THE SCARS OF THE SEA / book two /// chapter 31 - strong language warning lol
Posted January 6th, 2017 by Garrett
in a city drinking coffee
a/n: there's some strong emotions in this one :D
also i have made a final decision on ciara and her baby's fates...
but it may change lol
ALSO i'm at 85,000 words so woohoo party
| 31 |
Ciara stood at the dead end of the road, where the packed dirt street simply vanished and knee-high fields rose. The grass was damp with the morning dew, drowning in the endless showers. Rain and rain and rain. Ciara ached for Euanthe’s sunshine. The unbearable heat that she once despised now seemed like perfection. Every day she woke to the sound of a storm beating and pounding on the roof above her. Sometimes it tore through the thatch and spouts of rain fell through like thousands of icy pellets. If only she were back in the cramped servant’s quarters of the Berean castle. Where it was dry and warm; albeit, she didn’t have any privacy there…and it smelled rather like horse shit.
She longed for familiar faces. A month in Sudbury and she was only now beginning to feel comfortable around people. Phillip remained a mystery to her. Weeks ago he was ready to sacrifice himself for her and her child, but now he hadn’t even had a full conversation with her since they arrived. She wondered some nights, when she tossed and turned and couldn’t seem to shut her eyes, if he would decide to get up and leave. If, by dawn, there would be no Phillip any longer. It was those thoughts that made her realize that she had little to no faith in the man that was her child’s father.
Phillip was an enigma that Ciara didn’t have the energy to understand.
She and Brana were staying with Eliza and her husband, Howard. Their oldest daughter was almost never home. Only returning for supper and bed. When Ciara asked, out of pure curiosity, where Fay disappeared to, her mother only grunted as she set down a bowl of porridge before Ciara.
“She’s got herself a fella,” Eliza said. She sat across from Ciara, plopping herself down in a tiny wooden chair that looked like it would bust under her extra weight.
“Hm,” Ciara hunched over to land a spoonful of mushy oats in her mouth. Not her favorite, but she didn’t complain.
“He’s the blacksmith’s youngest. Marq Windell. He’s a nice young man, at least ‘round me and Howie.”
“How long have they been seeing each other?”
“We’ve known for about two months now.” Eliza sat back, pondering her daughter’s secret life of passion and romance. Ciara dragged her thoughts down to her womb, wishing that she had lived through the passion and romance to get to where she was. But that had not been her fate…she took a deep breath through her nostrils.
“What’s wrong dear?” Eliza asked.
“Oh, nothing,” Ciara murmured, eyes frozen on her porridge. She’d only taken a few bites, her hand holding the spoon just over the bowl.
“You sighed. One doesn’t sigh for nothing.”
“It’s just—you see…” Ciara tugged her wool coat—a gift from Howard—around her arms, pressing the soft material into her skin. “This child…it wasn’t…”
“Was the baby an accident?” Eliza asked.
Ciara looked up from her food, eyes ablaze with stinging tears.
Eliza shook her head. Her tiny beaded earrings jingled.
“Phillip was…he was a Savage.” Ciara’s voice broke like a dropped glass.
“Oh,” Eliza said.
“He…he’s exiled now. But when we…when we met he wasn’t.”
“Did he…what did he do to you?” Eliza’s voice fell to a whisper, even though they were alone.
Ciara closed her eyes and a tear spilled down her milky white cheek.
“Oh…and he’s here now?”
She nodded her head, her scarlet curls bouncing.
Now Ciara stood on the edge of the sea of grass, watching the stiff brown blades dance in the cold wind. Cold on cold on cold. Cold wind and cold air and cold rain. It was picking up again, sprinkles falling, soon to grow into yet another downpour.
Ciara stared dreamily at the horizon…a harsh wind pushing in from behind, urging her on. Her feet stumbled forward a bit, stabilizing against the force. She turned round and dove back into the village, casting her dreams and fantasies into the winter winds.
Ciara found Phillip in The Red Maiden, sipping at a steaming mug of cider and talking with some young lady. She stepped over to the counter and ordered an ale. She paid the bartender with a couple of the coppers Howard had given her. Once that was in her hand, foaming liquid sloshing over the rim and onto her sleeve, and she stormed to Phillip.
He faced her, and she could see the girl’s back, her pale hair sweeping down the back of her black sheepskin cloak like moonlight. Once he noticed that Ciara was walking toward him, his eyes grew wide and he sat back, as if he were not involved with the girl before him.
“What are you doing?” Ciara demanded.
He blinked. “I was just talking with my good friend here. Isn’t that right?”
The girl turned, her eyes blue—clear as the Lyyr sea, her eyelashes long and pale. She winced. Ciara assumed Phillip had kicked her under the safety of the table.
“And what would your ‘good friend’s’ name be?”
Phillip’s mouth worked out a name as he flashed his eyes to the girl for assistance. She looked to him expectantly.
“Seriously?” The pretty girl huffed.
She turned back to Ciara, and eyes widened as they came upon Ciara’s swollen stomach.
Phillip spat out, “Rosalyn!”
Rosalyn gave him a quick smirk and then said, “You bastard,” before she kicked back her chair and sped off.
Ciara took the girl’s seat and glared at Phillip across the table, taking a hefty swig from the ale she’d originally intended to throw at his face. His stupid, handsome, smirking face. She downed the amber liquid until the tankard was half empty.
“Rosalyn seemed nice,” Ciara said.
