Twelve Days of Hrive 'Isia Ch. 01byRedHairedandFriendly©
Author's Note: The following is the first chapter of a completed work. All other chapters will be submitted to Lit. on an every other day schedule. I know in the past I've had partially done stories, and left readers hanging, I'm hoping to end that habit, and begin a new one. I hope you enjoy the story of an elf princess who though not spoiled, became a little lost in herself, and a slightly humorous and overbearing elf Lord who only wishes to tease her, rescue her, and marry her. Have fun! ~ Red
On the first day of Hrive 'Isia
Gilraen rolled her shoulders, stretched out her arms and sighed as her sister brushed her long red hair. "Ouch," she muttered, then pulled the brush from the other girl's hand, "I'll finish; go see if it is time yet." Her silver eyes watched young Madrician scurry away, a look of hurt easily read on her face. Gilraen felt a stab of pity for the young girl. She would apologize later for her hostility, but right now she was too distracted by the thought of Lord Turgon Celebrindal and his entourage. They were due to arrive within the hour and she was expected to be there to greet him.
Hrive 'Isia, better known to outsiders as Winterfest, was upon them; all nations were gathering at their respective King's and Queen's castles; the Lúinwë realm served ten tribes and Turgon's was one of them. Gilraen placed the brush on the dresser, pulled her hair back into a loose braid, found a jeweled comb and secured the loose strands that refused to cooperate. She would greet Turgon, smile, laugh, be charming and then when the twelve days were over, say her goodbyes. The thought of her joining with the Celebrindal's only son, and wealthiest family -- after her own -- was absurd. After all, she'd not even met the elven's father, let alone the elven himself. She knew nothing of the Celebrindal family, except that they were vastly blessed with riches, their lands bordered each other and they were well known for raids of mischief that often benefited those loyal to them.
A sharp knock on the door brought Gilraen out of her musings. "Come in," she called. Madrician returned, looking slightly concerned; she was pushed forward, by Eáránë, their mother. Gilraen rose to her full height, a foot shorter than her mother, and tried to look menacing. She knew her stare of defiance failed when all her mother did was walk into the room and circle her, a look of judgment on her face.
"I guess you'll do," Eáránë muttered. "The Celebrindal's have arrived, and you are up here being lazy. You were commanded to be downstairs when Turgon presented himself. You've disgraced us -- greatly."
Gilraen took a deep breath, closed her eyes, counted to ten and then chose to speak in a condescending manner, "My apologies mother; they have arrived early and you're broodmare wasn't ready with her legs spread and her womb open."
Madrician gasped; Gilraen winked at her sister, and cried out in pain as her mother's hand grabbed the thick braid and yanked her head back. Spittle fell onto Gilraen's face as Eáránë cursed her. "You will speak respectfully to me or suffer when Hrive 'Isia is over and the Celebrindal's have gone. Do not think that I will forget your injustices toward me. You are only safe because of your betrothal to Turgon."
"Well when I marry him, mother -- believe me, you will not be." Gilraen pulled herself away, wincing at the pain her mother had caused, not only to her tender scalp, but to her heart. Her mother blamed her for her father's illness, his lack of life behind his once bright eyes. She had never forgiven her for wanting to play with the other elven children, becoming trapped and having her father injured in the quest to find her. Gilraen patted Madrician on the head, tucked a stray blonde curl behind her ear and left the room, pausing only long enough to grab the white fur cloak that would protect her from the chill of the keep.
The walk down the three levels to the ground floor where Gilraen was to have greeted Turgon was cold and somewhat unwelcoming. She passed servants and various guests, some greeted her with hostile stares, sneers, and upturned noses, but others showed kindness, pity, sorrow, and concern. She smiled to those loyal to her, ignored those who were not. Eventually she arrived at Priest Huro's side.
"Good day to you Princess Gilraen, I fear the Celebrindal's have already been shown to their rooms. Perhaps I can escort you to the breakfast table."
Gilraen sighed in relief. "Yes, that would be lovely. How has your morning gone so far?"
Huro shrugged his shoulders. "Your mother has ordered my death a thousand and one times already this morning, so I would say it is a good day." The old Priest smiled at the young woman's laughter. "What of your day? How fare's it?
