Keryn I

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Summary

Constantly diminished by your peers. Your closest friends and family become your Judas and your dreams may never become a reality. how will Temperance show her worth in a misogynistic world, while fighting for her love who happens to be of a much lower class? ----------------------------------------------------- a fictional story of a forced marriage

Genre:
Romance / Adventure
Author:
NHDA
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
5
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

1

In the lonely woods of Keryn, the sun shone brightly, as a small group of juveniles from various levels in hierarchy sat on tree stumps, discussing vigorously what they should do for the summer harvest. Amongst them was Temperance, the daughter of Count Alexander III. Her short brown curls glistened in the sun, as she enthusiastically talked with her peers, blissfully unaware of the turn her life would be taking just in a couple of hours.

“Father, uncle,” Temperance said, greeting her family as she slightly bowed to her father and uncle. She turned her head back to her father.

“Father, you’ve summoned me?”

“Oh yes, my sweet daughter,” her father started.

“We have some business to discuss.” he got comfortable in his seat and gave her a playful smile.

“Oh my! What would it be about, may I ask?” Temperance asked excitedly. She always enjoyed it when her father included her in business conversations. It made her feel appreciated, made her opinion feel important.

“As you may have noticed, it has been getting quite difficult for us to support a lifestyle that suits the royals,” he explained.

“Yes, I have. Have you perhaps found any solutions yet?” Temperance questioned eagerly.

“Indeed we have, my little pup.” her father said, exchanging looks with her uncle. The way they looked at each other made her a little nervous as if they were on to something, but the nickname her father called her made any anxiety she felt disappear. Her father called her that since she was born, for she was the youngest of his children.

“After hours of discussion, we’ve finally reached a conclusion. Due to our rapidly declining finances, we have decided to form a union between one of our families. And there’s no better way to do it than a marriage”. Despite her father’s cheerful tone, Temperance could feel something unpleasant coming. And her worries were confirmed by the words to come.

“So, to cut it short, you’re getting married!” he finished with a large smile.


Indeed we have, my little pup,” her father said, exchanging looks with her uncle.

“After hours of discussion, we’ve finally reached a conclusion. Due to our rapidly declining finances, we have decided to form a union between one of our families. And there’s no better way to do it than a marriage. So, to cut it short, you’re getting married!” he finished with a large smile.

- END OF FLASHBACK -

Temperance felt her heart drop and her blood run cold. She started noticing white dots clout her vision, and as she looked around the room she realised that everything around her started turning. A strong feeling of vertigo hit her but she tried her best not to succumb to it, all the while attempting to make out what the blob in front of her was. As her vision cleared, she was able to distinguish a male figure in front of her. It was no other than Mada, also known as Lord Jakob, who had caught her, preventing her from falling on the cold tile floor.

“ ….Temperance….” she heard his voice calling her name.

“... TEMPERANCE!”

It finally occurred to Temperance that Mada wasn’t whispering but shouting. She also realised that the reason his voice sounded so distant was because of her hearing that was slowly fading away, just like her consciousness. As she was about to blackout she faintly heard Mada shout something.

“Maid! Fetch the Tar-Water!”

Eventually, as the ill feeling started to fade, Temperance found the strength to sit up.

“My fiancée, are you feeling well?” Mada asked worriedly.

“What?” Temperance mumbled, still in a daze.

“My soon to be wife! Do you not know? You are to be married to me!” Mada said nonchalantly.

Once again Temperance’s world stopped and she felt the ill feeling creeping back. She knew of the infamous arranged marriages, however, she never thought she would be forced into one.

“NO!” with newfound confidence, screamed Temperance. The room went quiet, and the girl began to realise her mistake. Before anyone could say anything, she quickly continued.

“I apologise, there must be a mistake. I’m barely 14 and Lord Jakob is 25. Father, please don’t tell me-” her Father cut her off.

“TEMPERANCE. You are overstepping your right to speak. I wonder why I even allow you to attend these meetings. You’re getting too opinionated and immodest, I’ll be surprised if anyone would still want to marry you after this!”

“ Don’t you worry Uncle Alexander,” Mada said with a sinister smile. “I’ll never leave her”.

All of a sudden, Temperance felt disgusted to be in the same room with the people that were supposed to protect and be there for her, not sell her off to the highest bidder. Everything in the room seemed like it was dawning on her… like it was offended by her. And so she bolted out of the room, running down the various halls in search of freedom. Of an escape from her own “home”.


