A Bride For A Barbarian

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by LadyHarpy, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. The village of Dardeen was a small little place, mostly made up of farmers and hunters. There was also carpenters and woodsmen and many other types of people, but mostly the small community was made of growers of wheat and corn and so on. They had no mayor though, no no government was settled in Dardeen. Instead, they were protected by the barbarian tribe in the mountains, their fort being right along the only path that travelers could take to their little town. In return for their protection, the people of Dardeen paid monthly in gold.

    However, it was now winter and the ground was covered in snow. No one was able to grow anything so those who grew moved over to live stock and used them to make the money they needed. However, it was a harsh winter this year, and some people suffered a lose of animals from freezing nights or just illness. One such farm is where the story begins...

    Aurora let out a tired sigh as she made her way towards the small farm house from the water well. She had to collect water for supper that evening, upon her mother's request, and had been doing as told. However, it was hard to collect enough water with only one bucket so many trips had to be made just to get all she needed. She was finally on her last bucket and would soon be able to stay inside officially. She glanced over to their small barn as she walked, feeling back for the animals. They had lost a cow, the poor thing just couldn't handle the cold, no matter how much hay they used to insulate the stalls. They had also lost two sheep, the animals having been picked off by wolves earlier in the winter months.

    If they kept losing animals, they would not be able to make much money and that was the worst thought of all. Without money, food would become scarce on the table and it would be hard to choose what they needed to buy. Also, the monthly payment was due today. Though her parents had not told her how they were, she knew that if they could not make it, they would have to find another way to pay. She stepped into the house and closed the door with her food, letting out a shiver as she was welcomed into a comforting warmth from the burning fire.

    "Here is the last bucket." She said to her mother, an older woman who was currently stirring away at a large pot.

    "Bring it here, we'll need it to stretch out this soup." She said simply.

    Yes things were getting tight, and Aurora was getting worried...

  2. Because it wasn't in his nature to care about how the payments were collected, for he was happy as long as payment was recieved, the leader of the Hrithgar Mountain Tribe rarely made collection trips himself. He prefered to send a few underlings to deal with the few villages and towns under his protection. However, once in a while his menacing appearance was what was truely needed to make those cowards shake in their boots and obey.

    This month was the village Dardeen, a speck of a place on the map, completely cornered alongside a few others in a valley surrounded by mountain range, the only safe passage of course passing right by the tribe. Dardeen was easy to defend, and though it was widely believed that barbarians were unintelligent, it was hardly the case in certain matters. Such as keeping to themselves just how easily a place like Dardeen could defend itself if they only thought about it a bit.

    Traveling that day was harsh for those unused to the bitterness of winter. This did not apply to Garik Arnesson, a fear-stirring portrait of a man, muscle-bound and definitely rough around the edges. He sat tall on his steed, a horse as black as this barbarian's mane, gaze speaking of inattentiveness and dissatisfaction about being whisked from his warm fortress, food, and mead for the soul purpose of striking fear and obedience into the hearts of the villagers.

    The clacking of hooves on a hardened trail was lacking, each step muffled by the snow. And still there came ringing of a bell from inside the village as he and his escorts drew near, warning the villagers that the moment they'd been dreading was upon them. The first flakes of snow began to fall as the party drew to a halt, leather creaking as rides were dismounted and bear skin boots met the snowy ground.

    One of his comrades bellowed out for payment and people young and old came rushing out with money purses or the alternative. Garik stood out in front, arms crossed over his chest, his startling vivid grey eyes stabbing at villagers as they approached to give payment.
  3. Aurora ha been cooking with her mother as her father sat nearby reading an old tome of his. His money purse was sitting on the table, a little on the thin side. Just by looking at it she knew what it meant. They did not have the right amount to pay for the protection services the barbarians provided. If anything, her father would offer what little they had at the moment to complete the payment, and pray that they didn't strip them of everything they owned.

    Suddenly the village bell started to ring loudly, they had finally arrived. Her father looked to her mother, each sharing a worried glance before her father stood and gathered his cloak. Her mother paused in her cooking of the soup, covering it and moving it slightly off the fire so it would not boil over. Aurora also stood up, gathering her own cloak and gloves before she followed after them to the place of collection. Families all came out together at this time, because if they had to lose something no one would be let waiting to hear about it. With purse in hand, her parents stood in line as she watched from the side, like the other villagers who were watching their loved ones pay or had already paid themselves.

