Berserker: Captive of a Viking Ch. 03bylottieH©
(Thank you to all the people who left compliments, you have no idea how much it helps. But everyone should know that this isn't earth in the past. It's another world entirely. I was planning on revealing that later, but I've been getting some comments on historical inaccuracy. Don't worry there are still plenty of surprises planned)
"She's a Fara?!" Falki sat down beside Asegill on one of the benches lining the table of the mess hall. It was a large room with one massive table and two benches running along it. The room was lit with several bright oil lanterns fixed to the walls. Unlike the rest of the ship, which was mostly unadorned, this room had several detailed tapestries hanging between the lanterns. Some depicted scenes of gruesome battle, others pictures of tranquility, and one even showed a depiction of the glorious Valhalla, a place where all good soldiers dreamt of living in their afterlife. It was Falki who made Asegill place the well-woven tapestries on the previously bare mess hall walls. He had thought their home away from home needed more personality. Asegill had never seen the point in decoration; he himself liked a few simple but well-made things. Every surface didn't need to be covered with carvings and statues.
Asegill leaned forward and rested his chin on his interlocking fingers. "Either she was born into a family of wealth or... Nay! Even that wouldn't make her as stubborn as she is. Even if I hadn't dragged her out of the sea and seen her clothes, I would have known she was from a place far different from here merely from the way she acts! She tries to boss me about as if she is the man. I'm the bloody man! The gods haven't saved me. They've cursed me!"
But his words were not genuine. Inside, Asegill felt more alive than he had in years. No woman had ever given him such fiery glares, and it made him want to feel the fire of her kiss as well. Part of him thought that perhaps it was just her exotic looks and attitude that made her desirable. That perhaps once she became his wife for a few weeks, his need would relent. But his inner berserker beast told him she was the perfect mate. That no amount of time would quell his new found hunger. His inner beast was practically purring in approval. Surely she, where every other woman had failed, could accept the part of him that he had taken his entire adolescence to come to terms with.
Falki had to hide his internal grin which was something he was unaccustomed to. He had watched his dear friend turn his nose at every woman he had ever met. And now, he had the incomparable pleasure of watching a woman turn her nose at Asegill! Truly, Falki had never seen him so obsessed with anything that didn't have to do with battle. Asegill and the other lords of Asmondr had spent most of their lives keeping the southern Heidinn armies at bay. That was the reason he had let his need for a wife slip by him. This journey's purpose had been to visit the southern cities and to see where men were needed. Asegill had thought that he would find his woman there if anywhere, but when none had lived up to his expectations, he had decided to return and settle in Halldora.
Thankfully, the mess hall was empty for now. Most of the men were either working on the ship or resting in their hammock-lined cabins. Though, none would have tried to invade on Asegill and Falki's conversation even if they had wanted to.
"Will you have trouble with the ceremony?" asked Falki. "The men have been looking forward to having a wedding on board since you found her, and Ketill has been cooking in the galley all morning."
Asegill pretended to look affronted, though he was wondering the exact same thing. "Best not tempt fate. Tell the men I'll be marrying her tonight."
I was pacing back and forth so much I was surprised the floor wasn't wearing down. What do I do? What do I do? I guess it was from years of Sunday school that I despised, but for some reason I heard, "What would Jesus do?" in my head. The thought of Jesus being in this situation made me smile despite myself. It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be in this cabin, but that probably had something to do with a small metal stove tucked next to the headboard of the bed. There was a mound of coals inside that served as a space heater. I gave my surroundings another glance; no new objects jumped out at me. The large book I had chucked at him still lay open by the door.
I was completely and royally screwed. Moaning, I fell backwards on the bed only to spring up when I smelt him on the sheets. He smelt like leather, ocean, and something distinctive I could only determine as him. I didn't like what he did to my head. When I had stared into his eyes before, I felt like I could get lost in them.
