|© Copyright 2001 - Drakkon - Used by permission|
|Storycodes: M+/f; court; bond; pillory; hum; public; nc; X|
|The Verdict by Drakkon M+/f; court; bond; pillory; hum; public; nc; X|
Each in their turn, the twelve men stood. Each man in his turn uttered the same pronouncement.
Loraleie could only look down at the rough-hewn planks of cedar beneath her bare feet. She could not avoid the sight of her wrists bound by the hard iron manacles, the short chain of 3 links between them. The charred-black of the rough worked iron weighed heavy on her wrists. Her linen shift was grey from past owners, and carried bits of the straw from her cell.
Loraleie is roughly jerked from her stool by the hand of the Guard stationed at her side. Stumbling, she is dragged a few paces to stand before the Judge. The Guard roughly grabs her hair at the back of her neck and forces her eyes up to receive her Judgment.
She was forced to crane her neck back. The Judge sat behind a high dais. He towered over her.
“You have been found Guilty of the Transgressions laid upon you”, pronounced the Judge. “You are hereby sentenced to be pilloried in the Town Square for one full turn of the moon.”
The Guard roughly jerked her around, causing Loraleie to stumble. When she looked up, a sea of faces from the packed Hall confronted her. She saw all of the people she knew, saw the looks on their faces, in their eyes.
She did not see a single friend.
The Guard dragged her down the centre of the Hall, fast enough to keep her moving, yet slow enough for her to feel the strikes of spittle, the quick and vicious pinches and pokes.
The rough hands.
Behind her, she could feel and hear the Townsfolk follow.
Out through the great oak doors, stubbing her toe against its sill. Jerked down the stone steps, bruising her knees when she tripped and fell. Dragged across the cobblestones, feeling her shins rubbed almost raw. Her shoulder feels as if its about to be torn out. The muscles of her upper arm are on fire from the ferocious grip of the Guard’s fingers.
Loraleie was brought to the side of a stage, in the centre of the Town Square. The Guard grips her by the hair and lets go of her arm with the other hand. Suddenly, off balance. Loraleie falls, only to be painfully brought to a halt as her scalp burns with the pain of the Guard’s unmoving grip in her hair. The Guard slowly climbs the stairs, Loraleie dragged behind, trying to gain some relief or release through trying to force him to release his grip.
He forced her to her belly once she has been dragged to the top of the stage. Loraleie’s vision is filled with the booted feet of a second Guard. She is roughly handled like a sack of grain. Quickly, she is pulled to her feet; the manacles are removed from her wrists. The Guards grip her wrists and she is yanked forward two or three steps.
Loraleie sees the edge of a thick wooden plank quickly enter and pass through her view. She feels a rough pull on each wrist. Her neck and wrists come to rest in the holes carved from the two planks that meet and lock about them. She suddenly comes alert at the sound of the solid click of a cast iron lock snapping shut to one side.
She has been pilloried. In the centre of the Town Square, where everyone would see her in her shame. She had been Accused, Investigated, Tried, Judged and Sentenced. Now her Sentence was being executed.
Loraleie fought her confinement. She twisted her head left and right. She pushed and pulled her wrists, trying to find enough room to free herself. To no avail. Her wrists had been wrapped with leather padding, so they were held tight. Her head was simply too large to pass through he opening that confined her neck.
She started screaming. She railed at the injustice, that she truly had done no wrong. She screamed madly, hysterically. A Guard stifled her scream quickly, by stuffing a large leather pad in her mouth while it was open. He quickly buckled it behind her head. She tried to spit it out, but the straps held it deeply and securely in her mouth. She could not make a sound louder than a low moan of despair.
“We can’t have you disturbing the good citizens of this town with your noise,” stated the Guard. He then picked up his lance and took up a position at the edge of her view. He would at least keep people from taking advantage of her situation.
A few of the younger men came and leered at her. Their gazes firmly locked to the sight of her breasts hanging like ripe fruit, barely contained within the cotton shift. Loraleie could not look at their faces, with their teeth baring grins. She caught sight of some of the younger women. They would glance at her, blush and turn their heads away in shame. The older women simply averted their gazes and quickly walked past. The older men were scattered about the Square. Openly looking, yet carrying on their business.
As the afternoon wore on, she soon was able to dismiss the looks from the passing people. How many times had she, herself, passed through the Square without giving a second thought to whoever may have been pilloried?
She examined the instrument of her confinement, at least what she could of it. The stage must have been the length of two men laying head to head on all four sides. The stocks in which she was imprisoned consisted of two beams of oak, placed on end and secured to the stage with supports. Across them was an oak plank, suspended with the top at almost her mid chest. Into the top edge had been cut three half-circles, the middle one large than the outer two. There was a half-arm's length of distance between the half-circles. This formed the lower half of her prison. The beams had been grooved so that a second plank could be slid between and down on top of the first. It, too, had the same half-circles removed, but from the bottom edge. This was the other half of her prison. The circles met, trapping her wrists and neck, forcing her to remain bent over at the waist. Her cotton shift was not adequate coverage.
