Chapter TwoMature

Twelve Years Later...

"You look beautiful min kjaere.”

Rayna ran a hand through her pale blonde locks. Her hair was worn lose, just as her bridegroom requested. She glanced down at the ivory dress that she never thought she would ever wear. Her mother's wedding dress. “You don't think its a bit taboo, wearing this dress to wed the offspring of my Mother's killer?”

Lawson took a hearty swig of ale from his pocket flask. He glanced around. They were in the empty entrance way of the Rosehill chapel. The room was bare and void of any décor; simply an aged wood floor and a couple high arched windows. Not nearly enough to distract him from her question. “Keep your voice down, they'll suspect something if they detect an ounce of animosity from you.”

She turned her back, and covered her face with her bouquet. “How could you want this for me?” She sobbed.

Lawson took a deep breath and held it for a second before releasing it. “In the last decade Orkson's crew have slaughtered our men. If we don't submit, they'll kill us too!”

She turned on him. “This is humiliating! The coward's way out, and you damn well know it!”

He averted his gaze."Its the only way now. I'm too old to fight, and even you don’t stand a chance against all those men. They just want one thing.”

Rayna nodded. “The Asterius. The thing my parents died protecting... I'll never tell them where its hidden.” She swore venomously.

Once you are wed to Rush, you wont have any other choice. Its merely a business arrangement. Once they get the ship they'll leave you alone.”

Before Rayna could get another word in edgewise, the heavy double doors were thrown open. Horrid organ music flooded the room. She ground her teeth as Lawson entwined his arm in hers and ushered her forward.

They've denounced the tradition of our homeland, as most do when they move to this region.” Lawson observed quietly.

Good,” Rayna hissed. As she made her way down the aisle, she glared at the strange people in pews, and at her smug groom. “Nothing about this is tradition.”

Once Rayna got to the altar. She paused. Overlooking the rocky cliff face was a large picture frame window, with its pane removed. She noticed Lawson growing even more tense. He too was sizing the window in speculation. After all, it was big enough for a grown man. She dug her nails into his flesh. She quickly surveyed the room. The men in the front row of pews were armed, so were the men closest to the door. She glanced at Rush accusingly.“Come now, my lovely bride the music has stopped, our guests are waiting,"he taunted.

Hesitantly, she released Lawson, but not before pressing a kiss to his cheek. “When I step up onto the altar run. Throw yourself out the window and run." She whispered low enough so that only he could hear.

Lawson shook his head. “My life was over the moment I stepped into the church min kjaere. Yours has just begun."

A couple pairs of strong arms ripped Lawson away from her. 

An old man recited a rushed passage about the responsibilities of marriage. Rayna's glare never left Rush's face. She hesitated when it came time to say her vows.

Your turn.” Rush reached over to take her hand, his other hand reached for something in his pocket. She didn’t need to look down to know what it was. A moment later she could feel the cold barrel brush over the flimsy fabric of her gown. Her eyes widened. “Fine,” She grumbled.

Rush leaned in closer. “The right words. Humor me.”

Her voice was barely audible.“I....Do.”

She heard a gun go off, and expected to feel the warmth of her own blood any second. She turned her head. It was Lawson. He folded in the arms of Orkson's mutant men. Rayna screamed. Rush seized her in a tight embrace.

Get me the mask!” He barked at someone.

A moment later a small, but heavy iron mask was thrust into his hands. “Where is the Asterius!”

"I'll never tell you!” Rayna said, determined to face her death with her pride still intact.

Then you'll die.”

Obviously,” she retorted.

Rush twirled the end of his disgusting beard with his fingertips. “I've expected this wife. I've had your death in the back of my mind for a longtime now.”

 Rayne smirked.“The back of your mind, the front of your mind. I'm sure its all one in the same.”

“Your insolence ensures you a long drawn out death. He threw his pistol out of reach. “Bind her!”

Two mutant men seized her with their fleshy mechanics. She wasn't sure just what she was looking at. Human eyes were sewn into metallic sockets. Metal torsos, containing grinds and gears, and patches of flesh pealing away from the robotics of it all. The result of mad science.She expected their movements to be jerky, but they were fast and precise.

Impulsively she tried the knots. There was little give. “Tighter!” Rush demanded. Rayna cursed under her breath as the hard cord dug deeper into her skin.

Rush held up the mask. “Final touch.”

The mask molded to her face in eerie perfection. The only holes in it were in the eyes. If it hadn't been so creepy, she would have admired the artwork behind it all. Rush tied the mask, as tight as mutant men had done her hands and feet. Rayna dug her hands into her bouquet crumpling the arrangement of wild flowers.

Kill her, kill that viking bitch!” One of her guests shouted. Soon it had been turned into a sickening chant. “Kill the viking bitch, kill the viking bitch!”

One more chance Erikdotter!” It was Orkson, the groom's father who had made his way through the exuberant crowd. “Any last words?”

Rayna turned her head. The mask was light enough that it didn’t hinder her movements. For the first time ever- she gazed upon her parents' killer. He was a tall, wiry limbed man. He had a large handle bar mustache, and a long greasy black beard. His gray eyes were as cold as death. A hawk like nose was very prominent on his taught face. The image of Orkson would be etched in her brain forever. She steadied her breath.“Blue Tiger. I'll come back from the grave. Then I'll have my revenge. On you, and on your entire family.”

Orkson saluted her. “I wonder, how long they'll let you rot down there, before your body is discovered. Nobody will miss you.” He shrugged. “There is nobody left to.” He turned to Rush. “She is your bride, I'll give you the honors.”

Rush was practically salivating at his father's command. The cheering increased as Rush picked Rayna up and tossed her over his shoulder.

Kill her,Kill her!”

Rayna could feel herself soar through the air. She could hear the cheers of her death fading. For a moment, she embraced it. Then she hit the water, and came to her senses. She sank about twenty feet underground. This time she was prepared, she had forgot nothing of her training.

The End

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