Priestess Chapter 21 – Safe Harbour
For a moment there was silence on the beach then a babble of excited voices burst out; asking questions, giving instructions, making suggestions and just exclaiming at the wonder of it.
Goran ignored them all, he scooped Aliera into his arms and strode through the crowd as if they were smoke. He waded into the water and stepped into the waiting boat, seating himself in the bow and setting his precious burden on his lap as the crew scrambled to their places. As soon as Brenn and Melric were on board they struck out for the ship.
It’s not easy climbing a rope ladder at any time. A rope ladder up the side of a ship bobbing on the waves is more difficult. Doing it one-handed while you carry someone in the other arm is almost impossible. Goran didn’t hesitate. He wasn’t letting go ever again.
As soon as he was on deck Goran gave a stream of orders that had sailors and guards alike scuttling to obey. Then he carried his wife below decks, to his cabin – the cabin he hadn’t used since the trip began. He sat down on the bunk, cradling Aliera in his arms. For a long moment they were still, and silent.
“You came for me.”
A knock on the door heralded the arrival of a cabin boy bearing a mug of hot broth, his eyes were wide in surprise at the sight of the girl they’d been searching for the whole time.
“Drink this. You’ll need your strength.”
Aliera obediently took a few mouthfuls, “Now you.”
They finished the soup together, then Aliera curled up in his arms again. Neither of them wanted to let go. If this was all there was, forever, it would be enough. Just to curl up together and feel their skins touching, to feel the sweet heat of another person, the most special person in the world, close as breathing.
“I didn’t think I’d see you again. When he took me away – I thought you’d just let me go.”
“I’ll never let you go.”
The next knock on the door brought two soldiers carrying a battered tin tub – even the captain of a slaveship bathed sometimes. And then a row of sailors bearing buckets of warm water. They’d had less luck with the search for scented oils, perfumed soaps, and all the other accoutrements of a bath for a Priestess, but the captain had kept a small selection of oils and perfumes in his cabin, as well as a few more unpleasant items – he’d enjoyed entertaining some of the captives during the trip back to the city.
Aliera buried her face against Goran’s chest until their impromptu attendants had all gone – she didn’t want to see anyone else right now. She wasn’t ready to deal with it all.
Goran waited until they were gone, then he lay Aliera gently on the bunk. She whimpered and reached for him for a moment, then she lay back as he began to remove the dirty rags she was wearing. Gentle as any handmaiden, Goran stripped the rags away and carefully lowered her into the warm water. When Aliera tried to pick up the soapcloth Goran gently but firmly stopped her, then as she lay in the water he carefully washed every inch of her skin. Silently he soaped, rinsed and examined every mark, every cut and abrasion. Her bare feet were bruised and scratched from the hard walking she’d done, there were scrapes and cuts all over her knees and elbows from her climb through the cave. And a fading bruise on her cheek. Goran touched it gently, “You hit this on the rocks?”
“No. He – he hit me.” She couldn’t say the name.
“He slapped your face?” Goran’s voice was deadly calm.
Aliera nodded, eyes downcast. She felt so much shame at the stupid choices she’d made, and the trouble she’d caused.
Goran leaned to feather a kiss on her bruised cheek.
After he washed her hair he lifted her out of the tub and dried her – so gently, so carefully – and lay her back down on the bunk.
After Goran had combed the tangles from her hair he stretched out beside her. Aliera snuggled up against him – the narrow bunk was made for togetherness – and sighed as his arms held her tightly.
Her face hidden in his embrace, Aliera had the courage to ask, “Do you hate him?”
“…..do you hate me?”
They lay in silence, then, “Are you angry?”
A small shiver ran over her skin. A few more breaths to gather her courage, “Can you forgive me?”
“I’ll forgive you. After.”
Some silences are less comfortable.
Goran stroked her back, “You need sleep.” And so did he. He kissed her softly on the forehead, and in a moment he was asleep. Six days of tension, six days of telling yourself that she had to be alive, unharmed – six days of silent agony. Even in sleep he held her tightly.
