Age of Edward Contest

Your pen name: LifeInkognito

Title: The Viking's Woman

Type of Edward: Viking Edward

Summary: When the Irish Kingdom of her father is attacked, Isabella is left with no choice but to marry the barbaric Viking Chieftain in order to protect her people.

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The Viking's Woman

The watchman enters the Great Hall through the west wing, clad in his armor, his sword sheathed at his side. "He brings warriors!" he yells. "Thirty men on horseback; all armed, my Lord."

My father's face remains expressionless, but I can feel his hand grow hot against my shoulder, his fingers digging sharply into my skin. "Stand down," he announces. "Let them pass through the gates."

"My Lord, they mean to attack!"

I flinch at the man's panicked tone. War has destroyed my home. When the Viking warriors invaded the shores of Ireland, they offered our people no mercy. Now our land is plagued with death and destruction. Our kingdom has been turned to ruins. If the Viking Chieftain means to resume the battle, there is no hope. We've neither the troops nor the weapons left to hold them off any longer.

"Let them pass," my father repeats harshly. "Do not question me."

"Yes, Milord." The watchman bows meekly and leaves the room to give the appropriate orders.

As King, my father did what he must to protect our people. A truce with the Viking Chieftain did not come easily. There was nothing the barbarian could want from us that he could not take by force. But there was one thing he was willing to accept. It was the only way to save us, the only one way to protect the lives of our people….


Our union will create a treaty of peace, if the Chieftain chooses to accept me. The kingdom will be his by inheritance rather than by force. Our people will be safe.

If he does not accept me, I do not expect I will live much longer.

Suddenly, a commotion begins behind the large wooden doors that protect the Great Hall. I can hear the sounds of hoof steps, and the shouts of guards as they struggle for order. The Chieftain has come.

"Father…" The word escapes me without my consent, a desperate plea for what I know I can't have.

But the sound of my voice is drowned away by the groaning of the heavy wooden doors as they're pushed open. Light pours into the large room, illuminating the figures standing in the archway.

It's as the watchman said. Thirty or so men, all armed with axes, swords, or bows, have come to the castle. And leading them is a man so frightening that the sight of him makes me inhale sharply. I turn my face away quickly, clenching my fingers into fists at my sides.

He's brought his stallion into the palace. It's a magnificent creature, pure black and menacingly large. As he rides forward, the horse's feet clop loudly against the stone floor. My father grunts, appalled at this horrendous lack of respect, but doesn't speak. We both keep silent as the Chieftain approaches, his large shadow encroaching upon us.

"It is an honor," my father greets nobly, playing the part of a welcoming King, despite our circumstances.

"I've no wish for pleasantries," speaks the Viking. His voice is strong, his Norse accent thick and strange. It sends shivers up my spine. "The girl."

My father's hand slips away from my shoulder. He clears his throat. "I present to you, my Isabella."

I look up, and a numbing horror washes over me. The Chieftain is large and well muscled, his skin tanned from years of labor beneath the sun and littered with a thousand scars. He wears a crudely sewn tunic, heavy boots, a mantle of thick animal skins, and a long sword sheathed at his waist. His jaw is sharp, his brows thick and narrowed, his hair an odd reddish color. And his eyes… they're as green as the woodlands and as piercing as a dagger. I'm trapped under his hard, callous stare, helpless to look away. My pulse quickens, my heart pounding almost painfully in my chest.

"Isabella," my father hisses, but I don't turn to look at him. I've stopped breathing; it's as if the Viking's gaze has turned me to ice.

The Chieftain turns down his lips, displeased with me. It breaks me out of my daze. I breathe in sharply, not having realized the lack of air was making me lightheaded.

"Isabella," my father says again, his impatience growing. "Go forth."

My legs move forward on their own accord. I slowly move one foot in front of the other, drifting across the room to close the space between the Chieftain and I. His eyes remain on mine, stony and unfathomable. With every step, I can feel my breaths growing shorter, my throat turning dry.