Think, Francine! Think! I could always play it cool and pretend to be all gung-ho about getting married. Then, once we were on shore and he didn't suspect a thing... Yes, that seemed like the only logical answer. My only shot of escaping was on shore so I would just trick him. Once we docked, I'd run through the people and get lost in the crowd of whatever town we were in, and I'd find the police. Surely he wouldn't chase me in a crowded street, right? When my plan was solidified, I found myself wondering if my crew was alright. Were they even alive? Oh god, what if I never find my way home, and my parents think I'm dead and... God no! Just stop it! This isn't helping anyone. I wiped a tear off my cheek and sat myself at his desk working through the plan in my head again and again. I had already looked through the many papers in his desk, but they were written in a different language.
I tried to keep my mind occupied, but after a while, I just spent my time staring at the door wondering what would happen to me. I tensed when I heard footsteps outside the door. Since I had been hearing plenty of footsteps over my head, I assumed it must be daytime. I hadn't been wearing my watch when I got sucked up. The door opened, and it was Asegill. Yes, that's what he said his name was. He walked in with a shroud of subtle confidence I doubt he noticed. He was obviously someone who was used to people following his orders, but my attention was soon distracted from him. He was carrying food! He eyed my place at his desk. I had thankfully put back all the papers I had looked through. Crossing my arms in front me, I leaned back in his chair and raised my chin. I may have decided to go along with his charade, but I wasn't about to be submissive. I wasn't an idiot. I knew he had the advantage, but attitude was all I had left.
He smiled and cocked an eyebrow not saying a word. He set a bowl and a cup down in front of me. "Eat."
It wasn't a suggestion. I ground my teeth a little, but he just stood there staring me down. I took a deep breath and ignored him. Instead, I looked at my food. I heard rather than saw him move away and sit down on his bed. The food looked heavenly, but then again mac 'n' cheese would have looked like a feast right now. It was a bowl of stew with chunks of miscellaneous meats and vegetables floating around in a salty pungent aroma. I couldn't help myself so I grabbed a spoon and took a mouthful. It was hot enough to burn my mouth a little, but I didn't care. I ate the stew without even looking up once at the eyes I knew were watching me.
How could a crazy person be so hot? Whenever you watch movies about kidnappers, they're always skinny, pale, creepy guys. Why couldn't he be too? There was a warmth running through me that I didn't think had anything to do with the stew, but hell would freeze over before he ever found out. When I was done, I glanced up and resumed leaning back as if I were comfortable. Though, I'd never been more tense in my life. I had to break the silence.
"So where are you from?" My voice sounded a little too nonchalant.
He chuckled and smiled a bit. I hate it when people chuckle. "I am from the land we are but a few days away from, Asmondr."
I frowned. "We can't be a few days from anything. Is it an island?"
"No, it is a very large land connected to Heidinnland and Fuglfit. It would take more than two weeks to cross it by horse. My city, Blodhugr, is one of its largest cities."
"Mm hmm." I didn't want to get him angry, but there was no way in hell I would have missed an island that big in the middle of the Atlantic.
"Francine, I know you do not believe me, but you will." He seemed very sure of himself. "We are going to marry tonight."
"Tonight?!" My façade fell. I looked away from him not trusting my eyes to disguise my panic. "Fine. When do we reach...Asmondr?" I was sure I was mispronouncing it.
He seemed taken aback by my agreement. "In two days."
"Cutting it a little close." He didn't seem to know what I meant by that. I picked up a glass of what looked like water, but before I took a sip, I sniffed it just to make sure. Over the rim of the glass, I looked at him again as he reclined on the bed looking for all the world like he was having a relaxed conversation with a friend. He met my eyes and lowered his lashes giving me a smouldering look. Ok, maybe a little more than friends then. I got up immediately wanting to put some space between us. I walked to the other side of the room and pretended to read the spines of the books on his shelves.
"Francine, you needn't fear me. I will never hurt you." He had probably said it to reassure me, but it just pissed me off.
My fear disappeared in a wave of anger. Clenching my fists, I narrowed my eyes and spun around marching over to where he was sitting on the bed. Even with him sitting down, my head was just barely above his. "So you don't count kidnapping me, forcing me to marry you, and scaring the shit out of me as HURTING me? You're right. I shouldn't fear you. You should fear me because believe me, no one does all that to me and gets away with it."
