Trust Ch. 03


Before she fully entered his area, Kieren's knife was at her neck. With realization, he cursed her. Normally her pressing would be accepted, even amusing. At times she was quite pleasing. Months of wrestling the sea had its toll. Despite his respected qualities, Kieren was just a man.

However, his current needs were specific; they were for Iona. He had no desire to hurt Astrid, but she only responded to force. When her arms wrapped around his neck and she went for the feel of his lips, he had no choice but to fit her wrists with the force of his grip and turn his face away. Her protests fell on deaf ears. He grew tired of this common dance between them. With her hands clasped before her and her back to him, Kieren led her to the door.

Astrid was aware of Kieren's weaknesses. Some men lost themselves between the softness of generous bosoms. Others appreciated the feel of a curvaceous bottom. Although having an appreciation for both, she knew that Kieren's needs had more of an animalistic nature. She turned quickly and pressed herself against him. She knew just how to raise his ire, how to blind him with his cravings and the anger that merged with it.

That was why she had dropped to her knees before him earlier. What man could resist the feel of a woman's mouth? It gave much pleasure and required little commitment. From that position, Astrid had shared her best attribute. She wanted to give him more.

Kieren's interest in her was always primal, if there was interest at all. He treated her with no sweetness. She needed none. Kieren was not crude to women-generally. With Astrid, her preference was crudeness. It was the only thing she had respect for. Iona witnessing his perverseness left Kieren with great shame.

As Kieren watched Brenna lead Iona away, Astrid laughed and gathered her wrap.

"Why do you bother with the child-like sensitivities of that slave girl? This woman's warmth is always available and knows well how to please you. I know this because I feel how your body reacts. I am the only one that defeats your self-inflicted constrictions. She is a child knowing nothing about the needs of a warrior."

"She is neither a slave nor a child. She is under my care. I'll have you watch your damned tongue Astrid."

Astrid pressed her clothed body against his bare one and held his cock in her hand. "I am under your care as well."

"You are under the care of many I assume," he said while looking down at her face. "There is no need for mine. And, there is none given. This between us has little meaning."

Kieren's words were sometimes harsh but Astrid gave them no weight. For the first time however, Astrid found him flaccid in her hands. It was something she did not think possible, not just because of her expertise but his virility.

"You are a man that requires a full woman, not an imitation," Astrid purred while attempting to solve this rare challenge.

"If your words are true," he spoke in such a way that drove his point to finalization, "she is my full woman. You are the imitation."

"Your heartlessness offends me Gulbrandson Kieren," she snarled at him. "You forget yourself and your breeding. You seem to have overlooked your obligations. Your concerns are missed placed. The house of your father and the line of your family rest on your shoulders. The weight of matters does not include the taint of a Blåmenn whore. I would hate to see your father give you nothing but the sight of his back as he denies your existence."

Weariness that accompanies long travel came over Kieren. He had no desire to go in this direction with her. She greatly misunderstood the flow of things.

"Woman you choose the wrong threats. We shall end this conversation. See your way to the house of your father. Take your fine breeding with you."

"Are you going to let me walk alone in the darkness Kieren?"

"Do not pretend that this is your first time and I will not. Let us part while still on speaking terms."

Kieren found his way to his private area and fell naked across his large bed. It had been a long time since he had a full night's sleep. He had Iona's anger; he also had her presence among what was his. She was safe from harm. For now that was the extent of his capabilities.

After cleaning Iona off, Brenna had a hard time calming the poor child. The girl would not take the warmed drink that would calm her stomach or one that would calm her mind.

"Why does he not want me?" Iona pleaded.

"Sometimes what a man needs and what a man thinks battles within him," Brenna explained. "Men away at sea for long lengths grow weak. They do not think."

"Kieren has no weaknesses and his mind is untainted."

"All men have weaknesses. Kieren is best at keeping his to himself."

Iona rose out of her seat.

"I'm going to him," she said through tears. "I'll show him my warmth and gratify him. I should have been wise like her. I should have come to him in the night. I should have been the one to please him."

"No." Brenna's grip on Iona's arm was solid. "Never reward a man for failing you."

