Piece in Our Time

Chapter Fourteen

The second day for Eva was beyond miserable. She was aggravated, starving and freezing. Her lips had probably turned blue and she could see the angry shade of red her nose had become. She spent a good portion of the day that passed atop of horse in front of Tiernen. His body was warm but it wasn’t what her body needed. When she was down on the ground her knees knocked together from the shakes that assaulted her body. Her teeth chattered constantly and her eyes were heavy. Her hair had become crisp. When it blew across her face it felt like she was being slapped repeatedly with a thin rod. Tiernen and his men had only fed her their scraps, pieces of meat the sizes of which could barely fit into a cat’s mouth.
Eva found herself looking behind the group as they rode just hoping to find a glimpse that he knight in not so shining armor would ride up, take her back into his arms and slay the dragon that was Tiernen and his men. In just a short while Eva had already read exactly who Tiernen was. He was young and reckless. He and his men were cruel and selfish. They had no respect for anything or anyone they deemed lesser than themselves. She was a firsthand witness, they treated her like the dirt beneath the feet of snow. Tiernen was cold and for the most part since she had been taken he hadn’t said much. But his voice was erotic when he did.
Eva had started to ignore him all together not to long after she was kidnapped. Could she call it kidnapped? She did run away. Yes, she was taken against her will and being taken away from where she realized she really wanted and needed to be. She was kidnapped. Eva had made plenty of not so smart decisions in her life. But this one topped the cake. Even if she could possibly be dead, this was a very wrong decision. She should have stayed, even if she didn’t agree with the actions of the men she accompanied. The clan had done nothing but take care of her since Asmund found her. Eva sighed," Missti einn minn". She was his lost one, and Eva seemed to be living up to the title.
A commotion startled Eva and she turned her head to look behind her. Eva would only admit to herself that her heart jumped into her throat at the thought that Asmund had found her and was about to ride up and pull her atop his horse and hold her in his warm embrace. She was disappointed. The commotion was two of Tiernens men arguing. They had stopped their horses and if Eva was correct a fist fight was about to break free. The horse stopped and Tiernen gripped her arm pulling her off as he dismounted. Tiernen was hollering to his men as he walked from her leaving her shivering and knocking knees in the snow. Eva took her chance to look around at the landscape. She took in one painfully shaky breath. She could almost see her lungs freezing. She willed her legs to straighten and still, and in one split second made the decision to run for it.
With her last surge of adrenaline Eva turned and hoisted herself onto Tiernens horse. It stalled but with one sharp slap of her hand it took off turning and heading in the direction that they came from. Eva wheezed and did not dare to look back to find the men chasing after her. She strained her eyes to look ahead, and prayed that the horse would continue forth. The sun had not come out since she left, and the dark of the night played with her eyes. Under the howl of the wind she could hear the sound of men behind her and panic surged through her body. Eva could hear her heart beating, and her blood pumping.
Suddenly Eva felt herself flying through the air, and with a hard thud she landed on her back in the snow, the little air that filled her frozen lungs left her and she gasped. Pain traveled up her spine and a howl of pain escaped her. The horse had stopped abruptly before a fallen tree. She reached behind to grip her back before a hand gripped her cloak and pulled her up roughly. She was on her feet when she felt the sting to her face, and in opening her eyes realized she had been slapped by Tiernen. He was now standing before her, towering over her breathing heavily and invading her space. Eva’s hand came up to hold her cheek, fighting back the tears that swelled at the edge of her eyes.
She was now fatigued, cold and hungry and slapped by a man. “You slapped me.” For the first time in a long time anger surged through Eva and she stood up straight, pulled her arm back and let all of her weight come forward towards Tiernens face. Her wrist was caught in mid slap and she screamed in frustration as she was picked up seamlessly and thrown over his shoulder. Eva picked her head up and let out another scream “Asmund!” The sound carried through the forest, but she could only hope it carried far enough.
Eva was slung onto the horses back then Tiernens chest was against her own back and they were moving again. She tugged her cloak around herself tight, one heavy shiver taking over her body. Her eyes felt like they weighed ten tons and she let them slip shut, and her head lolled forward till her chin touched her chest. Eva was stuck between sleep and not quite being awake. She could hear the wind around them, but she couldn’t see the world around her. It felt relaxing, and it would have been better if she were on Asmund’s horse with his strong body behind her own. His long hair whipping the back of her neck, his thick arms cradling her body.
A moan came from deep in her throat and she sighed heavily. Her imagination took over and soon Eva was now snug in a dream filled state. She could still hear the trampling of the horse hooves, but the vision against her eyelids was of Asmund leaning forward holding her between his body and a tree, one hand above her head to trap her as his lips came down onto her own and suddenly Eva couldn’t feel the shakes anymore, and she could imagine her body returning to its normal pale. Her lips curved and puckered to meet his. It was everything she needed at that moment. It was warmth, safety and the taste was sweet enough to quench the cramping pains of hunger for just that second. Slowly the sounds around her went silent and the darkness behind her lids only grew darker.
What felt like less than five minutes revealed to be six hours. Eva had fallen asleep. It was not a refreshing one. Her neck ached when she picked her head up and her eyes were sore. It felt like a forced sleep. They were no longer moving. She was back to being tied to a tree but this time she was right in front of the fire. She was no longer shaking and she could feel the blood pumping through her veins, no longer frozen. Her stomach made an angry sound and a plate of food was shoved to her feet. A relatively good sized piece of meat, cooked. She looked up and saw Tiernen staring from beside her. She sighed at the realization that they would not allow her to be untied and that she would have to be hand fed. Eva watched as Tiernen reached forward and took a piece of the meat between his fingers and held it up to her lips. Eva strained her still throbbing neck and took the morsel by her teeth and onto her tongue.
This feeding went on for a while. The whole time he kept his eyes on her own. Not on her lips, but on her eyes. He seemed to be searching, and finally he spoke. “You are not from here.” Eva sighed, when not angry at her his voice was toxic. It was gruff and husky. He was younger, younger than her but he had lived he had seen. While his body was young his mind, his emotions were older than his age. He was bitter, it dripped from every word but something about it made her skin prickle in pleasure. The second these thoughts came to her mind Asmund and his scarred face appeared before her eyes and she shook the thoughts away. This man she was with currently had treated her badly, slapped her! Asmund admittedly was brutish and harsh he had never done anything to harm her. With that she turned her head from Tiernens offering fingers and closed her eyes to block him out, even when she heard a deep growl and a harsh shove to her shoulder. Eva ignored him like she had been until she could sense that he had stood and stomped away.