"Oh, she's not wished my death -- at least not vocally -- but I was harsh with Madrician and will have to make it up to her, a sweet treat after tea or perhaps a new trinket for her hair." The couple walked into the breakfast room, where the smell of freshly baked bread, stewed vegetables, and sweet scents of fresh fruits greeted them. Gilraen's stomach growled. "Hrive 'Isia always brings the greatest of all our harvest together and with it added inches to the waist."
Huro laughed while helping the Princess into her seat and claiming his own. Servants quickly filled two trenchers with various foods, presented them to the new arrivals, then slipped back into the corners to wait until they were needed.
As Gilraen enjoyed the taste and aroma of the fare that had been placed in front of her, sounds of men laughing and slapping each other echoed down the length of the hall, reaching through the walls and eventually to Gilraen's ears. She paused, took a deep breath and turned, just as four elven men strolled into the room. Immediately Gilraen knew which Turgon was. He was slightly taller than the rest, and most likely a full foot and a half taller than her mother. "Thank the goddess," she thought, "someone can power over the wretch." Her gaze touched briefly on the other men, noting their height too was considerably greater than her own and her Sire's -- had he been able to rise. The thought of her father made Gilraen's features sadden; she turned back to her food, lowered her gaze and mindlessly picked at her plate.
Turgon had noticed the young Princess's features collapse shortly after she'd gazed upon him. "The rumors are true," he muttered low to Círdan, one of his loyal companions. "She despises me so much; she can't even stand the sight of me."
Círdan chuckled. "I cannot find fault in that Turgon -- I too have grimaced when forced to look upon your feminine features." The grunt of forcefully expelled air caused Gilraen to turn around. Her eyes widened at the site of Turgon's fist coming away from one of the men's stomachs.
"Barbarian," she hissed, before returning to her meal.
Turgon, Círdan and the other men in their company took places at the table. Turgon chose the one closest to the Princess. Servants quickly moved to provide for the men just as swiftly as they had for Gilraen and Huro. "I heard you were supposed to meet me at the gates, Princess. A pity you were not there. Another however was, a Mistress Ireth. A lovely woman, thick curls of black silk, a visage that is pale like the snow-capped mountains of..."
"And breasts, breasts the size of sanktoc melons," Círdan said. His eyes took on a faraway look.
"Ah yes, her breasts were lovely," Turgon openly glanced down at Gilraen's chest. He cocked his head, lifted one brow, shrugged his shoulders and returned his attentions to his meal.
Gilraen's face flamed red, her fingers curled tight around the stem of her goblet. Through clenched teeth she hissed back, "Mistress Ireth carries diseases and if you expect our match to weary the path of life, then I suggest you stay clear of her. I'll not carry creepy crawlies and other various ailments because you can't keep your cock sheathed in the proper places."
Turgon and Círdan both choked on their drinks, as did Huro, and another who sat at the table. Once they all reclaimed the air stolen from them, Círdan looked over to his leader. "It sounds as if you will have a jealous mate and all worries of her not wanting to wed you are surely gone from your mind. She sounds not only set on the union, but also set on whom you'll bed."
Gilraen said nothing, choosing instead to rise from the table. The firm grip of a man's hand on her wrist brought her up short. She stared at the fingers, strong digits that spoke of knowledge with not only the Earth and how to charm it to life, but it also showed signs of power, most likely in weapons.
"Princess Gilraen, ignore my friend. Círdan teases you, nothing more. I shall not bed this woman, or any other, as long as you provide me with proper sport." He winked at her before releasing her wrist.
He watched Gilraen leave, chuckling softly as his gaze focused on the natural sway of her hips, the stiffness of her back and shoulders. His body responded to the thought of easing the tension from her; the idea of bedding the young woman was not nearly as displeasing as he had once thought. It seemed the tales of her visage being that of an old goat were wrong; she was in fact a beauty that rivaled even the jewels in her hair. Círdan's gruff laughter caused Turgon to turn away and give his attentions to Huro, as well as his meal, and the excitement of Hrive 'Isia's twelve days.
After breakfast most of the guest as well as the residents of Lúinwë had retired to their chambers or taken themselves off to the chapel. The first day of Hrive 'Isia was spent in meditation. The elven priests were often sought out, giving guidance to those that sought it, listened to those that thought they did not need it, and encouraging the young to embrace this first day as one of deep reflection on past years, and future events.