Up on deck Melric and Brenn watched the sunset, “They’re both fast asleep. She seems fine. Why can’t we set sail now? There’s light left, for a while yet.” Melric paced along the deck. He wasn’t good at being still.
Brenn settled on a handy crate and relaxed, “The captain says the tide and the wind will be best at sunrise tomorrow. We’ll be back home tomorrow eve whether we leave now or at dawn. Best take time to relax, none of us have had a good meal or a full night’s sleep since we left the city.”
“I can’t believe we found her. Alive and well. And – unharmed. I can’t believe we saved her.”
“She saved herself. She’s grown up a lot in six days, your sister.”
Melric’s attention seemed totally focussed on a passing seagull, “Do you think …. um … Goran and Aliera …. do you think they’ll be ….. be alright now?”
“I think they have a lot of … talking … to do first.”
“But then they’ll be ok? Eventually?”
“I’d say they’d be ok a lot sooner than that.”
“Oh yes, much sooner. They’ll clear the air and settle matters fairly quickly.”
“I suppose.” Melric looked doubtful. “But Goran’s not much for talking.”
“He won’t have to be. Have ye lost track of time, boy?”
“Time? What’s that got to do with it?”
“We get home tomorrow. And tomorrow is Sabbath eve. One way or another, they’ll get things settled.”
Sabbath eve, and more than Goran and Aliera would have matters to deal with. He’d be having a serious discussion with Tiarna about her lack of attention to her niece. This whole fiasco should never have happened – the girl had needed a friendly ear, and Tiarna hadn’t been there to listen, and advise, and support her. He’d be betting that Borlan would be having a similar conversation with the girl’s mother, too.
Yes, Sabbath eve was going to be very busy this week.
Brenn closed his eyes to doze for a while. A man needed to get his rest, a man needed all his strength for certain discussions.
Priestess Chapter 22 – Warm Welcome
The ship slipped into port unnoticed, the little party making their way quickly to the Temple. Runners went ahead, spreading the word to the Palace that Aliera was found, and safe.
The next few hours were full of hugs, tears, happy assurances and relieved joy. To have Aliera home, and safe, was a miracle, Goddess be praised.
And then it was evening, and with a last few delighted hugs everyone went back to their own homes; Borlan and Merila and the two princes back to the palace, Brenn and Tiarna to their chambers in the Temple, and Goran with Aliera to theirs.
All over the city couples were preparing for the Sabbath. And, thanks to Borlan’s edict, all over the city the discussions would follow a similar pattern, although the details differed wildly depending on the issues to be discussed.
* * * * * * *
“Darling Haro, my wonderful husband, I’ve tried really hard this week, honest I have.”
“And these bills – they just flew in our window, did they? We’ve talked about this before, but it seems I need to add some emphasis. Now remove your undergarments, and bend over my knee. Oh, but before you do that – bring me your hairbrush.”
* * * * * * *
“But Carina, my dearest, you’ve been a model wife. I have no complaints about you at all – you’re a wonderful mother, a hard worker, you keep the house immaculate, you cook marvellous meals, you work long hours in the shop, and you’re everything a man could want in a bedmate. I’m the luckiest, happiest man in the whole city. You deserve reward, not punishment.”
“Berton, if you don’t stop talking and start spanking I’ll serve you liver and tripe at every meal for all of next week. I’ve worked damned hard and I deserve a decent spanking, now shut up and SPANK ME!”
* * * * * * *
“Werril, I’ve been good this week! I’ve done nothing wrong.” Joriela tossed her hair back, then stamped her foot. “And if you think differently, then maybe we should as the Counsellors to come back. I’m sure Sister Dominica would be happy to explain things to you again.” She smirked in triumph as Werril shuddered, his face pale at the thought of another visit from those energetic and dedicated sisters who’d helped him understand why visiting that attractive widow down the street was a BAD THING. “Now, we don’t need any of this nonsense about spanking me, do we?”
