Chapter 3: A Fearful Arrival

Karigan looked across the grassy plain at her childhood home. Fear raged through her as she thought of marrying someone else other than Zachary.

She kicked Condor into a gallop toward her home. As she approached, she saw people walk out and look at her. Karigan slowed Condor to a slow trot and then she saw a black carriage with matching black horses. She knew then why her father had asked her to come.

Karigan saw her father walk out with Braymer Coyle behind him. Her heart went into her mouth as she sat upon Condor on the gravel path. Her father stood beside Condor as Karigan dismounted. Stevic gave her a hug before letting her go again. "Kari, do you know why you're here?" he asked.

"I have an idea," Karigan said harshly.

Stevic looked at her, "The marriage agreement between the G'ladheon and Coyle clans have been approved." Karigan's father reached behind him and grabbed Braymer's hand and then he grabbed hers. He brought their hands together so that Karigan's hand was being held by Braymer's hand.

Feeling like she was betraying Zachary, Karigan thrust her hand out of Braymer's grip and took a step back. She looked up at Condor, who looked back down at her. She had told him of what they would have to do if it came to this. Condor cocked his ear toward her. Karigan looked back down at her father. "No," she said as she took another step back.

"No?" Stevic asked.

Suddenly, Karigan jumped on Condor again and turned him in the opposite direction. She kicked him into a frantic gallop away from the house. She heard shouting from behind her and guessed that her father sent some guards after her. She looked behind her and saw mounted guards hot on her tail. When she looked ahead of her again, she found a thick area of trees ahead of her, too thick to get through. She looked to her sides and saw her father on her right and then more guards on her left. There was nowhere to go. She pulled up Condor. Then she jumped off of Condor and ran toward the tree line. Karigan plunged into trees and ran threw them.

It was tough going as Karigan dashed through the compact forest. She heard her father's shouting behind her. When she suddenly came to the Grandgent River, Karigan skidded to a stop right at the water line. Now Karigan had nowhere to go. In a last attempt to get away, Karigan drew her saber and turned around to face her father and the guards.

Stevic held his hands in front of him, palms toward her. "Now just calm down Kari, we can talk about this. Just, put down, your sword. There's no need to draw your sword about this."

Karigan still didn't put down her saber. "I'm not marrying Braymer," she said.

"I'm sorry Kari, but you have to now. The contract is signed and finalized," Stevic replied.

"I'm not marrying him!" Karigan shouted.

Stevic shook his head, "I'm sorry Kari." He ordered his men to capture her.

Despite her usual calmness in situations like this, Karigan panicked and shouted at her father, "Please, don't do this! I'm in love with someone else!"

Her father halted the guards, and then he came to kneel in front of her, grasping her arms despite her blade, "Kari, all I want is your happiness. Just tell me and I'll make it happen."

Tears leaked down Karigan's cheeks; she couldn't bring herself to tell her father. Surely he would understand, but to say that she was scared to was an understatement. She looked down and said only loud enough for him to hear, "I can't."

Karigan didn't dare to glance back up at her father but knew that there was sadness in his eyes. Then, she heard someone other than her father call, "Take her back to the house."

Stevic jumped away and Karigan regained herself just in time to see the guards charging her. Karigan went into the defense and attacked the guards. But even when she trained with Drent, she was overcome by them and was pinned to the ground. They took her saber as the others forced her to her feet. They tied her hands behind her back and led her away.

Not going back there, Karigan dug her heel into the nearest guard's foot and heard a sickening crunch followed by a scream. Next, another guard tried to contain her by holding her by the neck, but he made the mistake of getting his hand too close to her mouth. Karigan bit down hard on his hand to the point where she tasted coppery blood and didn't let go until she felt something hard hit her. Her eyesight dazed and blackened on the edges and then she toppled to the ground, unconscious.

Karigan didn't know how long she had been asleep. She woke up to be in her room back at her house. She looked around as much as she could before she felt pain on her head. Karigan reached up and felt gauze wrapped around her head. She took a deep breath and sat up in the bed. She threw her legs over her bed and stood up. She walked over to the door and put her hand on the doorknob. She tried to turn it but it was locked.

She sighed and walked back to her bed and sat down. She didn't know what was going on and why the door was locked. She was still in her Green Rider uniform and as she looked around, she saw a tray of food on the bedside table. Karigan went over to it and sniffed the wine and found that it had a sleeping powder in it. She decided to not eat any of the food on the tray.

After a while, Karigan heard the door lock click and the door opened. Braymer Coyle walked in and then closed the door again; it locked on the other side. Braymer crossed his arms over his chest. "What's going on?" he asked.

"I can't marry you," Karigan said. His lips narrowed into a grim line, he walked toward Karigan and struck her in the face. Karigan screeched and she felt the sting on her cheek. "No!" she screamed.

Braymer raged in anger and threw Karigan onto the bed. He punched her in her abdomen and spent wrapped his hands around her neck, squeezing. Karigan felt the air leaving her and she fearfully realized that she couldn't bring new air in, then let her go and stormed out of the room without another word. He left Karigan on the bed, alone and beaten. Zachary flashed into her mind and tears fell. She lied on her side in a fetal position on her bed. Karigan cried into her pillow, for she knew now that she may not get out of this. She fought with all she had, but she may actually have to marry Braymer Coyle.

It wasn't as long as I thought but I hope that you all enjoyed the chapter. And don't forget to review!