CHAPTER XXIV As Luke and Bard came around the last corner， they could see Stella was already down.They didn’t know if she had been just dismounted or was hurt.Matt’s horse had been shot out from under him and he was trapped under it.The young man that had come to the camp was in the process of wrestling Pollyanna’s reins away from her and several men were coming out of the woods with bows drawn.Luke and Bard quickly dismounted.Bard wanted to ride straight to their rescue but Luke was worried about secondary traps.“Bard， think of it as fishing.You use some bait to catch some small fish.You then take the biggest of those small fish to catch much bigger fish.That is what Pollyanna and Matt are at this moment.They are the small fish that on their own would be a meal， but I think they’re fishing for a banquet and they’re planning on or are already using Pollyanna and Matt as bait.So， we are going to sneak up either side of the road while staying in the forest and looking out for more men hiding.If we don’t find any， then we’ll free Pollyanna and Matt.”Bard wasn’t really convinced， but did as Luke planned.One of the things that Bard had learned was that to not trust Luke’s instincts was beyond foolish.Within only minutes， Luke was proven correct.Both him and Bard had found other men in the woods.Fortunately， they all had their attention on the road， where Matt had been pulled from under his horse and Pollyanna had been brought under control.Luke and Bard worked the way up the road， silently eliminating men as they went.Finally， they got to where they could rescue their people.Together Luke and Bard had killed ten men and they hadn’t even got the men holding Pollyanna and Matt who were by this time tied up.All this time Stella hadn’t moved and Bard could see why; she had got an arrow through her throat.Bard was getting ready to start shooting these bastards with his bow when Luke stepped out of the forest with his handgun at the ready.This was the first time that Bard had ever seen it in action; he had heard the tales but thought that they were just that， tales.Now he was convinced.Within seconds， Luke had taken out all ten of the men on the road except one; he only wounded the man that had first came to their camp.Before Luke went to untie Pollyanna and Matt， he went to check on Stella.Before he even checked her pulse， he could see that she was dead.The color was gone out of her face and Luke could see the pool of blood under Stella and the fact that she was no longer bleeding was proof enough that she was dead.Luke knew that later he would be crying his eyes out， but right now he had more important things to do.Bard was untying Matt and Pollyanna so Luke took the job of interrogating the prisoner.Luke had only wounded him on purpose， he wanted the man to talk.“Ok this is how things are going to be; you are going to die， but how you die is up to you.If you tell me everything that I want to know then you will be killed quickly， but if you don’t tell everything or you lie to me， then your death will be beyond painful and will last for days.Also， if your answers satisfy me then I will make sure that you get a church burial， but if you don’t then your body will be cut up and fed to the hogs. You have until I get back to decide.”Luke went over to check on Pollyanna and Matt.While Pollyanna was just shaken up; Matt was in bad shape.When he got trapped under his horse， it had broken his leg bad enough that his leg wasn’t anywhere near straight.“Luke what about Stella， you have to help her!” screamed Pollyanna. Luke just gave her a sad look.“No， no， it can’t be! She can’t be dead; damn it! Tell me that she will be fine!”“Pollyanna， I’m sorry but there’s nothing that can be done for her.She was dead almost as soon as that arrow hit her in the throat for it looks like it also took out her spinal column as well.Even in my time that would be a fatal injury.”As Luke spoke these words， he shed a single tear. He wiped his face and turned back to his captive who was trying to get away.Luke would have been impressed if he hadn’t been so angry.Angry at himself for not seeing the ambush sooner， angry at Stella for dying， and angry at the fuckhead who had led her into the ambush in the first place. At least Luke could get some revenge on this fucker anyway.“Well， are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?” asked Luke as he kicked the man’s leg out from under him and then stepped on the man’s shot out knee as he landed.“Fuck off!” the man yelled from the ground while trying to fight his way through the pain.“Figured as much” Then Luke put much more pressure on the man’s shattered knee.After a couple of minutes， the man still was being stubborn so Luke moved his foot up and stepped on the man’s balls.The way in which Luke had stepped on them had pinned them against the man’s body， so that they had nowhere to go.He gradually stepped up the pressure until tears came to the man’s eyes. “Well， you ready to talk now?”“Yes， please just stop stepping on my boys， pleeease.”“How did you find us?”“I just dressed up in poor person clothes and rode through the forest until someone from your group found me.”“How much is Cecilia paying you?”“Three hundred up front and five thousand when we completed the job.”“We?”“Aye， there were thirty of us. Cecilia keeps us on retainer for people that crossed her.”“Were all these men in your group or are they just hired thugs?”“They were all in the group.”“How many other assassins does Cecilia keep on retainer?”“How would I know?” Luke moved his foot back to the man’s balls.“Honestly， I have no idea. I do know that she has a large network that has a presence all over England.”“What all is she involved in?” now Luke was getting increasingly curious.“Assassins for hire， prostitution， sex slaves， counterfeiting， espionage， and anything else that she can make money using other people’s suffering.” “Well， I think that I am about out of questions; Matt， Pollyanna， do have anything you want to ask?”“Why did you have to kill Stella?” snapped Pollyanna.“We had to let you know that we are serious; plus， she was just a woman so nothing much was lost.”At this Pollyanna lost it and， drawing her sword， beheaded the captive.She was still breathing like a bull when Luke came up and put his hand on her shoulder， a move which almost earned him a swipe with Pollyanna’s sword. Seeing Luke， Pollyanna broke down and started crying as she wrapped her arms around Luke’s neck and buried her face in his chest.Her and Stella had been very close and Stella’s death was hitting Pollyanna particularly hard.As she cried， Luke gently moved her toward Matt who was still in need of help.Eventually Pollyanna had cried herself out and was able to help Matt.Together Luke and Pollyanna got Matt’s leg set and splinted.They then helped Matt get sat comfortably against a tree while Luke and Pollyanna looted the dead.As usual they found plenty of arms， money， and other useful items.The biggest haul through was a piece of paper.On it， it detailed the assignments of the entire group of assassins， not just the group that Luke killed. Bard had been looting the dead that Luke and he had killed while coming up the road after he had retrieved their horses.The trip back was very slow due not only to Matt’s injury， but Luke wanted to make extra sure that they were not being followed.Eventually they made it back to camp and managed to get Matt into the bunker that they used as a sleeping quarters/hospital. There， his care was handed off the