Dear Readers,

I know that several of you loved this story, and I am sorry that I've taken it down. I've recently been convicted that this is not the content I want my readers to see from me. I don't want to be known for writing stories that deal with subjects I am not comfortable with, and the more I re-read and thought about it, the more I knew that this story in particular deals with things in much too detailed a manner for me to be true to my faith and my personal convictions. Unless I am able to edit so that it no longer contains scenes that I believe are too graphic, it will not see Fiction Press again, nor will it ever be published.

I take my writing very seriously. I know that it will affect every single person who reads it, whether adversely or agreeably, and this story, unfortunately, has had more of an adverse effect on a few of my readers than it should have. No matter if there was only one whom it depressed, that number is big enough for me to take this seriously. My passion for writing extends into my service for my faith and my God, which I cannot hide. This story does not work in favor of either.

Forgive me for publishing this before I thought about it, and please do not try to excuse me for what my God, my heart, and my faith demand I do. I have removed all but the prologue; the prologue is only left up because one of my very active anti-plagiarism readers advised me it would be easier to deal with a plagiarist if I had a bit of the story left up.

I know there are many of you who disagree with my faith and my opinions, and I respect whatever you believe, however you live, and whatever you choose to say. I am not in any way trying to demean you and your way of life. Please respect my decision as well, or keep what you have to say private between yourself and me.

I love you all too much to subject you to a story that does not match every aspect of the details that make up my passion for writing.

With love,

Mara

Forgotten

How can it be that I love thee?
Thou art the captor of my soul
The abuser of my heart
And the possessor of mine all.
But my love, 'tis not a thing thou dost esteem
To thee, I am but a toy in thy rooms
And thou art forever my ruin
I love thee, and thou loathest me.
To this I vow:
Should I fail to gain thy love,
I shall take mine own life
And die.

Prologue

I stood by the window overlooking the courtyard, and watched my lord and master pace the stony space with long and deliberate steps. Each stride bespoke impatience; each glance bore an irritation; each breath belied the affected calmness of his habitually impassive face. I watched him pace, and I felt a warmth that such emotion infected him because of my own plight.

But it was not long that I could gaze at his darkened expression and moody eyes. Not three seconds later, I was bent in yet another contraction that crippled me to groaning pain, and maids rushed to support me as a cry ripped from my throat and the child within me pushed towards freedom. It was his child- my lord's- and I clung to that one redeeming thought, that one thing that could make me gladly endure the pain until I produced my lord his offspring.

I prayed to the gods that it was a boy.

Fear struck me; should it be a girl, would he sell her away from me? Was it a girl, would he enslave her as I was enslaved? Would he treat her as he treated me? Would she know not the love of her father? With all of my being, I begged for the gods to bestow me with a male child, and spare my babe from the accursed life of being a woman in this place.

As the contraction abated, I slowly rose and went back to my stance at the window. Still he paced, still he glanced about impatiently, and now he tugged at his hair with a wild passion and chewed his lip with irritation. He was eager to have his child borne to him. I was eager to have it shown him; perhaps then, with a child of our making, he would treat me not as a toy, a slave, but the mother of his heir and the wife of his home.

It was writ upon my mind that whomever bore him a son would be given their freedom. This had been told to each one of us the day we set foot on his island, the day we were captured and lured to his bed, the day we had signed away our lives and our beings to the man with the face of a god and the temperament of a devil. Silver tongued and black-hearted, pleasurable and menacing. I was in love with him.

They called me the fool. I deserved to be named such; for the love that I gave to him elicited twice the pain to my being. Not only was my body beaten, but my heart was broken.

Another contraction ripped through me, this one harder than the last. I gasped, and fell into the arms of the women appointed as my maids while I was in this pregnant state. Should I bear a son, would I take my freedom and leave this place? Could I leave my own child, even if it meant escape from captivity? What would I do in the outside world, when I had known this prison for so long?

Who would take me in?

I was a used woman now, degraded from the once high status in society by my residence in the home of my lord. They would all know where I had been held captive, and though it was not by real choice, they would all deride me for it. I would be disowned by my father, mourned as dead by my mother, and no doubt I was already forgotten by those who had once been my suitors.

There was nothing for me in the outside world.

Nothing for me here.

I panted as the maids helped me to my bed. Cloths were laid out to catch fluids and blood, scissors stood ready to cut the cord that bound my child to me and sustained it in my womb, a basin full of water to wash the babe clean. All was laid ready. Would my babe be whisked away from me to first be shown to its father? Would he be pleased with his child? Would he love me for it?

I gasped as I lost my breath and felt the urgent need to push. This was it. From this day forward, I would be a mother, and no longer would I worry only for myself. I would worry for this child as well. Were it a girl, I would devote myself to protecting her from the harsh reality that her father was nothing but a tyrant; were it a boy, I would strive to protect him from the traits that would make him like his sire. I would hate myself should my child become like the man I loved and feared.

Everything became a blur as the contractions ripped through me like poison; I could only hear whispers around me, and every touch on my skin sparked a grating irritation that I writhed to get away from. The world blackened to me. All that filled my mind was the pain, the need to push this child from my womb, and the dark eyes of him who had sparked life to being within me.

I hated him in that moment.

I hated him for causing me pain. I hated him for the prison he had inflicted upon my body. I hated him for enslaving my mind; for captivating my heart; for possessing my soul; I hated him for forcing me to bear him a child that I would daily fear for, a child that I could neither wish to be a boy nor a girl for the consequences of it being either.

And then it was over. I heard the sputtering of a cry, the weak call for warmth and food, the indignant voice reprimanding anyone who could hear for ejecting him or her from a safe, dark place, and then I saw my child. Dark hair, pink face, mouth gaping to emit cries that grew stronger. The child was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and my body called for me to nurture and protect.

But the maid lowered her eyes, swaddled my babe, and chewed her lip. "Milord's orders to see his son must be obeyed."

As she whisked the child out of the room, my heart fell, and I bit back a sob.

I had my son, or I had my freedom. Which was I to choose?