Scarlet gazed through the window of her stone prison. She let the fine tapestry slide smoothly through her fingers to cover the window in false color and turned back to her cell.
Time had dribbled away, in fits and starts, until there was none left for her. Tonight, her captivity would end; if all went according to plan, she and the land she’d sold her body to protect would finally be free.
She shook back the flowing hair that had inspired the name her captor called her and focused on calming her mind and spirit. The beguiling scent from the bubbling pot suspended over low flames and glowing coals called her to the fireplace. She’d learned her captor’s tastes well, and the soup she’d made was designed to inflame his appetites…all of them.
“Scarlet! My one consolation in this desolate purgatory!”
She schooled her expression into calm obedience and turned to face the big man as he slammed the heavy wooden door behind him. He hadn’t knocked, of course. Why would he, when he owned both the castle and the woman?
“My Lord,” she affected a deep curtsy, knowing it bared her alabaster neck.
The hand that grasped her arm to pull her inexorably into his embrace no longer caught on the fine material that draped her body. Debauchery had replaced the rigors of combat; callouses had softened the same way hard muscles had. Still, there was enough of the battle-hardened soldier left that she dared not try brute force to win her freedom.
When his lips covered hers and his hands slid with surety over her lush curves, she ignored the screams of instinct and forced herself to remain pliant. That it was becoming so easy to do so was just another grain through the hourglass.
“My Lord, your dinner waits…” she offered, moving away with sinuous grace to fill a waiting trencher.
“What have you made for me tonight, my siren?”
She looked down, feigning submission. “Mushroom soup, my Lord. A local delicacy I thought you would enjoy.”
His greed and lust spurred him to finish the soup quickly, barely noticing the delicately nutty flavor of the mushrooms she’d carefully cultivated in the darkest part of the castle. He pulled her into his arms again, but this time she pulled away slowly and stepped back a few paces.
Scarlet watched the telltale flush of the mushrooms rise in his broad cheeks as he stumbled to his feet to follow, signaling their deadly course.
“Come to the balcony my Lord, you seem flushed.” She backed away, stepping lightly onto the ledge, her silver eyes flashing in the light of the moon as she pulled back the tapestry.
“Yes, some air…” he muttered vaguely, lumbering to the low sill of the waiting window. The world seemed to hold its breath as he tottered, reaching for her slender arm.
As they fell together into eternity, her scarlet hair and dress flowing around them in a brilliant trail, she wrapped her arms around him to whisper, “My name is Silraen.”
This post is a response to a prompt from Write on Edge to write about “flavor.” I confess that I did exceed the 400 word limit by a bit, but since this is the first time I’ve ever broken that limit, I throw myself on the good will of my readers. I wanted a story that was not the typical, fair maiden triumphs over the evil conqueror sort of thing, and I was inspired by the picture above.
As always, please let me know what you think in the comments!