Joriela was having fun watching him squirm. Last week had been the same, one mention of the Temple Counsellors and he’d backed down, there’d been no spanking for sweet little Joriela last Sabbath eve. And ever since the Counsellors visited them she’d been riding high on a wave of triumph, sure that she was untouchable. All the other wives in the street were nursing sore, or at least slightly tender, bottoms on the Sabbath. But Joriela smirked and giggled and knew that she could do whatever she wanted and be safe. And she’d certainly made the most of it all week.
Werril gulped, the pain and shame of that counselling visit clear in his mind. Then he stood up, “I remember their visit very clearly. And I also remember that I have done everything the sisters expect of me – I’ve been faithful to you, I don’t spend long hours in the tavern, I give you almost all of my wages every week. I’ve been an appreciative husband, I’ve treated you well. I’ve done everything they asked.”
Joriela pouted, she couldn’t disagree with that. She tossed her hair again, rolling her eyes a little to emphasise the point, “So you’ve been a bit better as a husband. I could still call them back…”
“But YOU, on the other hand, haven’t exactly done as they ordered, have you?” Werril’s voice went on relentlessly, “You’ve nagged, and pouted, and ignored all the duties of a good wife. You’ve been pert and snappy and lazy. The house is a mess, you haven’t cooked a meal for over a week, you’ve flirted with my workmates… now what would the good sisters say about all that?”
“They wouldn’t believe you. I’ll tell Sister Dominica all about the horrible way you treat me, and she…”
“And she will also hear from our neighbours, my workmates…. do you want to send for her right now? I’m happy to have her talk to all our friends. Everyone in the street, too. I know they’ll be happy to discuss your behaviour.”
Joriela gulped as she remembered the way she’d flirted with all the husbands in the street. And strutted around, gloating, as the other wives rubbed sore bottoms. Oh yes, the neighbours would be more than happy to talk. And, knowing Dominica, the ensuing punishment would probably be carried out in the middle of the street for all to see. “Now Werril, there’s no need for all of that. I know that I have – perhaps – been a little hasty in the way I’ve spoken to you. And I did forget a little of the housework. I’m happy to let all this go and we’ll see how things are next week, yes?”
“Your butt is all I want to ‘discuss’ things with right now. You go over my knee this minute or we call the Counsellors, and you’ll be ‘discussing’ the matter with all of them. Choose now.”
This was a new, determined Werril. And, she realised, a hardworking Werril who had very strong arms and work-hardened hands. A change of tactics was called for. “My dear, I – maybe I went a little too far – I think we should both cool down…”
“No, one of us is going to heat up quite a bit. Or part of her is. Choose. Now.”
“Fine.” He stood up, “It won’t take me long to fetch them from the Temple. I’d spend the time getting my story ready, if I were you. Not that it’ll do you much good.”
“Werril – WAIT!”
He didn’t. Joriela watched in shock as he walked out the door. It took a moment for her to realise that he truly meant what he said. And she knew with absolute certainty that she didn’t want Sister Dominica involved in this discussion. Joriela rushed to the door, seeing Werril already several paces down the street, “Werril, wait! Please, I – I’ve chosen.”
“Yes, you have.” He kept striding away.
Joriela scurried after him, “Please Werril, I….” She glanced around, a few windows along the street were open, some curious glances were already coming their way, “I changed my mind. I choose – what you said. Ok? Please, please stop.”
“What did you choose?” He kept walking. They were halfway along the street now.
“I choose – you know. Your way, ok? What you wanted.”
“I – I just did.”
“Say what you choose.”
Joriela twisted her fingers together, and stamped her foot in frustration, “Werril, come back here! Come back inside and we’ll talk about it!”
“No, first we talk right here.” He turned to face her, “Now, tell me. What do you choose?”
“I choose….” Her voice dropped to a whisper, “I choose – to discuss it with you.”
“Discuss how?” His voice seemed so loud in the street. And she noticed several more windows opening, a few faces grinning at the show. If you live in a city, you can enjoy impromptu street theatre right outside your own windows. “Discuss your behaviour and attitude HOW, Joriela?” She was sure his voice was echoing off the walls.