Alice.Meanwhile， Marion was busy debriefing Pollyanna and Bard. Debriefing Pollyanna was especially hard because she really didn’t want to relive that experience but Marion needed to know what had happened so that they could prevent it happening in the future.Then， it was Matt’s turn.His take on the events of the day weren’t as good because he was suffering from extreme pain in his leg. Luke had managed to make primitive aspirin from willow bark and this helped take the edge off of Matt’s pain.Finally， Marion had a go at Luke but here it was more of Luke comforting Marion， while he told her everything his captive had told him.He also showed her the paper that Pollyanna had found on one of the dead men.They still had to be on the lookout for ten more assassins.Once everything was finally done， Marion finally broke down and allowed herself to weep for her friend.Afterall， this was someone how she had known before her father was murdered.All through this Luke stayed quiet right next to her and gently rubbed her back.The woman that he loved more than anything else even more than life itself and the mother of his child was having the worst day of her life to date.Worse yet was that Marion was also now responsible for the lives of eight other people if you counted her unborn child.This was something that she had never been prepared for growing up.Personally， Luke thought that she was handling things quite well， all things considered.As the sun set on the day， Marion made her rounds around camp.She checked on their horses， the boobytraps， the armory， and finally her men and women.This was the hardest.The mood across the group was almost uniform， absolute depression.They would need time to heal， but Marion was determined to bring everyone out of their funk.This had also helped make her own mind up; she would go back to the sleeping pad that she shared with Luke and fuck him senseless.While it was true that they made love almost every night， it had been a while since they had a good animalistic fucking and this was what Marion was in the mood for.Getting back to their sleeping area， Luke wasn’t there.At first Marion wondered if Luke had assigned himself to night watch again， for he had a habit of taking an extra night watch if he was worried about being surprised.He usually did this when the conditions were ideal for someone to sneak up on the camp， like on damp nights.Tonight through， he just had to take a piss and he came back soon after Marion had gotten there.As soon as she seen Luke， she launched herself into him and started almost ripping his clothes off and she was trying to shove her tongue down Luke’s throat.Luke had been taken by surprise at first but he caught up fast.Before long he was working at Marion’s clothing.At least he didn’t have to fight with bras anymore.With his large fingers， they had always presented a bit of a problem in the past， even as nimble as his fingers were.All he had to do was to unbutton her pants and push them down her shapely hips and then pull her shirt up and over her head.This was the hardest thing because she wasn’t in any hurry to take her mouth away from his.Eventually， Luke managed to get her shirt off and they were now both naked. Luke started kissing his way down her long neck and this sent chills all through Marion’s body as it always did.She was moaning before Luke even made it to her nipples which were more sensitive than they had been because of the baby.As soon as Luke started kissing them， Marion had her first explosive orgasm of the evening.The only reason that she managed to keep standing was that Luke was holding her up.As Marion recovered， she stoved Luke over so that he landed on his ass.She was on him like a cat and had pushed him onto his back.There she straddled him， her pussy leaking all over Luke’s stomach as she kissed her way down his chest.She just loved to run her hands through the hair on Luke’s chest.Luke then seen another reason for tonight to be more special than most for the Northern Lights had decided to make an appearance and were putting on a spectacular display.He didn’t have long to look at then though for Marion was beginning to impale herself.“AHHHH fuck me hard Luke!!! FUCK MY BRAINS OUT!” Marion yelled as she slid down his shaft of steel.Tonight， was one of those times that no matter what she did， she just couldn’t get Luke’s cock deep enough to satisfy her cravings.“Luke fold me up please， god damn fold me up and fuck the shit out of me” begged Marion.Luke was amazed that his sweet， wonderful woman was talking so dirty， but her wasn’t about to complain about it because he was more turned on now than had had ever been.It feltlike his cock was about to rip open from all the blood being forced into it.Luke then did what Marion had been begging him to do.He rolled over without taking his cock out of Marion.Once on top， he put her ankles up on his shoulders.In this position， Luke could pound Marion until she fainted. Not only did he dive deep enough to ram into her cervix with almost every thrust， but he also rubbed against her G-spot with every movement.Within seconds， Marion was yelling at the top of her lungs， in fact Luke had never heard her yell this loud before and she was usually quite a vocal lovemaker.Marion could feel Luke’s heartbeat through the veins on his cock and this sent her to new heights for this was something new to her.Usually， she could feel his veins rise up on his cock but she had never felt his heart beat.Then it happened， Marion had herself the orgasm of the millennium.She actually felt like her pussy was going to cause her to fly like some of the rockets pictured on Luke’s computer.In fact， if it hadn’t been for her pussy muscles clamping down and Luke holding on to her， she might have flown.As she was reaching her climax， she set Luke off as well.Luke thrust up into her so hard that he actually bruised her a bit， not that she cared.When he exploded in her， he shot nine white hot shots of sticky cum into her; a new record for them.He put so much into her that when he pulled out， it looked like a white-water river flowing out of her cunt.Although， at first Marion had wanted to be fucked longer than this， she and Luke were at their limits and they barely got onto their sleeping pad before passing out for the night.CHAPTER XXV When Luke and Marion woke up the next morning， it was storming out.Nothing really serious， just one of those late summer storms with a decent amount of rain， some wind and usually some lighting.Being that it was a warm rain， Luke went out into it without putting clothes on.It was about the perfect temperature.With some persuasion， Marion came out too.Soon both of them were playing like children with them jumping in mud puddles and just having a good time.Marion， before too long， was working on getting everyone else to strip down and join them.The women were quick to strip down and Bard followed suit not too long after.Robin through was raised to be very modest and in believing that the devil would soon visit; so， he wouldn’t strip down with everyone else.Marion， for her part， respected his views and didn’t try forcing his which he appreciated.Basically， as long as he respected her view， she respected his.The rain continued for almost an hour.During this time the miserable feeling of the day before were forgotten for the time being.The group was having too much fun.Not only was playing in the rain fun， but they were all busy teasing Marion about her limping and careful walking.Everyone had heard her the night