    When her parent's turn came up, her father removed the money purse and poured out all there was. There was only enough gold to cover a little less than half the payment. He sighed and looked up at the Barbarian who was collecting weakly.

    "I apologize, my stock took a hard hit this winter and I was unable to make all I needed. I-I'd like to offer some of my possessions to finish covering the owed amount." He said softly, hoping that they would accept his offer.
  4. The way the man spoke made Garik snort with amusement. As if it was an option. If payment could not be covered with gold then said payment must be taken from personal belongings. This was a rule long ago established when the villagers first sought the service of the barbarian tribe.

    Arms still crossed over his chest, the mighty warrior lowered his head, bending his knees so he could look the stuttering man in the eye. "What of value could you offer me? Your livestock is only useful roasting on a spit." A collection of snickers and snorts sounded from the barbarian party, Garik himself included with a cruel smirk on his lips. Then, he stood up straight again, looking down on the apologetic man now, as if he were no more than dirt beneath his feet.

    More meat was always welcomed as a payment, as was mead. But the tribe already had a plentiful supply of both and what they needed they could always hunt. Game was larger in the forest that rested on the mountain and could feed plenty more mouths than some scrawny village goat. If this man truly wished to accommodate, he would offer something that the tribe had less of. Trinkets and heirlooms were a given, and though the barbarians felt minimal attraction to pretty things, the traders of the east based their whole way of life around beauty and paid well for such items.

    Slave labor was another option, and Garik took a moment to survey the crowd, wondering if the man had a son or a daughter that could be put to good use. "Go on," he finally grunted, narrowing his eyes back on the man. "List anything you think is valuable and I'll take my pick."
  5. Aurora could only watch as the men laughed at her parents, her father seeming to pale a bit as they laughed more. The leader was a fierce looking man, a giant in his own right. She could understand why her father was so shaky as he seemed to be stunned silent. The people in Dardeen did not have much, most did not even have family heirlooms to speak of. No one could afford such things as that. All that her family had was their home, the animals and the land. And to give up either would make it so that they would be unable to make any money at all, meaning that even though they were able to pay this month, the next they would not be so lucky.

    When told to list items of value, her father cleared his throat as her mother stood beside him silently.

    "Our livestock is the only thing of value that we have, we only have simple things otherwise..." He tried to explain. Before her father could think to even offer up their home, Aurora stepped forward.

    "I'm of value." She said, catching the Barbarians attention. "I'm his daughter...I offer myself as a worker to you and your tribe. I-I'm skilled in cooking and cleaning and hard labor is no stranger to me. Please, allow me to work for you and cover my parents payments for the next few months, until they are able to afford to pay you in the gold you desire."

    "Aurora!" Her father said, surprised by her actions.

    Many of the other villagers were also surprised as well. She many not have been the loveliest but she was the most skill in such work. To lose her to the barbarians would certainly make the village think twice before they ever let themselves not make payment. Her father grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back, quickly turning towards Garik.

    "I'm sorry! Please ignore her. She's my only daughter. I'll give you all of my live stock and anything else to make up for the payment, I'll even bring them to you myself!" He said, hoping that it was not too late to pay off the debt that way.
  6. Thoughts of exile crossed Garik's mind as he listened to the famer's pathetic offering. He had already done the math in his head, knowing that even if the man made payment this month, the next would be a bust. The man was still speaking and he was already shaking his head with distaste. But, as he opened his mouth to deliver the sentence, a girl stepped forward.

    She could be barely called a woman, for she looked younger than Garik himself and he was barely twenty and five winters. Her face was rather plain and it was no doubt the reason she was obviously still unwed. Village folk could be so choosy about a woman's looks. This was not the barbarian way. If a woman was useful with either fighting or chores, she was a prize worth while.

