Chapter Two: The Hunted
A/N: Sorry for the fact that it's been so long! I'm a slow updater :( But 18 reviews is amazing! Thanks so much. Please, let me know what you think of this chapter.
Ramsay Bolton followed his father into the hall at Pinkmaiden, sharp eyes raking over the Piper family. Marq stiffened at the sight of him, causing a smirk to twist the corners of Ramsay's lips. If it hadn't been for Marq's foolishness, none of this would be occurring in any case. Lord Piper appeared to be a nervous old man, a sheen of sweat across his brow as he approached his guests.
Ramsay's eyes found her, the girl. Elyssa. Blonde hair that fell in curls to her waist, hazel eyes with long, thick lashes. Small freckles dusting her face, and a slender figure with pleasing breasts and hips. She was no radiant beauty, not one to fight wars for, but she was indeed a pretty girl. Elyssa noticed his attention and averted her eyes demurely, and he couldn't help but smirk. So she was a shy one then.
"You must be my betrothed." Ramsay stepped forward and although Elyssa's hazel eyes visibly flared with alarm, she did not shy away. Instead she extended her hand and Ramsay pressed a dry kiss to the back of it. Yes, she would do. She would do very nicely indeed.
"Pleased to meet you," Elyssa murmured, although the fact that she averted her eyes suggested she was anything but pleased. Ramsay turned and grinned over his shoulder at his father. Yes, this timid little girl would do nicely. She was young too, which meant there was plenty of time for her to give him sons.
Marq's eyes narrowed as they rested upon Ramsay. Yet they both knew that despite Marq's hatred of the situation, there was nothing he could do to rectify it. Ramsay glanced across at Clement and Roose, who had of course engaged in small talk. He couldn't help but scoff. Although he had been newly legitimised so that his marriage to Elyssa would not be questioned, Ramsay had no need of such trivialities yet.
"Would you like to walk?" Ramsay inquired of his bride-to-be, offering his arm. Elyssa's eyes flashed with alarm and she doubted her older brother a scared look, but Marq merely encouraged her with a firm nod. The girl lightly took Ramsay's arm, and he led her outside to overlook the gardens.
Elyssa released Ramsay's arm and leaned over the balcony. He watched her intently, studying her features. Already he was imagining what it would be like to be between her legs. He knew that he would enjoy it thoroughly. Elyssa, not so much.
"You are a lovely creature." Ramsay reached out to brush a strand of hair behind her ear, but his efforts at charm were lost on the girl. She flinched away from him, looking very much like a trapped rabbit. Oh, if only she knew how trapped she truly was. "What's the matter, my dear? Do you not enjoy being complimented?"
"Not when such compliments are empty." Elyssa watched him warily. "When are we to be married?"
Ramsay smirked. "Two days, if my father is to be believed. Isn't that delightful?"
Elyssa's eyes flared with panic. It would appear that Marq had told her the rumours, or she had heard them herself. No matter – he did not require charm, then. It was bothersome in any case. As Elyssa fidgeted, Ramsay reached out and caught her by the arm, tugging her to him. The girl bit her lip, but said nothing as he looped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him.
"I don't expect you to love me," Ramsay hissed in her ear, as Elyssa tried to struggle away from him, "But I do expect you to obey me. Do you understand? It will be a difficult marriage for you if you do not."
"Are you threatening me?" Elyssa sounded shocked at the very thought. Of course, Ramsay was not going to torture or flay his wife. She was not one of the whores he hunted down with his dogs. Being his wife meant she would be granted a little more mercy – but she must still obey, still heed his every whim.
"Are you questioning me?" Ramsay fisted a hand in the girl's blonde hair, causing her to wince. He could not help but feel glee. Oh, this girl would be so easy to control. So malleable. It would not take her long to learn respect, to be broken. Clement had indeed given him a treat.
"Let me go," Elyssa begged. "Please."
Ramsay released her, and Elyssa backed away from him. She was shaking, her small hands clenching into fists by her sides. Whatever she had expected, it wasn't this. Ramsay watched her with his head tilted to the side and a dark smile curving the corners of his lips.
"You fear me. Fear is good. Remember that."
"I cannot marry him!"
Elyssa paced Marq's room, her blonde hair whipping out behind her as she spun. Marq sat down rubbing his temples, attempting to think of a way out of the situation. It was true that his little sister did not deserve a marriage to such a monster. Usually Elyssa did as she was instructed, but it was obvious why she would not consent to wed Ramsay. He wondered what the man had done to upset his sister.
"If he touched you…"
"It wasn't like that." Elyssa shook her head fervently. "He just…threatened me. Marq, what did you do that was so terrible I have go through with this?"
Marq knew that he couldn't say, not unless he completely wanted to terrify Elyssa. He knew that he been too bold, said too much, and that the insults he threw at Ramsay could have cost his life. He raked his hands through his blonde hair, knowing that Elyssa would despise his answer. None of this was fair, on any of them. The Boltons just happened to hold more power than the Pipers.
