Sudden loud noises filled the air awakening Sara finally to the world around her. Terror engulfed her as she viewed the horrific scene that lay before her. The few animals her family owned were bellowing, running in confused circles. Everything was in a state of disorder. Pounding hooves tore up the earth. The drying shed lay wrecked and demolished, one wall left standing. Her roses she so faithfully tended, lay trampled, beaten down by those same hooves. The stoop half-stood, the door hanging by one leather hinge. She ran toward it.
Shouts from behind compelled her to reel around. Sara shrank inwardly, repulsed by the men and what they were doing. A scream escaped her throat as they dragged her father behind them, tied by his wrists with ropes connected to their mounts.
"No," she screamed in torment, "you must stop this!"
They did stop when they spied her running toward them, dropping their ropes and heading in her direction. A shot rang out, heads jerked in the direction of the resounding report. Sara rapidly dashed to her father's side, his injured body, still and lifeless against the beaten earth. Through her tears running unchecked down her checks, she tore frantically at the ropes on his bleeding wrists.
"Jamie, get these men out of here," Damien ordered coldly, "Return to the ship immediately. Kill them if it becomes necessary."
Jamie nodded, pulling his revolver and training it on the men. "Let us be gone from here."
Sara's golden head lifted as they rode away. A flash of green brought a frown to her already sad face. She wondered what they would have that gave off such a lush color.
She continued her struggle with the ropes restraining her father. A tanned hand reached down to still her wildly pulling fingers. Damien undid the roped wrists, turning the limp form face up.
"Papa," she cried, her shoulders heaving convulsively. "What have they done to you?"
Damien extended his hand, brushing her cheek lightly, gently wiping the wetness away with his thumb. Sara slowly brought her tear-filled eyes to the hand that stroked her softly and stiffened in recognition.
She rose, as did he. Uncontrollable rage welled up inside her and she gathered spittle in her mouth and spat all the venom she felt toward him on his face. His jaw clenched in anger darkening his rugged features then just as swiftly died away, understanding her pain as he wiped the spittle away.
Damien pivoted quickly, mounting his steed in one smooth liquid motion. The prancing stallion so close, Sara felt its hot breath blowing the fine blond hair on her arms. Still, she did not move.
Damien stared down at her from atop Sultan then spun away. His last glance saw a deep shining hatred staring back at him through icy, crystal blue eyes. He galloped away without looking back.
Through body-wracking sobs, Sara screamed at the diminishing figure. "You vile heathen! You murderer, I'll kill you for this!"
She dropped heavily to her knees, lowering herself protectively over her father's battered body. "I'll get him, Papa," she vowed through clenched teeth, it not occurring to her that Damien had naught to do with this atrocity, that she had occupied his time while these men rained destruction upon those things she loved.
"I'll see him dead! I promise you! Murderer!" Sara screamed again, her piercing cries penetrating the hushed silence of her surroundings, she, unaware none could hear her outburst of agony.