Theodore stood up with a satisfied smirk on his face. He pulled his trousers up and tied them.
"That should teach you for now," he said. "You'll spend the rest of your time in this room until I convince the king and queen you're still missing." He smiled at my naked body. "I'll be back in a few hours. Rest up." He ran his hand in between my thighs. "You're going to bear my child. I will make sure of that."
He left, tossing a blanket to me. I was weary. He had been cruel, so very cruel. I could barely move. Weakly, I touched the mark on my arm. Theodore hadn't seen it yet. Then I stared at the ring Elder Winterblade gave me.
What use was a ring of protection if he was still able to violate me so?
A woman came in with some rags and placed them on my breasts. He had slapped me so many times the skin was raw. The cold water felt good against them.
"Go away," I mumbled.
The woman sighed but pulled the blanket over me so my body was no longer exposed. I closed my eyes.
"Wake up," Theodore snapped. "I want you to be awake for this one."
The sun had gone down and he was perched over me. My arms and legs were tied to the bed posts and I pulled, panicking a little.
He smirked. "That's right my dear," he purred in my ear. "Try to fight. It's only going to make it worse."
"Please don't do this," I sobbed. "I won't fight you anymore. Just stop hurting me."
"It's too late for that," he snarled and thrust into me.
I cried out in pain and he pressed his lips to mine to muffle the sound. Each thrust was deeper and harder than the last. Tears streamed down my face. He bit my shoulder, keeping a hand over my mouth. His other hand groped my breasts.
"Stop crying now," he snapped, still thrusting into me. "It's not entertaining anymore."
I couldn't and he slapped me hard. I whimpered which only caused him to harm me more, his family ring leaving gouges in my skin. Then he moaned loudly and pulled out of me. He smirked, panting, and went to untie me. He started at my feet. When he got to my right hand, he stopped.
"What is this?" he demanded.
I turned my head tiredly. "What?" I asked.
"It's nothing," I lied and closed my eyes. "Let me sleep."
"If it's nothing, why don't you take it off? Did the elves burn it on you?"
"No. I took it willingly. Leave me alone."
He slapped me again. "You do not tell me what to do! I am going to go eat dinner. You will not get any. You broke my hear, Camila."
He slammed and locked the door. I stared dully at the ceiling. At least the elves were safe.
I thought I was dreaming. Cold air blasted on my naked body. Then two hands touched me.
"Please," I groaned. "Haven't you done enough to me today?"
"It's me, my love."
My eyes shot open. "Elwin?" I sobbed.
He looked at my body in disgust. "What has that beast done to you?" he sobbed. "Oh, Camila, you never should have done this."
I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and I panicked.
"You must leave, Elwin," I whispered. "If he sees you in here-"
"I'm not leaving you here."
He wrapped me in the bloody blanket and carried me to the window.
"Are you ready?" he whispered to someone down below.
"I'm ready," I heard my papa whisper back.
"This is going to hurt, my dear," he said softly.
"I am numb. I don't care."
He dropped me and my father caught me. I didn't know where we were going but I didn't care. Elwin took me from my papa's arms.
"Go back," he said, handing my father the blanket. I shivered in the cold night air but I was in too much pain to cover my body. "Get the rest of the evidence and then come back to us. I will meet you there."
"Where are we going?" I mumbled, leaning against him as he ran.
"To your king and queen," he answered. "Your father has requested their immediate audience and they have obliged."
"Do they know what you are?"
She fell asleep in my arms. I heard a horse coming up behind me and Gerald passed me a clean blanket to cover her with. Behind me, there was shouting. It seems Theodore has finally figured out that his 'betrothed' was missing.
"Hide any evidence of what you are," Gerald instructed.
I made sure my ears were covered. I had put on some of Gerald's clothing over my usual clothes. It hung loosely but I didn't look like an elf anymore.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
I nodded and we went into the palace, following a guard into a throne room. It was much like ours but the king and queen were both old. A young woman sat beside them and I assumed she was the princess. When they saw Camila in my arms, they frowned.
"Is that not the young village girl that has been missing?" the queen asked.
"Yes, this is my daughter," Gerald said. "And this is her husband."
"You are not Theodore," the king said slowly.
"No, your majesty, I am not," I breathed and looked at Gerald nervously. "Theodore... he has done something terrible to her."
"What do you mean?" the queen asked.
"We request that only the queen and princess come see," Gerald said, glancing at the king. "I don't mean any disrespect, but she is unclothed."
Only the queen came over, still frowning. When she was in front of us, I lifted the blanket and she gasped in horror. Gerald held out the bloody one.
"What has he done to her?" she breathed.
Her breasts were raw and there were deep cuts and bruises all over her stomach and her thighs. Her neck was red from where he must have choked her. There were also burns on her ankles and wrists. Her face was heavily bruised.
"Raped her," I said in a shaking voice. "At least three times."
She put the blanket back over Camila's body, looking sickened.
"And he is not her husband?"
"No. I am."
"Do you have proof of this?"
I passed Camila to Gerald and he held her tenderly. I showed her the handkerchief Camila had given me.
"This was my token," I said and took the necklace out of my pocket. "He had tried to ruin it but it's impossible to destroy. It was on the headboard."
"How is it impossible to destroy?" she asked.
I bit my lip. "Please, your majesty, keep an open mind." Her eyes narrowed. "Please remember I love her very much and she loves me. We risked much coming back here and even more rescuing her."
"I will keep an open mind," she said slowly. I moved my hair and she gasped. "You're-You're an elf!"
The king and princess rushed over as I took Gerald's clothes off, revealing my outfit underneath. My heart was racing. I was terrified and I could see Gerald was, too.
The royal stared at me in fascination.
"What does this mean?" the queen asked, pointing at the pin on my tunic.
"I have a connection to the royal family," I answered.
"This has never happened before," the king breathed. "An elf and a human...."
"We were made of one another," I assured them and showed them the marks on our hands. I explained what they meant. "It was how we knew she was still in his home."
The queen passed a hand over her eyes. "This is very much to take in. Are you wishing for safe passage home?"
"I cannot go home," I said sadly. "When I came with her, our minds were erased of my homeland."
"You gave all that up for her?" the asked with a frown.
I smiled fondly at her and kissed her forehead. She stirred in her sleep and whimpered. Gerald whispered to her.
"Yes," I said. "I love her with all my heart."
The queen put the necklace back on Camila's neck. She and her husband stared at the two of us. The king was about to speak when a guard came in.
"There is a young man here requesting your audience. I know it is late, but-"
"Is it Theodore Jensen?" the king asked and the guard nodded.
I stood between him and Camila. The guard stared at me, his jaw dropped.
"Come here, sir," the king said. "Sweetheart, do what you must with Mr. Jensen." She nodded once and swept out of the room. "Get these three into a room on the second floor. Then see to it that someone cares for her wounds." He turned to Gerald and I, both of us crying in relief. "We will speak in the morning. For now, you have our protection."
"Thank you so very much," I said and he nodded.