Since I was a little girl, I've had a very short fuse. God forbid it ever run out because when it did, I tended to get myself buried in shit deeper than before. This was one of those times.
Asegill's eyes blazed in anger. One moment I was standing in front of him madder than I had been in years, the next his hands grabbed me around the waist, and he pulled me on top of him. Before I could think to protest, he rolled. Suddenly, he was leaning over me, and my arms were pinned to my sides. There was something else entirely in his eyes now. It was something I'd never seen before. I don't know if I opened my mouth to tell him off or to scream, but before I could I get a breath in, his mouth was on mine.
My first instinct was to pull away, but he grabbed the back of my head and threaded his fingers through my hair. His lips just touched mine for a moment. Then he pressed his mouth to mine harder. Heat shot through me from my lips to my toes, and it felt like my soul was on fire. I used all of my will to hold still and keep my lips closed, but he growled. He actually growled! The noise didn't sound like anything human. He turned his head and pressed harder forcing my lips open with his own. When my lips did part, he snaked his tongue into my mouth, but his tongue didn't just touch mine. It conquered and plundered my mouth as if he was dying to taste me. He tasted like wine and sweetness or like cooked onions on steak. Delectable.
I felt an answering cry in me. Fuck this, I'm no submissive. I had one free arm now that he was holding my head. I grabbed the furred collar of his shirt and yanked his mouth to mine harder. I pushed his tongue back and plundered his mouth instead. It was a heady feeling, and I could feel the heat rolling off of him as well. We were battling between our lips like two soldiers parrying and thrusting. His body still pressed up against mine, and his hips pushed into me like there were no clothes between us at all. Then I felt him from what I could feel, and he was far larger than my old boyfriend whatshisname. Fear shot through me and quenched the fire inside me. No, this was not going to happen. I yanked my head to the side, but he just moved his head down.
"Minn hyrr," he growled. He kissed my neck, but then I felt his sharp teeth. He bit me! It was not hard enough to break the skin but enough to leave a mark. I gasped. For some reason, his bite caused more heat to rush through me.
"I... Get off! Stop it!" I pushed against him, but he was like a brick wall. "Asegill!"
He stopped. He hadn't moved, but at least he had stopped. I realised that he was hotter than I had felt, like he was running a high fever. I could still feel him pressed against me. Oh god, how had this happened? If he tried to have sex with me every time I yelled at him, oh god we really would be married. He moved slowly looking up from my neck. I looked up at him and gasped again. His pupils had elongated into slits. They were still that same blue, but now they looked like cat's eyes. He pulled away from me still breathing hard from the kiss. God, I couldn't believe that had just been a kiss.
Asegill straightened and backed away from his undoing. He had always had a temper, but he hadn't let it awaken the berserker since he had been a child. He had always kept such a tight lid on his emotions never letting his other self emerge. Yet, when she had yelled at him he had been angry, but it wasn't the anger that had done it. He looked into her confused, angry, scared, passionate eyes and knew it had been her. He had grabbed her to teach her a lesson and show her who was in charge only to discover it hadn't been him. When he had kissed her, he had felt something awaken inside him...something that had grown even more powerful when she kissed him back. It was only his name spoken by her scared voice that had pulled him back. Now, here he was barely holding onto his humanity. Perhaps he should let go. Asegill chased the thought away.
He glanced at her. Well, she had seen his eyes and hadn't run away. No, she didn't even look scared right now. She looked worried and preoccupied like she was putting something together in her mind. Instead of looking at him, she was watching a flickering lantern. Asegill took his time to study her then. She was so beautiful, so passionate, so stubborn, and she toppled all of his carefully built walls without even trying. He wanted her. Oh gods, how he wanted her despite her stubbornness. No! It was her stubbornness that made him respect her, and he respected so few people. The way she acted scared and meek one moment only for it to disappear in a wave of anger infuriated and excited him. But it wasn't just that. It was so much more. It was something he couldn't quite put his finger on, and then it hit him. Of course! Before her, he and his berserker beast never agreed on anything. For once in his life, both sides of him cheered in consent. It was amazing. He knew with absolute certainty that she was meant to be his. Suddenly, the prospect of losing control was not so daunting. He knew she would accept him. He just needed to wear her down, and he was greatly looking forward to the challenge.