"Can't you see," Iona cried out, "it is myself that I reward."

"Child," Brenna said, hugging her close, "you are the reward he must earn."

"I am nothing." Iona slumped into the arms of the woman she loved like a mother.

"If that was true, you would not be here. You would not be within the safety of all that is his."

"I am just a slave in his household."

"If you felt that to be true, you would have freed yourself long ago."

"I have nowhere to go."

"That is because you are where you belong. This is your home."


Once again, no one had to tell Iona when Kieren left. She simply felt his absence. No one bothered her. Brenna sat with her for a while, but dared not speak. Shielded by her bedding, Iona faced the wall. The realization that she did not matter to him reopened old wounds. New blood flowed from them. She was sure that she would be emptied soon.

Kieren had delivered her to safety. She imagined more. She had always known that she did not qualify for him. It was time to settle with what she had been given. It was more than she had before—maybe more than she deserved. No happiness came without sacrifice. This she knew for sure. The part that belonged to Kieren must be sacrificed. She needed to cut it away. But there was no energy left to perform what was needed.

Iona sunk into a deep depression.

For several days Brenna brought Iona food and drink. Each time, she passed Russ. He held vigil outside of the girl's door.

"You must do something," he demanded in a hushed voice.


In his concern for Iona, Brenna found Russ to be more irritating than the yowling of new born.

"She's been in there far too long. She doesn't eat. She doesn't sleep. I hear little movement."

"Stop hiding in pathways like an apparition and go to her yourself if you have answers," Brenna demanded. "I have none. You are the mighty Long Sword. You are the one Kieren has chosen to care for her. Then care for her. Reach out your sword and cure her from this sadness. You men cause it. It would be nice if you men cleaned up your own messes. The reality is sorry. You are incapable of taking care of yourselves on dry land. Why should you be expected to care for someone else? Do you not have someone to attack or raid? See yourself to it then. This is not one of your ships. This is my domain. You are of little help here."

Brenna shoved him out of her way and returned to her kitchen. The girl must grieve in her own way.

Russ felt like something needed to be done. Iona's time for mourning was over.

When the freezing water hit Iona's face, she immediately sat up in the bed with a squeal. She was wiping at her eyes when another pail of ice cold water washed over whatever the first drenching missed.

"Time to stop your kvetching and get your ass out of bed," Russ barked. "There are things to be done and you are not earning your keep."

"I hate you," Iona screamed.

"Now that's the delightful little brat I've come to love."

"I do," Iona said through gritted teeth.

"Of course you do," Russ teased. "All women do. That's why I consider it my utmost duty to take them on one by one, sometimes by twos. That way I can effectively place myself in their good graces. It is a hard task to undertake, but I am fully equipped to handle it."

"Don't you touch me."

"Believe me little flower when I tell you that your petals have an odor. The thought of reveling in them holds little interest to me. Get your ass up and bathe or I will do it for you. Put on some clothing or I will do that for you as well. I'd love to wash that infamous bottom of yours."

"As a matter of fact," he said as an afterthought, "I might just get in the bath with you."

Russ began removing some of his things. The curses that came out of Iona's mouth made him laugh.

"I'm offended," he told her, raising his foot to slip off a boot. "I have women begging to wash me all the time. I offer you the pleasure of my hands upon your wet body and you turn your nose in the air. You lack sense woman. I will help you gain a richer understanding of what clean is."

"Get out of my room," Iona shouted.

"Is that a no?" He stopped undressing.


"So it is a yes." Russ continued to remove his clothes.

By the time Brenna arrived a drenched Iona was held up in a corner with wet covers pulled to her. A bare chested Russ was undoing the front lace of his britches.

"Russ," Brenna exclaimed in shock.

"I am attempting to clean up a man's mess the only way I know how. As of yet, she does not appreciate my efforts; but, I shall give it the best of tries. I'm feeling quite lucky today."

Brenna pushed Russ out of the doorway and threw his things at him.

"Do you not grow tired of your boyhood games?"

"Have you no confidence in me Mistress Brenna?" Russ cried out in mock distress. "Feel free to watch if you doubt my competency. I have much to prove and lots to share."

