Ren stood in his bed chamber window and watched the scene below in the courtyard. Peasants came and went, doing their chores, Hunters passed, children ran by chasing a dog. None of this held his attention like the woman at the well did. She was bent over a small child, a smile curving her lips. For all he had done to her over the last 4 months, she still smiled. Anger blazed in him like fire. He had not yet found the way to break her.
He turned from the window and sat down in the chair by the fire. He had to formulate a new plan. At first he had tried to woo her. Win her over with lavishness. He gave her a wing in his castle, servants, beautiful clothes, and still she refused him. She would sit, sullen and silent at each evening meal. She would go stiff at his touch. He quickly grew frustrated with her and turned to violence, thinking if he broke her body he could break her spirit. The smile he just saw on her face confirmed that he had not even come close.
Ren called for the Head of the Guard. He was his most trusted advisor, as much as he could trust anyone, and carried a heart almost as dark as his own. The man entered Ren's chambers bowing low, his dark purple cloak billowing around him.
"You called your Highness?" he said, daring not move until told. He had learned early on that Ren Daul was a harsh master.
"Look out my window and tell me what you see." Ren instructed. The man walked to the window and looked out.
"Peasants, servants, brats running loose." he said.
"What else?" Ren said quietly.
The man spied Celly at the well. "A servant girl, kitchen help at that, dressed up like a fine Holiday turkey. Well beyond her station of course. Playing with a small child, acting like she has some status here, when she should be on her knee's." he gave Ren a look that said much more than his words.
Ren rose from his chair and joined the Guard at the window. He stood watching Celly for a moment.
"She does seem to have forgotten her place hasn't she? My fault I suppose. I should have just taken her, planted my seed in her and been done with it, but a bitter woman will not raise a child she does not want."
The Guard laughed, "There are many woman on this land who are raising children that I didn't want, nor them I would say, but they do it none the less. Why is she any different?"
Ren spun and struck the Guard across the face, and he immediately dropped to one knee, head bowed. "Because it will be my child!"
Ren began to pace the room. "Making her love me hasn't worked, breaking her spirit by beating her body hasn't worked. With her spirit intact she will poison the child against me. I break her spirit and I can have the child raised to my liking."
He slammed his fist down on the table, causing the still kneeling Guard to flinch just a bit. "How? How do I break her?" he ground out.
He looked over at the Guard. "Be gone." was all he said and the Guard was gone. Ren sat back down in front of the fire and gulped down his cup of wine. He gazed into the flames, thinking of new ways to torture Celly, when movement near the door caught his attention.
He turned his gaze toward it and a sneer spread across his lips.
"You have nerve coming to my private chambers. I believe I told you I would see you gone should I ever lay eyes on you again."
The Elder's stood. Silent. The only movement was the female's hands as she wrung them. After a moment, a voice Ren hadn't heard since childhood filled the room.
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