Timena walked along the corridor in silence, guards stood eyeing her as she neared the large doors leading into the ballroom. She felt uneasy, and it didn't help that her dress was squeezing her waist uncomfortably.
The doors opened slowly, revealing Silas standing in the center of the black and white marble floor. She took in the sight of him— he'd dressed in all black, from his tunic to his leather boots. The gold buttons on his doublet were the only hint of color on his suit as Timena's eyes roamed. His dark hair was combed back, and a bit of stubble was apparent on his face.
"Enjoying what you see, my princess?" He sneered, his cold eyes focusing on her face.
Ignoring his question, she walked towards him. Stopping mere inches away from him, he spared no time in closing the space with one long stride.
"I must say, I didn't expect to see you in a dress, in fact I didn't expect to see you at all. Thought you might put up more of a fight." He teased.
Timena backed away some. "I am only here because my mother forced me to be, it wasn't of my own volition." She said, admittedly.
"Did you wear this dress for me tonight?" He asked, his eyes combing over her figure and landing on her chest.
She sidestepped him and swiftly walked away, trying to create distance. He turned around, smirking as she looked back at him.
"Let's get this straight, I'm forced to be here with you. Don't try anything or I'll rip your testicles from between those scrawny legs of yours." She said sternly.
Silas appeared slightly stunned before he began grinning from ear to ear. He shook his head as he walked right past her.
What the hell is so funny? She thought.
Following Silas, she was led past two guards, and through glass doors leading to the large balcony.
Timena was surprised to find a small table draped in a white cloth. On top of it sat a spread of some of her favorite foods— prawns bathed in garlic sauce, corn and cabbage and smoked herring and those were just a few of her many favorites.
She looked at him, confused. "How did you?"
Smiling, he replied. "Eurina was very helpful."
Lovely, Eurina is helping him now. Timena rolled her eyes, walking to the chair that Silas had pulled out for her. He moved to sit across from her, his eyes never leaving hers.
Finally, breaking free from his gaze, she looked over the balcony. The sun had departed as the only decent lighting was now coming from the oil lamps hanging on the walls near the door. As the food was served onto their plates by a young girl, Timena continued to pick at a piece of bread. The silence was becoming increasingly awkward between them.
"Why so quiet now my princess? You certainly had a mouthful to say just a moment ago." He joked.
The truth was that she didn't know what to say, her anger had momentarily vanished and now her mind had gone blank.
"You know, Delacroix is much better at keeping a conversation than I am." She replied suddenly. It was her turn to smirk as she noticed an annoyed expression on Silas' face.
"You look beautiful, that color suits you." He ignored her previous statement.
"Delacroix looks much better in a dress than I do... She'd certainly be willing to get out of it for you too." Her voice trailed off.
His laughter sounded again. "Timena, no matter how many times you mention your sister, it won't change my mind about you." His tone was deeper as his heated gaze paused on her neck.
She sank into her seat at that. Her only comfort now was food, pulling in her chair, she dug into the food greedily, not paying attention to whether or not Silas was watching her.
Suppressing a small burp, Timena looked up to see Silas watching her intently, he looked amused.
"That was mesmerizing." Her mouth fell open at his response.
"Well now that dinner is over, I'll just be leaving." She was halfway out of her seat as Silas' warm hand grasped her wrist.
"Not so fast. Dessert is on its' way." A devilish smile played on his lips and Timena sat back down defeatedly.
"Now, tell me everything about yourself. The parts of you that no one knows."
"Well, just to get the secrets out of the way, I have to let you know that I have a penis. What's even worse, it's probably bigger than yours." She feigned sincerity and Silas fought to stifle his own laughter.
As they ate their pastries and fruit, Timena continued to evade Silas' attempts of getting information out of her.
"Remind me to thank your mother for that dress." Silas said in between sips of his ale.
Grunting in return, she looked away. Was there any way out of this? She wondered. Maybe she could try to reason with him.
"Why are you interested in me? You don't know anything about me." She inquired lightly.
Placing his glass on the table, he leaned towards her, his demeanor turning increasingly serious.
"Well your beauty was what peaked my interest years ago, but I've always paid close attention to how your father speaks of you. Your tenacity, your skill with a sword and arrow, and your independence. It's something you value most, am I correct?"
Timena shook her head, he'd been absolutely right.
"Delacroix is that and more, minus the sword of course. She is as determined as I am, independent and she's more suited to become a bride and future queen. She's even more beautiful, and kind." Guilt had begun to creep upon her the more she spoke of her sister.
"I prefer your looks over hers, and who is to say you aren't fit to be a bride and queen?" He questioned.