"That I can't say."
"Why not?" Elyssa cried, her voice rising in frustration. She actually stamped her foot. She didn't want to admit to being afraid, and so she disguised it with anger. She didn't want to blame her brother, knowing that Marq was infuriated by the prospect of her having to marry Ramsay. Yet what was she meant to do, when she was terrified of doing her duty?
"Would you like me to speak to Father, or Roose?" Marq inquired, but that prospect just turned Elyssa to ice. She couldn't stand the thought of Roose knowing of her complaints, and Clement would merely turn a deaf ear. No, she would have to go through with the marriage, no matter the cost.
"No." Elyssa lifted her chin, trying to look braver than she felt. "I'll do it then. I'll marry him."
Marq took one look at his sister, the young girl trying desperately to be a woman in a situation she didn't understand. He got up and threw his arms around her, pulling her close and trying not to let the guilt sink in. They both knew this situation was his fault. Elyssa would not accuse him, but she knew if he wasn't an idiot, she wouldn't have to marry Ramsay.
"I am so sorry, my sweet sister." Marq placed his hands on her shoulders, kissing the top of her head. "But know that I will be here for you, no matter what."
Elyssa often wondered if she might be nocturnal. Sometimes when she was restless, she would take a turn about the castle, getting some fresh air. It was sad to her, to think that these were the last few nights she would be spending in Pinkmaiden. She shuddered at the thought of the Dreadfort – there was no doubt in her mind that it was an awful place, just as Ramsay would be an awful husband.
"If it isn't my sweet bride-to-be."
The whisper came from the darkness, and Elyssa froze. Even in her most private moments, it seemed that Ramsay haunted her steps. Wrapping her arms around herself as if to evade a non-existent cold, she spun around to see her dark-haired betrothed walking towards her – prowling almost, as if he was a predator and she was the prey. She swallowed hard.
"Can I help you, Ramsay? Are you lost?"
"No, I'm exactly where I want to be." Ramsay stopped in front of her, harsh blue gaze boring down on her. Elyssa wanted to meet his eyes but after a moments she couldn't, and simply averted her gaze. Ramsay caught her by the chin and made her look at him, and Elyssa had the distinct impression that bad things were going to happen to her – before she was married, when she was married.
"I wish to return to my rooms," Elyssa murmured, a poor excuse.
Ramsay scoffed, tightening his grip on her chin. "What you wish doesn't exactly matter anymore, dear Elyssa. You are to be my wife, and therefore you will do what I want, when I want you to do it. I thought you would have understood that by now."
"I know, I just…" Elyssa wasn't sure what to say, where she thought her pleas would get her. Ramsay knew no such thing as mercy, it seemed.
"You're a sweet girl." Ramsay backed her up so that she collided with a wall, and leaned against the wall with his arms either side of her to prevent her from scurrying away. "But you're also stupid. You have one purpose as my wife: to bear me sons. I don't care what you think about things, I don't need to hear your opinions."
"Neither do I need yours," Elyssa responded, before mentally chiding herself. Where had such defiance suddenly sprung from? Ramsay's expression darkened, and he raised a hand as if to hit her. Elyssa screwed her eyes shut, turning her face and waiting for the blow.
"No, I won't hit you." Ramsay laughed, the sound harsh and mirthless. "You aren't mine yet. But I can do other things to you, things that won't leave marks."
Ramsay's hand trailed down Elyssa's cheek, fingers like spiders over her skin. His hand moved down her slender neck, before she froze when his fingers found the swell of her breasts. Elyssa thought she must have taken after her mother, for she had a slim figure and breasts slightly too large for her slender frame. Ramsay did not seem to mind – in fact, he rather seemed pleased, eyes lingering on the curve of her breasts.
Elyssa struggled as Ramsay's hand loosened the ties of her dress, before slipping down to caress her bare breast. She felt completely disgusting, even if they were in an alcove in the corridor. Her eyes flickered shut as Ramsay groped at her, before undid her laces and forced his other hand down to grope at her free breast. Elyssa shuddered, her eyes snapping closed as Ramsay toyed with her nipples, clearly seeking a reaction. When he gained none, he drew back.
Elyssa choked back a sob, tugging her laces together hastily. It was dark and Ramsay could not have seen much, but the feeling of him fondling at her breasts was not a nice one at all. Seeing the effect he'd had on the girl, a smirk spread across Ramsay's lips as he watched Elyssa turn away, lacing her dress back up.
"You'll have to get used to that. I'll be doing a lot more than just touching you when we're married."
Ramsay turned and sauntered off, leaving Elyssa to clutch at herself and wonder what kind of monster she was marrying. He had just forced her up against a wall and touched her against her will – and they were not even married yet. How far would Ramsay go, what would he do, when they were? Elyssa didn't think she wanted to know the answer.