“Discuss – discuss it by – ” the whisper was softer now, “…by spanking me.”
“I can’t hear you. What do you think I should do?”
“I – you should – please come home and we can….”
“We can what?”
Joriela couldn’t say it any louder, she gestured helplessly, one eye on the audience. “Please – people are listening.”
“The same people you showed off to all week? The same people who heard you boasting that you can get away with anything?” Werril waited a moment, then when she didn’t answer he turned away, “I’ll be back from the Temple in half an hour. Be ready.”
“No! Werril, no, please! Please don’t bring them! Please just…” she hurried after his departing back, “Please Werril, please do it yourself.”
“Do what?” He didn’t slow down.
“SPANK ME!” The words sounded horribly loud.
Werril stopped, and turned to face her, but didn’t walk back, “Why should I spank you, Joriela?”
She hopped from foot to foot in frustration, “Because…” all the neighbours must be enjoying this, “Because I – I wasn’t very – I didn’t behave very well this week.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
Joriela stamped her foot, then realised that wasn’t a very good idea right now. She tried to look contrite, “I – um – I didn’t care for the house very well, and….” He waited. She swallowed, her mouth was dry now, “I was a bit – I wasn’t very – I was maybe a little – um – I flirted a bit – just a bit – and I was sort of rude to you I suppose, and – Werril, please, isn’t that enough?”
“Oh, but there was so much more. Tell me.”
Joriela hissed in fury and spat out, “Ok, I flirted with all the men in the street, I spent all your money, I didn’t do the damn housework, I refused you our bed. Ok?”
“We do need to work on that attitude, I can see that. And how did you treat the wives in the street?”
“I showed off a bit, alright, I told them I don’t get spanked!”
“And is that true?”
“No. Not any more.” Very sulky now.
“So what are we going to do now, wife?”
She glared at him, “We’re going to go back home and – and you’re going to spank me.”
“And do you deserve it?”
“Yes! Ok, yes! Now can we get out of the street?”
“I think you should ask me much more nicely, to show your improving attitude. Now.”
“Werril! Werril I – damn it – I – OHHHHH! Please Werril come home and spank me.”
“How? How should I spank you?”
Her foot itched to stamp. She took a deep breath and spat out, “Please put me over your knee and bare my bottom and spank me very hard. I deserve it because of my attitude and behaviour. I need a long hard spanking.” She tried not to look at the happy faces at all the windows. All the women she’d gloated over and boasted to all week.
Werril nodded, “Good. Now go on home, and be waiting for me. In the corner. Skirt up to your waist, panties at your knees. I’ll be along in a few minutes.”
Joriela gaped at him, then stomped back to their door. How DARE he say she had a bad attitude? Damn him. How could he embarrass her that way in front of everyone. In front of everyone she’d embarrassed HIM in front of for a week….
Joriela waited in the corner, her attitude simmering. Although a bare bottom feeling the cool breeze as it waited for its spanking tended to be a distraction from pious thoughts about improving one’s attitude.
Werril was back in about twenty minutes, humming a happy tune to himself. Joriela heard him moving about the room for a few moments, something tapped on the floor as he sat down, then he called her over, “Now, wife, we have a lot to discuss. Over my knee.”
As she took up that classic position Joriela stiffened, “Werril, wait, the windows, the door – they’re open! And the curtains are wide – everyone can see, they can hear….Werril, let me close them!”
“I like them fine the way they are. Don’t worry, you won’t be thinking about them soon.”
As he adjusted her position, trapping her legs between his and taking hold of her right wrist behind her back, she glanced down and saw – on the floor by the chair –
A paddle. New, freshly made. Long as a man’s forearm, wide as his palm, thick as his thumb. With holes carefully drilled in a zig-zag line along the centre of it. She squawked, and started struggling, but it was too late – she was past the point of no return.
Werril lifted his hand high, “Let’s warm you up first.”
