CHAPTER 20: THE ACT OF TREASON
Anna was walking down one of the corridors leading toward the village when rushing leather clad feet clapped against the keep’s stone flooring. Anna turned behind her to see an empty hallway. Her heart began beating ferociously in anticipation and worry, as she was unsure if she should run or stay to see who it was coming from the connecting hallway. She didn’t want to come into contact with Ulrich or a man like him again. She silently mourned the loss of being safe in her own home as thunder crashed outside.
Her mix of worry and curiosity glued her feet to the stone and she was defenseless against it. Tristan’s form appeared from the connecting corridor, and he walked briskly toward her. She mentally sighed in relief, but his hard etched features caught her lips in the middle stage of a smile. His face was tight, his breath harsh, and his eyes full of fiery sparks. Anna was a little surprised and slightly concerned at the expression painted on his normally caring and gentle features.
He walked right up to her and spoke tersely, surprising Anna even further. “I must speak with you, now!”
Anna was taken aback by his harsh words and his demanding of her time without a word in complaint. However, Anna spoke with grace and patience. “Of course. Shall we talk somewhere more private?” From the fire in his eyes, she knew that whatever he wished to speak with her about needed to be confidential.
Tristan looked behind him at the empty hall and then around to the doors they were around.
“Come with me,” he said roughly, while grasping her arm with a less than gentle hand. She bit her tongue as he dragged her to the door that led to his study, and his hand gripped her strongly -so strongly that she wanted to cry out in pain. The bruises from Ulrich were just turning a pale yellow, but now she felt that if he applied any more pressure, the bruises would reappear full-force, creating a sleeve of swollen blue and purple marks on her skin.
Tristan shoved open the wooden door that led to his study and dragged both of them in, shutting the door firmly behind them both. He still grasped her arm, and finally, it was too much for her to bare without saying anything. “Tristan, please let go! You’re hurting me!”
Anna pried at his fingers to loosen his tight grip, and at her actions, immediately let go. What brought on such violent actions? Anna took a few steps back from him while crossing her arms and rubbing the spot he had grabbed.
“Tristan, what have I done to warrant your wrath?” Tears were forming in her eyes, and she felt her body went rigid in frustration. She gazed strongly at her husband. At her query, he looked down at the ground with a defeated glimmer in his eyes. A sigh rushed out of his lungs, and Anna could tell he was using his anger as a front.
Anna had a desire to hug him in that moment. To hold him like she had the last time after the first raider attack, but her stubborn streak didn’t warrant movement; she stayed where she was and waited silently.
He stood at the door, a hand resting on it as if to balance him. His chest heaved with harsh breaths, and he was beginning to shake. Anna stayed silent, scared slightly by this side of Tristan she had never seen. She longed to voice her question again, but she gave him time.
After a few moments passed with only his labored breaths filling the awkward silence, he looked up. She had never before seen such fire and emotion fill his eyes. In the corners of his beautiful umber orbs, red snaked in veins, signaling his tears to form.
Anna gasped raggedly at the fraying sight of her husband. She could hold her tongue and stance no more. She came to him and lifted her hand to meet his chest. “What is it? What ails you so?”
“What did he do to you?” he asked hoarsely, his eyes were swimming with salt water and pain.
“Who? Who are you talking about?” she asked, trying to search for the answer in his face but finding nothing.
“Him. Ulrich. What did he really do to you? You never told me or anyone else; you always skirt the question.” His words struck her, and she didn’t know what to do or say. This had happened to her before when she was under her father’s protection. Friends of her father had been attracted to her, and sometimes, they would even threaten her,. However, she would never bring it up with her father. She knew he would not do anything about it. The only way she would have told him is if the men actually did something to her, but until then, she liked to keep it to herself. As much as she had begun to learn that Tristan was not like her father in any aspect, she still struggled with certain things such as these.
|Eoin Macken||as Tristan|
|Jessica Chastain||as Anna|
|Brendan Gleeson||as Lord Gareth|
|Joely Richardson||as Lady Grevaine|
|Eileen Atkins||as Etta|
|Marton Csokas||as Arik|
|Peter Mooney||as Allen|
|Maria Doyle Kennedy||as Audra|
|Christopher Egan||as Patrick|
|Michael Shanks||as Thayne|
|James Cosmo||as Ekronus|