*THUD*

Groaning in pain, Temperance turned around to see who had pushed her into the wall. Before her stood Lord Jakob Malinowski (Mada) . And it was safe to say that he was not happy about her little so-called escape.

“Where do you think you’re going hun?” Mada snickered creepily as he wiped the dripping blood from Temperance’s nose and licked it from his thumb.

“Listen here, consider yourself lucky that I will ignore what happened in the drawing-room and still marry you. Be grateful princess” Mada grabbed Temperance’s wrist.

“Wh-wh-what do you want from me” Temperance trembled.

“You’ll get pregnant as soon as possible and bear 3 of my children. After that, you’ll become my concubine while I search for another wife. ”

The way he spoke, with such assertiveness and superiority, Temperance couldn’t stop herself from letting out a scream of pure terror.

*SMACK*

Her scream was cut short by a hand slapping her cheek.

“SHUT UP” he roared, tightening his grip on her wrist.

She stared at him for a while, in stupor, trying to process what just happened. Did he really just slap her? She felt stupid for not expecting something like this from him, considering the way he spoke and treated her. Temperance felt tears building up in her eyes, not from the pain, but from the sheer shock of his action.

“I dare you to scream again and IT,” Mada exclaims while squeezing her wrist, “will break”.

“Please... Mada, what happened to you?” Temperance whimpered desperately. “For the love of God, please stop!” she cried.

That cry seemed to be the breaking point for Mada.

“God damn it, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!”

Those words were followed by a loud snap.

TEMPERANCE’S POV

The sound made me jump. And slowly the realisation came crashing down on me. The snapping sound came from my left. Where my hand was. So I turned my head towards the sound, dreading the worst. All of my fears turned out to be true, as I turned my head to look at my hand. My face went pale at the horrific sight in front of me.

Blood poured profusely from my wrist, which was bent in an awkward position with a part of the bone sticking out. As the pain started to settle in, I couldn’t help but let out a pain-stricken scream. Not being able to stay near my cousin any longer, I pulled my injured hand away from his, now loose, grip and stumbled away from him. I immediately ran towards and out the door, into the seemingly never ending corridor, trying to find my way out of this place, never once looking back.

MADA’S POV

FUCK. I stayed frozen in place, staring at the spot where Temperance once was. Oh shit, what did I do?! God, it looked bad. I wanted to say something, apologise, but before I could swallow my pride and do so, she was gone. I looked down at my hand. It was covered in blood, her blood… Fuck, what am I going to do?

- END OF POV -

The moment Temperance ran out of the room, the waterfalls began. The tears were continuously streaming down her face, both from the pain in her wrist and the events that she just went through. She still couldn’t believe that any of this was real. Just a couple of hours ago she was happily chatting with her friends, enjoying her youth just like any 14-year old should be doing. What the hell went wrong? Why was the universe so unfair to her? Why couldn’t she just have a normal life, like any other girl her age? All of those thoughts were eating her from the inside. Never, in a million years, did she imagine her life taking a turn like that.

Finally, after running for what felt like forever, the main entrance of the castle came into view. Pushing the large wooden doors, she ran out of there, into the woods, away from all of her fears and troubles.


CHP 1 : PART 2

MADA’S POV

FUCK. Oh shit, what did I do?! I wanted to say something, apologise, but before I could swallow my pride and do that, she was gone. I looked down at my hand. It was covered in blood, her blood… Fuck, what am I going to do?

- END OF POV -

The moment Temperance ran out of the room, the waterfalls began. The tears were continuously streaming down her face, both from the pain in her wrist and the events that she just went through. Just a couple of hours ago she was happily chatting with her friends, enjoying her youth just like any 14-year old should be doing. Why was the universe so unfair to her? All of those thoughts were eating her from the inside. Never, in a million years, she imagined her life taking a turn like that.

Finally, after running for what felt like forever, the main entrance of the castle came into view. Pushing the large wooden doors, she ran out of there, into the woods, away from all of her fears and troubles.


The crunching of dry leaves and her distressed breathing was all that Temperance could here whilst running through the Woods of Keryn. It wasn’t easy, especially with her wrist in the condition it was in. Every time she moved her hand the slightest bit, a sharp pain would hit her injury, making it hard for her to breathe. Besides the pain, she was losing a great amount of blood. Temperance realised that she wouldn’t last long in her predicament and that she needed urgent help. Luckily, she knew exactly where to go.