before and this actually helped the group start to recover from Stella’s death. All to soon through the rain stopped and it was back to business.Marion had left it to Pollyanna， Stella’s closest friend， on where to bury her.Pollyanna picked a small church， in the village， from where Stella was originally from.So， the group made to four hour track to the village church.Once there though， the group realized that the whole village had been abandoned.From the looks of things， it had been abandoned not that long ago.Gabriel found an empty space in the cemetery and Alice had even found a coffin for Stella.Luke and Bard took care of digging the grave， making sure to go down six feet.Once the grave had been dug， everyone but Matt grabbed a line and lowered Stella’s body into the ground.Once done， Marion spoke a few words.After she had finished， but before everyone started to bury her， Pollyanna started speaking:“For my best friend， the woman who taught me to be a woman and who encouraged me to fight like a man; I cannot thank you enough.I swear this now that I shall ever stop working toward freeing the people of this tormented land so that no others have to make the choices that you did， Stella. For nobody should be forced into the position of selling their bodies just so that their children can have something to eat， or having to watch as those children are ripped away by soldiers because the family couldn’t pay the record high taxes levied on them because some lazy noble wanted to host a bigger party then their neighbor.Go in peace know Stella and know that I will always love you for all that you have done for me.”“Amen” everyone said while trying to hold back their tears.When she finished， everyone in the group started to openly weep; Pollyanna had just said out loud what everyone had been feeling in their hearts.Eventually， they started burying their friend， and Pollyanna finished things by pushing a cross which Gabriel had made into the ground.The cross had actually been Stella’s sword at one time， but Gabriel had broken it in half after Stella had been killed and had etched Stella’s name and date of death on it. After they finished， Luke put his arms around Marion’s shoulder.This always made her feel better and it did this time as well.Looking around， Marion started getting curious about this village.It looking like a nice enough place to stay， so the group split up to search the village.Luke found a fully intact blacksmithing shop that still had its tools in it and plenty of raw materials laying around.Marion found a small tavern but all the alcohol was gone.Robin and Bard checked out the church while Gabriel went up to check out the steeple for this looked like the prefect place from which she could pick off intruders.Alice went through the houses and found one that was significantly cleaner than the rest.To make it better， it had a large supply of herbs in it that Alice recognized as having medicinal value.Not only that， it still had to tools to process the herbs. Pollyanna meanwhile stayed with Matt and they talked quietly.They both realized that they were quickly falling in love and only hoped that nobody would object.Luke of course already knew about them and had told them as much.He also told them that as long as they continued to do their duties that he had no objections.In fact， he had wished them the best of luck and they looked like they belonged together， and they made a cute couple. Within an hour the group met back up at the church.Marion made the decision to move their base of operations here as soon as they could get all their gear and they had scouted the area. Everyone agreed with her; this was far nicer living then in the forest plus there was so much here that they could use that it would be foolish not to move.An added bonus was that they were now further away from York and therefore safer for the time being.The last thing that justified them moving was that they had been recently discovered and didn’t know how long it would be before Cecilia would try again. She figured that it would probably take them about a week or so to move.Matt and Alice would stay behind， in the village， while the group moved.Moving around was extremely painful for Matt and Alice would have to take care of him.Pollyanna made the announcement that her and Matt were now an item in the most obvious way possible.She wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a giant， wet kiss on his lips.That simple kiss began to turn into something more when Matt started pushing his tongue into Pollyanna’s mouth.Only Marion loudly clearing her throat made them stop.When Pollyanna looked up， she looked like the kid how got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.This made the rest of the group fall over laughing and Pollyanna’s reddening face didn’t help any.Eventually everyone in the group were able to compose themselves.Marion told Pollyanna to stay behind to not only help protect Matt but also to scout the area.Marion told her that the rest of them would be back the next day with some of the gear and to hear what all Pollyanna had found while scouting.Marion and Luke couldn’t for the life of them understand why everyone in the village was gone.In fact， it looked like everyone had just stopped whatever it was that they had been doing and left.This was actually not far from the truth.This village was one of those that refused to follow Cecilia so she had come in and forced all the residence of the area to move to York.Of course， the young men were forced into her army while the young woman were force to become army whores.Thing is through that the village itself hadn’t been destroyed and now it was going to be Marion’s new base of operations.The trip back was much faster than the trip to the village， in the first place.On the way back， the group was able to ambush a small patrol.One of the members was only badly wounded so Marion was able to pump him for information; although she didn’t have to pump very hard for the man was one of Cecilia’s forced recruits.“Cecilia’s hold is slipping as most soldiers refuse to leave their quarters anymore.For the most part she is having to rely on mercenary soldiers who have never heard of you ma’am.Also， I feel that I should warn you that she is planning another major offensive aimed at forcing you out of the forest so that she can finally eliminate you.This time she will be using her mercenary troops and their commanders are extremely tough men.They make everyone in Cecilia’s regular army seem like little girls instead of fighting men.”With this the man died.Marion ordered that the man be at least given a burial instead of just dragging him off into the woods to be eaten like they usually did.This patrol had only six men in it and didn’t yield very much loot.The most valuable thing they got were the extra horses.Marion was now determined to move camp even faster than before.The rest of the way back was uneventful.Once they were back in camp， Marion had the group immediately start preparing the first load of gear for in the morning.Looking everything over， Marion decided that it should only take three round trips to move everything; two less then she had initially thought.After getting tomorrow morning’s gear ready， Luke took the first watch while everyone else bedded down.Marion was taking no chances now， and she relieved Luke four hours later.As soon as started to get light the next morning， Marion woke everyone up.She was anxious to get moving， and within forty minutes the first load was on its way.The trip to the village was fast and uneventful.When they were about fifteen minutes form the village，天天操天天干 they were intercepted by Alice.She was standing watch while Pollyanna got some rest.