For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.
Once it had been a refuge. A wall three feet thick had ringed it about, and in the winter the snow lay so deep against the gate no one could get out. Once she had lived there with her father and brothers, through the cold, hungry months of the winter, and the star-filled nights of summer. Winter and summer alike, a fire roared in the hearth, the dogs lay by the wall, and the watch kept his post on the tower.
One summer, when the gate stood lazily open, and the watch snoozed, and only the dogs kept half an eye open, they had fallen on her father’s hall. Mercenaries, between one war and the next, looking for easy pickings. She wasn’t the easiest of all, but she was no match for a dozen armed men, not when her father and her brothers lay in their blood with the dogs, and the serving men fled. So they took her and they did with her what all soldiers do with women they find. Later, when they had done, night fallen and they were sleeping, she cut the throat of their leader. They caught her and they ran her through, of course, but her spirit came home. She still waits for the band of soldiers to dare to come back to her father’s hall. Once it had been a refuge. Now it was a trap.