    And it seemed this woman was offering herself, or rather, her skills as a temporary solution to her father's lack of dues. "Her proposal is best," he voiced, finally uncrossing his arms only to rest his hand on the hilt of his blade. It was a warning for the man not to argue the point, lest he start something he would inevitably regret. "I don't want your meager livestock, Grower. Forfeit the girl or face exile."

    His words were curt, to the point, and void of any compassion for the family's situation. This was business and a payment could not be waved. Turning to the bold girl apparently named "Aurora", he gestured with a stiff twitch of his head for her to quickly go pack. She would have only until the rest of the villagers had finished paying before he sent one of his men in to retrieve her, even by the hair or an ankle if necessary.

    There would be no going back on words.
  7. Aurora's parents went pale as the Barbarian leader declared their daughter's offer the best, also seeing the small hint as his large hand moved to the hilt of his blade. Without much choice, the farmer nodded his head solemnly as he held onto his daughter's arm before taking her away. Aurora and her parent's retreated to their home, forced with no choice but to give up their only child. Her mother gently held onto her other arm as her father lead the way, silent with a blank expression on his face.

    When they returned to their home, Aurora made her way up to her small room while her parents spoke down stairs in hushed tones. Aurora knew that her parents were upset with her, they did not want to lose her to the barbarians. But did they have any choice? To give up their stock now would doom them for the next months payment. No, giving herself up was the best option. As she stepped into her small room, she walked over to her wardrobe and started to pull out all her working clothes. There would be no need to bring anything nice, she was there to work for them and nothing else.

    She then pulled out a large shoulder sack. It's original purpose was to collect fruit from the forest when spring came but now it would carry her clothing for her to her new place of living. It didn't take long to pack all of her clothing, she didn't have very much to begin with. Along with her clothing she backed her under garments, her nightgown and a brush for her long hair. Once her bag was finished, she closed it and took it down the stairs, her parents conversation suddenly ending as she appeared.

    Her mother approached her and gave a hug, the last one either might receive from the other. Her father did the same, no words needed to be exchanged between the family, each knew what the other would say. With her bag set by the door and her cloak waiting there as well, the family spent their last moment together in comfortable silence, sitting near the fire as they had before though this time the happy atmosphere was breaking...
  8. As the girl and her family left, Garik turned his attention on the next fool to dump money at his feet. The line was still long and he found himself growing impatient with this tedious task, his bitter gaze growing ever sharper with each payment. But salvation was soon at hand when the last villager hurried away. Immediately two of his men began collecting and sorting the money and the stone-faced warrior silently signaled a third to fetch his newest kitchen wench from her home.

    Ropil was just as large a man as Garik, and though he lacked the harshness that his leader had in abundance, still his size alone was intimidating, having had to turn his shoulders sideways just to enter the house. He stood there a moment, studying the family so suddenly stricken with sadness, his mouth a thin straight line of displeasure. "Come, girl. It's time," he said in his rough voice and squeezed back out the door again. As he headed for the horses, he cast a look over his shoulder to make sure she was indeed following. "You'll ride with me."

    Garik had already mounted his ride again, waiting with a hand holding the reins, the other on his thigh, elbow out turned. It was a posture that clearly spoke of his impatience. Still, he said nothing as the woman was helped up onto the back of Ropil's horse and when all were settled, he took the reins with both hands and stirred his horse into a trot.

    The ride up into the mountains took long enough for the sun to move its position in the sky and it was midday by the time the road grew wider and muddier and the fortress peeked from between the trees. The smell of cooking meat and smoke filled the air, making Garik's mouth water, putting smiles on the faces of his men. The great wooden wall barricading the tribe safely inside stood over twenty paces tall, whole tree trunks lashed together, the base buried deep in the ground. This wall had a collection of arrows embedded all along it's surface and several lookouts with mangled heads on pikes.

    Just another warning that the tribe was not to be taken lightly.

