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He was warm

He was warm.  He is warm.  I suppose that is what catches me each time.  In the world of strangers and enemies, I found myself trapped like a prisoner.  I felt felonious, abhorrent, repulsive, but then he came along. 

"You wildmen may steal, but that is not acceptable here,” a woman had yelled at me when I first met him.  I did not realise at that time that eating the piece of vegetable in my hand was stealing.  The woman came after me and attacked me as if I was some fox attacking her livestock.

Then he came.  He stood taller than either the woman or I.  His features smooth and his hair glowing like threads of gold twisting from his pale scalp.  His eyes shone in a green colour much alike the glow of the forest cascading through ripples of water.  However, none of that is what caught me.  None of that is what made me immersed in him. 

“Easy, elder!”  He came out of nowhere speaking in my defence, “The wealh does not know! Hear how her accent is? Theirs is a strange land, I assure you, much different from ours. Our customs are yet unknown to her. Hm?"

The woman retreated after that and the man took my arm.  He was a forgoil who took to my defence.   Now I feel foolish after all this time.  I know he was a mistake.  I know he could never love me.  Nevertheless, I returned to him for that warmth.  He made me feel like a human and not like the savage beast the other of his kind continually make me out to be.  Yet at the same time, I know he looks at me and sees the same as what they do.  He does not look at me and see a woman deserving love.  No, I know he looks at me and sees me as nothing of value.  I am nothing but a means of pleasure and fun for when he grows bored.  That did not really stop me though.  In the heat of the moment, I could pretend his touches were touches out of love.   I pretended he cared.  That fantasy made me feel human again until the next morning I woke and found him in town chasing after other women and ignoring me until all others rejected his attempts. 

"You're pregnant!?"  I remember his exclamations of surprise as he tore through the bushes.  I did not even have the chance to tell him.  I told Hilda, and somehow he hid nearby within earshot of our conversation.  I did not want to deal with talking to him just yet.  No, I wanted to sit down and speak to Hilda.  Gain ground.  Gather a plan.  Gather support.  Then find him to once I had assembled my own strength.  However, of course, nothing goes as plan as I have so painfully learned over my seasons.

"I'll... well, I... suppose then I--I'll have to take you for my wife,” he had sunk into the water by now near us.  He sounded so disappointed.  I suppose to any forgoil it is disappointing to be stuck with a savage as a wife.

"How dare you!”  Hilda’s voice flashed out like a spark of a flame, “How dare you act as this is some--some--some impossible burden! BEMA!  I can't stand men like you. Get up. This is not some curse, Sexwulf son of Wulfheah, and the more you treat it as one the closer I am to punching that pretty little nose in."

"It's not a curse!" Seaxa shouts back. "I know what I must and will do!  Whom do you take me for, leaving behind his own blood?  I'm not going to leave her like this!  Just... I need a moment."

Hilda's voice only grew louder though, "The fact that this is only about your blood is the problem, you small brained imbecile!"  She moved closer to him, growing hotter and hotter in her anger, "Quit being a Nithing for once in your life and stand up.  You knew what you were getting into, did you not?  You knew the risks, and you knew of her loneliness, and still you used her without conscience or remorse. You are no better than your rat of a brother!” 

I'm not Bearda!" Seaxa shouted back, “I knew and I accept it! Do you think I’m not lonesome too? I come back to this town and you've forgotten me, Adda's on the cusp of marriage, my brother's both married and cheated on his wife, and Osgar's dead? I was lonely too! I'm sorry for getting her with child but we both knew what we were getting into! Now I am taking responsibility for it.”

Then stop pitying yourself and start acting like a man!” Hilda growled back, “If I ever hear of you treating her like she's a burden, I will have more than mere words in store for you!”

"I am not so unfond of Blodau or so cruel."  His eyes now moved to me as he says, "Blodau! If I am to be the father of your child, I will be your husband, I promise."

"If she will have you," Hilda snaps. "She has choice in this as well as you, do not forget that."

Hilda says that, but inside I wonder how true her words are.  In this world, do I really have any choices?  Do I really have freedom?  Often I wonder is it safe to say I threw out all my choices and independence the moment I made the choice to betray my people for a forgoil?  It is my curse now to live among these people.  I thought I loved him… I thought he could love me back.  I thought he was able to see me as a human.  Although which he am I talking about now?  Hroda?  Seaxa?  They are the same you know.  They both see me as something for pleasure, not something for love.  I loved Hroda.  I saved him from slavery.  I betrayed the people who granted me freedom for him.  Although I suppose there is one difference between Hroda and Seaxa.  At least the only person Seaxa hurts is me.  Hroda hurt his wife.  I want to believe Seaxa when he tells me he cares.  I want to believe when he says, “Of course I care.  Of course I do. You're more than your shape. I will protect you. Even if we never slept together again, or if you were never the mother of my child.”

For moments, I do, but then I remember Hroda’s promises of love.  I remember the lies that brought me to the prison I now live in.  Then to accent that, he speaks of other women, he chases after them, and he flirts with them in front of me.  How do you believe a person cares for you when they seem not even care to think of you?  When I am threatened or insulted, he does not react.  When another woman is threatened, he willingly fights her.  Even when we lay side by side in bed, he asks questions about other women and asks for advice as to how to make them care for him. 

"She could like me and we could... pass time together. Yes?  But do you think she would be more open if I didn't flirt? That seems so strange."

I want to believe him when he says he cares… but how can I trust when he says he cares when at the same time he does not show me? At least with Seaxa, I knew he never loved me.  Although sometimes, I wish he did not lie and tell me he cares.  It would be easier to have truth then a soft hope of a lie.  And then I begin to wonder, why do I continue to go back to him?  Why is it when I promise myself I will pull away, he comes and speaks his word, he makes me feel warm, and I fall back into his arms? 

Perhaps his inability to care for me is just another layer of the curse the spirits bestow upon me for my crimes.  With Garsig attacking me with hate and Seaxa attacking me with indifference, perhaps all of this is merely something else to make my exile into this life more punishing.  I suppose in the end, I must accept this fate.  I shall live with a fate of never knowing love and acceptance.  What is worse than accepting my fate is accepting the cursed fate I now bestow upon the child growing within me.  Somehow, and I cannot entirely explain this, it feels as if there is a little warmth deep inside me.  This thing is nothing but a little glow that I cannot help but feel a strange absolute love.  It still may not be a reality, but the idea of something deep inside of me growing.  It felt less like a curse and more like a blessing.  For a brief moment, I thought perhaps the spirits have not entirely forsaken me, but then I remember who my child will be, or more what my child must bare for their entire lives.  No world accepts the half-bloods.  They are savages to the Eorlingas and they are forgoils to my people.  It is a blessing disguised in a curse.  Yet a curse I cannot help but love with all my heart before it has even grown into a reality.  This possibility is a curse who makes the rest of this world who imprisons me more bearable.