“She found two nearby villages， Marion. In both of them the people were starving.She didn’t make contact through for it was only the three of us here.We figured that once everything gets moved that you might want to go to the villages and introduce yourself for it’s about time that we stop hiding and start making actual strides toward getting rid of your bitch sister.”“Very good Alice and yes that is exactly what I will do.Now for some news for you.We intercepted a small patrol on our way home yesterday.One of the men was only wounded badly and he told us that Cecilia is getting ready to launch another offensive only this time she’s using mercenary troops under professional leadership. I figure that we should be able to get everything moved within three days if we don’t get interrupted.”The next couple of days were busy ones for the group.Marion rotated who stayed in the village.This way everyone would have a general idea of the lay of the land before they made their presence know.In order to hide themselves， they even held off setting boobytraps for the time being. After they had gotten the last load， Marion ordered that the whole area around their former camp be riddled with boobytraps of all kinds and in much thicker densities the they usually used.Doing this took the rest of the day and they had to make the trip back to the village in the dark.None of them minded though for they had a full moon and were used to moving around in the dark.Marion was able to get a few hours’ sleep when they got back.Her and Luke now had a small house to themselves.Actually， everyone in the group did.Marion’s house was the one that had the blacksmith’s shop attached to it.The next morning， the group had their first strategy meeting.They all shared everything that they had learned about their new home: where the villages were， where the roads ran， where were the streams， bridges， and fords were at.Luke shared what he would be focusing on for the next couple of weeks.He was going to make horse drawn reaping machines.His machines weren’t combines but they would be far ahead of reaping crops with a sickle.Gabriel would go around and set up hidden watch post and look for good trees for which to make good bows and arrows out of.Alice would get a hospital set up.She would also search the area for medicinal plants.Bard would help Luke in the blacksmith shop when he wasn’t busy tending to the group’s livestock or the fields which the group had found.Pollyanna would be working on mapping the area.Luke had told her to pay particular attention to areas that they could fortify or areas in which they could set up a water powered blacksmith shop or a grist mill.Matt was confined to bedrest for the next five weeks， but while he was in bed， he would be working on making new clothes for everyone and more arrows for the group.Marion in the meantime would be working on getting the other villages in the area to join with her for she knew that she would need their help to overthrow Cecilia.CHAPTER XXVI Cecilia in the meantime was growing ever more paranoid and fearful of Marion.Her army mostly refused to leave their barracks for they had suffered enough losses at Marion’s hands and they didn’t want anything more to do with her.When they did go out， they stayed very close to town and they defiantly stayed out of the forest.Even Cecilia’s assassins had failed. She had sent them out to kill Marion and instead twenty of them had been killed including their leader.This caused the rest of them to scatter in the wind after all they were assassins not soldiers and they quickly found out that hunting Marion was a fool’s errand and a surefire way to meet with God. Or course it took a while for Cecilia to get this news for Marion didn’t leave any survivors that knew what had happened.Then just a few days later， a small patrol went missing.They hadn’t even been patrolling in an area that Marion had ever attacked before.This caused Cecilia to really lose sleep.Was Marion expanding her operations? Was there another group that was rising up against her?Nobody knew for they couldn’t find the bodies. Soon after she had sent her assassins off， Cecilia had a most important visitor.He was a legendary mercenary commander and had a knack for hunting down rebel groups and eliminating them.He had heard of Cecilia’s problems， all the way in Paris and he thought that he might be able to get a very good job offer.After all he was able to bring almost one thousand seasoned men into the field.These were very experienced and highly motivated men. At first Cecilia balked at the terms the general was offering but then again， she really didn’t have much choice after Marion had routed her regular army.She was hoping that her assassins would be able to get the job done， but she had her doubts and she needed a back-up plan.Cecilia was able to make it to where she wouldn’t have to pay most of the cost until the general had proven that he had been successful.After seeing everything that her sister was now capable of， Cecilia had serious doubts that this continental general could do any better.In fact， she told him as such and that was when he agreed to terms that actually favored Cecilia. The visiting general wasn’t French but German.His name was General Kleist and he came from the Saxon controlled area of central Europe in what would eventually become central Germany.He was almost fifty years old and had never lost a fight.He had been a soldier since before he needed to shave and had been given his first army when he was eighteen. He had fought all over Europe and had a brutal reputation when it came to rebel groups.Against regular troops he fought with honor， but that completely disappeared when he fought rebels.Most of his men were German， but he had men from all over Europe， including England.These were the men that he would be relying on for this contract.The general had interviewed the surviving men of Cecilia’s previous expedition to find out what had happened.What he learned， shocked him.Marion’s troops were extremely ingenious and ruthless， but they were also capable of showing extreme kindness as well.Furthermore， Marion didn’t strike at the noble’s morale， she struck at the common soldier’s morale.By convincing them that the fight was worthless and that they would only die if they continued.This made the largest part of the army worthless for its commanders and left the nobles vulnerable to ambushes.General Kleist didn’t share the common misconception that knights were invulnerable in battle for he had seen this notion get crushed on numerous occasions.Knights did have their roles to play but they had to have the protection of the infantry. Just as the general was about to leave to fetch the rest of his men， Cecilia got word that a small patrol had disappeared.This sounded like one of Marion’s tricks and she forbid the general from leaving for he could send a messenger for his men; she needed him with her now.Kleist would have to force Cecilia’s own army into the field.He knew that as a fighting force， that army was worthless at the moment and he told Cecilia that.She then did something that he wasn’t really expecting in that she gave him free rein over her army.“General just do whatever you have to do to get those worthless bastards whipped into shape. Then when you are ready， take them out and crush my sister.”