Reality/Shifts Chapter 1 - The Rescue: part 1, part 2, part 3
CHAPTER TWO - The Celebration
In the darkness of the stable, with the whinneying of the knight's horse from beyond the low wooden stall, Pete ruminated on his fate idly. Despite his fatigue, despite his long ordeal, he found sleep difficult to come by and stubbornly refusing to march at his whim. At least the straw was not as wet as the ground had been the night before and he had been sitting for long enough that it was comfortably warm rather than the ice cold the previous night had brought him. Perhaps he would yet get used to being out of his time, though the chances of him ever getting used to having his wrists bound together seemed slimmer than ever.
After the rescue from certain death he had been hitched to the saddle of the still nameless knight's horse. For her part, she had continued to call out in the weird mix of Latinate and gutteral Germanic language to the villagers. It was almost unsurprising when she had ensured his bound wrists were above the rope attaching his neck to the saddle straps. Now that same leash was tied to a ring in the wall above his head, his wrists still kept above it, and he was too tired to bother trying to change that. At first he had toyed with the idea of untying the rope and making off into the night but had rejected this on several grounds. Firstly, he didn't know the lay of the land nor where he would head towards, this was not a terribly advanced society and so an unaccompanied person with bound wrists would attract all the wrong kind of attention. Secondly, there was the fact that the only other person in the village who seemed able to speak and understand English was the nameless knight who had rescued him. The fact that she was beautiful and, yes, alluring, though that admission came hard for Pete, had something to do with how much he wished to wait on her. So he was tied up, that at least ensured that none of the villagers would be attempting to try anything with him.
They had stopped near a stream to let the horse drink. She spoke a few low words to the Page, a small lad in his teens if Pete were to guess, who then nodded emphatically and disappeared into the undergrowth nearby. Then she approached him and considered him afresh. Her helm was still damaged but she had eschewed her cloth protection now in favour of a simple bandana wrapped around the lower jaw to protect her feminine identity. It didn't hide much for Pete but that was because he had spied the difference already, to anyone else it would have been very effective.
"You may speak."
Pete hadn't been prepared for that, but he did have a question. "Um, any chance I could, uh... well, that is..."
"Out with it!"
"Sorry, just... I need the loo." It was obvious that the slang was lost on his captor for the moment, "Toilet? I need to... uh... defecate?"
She stared at him, a frown developing in a way that made him a little wary of her. It was almost as if she was waiting for something, he wouldn't have been surprised to see her foot tapping with impatience but for the fact that her armour would have made it uncomfortable. As it was, her expression also made it completely unnecessary.
"Uh... My Lady."
"Good." He had guessed correctly. "You may attend to your toilet. But I get to watch."
"My Lady, I... I would rather not mess..." he paused, considering how best to phrase his complaint. Reluctantly, he realised there was only one way to make himself clear, "I would rather not mess my dress, my Lady."
Her eyes sparkled for a moment and he could have sworn she almost giggled, but then the serious look returned and her stance stiffened. "Of course, fair maiden, I shall do my utmost to preserve your dignity." With that she stepped forward and lifted his skirts up, folding them through his arms and over the rope keeping his wrists together.
Remembering the way he had been 'dealt with' by Claire and Vanessa made Pete blush a deep crimson. It was obvious that the knight was looking and had seen the fact that he was kept in chastity, for the first time since his arrival that made him squirm a little, it seemed the situation was actually making it uncomfortable. Brilliant, thought Pete, now I'm actually getting off on this.
"I see," she said enigmatically and without any discernible emotion. "I shall not watch. I have seen. Call for me when you are ready for modesty to be returned, fair maiden." There was no mistaking the wry amusement in her form of address though, nor the look of genuine concern that flashed across her features so fast that he almost missed it. Either that or his predicament was colouring his worldview, whichever was most likely.
So it was that Pete had crouched uncomfortably and felt for the first time the strange feeling of peeing through plastic and taking a dump directly into a stream. It helped that he had spent a night trying to hold it all in, but the embarrassment remained and the feeling of being irredeemably dirty lingered long after he had finished. Afterwards he was reminded of the fact that the Middle Ages had no toilet paper nor any need for washing and, shortly after that, that human excrement floated in water most of the time. His rescuer said nothing as she pulled his skirts back into place and adjusted them to make them clear of grass and twigs. Leaning in she took his hair again, gently, and stared at his eyes.
"I have been here too long, methinks, fair maiden." Then she pecked him on the forehead in a move that caught them both off guard. For a moment the air was pregnant with promised, even the birds surrounding them seemed to hold their breath and the woods moved to cover their eyes respectfully but a rustling heralded the return of the Page with a dead rabbit and it was gone.
Remembering the incident reminded Pete of the restrictions of the corset and the annoyance of his chastity once more. It may have been the first time since his arrival that it had been an issue but it certainly hadn't been the last. He had drunk well, surprised by the taste of the weak beer in the knight's wineskins until he remembered the images of his waste washing down the stream, and been given some bread that had been most welcome. Now the cooling night air brought sounds of revelry and music drifting down from the uppermost floor of the great hall.
It turned out that the 'Hetman' of the village lived beyond the road where Pete had first been overpowered, a few hours' walk from the tree he had been tied to to await the dragon. Here he lived in a long hunting hall, very Saxon looking with carved wood and a thatched roof, that shared a small courtyard with a wood and stone church. Thick walls, small windows and the smell of burnt tar or pitch hung in the air as they had approached and was still there, beneath the saltier smell of roasting pork from the hogroast in his rescuer's honour and the smell of vegetables in the pottage. She had explained, of course, that she would need to negotiate with the leader of the village: although she had claimed him as her own chattel the village had still asserted ownership. That would mean one of two outcomes: she would keep him as payment for slaying the dragon or they would be forced to account for the fact that he was not their property, if they could not produce his father or husband, and thus she would increase her estate by demanding fealty.
Is this getting too wordy? Let me know if it's still working, I feel like I'm forcing some of this.
Words of warning and welcome:
This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.
It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!