It's taking a dark turn, but I hope you still will enjoy it!
TO BE CONTINUED:Her arms shook, aching from wrist to shoulder as she pushed the plow. Erron’s back throbbed, muscles straining as she did the job minus Angus, their plow horse. Her father’s punishment for running off the other day on their way to market in Dalunas Main. But physical labor was preferable to lying beneath him naked while he took what only a husband should. She shuddered. He’d done that last night.Screaming and fighting him didn’t help. Erron had long learned he was quicker to finish and leave her be if she didn’t respond to him in any way. Perhaps now anger would keep him away from her longer than normal. She prayed for a fortnight or two.The dark eyed stare of Erron’s rescuer floated into her mind. Jarek. His name was Jarek. If she closed her eyes she could see every detail of his concerned expression. His handsome face, his gentle touch… If only for a moment, he’d cared about her.Was he married? It would be pleasant to be with a man like him. So different from…what she knew. Who was she trying to fool? Even if the tanner was unwed, it was unlikely that he’d ever want her. Damaged. Impure. No one would have her if the truth got out. Her father had ruined any chances of a good marriage for her.Several of the surrounding family farm holdings had sons. Any one of them would make a fine husband. Although she was recently twenty, none had even considered offering for her, so what did it matter? Erron chided herself for girlish fantasies.Her mother had passed away just over ten turns before. Erron’s father, Norden, had gone mad with grief. One moment he clutched her tightly because she resembled her mother, and the next he pushed her way claiming the same reason. Not long after, he’d demanded she fill her mother’s place in his bed. Barely eleven, he’d taken her innocence, despite kicking and screaming. Her father had crushed her, body and spirit.She’d begged, pleaded, and sent countless prayers to the Blessed Spirit, but Erron had been forsaken. She was trapped with her father. Norden would kill her or make her bear his children.Every time he painfully forced himself into her, fear froze her heart that he’d leave her with his bastard. If it happened, everyone would know what went on behind the closed doors of their home. Whore.Erron bit her lip to hold back threatening tears. A pregnancy had never occurred, though she’d bled monthly since age thirteen. Perhaps that was the Blessed Spirit’s one concession.“Erron.” Her name was a gruff command and she bit back a gulp, squaring her shoulders before meeting his pale blue gaze.“Yes, Father?”“You’ve almost finished.” He gestured to the smallest of their three fields.She was covered in sweat, pain settling over her whole body, but Erron would not complain. “Yes Father.” She swallowed hard as she stared at his unreadable expression.“Use the horse for the rest.”“Yes Father.”“I expect my supper at the normal time, and you’re taking too long.”Erron bowed her head, eyes blurring with tears. Never would she give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Besides, it would likely save her from his heavy hand.He said nothing as he turned to go, and neither did she. She waited until his footsteps were no longer audible before she went to the barn to get Angus. At least the old horse was a friend.∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞Erron stared at the bowl in front of her, no real appetite for its contents. Her father ate with vigor as was normal for him, having demanded she refill his plate twice before she’d even had a chance to sit down.His grunts of appreciation were the only compliments she ever received. But, he ate her food without complaint. That at least was preferable to a slap across the face.Her limbs were heavy, every muscle aching. If she did not soak in the bathtub she wouldn’t be able to move in the morning. The farm had to be worked, so that wasn’t an option. Hopefully she could sneak into the barn for a bath without notice. She would wait until her father fell asleep.“We’re going to market in the morning,” her father said, his mouth full of stew.Erron’s head reared up and their gazes collided. Norden cocked his head to one side. Her heart pounded. She should have masked her surprise. She should have not moved so fast. He would likely hit her—“What’s wrong with you?” he snapped.“N-n-nothing, Father.”He stared a moment longer, Erron’s heart thundered. She bit back the urge to swallow hard and fought for a serene expression.“I have business with the blacksmith.”“I am to accompany you?” She prayed her tone was even.“Of course,” her father growled. “I do not trust you here alone.”“Yes, Father.” Erron’s heart threatened to burst from her chest. After running from him, she never imagined he would take her back into Dalunas Main at all, let alone so soon. Jarek. She could see Jarek again.“Erron?”“Yes, Father?”“If you run from me again, I will kill you.”Her stomach roiled. Erron locked onto the picture of Jarek in her mind and forced her head to nod. Norden spoke the truth. But could she see her tanner again? The possibility of missing the opportunity scared her even more than her father’s promise.
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