One moment, I was helping the girl Nuala to find some comfort after her imprisonment with the brigands. The next thing I knew, I had become their prisoner as well. Sylfang warned me about her, did not trust her. He told me that very day. I planned to tell Kanz, but she let her friends in before I even saw him again.
They forced me to dress like a slave - parts of my flesh bared, my brand fully exposed. Before I barely had a chance to catch my breath, they cut my hair. They lopped off my braid at the base of my neck to be used as the proof that they had me. My first thought was relief they had not taken my head with it. My second was the thought of Kanz’ fingertips running through the long strands. The idea brought me comfort for a time while they chained me and simply left me.
I fell victim to their cruel taunts, their promises to do to me what I’d heard the others were subjected to. I whimpered and begged for them not to cut off my fingers when I angered one of the brutes. I was pawed and groped by their leader, who seemed to have some strange fascination with me. I think it was the crown I will wear that fascinated him most, however.
Though I was isolated, they allowed me a beautiful view above the valley where the spiders dwell. I am certain I was placed there to taunt me with freedom. An attempt to climb out spelled certain death. During one long afternoon, I swore I saw Thrainn in that valley below, seemingly looking for me. I screamed, hoping he might look up and see me. Instead, my commotion brought a guard, and I do not remember anything after that.
Yet, by a small miracle – I was not alone. Sylfang found a way to talk to me through a bird of prey. He brought a message from Kanz, a promise I would be rescued. So I was. Somehow, someone…killed the one known as Fenris, the one who sought to take liberties with me. Relief washed over me when I heard of his death. Hours later and in chains, another of my captors brought me to the top of some tall steps, their gates, and freedom.
Down below were my people – I noticed Kanz and Thrainn. All were ready to do battle for me. Yet, the negotiations concluded, and I was sent down the steps to their waiting arms. Thrainn lifted me, and carried me all the way home to New Cromheim.
It felt like mere moments before I was placed in my own bed that Kanz all but broke the door down. His face seemed frightened in a way I did not even realize he was capable of. Tearing the furs from around me, he bent over and slipped his arms beneath me.
“Hold onto me, dawn eyes. Danger comes, we must get to safety.”
Barely understanding his words, I wrapped my arms around his neck and let him carry me. As he burst through the door of the long house, I could feel the wind whipping through my now short hair, felt the tiny pricks of sand upon my skin as the wind whipped them toward us. Somewhere in the distance, I thought I saw a tentacled beast. They told me later it was an avatar of Yog, but I have trouble believing the gods care what goes on in this place.
His pace swift, Kanz took me to a tiny alcove of rocks, only marginally protected as the sand grew denser, the winds stronger. There, he protected me from all he could – his arms around me as he took the brunt of the storm, protecting me from those dangers.
When the storm passed there was no Cromheim. The buildings lay in ruins, our way of life utterly destroyed. Yet we still have our people, our health – and they have their Queen back.
We will rebuild.
by Erisande on Jun 02, 2017 at 04:21 AM