Thoughts on the Free Woman- Ragnbjorg

Adira ran to her Jarl’s cabin, excusing herself to clean.  She closed the door and leaning against it let out a breath of relief at being alone for a few moments.  Her heart pounded in her chest as she let the adrenaline fade away.  She never expected the red headed Free woman to ask for Bjorn’s girls to speak freely and openly on what they thought of her and a companionship between her and their Jarl.  Adira knew that she could not lie to the woman, yet telling her the truth could get her punished.

Did she like her?  She was likable enough.  She was nice to the bonds, not overly strict.  But to ask us to honestly express our opinions and concerns?  Adira was sure that her Jarl would not allow such open expression knowing that Snow did not always have the decorum needed for such.  But approve he did and Adira was left not knowing how to answer.  Kat answered as only an obedient bond would.  She herself tried to answer the same with an honest, “If our Jarl chooses you as a companion, I will serve you as I serve him.”  Very non-threatening.  Then leave it to Snow to stare at Kat and Adira in shock and blurt out that she was jealous and mad.  Why was Snow ‘kidnapped’ but this women not?  She ranted as Kat scowled and Adira suppressed a grin, in her heart knowing that Snow would likely be beaten for the outburst.  But to Adira’s surprise, the Jarl spoke that he would not and then told Kat and Adira to speak what was on their hearts, openly, and honestly.  Adira’s heart sank.  She knew what was on her heart was going to get her punished.  Kat spoke of the free woman’s boldness in the attentions to her Jarl and that Adira even now as a bond conducted herself with more decorum then Ragnbjorg and that should the Jarl free Adira, she would make a better companion.  Adira want to smack Kat for speaking such.  As the woman stood there hurt, tears dancing at the corners of her eyes, she looked to Adira who held back no such tears but look squarely at Ragnbjorg and spoke.  “While I do not understand why you value the opinions of our Jarl’s sluts, you have asked for it so I will give it.  You are bold, Mistress, TOO bold.  Your actions in ‘courting’ my Jarl would have any woman collared and I do not like it.  I love my Jarl.  I loved him as a free woman and I love him more now.  I serve him with everything that I am and strive to bring him honor.  I warm his furs and manage his farm but there is one thing that non of us girls can give to him and that is a prodigy, a son.  If my Jarl chooses you for his companion, then I will serve you and love you as I love him for his sake.  I know my place.”  She recalled how easy it was to slip back into her free woman mind when speaking to Ragnbjorg.  It might be the only opportunity that she would ever have to speak like this to her.  It was obvious that her words, that all of the girls words, cut Ragnbjorg to the bone but she stood there proudly.  She asked Adira why she cried.  Adira answered, “Because this is an unknown, Mistress.  I have seen many girls thrown aside or ignored because of the jealousy of a Jarls free companion and I am afraid of it.”

Bjorn gathered the girls around him, surprisingly pleased by their answers.  Her reached back and touched Adira.  Snow too touched Adira’s leg giving her comfort.  For some reason, Kat and Snow both seemed more concerned for Adira’s feeling on this.  He told the woman that she got what she had asked for and if she could not pony up to the challenge of winning over his girls, then he had no interest.  As it was, he was interested in the woman.  The fact that she cared enough to ask for honesty at the very least had intrigued him.  She seemed determined to be a part of Bjorns life and that they would be ‘one big happy family’ as she had put it.  He needed sons and as much as Adira would have carried as many children for him had he desired it, it was not what was done.  He needed Free sons, not the sons of a slut.

Adira wiped her face with the hem of her kirtle then stood straightening her kirtle and hair.  She would seek out Ragnbjorg and beg her to forgive the words of her Jarls sluts in hopes that she would not turn her attentions from her Jarl.  Her selfish fears and desires were of no concern, her Jarls prodigy his happiness was all that mattered to her.  She left the cabin searching for the mistress.

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Slip of the lip, Crack of the whip

Adira had spent the day running from the fields to the hall and back, carrying a mead barrel to the forge for the Jarl, moving the bosks from the Aetts Dragon to the fields and getting them settled, slaughtering and preparing the Baked Tarsk that the mistress required for the mid week meal, the endless fishing for her Jarl and cooking that same fish, running for the Mistress some food and ale while she worked……it was no surprise that she was exhausted when the Land Jarl’s boat landed and he announced himself on the dock.  Whirling around to see the Land Jarl and his free companion, Adira ran for a pitcher of mead to take to the Jarl, her own Jarl busy at the forge.

In her haste, she made the first of one of the biggest mistakes a bond can make…. she addressed the Land Jarl by his name as she would have done when she was free.  The anger that flashed across the Land Jarls face when she spoke sent chills to her bones.  She stood there frozen as he told her that she was to never dare call a Jarl or any other free by their given name.  Then she made the second as she stood there and apologized to the Land Jarl.  STOOD….not kneeling in supplication as Kat had taught her, but stood there frozen to the spot.  He corrected her on that as well and she hastily threw herself prone at the Jarls feet begging for her forgiveness.

She heard Kat make her apologies and the Jarl tell her that I would be punished as he pushed a kurt into her hands.  Adira’s blood froze and the tears flooded her eyes.  She had shamed herself, her sister and worst of all her Jarl with her carelessness.  The Land Jarl told her to rise as he drained the pitcher and shoved it back into her arms, sending her away.  Adira quietly went to the forge and knelt there waiting for her punishment.  The Land Jarl and his entourage eventually headed back to their village.  When her Jarl was done at the forge, he angrily ordered Kat to issue one lash to Adira then get her to the hall for the evenings chores.  She also heard her Jarl lash out in anger at Kat and that cut her to the bone that her actions had caused him to be angry at Kat for her doing nothing wrong.

Her head snapped up as she heard Kat’s voice, yell at her and call her a sleen.  Anger rose causing her face to flush.  She rose stripped out of her kirtle and bend over prone so that Kat could dispense of the Land Jarls punishment.  The strike of  the whip across her back was not too bad but it stung and left stinging whelps across her back.  She rose and not waiting from a word from Kat, ran to the cabin to tend to the wounds and get on with the nights chores.  Before she left, she saw the free women that had been ‘courting’ her Jarl smiling at her Jarl in a attempt to win his love and this added to the pain and fury that was coursing through Adira.  She cryed as she ran.

Kat joined her in the cabin and Adira greeter her with a cold shoulder.  She understood the punishment had to be carried out but what she didn’t understand was why Kat felt she had to be nasty while doing it.  Kat put the healing salve on Adira’s back and held her while Adira sobbed, reminding Adira that they were nothing more then property.  Once in the hall, tensions were high.  The Jarl was angry and lashed out at the free women Ragnbjorg when she stated that she did not understand what the big deal was with having to punish a bond.  Bjorn informed her that until she owned one, she should not presume to know the relationship between Jarl and bond.

Over the course of the meal, the Jarl relaxed, ordered the girls to eat well, including Adira because the next several day would be very busy.  He told his bonds they were his treasures.  Adira went to the furs that night with much to think about though she fell into a deep and restless sleep.