Victarion was a big man, and could handle a great deal more alcohol than most members of his crew. Still, it was obvious to him he had had to much to drink. The floor seemed to move back and forth as he tried to walk. As he headed to the small cottage where his salt wife lived, the faces of his previous two swam before his eyes.
His first had been a pretty thing, but tiny. Six and ten, she had claimed to be, though Victarion had suspected she was younger. He had taken her on his first proper raid. When she had begun to grow great with child, Victarion had felt proud. But as the months passed, her condition deteriorated. The pregnancy was not kind to her. She was bedridden for the last month of it. When she finally gave birth, neither she nor the child survived. It had been a daughter, so Victarion took some small comfort in that fact.
His second had been sturdier, had seemed much better suited for bearing children. Unfortunately, he had never found out how pregnancy would treat her. She had succumbed to a pox less than three months after he had taken her.
He shouldn't drink so much. He always brooded on the past when he had too much wine in him. But what he needed to do... He could not do it sober.
His brother's face appeared in his mind, unbidden, unwanted. His boasts rang in his ears. He had laughed. Victarion hated being laughed at.
He stopped walking when he reached the door of her cottage. Euron could have been lying. He pushed that thought away. It would not do to doubt himself.
When he entered, he found her sitting at the table, waiting for him. Her face was streaked with tears. The timid, tear stained look she gave him when he approached filled him with conflicting emotions.
"M-my Lord... D-did you...?"
"Wine." He sat down heavily, and the chair groaned in protest. She hesitated at first, no doubt taking in his already clearly drunken state, but did as she was asked. He drank deeply from the skin she brought him, and sat in silence.
"... M-my Lord?" Her fear made her stumble over her words. Did she know what he had resolved to do?
"D-did you speak with your b-brother?"
"I did." He tried to keep his tone level, though his head was so foggy, he couldn't be sure if he was succeeding or not.
He studied her face as he debated what to do next. She was very soft looking. Soft brown eyes, soft brown hair, soft, rosy cheeks. Soft, soft, soft. Not the type of person who belonged on the Iron Islands.
"Walk with me." He rose unsteadily to his feet. She followed him as he headed out to the shore. The air was cold, and damp. It helped to clear his head a bit.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her close, placing a hand on her stomach. He could feel it. "Euron has told me," He began, speaking slowly, careful not to slur his words. "He says you went to him willingly."
"He... No! My Lord, he lies! I would never..." She tried to step away from him, but his grip on her arm was too strong.
"You still keep to your story?"
"M-my Lord, I swear it, I would never betray you willingly... He f-forced himself on me, as I t-told you." She was starting to weep again.
"Spare me your tears. You lie." If he believed her over Euron, he would have to face his brother again. This way was easier.
"I don't, I don't, please, believe me... I was faithful, I swear it." She looked up at his face, her eyes pleading with him to believe her.
Victarion stood there, holding her still for a moment. Then, quickly, before he could change his mind, he drew back the hand that had been on her stomach, balled it into a fist, and drove it into her with as much force as he could muster.
She let out a cry, and crumpled. When he let go of her arm, she curled up unto a ball at his feet, clutching her stomach. He flipped her with his foot so that she was looking up at him.
"M-my Lord..." She whispered through her sobs, so quiet that he could barely hear it. "P-please... I b-b-beg of you..."
He did not answer. Lifting her up by her hair, he drove his fist into her abdomen yet again. She was as soft as she looked, he found himself thinking. He was not used to beating a woman like this. Men were hard and muscly. There was so much more resistance.
He hit her again and again, ignoring her sobs, her screams, how she struggled to get away, how she pleaded for mercy.
How long had she been dead? Victarion wasn't sure. His knuckles were raw, and his arms were tired. Even though she had long since fallen silent, the sound of sobbing mingled with the crashing of the waves. Victarion realized the sound was coming from him. He rose, his mind numb. Without thinking, he picked up her bloody corpse and carried it down to where the waves met the shore. There were crabs here. Scavengers. They would eat anything. He lowered the body gently, tenderly, treating her with more care in death than he ever had in life. Leaving her lying there, he took a few steps back. Already, a crab had crawled over to investigate.
Suddenly unable to bear the sight of her so beaten and broke, he turned and stumbled back up to the cottage. As the wind blew, it seemed to carry with it the sound of his brother's laughter.