I'm almost directly in front of his horse when he moves. My steps falter and I shrink back, watching as he lithely dismounts his horse and steps foot on the ground. He's so tall, so frighteningly huge. His large hands could squeeze the life from me without any effort at all. And that could very well be what he plans to do.

"There is not a more beautiful woman in the land," says my father. "I tear out a piece of my heart to offer her to you."

The Chieftain reaches forward and, ignoring the startled gasp that escapes my lips, takes my arm in his calloused hand, holding up my wrist for inspection. He's appraising me like an animal for sale! I wait for my father to interject and save me from this humiliation, but he stays back, letting the Viking continue.

Seemingly satisfied with the state of my fingers, the Chieftain drops my hand, only to grab a lock of dark hair off of my shoulder. I force myself not to flinch away from him as he lifts it to his nose and inhales deeply. Still sniffing, his nose follows the length of the strand, his face bending closer to mine, until he's touching the side of my neck. He exhales slowly, the warmth of his breath washing over my skin. Humiliated, I close my eyes, willing my heart to slow its frantic pace. I will not cry, not before the barbarian that slayed my men and destroyed my world.

At last, I feel the Chieftain take a step back, but I do not open my eyes again. I cannot bear to look at him.

"I will take her as my wife," he says, speaking to my father.

My eyes snap open. The Viking's mouth is a hard line, his gaze as hard as iron. I realize with a searing dread that this cruel man has sealed my fate. He is to be my husband. My life will be his to take. I know nothing of what will become of me.

"Come," he says, looking into my eyes.

Engulfed with terror, I take another step back.

"Isabella!" my father interjects angrily. "You will obey the Chieftain."

Adrenaline is coursing through my veins, and suddenly I feel bold. This man has done unspeakable things. He's fought in battles, destroyed villages, taken the lives of innocents. He wishes for me to fear him, but I won't give him the satisfaction. He cannot own me. "I'm not a horse you can summon whenever you please," I whisper fervently.

The Chieftain gives me a chilling smile. "My horse is mine, as are you. And you, too, will learn to come when I call."

My face pales at his heartless words. "You—"

"Cease!" he orders sharply. "Think on your words carefully. Do you wish to see more Irish blood spilled upon this ground?"

Like the cold breath of a grave, his words seem to cut through my very soul. I lower my head, ashamed of my selfishness.

"Come," he commands again, holding out his arm.

Blinking back tears, I move forward. The Chieftain reaches out and takes my hand, enveloping my fingers within the massive size and strength of his hold. Yet, although his grip is firm, I can feel his calloused thumb rubbing slowly over my knuckles.

"We wed tonight."

"Tonight?" my father interjects. "It is not enough time for an adequate—"

"Is it not?" the Chieftain interrupts. "I have seen the beauty of my betrothed, and I will make her my wife before this night is over."

The Viking's grip on my fingers tightens. I look up and meet the gaze of his intense, green eyes.

"Until tonight, my Lady," he says quietly, lifting my hand as if to kiss it. But taking notice of the way I cringe away from his touch, he suddenly changes his mind and releases me completely.

"We will wed in the church," he calls out, "where your God always abides."

"Very well," my father replies suppliantly.

And with that, he turns, lifting his foot onto the stirrups of his saddle and throwing himself back onto his horse. I watch as he pulls the reins and turns the stallion in a quick circle.

"Our attacks will cease," the Chieftain announces to my father, whose face is pale and frightened. "Bury your dead." Then he turns to his warriors, who until now have stayed motionless. "Ver reid!" he bellows.


The Chieftain's stallion soars out the doors of the great hall, his warriors close behind him.

All I can do is stand still and stare after them, gasping for breath.

I am bathed and dressed carefully. My gown is crafted from thin, billowing blue fabric, and a jewel entrusted diadem rests atop my loose hair. I'm meant to look the part of a valuable gift for the Chieftain when he sets his eyes on me tonight.

