The Bartered Princess

The Bartered Princess

By:  Lady Jas  Completed
Language: English
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Miriam Feltspar does not expect to be sold to a mercenary, Ketil Haakonsson, a man who terrifies her. Still less does she expect to develop feelings for him. When Vercia is invaded by a hostile force under the command of the Masked King, her situation worsens. Has Ketil survived? If so, will he leave her to her fate? Follow her introduction to a very flexible harem, not to mention the journey to meet the handsome Emir. Does her destiny lie overseas, in Viking lands perhaps? Or should she rule Vercia instead of her elder sister? Contending with war, abduction and a heartless father can only make one stronger.

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82 chapters
The Bartered Princess
Miriam stared in disbelief at the herald summoning her to court. He wore the Feltspar livery of purple and gold so she doubted this was some trick. Still, the hour was late and she had been looking forward to an early night. Could she plead illness? "Will Daphne be there?" she queried, playing for time, and choosing not to use her sister's official title. "Yes, Your Highness," he confirmed. "Her presence has been requested, also." Not that it would make things any more bearable if the Princess Royal were in attendance, it would just deflect some unwanted attention from her. At best, they tolerated each other, though there was dislike in the mix, especially on Daphne's part. Miriam did not have to search too far for the reason why. A suitor had come from a far-flung kingdom and declared he favoured the dark-haired one. That was in the past now as far as she was concerned and she had taken no pleasure in it. Thankfully, she had not been required to accept his loathsome proposal, her
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Chapter Two
"Come."It took everything she had for Miriam to lift the hem of her gown and descend the shallow steps to accept the mercenary's outstretched hand. Unlike hers, it was warm with no trace of a tremor. She was silent, not knowing what else to say, as they made their way to the place where the red carpet ended - or began, depending on your perspective.Nobody came to her rescue because someone already had.A thought struck her."What will become of my maidservant?" she asked, looking back over her shoulder at the middle-aged man who was now engaged in counting his coins. How vulgar of him."You certainly won't be needing her, love," a voice thick with mirth remarked, causing a ripple of amusement to make its way through the many bystanders.The grip on her hand tightened, warningly perhaps, but she had to say it. Jenna deserved no less."Will she be disposed of, too?"Miriam became aware that the mercenary was regarding her stran
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Chapter Three
A woman's scream rent the night air.It sounded as if Sigurd had brought one of the local trulls back with him. Her name was Faye, a lively whore whose company Ketil had sought a couple of times. Just to be certain he sat up and ventured outside, not bothering to cover his nakedness.When she spotted him, as drunk as she was, her unusual violet eyes lit up."So it's to be a threesome, is it?" she slurred. "That will up the rate.""Not tonight. Get rid of her," he said to his friend, going back inside.Miriam was sitting up, her hands caught in the furs, and it didn't escape him that she looked frightened now. She was deathly pale. What he had said to Sigurd could be misinterpreted, he realised."It's not what you think," he told her. "Sig brought a wildcat home.""An animal? I didn't think they roamed this far."It only demonstrated to him how naive she was."This kind does," he said, returning to the bed."Oh," s
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Chapter Four
Miriam was astonished to see Jenna and even more overwhelmed to see the array of shifts and drawers. At least none of them were transparent, unlike some of Daphne's. No stays, but perhaps that was for the best. She had never liked being confined anyway.Choosing a white one as if to make a point, she wondered what had happened to her gowns, though was relieved to see her choker. She touched the pale green ribbon beneath the single plait she had managed to fashion herself and felt a sense of achievement. Had she been transformed into a new person - Mia - overnight?Cautiously, she ventured outside to see about breakfast. Cooking wasn't hard, it was the preparation which could be time-consuming. She had used a cauldron before, when she took a donation of food to a poor family only to find that their mother had fallen ill. It was mortifying to discover that a seven year old knew more than she about the chopping of vegetables and the girl had glowed under her praise, earning a special hug
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Chapter Five
Fortunately, Magnus himself arrived at that point. The sight of a familiar face was bittersweet, given the circumstances. It only became worse when they exchanged a few guttural comments in their own language, and she began to regret her unguarded words. Miriam hadn't meant to insult Ketil, though she'd seen a flash of something akin to pain before he pulled up his emotional drawbridge once more. "I have to be somewhere. Magnus will stay here with you, seeing as you cannot be trusted." "Do you trust him with me?" she asked, and began to wish she hadn't. She was doing it again, turning into the Princess Royal. Ketil went out without saying another word. Miriam twisted her fingers in the single garment which was all that stood between her and her underwear. The greybeard spoke first. "This is a sorry state of affairs." "I did not mean it, what I said," she told him. "I know." "He's angry with me and I keep saying the wrong thing." "Princess, he's not mad at you. Trust me. I've