Gilraen found the first day of the annual celebration the hardest. It was the one day she was forced to remain indoors, shut up in her room, only allowed out for an hour -- an hour in which she was forced to pray on her knees, rooted to the spot where her father had fallen, broken his neck, injuring his mind and forever becoming the shell he was today. Her mother -- cane in hand -- would deliver a sharp blow if Gilraen paused once in her pleading for forgiveness. The hour was almost complete, the chapel bells began the final count and gratefully, silently she thanked the goddess for the strength she'd been given.
"Ungrateful cunt," Eáránë hissed. The violent words alerted Gilraen; she stiffened her resolve, bit down on her lip and waited for another blow. When the cane failed to hit its intended target, Gilraen opened her eyes; her mouth continued to move, words spoken to the goddess continued to fall, but her gaze fixated on the man who had obviously surprised her mother.
Turgon stared at the scene before him. He had received a letter from the priest, Huro to meet at this exact spot almost an hour earlier, and now he knew why. He cursed himself for being late. How long had Gilraen been forced to endure the hate he witnessed in her mother's distorted features? "Lady Eáránë, and I use the term loosely, you will step away from my betrothed and return to the castle."
Gilraen closed her eyes, released the air in her lungs that had become trapped, and waited.
"Lord Turgon, she was caught within the arms of another. I only hoped to drive out the demons that would live inside her whorish heart. I completely understand if you find her soiled nature too disgusting and will agree to whatever terms you demand on the dissolution of your betrothal."
He watched Gilraen's lip sneer, her jaw tighten; he had seen the look of panic on Eáránë's face when she realized who had come upon them. His gaze had held hers, as she worked to create a falsehood about her daughter; he did nothing more than stare coldly at her, one hand reached out for the cane.
Eáránë passed the weapon to Turgon. "Yes, it is only fitting that you dole out the punishment, she did after all betray you. I'll see that Huro and the elders draw up the contract to release you from..."
Turgon interrupted the woman. "There is no need. I will honor the contract, the betrothal stands -- and seeing as how my bride-to-be is held in such high regards by her own blood, the wedding will take place on the twelfth day of Hrive 'Isia." Both women gasped; neither spoke a word against the steel in the man's voice. "Go now, and be sure all are aware that no one -- not even you, Your Highness, are allowed to touch Gilraen in a manner that reeks of disrespect."
Eáránë blinked away the fear in her eyes, replacing it with the hate she felt for the young woman on her knees. "She is a whore, a demon whore who should have died, but instead she lives, breathes, laughs and enjoys life, while her father -- her father rots away." Eáránë spit on the ground, the bubbles of her venomous words splashed into the snow, melting it. Gilraen remained still, desperately trying to understand all that had transpired. She would wed Turgon before the last lights of Hrive 'Isia, they would most likely leave Lúinwë castle and reside at his home. Panic suddenly rose up to clog at her throat.
"Madrician!" Gilraen began to rise from the snow; she stumbled, and felt Turgon's arm around her waist, aiding her up. "You -- we -- We must take Madrician with us. Mother has yet to..."
"No!" Eáránë shouted, "She is my life. She remains with me."
Turgon frowned. His brow furrowed in concentration as he recalled that Gilraen had a younger sister, one born a month prior to the King's untimely accident. "I will think on this. I will not allow the younger Lúinwë to suffer the same fate as her sister, but I also cannot take her away from her mother without a plausible reason."
Gilraen turned quickly, wincing at the pain in her back. "Plausible reason?"
Eáránë smirked. "Ask your bitch, Madrician has no reason to ever fear me. She has all of my heart."
Turgon felt Gilraen stiffen at her mother's words. "I will let you know my decision before the wedding. You are dismissed Lady Eáránë." He remained by Gilraen's side as her mother turned and departed. Only after she left did he turn her away from him, so he could examine the damage done to her skin. "How long has she been doing this?" he whispered. Scars ran haphazardly across the porcelain skin of the Princess. He caressed the pale ones, old wounds cut into flesh that should have been cherished.
