Oh, this makes me so sad. I knew how it would end, of course, but I was shipping these two so badly. Originally, I thought the Baron mentioned in the very first chapter wasn't Venn, and that he and Helena would get their (sort of) happy ending, but apparently not.
This has become so dark, without me even realising it. You were just dropping hints, and then bam! The mood is perfect, as is your description. This scene fell into place perfectly. As for your concerns about the readability, I think it was fine -- the language was flawless as always.
The young woman recalled with fondness the days she had spent riding Eostre freely across the fields, with no concern for a husband and unborn children, no doubt that she was exactly who she was expected to be. She did not need a castle, not when all of nature could be her home.
Two things about this. First, the nostalgia that comes across. I don't think a chapter has ever made me this sad. I really feel like we've watched Helena mature, except that instead of being the confident young woman she should have been, she's turned into a paranoid, on edge character.
Secondly, unborn children? Should this be taken in the sense where Helena worries about her duties as wife, or is she pregnant? I don't remember anything happening that could have lead to this situation, but maybe I just forgot.
I think what makes me saddest about this chapter though is the fact that Helena won't be keeping her promise to Isobel. I know it's stupid, but I find it really unfair and it takes away some of the compassion I feel for Helena.
This was such a heartbreaking chapter overall, brilliant job, I suppose! ♥
Author's Response: Hi Val!
Yeah, I do think this one is a little darker. It's finally starting to fall into concrete place that Helena and Venn aren't likely to work out, or even make it together until their wedding day. It was sad for me to allow Helena to realize that, because she invested a lot of hope in this relationship despite her earlier judgment.
No, no, Helena is NOT pregnant. I definitely could have made that clearer. The 'unborn children' comment was just an allusion to her duty to provide an heir and her future as Venn's wife and mother to his children. You didn't miss anything; nothing has happened that would lead to that particular situation :)
Yeah, I kind of meant for the part with Isobel to be sad, because for all she knows Helena will just make up for her promise tomorrow. No one quite realizes yet that Helena is actually gone or how miserable she really is. Of course, it won't be that way for very long.
Thank you for your wonderful review :)