Twelve Days of Hrive 'Isia Ch. 04byRedHairedandFriendly©
The sixth day of Hrive 'Isia
"Your Highness – a pleasant surprise, please come in. I will admit I did not believe you were courageous enough to step over my threshold again."
Gilraen handed a bundle of coins over to Ireth's open palm. "I wasn't sure if I were brave enough either," the princess admitted.
"I do not have a companion at this moment, so I cannot demonstrate anything for you, so I am not sure what I can help you with."
The Princess took a seat that Ireth offered, and settled down into it. "I am to wed Turgon on the twelfth day of the celebration and then of course bed him that night and though you were kind enough to show me," she licked her lips nervously, "how to please him with my mouth – I do not know how to please him with my body and I do not want our first night to be - - awkward. I do not wish to be a disappointment to my husband, not after all he has given back to me."
Ireth pursed her lips, and took the chair opposite of Gilraen. "It will be awkward no matter how many lessons you pay me for. Here take your coin. Your betrothed already knows you are here, for I saw his men outside just as I closed the door behind you."
Gilraen rolled her eyes. "I thought as much," she muttered.
"It is only wise of him to have you followed. Your mother has loyal people, even now that she's been banished and her sentence carried out."
She knew Ireth was right. Her mother had stood before the council and admitted to her wrong doings, she had not wept, only set looks of loathing and hate to both of her daughters. She had accepted her punishment, and most likely had prepared herself years ago for this day, because a wrong done to another is eventually paid. The council had allowed her enough coin to survive three days of travel. She was ordered to never return to the land of Lúinwë or Celebrindal, seeing that her eldest would reside at both throughout her life. Eáránë had made no move to embrace young Madrician, nor had she given pause to either of her cohorts, who had also been sentenced to banishment. They were however given no coin, for they were skilled laborers, who would most likely find jobs more quickly than their Lady.
"But what is it you wish to ask me?" Ireth asked, hoping to ease some of the tension from the room.
"Lord Turgon has kissed me and I have found myself enjoying it – which I know is a good and normal thing, but his hands – they move across my body and even though I am clothed it burns me."
Ireth smiled and patted the young girl's hand. "It is a good thing. It means you are most likely very compatible with your betrothed. Are you afraid of what you feel for him, when he touches you?"
"I am fearful of myself. I want to explode inside. I want to crawl out of my skin and into his. It cannot be normal. I feel that if he does not touch me, I will die."
"My dear Princess, you speak as if you have never reached a point in your life where you have exploded inside."
Gilraen lifted a brow, confusion easily read on her face. Ireth frowned. "Have you ever touched yourself Princess? I saw that when you were witnessed the Priest and I, your hand moved to your chest; have you never spent time exploring your own body?"
The young woman blinked rapidly, shrank back and her jaw slackened. "I have not done such a sinful act. Our Priest speaks of self pleasuring as a sin and one should not..."
Ireth lifted her hand and interrupted the young girl, "The same Priest that has frequented my bed many a year?"
"I see," Gilraen answered.
"Your Highness, to know your own body is to know where you want your lover to touch you. It will help him to truly mark you as his own. He will come to embrace your desires, and will strive to satisfy you in all ways."
"And you know this how?" Gilraen asked.
Ireth shrugged her shoulders. "He has bent over backward to care for you. If he did not find you favorable, and if he did not care for your needs he would have not allowed you so much leeway in your comings and goings, nor would he have allowed your mother's loyal subjects to live. He would have come into your kingdom demanding your hand without a thought as to others around you. Is it not true your sister benefits from your marriage, and becomes a member of Círdan's household? The fact he gives one such as her notice, proclaims his desire to please you sits high on his list of priorities."
Silence weighed heavily in the air as Gilraen thought of what Ireth said. "Princess, go back to your chambers," Ireth handed the coins back to the woman, "learn your body, explore yourself and find out where those special places are on you that make your insides explode."
Gilraen blushed, took the coins, and returned them to the village whore. "I have a feeling I will be back again before my wedding night, but if not then most likely afterward." She left the cottage, waved to the guards who had not done a very good job at hiding and made her way back to the castle. Would Turgon chastise her for visiting Ireth again, or would he tease her mercifully? Gilraen hoped neither, it had taken a lot of courage to approach the whore again, and she had to admit she was disappointed not to catch her in the act of earning more coins from the local gentry.