“Yes milady.” And he left.What followed was a brutal time for those in the army.General Kleist whipped any man that didn’t follow orders.If they complained， they got whipped.If they tried to desert then he had them hung， drawn and quartered， and finally beaten to death by his own comrades.Kleist wanted the men to fear him more than Marion.It took a couple of months but he was making real progress with turning the mob that he started with， back into a real army.During that time， he and Cecilia had started sleeping together.The general found Cecilia to be a very passionate woman and Cecilia found the general to be very experienced in bed and would always make sure that Cecilia was very satisfied.Cecilia was doing this because she hadn’t gotten laid since leaving Lincoln and figured that this would be a cheaper way to keep Kleist loyal to her.Kleist was fucking her because for one， she was beautiful. Two， she was powerful and Kleist wanted some of that power for himself and third pounding Cecilia senseless helped him relax in the evenings.Retraining her ragged army was very stressful and Kleist found that fucking Cecilia helped him forget.His eventual goal was to marry her and then use her army to force her out after she had produced a number of children for him but first， he would have to get rid of Marion.It was almost three months after the general first arrived that his army got there.These men were professionals and it showed.They had excellent gear and marched with supreme confidence.It took them just over a week to integrate Cecilia’s army with his own， but by the time it was done， he had an army of just over two thousand men.They still didn’t know exactly where Marion’s forces were at but the area of where Cecilia’s first army was routed seemed like a good place to start.Everyone knew that Marion was still around， only now it was Cecilia’s tax collectors that were being targeted and all the villages near that forest were now in open rebellion.Problem was that by the time that the general had gotten the army ready， winter had settled over northern England and put all thoughts of an offensive on hold until spring.Nobody fought in winter.It was too dangerous and with no grass available， horses and oxen died in groves so the army and the general settled in for the winter.CHAPTER XXVII Marion and the rest of the group rapidly settled down into the village.Bard was finding out that Luke was a man of many parts when Luke started making reaping machines that they could rent out to the local villages for a tiny part of their harvest.Luke told Bard that the machines would save so much grain that even with paying the fee， the villagers would still be coming out ahead.This way everyone would win.Marion’s group would get the food that they would get the food that they would need for the winter and the villagers would get even more grain than usual.An added bonus was that the locals would start trusting Marion and that was more important than the food.While Luke was making machines， he also took the time to teach Bard how to make knives and swords.Before long Bard was making amazingly beautiful swords that were very balanced and were very good at holding their edge.By the time the harvest had come around， Luke had built six reaping machines and had furthermore made harnesses so that horses could be used instead of oxen.This would further speed up the harvest over the old ways.One of the long range projects that Luke was working on was a steam engine that would be able to power the shop and would enable Luke to work on bigger projects faster.Bard kept working on his swords for which soon he was making really good money from; by selling them. In the meantime， Alice was rapidly growing her skills as a doctor and an apothecary.As soon as Marion had started to draw more people to her banner， Alice’s skills began to come into high demand.At first Alice completely memorized every scrape of medical information on Luke’s computer and every last bit that he had drifting around in his head.Alice made sure to write everything down in the common language， English no Latin or Greek here.She would then give this information to Pollyanna who had set up a print shop in town and was printing books using a press that she designed herself.It was based on an idea that Luke had given her， based on what her could remember about the Guttenberg press.She knew that at first there would be no market for these， but once more people had learned to read then she would be ready.In addition to Alice’s books， Pollyanna printed every book from Luke’s computer.She also printed books that were designed to help people learn how to read.One of the other things that she printed was maps of the area so that Marion’s troops would know where to go and how long it would take to get there.Luke had taught everyone the metric system being as that was what he was most comfortable with.Being that he had been an engineer that had worked all over the world， Luke used the metric system so that there would be no screw ups in specs.Pollyanna also helped Luke in engineering his new machines.Luke was working on everything from lathes to mills for machining from powered looms to sewing machines for textiles. One other big thing happened to Pollyanna， she got pregnant and Matt was going to be a dad.When Pollyanna gave everyone the news， the group erupted in celebration.They all loved Pollyanna and Matt. After Gabriel had set up out the best look-out post surrounding the villages， everyone took their turns at standing look out.One of the things that Luke had already made was a telegraph and every post was equipped with one.This way the lookout could immediately warn everyone else if enemy troops were sighted.When Gabriel wasn’t standing guard， she was Marion’s personal bodyguard; a duty which Gabriel took dead serious.After everything that Marion had done for her， Gabriel would gladly give her life to make sure that Marion survived and stayed out of Cecilia’s grasp.With everything that Marion was doing， Gabriel had her hands full but so was the life of the personal bodyguard of a very capable ruler. Just after the group had settled down in the village， Robin died.He had never fully recovered from his earlier brush with death either physically or mentally.His death had hit Alice hard for she had poured her soul into keeping helping Robin recover.“Alice” Luke quietly said to her just after they buried him “The first rule of being a doctor is that you WILL NOT win every battle.Some people will be too badly injured physically; or in their mind they are already dead.That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to save everyone because you have amazing skill but always remember that you’re not God.”“I know Luke， but that kid was so innocent. I mean what did he do to anyone? Why did he have to die when there are plenty of evil people that could have taken his place?”“Alice， that is a question that humans have been wrestling with since time began and there’s no good answer.The religious would say well that’s just God’s plan， but I have never found that line to be of any comfort. You just have to accept it and move on.Learn everything you can from each case and that way if they don’t make it， then at least they wouldn’t have died in vain.”