"The day after my father's accident she came to me, pulled me to this spot," her hands swept the clearing, "there," she pointed up, "I was playing on the rocks; I had many times before, never gaining much harm but a scratch or two. It had rained the night before, the rocks were slippery. I had climbed higher than ever before, higher than any of my friends. Excited and thrilled with myself, I laughed at the danger. The others, they had gotten scared, refusing to follow me. However, what goes up -- must come down. I was frightened and could not bring myself to climb back down. I cried, screamed for help, prayed to the goddess, called for father, mother, Huro -- no one came. It was dark before I heard my father shouting my name. Relief swept through me. I heard him telling me he was coming up for me. I knew he was going to save me. He reached me, held me close and with me on his back began the descent down."
Turgon listened, knowing that Gilraen had returned to the treacherous night that forever changed her life. He didn't interrupt, he knew the story. King Lúinwë saved his daughter, rocks loose from years of children climbing them, dirt muddy from the rain, a man -- heavier than the weight of a child -- all of these things led to the rock slide that claimed the King's body and senses. Soldiers and servants found Gilraen scratched, bruised, but otherwise intact, she lay under her father. The King was breathing, but his body was twisted, bones broken, and his head bleeding profusely. They brought him back to the castle, unconscious and young Gilraen had followed behind crying and fretting like a young child does.
"You were five, were you not?" Turgon asked, after Gilraen fell silent. She shook her head. "Thirteen years -- she's beaten you for something you had no control over, for thirteen years?"
"It wasn't until I was older that I realized it wasn't my fault. I was twelve, Madrician was seven and she had been caught playing with paper and the fireplace. She was holding it, allowing it to burn, and then dropping it when the flames licked at her fingers. I moved to strike her; Huro stopped me. He explained that she was just a child and she did not know better; she was unaware of the harm she would have caused herself or those around her. That night I heard my mother come into my room, she had drank too much wine, cursed my name, called me a demon, pulled me from my bed and beat me. As I lay there on the floor, cowering at her feet, I realized that I had been a child, doing childish things. My father's accident was not my fault. The next day, was the first day I began to rebel against my mother, once I even turned and lashed her with the cane."
Turgon lifted a brow. "Then why today, did you allow her to beat you?"
"Today is the anniversary of my Father's accident and though I know it isn't my fault, a part of me still feels guilty." Gilraen moved away from Turgon, slipped the sleeves of her gown back up her arms, shifted her body slightly so that the back of the dress helped to cover the fresh welts. She winced, bit on her lower lip, stifling her cry. "Lord Turgon, I will consent to marry you, though the rumors were true -- I did not wish it. I also -- my mother spoke lies of me. I've never..."
"Princess Gilraen, your mother's words matter not to me. Let me take you to Círdan, he has herbs and potions that will ease some of the pain you're experiencing."
"Are you sure he will not be too lost in the bosom of Mistress Ireth?"
Turgon laughed. "Círdan has vowed to avoid the woman after hearing your lovely lips sing her praises."
"But her generous bosom is so large are you sure he will not succumb to her charms. I hear that women with such a bountiful supply of flesh arouse a man beyond all reason and those with," she looked down at her small breasts, "are just a passing fancy."
"You're more than a passing fancy, as are your breasts, Princess."
Gilraen blushed, choosing to let the subject rest. They made their way to Círdan's room, Turgon asked for Gilraen to remain just inside the door. She glanced around, noting that the man was indeed alone. She fought the urge to listen to Turgon explain the circumstances behind his request for healing herbs and lotions. Instead she found herself thinking of Turgon's fingers and how her body had felt warmed by his touch upon her scarred back. He did not shy away from the ugliness she knew was there, but instead had gently traced the broken patterns of repaired flesh. A blush crossed her face, as the memories slipped deeper into her soul and caused her to wonder what his lips would be like -- what would it feel like if his tongue traveled the same path as his fingers.
Gilraen jumped away from the door, blinked and found her skin growing even pinker. "Yes, Sir Círdan?"
"I was curious to the age of your sister. Turgon says she may need refuge at the keep and I have a sister who is looking for a companion, a friend that would listen to the ramblings of a woman, where a brother -- no matter how dashing he may be -- does not quite pay her the attention she feels she deserves."
"Madrician is thirteen, though her mind is not as sharp as most her age. She contacted a fever and she is slower than most girls. She would however make an excellent companion to someone who tends to ramble. Madrician is a great listener, easy to please and works very hard to make others around her happy."