A servant brought me wine to soothe my nerves, but I greatly suspect something stronger has been added to it. I'm glad for it; my trembling has ceased, and although my mind is full of dread, my body is serene.

Do I have a choice? I can walk down the church aisle and refuse to say the words. I can reject him… but what good will it do? I won't let the blood of my kinsmen be on my hands.

No… I'll give myself to this man, if it will save the lives of my people. I must.

When the sun begins to set, a servant takes me by the hand and leads me out of my chambers. I do not protest as we travel through the castle halls, and then across the yard to the church. I feel as if I am in a dream, floating in my own mind.

And then we're in the church. It's a small, stone building, cold and dimly lit. Torches burning on the wall illuminate the faces of our few guests. My father will not look at me; he stands off to the side, his face turned to the side uncaringly. And the Chieftain… my husband-to-be… waits at the altar, his expression stiff and grave. At the sight of me, his eyes darken.

I think I must be drunk from the wine. My head spins, my hands shake, and I cannot look away from the man who is to be my husband.

He stands taller than any other man in the room, his body strong and powerful, built to excel in conquest. He holds himself proudly, well aware of his advantage. And his eyes are searing, hypnotizing…

Black spots dance across my vision.

The priest is speaking. My father's hand takes one of mine, but they feel like dust against my skin. He hands me over to the Viking, and I gasp, shocked by the fiery heat of his body. Sweat gathers above my brow. The room is growing hotter…

The priest speaks of honor, obedience, and trust. With a Viking? Impossible. But I press my lips together in silence.

The room grows hotter still, and I feel as if I've been set on fire. I want to scream out, but I can't. I'm trapped, the Chieftain's hands still holding mine, and I cannot move.

"Before God, I declare you man and wife."

My husband takes my hands and lifts them to his mouth. Where his lips touch me, I burn.

In a daze, I step forward, letting him grab hold of my arms. I can only see him; the world has faded away. My heart pounds with fear, yet a flame is burning within me, and I've never felt so alive.

"You smell of mead," he grumbles. "Are you drunk?"

I shake my head quickly, but he does not seem convinced.

My husband turns to our guests, his grip tightening around my arm. "My wife and I will retire," he announces.

"Wait," I interject. "This is not proper. It is Irish custom that—"

"You are a Viking's woman now. We have customs of our own. Now come," he murmurs, his eyes hard and penetrating, daring me to defy him.

I stumble behind him as we leave the church, coming into the cold night air. The moon is high above us, its muted light casting eerie shadows against the Chieftain's face.

My husband turns towards the woodlands and whistles a single, high-pitched note. The bushes rustle, and then his black horse prances towards us. He's left the creature to wait for him in the forest this entire time.

He holds his hand out to assist me, and reluctantly I step into his arms. In an instant, he lifts me up and throws me onto the saddle of his horse. The movement is so sudden that I nearly lose my balance and fall, but then he's sitting behind me, his large arms holding me steady.

The air begins to whistle in my ears as the stallion moves beneath us, galloping through the night. The guards hastily throw open the doors and gates as we fly past them and past the castle walls. We soar through the meadows and fields and woodlands that lay beyond the palace wall, and I hold onto the saddle as tightly as I can, praying I won't fall.

My husband's breaths are slow and steady. His hand is still resting against my waist to hold me in place. I can feel the entire length of his body, the bold strength of his legs, the brute power of his arms.

The knowledge of what is to come sobers me. I've heard the whispers of servants, and I am not a stranger to the knowledge of what happens in a bridal bed. But it pains me to think of this Viking, this barbarian, seeing me bare, touching me so intimately… My stomach lurches.

The Chieftain has no desire to speak with me. We ride in silence, for what feels like an eternity. I've never stayed atop a horse for so long at once, and my legs are sore from the effort of keeping myself steady.