“I keep forgetting that you’ve been through all this before.”Luke nodded and put his arm around Alice as she sobbed quietly and he kept it there until she had cried herself out. He didn’t even bother to say anything to her because he knew that there was nothing for him to say.After the funeral， Alice began to pour everything she had into her studies.Marion had the busiest time of everyone.She was to one that would travel to the surrounding villages to talk with the leaders about joining her.At first， nobody could even believe that she was still alive.Her next battle would almost always be about her being female and why they should follow her.A couple of things always helped her with this argument. First is that she already had a reputation for being ferocious in combat.The second was that she was nobility whether she liked it or not.The third thing was that she projected leadership like nobody else. In meetings she was the dominate personality but she wasn’t domineering and she would always go out of her way to make sure that everyone had the chance to include their input and when someone made contributions to one of her plans then she would always make sure that person got credit.It took Marion almost three weeks of almost constant effort before the first village signed on with her and they were almost immediately rewarded for Marion started stopping Cecilia’s tax collectors from visiting that village.As word of this spread， other villages signed on with her.Marion was also always on the lookout for new recruits for her army.Yes， she would be building it from scratch but she had the help of Gabriel and especially Luke.Luke could get the most thick-headed person to follow orders within an hour or so with very little effort on his part. The army that they were starting to build would be the most professional one since the ancient Romans.Marion knew that for a while she wouldn’t be able to compete with her sister based on numbers so she would have to make up the difference with quality.She was able to get one of the villages to agree to try Luke’s mechanical reapers saying that if the results didn’t live up to her promises then she would make the difference up herself.Once Luke had finished the first field， the villagers were amazed for they had no idea just how must grain they lost every year.By having Luke harvest the field， the village got almost a quarter more grain than they would have gotten themselves.Within days， every other farmer in the area was wanting Luke to harvest their fields too.Instead， Luke taught some of the farmers how to use his reapers and subcontracted them to do the harvest.Luke had enough on his plate the way it was and he also wanted to make sure that the locals learned how to do these things for themselves.In Marion’s personal life， she was just as busy.Her pregnancy was starting to show and one of the things that Luke liked to do was to play his music for the kid.He would place his old cell phone on Marion’s stomach and play different music for the kid.He just loved the feeling of the kid kicking.Even before Marion gave birth， her house got another person to live in it for Gabriel moved in with her and Luke.At first it was just Gabriel being dead serious about protecting Marion， but as time went on it became more than that.Everyone realized that Gabriel was falling in love with Marion.At first Gabriel was deeply ashamed of her love for Marion and by extension Luke.This feeling continued until a rainy day when all three were home.“Gabriel?” asked Marion and Luke “Can the three of us talk please?”“Yes” replied Gabriel who was so nervous that she thought that she might pee at any moment.“Gabriel” started Luke “We know that you have fallen in love with Marion and after talking with Marion we have no problem with this.After all you have no control with who you love and we don’t believe that anyone can tell you who you can love and who you can’t.Back in my time we had plenty on men and woman who were homosexual or bisexual.FYI bisexuals love both men and woman.There were plenty in my time who didn’t like this fact but to repress this fundamental human fact is exceptionally cruel.”“Gabriel” started Marion “I am fine with you loving me and being completely honest with you， I find myself falling in love with you too.I just ask you to remember that Luke is and will always be my primary love but he has agreed to share” giving Luke a funny look “a bit too eagerly now that I think about it.” Luke just gave have a shit eating smile and Marion gave him a playful punch.“So， both of you are fine with this?” asked Gabriel as if she was reaching for some distant hope that she was too afraid that she would never reach.Luke and Marion smiled at her.“Yes， we are fine and to prove it to you…” Marion took Gabriel by the hand and lead her to her and Luke’s bed. Luke whispered something to Marion and he left the room. At first Gabriel was worried about Luke until Marion explained that Luke was giving them some privacy for their first time and he was going to work in the shop.Marion took the lead when she pulled Gabriel in for a deep kiss. At first Gabriel was so nervous that she could barely participate.Her upbringing was keeping her back for she was about to partake in one of the vilest sins， but Marion was patent with her.After a few passion-loaded kisses from Marion， Gabriel started to loosen up and she started returning them.Marion then started to run her hands up and down Gabriel’s body with Gabriel quickly replying in kind.As Gabriel’s hand ran across Marion’s swollen stomach， the baby kicked and the girls giggled.As their hands reached each other’s pussies Gabriel was now completely involved and couldn’t have stopped if she wanted to.Both of them were wearing pants and shirts.By this time all the woman in Marion’s party had given up on dresses.Gabriel made quick work of untying Marion’s pants while Marion ran her hands up under Gabriel’s shirt， pushing it up as she went.As Marion’s pants fell away， Marion pushed Gabriel’s shirt over her head.Marion then untied Gabriel’s pants as Gabriel removed Marion’s shirt slowly.After the two of them were naked， they embraced each other.It was then that Marion realized that Gabriel was softly crying and Marion was instantly concerned， ‘had she gone too far， too fast.’She didn’t need to worry though“Marion， my love” Gabriel started when she noticed Marion’s concern “All my life I have known that I was different but could never figure out why.I was always more interested in spying on the other girls then I was in spying on the boys.I never told anyone because I knew how people would react and then I met you through Luke.You took me under your wing， protected me， and helped me grow to heights which I never knew existed.Then you and Luke took me to bed with you.That was until now the best night of my life and if I had died， I would have been happy. Afterwards through was so awkward; at first， I thought you were just ignoring me like my parents did after they made love.Then I began to fear that you hated me for it didn’t seem that you wanted to be with me anymore and that hurt so bad.”By this point Marion was in tears.Part of this was simply her hormones but most of it was caused by Gabriel pouring her heart out.