Stumbling, struggling to continue her run to the heart of the forest, Temperance concluded that if she didn’t take a break now, she’d never make it there. So, spotting the nearest oak tree, she ran up to it.

“Shit…” she breathed, leaning against the oak tree and gasping for air. The long run deprived Temperance of all her stamina, making even such a simple thing as breathing hard and painful. Each breath she took felt like a fire igniting inside her lungs. But the longer she rested against the tree the more that fire seemed to weaken. The adrenaline rush she got from all the running she did, also appeared to be fading away, and the moment it completely did, the immense pain in her wrist reappeared.

“OWWWW,” she let out a pained yelp, but quickly went silent, reminding herself of her position. Temperance looked around to see if anyone, and by ‘anyone’ she meant Mada, had followed her. Supposing the fact that she was alone she somewhat relaxed, but still refused to let her guard down. Yet it seemed as though she was searching for peace, quiet and time alone to digest the happenings that took place not even 15 minutes ago. Temperance was searching for someone, someone special.

Not letting the pain and despair stop her, she stood up and resumed her journey, now slowing down to a light jog for her own good.

After a fatiguing trot that lasted about 30 minutes, Temperance found herself at the foot of a cabin she knew all too well. Feeling a sense of overwhelming relief and safety, she used all the strength that was left in her body to climb, well, crawl up the porch steps. As she did that though, she started to feel her body get heavier, which eventually lead to her passing out right in front of the front door.

THIRD PERSON POV

*THUD*

“What the hell was that!” Marg asked worriedly. Edus rolled his eyes at her overreaction. Marg was the dramatic one of the group. Although she was usually a happy and cheerful person, she was also very fainthearted. Edus, on the other hand, was a realist. He was also Temperance’s cousin. His family fell into debt so now he had to work for Temperance’s family and, in spite of their different socioeconomic statuses, he and Temperance remained on good terms. And there was Ciro, the level-headed one. He and Temperance knew each other since they were little and shared a very close bond. Some would even say an inappropriate one, given their status, but both of them ignored those rumours. They were just rumours anyway, right?

CIRO’S POV

“Oh God, it’s the boogeyman! No no nO NO NO!” Marg ran up to Edus.

“We’re going to die! Oh god!” she shrieked.

“Oh shush Marg, it’s probably a bird, stop exaggerating” Edus replied irritated. The two continued to bicker as I opened the door to be met with… nothing. That was until I looked down to see Temperance laying in a slow forming pool of blood. I felt my heart fell to the pit of my stomach as my eyes went wide. Her wrist was horrifically deformed and blood kept pouring out of it. Was she... dead? No, no, no, no, she could not be dead, please, no please. Without thinking twice about it, I got on my knees and immediately reached for her neck to check the pulse. I could barely feel one, but it was there. Oh thank the heavens, she’s alive!

“GUYS, HELP!” I cried. They simultaneously stopped quarreling and looked towards my direction. Marg was the first to speak. Well, more like scream.

“OH MY GOD TEMPERANCE!!!,” she shrieked, tumbling down from the chair as she ran to us. Falling on her knees as well, she let out a loud shriek at the sight of Temperance’s state.

“IS SHE ALIVE IS SHE OK OH GOD IS SHE DEAD!?” the moment Marg saw the state Temperance was in, she started panicking which wasn’t helping anyone right now.

“MARG SHUT UP, EDUS BRING A TOWEL” I ordered them. Unlike Marg, Edus followed my order and ran to get towels. Marg on the other hand... started wailing.

“Marg, God damn it, STOP IT! She’s alive! But I can’t guarantee that unless you stop crying and HELP!” Those words did absolutely nothing. The way she cried, as if Tami was already dead, made me feel afraid and disconcerted. Just like her, I was starting to panic, to lose all touch with reality. What if Temperance died? Oh God, what would I do? She was awfully pale and I could barely see her chest heaving. Was it my fault? Could I have prevented that? If I just watched over her maybe none of that would happen... I felt my own eyes water as a lump started forming in my throat. But before I could give in to panic, Edus came back with the towel. At the sight of him, I instantly realised what I had to do and grabbed the towel from his hand. I tightly wrapped it around her wrist to stop the bleeding and turned back to Edus.