He surveyed his wife’s bottom, and a beautiful sight it was. Many a man had enjoyed watching that proud rump wiggle along the street – Joriela was proud of her effect on her audience. Full, plump, pale globes rose from firm rounded thighs. He watched as she clenched her cheeks, anticipating that first smack. This show was well worth the price of admission.
But he couldn’t spend all night just looking, enjoyable though that was. It was time for her warm-up. Werril’s hand fell hard and fast.
The first smack was very warm indeed. It landed on Joriela’s right cheek, with a clear sound that echoed round the room, and no doubt carried clearly to many delighted ears outside. As a bright red handprint glowed on her fair skin, Werril raised his hand again. It wasn’t until a matching print was blazing on her left cheek that Joriela found the breath to yowl her shock at this searing attack on her rear.
Two more handprints joined the first. Werril was in a rhythm now, slapping down hard to paint those magnificent globes a cheerful pink. Joriela added her own accompaniment to the constant slapping, her squeals and wails rising with the heat in her rear.
Werril was a man with a mission. A dozen or so stinging slaps to the crown of each cheek and two glowing pink patches testified to his dedication. He moved his attention a little lower, the slaps now falling on her lower cheeks. Joriela’s wails became higher and louder, then even more desperate as he moved to her upper thighs. This lesson would stay with her for quite a while – she wouldn’t sit down comfortably until NEXT Sabbath eve.
Once an even pink had painted her cheeks, Werril started working on darkening the colour. Joriela squirmed and wriggled as he slapped relentlessly, and soon her frantic pleas were added to the squeals and sobs, “I”m sorry! Please! Please, it hurts! I’m on FIRE, please I’m so sorry, I’ll behave I promise! No more, I can’t take it, it huuuuuurts owwwwwwwwww….”
It was only a ten-minute handspanking, but to Joriela it felt like an eternity. At last his hand stilled, resting on her bottom to feel the heat. His very repentant wife lay sobbing over his knees.
And then, to her horror, he reached for the paddle.
“Werril NO! Werril, I’m sorry, I said I’m sorry, I’ll never be bad again, my attitude is totally different now, please! Werril noooooooooooooo!”
He raised the fiendish paddle, “This is for not cleaning the house.” CRACK!
Joriela screamed at the searing line of fire – she felt like she’d been branded.
“This is for not doing any cooking.” CRACK!
“This is for wasting all my wages on things we don’t need.”
“This is for flirting with every man in the street.” CRACK!
“Oucccccchhhhhhhhhh!!! I’m sorrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”
“And this is for the way you’ve behaved towards me!”
“And if you EVER behave like that again, you’ll get a lot more than five with this paddle, young lady!”
With that, he deposited her back on her feet.
Joriela clapped both hands to her wounded rear and jumped up and down on the spot. Then she ran in a few small circles, howling all the while. She stuck her bottom out and wiggled it rapidly, trying to shake the burning away. Then she ran on the spot, then tried jumping up and down again.
Werril sat back and enjoyed the dance, then as she calmed a little he stood up and took her in his arms, “Now, are you my good girl again?”
“Y-yesss I ammm and I’m sorrryyyyyy!”
“I know, you’re a very sorry little lady right now. Come on, I’ll make you feel better.” And he led her into their bedroom. “We’ll just slip this off…” he helped her take off her dress and shift, now she stood wriggling and sniffling, naked in the cool air. “Now, bend over the foot of the bed, and I’ll make you forget the pain.”
Joriela bent over, offering her crimson cheeks as Werril reached for the soothing cream they kept in the cupboard with the bandages and other bits and pieces of their first aid kit. She squeaked in shock at the first cold touch, then relaxed as her husband gently rubbed the soothing cream onto her heated skin. Around and around, and down, he was very thorough. Joriela’s sobs became gasps, and then moans.
And then Werril stepped close behind her, and took hold of her hips, and then gently eased into her. Joriela gasped, then moaned again – but at last it was with pleasure.
