His father felt Ash behind him, however did not acknowledge him in any way. Ash could tell his father was fearful. He was not a brave man and definitely hid behind the protection of Lord Elman.
Ash could see glimmers of what was happening outside and managed to piece together from what he could see and heard from his Uncle’s commentary that John’s house, whom lived across the path, was ablaze and that men bearing weapons upon horses were parading around in command. In the flashing of the flames and small slit in the door he could see Mary, John’s wife screaming alongside her daughter in the middle of the path. A man atop a horse was holding them both. Eyeing them off as Ash had seen farmers cast an eye over cattle available for purchasing. John then came defiantly running onto the scene, had the men been caught unawares by John’s desperation or was it all part of their game. Trying in vain to fight the horseman. John had only his hands, against a heavily armed man atop a horse, who had more weapons than Ash had seen before. And many he could only imagine how they were used.
With a swift backhand from the horseman John fell to the ground. As he regained his feet Ash saw another horseman ride up behind him and fall him with a swift whack to head with some thick club like weapon. John’s body slumped to the ground. The horsemen simply laughed at the folly of John’s attempts. They however made no attempt to take his life or further hurt him.
Uncle mumbled to Ash’s father “We will wait for the guards to arrive”
Ash’s father nodded solemnly in agreement. Neither had any fight in them, Ash was disgraced with their attitudes and cowardice. Ash however was friends with John’s daughter and although young imagined one day marrying her. Without a second thought he approached the door. Uncle however grabbed him in strong arms. “You can’t help them now, son.”
Ash struggled briefly but realised it was useless. Also if he couldn’t even get free of his Uncle who hid from these horsemen what chance did he have against at least two horsemen. Ash heard some talk between the horsemen now, then raucous laughter. Obviously enjoying the sight of the women on display. A third horseman than rode up and picked up Mary. Mary’s daughter than was picked up by the first horseman. They all then rode off away from town. Three or four more horsemen followed with quick procession. The women screamed as they were taken away … the horsemen roared in mockery, of the women and the fear of the townspeople as they disappeared into the cold night.