    The sound of a horn echoed from within the fortress and the massive gate slowly lifted, a section of tree trunks sliding up and inward as four men on the other side cranked the pulley. As the party trotted through the opening, huts were immediately visible, each building climbing the slope of the mountain and as they drew closer to the fortress itself they grew stronger and better built. One of these buildings happened to be a stable and it was there that they all finally dismounted.
  9. Aurora and her family sat in silence until a giant of a man came to collect her. They all stood up together, her mother and father giving her last minute hugs and kisses before she walked over to the door. She pulled on her cloak and grabbed her bag before walking after the man in silence. She had to trot a bit to keep up with his large strides but it was fine, she was a strong girl after all. It took a moment for her to get onto the horse, she had never ridden on one before so she was not used to the height. Though, once she was on, they were soon off, the ride a bit bumpy and forcing Aurora to cling to her bag and the saddle to make sure she did not fall off.

    It was a long ride, much longer than Aurora realized, and soon morning was mid day. However, with the sky filled with grey clouds one could never be too sure exactly what time it was exactly. The smell of meat and mead started to drift into her nose though, telling her that they were getting close and even making her a bit hungry as well. However, hunger was the last thing on her mind, especially as the wall came into view. It wasn't very pretty, severed head on pikes and arrows stuck into the wall, but it served its purpose she supposed, after all the barbarians all seemed very alive and well.

    The sound of a horn caught her attention and she looked up passed the tall man riding with her to see the gates opening. For barbarians they seemed to make things very very well, it was a little impressive. She watched a small hunts turned into strong buildings, and the first of many was where they stopped, it actually being a stable for horses. She watched quietly as the men climbed off, putting her bag on her shoulder as she waited for some assistance down.
  10. It seemed almost effortless the way Garik lifted the saddle, laden with leather bags on each side, straight from the horse's back and carried it over to hang on one of the several thick hooks attached to the wall. He paused then to roll his shoulders and stretch a little. He was used to riding much longer than today's little trip but it still left him feeling stiff nonetheless.

    "What's this?" he heard one of his men say, not without a tone of amusement either. Garik turned, only to see that woman still sitting atop Ropil's horse. Eyebrows raised, he took a few leisurely steps toward the girl and gave her the same look he would a child having just been caught doing something wrong. "It seems our new kitchen wench thinks she be royalty," he teased, then gave a dramatic bow, rolling his hand and spreading his arms wide. "Please, Your Highness, allow me to help you from your perch." Standing straight again, he reached out and grabbed her by the waist, lifted her just as easily as that heavy saddle, and carried her away from the animal.

    He didn't set her down there though. No, he continued to carry her across the stable while grins of realization swept upon the faces of his men and snickers filled the air. Out the stable, across to the livestock's barn...

    Into the pigs' pen he dumped her, reveling at the "splat!" that sounded from her bottom meeting mud and less...cleanly things. "Gaze upon our noble guest, boys, Her Majesty, Princess of Pigs." Of course everyone laughed, a few of them shaking their heads with grins on their faces. Garik's expression remained the same, however, utterly serious with a hint of arrogance.
  11. Aurora waited quietly for her chance to ask for some help down, the men all having become busy. She did not want to seem rude and bother them as they were working. When one of the men spoke she turned to look at him, about to smile and politely ask for help. However, the leader seemed to have other plans and approached her, speaking in a tone that made her heart shrink in her chest. She clung to her bag as her lips wavered a bit, trying to have the heart to speak as he bowed but failing miserably.

    She tensed as he grabbed her around the waist, thinking that he had finished his rant and was about to set her down...Oh how wrong she was. He continued to carry her, the jostling motions of his steps causing her to lose her bag. She let out a small gasp as it fell into the snow before she turned to look behind herself to see where he was taking her. Her eyes widened and she paled as she realized what he was doing.

    "W-What! P-please don't! I-I-I only wanted t-to ask for help...I-I didn't mean to offend y-you! Please! I'm sorr-"

    But it was too late...

    She was tossed into the pigs pend and landed with a loud splat, her dress now covered in muck and other things she'd rather not think about. She at there frozen, her back arched as she shivered from the gross feeling now covering her back side. Oh how cruel. She looked up at the men as they started to laugh with teary eyes, doing her best not to cry as she slowly made a move to stand.
  12. Deaf to her pleas, the barbarian leader turned his back on the girl and addressed his men. "Go rest and make use of your wives. Tonight, we feast in my hall." A round of cheers from the men finally put a smile on Garik's face and he gave each of them a rough pat as they left one by one. Now only he and Ropil remained, both of them looking the girl up and down with arms crossed.

