Possess Me Ch. 07bytitania123©
Then why keep her here? he froze at the tiny voice whispering in his head. The pain in his chest doubled and a growing sickness filled his stomach. Denial built itself in his mind. He shook his head and frowned. No. No, I can't let her go. She's mine. She must to stay here.
But he even as he tried to deny it, he knew she could never be happy there with him. She would never allow him to touch her, ever. And he would never force her again. He would be stuck with seeing her daily, wanting to touch her, to kiss her, wanting to hear her voice as she climaxed in his arms and telling him she belonged to him.
But the hope, the need, was too strong. He would live through hell in the hopes one day she would forgive him. He would do anything, but that. He would buy her father land and a servant. He would allow her to perform any chore she wanted. He would buy the rarest flowers for her to tend to. He would do anything but let her go.
But where do I start? he groaned. Maybe she will kill me, then our problems would be solved, he thought gloomily. He would speak with her. First thing in the morning. I will apologize. I will explain that I know I was a beast. She won't have to serve me tea or attend to my bath. I will let her choose. But to keep her near me...maybe I will offer to teach her to read. Perhaps in the spring I can take her to the capitol to see the royal gardens. Anything. But she's mine, and she stays.
With a plan, part of the burden felt eased and the pain in his chest lessened. He slumped back to his bed, but the smell of the women on it disturbed him. Taking the top blanket, he walked back to the chaise and lay before the fire. Images of her mouth around the tip of his cock, the feel of her warm, firm body as she straddled him, the taste of her mouth when she kissed him danced around him like the flame's shadows. The pain returned as he closed his eyes, eager for the dawn and another day.
Malik's sleep was restless, tossing often, never quite warm, never comfortable, and terribly alone. In the morning, bleary-eyed from gruesome sleep, he washed and dressed before heading to his study. He was awake earlier than usual and surprised Eleanor as he met her in the hall. "When she wakes, send her to me." A blank statue, Eleanor only nodded slightly, indicating she would obey as always.
Malik paced back and forth. He attempted to sit in front of the fire to read, but could not keep his eyes on the page. He sat at his desk to write a letter to the clothier who had made Brynna's dresses to request more, but couldn't keep his hand from shaking. He changed his mind again, deciding at last to present a less intimidating front by sitting in front of the fire. He lounged back into a chair, willing relaxation into his tense body. The room grew lighter from the rising sun, and Malik began to become even more impatient. The thought to stand and find Eleanor to bring her to him had just flittered in his mind when a knock came to the door.
Dissolving his fear and shame behind a gray mask of neutrality, Malik bade the person to enter. His body tightened and then fell lax when he saw it was only Eleanor. "Well? Where is she? She has refused to see me?" He turned his head to the side, staring at the floorboards. He was swimming with disappointment that she didn't come and anger at being disobeyed. But Eleanor's voice cut into his thoughts.
"She refused nothing, sir." He turned to her. "She is not here."
His eyes narrowed. "What do you mean, 'not here'?"
"Just that, sir. She is not in the castle." He stood slowly. "She never came down this morning, so I have just been to her room to wake her. But she was not there, though her bed looked as though it had not been slept in. No one has seen her all morning. Her cloak is gone."
The pain in his chest from the night before returned, causing him to pause midstride. At the sudden possibility of losing her, his world stopped. Gone! Gone! Gone! And then it went quiet.
He strode quickly from the room, not even pausing at the door to take a cloak for himself despite the frost on the now brown blades of grass. His breath came in white puffs of smoke. The dragon was on the march.
She wouldn't have gone to him. She's not there, he tried to assure himself. But even as he denied the possibility, he became aware that he did not know which outcome was worse; that Brynna fled into the arms of another man, or she was gone from the keep entirely.
He entered the warm stables, and, seeing no one, continued walking towards the back quarters. Thom was at the small table eating bread. Brom was filling his quiver with newly sharpened arrows. "My lord?" he questioned, puzzled at the energy in which the master entered his space.
"The girl. Where is she?"
"Girl?" His eyes widened and then settled hard. "I have not seen her."
Malik set his jaw tight, though relief washed over him. For a moment he paused and regarded Brom's disdainful countenance. His barely contained hostility was evident in his glowing eyes. Malik could hear Brom's voice growling in his mind, as real as if he had spoken. And why would I have? You thought that after you brought your women here she would have come running to me? Is that what you wanted? To hurt her so badly she ran into the arms of another, giving you good reason to finally destroy her? He knew the moment Brom countered him to not force her to ride that his loyalty no longer belonged to his master. Malik had tried to avoid it; he forbade her to go to the stables with him and even had Eleanor move her away from him at their dining table. He was suddenly jealous that Brom ate with her at all her meals, though they had never once eaten together. She belonged to him. She should have eaten with him, as well.
Malik could barely contain the animosity he felt swell inside him. He momentarily thought to get rid of the man, but his need for Brom's tacking skill won out. He cast a hard, cool gaze at Brom. "Saddle horses for yourself, Saul, and me."
"You mean to track her? Hunt her down and drag her back?"
Malik turned murderous, but contained his rage until he was contradicting calm. "I mean to find her and protect her."
"And who will protect her from you?" Brom said with more disagreeable passion than Malik had ever before witnessed.