"Brenna," Iona said with relief, "he is mad."

Brenna looked at the girl and placed her hands on her thick hips.

"So does that mean I'll be washing you little lady or do you think you can handle it yourself? Most likely your experience with me will not be as pleasing as one with Long Sword. My guarantee is that you will be spotless. And, I will not be getting in that tub with you."

"I can refresh you in ways you have never imagined," Russ shouted from the passageway. "I can bring profound peace to the mind as well."

"Shut up," both women shouted back.


It was easy to tell when Russ took over the duty of guarding Iona. To be undetected was definitely not his goal, to Iona or anyone else. At first Iona was irritated. She soon found him incapable of taking offense. He simply ignored her complaints. He followed her around as she returned to her duties. He insisted on holding her things in the square as Iona fulfilled the requests of Brenna. Sometimes he just walked and talked beside her. Iona tried to ignore him. It had little effect. In within all of this, he managed to flirt with every woman that came near him. Iona had the funniest feeling that some purposefully followed him.

"Don't you have someone to comfort in their time of need?"

Russ looked around and dramatically bent his head in recognition to one of the women.

"Why do you think they follow?" He bit into the fruit he had continuously tossed in the air. "They have already been comforted. Does my voyeur not recognize them?"

Iona rolled her eyes.

"Perhaps I should comfort you. Then our roles would be reversed. I would lead and you would follow," Russ teased.

Iona sped up in an attempt to leave him behind.

"Your legs are too short for that little flower."

After a time, Iona enjoyed his teasing. He was quite the prankster. He played games with the children when they came to her for their words. Sometimes with him she felt like the child. He had a way about him that immediately made him familiar. Her mental walls just disappeared. She had almost forgotten how to truly laugh. With Russ it returned easily.

With his attentions, Astrid's followers increased. Russ purposefully agitated them at every opportunity. His hand at the small of Iona's back would cause whispers. He often slipped his arm around her shoulders and whispered one of his stories in her ear. If something was particularly good in the market he would feed it to her. When he caught her fingering finery, Russ purchased it for her.

It was he that broke the line of separation in the Longhouse. Brenna did not like her to eat in the kitchen and encouraged her to eat with the many that gathered. The men dominated the area, but a few women and children sprinkled the loud crowd. All ignored Iona. She chose a corner table. It became her permanent table.

"Watch that old bastard come," Russ scoffed, sitting down beside her with a pie in one hand and his plate in another. "No matter what the situation, Gunner cannot be outdone."

Just as predicted Gunner came and sat on the other side of her. There was no love lost between Gunner and Iona. She felt small and uncomfortable between the two men. They ate heartedly from their plates until there was no more. Then they began picking at Iona's plate randomly-as if she was not present. She slapped Gunner's hand and the room quieted.

Gunner paused before breaking into a rare laugh.

"I see you are still bold," he said.

Gunner then reached to dig into Russ' pie. Russ moved it out of his reach.

"The maker of that pie is most likely like Iona," Gunner said in seriousness. "She cannot cook."

"You shall never know the sweetness that a woman offers old man, in or out of the kitchen." Russ's voice was more serious than usual.

Iona became fearful. The men grew louder in their accusations and attracted the attention of many. If there was to be a brawl, Iona was in the wrong spot.

"Virgins may find your sword long," Gunner returned, "but I find it failing to reach a suitable length and usually limp when drawn. This would explain your uselessness in battle."

"That is because your eye sight has left you," Russ threw back at him. "You would be more effective in battle if your foul face was not constantly straining to see the perfection of mine.

"My eyes are as sharp as my sword and I carry the face of a real man. Unfortunately that is something a boy finds unfamiliar.

"As your age sharpens nothing but your tongue, my young eyes see the wholeness of your mind slipping away."

"There may be truth to those words. Be careful that I do not forget myself and slit your throat. My aim will always be perfect due to natural abilities, unlike your practiced failures."

And so it went between the two after eating their meals with Iona captured in the middle. It did not end until one grew heated and stormed away. Gunner was often the winner; his demeanor rarely changed. His expression was generally uninterested. Insults easily rolled off his tongue.

