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The wind still whined through the castle and the heavy tapestries which were intended to block the draughts, rattled when the gusts were particularly strong. Freya sneaked a glance at her new husband, seated to her left. The wedding had been a simple affair with only her small entourage and a small group of his soldiers in attendance. With war looming it was practical and tomorrow at first light, Freya's entourage would leave for their return journey to her former home. Their duty discharged they would have news for her father of an alliance sealed and a marriage finalised. Freya wondered briefly if her father would even take a moment to wonder over her. His own wife dead in childbirth, Freya's father had little time for romance and empathy. His overwhelming desire had been achieved and that was all that mattered to him.

Movement next to her drew Freya back to the present. Her husband looked at her, his face expressionless.

'It is in our tradition to retire now for the ceremonial bedding ceremony', he said.

Freya felt the blood rush to her face. She knew what was expected of her of course.  Her father had instructed her maids to educate her in the demands of her new role. Heirs were after all conceived through the act. It had seemed so very distant however when Freya sat in her bedroom learning how to please a man. The reality of sitting next to her new husband was very different and she felt suddenly quite queasy and anxious.

Ewen rose and reached out his hand to Freya.

'It is time for my new bride and I to retire,' he stated to those assembled in the hall.

Freya rose to her feet and numbly followed Ewen to his chambers. Her rushed tour this morning had not reduced her confusion as to the layout of the castle that was her new home. Instead she found herself more disorientated than she had the night before.

Ahead of Freya the ornate doors indicated the private chambers of Ewen the Cold. As was traditional, the ornate wedding dress was removed and too soon Freya found herself lying on the left side of the large bed. Next to her, clothed similarly in a long shift was Ewen. The priest competed his prayers and sprinkled holy water wishing the new couple many years of fruitful union. All too soon, the room emptied and the door closed leaving Freya alone with the stranger that was her new husband.

Ewen rolled over and began methodically to unbutton the shift that Freya had been dressed in. He slowed briefly as he passed over her breasts and touched them each in turn. Freya felt the heat of her embarrassment and was grateful for the half light of the massive bedroom. Eventually her shift was completely undone and she lay naked on the bed. Ewen looked intently at her body. Abruptly he sat up and pulled the shift over his head. Freya willed herself not to look at his naked body which loomed over her.

The bed shifted and creaked slightly as Ewen moved over Freya. He carried his weight on his arms as he used his knees to push her legs open. Freya found her breath catching in anxiety and she felt his hardness between her legs. Suddenly he thrust and she gasped in pain as he entered her. It was so much more painful than she had been told. As Ewen moved in and out of her, the pain lessened a little. The slickness of his arousal made the movement easier and Freya became aware of his heavy breathing close to her ears and the light sweat from the exertions of him moving on top of her. Suddenly he grunted and stiffened before thrusting deeper into her. Freya felt him collapse onto her, his breathing hoarse and uneven.

After a few minutes he withdrew himself from her and rolled over onto the bed. Freya felt a burning pain between her legs.

'Good night wife,' Ewen grunted as he settled into a comfortable position.

It took a long time for Freya to fall asleep. The unfamiliar room and shadows didn't ease her mind. Neither did the slow trickle of liquid that dripped out of her long after Ewen had finished making her his wife.

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