Rated M for possible mature content including sex, violence. language, graphic situations, and drug use.
The Winter Thaw
The White Peaks loomed tall in the distance as the wagon continued its rumbling progression toward the boarder lands of Avelar. It was quiet going, at least now that their charge was bound and gagged. It had been half a day and one since the journey began and her forced destination was finally coming into view. It was a quaint farm, neither too large nor too small, but to her it may as well have been some horrid hovel in the middle of nowhere.
Half risen from the wagon floor, Arayna eyed the dismal location through the split rails of the side coolly, giving a muffled complaint punctuated by a barking grunt as the toe of a boot struck her soundly in the side. “I said stay quiet!” One of the guards assigned to the escort rumbled, glowering down at her. “You’ve caused enough trouble on this trip. If the Commander is smart, he’ll keep you bound and quiet too.”
When the driver pulled up the horse, two of the guards escorting them jumped out and proceeded to drag the woman off the back letting her drop heavy to the ground while the third stepped down from the front and moved to greet the the farm’s owner, Volare. “Apologies, Commander, I know you were hoping for some peace of mind out here.” He glanced back at the others as they cut loose her ankle bindings and drug her to her knees. “She’s more trouble than she’s worth.” That said, he produced a heavy coin purse and a sealed writ naming Volare ward and master of the woman’s fate. “By order of the Snow Chief, you may exercise whatever means necessary, barring death, to gain her compliance.”
Despite the sizable fading bruise along the left side of her face where a sound backhand had sent her reeling just days before and now looking like she had been half drug through the muck, she knelt before them somehow managing to retain an air of of prideful defiance, eyeing the two men coldly. Regarding them in silence, she gave her bound wrists a slight twist but otherwise remained motionless as the guard who addressed Volare strode back to her. Taking hold of her chin roughly, he forced her face to look up at him. “You’re the Commander’s problem now, you wicked little bitch, and I assure you that he can be far less forgiving than I am.”