At last, we cannot ride any longer. We've reached the high cliffs that overlook the bay. The water is glinting like silver in the night under the light of the moon. And all along the land, there are crude little dwellings made from bark, stones, and long grasses. The Vikings have set up camp here.

Warriors begin to file out of their homes, shouting out with pride as they welcome their leader back. They're all massive, dressed in furs and leather, swords sheathed at their waists. Behind me, my husband raises his hand high in greeting.

"Kvedja!" he calls out, and then continues to speak in Norse. I know nothing of the language. His voice is strong and fervent, his lips curling around the foreign words forcefully. I do not understand a word, yet I can feel power behind them.

"Ja!" shout the warriors, responding enthusiastically to whatever he's told them.

My husband bends his head towards me, his breath hot against the shell of my ear. "My men congratulate our union."

After lowering me from his horse, he leads me through the little makeshift village, his grip on my arm firm and unyielding. And when we arrive at the last of the lodgings, the largest of them, I know it is his.

"Come, kona," he whispers, leading me into the hut.

I've known this moment would come; I should be resigned to the fact. But now, the reality of what is to happen is suddenly unbearable. Terror washes over me, my heart pounding violently in my chest.

He can kill me. He very well may.

The inside of the hut is a small space, cold and dark. The dirt floor has been covered with thick animal furs for cushioning. My husband presses gently on my shoulders, guiding me to sit amongst them. They're soft and warm against my skin, yet I shiver despite myself.

"The Gods have crafted you finely for me," he whispers, reaching a hand out towards my face. His hands touch me carefully, his calloused fingers traveling slowly from just below my ear to the beginning of my collar. His breaths grow quicker, hot as they wash over my neck, and I know what he wants.

I close my eyes and turn my face away.

Ignoring how I stiffen beneath his touch, his fingers move to the collar of my dress, slipping under the fabric and pulling it down my shoulders. The flowing fabric threatens to slide down completely, but I press my arms tightly against my chest to keep it there. No man has ever seen me so exposed. And to think of this Viking, this warrior, gazing upon me when I am most vulnerable… Tears begin to gather behind my eyes.

"No," he commands firmly, displeased with my modesty. His hands quickly take hold of my wrists and pry them away from my body.

"Please," I whisper, and the first tear falls over my cheek. "Please, don't."

His grip on my wrists loosens, and he leans back. For a moment I think he's going to let go of me completely, but then his hand moves to cradle my waist, easing me backwards into the furs. All I can do is tremble beneath him, my eyes riveted to his.

"Vif," he grunts, his expression growing hard, "you are my wife. By Odin, you will be my wife tonight. Do you understand?"

I lower my chin.

He sits back, his hands quickly unbuckling his belt with its sword scabbard. It falls heedlessly to the floor. Then he tugs on his tunic, pulling the fabric over his head. Without pause, he continues to disrobe himself until he is completely bare before me.

His body is all rippling muscles. Reddish hair covers his tanned chest, slimming and narrowing at his waist, leading to the powerful shaft of his sex. Startled, I try to keep my eyes on his, but curiosity gets the better of me, and they slip back to his manhood. Like him, it is strange and large and frightening, and I fear the pain our union will bring me.

But there's a strange and savage beauty about his nudity. He's lithe, almost animal-like in his movements as he leans towards me, crawling over my body, moving to position himself astride me, ready to satisfy his most primal urges.

"No," I cry again, struggling under his weight.

Ignoring my pleas, his hand takes hold of my dress, pulling it up and over my head. Beneath the fabric I wear nothing. The air is cold and I shiver, quickly moving my arms to cover my nakedness. I can feel his eyes on my exposed breasts.

And then he lays his hands on my waist, yanking me towards him roughly, flipping me over so that I lay on my stomach. His hands reach greedily for my thighs, ready to spread them apart and take me like an animal.

"No!" Acting on instinct alone, I resist his strength. His grip is loose enough so that I am able to flip myself back over. I raise a hand and plant it against his chest, holding him back.

