.”

She stood behind him and put her arms around his shoulders, watching him drain his tankard. “I’m glad you’re back. I miss you when you’re away.”

He smiled, swiped his hand across his mouth and belched. Stretching his legs out to the fire, he leaned his head back against her and pressed his hands atop hers. “It’s good to be home. You have the other children here to keep you company. By the way, where are they?”

Agneta took the tankard and refilled it. “They don’t keep my bed warm, husband! Aidan is particularly upset about his sister’s move. He’s never lived in a different country to his twin. He fears he’ll never see her again. He’s gone to assist with repairs of a cottage in the village. He’ll be home soon. Edwin is with him.”

“What about Ragna?”

Agneta scoffed. “She’s the only person in the household green with envy. She desperately wants to go in her sister’s stead.”

“She’s only thirteen! What makes her think—oh, wait, this is Ragna, our wild Viking princess!”

Agneta laughed. “Exactly!”

As they talked, Ragna burst into the chamber, her flaxen hair streaming like a banner. “Papa! You’re home. No one told me. I would have greeted you.”

Caedmon came to his feet. She threw herself into her father’s arms and he kissed her. “I’ve missed you, my wild Viking princess.”

Ragna pouted and pushed away from him. “Would you have me be anything other than myself?
is proud I remind her of my Danish grandmother. Papa, why can’t I go in Blythe’s stead? She doesn’t want to go.”

Caedmon put his arm around his youngest child’s shoulders. “You are too young. It would break your mother’s heart if you went to Germany.”

Agneta burst into tears. “We won’t even have Blythe home for Yuletide.” She fled the Hall.



On the Seventh day of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand One Hundred and Fourteen, Adelaide, the daughter of King Henry of England, married the Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich the Fifth. The marriage took place in Mainz. Adelaide changed her name that day to Matilda, and was crowned Empress. She was twelve years old. Heinrich was twenty-eight.

As the lengthy wedding and coronation ceremony of her mistress proceeded, Lady Blythe Lacey FitzRam stood in awe in the basilica, recalling the detailed history she’d been regaled with upon first arriving in Mainz. The voice of the young priest had choked with pride as he conducted Adelaide’s ladies-in-waiting through the
Mainzer Dom

Only recently arrived after a long and cold journey and full of resentment because she’d missed Yuletide with her family, Blythe hadn’t appreciated the compulsory history lesson. Now, however, she looked with admiration upon the massive gold cross commissioned by Archbishop Willigis, the heavy bronze doors made by Master Berenger, and the stunning stained glass windows illuminated by the bright winter sunshine. She recalled the guide’s explanation that the cathedral wasn’t simply one church, but a complex among which were those dedicated to Sancta Maria ad Gradus, and Saint Johannis, the latter built five hundred years before. It was a most appropriate place for a coronation.

A pang of jealousy and annoyance surged through her as the twelve year old Adelaide was bound to Heinrich. Some of her fellow ladies-in-waiting shared her resentment.

“She’s twelve and getting married, but I’m not allowed to marry because I’m in her service. She thinks of no one but herself,” Blythe whispered to the widowed Lady Dorothea Le Roux. “I’ll die a spinster. My younger sister will probably be wed before I’m released from this obligation.”

She’d felt isolated since arriving in this foreign land. Sharing confidences with other ladies-in-waiting was all very well, but could be dangerous. Whom to trust? While Adelaide’s entourage were French speaking, Heinrich’s courtiers spoke German, a harsh sounding language she’d never learned.

Her parents had raised her to be tolerant. Her father, Sir Caedmon FitzRam, had participated in the First Crusade and experienced firsthand how intolerance led to needless bloodshed. Her mother often told the story of almost losing Caedmon because of her resentment of exiled Saxons who had helped the Scots slaughter her family. The FitzRams had come to terms with their prejudices and hatreds and had passed their belief in the power of love on to their children. Blythe was torn between wanting to be accepting of the foreigners in whose midst she found herself, and disdain for their alien tongue and temperament.

As she watched the Emperor repeat his vows, she leaned close to Lady Dorothea’s ear. “Poor Heinrich, he looks so bored—a twenty-eight year old man marrying a child. He’s quite handsome, though his nose is too long. He’ll no doubt find solace with a mistress—as our own King Henry does—often!”

Lady Dorothea gave her a conspiratorial grin, but put her finger to her lips.

Blythe shifted her weight on the hard pew and recommenced her perusal of the historic surroundings, but her mind was on her discontent. Blythe’s parents were intensely loyal and faithful to each other. She longed for such a relationship for herself, but had discovered during her years at Court that most men were only interested in one thing from ladies-in-waiting. They knew the women weren’t allowed to marry and looked upon them as potential liaisons without entanglements. Blythe suspected the Germans would be no different. She would have to keep braiding her hair so tightly in crown braids it made her wince.

I look like a harridan

She tightened her mouth into an unattractive pout and creased her brow, transforming her face into an ugly scowl. “This is the
face I’ll present to the ogling Germans. They’re used to seeing the same expression on the faces of their own women!”

BOOK: Carried Away
7.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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