Each step Gilraen took out of the village was full of mixed feelings and worrisome concern. She found herself anxious over what her life with Turgon would be like, would she please him, would he remain faithful as he proclaimed he would? What would happen to Madrician? Círdan had already held firm to his commitment to her sister and her position in his household, but what of her heart. She'd lost a mother and a father and had no one. Perhaps she should seek out Turgon and suggest Madrician live with them. It was obvious from Madrician's speech with the King that she felt his hostility toward her and she knew he would not welcome her presence upon his house. It was the shout from a guard and a hard shove off the path that brought Gilraen out of her musings. She fell to the ground, rocks dug into her gloves, the leather kept her palms free of cuts and bruises.
Gilraen turned, and saw one of Turgon's men dead. An arrow protruded from his throat. The villagers that had been milling about various vendors screamed and shouted. Some ran around haphazardly, others darted behind trees, and carts. Another arrow sailed through the air, striking the second guard. He pulled a knife from his boot thrust it toward Gilraen, who took it. "Run!" he shouted before an arrow penetrated his skull.
The Princess scrambled to her feet, her gown and cloak hindering her swiftness. She cursed, as fear coursed through her veins. She ran several feet before an arm wrapped tight around her waist and hauled her back. A screamed was ripped from her lungs, as she took the knife and stabbed it repeatedly into the arm. Its tip did little damage to the thick leather hide that covered the attacker's beefy muscles. He pulled her into the woods. Gilraen kicked and thrashed. She felt panic growing and knew that without a doubt her mother's loyal followers were still deep within her walls.
"Vile wench," the kidnapper cursed, before releasing the Princess and spinning her around. Before she could react, his fist came down and blackness consumed her frightened mind.
On the seventh day of Hrive 'Isia
The sound of their horses moving through the woods, crossing meadows, and their occasional grunt of displeasure were the only sounds that seemed to register in Gilraen's mind as she drifted in and out of consciousness. Her jaw ached, her head pounded, and her muscles felt weak and frail. She tried to open her eyes, only to lose what ground she gained when they closed on her again. Voices fluttered in and out of her subconscious. A jolt brought her back to the surface again, and once more she opened her eyes, this time able to see the shadowy figures of several men, as well as their mounts. Whoever had kept her pressed against him, now slid from behind her and as she began to fall, captured her within a vise-like grip. "Don't drop her, we're on strict orders from the Queen, she's not to be harmed."
"We'll make camp here, and then in the morning we'll meet up with our Lady."
"I'll be happy when all this is over. I don't like stealing away the Princess, that Lord Celebrindal he's not someone you want to trifle with."
A sound of indifference followed the statement.
Gilraen was dropped onto the ground. She landed hard against the dirt and rocks. Her rump rested uncomfortably against the roots of a Wallow tree. She shook her head, trying to clear her cloudy thoughts, and blurred vision. The same man that had deposited her, with little regard to her feminine state, moved toward her, rope in hand. "I have to," she swallowed, hoping to ease the dryness of her throat, "I need to relieve myself." Her words were a choked whisper. The man grunted his displeasure, pulled her up, and pushed her toward a cluster of bushes and trees.
She took several steps; each one brought a wave of dizziness. When the man continued to follow her, she stopped short, and slowly turned. "Am I to have no privacy?" she asked.
The man lifted a brow, smirked and then winked. "Not an ounce, Your Highness, Queen's order."
Gilraen's features grew bright pink as humiliation coursed through her veins. She moved behind the brushes, but knew those who wanted to see her take care of her personal needs could do so without little hindrance. When she was done, she was taken back to the tree and secured with ropes. Her hands were bound in front of her, while her waist was tethered tight against the hard bark.
She watched the men, most she recognized as soldiers in her father's army – her mother's really, since her father had been kept in a vegetated state for so long. Each man looked to have been seasoned warriors, and she wondered if all had at one time slept with their Queen. They moved quickly to ready the camp, two canvas tents were erected, firewood gathered, and two men disappeared into the woods to search out fresh game. While she took in their actions she found it odd that so many had been sent for her, wouldn't it be easy for Turgon to track their movements? Was her mother setting a trap for her betrothed? Gilraen hated not knowing the answers to all her burning questions, but mostly she hated the feeling of helplessness.