Werril eased out of her, then in again, gradually increasing the rhythm until they were pounding against each other, their cries mingling until they both howled their release, and then collapsed, sated, on the bed.
Joriela snuggled into her husband’s arms, “I’ll be such a good wife from now on. I truly will.”
Werril held her close, “Well, every Sabbath eve you’ll get a reminder of how a good wife is rewarded – IF she’s good.”
“And if she isn’t good?”
Werril reached down to slap her still-pink rear, grinning as she squealed, “If she isn’t good, a naughty young wife won’t be sitting down comfortably from one Sabbath eve to the next.”
“I’m going to be good. Very good. Totally good, I promise!”
Domestic harmony is a wonderful thing.
* * * * * * *
“Hurry up, Carra! I can’t wait all night.”
“In a minute, Stepan, I’m just taking my teeth out.”
“Are you sure we should be doing this at our age? It doesn’t seem safe to me.”
“The king said everyone. Now just wait a moment, I’ve put my glasses down somewhere and I can’t find them.”
“Don’t seem right to me. We’ve managed sixty years of marriage without needing to wave bare bottoms all over the place. Don’t seem right to start now. I said, IT DON’T SEEM RIGHT…”
“I heard you, you old goat, you don’t have to repeat it for me. You’re the deaf one. Now, where did I put that hairbrush? Why did I have to lose my glasses right now?”
“Sixty years of marriage and not a harsh word spoken.”
“Not a harsh word that you heard, anyway. Deaf as a post, you are. Sixty years and I’m finally going to get a decent spanking, if I can find that damn brush. At last I get to have some real fun. Missed the chance last week – I still think you took that extra dose of laxatives on purpose. Mistake indeed. Where IS that stupid brush ….. Ah-ha! There it is. Now, here we are Stepan. Stepan? STEPAN! Oh damn, the dratted man’s fallen asleep again. STEPAN!!!! Hmmm well, he is still breathing. Bugger it, we’ll have to try it again next week. Now, where did I put that hot water bottle….”
* * * * * * *
“That’s enough! No more, please!”
“The King said it had to be a good, long, proper spanking. And dammit, it will be.”
“But – but it’s been fifteen minutes now. That HAS to be enough.”
“It’s enough when I say it’s enough.”
“But – the redness – the heat – please, no more….”
“Look, this is going to be a damn good spanking. It’s totally deserved. Now stop whining and spank me good and proper. SWING THAT ARM!”
* * * * * * *
“But – I tried so hard, I truly did, please….”
“And next week you’ll try harder.”
* * * * * * *
“It was supposed to.”
“But – it still hurts. It’s all stinging.”
“Well, if you ask me VERY nicely, I might help you with that…”
“….and if you pout and complain, I might decide the spanking’s not finished.”
“But – no please. I’m sorry, it’s just – it STINGS. Please, can you…help me with that? Please? I’m asking nicely.”
“Well, since you’re asking. Lie down on the bed and I’ll spread this nice cool lotion all over….is that better?”
“Mmmm yes, yes, that’s better. And that…..and that is too…..but – OH! – You didn’t spank me THERE!”
“No, but it’s taking your mind off the spanking, isn’t it? See how well it works.”
* * * * * * *
“I’m so sorry. So terribly sorry. It was all my fault, I should never have got so caught up in other things that I failed in my duty.”
“I know you were busy. You have a lot to do.”
“But Borlan, she’s my daughter, she’s my only daughter, and I didn’t know how much she needed me! I’m a terrible mother!”
“Enough of that. You were busy, and I know you’d been meaning to have a word with her, soon. And she didn’t run away, she was tricked and taken against her will. You could hardly know that was going to happen.”
“I should have known she wasn’t happy. I should have done SOMETHING.”
“You can have a long talk with her tomorrow. Plenty of long talks.”
“But right now I deserve…. I deserve to be punished. For failing in my duty.” Her voice trembled, more from a sense of bitter failure than from fear of the punishment that she knew was coming.
“Very well. You need this, I know. Prepare yourself, and come here.”
