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.