    "You probably should not have gotten her dirty, Garik. Poor child looks like she'll drown us in tears," Ropil voiced.

    "Aye. She's definitely no strong-hearted tribe woman," Garik replied in agreement, nodding his head a little. And then louder, "Let's go, girl. We haven't got all day."

    Both men turned to leave then, though the leader did something unexpected and stooped to pick up the pack that had fallen in the midst of his cruel joke. The straps were far too tight for his muscular arms, so he simply hooked a finger through one loop and drapped it over his shoulder. He and Ropil conversed while they walked up the hill to the stone hall that served as Garik's fortress, one or the other glancing behind every so often to make sure their tag-along was still obediently following.

    There, they parted ways without so much as a word from Garik to Aurora. It was Ropil yet again who took charge of her, steering her through a side door from the great hall and into a long hallway. The atmosphere was one of discomfort and the giant of a man sighed so heavily that it echoed off the walls. "I am Ropil," he offered after a moment. "Your father called you Aurora, yes? If you have any questions, best ask them now, child."
  13. As the other men left after the leaders announcement, Aurora slowly climbed out of the pigs pen. She stumbled a bit and fell on her bottom again, but thankfully this time it was in the snow and not the muck of the pigs. She was sniffing rather loudly as she did her nest to steady her breath. She would not cry there, no she was already embarrassed enough...and crying would not change the past. Once she was on her feet again, she made her way in their direction, looking around for her bag only to realize that Garik had gotten it.

    She followed the best she could, once again have trouble keeping up with their much longer strides. She was able to stay near though and soon they were at the fortress. Garik left without a word, not even leaving her with her baggage wither. Instead she was steered out of the main hall and into a long hallway instead. She glanced around uncertainly until the man with her spoke, introducing himself to her. When he tried to confirm her name she merely nodded her head before starting to speak.

    "Where do I work?...and where do I stay? And my...my bag?" She ended softly, glancing back towards the door she was just taken through, wondering if she'd ever she her bag ever again.
  14. The worry was evident on her face long before she spoke up and Ropil had been anticipating such questions. Cracking a smile, he placed a bear paw of a hand on her shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. "You'll work in the kitchen with Thaya and Evyin." He paused as they turned a corner in the hall and continued on. "As for lodging... I don't have a clue!" he laughed, scratching his chin through his beard. "As for your bag, Garik has it. I've known that man since he was a child and I still don't fully understand him. Only time will tell."

    Stopping at one of the many doors that lined the hallway, he lifted a fist to knock. When there came no reply, he went to knock a second time only to have the door fly open and bump him. He gave a grunt of surprise and took a step backwards, though in place of what should have been a sour expression was a silly grin. "Evy! Trying ta kill me, are you?"

    "Oh hush, Rop-- Is this the girl Garik just spoke to me of?" Barely five feet tall and despite her rather beautiful face, Evyin was distinctly a tribe woman. Her build was a strong one, the only 'fat' on her body being her swollen belly. "Yes, you must be. Come on, now. Look at you, all filthy. Ropil! You shouldn't have let Garik treat her so poorly." She rambled on, most of it insulting the "Master" while she waddled her way down the hallway. Opening a door, she stepped aside to let Aurora in first, the movement causing her long brown hair to swing it's braid across her back like a pendulum.

    This room was evidently for bathing due to the tub currently being filled with steaming water by a woman. She took a pot off the fire and carefully poured its contents into the tub without pause as she raised her gaze up to the opening door. "Thaya. This is Aurora. Aurora, Thaya," Evyin announced. "Strip down and into the bath, would you? Can't have you peeling potatoes and plucking feathers covered in pig muck now can we? Really, that Garik Arnesson is..."

    More pregnant woman rambling.
  15. Ropil's words were not encouraging but they at least told her one thing. She was still slightly worried about her clothing, it was all she had now and she wasn't exactly dressed to start cleaning now. She'd have to change, but she couldn't do that until she had her clothing to do so. So far, Aurora found she liked Ropil the best, he seemed to be the only man so far to show some concern and understanding for her situation, even if he was a bit uninformed. She let him lead her down the hall only to stop at a simple door. Quietly she watched him knock on it once, only for there to be no answer. However, when he went to knock again, the door flew open and knocked him back, also making her jump a bit in surprise as well.