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Chapter Six
Emerging in the red shift, which was unlikely to be of much use if the customary April snow shower materialised, Miriam dared to make a request. She reckoned she had him at a disadvantage now and two wool dresses would make all the difference to her severely depleted wardrobe.Ketil was of a mind to grant her wish, though he seemed moody, so she decided not to push her luck and ask if anything could be done about Ruth as well as Jenna. As far as she knew, the latter was still in danger of being sent to the mines, though she hadn’t seemed unduly upset when she brought her the clothing. It was difficult to tell, given her own circumstances.Were they both making the best of things?The trip to her former chamber brought its own despair. She looked out of the diamond-paned window, a lump in her throat, and remembered her lady mother. It would be her birthday next month. At least, it would have been.Choking back her grief, she hoped Queen Eleanor would guide her in this difficult choice.
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Chapter Seven
Ketil could not take his eyes off his ‘slave’ as they shared a communal feast later in the empty hut which had once been occupied by Ulf. It had become something of a tradition to toast the absent warrior, who must be drinking with the gods in Valhalla now. He doubted he would be waited on by as lovely a Valkyrie as this one. His thoughts turned to Astrid. Sigurd’s little sister was always sobbing over something and agreeing she felt better afterwards. What had she been, fourteen, when they left? Ketil hoped she was safe wherever she was. It was odd how they hadn’t been able to find her, and perhaps just as well given the secret he had kept for so long. Still, he couldn’t save everyone. As he watched, Miriam smiled at Magnus and poured him more beer. She seemed to be struggling with the heavy jug. Those hands were meant to stitch tapestries, pluck harps, or arrange flowers not to do heavy peasant work. He wondered how they would feel around his cock and had to check himself. That wa
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Chapter Eight
Miriam was panting as well as soaking wet when she reached the hut. It was a haven, though not, she suspected, for long. She searched frantically for something to wear before subsiding in a kind of daze. More than likely, in this mood, Ketil would only rip it off.Why was he being like this with her? Belatedly, she realised he had been naked. She must have been in a kind of brain fog when she entered the water. That had soon woken her up.Common sense prevailed. She needed to dry herself, perhaps on an old chemise, and maybe wear the peach dress which was currently lying on the floor. It could well be covered in insects by now.On hearing the creak of the door, she snatched it to her for the minimum of covering, only to see Magnus.“Are you all right, lass?” he asked, adopting the local vernacular.She managed a nod before she found her voice. “I fear I have killed a robin unknowingly,” she said. “All this bad luck.”“Speaking of which,” he began, and sighed. “I am the bearer of furth
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Chapter Nine
The table in one of the lesser Halls was already set for supper. Shocked gasps greeted their entrance. Miriam held her head high, her carriage royal as she made her way to the seats reserved for the guards and their wives or women.“Touting for business?” Daphne hissed, her voice carrying a long way.“I leave that to you, dear sister,” Miriam replied, placing a napkin on her lap.“We are here to negotiate,” Ketil said, helping himself from a platter of cold meats.“Seeing as you have my choker now, Daphne, I feel it only right you return those jewels which were – no, are – mine.”“What is she talking about, Dee?” Lady Rutherford asked.“I know not. Something trumped up between the pair of them, no doubt.”Miriam waited to be served with wild mushroom soup, before continuing, “And I will have my gowns.”“What need have you of those now?”The scorn almost had him reaching for his dagger.“They are hers by right.”“You cannot deny it, my lady,” Magnus said. He had arrived early, and no S
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Chapter Ten
Ketil could hear the others going about their morning tasks – the clink of weapons, the filling of the cauldron with water – and still he made no move to stir. The smell from the cooking fire was both comforting and tempting, though not as wholly satisfying as the woman sleeping beside him. Miriam. He wanted to be there when she woke, not to taunt her or force his attentions on her, but to reassure her in case she felt shame for behaving the way she did, something which had not been wholly her fault given his encouragement. He did not regret a single thing about last night. She had been so receptive, so responsive and not, he judged, from either fear or compulsion. Was she really so set against the idea of him finding her a noble husband? If Jenna was unable to vocalise her feelings – and Orm had hinted she may not be wholly dumb given their nightly activities – Miriam was a whole other matter. The breathy gasps had been followed by shrieks which turned to screams as she jerked and
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