~A Mother’s Desperation~ Chapter 55
Grima answered the summons of the Duke (Haures) with hard heart and ran as fast as her feet could carry her to the Master’s chambers. She wasn’t sure what to expect when the door opened to let her inside. The moan of the vines that parted with the old oak door sent a chill down her spine when her feet breached the threshold. The Duke was nowhere to be found, but the fire in the heart was still blazing, yet there was no warmth in the room. She heard whimpers coming from the room just beyond the bedroom. She took long strides to reach the shower chamber, her heart pounded like a locomotive in her chest, before she reached the mirrored room. Kneeling on the floor, broken and bloodied, Varna remained motionless but her cries pierced the silence in the room. Grima ran to her side, her eyes blinking back her tears, when her knees met the stone floor. Her throat clenched when fear and anger threatened her voice, her hands slowly reached for the purple strands that were matted to her daughter’s face. “What has he done to you?” The question was more for breathing purposes then for an answer. The wounds on her body spoke of the brutality of their new Master and the force of which he would use his title to accomplish what he wanted. “Can you stand child?” Her tears ran free and heated across her pale cheeks. She would have words with their new Master after the damage done this night. She tried her best to support the female at her side, careful to not inflict further pain, as they both fought against their own internal demons.
Varna barely heard the words of her mother kneeling next to her. Her pain had subsided with the blood the Duke had given her, but her humiliation at being seen like this haunted her. The soft caress of her hand moving her hair from her face was the kindest thing she had felt in days. Her mother had the voice of an angel, but the pain was clear when she spoke. She lifted her head slightly to meet her mother’s eyes and her heart constricted. “I’m fine, mother.” Her words were spoken half truthfully as the elderly woman fought to help Varna to stand. She rolled back on her heels and slowly stood with the extra support, but the tears on the woman’s face broke her heart. “No tears, mother. He will punish you for caring about my fate”. Her words were haunting, terror filled and hollow, but still she wanted to protect her mother from any further harm. The Duke wasn’t the Marquis and they would both be better off to remember that.
”You’re not fine, child. Stop trying to be so brave”. Her voice was harsh, but caring, even if her daughter wanted to pretend she was ‘fine’. She took a look at the female standing next to her, the bruises and wounds caused her to pause. “Let’s get you cleaned up, before you fall over”. She moved Varna over to the vanity and leaned her against the support of the sink. She turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature, before she turned her attention back to the female wrapped in dirt and blood. “Can you do this on your own or do I need to stand in there with you?” She wasn’t trying to be over bearing, but the damage was great and Grima wanted to make sure she could stand on her own. “I will mind my feelings when he is around. Tonight I have a right to protect what is mine”.
She didn’t have the strength to argue. The steam coming from the shower was enticing and she was giving permission to bath in the Duke’s absence. “Help me to the shower chamber and I should be fine once I have the walls to lean on”. Her words were short and to the point, her breathing still labored as her tears glistened on her cheeks. “I know you mean well, mother. But I belong to him now and only him”. She repeated the words she was engrained to trust. The brand on her inner thigh was possession enough but something deep inside her instincts told her there might be more in store for her than chains and whips. “Just be careful. That is all I ask”. She made small strides to reach the shower, her eyes noticed the steam and new the water would sting on her open wounds. She prepared for the pain as her naked body entered the hot water. Her body stiffened as the sheer liquid cascaded across her flesh to wash away the filth of the dungeons.
Grima followed behind Varna ready to lend a hand if she slipped. Her eyes watched her daughter step beyond the stone floor to the shower and a hiss poured out into the room. With Varna’s back to Grima’s eyes the reality of the brutal assault of the Duke was plain to see. The welts on her back were deep as the blood washed away. The clear water became black and gray while the filth washed away leaving the tender wounds behind. “Will you tell me what he did to you?” She had no right to ask, but there were times when rights were taken whether given her or not. She folded her arms over her chest as she watched her daughter attempt to move when reaching for the soap and her eyes had to look away to avoid the pain to her chest. “I have known him longer than you, child. I know what he is capable of”. The scent of fresh spice poured over the room as Varna continued the shower.
The pain was minimum after her body adjusted to the heat of the water. She reached for the soap and began to lather it in her hands but froze when her mother asked for details of what happened to her. Some nightmares were better left alone and she ignored the question and continued to wash her body. She kept her back to her mother knowing that the wounds on her back were nothing compared to the emotional wounds internally. “He’s capable of ending my life if I do not obey him. That is enough to keep me at his side until the Marquis returns”. She left that comment to flow into the steamed air hoping her mother would understand that there was still hope their previous Master would return. “He will return mother.”
“He wouldn’t dare kill you not when he thinks you are his …” She left the sentence open ended not wanting to spoil the secret that she planted in the Duke’s mind. Granted it was a long shot that it would keep him from touching her daughter, but it was worth the deception just in case. “Do you have faith enough that if he returns things will be any different?” Her stomached knotted remembering the way Zagan treated her daughter, but still there was something more between them than sadistic pain. She turned on her heels to return to the vanity. She pulled out a towel and used that opportunity to rethink the night’s events. She turned around just as the water stopped and she walked across the cobblestones to meet the fragile woman who was stronger than even she could have ever imagined.
She took advantage of her mother’s chattering and gave into the warmth of the shower. She rinsed her body thoroughly remembering the sex she had in this very room with the Marquis and a blush crept over her cheeks. “I have faith he will return, but how or when I’m not sure”. She turned around to face her mother who held the towel out to greet her. She stepped beyond the tiles to reach the cold cobblestones feeling the soft material graze her skin. “As for the Duke? He would kill me mother. I have seen it in his eyes and trust that if I angered him enough, my life will be forfeit”. She took the towel from her mother’s hands and wrapped it around her body. Her eyes met the elderly woman before her and knew there was fear for both of them written in the air. “Now I need to retire and you need to be gone before he returns.”
Grima felt the temperature in the room change and it had nothing to do with the shower. She stared at her daughter as her words were spoken and she couldn’t believe her ears. “I would never let him kill you, child. You have to believe that”. Her words here urgent filled with emotion that poured from her heart. Yet the eyes the stared her down were devoid of feelings and again she was left with feeling helpless. She relinquished the towel and noticed the change. She was being dismissed like the Mistress of the Realm would dismiss her and she knew she needed to obey. “As you wish.” She nodded her head and headed out of the shower chamber and into the bedroom. She hastily walked across the cobblestones to the door blinking back the new tears the graced her cheeks. She had to do something to avoid losing her daughter all over again. There was no time to waste when her daughter was slowly dying each day she was at the Duke’s mercy.
She had not meant for the words to sting, but she wanted it clear. The pain in her mother’s eyes cut her to the bone, but she kept her features hidden until she was out of the shower chamber. She took in a breath and let it out slowly. She made her way out one room and entered the other knowing eventually the Duke would return. She looked around the room not sure where her place was. She eyed the bed, her sore body craved a soft place to rest, and she determined to sleep in the silk of sheets until he deemed her unfit. She slowly walked across the room, her bare feet slightly shaky on the stones, before she dropped her towel and crawled into the bed. She felt the exhaustion hit her like a ton of bricks and she was asleep once her head hit the pillows.