    However, Ropil seemed to barely realize he was hit and just laughed at he spoke to a very lovely and very pregnant woman. Aurora was just a few inches taller than her but the pregnant woman easily had her beat in strength, she could see it in her arms. There wasn't much of an introduction but from the nick name that Ropil used, this was Eryin. Aurora wasn't even given a chance to speak before she was told to follow once more down the hall. the pregnant woman was much easier to keep pace with and she stayed behind her respectively. From all the rambling she did, she didn't seem all that fond of the leader...or maybe she just wasn't fond of his choices. Either way, Aurora felt that Eryin would probably be one of the few people she could trust for honest help...and a very honest opinion as well.

    They arrived at another door with Eryin opened, revealing a bath in the middle of being prepared. A small part of her wondered how they knew she was going to be filthy...or even knew she was suppose to be working with them. Garik had walked the other way yes? He certainly was a fast worker then...Aurora smiled shyly and waved a Thaya before walking in slowly and doing as Eryin instructed while the pregnant woman rambled more insults about the leader. She removed her over dress and started to take off her clothing in layers, soon standing nude in the room. She was talk and thin, a decent quality to have, though she lacked a bit in curves and muscles. Her life style was easy to see on her body as she seemed to be a bit under proper weight, the winter having been tough on her family's dinner and there gold...

    She stepped into the bath and slowly sat down, relaxing a little as she let herself be consumed by the water, her long brown hair floating as grime started to wash out of it. She sat there in the water quietly for a moment before she dared to speak.

    "Um...So, may I ask what is expected of me?" She said, the questions not directed at a specific woman and just wanting a simple answer.
  16. Seated on a little wooden stool, Evyin placed a bar of soap in Aurora's hands while she listened to the girl's question. Barbarian or not, women should always strive to smell appealing. "Chores and obedience," she replied. "Cooking, cleaning, anything else that Garik decides should be done by your hands." She took to washing the girl's lengthy hair with sweet smelling soap as she continued speaking. "You should always be near him whenever he is here in the hall. I'm far too pregnant to wait on him hand and foot like I used to." Evyin considered Aurora's arrival perfectly timed, though she felt bad that the poor girl had to deal with what was possibly the grumpiest, crudest, most barbaric man in existence.

    After rinsing the girl's hair, Evyin slowly rose to her feet, a hand on her large belly with the other on the small of her back to brace herself. "Finish washing, then return to the place we met. We'll get you started with helping us prepare for the meal," were her orders as she turned to leave, though she had to wait for Thaya to enter through the door first because her belly was simply too large.

    "I retrieved one of your dresses." Thaya smiled in a friendly manner as she set the garment down on the stool, placing an apron on top. "A towel to dry off with is hanging on the wall. Don't take much longer." She gave a small wave and left the room again, giving Aurora some time alone. Both women understood how overwhelmed the girl must have been feeling, and if there ever was a time to sit and wallow in self pity, it was now. There would be no time later.
  17. Aurora accepted the soap that was placed in her hands and started to wash herself while Evyin took to her hair and cleaned that for her. The list of what she would have to do was not much of a surprise, the only challenge would be pleasing that barbarian leader. He just seemed impossible to get along with him unless you were already a barbarian...and you probably had to be male as well to win any kindness from him. When her hair was finished, Aurora turned to look up at Evyin who was now standing up and holding her stomach. She silently nodded her head at the orders before going back to washing away the muck that covered her skin.

    When Thaya returned with her dress, she smiled and said a soft thank you before returning to her washing. Once she was along though, Aurora paused in her cleaning and sighed. So this was life from now on, a slave to a heartless and horrible man who seemed intent on making her life miserable. And it was all for gold, to pay him back while her parents did their best for the next months pay. She wondered how long she would be stuck here until her father had enough gold to pay him properly, would it be a month? two months? Longer than that? She wasn't sure...