Beneath my palm, I feel a heart beat. It's alive, so unlike the way I've imagined Viking hearts—animalistic and dirty and cold. Perhaps there is still hope. Perhaps he's not a monster.

It doesn't have to be this way. I don't need to fear him. If I can prove that I am not afraid… that I am willing to give myself to him, then I might have a chance to save myself from the pain. I know what this man is capable of. I've seen what he's done to my kingdom. And I do not want to be a victim of his brutal wrath. I married him willingly, and I will lie with him willingly as well. I will put my contempt for him and his deeds aside. I will sacrifice and give myself to him freely for the safety of my people.

Oblivious to my thoughts, my husband grows impatient with me. Savagely, he rolls me over again, his muscles holding me down against the furs, urging me to stay in place.

My whole life, I've done as I was told. Everyone takes what they want from me. My father took my freedom, and my husband wishes to take me for his pleasure alone. But I do not want to let myself be defeated any longer, and I need him to understand.

"No!" I shout, this time with conviction. And then I begin to fight. I'm no match for his strength, but my vigor takes him by surprise. I kick my legs and twist in his grip, managing to beat my fist against his chest a few times. He swats my hand away as if it is a pestering fly.

"Enough," he commands, grabbing my hips and turning me over so that he can see my face. I throw my hand towards his cheek to slap him, but he captures it and holds it still, his long, tanned fingers tightening around my wrist. His eyes, black in the dim lighting, stare into mine with an intensity that makes me go completely still. But I do not waver.

"You will be my wife," he repeats, his temper flaring.

I take in a deep breath and gather my courage. "Yes. I will."

My answer startles him. He exhales sharply through his nose, his brows furrowing as if he suspects me of deception. In his bewildered state, his grip on my wrist loosens. I take advantage of it and try to move my hand closer to his face.

Just as my fingers make contact with his cheek, he grunts with surprise, pulling my hand back. I expect his expression to be one of fury, but it is not. Slowly, I can see that his resolve is beginning to waver.

Seeing his confusion, I grow bolder. I must prove to him that I will give him what he desires without force. I tell him softly, "I will be your wife." Not his slave, or his captive. I will be his equal.

My husband does not know what to make of me. I stay still beneath him, gazing upon his face, silently pleading with him to listen to me.

Slowly, he releases my wrist again. His eyes remain on mine, and I can see how wary he is. But he is not stopping me.

I move my hand to lightly brush his cheek. The skin is rough but warm beneath my fingers. My husband closes his eyes.

Gauging his reactions, I press my palm closer, cradling his jaw. A deep hum of pleasure rumbles inside of him, and his hand moves to cover my own, trapping it against his face. He tilts his chin, bending his head so that my hand is spread across his entire cheek, and suddenly my husband is vulnerable. Hope blossoms within me. For the first time in my life, I feel... power.


I flinch away from his unexpected command. My husband grabs my wrist again, pulling my hand away from his face and pinning it to the ground. His breathing is heavy and ragged, his expression hard and unyielding once more. "No more of this," he commands.

I was wrong. He is a savage.

I can feel his sex pressed against my thigh, feel it's heat and savage pulse. It makes me remember to fear him. I raise my hands and try to push him off of me, but his strength is superior. He easily captures both my wrists in one of his hands and stills them beneath his weight. I cannot move.

He raises his other hand, and I turn my face away, waiting for the sting of his slap. But it does not come. I hold my breath as he moves a finger softly down the valley between my breasts. Then slowly, he begins to caress the swells of the mounds. His touch is gentle, almost kind, and like nothing else I've ever experienced before. Still overcome with fear, I'm unsure what to think of the new sensation. Then his thumb grazes over my nipple, stroking and kneading until it becomes a taut peak beneath his touch. I toss my head backwards and clamp my mouth shut so that I do not cry out at the sudden, embarrassing wave of pleasure that runs through me.