“Gabriel， to be honest with you， I never thought about you sexually until just a few days ago even after that time with Luke.For back then I was just trying to help one of my best friends get through a very difficult time in her life.I did notice that you were more distant toward me after and I thought that I had offended you in some way.Then you moved in with us.At first you were just a loyal guard who was serious about her duty， but then Luke noticed that your eyes seemed to be full of pain whenever you saw me， especially when I was undressed.The reason that Luke kicked you out of our house the other night was so that we could talk about you.He’s concerned about you， Gabriel.When he first suggested that you might be in love with me， I was taken back to put it mildly.However， the more I thought about it the more I thought about that night with the three of us and I realized that was when the awkwardness really started.Then I truly examined that night and every night after and I realized that Luke was right.At first， I was embarrassed and angry. I mean we have always been told that homosexuality was evil.Then I started to wonder how something so beautiful and pure as what we shared that night could possibly be evil.After I couldn’t find an answer for that question， I realized that the reason that I couldn’t find the answer was that I had fallen in love with you too.”By now both girls were in tears.They had opened their hearts to each other and had been accepted by the other.“But Marion， what about Luke? About everyone else?”“What about Luke? I still love him and he loves me.As you know， he knows all about us and HE was the one who started me on my road to discovering myself.If anything， I love him more now than I did before.Just know that he has already stated that he is strictly a one woman man and that he felt terrible after he made you a woman.It actually took me a while to convince him that he didn’t do anything wrong and I’m ok with it.I still think he feels guilty once in a while through As for everyone else， if they don’t like the facts then they can choke on it.Luke does suggest that we keep us to ourselves for we are trying to lead a revolution in which everyone will be equal in the eyes of the law.Everyone will be free to be themselves.Everyone will have the freedom to succeed or fail and whatever they do will be up to them.”“Remind me to give Luke a thank you.” Marion smiled at this“He’s already said that you being happy and able to thrive will be thanks enough.”With that Marion gently pulled Gabriel to lay with her in bed.What followed was something that could only be described as pure love.Marion started by softy kissing every square centimeter of skin on Gabriel’s face and neck.As Marion made her way down Gabriel’s neck， Gabriel released her first moan of the night.Marion then made her way down to Gabriel’s breast.Gabriel wasn’t as gifted in the breast department as Marion， but that was ok because Gabriel having smaller breast made it easier for her to use her bow.Marion the started sucking on one of Gabriel’s nipples while foundling the other.This gave Gabriel her first orgasm for the night.Gabriel had another orgasm before Marion moved on.Down across Gabriel’s tight strong stomach Marion kissed and caressed.Finally， Marion reached Gabriel’s bush.It was the same chestnut color as her hair and while sparse was curly and soft.Marion didn’t spend too much time here before she started down Gabriel’s legs， much to Gabriel’s disappointment.After working on both of Gabriel’s long， strong legs; Marion returned to Gabriel’s flower.This time Marion was looking for nectar and she found it by the bucket full.As fast as Marion could lap it up Gabriel produced more.Marion then gave up trying to lick her lover clean and sent right to the source.She locked her mouth over Gabriel’s fuck hole and used her tongue to fuck her.Marion found a rough patch inside Gabriel that when licked drove Gabriel crazy， in fact it was all that Marion could do to hold Gabriel down.As Marion’s tongue found her special place， lights started flashing in Gabriel’s eyes.She didn’t know what was happening to her and really didn’t care for this was far better than anything she had ever experienced before.Things hit a crescendo when Gabriel started shaking violently and flooding Marion’s mouth with nectar.Marion almost couldn’t keep up but somehow managed to keep everything in her mouth.Marion then stopped to give Gabriel some time to recover.She gently moved up to lay next to Gabriel.As Marion lay on her back， Gabriel moved around to where her head was lying on Marion’s shoulder and her long hair was spread across Marion’s upper body.At this moment， Marion knew why Luke always loved when they did this for， she found that there didn’t seem to be any other way to show that two people loved each other more.Marion then made sure that all the hair was out of Gabriel’s face and then she drew the blanket over them and joined Gabriel in sleepy land.Some hours later Marion didn’t know when， she was awakened by movement under the cover.At first， she was disoriented， someone was gently sucking on her right nipple.Marion moved the cover and by the light of the moon could see a head covered in chestnut hair whose lips were latched on to her nipple.The realization came to Marion of what was going on and she put her hand on that head and gently stroked the hair. Gabriel was startled by this but recovered quickly when Marion started stroking her hair.Gabriel was determined to return Marion’s love with interest.She moved up to Marion’s face and their eyes locked.Neither of them could seem to break contact for it was like there was some spell over them.They didn’t know how much time pasted but Gabriel slowly started kissing Marion’s neck while caressing Marion’s face.This time it was Marion who was cumming buckets for to her this was almost a dream because she had never fully woken up.Eventually Gabriel moved south back down to Marion’s sensitive breast.Marion was a bit larger and with her pregnancy was getting bigger and more sensitive.Gabriel didn’t spend too much time here for she wanted to make sure that Marion was still conscious when she went down on her and so far， Gabriel had given Marion two powerful orgasms.Gabriel worked her way over Marion’s slightly swollen belly tracing every stretch line as she did.She then made her way down to Marion’s golden bush.Since she began spending time with Luke; Marion now kept her bush neatly trimmed so that Luke wouldn’t get hair in his mouth， plus it gave her more skin to skin contact when Luke went down on her.Now it was Gabriel’s turn to enjoy.By this time Marion was talking in moans and gasp and not saying anything.When Gabriel spread Marion’s pussy lips and started to lick; Marion seen the stars in her eyes.The more Gabriel licked the more intense the starlight became.Those stars exploded the second that Gabriel put her tongue up inside Marion and started licking her G-spot.Since Gabriel had Marion’s legs propped up on her shoulder’s Marion’s orgasm was beyond intense.She screamed out into the night at the top of her lungs.She screamed until there was no air left to scream out and then Marion collapsed.Every muscle went to jelly and every cell felt like it weighed a ton.She couldn’t even pull the blanket over her before she passed out.Gabriel smiled， seeing this and pulled the blanket over them and fell back asleep.CHAPTER XXVIII Life after this got better for Marion and the rest of the group.Cecilia’s troops wouldn’t even come out of the castle anymore and Marion was making rapid progress in turning the entire area against her.Luke was making amazing progress in forming the army.He assigned one unit to learn under Pollyanna and one to learn under Matt who had recovered.If the recruits thought that winter would slow things down， then they were mistaken.If anything， Luke made them train harder for by now they had excellent intelligence on what