Roel Lowzow stood in his chambers, one foot resting on a bench, his thoughts were never ending. His unfaithful wife sat at her vanity peering at her aging reflection.
“That girl, she reminds me of someone,” He tried to place her face in his memories.
“She is just a slave my Lord, give her no more thought,”
“Ingrid, if I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it,”
His voice was raised in annoyance. She casually went back to staring at herself in the mirror; she was used to her husband’s lack of patience. The Jarl had never had much love for her.
Roel went back to his thoughts about the girl he had seen, she reminded him of someone.
“She looks like Aiyowind,”
Ingrid spoke up again. “The long dead Queen? Impossible,”
“When the King and Queen were killed, their child was taken,”
“Yes and that child is long dead with her mother and father. The throne is now protected by the Steward. It has been this way for many years. Why must you bring up such dark times husband?”
The Jarl did not answer. The truth was when he had fatefully seen the girl that day, he had thought he was looking at Aiyowind herself, for the girl could have been her ghost.
“I must seek counsel with my Seer. He is wise and if there is a message from the Gods he will know,” The Jarl left the room, to seek his counsel. If Aiya was that child, he had left her to a man who could not be trusted, he must be quick.
Aiya stood against the wall of the enormous feasting room along with the other slaves and servants. Annie stood to one side of her; Esma stood to the other side.
Men and women sat at a long table fit for a hundred people or more, they were eating and drinking. They were a rowdy bunch, eating and laughing. Every once and awhile people would hold up their horns and shout Skol, other’s joining in after.
As usual, Aiya felt Dagr’s eyes on her; he gazed at her as though she were his property. He sat across from Ragda at the top of the table, The Jarl and his wife sat next to each other at the head. Not only was Dagr staring at her but occasionally Ragda would turn his head and steal a glimpse of her too. The Jarl also gave many looks towards her, like he knew something she did not. All of it made her feel very uncomfortable.
“Have you noticed their looks toward you? The Jarl never gives attention to servants, let alone slaves,”
A man summoned Annie over to fill his horn with more drink. Annie approached with her head down, she took his horn. He gave her a look of lust, smacked her rump and sent her on her way. What shocked Aiya the most was that Annie did not react; she merely smiled coyly and returned to her place next to Aiya.
“Who is that man Annie? Why did you let him treat you so?”
Annie shrugged before she spoke.
“His name is Taavi. That is just his way of showing thanks, I suppose,”
Aiya could tell she was not being entirely forthcoming. She put it aside and stole a glance towards Ragda.
It appeared as though he and his brother were having a heated conversation. Dagr’s features were as stern as ever, gradually his lips turned up into a smile. It was no smile of happiness; it was a smile of treachery.
Ragda slumped back in his chair and eyed her, sadness on his face.
He stood, bowing to his father, he stormed from the hall. Dagr appeared to be proud of himself, he stared at Aiya from where he sat and raised his horn to her as though congratulating himself.
The evening grew late and Aiya’s feet began to ache from hours of standing. Soon the slaves and servants were sent from the hall to retire to their domains.
As she walked passed an archway darkened with shadow, a hand reached out and took her wrist tugging her inside.
She was almost delighted to see him. His breath was heavy as though he had been running for a distance.
Without a word, he grabbed her to him and kissed her with a fire that she could not extinguish. After too short a time his lips left hers, her eyes remained closed not wanting it to end.
“I don’t want you to be his,” He said. “He told me what he plans to do to you tonight. You can’t let him,” He shook her a bit.
“What am I supposed to do about it?”
“Come with me,” He clutched her hand in his own and pulled her along behind him.