In the previous episode, Karyna attempted to visit a nearby mountain and an elf told her the truth of her future husband resided. Freydis, her future sister-in-law, intercepted her attempt. After being threatened by Freydis, Karyna needed a new way to seek the truth. As going back to the mountain-top was not an option, readers voted that she try to flatter Garik in hopes that he lets his guard down enough to reveal the truth on his own.
Karyna wore a high collar to hide the marks left by Freydis on her throat. It would serve no purpose to show the bruising to the people of Birkholm, especially the Wolf Slayer, for today was the day she was to be spending at his side, getting to bask in his greatness. She snorted at this thought, striding down the stairs from her attic bedroom. The only thing great about the boy was his ego.
At the foot of the stairs, Karyna was intercepted by Freydis. The woman leaned in close, hissing in her ear, fingernails once again digging into her arm.
“You will treat my brother with respect today, Bloody Rose. If I hear you have insulted him or have tried to escape again, I will ensure you do not leave that attic. Do I make myself clear?”
“Perfectly,” Karyna murmured back. Every fiber of her being wanted to fight this manipulative creature at her side, but she held back. She needed more information before going into a battle against this particular foe. The only option at the moment was to bide her time and look for weaknesses.
“Ah, there she is, The Bloody Rose. Eager to spend time with me?” Karyna felt Freydis dig her fingers into her arm tightly and forced a smile on her face as her eyes met Garik’s.
“Certainly,” she said with a falsely cheerful voice. “Nothing would make me happier.”
“I see you have worked your magic on her Freydis,” Garik said with a wolfish grin. “She is much more appealing to look at now. And her manners have significantly improved. Karyna glanced at Freydis, curious about the Wolf Slayer’s choice of words. But the woman appeared unaffected by the reference to her magic. Was Garik aware of her power or was that just a coincidence?
“I did very little, Brother. She confided in me that she was homesick and frightened the night you first met. She was intimidated by your greatness and that of our father. But now that she has seen the generosity and comfort she will receive here she is happy to have left behind the primitive village she used to call home.”
Karyna wanted nothing more than to vehemently deny this lie, but she held her tongue. Freydis still had her arm in a vice grip, and antagonizing her future husband would only ensure her day was one of misery. A thought suddenly occurred to her as she took in the arrogance plain on his face, his eyes wandering down her figure with interest. Freydis was unlikely to give her any further information on Garik’s past, but perhaps with some subtle prodding she could get the Wolf Slayer himself to betray the truth. The more she thought about it, the more confident she felt in this plan. The arrogant boy clearly underestimated her, and his proclivity toward boasting suggested that if he was maneuvered into the right situation, she could get all the answers she wanted.
“Shall we go?” she said pleasantly, striding toward Garik and away from Freydis, pulling her arm free of the vice grip around her elbow. “I am eager to see your island through your eyes, My Lord.”
“My lord?” Garik said with a harsh laugh. “You certainly have changed your mind.”
“You are my lord,” Karyna said with a flirtatious look up at him, suppressing the nauseous feeling rising in her stomach at the sickening way she was acting and the hungry look in Garik’s eyes. “You are, after all, my future husband.”
“Keep this up, Bloody Rose, and you and I will get along just fine,” he said, gesturing for her to follow him as he turned to leave. Karyna followed him without looking back. But she could still feel the suspicious eyes of Freydis on her retreating back.
Karyna allowed Garik to monologue for some time, boasting about the strength of his people, the vast holdings and wealth of the village, and his own daring and unrealistic feats in battle. Many times she was forced to offer some sickly sweet words of praise while resisting the urge to roll her one good eye in exasperation. Eventually he brought her up onto one of the taller hills nearby, and breached the subject she was most eager to hear about.
“And see that mountain over there?” he said, pointing south at the same peak Karyna had wished to scale the day before. “It is at the foot of that peak where I slew Eyulf. It was a glorious and bloody battle.”
“I have heard tales of your great victory, My Lord,” Karyna said, eager to keep the topic on the slaying of the great wolf. “But I would much rather hear the tale from you. Is it true that the wolf nearly crushed your arm in its teeth?”
“Certainly not!” Garik said, almost offended by this question. “The only mark he left on me was a series of claw marks to my back. I defeated the beast by slicing off its head as it charged by me. Perhaps you would like to see the skull? It sits as a trophy in my father’s hall.”
“I would be delighted,” Karyna said, allowing him to lead her back to towards the village. She briefly glanced behind towards the peak, still concealed by dark clouds. She wondered if perhaps she could get Garik to take her there himself, under the guise of seeing the great battleground. She only hoped Freydis would not accompany them if such an undertaking occurred.
“Here is the skull,” Garik said, standing in front of the bones of the great canine. Karyna thought the skull looked rather unimpressive with so many teeth missing, used as they were by Garik to decorate his outfit. “What do you think, Bloody Rose?”
Karyna was silent. She had seen the damage swords did on bone before. Observing this relic, one thing was clear; the head of Eyulf had not been severed by a mortal weapon. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
Follow by Email