In the previous episode, Karyna was told the truth of the Wolf Slayer by the Valkyrie Hildr who also warned her to be armed with a sword on her wedding day. While imprisoned, a young servant girl brings her food and it is she to whom Karyna tells her story, hoping she will spread the word to the rest of Birkholm. She was unsuccessful, however, as readers voted for Garik to hear the rumors, prompting him to confront Karyna and seek both her silence and the teeth.
Karyna was unable to sleep, her mind raging with the lies and truths she was still trying to sort out. She sat on the floor, leaning against the cool wooden wall as darkness engulfed her. There was no moon or stars to give her comfort tonight. She could feel a storm coming. In the early hours of the morning, it would unleash its fury upon Birkholm.
A loud bang suddenly broke the quiet of the night, making Karyna jump. It was not thunder. Karyna looked around at her door, hearing the angry footsteps of someone climbing the stairs. The key ground in the lock and the door was flung open furiously, revealing—to her disappointment—Garik, not Freydis.
Assuming he was drunk again, Karyna stood, ready to dodge his attacks. But despite the late hour, Garik was not inebriated. He demonstrated his sobriety by latching his fingers around her throat as she tried to move away, surprising her with his speed. Gasping, she looked up at him, holding his wrist and trying to pry his fingers off of her already bruised neck.
“I do not know how you found out about the Valkyrie,” he hissed through gritted teeth, “but I will not let you tarnish my reputation. You took my prize, the teeth I rightfully earned. Where are they?”
“I gave them to Hildr,” Karyna replied hoarsely, glaring at her betrothed. “She slew Eyulf. They were her prize.”
“If not for me, this village would have crumbled under the great wolf’s attacks. It was because of me that these walls still stand.”
“You are a fool to believe that,” Karyna spat bitterly. “You only knew of the Fossegrimen because of Freydis. It was her plan, not yours. Your sister is manipulating you and your father. Did she send you here, to see how much I knew?”
“Silence!” Garik roared, squeezing her throat tighter. “I am the Wolf Slayer!”
“You are nothing,” Karyna wheezed. “As soon as Freydis gets what she wants, she will get rid of you. She is the one who suggested I be brought here. What does she want with me?”
“She believes that I deserve a reward for my work in killing Eyulf,” Garik sneered. “So you are my prize; the strongest woman in the islands. You will bear me many sons to carry on my legacy. Your strength will be combined with mine and our descendants will rule all the Viking clans.”
Garik’s boasting triggered a sudden understanding in Karyna’s head. Children. Freydis could not have her own, and what good was ruling if she did not have an heir to finish her work? Freydis had mentioned before how she needed Karyna’s strength, to bear a son for Garik. It finally made sense. Freydis needed an heir. If Imrich and his sons were dead, the rule of Birkholm would fall to her. But without someone to rule after her death, whatever legacy she built would crumble into the sea. With a male child, she could rule until he came of age, and teach him her dark magic in secret so he could follow her path to greatness. She would be the founder of a great dynasty of Viking warriors. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to fit together into one horrific picture. If Freydis succeeded, a thousand years of war and black magic would reign.
“You must let me go, Garik,” Karyna coughed, looking up at him with pleading eyes. “Freydis wishes to control Birkholm and she will kill you as soon as I bear you a son. Please, let me go.”
“What on earth would she want me dead for?” Garik laughed, throwing Karyna to the ground. “She worships me. Tomorrow we will wed, and then you will become the mother of many strong sons. Stop trying to fight it, Bloody Rose. You are mine, and it is time you learned that fact. You may have given away the great wolf’s teeth, but I still have you as a prize. And you will not be so easily surrendered.”
Leaving her prone on the floor, rubbing her throat, Garik stalked out of the door, slamming it shut once more behind him. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.