I was trying to make sense of it all. How could this happen? I knew he'd try and make a pass at me, but I hadn't thought I'd actually enjoy it. I certainly hadn't thought I'd fall into a blaze of passion, the kind I'd only read about in romance novels. I didn't even think it was possible to get turned on by kissing. The first boy I had ever kissed was fine, I guess. No magic or disgust. Just "Oh, his tongue's in my mouth." Then, there was David―that was his name. His kisses had been nice, but they were a quick prelude to an often disappointing finish.
But this...this was something else...like mouth sex. I touched my lips which were still swollen. I was in way over my head. Glancing at Asegill, I could see that his eyes had returned to normal now. I wasn't even thinking about trying to figure that one out. It must have been a trick of the light. I didn't know what I should do now, but I wasn't just going to let him have his way with me. Immediately, I sat up which made my head swim a little.
"This...this doesn't change anything." I reached up to feel my neck. Had I imagined that too? No, I could still feel the indent in my skin. I looked at Asegill again, and he was watching me with an unreadable expression. At least he didn't look like he was about to jump me again.
"You're right. It doesn't. Tonight, you are mine."
"So I guess you don't consider rape hurting me?" I looked him in the eye.
"My people find no fault in a husband pleasing his wife." He raised an eyebrow.
"First, you won't be pleasing me no matter what you'd like to believe." He looked like he was about to disagree so I continued, "And second, I don't give a crap what your people think."
He narrowed his eyes, and I raised my brow now. I knew what a dangerous game I was playing, but my only hope was that this asshole had some morals.
"I assure you Francine that when I take you, you will be most willing."
I wanted to disagree but I thought of the fire that had rushed through me from just a kiss. Well, I wouldn't be doing that again. Next time, I'd fight him tooth and nail.
He smiled a little, but before I could ponder what that meant, he walked to the door. He paused on his way out. "I'll return at sunset. Behave or I might just change my mind about you being willing when I take you."
Asegill realised there was very little to do in weddings when women weren't involved. Ketill was handling the feast and promised it would be good. It was fortunate that Asegill had brought home many foods and gifts from the south. He had brought his rings and sword with him in hopes that he would find a bride in the south. The only thing that was needed was the bride's sword which could easily be chosen from the plentiful supply on his war ship Freya. They didn't have a priestess to marry them, but fortunately, it was known for some couples to marry themselves by saying their vows and exchanging swords in nature.
Thankful the wind was being good to them, he leaned against the sail of the ship. Glancing at the coast of Asmondr in the distance, Asegill was looking forward to showing Francine his land. He knew she would never let him know she was impressed by anything he showed her, but he was getting very good at reading her.
Asegill looked down at the blade in his hand. It was a small dagger with intricately swirling gold making up its grip. It reminded him of fire. Two semi precious jewels were set into the pommel making up the eyes of the moulded wolf head. The guard twisted upwards in two curling points enhancing its look of fire. The overall beauty served well to distract from the wickedly sharp point and the cruel serrations on the beginning of the edges. He had received the dagger amongst the many gifts he had been given by families trying to sway his choice in a wife. It described her perfectly. Luckily, he had his family blade with him, and it was far more worthy of her than any other sword.
Well, he would give her the crown she deserved when they reached his home. Every bride should have a crown. Though he knew she would resent its implications, the crown was given to a woman to symbolize her rise to womanhood as a result of bedding her husband. Asegill glanced up at the sun for the hundredth time. Not even close to time yet.
Staring at the door, I couldn't breath. My heart was beating so loud I could feel it in my fingertips. Oh god. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down. So this is what a panic attack feels like. My knees felt weak, and I sat down on the floor rather abruptly. I concentrated on the gentle sway of the ship. Relax, I told myself. It's not like it's a real marriage anyway. There's no way in hell it's a real marriage. I wanted to summon the anger that so readily claimed me when Asegill opened his big fat mouth, but all I felt when he wasn't here to aggravate me was fear. I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around my knees. I didn't know anything about this guy other than the fact that he was a kidnapping potential rapist.