    With a shake of her head she quickly went back to washing, finishing up in the bath before she stood and walked over to the provided towel. She quickly wiped herself dry, now fresh and clean and feeling a little better. She needed that bath more than she even realized. once she was dry, she dressed into the clean clothing Thaya had been able to grab for her. Once that was done she pulled the apron on and tied it tight, before making her way out of the room and towards the first door she had stopped at before.
  18. Deep, bellowing laughter filled the hall as it bounced off of all the walls and down the corridors. Several of Garik's men were present tonight, including the ones that hadn't accompanied the party into the village. There was many a conversation, some of them shouting matches of disagreement that resulted in an arm wrestling match. Among the men were a few women as well; big, strong girls who wielded axes or maces and even a sword or two. Unlike in the villages, these women seemed to hold just as much respect as the men and were just as roudy.

    Forks apparently did not exist to the barbarians. Only knives for carving and spoons for soup. So they ate with their hands, tearing at meat with their teeth and pulling off chunks of bread and cheese and popping them into their mouth. Mead was slurped noisily, goblets thumped down onto the table top once emptied.

    Garik sat at the head of the table, smirking as he told a humorous story about one of his and Ropil's many adventures. Next to him was of course Ropil who had Evyin on his other side. Thaya and some of the other servants sat around the table at various spots, just as entertained and comfortable with the meal as the warriors were. The atmosphere in the hall that night was merry, a warmth coming from the roaring fire, keeping the cold of winter out. The melody of a flute from one of the warriors could be hear just below all the conversation and laughter.
  19. Evening had come much faster than Aurora was prepared for and soon the hall was full, the feast underway as men and women alike laughed and drank and celebrated in the warmth of the fortress. She had been surprised to find women who also carried axe and sword and spoke in the same way as the other men did. Of course, she said not a word about it, there was no need for her to get into trouble just because she question something in their culture. If women had power as well then she did not mind, if she was lucky maybe a woman would take a liking to her and defend her against the cruel treatment of Garik

    The hall was busy though, some men fighting and arguing while others laughed and drank to each others health. Even some of the servants had joined in on the feast and were sitting around Garik, listening to a story of his adventures with his friends. However, Aurora was not one of those servants. No, some had been lucky to be able to sit and rest and listen to him excitedly but Aurora had no interest in that, she was still a little weary after the pig incident upon her arrival. She didn't need that happening again! No, certainly not, so she kept her distance on Garik and continued to do her job, pouring mead for the other eaters.

    She was rather good at this, if she had a say, she kept their glasses filled to the brim and she seemed to have a keen eye for when someone was about to call. The shouting for mead was very minimum, only happening when many people finished at once. Otherwise, the drinks flowed quickly and into their cups without them even noticing. At the moment, she had just finished off another jug and was walking over to a large barrel along the halls wall, filling up her pitcher like she had done many times before that evening. Other servants had been keeping Garik happy and hopefully it would stay that was for the rest of the night.
  20. Ah~ The little kitchen wench hadn't lied about her skills. Though his attention seemed elsewhere, Garik was very aware of Aurora. Every movement she made, every smile she forced alongside the polite conversation with the drunken warriors. He kept waiting for her to slip up, to drop a goblet or even a pitcher of mead, but she never did.

    This both pleased and irked him.

    "It seems," he said, his voice carrying over the noise of the hall. The conversation and laughter died down and everyone present at the large table turned their attention to him. "It seems," he repeated, his gaze locked onto Aurora. A piercing gaze it was, like a hawk eying its prey. "That our Princess isn't very hungry," he continued, not without a smug look upon his face. "Is our food not good enough for you, Your Highness? Did you not prepare it with your own hands?"

    "Perhaps she poisoned it, Garik," one of the female warriors snickered, leaning forward in her spot on the bench to better see him. "Serves you right for tormenting her so."

    A chorus of laughter while Garik rolled his eyes and Ropil patted him on the back. "I'll torment whomever I chose," he grumbled, just like a stubborn child. It was only because of his love for his warriors and tribe members that he let them joke so openly about him... Addressing Aurora again, he gestured to the spot immediately next to him and grunted out "Come, girl. Sit beside me and eat something before you waste away. Scrawny like a bear come spring," the last comment directed at Evyin, who simply shrugged in reply.