I read your pointer to the skulls in the ogre's belt, and suddenly...
Every family had to give up one. What's that they say? "Shared sorrow is half sorrow?" For the families, yes. For the girls who were given up to the ogre for the city's peace, the only thing shared was resent.
She assumed so, at least, because that was what she felt when she was led out into the forest; walking behind the horse, bound like goat headed for the marketplace. She had been dressed up to die in finer clothes than she'd ever owned in life, and adorned with a tiara made of gold - gold! - for this most special occasion. Maybe it was some sort of apology from the people that sat safely behind their fortified city walls? Or maybe the ogre needed a silk napkin to wipe his chin with, after he'd gobbled up her brains?
And a royal guard to give her hand away in this grotesque wedding ceremony, too. Little ol' merchant's daughter, escorted by a knight in shining armour! She didn't know his name, but remembered him from that day on the market when he and his men had procured food for the banquet: he was good at haggling. With his sword for a tongue.
She eyed the weapon strapped to his hip. It was a seemingly plain piece of work, but the scabbard was wrought with ornaments and shielded the special kind of ever-sharp blade awarded only to those who had sworn the king's oath. Maybe...
She had held a sword a few times. The bridge guard's son prided himself on his father's position, and had taken a shine to her. Had wanted to impress her by letting her hold one of the swords - hadn't expected her to have a knack for fencing. She wasn't trained, heavens no, but... trained enough to snatch the sword, cut the ropes and make a run for it? Debatable. Pissed enough to attempt it? Oh yes. It wasn't like she had much to lose.
All she needed was an opportunity, once he had dismounted the horse and was leading her into the clearing to tie her up...
I know, I know: doesn't go well with the "rescue" in the title, but I thought this young lady looked like somebody who really takes fate in her own hands. A wonderful piece of work, truly. I love the light and the colours, and the dynamics! And most of all, the knight's face. Whatever reason he's there for, I love that face. xD Truly deserving of a Daily Deviation, this.
Thanks everyone! I can't believe how much everyone like the horse. He's really stolen the show. I wanted to paint a piece that would encourage people to guess at the story behind the picture and it has certainly worked.
I thought I'd point out one thing that nobody has mentioned yet... The skulls on the ogres belt have tiaras on them. Hopefully that'll add to the story for you.
Thanks for having a look. There are a couple of 'work in progress' pics at: www.facebook.com/lawrence.can.draw and when I draw anything new I tend to put sketches up there first.