Merila, hands shaking, stripped as quickly as she could. She did indeed fear this punishment – it was rare that Borlan truly punished her, most of their spankings were play, or were at worst simply short, sharp reminders. But this was going to be a true punishment, she deserved it, she wanted it, she needed it. But she feared it.
Borlan watched her fumbling at her clothing. He made no move to help her, he knew she needed to hold on to her courage. He hated giving his wife a true punishment, but this was something she needed, to find some release from the guilt that she felt, she saw herself as a failure right now, and he had to help free her from that.
Merila stood before him, naked and trembling. “I am so sorry, so sincerely sorry for being so wrapped up in my petty affairs that I neglected my duty to my daughter. Please, I’m so sorry, please – I need to be punished.” Her voice trembled, a week of worry had worn her down. She’d been so sure that she’d never see her daughter again, that Aliera had been used and abused and then discarded. It would take a long time to recover from that week of horror and agonised waiting.
“Over my knee.” Borlan helped her into position, scissoring one leg over hers to help her stay in place. He tapped her back, “Hand.”
Merila reached her right hand back. After Borlan took her wrist she turned her arm a little so that she could hold tight to his wrist also. This contact was more comfort than restraint for her.
He began slowly, with a warmup handspanking. Merila was quiet as his hand rose and fell. After a few minutes Borlan increased the speed and force of the strokes as Merila began to gasp and wriggle a little.
After five minutes of steady spanking he stepped up the speed and power, now the strokes were full force. Merila gasped and whimpered as her cheeks glowed an angry red.
Now the real spanking began. Borlan was a strong man, his hand fell hot and hard. He started at the top of her right cheek, working down gradually until he reached mid-thigh, then went to her left cheek and worked his way down again. This pattern repeated as the heat rose on her skin.
Merila was crying out at each stroke now, her free hand waving in futile circles as she focussed on the rising pain in her throbbing rear.
Borlan concentrated on her lower cheeks, her sit spot. He slapped relentlessly, ignoring her muffled yelps and cries. She had a long way to go yet. She needed the release that only he could give her, and as her husband he had to do this for her.
His hand fell again and again.
Finally that heavy hand stilled, then he eased her to her feet, “Over the back of the chair for the rest of it.”
Borlan turned the chair, then helped Merila bend over the back of it, taking a tight grip on the front rungs.
“Are you ready? Are you sure?”
“Yes. Do it, please!” Merila’s voice shook, but it was full of resolve.
Borlan picked up the bundle his wife had prepared. She’d chosen the switches carefully, then smoothed them and tied them with red ribbon. This wasn’t his choice of implement, but the switch was one of the things she feared and hated the most, so she felt it was the one she deserved right now. She’d chosen carefully, each one was cruelly flexible, and together they made a fearsome tool for punishment.
Borlan swung the bundle once, to check the movement, then without warning he lashed it across her raised cheeks.
Merila choked on her anguished cry as the switches bit into her sore skin.
The next one was lower, right across her sit spot. Then the tops of her thighs, bringing a wail she couldn’t hold back.
Borlan lashed down again and again, marking the skin of her cheeks and thighs. Now her wails rose louder, anguished cries that she couldn’t stop.
At last the weeping broke out, deep wracking sobs that shook her body.
Borlan threw down the switches and gathered her into his arms, “It’s over. You’ve atoned for it all. Cry it all out, come one, let it all go.”
He settled back on the bed, trying to support her and protect her punished rear. For a long time he rocked her in his arms, murmuring comfort and love.
“Can you forgive me? Can SHE forgive me?”
“We can. But you have to forgive yourself. You’ve been punished, now it’s over. And if you don’t accept that, I really will be angry with you.”
“It’s OVER. Now, it’s time we thought of more pleasant things.” And his hands began to roam, exploring her wonderful, familiar, sensual places.
After punishment, forgiveness is especially sweet.
But first there has to be punishment. All over the city that sad truth was being reinforced.
Even in the Temple itself…..