Sometimes they made Iona laugh with their challenges and sometimes they made her yearn for her loneliness.


Before the start of the day meal, Russ convinced Iona to free herself from her duties and escape with him. He knew that her duties were created to keep her busy.

"Why would I do that?" she teased. "I've been devising a plan to escape you."

Iona was bringing out filled jugs to sit on the tables.

"I bet you have," he laughed. "Only this time you have met your match. You lack the skill to escape me."

"I am a woman of many skills you have not yet experienced."

"I doubt that," he said removing a container from her hands. "Here is your opportunity to prove yourself, if you can."

Iona could never resist his challenges.

She laughed as she trailed behind him through the trees and towards the river. She knew that he moved at a slower pace to accommodate her. But by the time she reached their apparent destination, Iona had to catch her breath.

She stretched out on her back appreciating the sun and woolen blanket beneath her. Iona was certain that Russ had stolen the blanket from someone's bed.

Russ laid on his side and watched the sun light up Iona's face. He watched the rise and fall of her chest. He had long since noticed that she was well endowed, but just enough to cause a man to wonder how they would feel in his hands. He knew that her nipples were considerable than most when aroused—which happened often. He imagined them firm against his tongue. Russ was a man that truly appreciated the power of nicely formed breasts. He was often a victim to this power. He also wondered what crossed her mind when hers hardened and begged for attention. The cause was not always him.

She was something of a mystery to Russ. She could look so innocent at times and yet too knowing at others. Often times, he longed to kiss her full lips. They were made to be kissed. He deterred his thoughts now by touching the long twisted strands of her hair

"I would like for you to do this to my hair," he said while twisting one around his finger.

"It does not take well in your kind of hair," she replied without opening her eyes.

"My kind of hair," he declared fingering several. "Hair is hair."

"You have crossed seas and experienced many people of different natures. Truly you do not believe that? I have only experienced a few and realize that not to be true."

"I have," he agreed, "even of your shade. My explorations have taught me to not determine anything based on heredity, to do so is not wise. Besides, your hair still proves to be unique."

"I am unique," she smiled.

"That you are." Russ traced her lips with his index finger.

Iona quickly opened her eyes to find him smiling devilishly. She moved her head slowly to the side to escape his touch.

"I still wish for you to put your twists in my hair."

"Your hair is too thin." She closed her eyes once more.

"My hair is long, thick and much desired," he informed her playfully.

"And who has told you such?" she laughed "Could it possibly be some voluptuous woman with your head between her thighs?"

"Possibly," he laughed as well, "she would have the best view and opportunity to touch."

"You are so bad Long Sword," Iona teased.

"I am a man of many skills that you have not experienced yet."

"Do your own words fail you when your blood leaves your brain and fills your private parts" Iona replied. "Is that not the uncontrollable habit of men like you?"

The seriousness that suddenly crept in his voice caused Iona to look into his eyes.

"Men like me? I can assure you that I have no uncontrollable desires."

"Hmm...," Iona smiled. Finally she had discovered his weak spot. "I've often seen the loss of control in your eyes as your libido is set free."

"Oh you have no idea what my eyes hold. No woman would be able to stand, let alone walk if my libido was to run free."

Iona sensed that she may lose this battle of innuendos. He was much better at it than she.

Russ then smiled.

"Besides beautiful flower of mine, who has the bigger libido here? I do not withhold mine. I satisfy it. Isn't that much better than the forced containment of passion for passions sake? Does it not build up inside of you? Does it not threaten your judgement? I've seen the look in your eyes. Your thoughts are easily read, as is your body."

Iona's countenance fell. She was first embarrassed and then angry.

Russ stood and began to remove his clothes without any regard for her.

Was it an inbred fault that constantly caused both brothers to shed clothing with no consideration, Iona thought? His cock was at half-mast, perhaps readying itself for what Iona assumed his only form of entertainment. She was determined not to be his toy.

Russ made no motion toward her.

Standing where the earth met the water, Russ turned to look at the girl.

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