She looked around at the stage. It was obviously intended to do more than display the stocks and their prisoner. There were numerous iron rings, chains and manacles attached to the edges and the floor of the stage itself. Loraleie recalled having seen others chained to the stage. Some with lengths of chain, allowing some freedom of movement.
Loraleie soon noticed the warmth of the sun on her back. It was pleasing warmth. The shadows told her it was mid-afternoon. She started to slip into a lazy almost-doze. Shock! She was thoroughly drenched with buckets of cold well water. She looked around wildly, trying to see what was happening behind her, but the thick oak wood blocked her sight.
“Mid-afternoon of each day, you will be cleaned of any filth and dirt”, she heard the Guard say. The cold water had shocked her body awake. Her involuntary jump of shock from the water had also caused her muscles to move suddenly after their forced inactivity.
Her jaws felt as if they were on fire, after hours of being held wide open by the leather pad. She soon found that she could chew on the gag, and so bring some exercise to her stiff jaw muscles. The ache slowly diminished.
Her shoulders, elbows and wrists also ached, although not as badly as her jaws. She tried moving her elbows up and down, and found some growing limberness and life returning to her arms. Her back, legs and feet she exercised by lifting her self up and down on her toes. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, she passed the time with small movements and short daydreams, enjoying the early summer weather.
“At least the nights aren’t so cold this time of year”, she thought, enjoying the warmth of the sun on her back.
She had a most startling revelation. Due to the gag, she was unable to talk to anyone. She noticed the low hum of babble surrounding her throughout the Square. She had never before realized how much of people’s time and energy was, well, wasted with talking. She settled back into a simple enjoyment. She smelled fresh baked bread, heard the sound of a child’s laughter, saw the royal purple of mountains touching the azure blue of the sky and felt the touch of a gentle breeze. In this way, Loraleie passed the first day of her Sentence.
As the sun set, she saw another Guard approaching through the crowd. He carried a leather bowl by straps that were attached to it. In his other hand, he carried a bucket of water. His uniform had silver buttons, and he carried a sabre. There was a yellow plume at the peak of his uniform’s helmet. He must be an Officer.
As the Officer came to the stage, the Guard that had stood Watch came to attention and saluted the Officer.
“You are relieved of Watch, Corporal. You are dismissed”, ordered the Officer.
“Yes, Sir”, came the reply. The Guard swiftly saluted, sharply turned and marched from the Square. By now, the sun had almost fully set, and the Square was almost deserted, save for Loraleie, the Officer and a couple of chickens pecking amongst some spilled hay.
The Officer turned to Loraleie. In a matter of fact voice, he stated “Each day, at sunset, you will be fed.” With that, he unbuckled and removed the leather gag.
“Oh, thank…” Loraleie said before the gag was pressed to her mouth.
“You will not speak. If you do, you will not be fed”, she was told. Loraleie meekly nodded her head. The Officer removed her gag and dropped it into a bucket of water. He then picked up the bucket and held it to her, with her face deep inside.
“Drink”, he ordered. Loraleie had not known how thirsty she was until the water was before her. She craned her neck and sank her mouth into the water as deeply as she could. She drank. She lifted her head a fraction and the bucket was taken away. Next, the Officer lifted the leather bowl to her face. The leather was pliable enough to conform to the shape of her mouth and jaw. He quickly buckled the straps behind her head. She smelled and tasted thick barley porridge.
“Why, this is nothing more than a feed bag!” thought Loraleie. She quickly got over her hurt dignity at being treated as no better than a horse, or mule. She was hungry. Quickly, she started scooping the porridge into her mouth with her tongue. She found that by tipping her head to left and right, the porridge would flow within reach of her mouth. When she was done, the Officer removed the feeding bag and dropped it to the ground. He picked up the leather gag from the bucket of water.
“The water soaked up by the leather will keep you from becoming too thirsty.” With that said, he once placed the gag in her mouth. He stepped back in front of her.
“I am the Captain of this town’s Garrison. It is my duty to stand watch over you each night.” He picked up the bucket and feeding bag and placed them on the stage behind her. Next, he went around to the steps and climbed up onto the stage. She felt him place a hand on the small of her back. She was startled, but the warmth of his hand felt pleasant.
Until she felt his hand slowly slide down the cheek of her ass, the back of her thigh. It came to rest on her flesh just below the hem of her shift. She felt it being lifted and bunched up against the other side of the oak planks imprisoning her.
“But, you see, I had other plans for this night.” Loraleie felt rough rope being tied about her right ankle.
“In fact”, he said as he gave the knot one final tug, “there’s a certain lady I’ve been seeing.” She heard him step away then the small rattle of one of the rings set into the stage.
“I had made plans to spend my time getting to know her better over the next little while.” He quickly pulled on the rope, drawing her right leg out to the side. He tied it to the ring.
“Looks like I’ll just have to make do”, and he soon had Loraleie’s legs tied apart. Her breasts hung down, her ass was in the air and her sex was fully exposed. She was completely naked, helpless and vulnerable.
She heard him step closer, heard him fumbling with his clothing, and heard his sabre clatter to the stage. She felt his body heat against her thighs and ass. Felt his hands on her hips.
“Each night, for the full turn of the moon, you shall make up for my loss.”
The gag completely stifled her screams as he roughly penetrated her.
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