Chapter 4

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  Blinking, Malawashina's eyes strained painfully to focus. Her entire body felt as weighted as a freshly hewn granite stone, her head swam and her mind befuddled. She felt a sudden chill in her bones as she tried to move, but alas her arms gave way and she fell back to whatever it was she had been lain on. Almost in a muddled panic, she tried to move her legs, but the sudden ache of her thighs and the sharp pain at the pinnacle between them caused her to whimper and groan.

"You did this to yourself." Came that all too familiar, deep voice from near her.

Tumbling her head to the side, she peered at the large figure that stood beside her. "Wha...?" Her throat felt dry and brittle from whatever it had been that he had drugged her with. Coughing, she finally found her voice enough to speak, "What have you done to me? Mursili, what did you do?" She felt the bile of panic once more rise painfully up her throat as she dragged herself to be seated. Cupping her head in her heads to steady her dizziness, it was then that she saw it; the bright crimson smeared between her thighs and staining the stiff white linens beneath her. Her violet eyes shot open in horror, and her body began to shake involuntarily. Her mind tried to deny it in every which way that it could conjure, yet the proof of what had transpired lay right between her thighs. Tears began streaming down her cheeks as she opened her mouth to scream, but no sooner did a mere squeak escape her dried lips did Mursili's large paw muffle her sounds.

"Quiet!" he growled at her as he held her fast against his sweat streaked body.

The touch of his calloused hands, the odour of his body mingled with the smell of sour wine made her want to vomit.

"Make a sound and I will strangle you with my bare hands." he threatened. "Now heed my words, darling cousin. If you speak a word of what has transpired to anyone I will destroy you. I will have your father and your brother's heads on spikes to adorn the Lion's Gate. I will have your sister and your mother given to my guards as playthings. I will smear your family's name into the dirt so that the whole of Hattusa and the world can know of how their precious princess is a dirty whore!"

Her body stiffened at his words and she whimpered into his fingers.

"I will not allow some bastard Pharaoh have you as a prize. Now your virtue belongs to me as it always should have! And you, my pretty cousin, shall go to Egypt, eternally shamed. I wonder how that asshole Ramses will react when he finds out his precious new bride's bosom has been fondled and fruit has been plucked?" He laughed almost maniacally then before tightening his grip around her, reaching up to grasp her bare breast with his spare hand. She yelped helplessly as he squeezed, and struggled as best she could against his disgusting touch, but he held her fast like a spider trapping prey to its web. "Say a word, and remember what I will do. Have I made myself clear?"

She froze against him, too terrified to move. He squeezed her breast ever tighter, making her flinch. "Do I make myself clear?" he repeated darkly. She nodded quickly in answer. Satisfied, he released her and pushed her forward. Immediately she scrambled away from him, doing her best to hide out of modesty. He scoffed at her and rolled his eyes. "Now clean yourself up and get out of here. Your maids will be waiting for you."

Yet, she could not bring herself to move for now she was frozen in fear, her eyes wide and panic-stricken, her skin pallid and sickly.

His hazel gaze narrowed on her, pinning her to the blood-stained sheets. "Shall I ravish you again, my sweet girl?"

Without a word she bolted, ignoring the water basin in the room, her body now bruised and almost bare. She dared not let out a whimper but the tears flowed relentlessly down her face as she ran. By then the sky was a stark black with only the thin sliver of the moon and the stars far above illuminating it. Most of the palace was already sleeping, apart from the patrolling guards whom she managed to bypass. Even as she reentered the harem there was no one, not even Utati or her other servants. Yet, she did not care. If there was any eunuch or servant around at that late hour she did not notice and fled straight to her private chambers. Once there she saw a bath had been drawn for her, awaiting her arrival, though by then the steam that had emanated from it earlier was now naught. Ripping off the clothing that remained on her, she threw them immediately into the hearth that had been lit to ward off the midnight chill, and the flames burst and danced in thanks to her offering. Scrambling into the bath then she sat, stiff and chilled to the bone, but not due to the coolness of the water. Her mind swam and her heart raced at what had just occurred, and Mursili's words repeated themselves like a cruel curse on the wind, "I will destroy you...I will smear your family's name so deeply into the dirt...I will not allow some bastard Pharaoh have you as a prize..."

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