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From the Darkness of Our Souls (Part 4)
“No, no. You don’t have anything to be afraid of when I am near.” His kisses traveled down the scabbed over cut on my neck. The logical part of me told me to tell him to stop, but I didn’t care about rules right now. The bonding was last on my mind.
Mortified was a pretty good way to express how I felt at the moment. The morning was the best part of the day so far. We had woken together among a tangle of limbs and furs. With my head on his chest, I had felt every beat of his heart as if it were my own. This scene was soon broken up by MountainPeak and then Nana. Ash jerked upward and threw me to the side, covering my in the same movement. There was just his heavy breathing and silence for a period.
“Let’s go.” Ash was pulled away and there was some shuffling.
“Get out of there girl.” Peaking my head out of the blankets, Nana threw some clothes at me.
“You’ve done it now. I knew I should have kept you separated like the others are when they are to be bonded.” Once I was dressed she took me by the elbow and dragged me out into the bright sunlight. Once adjusted, I was being pulled away with Ash standing next to his home. His hands were bound behind his back and his head was being forced down. A crowd had gathered and more women took my arms. They led me to the river, trudging us through the mud banks towards the shallow ends. They stripped me down and dumped me in the water. They set to scrubbing me until my skin was raw.
“What were you thinking? What should happen if you take child?” The water was so very cold.
“I keep it and bare it.” I stuttered out through my chattering teeth. One of the women gave me a whap on the back of my head.
“you are still a child, you are not capable of caring for a babe, this is show enough.” Glaring at the woman, I bit my cheek, holding my response in check. Nana’s nails scraped across my head.
“I swear. There is a reason you two are not bonded yet. Though Ash is in his twenty-first year, you are still two moon cycles short of being of age.” Grumbling would do me no good. They scrubbed my skin with tiny rocks and sand. Pulling me roughly from the water, they dressed me without drying me. Just before I was clothed, they began braiding my hair. I sat crouched to the ground, my arms wrapped around my naked form, trying to retain some heat.
“And just after you’ve overcome the fever. Well it is on his head. He shouldn’t have taken over your weakness. Perhaps we can make the council believe you were still with the fever.” I didn’t want him charged with anything. He wasn’t guilty of any crime and if was so, then so was I.
Footsteps took my attention from my daze.
Ash and three other men came into view. His hands were still tied behind his back. The men obviously were not expecting to see us as they jerked Ash to a stumbling halt.
“Get him away! We’re not done yet!” One of the women yelled. She gave a sharp tug to my hair to pull me out of complete view. My nakedness forgotten, I called out to him.
His head shot up in my direction and one of the women slapped me across the face. I couldn’t help but cry out as the sting burned my mouth and cheek. Ash was now being dragged away by the men but he jumped forward, yanking the three men along with him as I whimpered.
“Don’t hurt her!” The men eventually over powered him, and they pulled him away with a shout at us.
“Hurry up! We don’t have all day.”
Again, mortified. After a while of sitting alone to ask the Gods for forgiveness we were both brought before the council. If the worst were to happen, I would be deemed unfit for bounding and/or Ash would be exiled. If I were to come with child, he would pay greatly, but not with his life. They would stop him from being able to reproduce by all means.
Nana kept me from looking to Ash, though my heart ached to do so.
Judgment was soon passed.
“Askuwheteau, you will be held in confinement for the time until we are sure the girl is not with child. Should she be, we will reconvene to decide your punishment and if the child will be kept.” The darkness settled on us heavily.
If I was with child, they would exile Ash and kill the child. I would loose my world. They might as well put me to death.