A Sort of Fairytale: Chapter 1

Previously: Read the preface

It’s not often that I get to do the Author’s Notes for new fiction, but Sezje’s at work and I’m late with the beating betaing again. [Beating makes it sound like I’m either into S&M or I’m having a hand shandy. Which I’m not.]

Also, how coincidental is it that Yeeben asked for them to bathe and – voilà! – there’s a bath in this chapter?

Rating: A, for implicit and explicit violence.

* * * * *

Eleanor tried not to faint off the saddle as the soldier who had captured her insisted on roughly fondling her breasts through her thin smock.

The front of the column was headed by Captain Harfoot, and she could see him, his back stiff in the saddle, a few horses to the front of her. They rode at a slow trot, apparently in no hurry to get back to the keep.

The captain had paid her no attention, and she’d been far too frightened to look at him too much. She suspected that she would learn the manner of his character sooner rather than later and was fairly sure that it would be an unpleasant experience.

Eleanor was not the first young girl to leave the village in such a procession, if one could call it thus. And the rumours were not comforting in the least. She knew, at the very least, that her life was about to become unpleasant, if not entirely forfeit. She suspected that it was about, in fact, to become the former followed by the latter.

She slumped in the saddle, more despondent by the second.

It was dark when they reached the keep. The portcullis was already raised for them as they slowly made their way up the winding road. The courtyard inside was lit by torches attached to the walls and several men awaited their arrival.

The din of the horses’ hooves echoing on the cobblestones was broken by Captain Harfoot pulling up sharply near the men waiting and barking out his orders.

“Get that girl off the horse, and then get them stabled.”

Eleanor was summarily pulled from the horse and stumbled, only to be wrenched to her feet by the man who had ‘helped’ her down. The soldier who had taken his feel of her bounty for the entire journey to the castle disappeared with the other men and left Eleanor to be confronted by the captain himself.

He was no comfort.

Taking her roughly by the arm, the Captain half-dragged, half-accompanied Eleanor in through a side door of the castle. They were met inside by two women.

Thrust forward by the Captain towards the new faces, Eleanor tripped and regained her footing unsteadily.

“Get her cleaned up. Then put her in the chambers.” With that last spat-out phrase, Captain Harfoot disappeared back into the courtyard.

Eleanor eyed the women cautiously. She was not stupid enough to think that their sex would make them any friendlier or more sympathetic than the soldiers. In fact, if Widow Castors, her father’s lover, was anything to go by, they were more likely to be worse.

As it turned out, neither woman was particularly interested in talking, and, in the end, Eleanor marked their disposition as neutral. They led her down a stone corridor, which was lit by torches in the same manner as the courtyard, and then up a set of stone stairs that wound in a spiral. Down another corridor they went, then another. If Eleanor had any notion of escaping, she was completely divested of it as she was dragged deeper and deeper into the keep.

Eventually, they arrived at a plain wooden door which led to a small stone room. A fire had warmed the cosy space, and it was only then that Eleanor realised how cold she was. In the middle of the floor stood a stone basin, big enough for a person, and it had tendrils of steam rising from it.

A bath? That was unexpected. They’d kidnapped her to bathe her?

“You’d best get undressed,” said one of the women. She appeared to be the older of the two, somewhere in her late forties, and her accent was typically countrified. This lady was no gentry; she was pure servant.

Eleanor failed to move, which prompted the second woman – a slightly younger woman with a large, ungainly frame – to come forward. Unceremoniously, she was stripped down. Attempting to cover herself, she found the task nearly impossible with her hands still bound by the rough brown ropes the soldiers had placed on her.

“You can take these off,” Eleanor said quietly, the first words she’d spoken since being pulled from her home. “I won’t run away.”

The older woman shook her head. “The rope stays. Cattie will help you into the bath.”

And so it was that Eleanor found herself being bathed by someone else for the first time ever. The girl was rough, but at least didn’t linger anywhere for too long. She also allowed Eleanor to wash her nether regions by herself, for which the young maiden was eternally grateful.

After having every nook and cranny washed thoroughly, including her hair, Eleanor was helped out of the now-tepid water and dried off. Once again, this Cattie allowed her to dry her more private parts herself.

It was then that the elder woman unbound Eleanor’s rope-burned wrists. It turned out to be only so that the young girl could be dressed in a clean-pressed white shift that fell loosely to her knees before the rope was reapplied, just as tight as before.

A sense of unease was beginning to creep up. Eleanor knew that whatever was happening, it wasn’t going to be good for her. The constant presence of the ropes was making her uneasy, and the calmness of the women was somehow disarming. There was a dishonesty to their actions which read deeper than their outward expressions and demeanour.

Once she was dressed and rebound, her hair was dried and then neatly tied back with a white ribbon. The significance of the colour of her gown and hair tie was not lost on Eleanor. Her stomach lurched.

Shivering despite the warmth of the room, Eleanor looked at her captors with some trepidation. Neither woman looked her in the eye, and she knew it was deliberate.

The elder woman left the room, and Eleanor considered attempting to run for a moment. Her feet, however, would not move. She was frozen to the ground and would probably have to be carried out, much as she had been previously at her own home.

Moments later, a man in a guard’s uniform entered. Without ceremony, he grabbed the small piece of rope that dangled free from her wrists and pulled her out of the room, leading her like a recalcitrant donkey. She had no choice but to follow. Taken down the corridor, she stumbled once or twice, resulting in a growl from her captor. He took no mercy, however, leading on at the same pace, pulling her to her feet from her wrists. Already suffering friction burns from the tight rope, she was rubbed raw and bleeding by the time they stopped.

The guard opened the door to another room and pushed her in. The door was closed behind her with a resounding thud.

Heart thundering, Eleanor lifted her head and chanced a look around. She was alone, which lessened her fear by a minute amount. She was in a bed chamber, quite a lush one by all appearances. A warm, full fire burned in the hearth and faced a gigantic four poster bed. A bear skin formed a rug on the floor between the fire and the bed, looking soft and somewhat more comfortable than the cold stone pavers that Eleanor could feel under her own feet.

Rolling her toes into the hard surface, she took a few steps forward. The warmth of the hearth was flush on her face and took some of the chill out of her bones. She wasn’t used to being warm in the cold months, and she could almost believe that this was a nice experience.

To prove that it wasn’t, she heard the door open behind her. