It was a cold midwinter night. The full moon shone high on the sky, and Caroline stared out over the moors. She heard the bells on the cows, and calls from shepherds gathering their flocks. She remembered the warning clearly: This was a dangerous night. No animals must be outside. If they where, they would become lost. The key in the door turned, and the old woman stepped in with a tray. Caroline gave her a gracious glance, but did not approach the table until the door was closed and locked again.
Then she stepped up and moved towards the table. The dark silk of the dress rustled, and the chain around her ankle clinked with each step. She knew that the servants gossiped, but she was above that. She, daughter of queens, of kings, would never allow the gossip to reach her.
Once she had eaten her fill she pulled the cord to the bell, which chimed cheerfully despite her dark moods. Carefully she walked back to the window, reaching for the embroidery on the table. The old woman came to bring the tray back to the kitchen, but Caroline refused to give her even a glance. She stared out through the window and let her fingers work with the embroidery. She felt every stitch, every seam, and under her fingers an epic story grew.
The storm howled outside, and nothing living was on the moor. Her window was covered with snowflakes, and with care she opened it to clear it from at least the worst of the snow. She heard class breaking in another part of the castle, and startled she turned away from the window.
Suddenly both her windows where torn open, and she could feel the cold biting her into the bone. She turned around to close it, but froze when she saw him.
A man, dressed in furs, stood in the window. He gave her a long look before he grabbed her wrist and pulled her to him. She fought him as much as she could, but with another tug she was on the white horse. He grunted as he saw the chain around her ankle, pulling her skirt up in the most indecent manners before he tore the chain off as if it was thread.
She screamed, but his hand over her mouth silenced her, and she shivered from the cold. Her beautiful gown of silk and lace was not suited for the chill of a midwinter night. He opened his heavy fur cloak and pulled her into it so that she sat with her back pressed against his. She shivered and shook from chill and worry, but could do nothing but hold on as the wild hunt continued over the landscape. She felt his rough hand around her slender waist and closed her eyes. His body was warm against hers, and all old stories came to her memory.
The ice-barbarians, the wild hunt that stole both people and animals if they could. It was said that they cannibals, and she knew that it was worse than death to be in their hands. She shivered again and opened her eyes to figure out where they were. As she looked down she saw that they’d left her kingdom behind. There was no rescue now. At least not from anyone else. Of course, before she could figure out how to get out of this they would have to land.
She felt his hand playing over her bodice and suppressed a shiver. She tried to pull away, but he pressed her against her closer. For now there was nothing she could do to escape his unwelcome advances.