I’ve killed someone. For the first time in my life, I’ve really killed someone. Myself, not by proxy, like when I had our prisoners or my Father executed. Well, this was an execution, actually, not murder, or killing in a fight.
But he’s dead, and I feel — empty? I don’t feel much. Naigha doesn’t deserve him, but She’s going to have him…
It happened like this. We’d gone from Banay west-wards, with more people with us than ever before. It was fun! We made shorter trips, so there would be enough time for teaching, and Sidhan was with us, to teach non-semsin stuff, too, and the Army was teaching everyone how to make and strike camp, and Moyri and me were teaching semsin, and Jeran was teaching doctoring. We have quite the travelling Guild School!
Great fun. And even more fun was the leper village we encountered along our way. Nice people, I got to prance around in my bare buttocks, together with everyone else in the village, we healed everyone, picked up one apprentice more, had a nice feast to round off and I taught all women the first steps of dancing for Anshen.
But I’d heard a couple of things… The next White House didn’t seem nice. Some of the people here had come from there, and they were… silent about the lord and lady, Arin and Hinla. They’d left, because it wasn’t a very good place.
And then Mazao and Julao whispered to me that I’d better keep out of sight a bit, because Lord Arin had a penchant for young, foreign girls. That they’d known an Ishey girl who had fled after Lord Arin had tried to rape her!
At that point, I sent of two teams of our youngsters to investigate, in kitchens and inns, and not to show themselves. But I, I decided I would be bait. I discussed that with Moyri, of course! And anyway, at twenty, I might be too old, for Lord Arin’s tastes, but there are tricks for that.
So we made camp, and then Moyri and I were received by the Lord and Lady. When we were introduced as the Baroness of Selday and her wife, the Lady Sheriff of Selday, I saw both of them widen their eyes. He, he was almost leering. He was obviously thinking, what that little skirt needs is a real man, me! But what she was thinking, that was harder to fathom. Moyri saw it, too, and we compared notes with semsin. And then the conversation was all about the land, taxes, land, trade — and I naived in my best way. Also, I got visibly bored, though I wasn’t, not really.
Lady Hinla then invited me for a walk in her rose garden. How hackneyed! But I felt the conversation halting, and the lord’s eyes devouring my butt when I walked out of the great hall. Normally I adore being seen. I loved it in the leper village when I saw men getting excited every time they saw me move about! But this reminded me above all of my father. Bah!
In the rose garden, we had time to talk. Yes… She had been married since she was fourteen, her husband was five years older. He hadn’t grown up, and was always going for the fourteen year olds, more or less. Often less. He wasn’t used to asking, he was used to taking. He wasn’t gentle, he was often violent. She showed me the fresh welts on her belly, where he had belted her that morning. Oh, and yes, she knew that two six year olds, twins, had been in their White House for a day and a night, and had left when a big Iss-Peranian ship had passed by.
The only consolation she had in their marriage was that it had been barren. Because…
That’s when I told her about me, and my father, and that I wasn’t even going to wait for my clerks of the investigation to find proof, but that I was going to trap him.
“Have your servants make me a bath,” I told her.
“But he’s fearfully strong!” she countered.
I answered, “Lady, Hinla, that won’t matter. I’m fearfully nasty. It’s a good thing I’m not with the Nameless, or their wouldn’t be any bounds to what I would do to him. And there will be witnesses. At exactly the right moment. I will call Moyri and someone else, too.”
I was thinking of Sidhan at that moment. Sure, a criminal and a fraudstress and under punishment. But… The Mighty Servant of Banay, that would carry weight.
So I went to take my bath, and before undressing sent away the serving girl. “You can go, Lyse, I prefer to undress alone.”
“But miss, lady, I mean, you don’t want to be alone! It’s not safe, you’re too beautiful, and our Lord…” she stammered.
“Lyse, please go!”
I’m getting quite good at the command voice, I guess, because she went.
So, I undressed and got into the tub with my back to the door. It wasn’t long before a pail of warm water was poured over my back, and before I even had a chance to shriek… One hand had grabbed me by a tit, and the other by my cunt.
“So, little girl. Guess who’s going to learn tonight what a real man can do, hm?”
I felt Moyri and Sidhan run into the bathing room, and when I knew they could see me, but not before Arin had pushed his crotch against my buttocks, and had said, “I guess I’ll take the back door first!”, I turned around, grabbed his wrists, and broke them.
Then Moyri kicked him to the floor, and — Lady Hinla kicked him in the crotch, shouting she was going to kick him, and wouldn’t stand for it any more. That was unexpected. I hadn’t heard her come in.
“Please, someone, give me a shirt and a skirt,” I said, and I was given them, and wet as I was, I put them on.
“So. Let’s go outside, in the courtyard. It’s justice time, with your permission, Baroness,” I panted.
So I grabbed Arin by his broken fingers, lifted him to his feet and, breaking his fingers one by one, dragged him outside. “It’s such a pity I’m one of the nice people, Arin,” I whispered, “I so want to torture you…”
Pushed down on a crate, he sat there, whimpering, “As if this isn’t torture! As if this isn’t torture!”
Pretty quickly, I had a bench, Moyri sat in a nice chair from the great hall, a bit aside, since doing the actual inquiry is a Sheriff’s job, the judgement being the job of the Baroness, and with clerks and so on all arrayed (is that a word), we started.
I heard the witnesses to the attempt at raping me. The skivvy who had warned me. The Ishey boys who had told us about the attempted rape of the Ishey girl. I asked him about the stolen twins.
“Oh, I didn’t rape them — they were far too young! I just sold them. They came from over there,” Arin said, pointing his head to the north-west. “The woods over there.”
He seemed to think that his not having done anything but stealing and selling them was a point in his favour!!!
Well, after that, it was pretty clear. Rape is a capital offence. Slavery is a capital offence. Kidnapping is a capital offence.
And so Moyri decided.
I gave Arin a chance to relieve himself — otherwise, a hanging is such an undignified business. I scouted round, and found a nice, strong hook under the roof of the barn, obviously used to hoist bales of hay inside. A noose was the work of minutes, dragging the bastard up slightly more work.
Head through the noose, tighten the nose, kick the man out, and snap! A nice deep drop broke his neck immediately.
And it’s so strange… I still don’t feel anything weird. Sure, I was a bit precipitous, and I should have warned the Priestess of Naigha from the leper village before, but I’m sure I haven’t grown callous or anything. This just needed doing. There was and is no doubt.
Afterwards, I sat with Hinla in her solar, and discussed the future. It turns out that Arin had married in, and that everything was hers anyway. With Halla and Vauri, she’d go through the books, and after that, it was a matter of building everything up again.
I tried to ask her about whether she’d marry again and try for heirs, but she silenced me, “No, that’s not going to happen. I’ve never liked sleeping with a man anyway. And when I learned that the two of you were married, well… I had hope for the first time since I married. Well, he wasn’t that bad at the beginning, but when I turned twenty, he became angry at me. I guess he felt I had betrayed him by growing up.”
Strangely enough, Moyri had the same fleeting impulse I had, to comfort Lady Hinla by taking her into our bed, but that was just that; an impulse, coming from our need to give our all, and it would be better for her, anyway, if she found a lover for herself, on her own.
Two days here, to put order to the business, and then we’ll go on.