In the previous episode, Karyna tried one last time to find the truth about her future husband. After being beaten by Garik and threatened again by Freydis, she had to decide what, if anything, she would try next. Readers voted the she do nothing but act submissive. This is her fate and it’s time she accept that.
There was nothing she could do. She had run through every scenario she could think of, and yet none of them were viable. She was trapped.
Karyna had been imprisoned in her attic room for three days now, her wedding to Garik looming heavily over her as the days lumbered by. Her dark purple bruises were starting to fade to yellowish-green, a prominent reminder of what would happen if she antagonized Garik or Freydis. No one else would visit her, only the two people she now hated most. Not that it mattered. After seeing the power Freydis wielded, she knew she had little chance of getting away from anyone.
When the familiar scrapping at the door indicated someone was about to enter, Karyna simply sighed, staring at the wall in defeat. The room was dark except for a single candle burning on a table near the door. It had been several hours since Freydis had brought her dinner, now laying half eaten beside the candle. If Karyna had been less absorbed in her own misery, she might have wondered why someone was visiting her at midnight. The stumbling footsteps, slurred curses, and strong smell of mead quickly told her who the intruder was anyway.
“There you are, Rose,” he said with difficulty, stumbling towards her. With one glance, Karyna knew this drunken fool was unarmed. Pity. She would have taken the opportunity to slit his throat if she could. “Are you ready for our wedding?”
Karyna did not dignify his question with a response. Not that she could have. After struggling through the question, Garik managed to get close enough to knock her backwards onto the mattress, his weight causing her to grunt as he landed fully on top of her. She did not make any effort to fight back. In two days she would be his anyway. What did it matter if he had his way with her now?
But apparently whatever celebration Garik had come from had taken its toll. Instead of violating her, Garik simply lay slumped across her chest, unconscious from the copious amount of alcohol he had consumed. Unsure what to do, Karyna laid still for several moments, contemplating how to extract herself from her current situation.
“I knew this would happen.” Looking around the mess of blonde hair that was obstructing her view, Karyna saw Freydis gliding silently through the door, shaking her head. “Have no fear, I charmed him to keep him from bothering you until your wedding. Father would be most angry to have a grandchild conceived out of wedlock.” Freydis then lifted Garik off of Karyna as if he weighed no more than his wrinkled tunic. Once he was on the floor, she beckoned for a man outside the door to come in and take Garik away.
“Magni,” Freydis said with the ghost of a smile. “My loyal servant. You did not think you would be unguarded, did you? I do not trust you, but I also do not trust the men of this town. I cannot have you bearing a bastard son, to my brother or one of the wretched villains my father deems worthy to call friends.”
“What does it matter?” Karyna said in a raspy voice, sitting up to look at her companion. She had not spoken since Freydis locked her in this room. “Two days will not be enough for anyone to know.”
“The gods will know. A bastard son would not be as powerful as a legitimate child.”
“The gods will be angry anyway,” Karyna said softly. “Your father has sent my family away before the wedding. This is not a marriage contract. I am nothing more than tribute. Imrich has no intention of honoring his pledge to my uncle, does he?”
“Simple, naïve girl,” Freydis said with a laugh, her eyes shining with wickedness. “You think this is still just about property? My father has no use for your pitiful island. We needed you. Your strength and your name alone are what we want. Now that you are here, we have no need for Oleg or his peasant farm. There is so much more at work here, and you will never know just how important you are. So go to sleep and rest, Bloody Rose. Let those bruises heal. I am sure my brother will give you plenty more soon enough.”
Karyna stared after the witch as she shut the door once more, leaving the room without a backward glance. But now Karyna was staring at the door, trying to understand what had just transpired. Freydis apparently thought she was winning. Though so much was still a secret, bits and pieces were starting to line up. Whatever Freydis had planned, apparently she needed Karyna to bear a strong son. It was an open secret that Freydis herself was barren, so perhaps that alone made her obsessed. The only way her bloodline would continue would be through her brothers.
But that still did not explain why Karyna herself was so important. Surely there were plenty of more amiable women that would be more than happy to marry the Wolf Slayer. If given the right bloodline, the child could be far more powerful than any born by Karyna. Except for her own reputation, her family line was insignificant.
Frustrated and unsure, Karyna lay down once more, eyes staring at the shadows dancing on the ceiling. It would not be long before the candle went out and she was left in complete darkness. Daylight would bring little relief. The hours were dwindling until she was wed to Garik.
Sighing, Karyna watched the last light of the candle flicker, the golden glow fading as the wick burned down into the melted wax. “I need help,” she whispered into the darkness. “I failed to find the truth, Einar, and things are only getting worse. Please, I need more than just words.”
Rolling onto her side, Karyna slowly drifted off to sleep, hoping that someone somewhere had heard her. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.
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