"Me, I hate dresses, I'm not a very good cook and I'd rather not be doing any household work and-"
Silas held his hand up, halting her rant.
"I refuse to listen to reasons as to why you believe your sister is better than you are. What kind of sister would lead me straight to you when she knew you didn't want to be found? I'm certainly not complaining but why would she do it?"
He was right once again, she was beginning to get annoyed thinking about it.
"She's jealous... she believes I've always gotten everything, including you now. When the fact is that I've been trying to push her towards you since you reached Mororcin. I didn't do anything on purpose and she led you straight to me and here I am. Trapped." She inhaled deeply, taking a swig of wine from her glass.
Silas stayed quiet for a while, watching her as she shifted around uncomfortably.
"Why are you so fearful of marrying me?" He was angry now.
"You answered your own question before. My indepence, it's mine. I can't have that if I'm tied to you. And you forcing my hand in marriage is cruel, but that is what you're known for right, your cruelty?" She slightly slammed her hands against the table.
"You will marry me whether you want to or not. I'm certain you are aware of what rests on your decision." He spat out, venomously.
Timena felt the blood rush from her face. Silas' words had stung significantly, and she was reminded of how cold and callous her father had said he could be. Getting up from the table, she quickly ran to the doors only to be blocked by the two guards on the other side of the threshold.
Timena looked back at Silas in anger and fear. It was a pity she hadn't brought her sword.
He sauntered over to her, resting his arm on the brick wall as he looked down at her.
"You will be mine, every part of you will be mine Timena." His finger pushed a few of her dark curls behind her shoulder and she jolted away.
Silas laughed, menacingly before nodding his head towards the men. They moved away from the door and Timena went in hastily, not stopping till she reached her chambers.
Locking the door behind her, she felt the tears begin to run down her cheeks as she jumped into bed. Quietly sobbing into her pillow, she prayed for sleep to take her away from her dreadful reality.
Feeling a rather uncomfortable tightness around her waist, Timena tried to pull at whatever it was that seemed to be crushing her torso. Realizing that she had fallen asleep in her dress, she groaned in annoyance while sitting up to loosen the strings, then gradually freeing herself from the gown altogether. Finally forcing herself out of bed, she dressed herself in more comfortable attire before pulling her hair into a messy bun.
"How was it last night?" Adelia's face came into view as soon as the door opened.
Timena blinked a few times before rolling her eyes at the sight of her mother and walking past her.
"Excuse me Timena, I'm speaking to you." Adelia fought to keep up with her as they traveled down the steps. Timena continued to ignore her.
Adelia didn't follow her down into the kitchen and Timena sighed with relief.
"Good morning Mena." Eurina greeted her as she entered.
As she was about to berate her with questions as to why she had helped Silas the previous night, Eurina asked her to go down to the cellar to get wine. She huffed loudly but did as she was asked.
The cellar was somewhat dark, being that the only source of light was a tiny window that maybe only a small child could crawl out of. With a small oil lamp in one hand and a wine jug in the other, Timena traveled downstairs.
Walking past a few barrels that were lined up, she turned a corner stopping to put the lamp down on an old table nearby.
"Did you miss me Sadon?" A voice rung out in the silence.
Turning around suddenly, Timena was shocked to hear that familiar voice.
Walking to the last row at the farthest side of the room, Timena peeked her head out from behind the barrels. In the farthest corner of the room, under the light of the small window stood Clara— her black hair under the sun looked almost blue and her skin seemed even paler than usual.
If I ever see her face again, I swear I'll pummel it in, repeatedly. Timena remembered the thought from the day she'd been captured by Silas. She moved slowly, walking with a purpose now.
"Now Timena, I understand you must be very upset, but you have to at least listen to me." Clara tried to reason with her.
Timena's steps grew closer and even though she knew Clara could possibly stop her with the snap of a finger, she continued. Timena's fist connected with her face.
They both appeared shocked, Timena at the realization that she was able to even hit her and the sudden pain rushing through her hand, while Clara was shocked that she'd also let it happen along with the throbbing sensation in her cheek.
"Christ!" She whispered in pain.
"Oh shut up, you could have stopped it. Did you?" Timena shook her hand repeatedly, trying to ease the stinging.
"No, well I suppose I deserved it." She resigned.
They remained silent, awkwardly eyeing one another as minutes passed.
"Why are you here?" Timena blurted out.
"I'll tell you everything soon enough Sadon."
As Timena was about to question further, Eurina's voice interrupted her. She sighed loudly before quickly filling the jug and running up the steps without so much as a glance behind her.