“Oh, she’s the best.”
“Mhm,” Ciara pressed her lips together. “You two discuss…eh…politics?”
Phillip wasn’t listening, his eyes were on Rosalyn as she stomped out the door—not as much on her as they were on her rear.
“Phillip,” Ciara said.
He didn’t hear her. Why was she even trying?
“Hm—what?” He turned to her, acting innocent as a child.
“I need you to do something,” she said.
“You’re not going to like it,” Ciara said.
“Just say it, Ciara, I don’t have time for—”
“You have plenty of time. Better to to spend it listening to me and not sleeping with naive girls.”
Phillip leaned back in his chair and argued, “Rosalyn is older than you by at least three years.”
“I didn’t say young,” Ciara growled.
Is Rosalyn with child? Does she know the taste of murder? Does Rosalyn know what it feels like to have been violated and manipulated and stolen and betrayed? Does she know what it is like to have your entire life ripped away from you because of Savages?
“I’m bored here. I’m not made to settle down in a town—”
Ciara laughed. “Please! We’ve been here for a month. Don’t use that as an excuse for your whoring around.”
“It’s not whoring!”
“Fine. What do you want me to call it?”
Phillip smiled, though there was no joy behind his flash of teeth—merely frustration. “How about you just don’t bring it up?”
“We,” he motioned between them, “are not married.”
“I carry your child. That is a stronger bond than any marriage. If you keep messing around with random village girls, you’re going to have bastards all over the continent!”
“Don’t try that with me.”
“You’re the one in the wrong here,” Ciara said, balling her fists inside her coat. Her head was fuzzy—numb. “After what you did…you will always be in the wrong.”
“Even when we’re married? Even when there are more children?”
“Marriage is not an option for us,” Ciara said.
“So I can’t bed other women, but when you eventually find another lover it’s perfectly fine for you two to run off and populate the world with your little lying children?”
“That’s not what I said—”
“That is exactly what you said, Ciara. You can’t punish me. You’re the one who was stupid enough to wander around Acantha in the middle of the night during a Savage raid.”
She huffed. “You…you…you bastard!”
“You are the reason this happened. Don’t you dare try to blame me for your mistakes. You are filthy, you’re scummy, you’re a son of a bitch piece of shit.”
Ciara’s tankard was empty before she even realized she had picked it back up.
Everyone in the tavern was looking their way, intrigued by the outburst. She glared over the table, hoping that her expression carried all the anger and humiliation and blazing ball of—
She needed to cool down.
She stood from the table. “I need to step out.”
Phillip rose too, slamming his fists on the table so that her tankard tipped over and ale sloshed out of his. The entire building seemed to tremble from the impact. Everything was silent.
“Gods damn it, Ciara. Answer my question!” He bellowed, stumbling around the table so that there were no barriers between them. Ciara flinched away.
“You’re drunk,” she stepped away.
“You need to answer my fucking question—”
She pushed him, slamming her palms into his chest so that he staggered backward.
Another man stepped in, coming out of nowhere like a bolt of lighting in a thunderstorm.
Devdan’s fist collided with Phillip’s jaw. A crack resounded through the room, making Ciara’s bones tingle sympathetically. Phillip toppled to the floor, clutching the side of his face and crying out. Devdan shook out his hand, still facing a writhing Phillip.
“You bastard,” Phillip spat, his saliva bloody and dribbling out of the corner of his mouth. His lip was busted, welling with blood, and—
The point of Devdan’s boot met Phillip’s nose with a sound much like that of a stick being broken over a knee. Ciara winced as Phillip fully collapsed on the sticky tavern floor, unconscious.
Devdan turned to Ciara, putting a hand on her arm. She shouldered him away, stepping back.
“Why did you do that?” Ciara said, her voice mirroring the weather outside.
“He was…drunk…and you were fighting and…” Devdan paused to catch his breath. Or maybe to think of something to say, an excuse for doing what he probably wanted to do since he saw that Exiled scar on Phillip’s arm a month ago. “He was going to hit you,” he finally finished.
Ciara blinked at him, testing responses in her mind. She was still winded from the argument and the sudden fight, so once she found the right words to say, she couldn’t quite get it out. “Thank…you.”
He nodded his head.
Devdan whistled at the men sitting in a corner booth. One was had scarlet hair that stuck out at every single angle, freckles covering him from head to toe. The second man had short black hair and creamy skin. His eyes were slender and sensual, and he met Ciara’s eye for a good two seconds. The third man was as dark as midnight, and trailing at his side was a small girl. They had the same round nose.
They heaved Phillip up.
“Take him to the jail,” Devdan said. They shuffled out the door, leaving the common room buzzing with talk of what had just occurred.
Ciara looked around at everyone. Sitting in tables, leaning over the backs of their chairs to whisper into one another’s ears.
“Best get out before they begin asking questions,” Devdan led her out the front door with a gentle hand on her elbow. The touch of a man felt wrong after her argument with Phillip, but she let him steer her. Once they were exposed to the wintry air and the harsh winds, Devdan turned to her and said, “Are you okay?”
Ciara nodded, though it was a lie. Her heart was bruised…but beating all the same.
“Are you sure?”
She stared him in the eye. “Positive.”
“Go back to Eliza. She’ll help you.”
Ciara sighed as she walked back to her doula’s house. Despite layers of clothing, she felt naked as she had been the day she’d been released from her mother’s womb.
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