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ENGLAND 1673





In the chilly bedchamber of a seventeenth-century English manor, Lura Cartaun, just thirteen years old, shudders in revulsion as she pulls her garments about her recently ravaged body.

Master Feally, ancient Scot and lord of the manor, uses a veined hand to pat her young flesh. He wipes spittle from his grizzled chin and sallow chest and grunts contentedly as he rolls away. The moment he begins to snore, Lura slides from beneath him and bolts from the room, still choking and gagging.

In the kitchen below, Lura takes up a huge knife and pauses in anguished, murderous thought before turning to enter the larder. She hacks furiously at the hanging meat then adds cheese and two loaves of bread to her cache. As she leaves the kitchen, she tiptoes past the open door of the sleeping cook's quarters. A rat squeaks alarmingly as she passes and Lura tears off a chunk of bread and drops it behind her. The rat stops squeaking and hurries over to investigate.

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