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She Will Not Break

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She would not break under Kori's rage or fear, and she will not break now. Runa knows her older son despises her for it, knows he wouldn't appreciate it even now, when it's his enemies who are trying to make her break.

They might break her body, and she knows that if they do, it will be left on the doorstep of the home her older son rarely returns to. But they will not break her silence, because they don't just want to kill her. Her family is more important than her own life, and her sons, her precious Nori and Ori, are the most important of all. They cannot kill her boys if they cannot find them.

Biting her lip hard, she keeps herself from doing more than grunt when they break another bone in her hand. Better her hands than Nori's. Better her hands than Ori's skull.

Runa doesn't know how long she holds out, doesn't know how badly she is hurt, when she hears someone entering. Someone unexpected, she thinks, because the presence near her, the source of all the pain, moves away. There are sounds that she manages to discern are a fight, but she doesn't have the strength left to help. She couldn't see to do anything even if she did, though how long it's been since they'd made sure of that, she doesn't know.

Long enough for her eyes to hurt less than other parts of her. Nothing doesn't hurt, but some things hurt less than others.

Someone comes back over, and she isn't even aware she's tensed until she hears a quiet voice promise he's not here to hurt her. There's pain in that voice, though at injuries the dwarrow took or at what she must look like, she doesn't know.

"Don't tell Nori." Her voice is rough, and she's not even certain she can be heard. "Don't let him see."

Her older son doesn't like her, is disappointed in her, but even so, she hopes he remembers her with more affection than he would if he saw her like this.

"Can you stand?" The voice sounds worried now, and Runa lets out a wet laugh at the thought that she might have a chance to do as she's been asked.

"Do I even still have legs to stand on?" She thinks she does, but she's not sure if either one is still whole. Drawing in a breath, she tries to shake her head. "Even if I could, I cannot live as they have made this body, useless even should that which can be healed is." Another breath, though it feels heavier than it should. "Mercy, stranger. Give me mercy."