"That. Is. Not. Your. Concern." He said harshly, punctuating each word with deadly threat. Brom submitted under the rebuke, casting his eyes down and to the side.
Malik tramped back up the small incline to the castle. Arrogant, insinuating...bastard! To think he can dictate what happens between Brynna and me. He is through here!
He is right. I don't deserve her.
I don't care. I already decided she stays. She will be happy. I will make her happy. But he won't be. He was nearly growling as he reached the castle. Eleanor and Cawl were both at the door waiting. He gave instructions to Cawl for the running of the house and for Saul to prepare to leave before he quickly dismissed him. Eleanor followed him to his chamber.
"What will you do when you find her?"
"It matters not to you," he said as he packed a few belongings into a roll for his saddle.
"You instructed me to look after the girl, did you not? To guide her and ensure she was well? Sir, she is not well, and has not been for quite some time. I have been remiss in my duty towards her, and all because...the condition of her fallen spirit is by your hands."
He stopped at her accusation.
Her voice was empowered by conviction, and its strength grew as she went along. "As I have failed her, and you, I must rectify what I can. And to do so, I must tell you, you have acted wickedly. You have stolen a girl from her life and have used her most dishonorably. You have twisted and poked and cut at her in hopes of creating a mindless doll. What will you do with her once you have captured her? How will you punish her? Did she not flee because of you? And now you seek her...for what purpose, my lord? No, I cannot sit idly by, watching you ruin her life and yours."
Malik was finished packing. He slowly picked up his things. Without looking up, he spoke controlled through his anger. "When we return with her, Brom will be leaving. You are free to leave with him, if that is your wish. But Brynna will return. She will stay." And then he was gone, leaving the aging lady with nothing in her hands but an empty life of servitude.
The cold gray of the morning had not lifted, but hung in the freezing fog that covered the bailey. Brom and Saul stood by the horses in the courtyard, waiting for him with bleak countenances. Malik said little, but told Brom to search for her trail. The men rode in silence as Brom picked her tracks buried beneath hoof marks and wheel ruts. At some point they left the road and the men followed into the black forest, not quite so dark as it was in the summer when the thick leaves blotted out the light of the sun.
Malik felt tight, an urgency pushing through his veins, making him desperate to move their slow advancing party forward. He had to get to her. Compounded atop all the anxiety, self-loathing and fear he had felt the night before was the immediate and real possibility that he would lose her, never to see her again, either by successful escape or being devoured by wild animals.
And then, the roaring in his ears was not his mind shutting down, it was the large white river that cut the vast woods in half, carving itself into the mountains and stone valleys. "She is close, my lord. I wager she is cut off at the river. It is a little low this time of year, but I don't think she could pass it. She will have to go up or down stream." The threesome sent their horses forward. Breaking out into the clearing that ran along the bank, Malik quickly scanned the area. The roaring wasn't just the river, it was the waterfall several yards downriver.
At first he missed her, the rushing of the water all that caught his eyes. But then he saw her dark cloak floating out, swirling around her body. His chest seized again, but he wasted no time to think on it as he nudged Aeris in her direction.
The river bed was too full of boulders and the rapids too powerful to be traversed on horse. Malik slid to the ground before he even fully halted.
"Brynna!" he shouted.
The water rushed passed her body, covering everything except arms that cleaved to the massive rock and her wet hair that clung to her face and neck. Her face was paler than snow when she turned to see who called to her. He saw her momentary relief before it faded to her broken eyes.
"Don't move! I'm coming for you!"
She rested her head forward on the rock, pausing to gather the last of her strength. Before his feet reached the water's edge, she shouted back. "Don't! I mean to cross this river and to be parted from you!"
"Don't be foolish! You cannot make it! The water will sweep you over the falls. And if the rocks below don't kill you, the temperature will!"
"If my only choices are you or death, then I choose death," her voice was not a shout, but somehow it carried to him, and he heard it over the roar. She turned her body to make for the next boulder. Malik dashed in, only to be thrown off balance by the powerful drag of the current. He quickly scrambled to the first rock. Saul and Brom hurried to stand at the bank behind him.
"My lord!" someone shouted, though he barely registered the sound, his whole being focused on one aim.
Malik moved from around the solid impediment just in time to see the rapids carry her over. He lunged for her, though she had been several yards away, but he was pulled back. Brom's arms were around him and Saul helped to pull them both back out.
He struggled against the man holding him. "My lord, my lord please! We can ride down the path. Please!" Saul was shouting at him, shaking him by his cloak.
Malik stood and bounded to the edge of the cliff. There was a steep path down amongst the craggy rocks that lined the falls. He would waste no time waiting for the horses. "Find a way!" he shouted before disappearing down the damp trail, scanning the furious waters for her body as he slipped occasionally.
When Saul and Brom arrived, the master was running haphazardly up and down the riverbank, scanning the pool's depths. "She's not here!" he shouted. "Find her! She's not here!" She's not here. She's gone. She's gone. Dead? Where did she go? She's not here. Not here. Malik dropped to his knees, the sharp rocks digging in. Leaning on a small boulder, he looked deep into the water. Life-ending fear replaced his frantic energy. He sought answers the white, churning water could not provide. Where was his Brynna?