The cries of battle, as swords clashed against one another, and angry curses tumbled from mouths that dripped red blood, reached her ears. Rosalynne sat, huddled beneath the soft furs of her cloak, as tears like glass slid from eyes of cerulean blue.
She would have been beautiful, ornamentally so, if it weren’t for her eyes. Large and bristled with lashes of ink, they were contradicting to her sweet and forgiving nature. They looked like her mothers eyes; Judging and blue, that watched each movement with highly anticipated suspicion, and yet . . . She did not judge, nor did she look on each person with distaste.
She had her fathers gaze, understanding and fair, her mothers look with her hair of flames, and her eyes of ice. She was her mothers daughter, a pure-bred princess of noble ancestry, but the blood of her father, a warrior who acknowledged his pitiful start at life.
She was taught by her mother, Lady Margaerythe of House Nuith, to perfect her genteel and courteous nature, how to smile so that her dimples danced, and to flutter her eyelashes. Her father taught her to write and read, and was the object of his affections.
She had always been the favoured child, Derran was older and stronger, and a boy, but she had been doted on constantly since childhood, and was always the talk of her parents. They would speak of nothing but her accomplishments, and for this her brother had began to hate her.
Sometimes it was an odd pinch, or a sly kick beneath the table at supper, but then he started to get more vicious and cruel, no matter how many times she apologised for something she could not control. He once threatened to drown her favourite dog in a lake, and when she caught him holding her poor wolf by the scruff, she had ran in and beat him over the head with her silver-backed brush.
She had made her plea to her mother that night, when poor wolf started whimpering whenever she ruffled the fur on his back, and she sobbed when Derran showed her mother the faint mark on his arm.
"The beast bit me." He announced proudly at dinner, and her mother had simply shook her head, and muttered that she knew it wasn't an acceptable pet for a lady.
"Please, father. Derran hurt Wolf, he won't stop whimpering. I'll have him trained properly, please don't take away my dog. Father," She clutched at his arm as she tried to reason. Her brother wore a smug smile, happily tucking into his dinner when they dragged her poor wolf out into the cold.
She had found him the next morning, chained outside as the snow fell in soft flurrys of white and settled on the ground. She had stroked his grizzled head, weeping as he licked salty tears from her face, and refused to let her brother kill him. Her father had been the one to do it, "I'll give him a quick death." He had muttered, casting a glare in the direction of Derran, and patted her on the shoulder.
"Let him go, He's an old dog. Come now, Rosalynne." He had muttered, as he took her dog from her reluctant hold.
She buried him beneath a great oak that bloomed no leaves nor flowers, and sat beneath it whilst she carved into the old trunk of the tree. A wolf sitting by a girl playing the harp, was whittled into the wood, and it still remained there until it was burnt down in the sacking of Scar-Wood Keep.
Rosalynne played with the kitten on her lap, as dusk fell and morning light arose. Her stomach grumbled loudly, and she swallowed a pained groan. A slave girl, her face smeared with blood, as her eyes stared lifelessly in a face gaunt and cragged as the caves in the cliffs, had brought her food in the dark of the night.
Stale bread, herbed and dry with a jug of water, so cool that beads of moisture had dripped down the side of the clay ewer and spilt on the floor. She had wolfed it down eagerly, and clung to the girls arm, begging her not to leave. The girl had ignored her, simply stared and left, slamming the door shut and locking it as though she had never been there, that she was simply a phantom sent to haunt whilst she wept.
Finally, as Rosalynne snuggled down beneath her furs and rested her head lazily on her pillow, she had drifted into sleep, as the cries of battle faded into the mist.
Then, when her curtains were drawn, and the stars twinkled like diamonds from a sky black as ink, a man appeared from the shadows. He unsheathed his sword, tripping over the wads of silk and satin dresses that had been flung to the floor as she panicked, and walked to the bed where he sat down. His hands were slick with blood, and he brushed her cheek with the calloused pad of his thumb. She whimpered beneath his touch, a small breathy whisper coming from lips of velveteen pink, and the ghost of a smile flitted across his lips.
"Min Vif," He whispered, and slid his sword back into its sheath. Cradling her in his arms like she was a babe, he pushed opened the doors, "Min." were the words that flowed from a mouth that knew no warmth nor love, and yet . . . as his eyes, chips of indigo ice that glinted in the moonlight, roved along her frame as though he was peeling back the layers of cloth that covered her body from his glare, was a hidden yearning that lingered inside his soul, if he even had one.
Ivar the Boneless, They called him.
She was Lady Rosalynne of House Dye-Ford, and her brother had willingly gifted her to him. He needed a wife, someone to warm his bed, and borne his children should the gods gift him some, but where would he find one?
The spindly, shield-maidens of his home that knew no bounds with their wrath, or this girl he had heard so much about?
He wanted a wife sweet and tender, with a voice soft as a dove, and someone who was Lady-Like and Lovely. This woman, with her hair of crimson flames, and her eyes of cerulean was his. His woman, His Vif.
He placed a kiss, hot from his mouth, against her cheek. She squirmed, nuzzling her face against his chest, the iron of his armour cool against her skin. He stroked her hair back gently with his fingers, "Min Vif," He whispered as they fled in the night.