"When we come together," he whispers as he leans down, brushing his lips against my ear, "you will be mine, and I will be yours, and we will be one."

His voice penetrates something deep inside of me. Desperately, I pray that my expression does not betray me, that it shows scorn, rather than confusion. I can feel his eyes upon me, awaiting my every reaction.

And then his fingers wind in my hair, and his lips mold against mine. I think to struggle, to press my palms against his chest, but I cannot. I am overpowered. His tongue runs over my lips, forcing them to part, thrusting hot and deeply into my mouth, and I am consumed.

All I can smell is him—fresh like pinewood and undeniably male. His kiss is too powerful, a slow, sure, complete seduction of my mouth, tasting and delving and demanding with such startling insinuation that I can barely form a coherent thought. I'm caught in the shocking intimacy of it all, so overwhelming that I feel as if I may lose consciousness.

He releases me suddenly, and I fall back into the furs, silent and stunned. Carefully, I lift a trembling finger to my lips. They're warm and swollen.

He does not give me much time to collect myself. He leans down, letting his mouth travel a slow, demanding trail from my earlobe to my jaw, and I can feel the moisture of his breath there. Lower still, he trails kisses over my throat, flickering his tongue across my flesh, biting gently at my collarbone.

"Oh!" I cry out as his mouth closes over my nipple, his tongue circling the rosy bud. I writhe beneath him, my head thrown back against the furs. Heat is building deep within me, coiling and simmering in my heart and loins. I can feel my hands quivering, but no longer from fear.

I want to look upon his eyes. Desperately, I reach a hand out, pressing my fingers against his jaw, urging him to look at me. At my touch, he stills, letting me lift his face as he crawls over me, covering my body with his. His eyes watch mine, searching my expression, and I nod, hoping that he understands. I will give myself freely, but not because I am overpowered by his strength. I am choosing him.

"I will be yours, and you will be mine, and we will be one," I murmur, repeating his words. And then I lift my face from the furs and cover his lips with mine. I feel him jolt with surprise, but he does not push me away. Instead, he begins to kiss me back.

The warmth seeps deeper within me… deeper, deeper still. His lips taste mine, gentle at first, then firmer. He ravishes my mouth, and his hips start to rub in a slow rhythm against mine. And like an instinct buried within me, I begin to follow his movements.

He groans with pleasure, and I can feel his manhood throbbing intimately against me. The slow, pulsing tremors building inside of me are almost unbearable.

His hand moves lower, grazing my belly, and then my hips. I realize what he intends to do only a moment before he does it. His fingers brush against my most intimate place, cupping my heat, covering the mound between my thighs.

Desire. Desire storms my senses, sears my skin, sweeps violently through me, pervading my every nerve.

His finger enters me swiftly. Throwing my head back, I have no choice but to ride out the startling, savage sensation that invades me. Intimate, gentle, light, his finger caresses my tender skin. And then he thrusts into me deeper, increasing his speed, finding the places that make my back arch upward. His finger curls inside of me, and my vision suddenly blurs. I feel as if I'm falling, or drowning, or dying of pleasure...

"Fagr," he murmurs. "Minn fjor."

He spreads my legs wide, settling himself between them. And then I feel the heat of his sex press down, moving into me at last.

Pain flashes through me, swift and startling. I part my lips to scream, but my husband smothers the sound with a kiss. He holds me against him, waiting for my body to become accustomed to his.

I can hear him whispering in my ear, but I can't distinguish the words. My mind is clouded, unable to retain a coherent thought. Gingerly, he lifts himself, pulling his body away, only to slide back into me again. Pain courses through me once more, but it is not as harsh now.

Slowly, the discomfort ebbs, and I can feel the depth, the warmth, the velvet of his manhood, and the slow, sure rhythm of his thrusts. Fire sparks inside of me, flames lapping at my skin, heating my blood. They grow within me with every stroke of his body. Drumbeats are pounding in my head, and my hands move to his shoulders, holding onto his corded muscles. The earth pitches and rocks and whirls madly, and still I can feel the smooth slide of his body claiming mine again and again.