"Your bed is ready, Princess."
Gilraen shrank back, as two beefy hands reached out and cupped her face. The beard the man wore was covered in frozen spittle; she turned away just as his mouth tried to capture hers. His lips landed on her jaw, she shuddered in revolution. The man laughed, backed away and released her ropes, only to haul her up and tossed over his shoulder. He chuckled as she kicked and screamed. His hand came down hard on her backside. She stilled, fearful of what would come next if she fought her attacker. "Do not harm the girl."
The warning came from the one who had carried her through the woods. "It'll be the death of you."
A muttered curse left the mouth of the one who held her. He pushed his way into the tent and dropped Gilraen onto the furs that rested in a corner. "I don't know why the Queen wants you left pure. But perhaps there are other ways to make you worth all this trouble." His hands went to his pants. He lifted the edge of his coat and began to open the ties of his britches. The sound of a sword being pulled from its sheath, was the last the man heard as Gilraen witnessed a sharp blade protrude from the man's chest. She gasped, scrambled back and covered her mouth as bile threatened to be expelled. The sword was removed, the sucking sound slipped into the night air.
"You will come to no harm, Princess – at least not from us."
Again the man who seemed to be one of the few willing to obey her mother's orders had spoken to her. "Who are you?" she asked, admitting not for the first time that she had become too much of a recluse in her own household. There were so many of her own people she did not recognize.
"I am just a man, in love with a woman – who will one day see my value as more than just a soldier and a lover."
"So you are just another one of my mother's lackey's. A warming pad for her crotch?"
The man chuckled. "For now, yes, but I have warmed your mother's crotch many a time. She is a demanding woman, and I am loyal to her. I do not always agree with her methods, but she is a force to be reckoned with. She trusts me, and though I do not enjoy knowing she seeks others to warm her bed, in the end I know she will come back to mine."
"I do not know you," Gilraen admitted.
He shrugged his shoulders, and tossed her another blanket. "It seems the clouds are moving in more quickly, and you will most likely need more of these to keep you warm, but this is all we can spare."
"I am to sleep in here alone?"
Dmitri smirked. "I will be just inside the tent, right here," he pointed to the opening. "And the reason you do not recognize me, is because you did not care to bother yourself with those not of your ilk."
Gilraen blushed. Had she been such a selfish girl? Yes, once her mother started the beatings she had tried to keep to herself, and remain nothing more than a speck on her mother's mind. In doing so, it seemed that she had lost the loyalty of many more than she'd realized. "This will change," she promised, more to herself than to the man who still remained within the tent with her. "I was a young girl frightened by all around her, the loss of a father, and the abuse of a mother. Were you ever loyal to him – my father – the king?"
"I was but a boy when he took ill. Your mother is all I know, and all I wish to know. I'll bring you wine and meat, after I dispose of this," Dmitri kicked at the dead elven warrior, "until then pray that whatever my Lady wishes for you – is quick – though I don't believe that to be the case."
Gilraen watched him leave, the thumping of the dead man's body, thundered in her ears, as did Dmitri's parting words. She buried her face in her hands and fought the fear that tried to consume her. Turgon would find her, but would it be too late for her and did she deserve the happiness he promised?
When nightfall came, Gilraen found sleep easily and knew that the wine had tasted bitter for a reason. Her mind drifted to a dream that left her lips raised in a soft smile, and her features serene and locked in bliss.
She was pulled roughly to her feet, and swung over Dmitri's back. Again she fought for freedom, but again was held tight within the warrior's strong grip. "What is happening?" she demanded.
"The trickery failed, and your betrothed has been spotted."
"What trickery?" she asked, as she was tossed onto the back of a horse, Dmitri followed right behind her.
"Various signs were left on mock exits from the woods, hoping one would steer your betrothed wrong, but they failed. Hold on, or the fall will most likely break your neck," he ordered as he turned his steed away, kicking it into a fast and hard run.