Cecilia was up to and they knew that she had hired a professional general to rebuild her army and he had brought units with him from Europe.Marion always made sure that her men and woman were paid on time and their pay came directly from her coffers and not from the officers.This was something that Luke had insisted on; the new army would be government troops， GI’s as he called them， and not independent contractors.With Marion now in control of the countryside， she instituted her own taxes.They were much lower than Cecilia’s and with the extra grain that had been taken in， the people could easily pay it and were glad to for Marion was a much better ruler then Cecilia ever was and they knew that if Marion lost the war then their lots would get much worse. On Christmas day 1065 several big things happened for Marion and her followers.First was that Luke got his steam engine up and running.Now he could make weapons far faster than before and much more advanced weapons. In fact， Gabriel was the first one to receive them.Luke gave her a pair of six shot revolvers and a bolt action repeating rifle that was based on the German Mauser rifle.Granted it was slower to shoot then if he had based it on the Lee Enfield; it was more rugged. Gabriel also got a small unit of bodyguards to help protect Marion; four women and four men and within a week they were equipped just like Gabriel.Luke gave Pollyanna a set of surveying tools that she instantly fell in love with.Measuring distances was always a pain but now she could do her work much faster.Alice got a surgeon’s tool set.Luke had scrounged high and low to find enough of the right metals to make the tools but he just managed.Alice of course knew what Luke was doing for her because he had measured her hands so that he could make the tools so that they would fit her properly.Matt had also got a set of guns but his were a bit larger than the ones that Luke had made for the woman.The caliper was the same of course but the rifle stock was a bit longer and his pistol grips were a bit larger.Luke had done this so that Matt could use them more comfortably. The other big thing that happened was much more personal for Marion.That morning， before they left the house， Luke gave her a diamond ring and asked her to marry him.Of course， she said yes and everyone’s reaction was “Well it’s about time” Luke had gotten the diamond while he was in one of the port towns looking for salt so they could preserve meat for the winter.Luke had met a gem dealer and after much bargaining， which seen Luke trade in the loupe that he had made， he got several large rough diamonds and a couple of smaller ones. He also got some sapphires and a ruby.Luke had the taken those rough gems and cut and polished them to perfection.The biggest diamond got a solitaire cut and this truly brought out the fire in it.Luke then made a pair of rings out of gold.The diamonds were held in by six prongs that Luke had carefully shaped like tulips and the small ones down the sides were held in by a V shaped groove that Luke had formed.Luke took the sapphire and a couple of other small diamond pieces and made a necklace for Marion.He took the Ruby and made a necklace for Gabriel.After Marion and Gabriel’s first night together， the three of them slept together every night.That had happened in November and now Gabriel was wondering if she too was pregnant.If she was then so be it for， she had always wanted to be a mother.Everywhere Marion went her ring caught everyone’s attention.Nobody had ever seen jewelry like hers.The diamond shined and shimmered in the sunlight and the sapphire necklace was just breathtaking.Luke thought that Marion wearing jewelry was like guiding a lily but seeing her wearing the pieces that he made was unlike any other experience he had ever had.Gabriel loved her necklace too but refused to wear it for the most part so that she wouldn’t lose it in battle.She did wear it around the house and on formal occasions. After Christmas， things started to get extremely hectic for Marion and her group.For one she was really starting to have a hard time moving around due to her growing belly.One of the local midwives how had joined with Alice estimated that Marion had about six weeks to go.Alice， like the rest of the group had taken on followers of her own， only her followers were interested in medicine.So far， she had gotten a herb specialist， a couple of midwives， and two men.These men were not like most of the other men in that they considered woman equal and they would be more than happy to treat anyone who might need their assistance.In fact， Alice had enough people around her that she asked Pollyanna to design a hospital for a base.Pollyanna rapidly agreed and got to work.Another reason that things were hectic was that Marion had declared a total blockade of the city of York.The blockade wouldn’t be lifted until Cecilia’s army laid down their arms and Cecilia left.Marion was demanding that Cecilia not only leave York， but leave the British islands as well. At first Marion had a hard time enforcing the blockade but as more and more troops came out of Luke’s training program this became easier.With the first snowfall， Luke introduced something that the world had never seen before， winter camouflage.With the padded jackets and pants that he had developed， Marion’s troops could move very quickly and stay hidden until it was time to strike.Not only that but Luke’s gun making was gathering momentum.He was having a problem securing a steady supply of potassium nitrate and iron but he had enough to manage.He designed the firearms to use black power at first because it was the easiest to manufacture.Marion and Luke were married on New Year’s Day by one of the local priests.He wasn’t all that happy about Marion already being pregnant but he was far from stupid and was able to see the reality in front of him.These two people loved each other with all their being.Not only that but he had been one of the early victims of Cecilia’s extortion and he seen marrying Luke and Marion as a way of poking Cecilia in the eye.Within a week， Pollyanna and Matt were married as well. In mid-January news came in of Edward’s death.Marion and her immediate group already knew that this was going to happen thanks to Luke so they didn’t react at all to the news.They also knew that the new king would have his hands full with the threat from the Duke of Normandy so Marion knew that the only threat they would be facing for a while was from Cecilia.By the end of February Marion had fifteen hundred troops at her disposal.A thousand were infantry， four hundred were calvary and the last hundred were artillery. In addition， Pollyanna had fifty combat engineers under her command and Alice had a medical unit with four doctors besides herself， twelve nurses， and thirty others.A week before the end of February through Marion’s life made a drastic turn when she became a mother.It was about two in the morning when after fourteen hours in labor， Marion gave birth to a beautiful baby girl which Marion promptly named Mackenzie MacDougall which brought tears to Luke’s eyes.Marion knew for all that he loved her， that he still missed his family terribly.Marion had caught him numerous times just sitting in front of his computer looking at pictures of his sister Mackenzie and her family， pictures of his former coworkers who were like family to him， and pictures of his parents.Thankfully Marion’s pregnancy had been uneventful for the most part and their child was healthy.