And then his lips brush the shell of my ear, and I hear him mutter my name. "Kona… Isabella..."

I shatter, my body arching upward towards him as my blood turns to liquid honey in my veins and my head is filled with a terrible, wonderful fog. Sunlight bursts open upon me, and then fades into darkness, leaving me against the furs, weak and gasping for breath, thinking that perhaps I've died… Vaguely, I notice my husband throw back his head, the muscles in his neck tense. And then he releases his seed inside of me, pulsing into my sex and crying out wordlessly.

We're left lying together in a tangled heap, our bodies damp with perspiration and joined at the hips. Still clouded with the remnants of the pleasure that swept through me, I let his lips meet mine. His muscular arms hold me close, yet he is exceedingly gentle.

"Kona," he whispers again. "Wife."

"Husband," I murmur back, still trying to catch my breath.

"Eidard," he says, bending his face close to mine. His lips are just a breath away, and suddenly I feel warm again.

"Eidard?" I repeat, not understanding the word.

He takes my hand in his, pressing it against his chest. Beneath his tanned skin, I can feel the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. "Eidard," he says again. "You will call me Eidard."

My heart swells and a wave of pleasure runs through me at his words. I nod my head, stroking my fingers across the skin over his heart. "Eidard."

His lips curl upward slightly. "Isabella. Wife."

In this instant, I know that this man, this Viking, so large and frighteningly powerful, will not hurt me. His gaze and the tenderness in his touch have shown me a sweet-tempered side to him that I never thought possible. My instincts scream at me to hate him. Hate him for what he has done to my people. Hate him for the lives he has taken. And most of all, hate him for taking away my freedom. But I know deep in my heart that I will never be able to hate him again. Not since I've felt his touch. The things he has done to me… no, what he has drawn from me. I'd scarcely known such sensations could exist.

His hand reaches out and gingerly moves across my cheek, smoothing my hair away from my face. My eyes dart to his, and I can see the awe in his expression, the reverence.

"You are mine, and I am yours," he whispers, and the now familiar words send a shiver through my body.

His hand moves to my chin, lifting my head so that we are eye to eye. I expect him to kiss me again, but he does not. He stares at me, searching deeply for something in my expression.

At length, he speaks. "Freyja resides in you, kona. Beauty and love. You are made for me."

His words make my throat go dry. I've given him my body, but I do not think I will ever be capable of giving him my heart. Perhaps one day I will grow to care for him… but love… it is too much to ask for.

He sees my uncertainty. "You will learn to see," he tells me confidently, stroking his thumb over my bottom lip. "Your love will be mine. I will win it."

I smile at his confidence, and beneath my palm his heart beats faster.

And I know. I understand.

I am not Isabella, the unfortunate, helpless princess. I am strong. I am the wife of a great Chieftain. I am a Viking's woman.

I hope you've enjoyed the story. Let me know what you think.

This story is dedicated to the most awesome beta in the world, ExquisiteEdward, who deals with all of my insanity. She slaved over this one-shot with me the day before I posted it. Honestly, I don't know why she even deals with me. But I'm incredibly thankful that she does!

Voting is now open for the Age of Edward contest (until Feb 22), so check out the cool stories and then go to ageofedward (dot) com to vote for your favorites!

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**And to all that asked, yes, after the contest, I will expand upon the one-shot, so keep the story on alert if you're interested.

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Translations (According to Ross G. Arthur's English To Old Norse Dictionary):

Ver reid!: We ride!

Ja: Yeah, Yes

Kvedja!: Greetings!

Kona: Wife

Vif: Woman

Odin: King of the Norse Gods

Fagr: Beauty

Minn fjor: My life

Freyja: The Godess of beauty, love, passion, guardian of women