Gilraen barely had time to grasp the horn of the saddle. She turned her head and caught sight of several of Turgon's men breaking into the camp. Dmitri covered her mouth with one hand to keep her from screaming, and further abused his horse to keep it moving. Once he felt they were safe enough to allow Gilraen to voice her displeasure at his actions, he removed his hand.
"Damn fools," he muttered, slowing the creature and taking stock of their situation. "I knew it was a useless plan, but I allowed my desire to reach my love, cloud my better judgment."
"If you but let me go, you can return to her and I will demand you are not harmed for your part in all of this."
Dmitri laughed, turned their mount to the West and pushed onward. "No, my Princess, Eáránë cares for me, but she cares more for the revenge she holds deep in her heart. Your fate is sealed, but do not worry – I do not believe she seeks your life – you are her daughter, after all."
The Princess laughed - the sound full of fear and dry humor. "There is no love for me in my mother's heart. If she wishes for my life to remain intact, it is only because it serves a greater purpose."
Dmitri shrugged, saying no more, and instead left Gilraen to her own thoughts, while he drove them further from the carnage that he was sure Lord Celebrindal had rained down on Queen Eáránë's men.
The eighth day of Hrive 'Isia
Her muscles screamed in agony, and joints that should have been full of life and youthfulness, seemed to groan from age. Gilraen dismounted as gracefully as she could, allowing Dmitri to assist her. They had ridden all night, and most of the day. Only pausing once to trade with a farmer for a fresh horse. Dmitri had warned the Princess that if she tried to communicate with the farmer or his family, he would be forced to take their lives. A part of her doubted her captor, but not enough that she put her life above those of the peasants. They were no longer on her father's land, but had crossed the borders into Lord Séregon, Eáránë's father – Gilraen's grandfather's domain.
Gilraen was familiar with nothing; her grandfather had, according to those inside the castle walls of Lúinwë, had taken what her father offered, deposited his daughter and returned to his home before the blessings from the Priest could be heard. She highly doubted aid would come from whomever lived in the small cottage that Dmitri had now halted in front of. He pulled her with him, only easing his gait when he felt her stumble. "Anxious to rid yourself of me?" Gilraen hissed, but quickened her step, hoping to ease the bruising he would certainly leave on her skin.
He rapped hard on the door and step in when it was pulled open. The two small lanterns that were lit, and a small fire burned in the fireplace, giving just enough light for Gilraen to make out the room's furnishings. One lamp, to her left, slowly rose in brightness, as the occupant of the cottage turned the wick. "Where are the others?"
Gilraen's lips curled at the voice. "Hello, mother."
Eáránë moved back to the threshold, as Dmitri closed the door behind Gilraen and himself. "Daughter."
The Queen of Lúinwë reached out and grasped her daughter's chin. Gilraen pulled away. Her mother laughed. "The others Dmitri?"
He pushed Gilraen into a chair and worked to bind her to it. "Turgon's men most likely killed them all, save one – hoping to gain what knowledge he could from them – but don't worry, none knew that I would be stealing the Princess away and bringing her here. They will only speak of the ship and Turgon will make his way to the shore, in search of his Princess there."
"Good," Eáránë, "I hate to have lost so many loyal followers, but," she shrugged her shoulders, "that is the way of things."
"What do you want from me, mother?"
Gilraen watched as her mother tossed her head back and chuckled. "I want you to suffer. I have lost everything, and you – you have lost nothing – in fact you have gained a father. I don't even have that to go back to."
"What of this place? Are we not on my grandfather's lands?"
"This was my grandmother's cottage. It stands still, but has remained empty for years. After your father's untimely accident, I sent loyalist here to slowly begin making improvements. My father and his men do not guard these borders because I offered to see that it was protected with Lúinwë's soldiers."
"Your soldiers, you mean."
Her mother smiled, shrugged her shoulders and made her way back to her daughter's side. "Yes, my soldiers."
"What are your plans for me? My betrothed will come looking for me. Once he discovers I am not on the ship your lackey spoke of. He will search the four corners to find me."
"I've no doubt you're right," Eáránë, she turned toward Dmitri, "would you please serve our precious guest? There is stew in the pot, hanging over the fire."