“Help me carry her to the couch!” I told Edus. I grabbed her by her shoulders while Edus went to the opposite side and grabbed her ankles. We picked her up carefully and carried her inside. Luckily the couch was low so we didn’t have to lift her up any further. Marg was still weeping next to the front door and it was slowly becoming maddening.

“Edus, can you please calm her down or something...” I asked him, as I pinched the bridge of my nose. He silently complied and went up to Marg, trying to comfort her somehow. I decided to take a look at her wrist. The towel that was wrapped around it was now almost fully drenched in blood. Before blood started leaking, I swiftly stood up, grabbing bandages, a bunch of cotton balls, and an antiseptic from the little cabinet in the bathroom. When I came back to Tami, I removed the bloodied towel and tossed it aside. In front of me now lay her disfigured wrist that I had to take care of. It was disturbing and nauseating, putting it back in its place but it had to be done. Next, soaking some of the cotton balls in antiseptic, I carefully disinfected her wound and threw the used cotton balls alongside the towel. Afterwards, I carefully wrapped it all in a bandage.

Finally, I took a good look at Tami. Tami. Such a pretty nickname. It really suits you... Tami... It destroys me, how her once happy and smiling face looked emotionless and sickly pale, and her gorgeous brown hair was now messy and bloodied. How could I let this happen...

TEMPERANCE’S POV

I could hear faint sobs from somewhere next to me. As I slowly started regaining my conscience, some of my senses came back to me. While my eyelids still felt too heavy to lift, the pain in my head and wrist was back. I felt so emotionally and physically drained that the only thing I could do right now was lay.

“Nooo!” a voice that sounded a lot like Marg whined. “Poor Tami!” she kept sobbing. Her sobs sounded so agonised that if I had any strength I would start crying as well. It was so depressing to hear Marg crying. She was always such a joyous person...

“Her wrist looks completely demolished... It doesn’t look like it was an accident. Someone must have purposefully done that. ” Edus muttered in a raspy voice.

“Who could ever do something like this to her?! She’s always so nice and sweet to everyone!” Marg cried between her sobs.

“How could I let this happen…” Ciro whispered to himself, sounding lost. “How could we let something like this happen, guys!” Marg started sobbing louder and I wanted to scold Ciro for saying something like this while she was in this state. She probably felt guilty as it is, she didn’t need him pointing that out. Besides, it wasn’t their fault... there’s nothing they could’ve done. I wanted to console them somehow, but my worn-out body wouldn’t let me do much. So I decided to settle on a small gesture.

THIRD PERSON POV

Moving her unscathed hand around a bit, Temperance quickly found Ciro’s wrist and gave it a light squeeze, letting him know that she was awake.

“Tami..?” Ciro’s eyes widened as he felt her hand on his. At the sound of her name leaving his lips, everyone’s head turned to her. Even Marg stopped sobbing, her red eyes focused on Temperance.

“Tami, can you hear me?” continued Ciro carefully. She let out the weakest groan, but even this was enough to let them know that she was awake. “She’s awake guys, she’s awake!” he yelled happily. At that, Temperance let out another groan, a less delightful one though. Ciro immediately composed himself. “Sorry, sorry Tami” he now whispered.

Eventually, she gathered all the strength that she had and slowly peeled her eyes open, squinting right away. As Temperance got used to the brightness of the room and opened her eyes fully, she was met with Ciro’s face staring right back at her. Lowering her gaze to her hand she noticed that, despite the pain still being present, it now was bandaged up. She tried moving it but it only resulted in more pain, so she let out a hiss.

“Careful!” Ciro exclaimed.

The events that lead to this moment started resurfacing in the corners of her mind, and she felt her eyes start to water. Pushing those memories aside, Temperance looked at all of them. “Thanks... thank you, guys...” she gave them a soft smile.

“You don’t have to thank us Temperance,” Edus answered. “We’re friends, and friends look out for each other”.

“But... but what happened Tami?” Marg’s voice shook as she made the question. “How did this happen... who did this to you?“.

Temperance looked at her friends. How would she tell them what happened? How would she tell them that her father is forcing her into an arranged marriage? Or that her “fiancé” in addition to being her cousin, is also a horrible and twisted man? Temperance had no idea how she’d do it but, she knew that she had to.

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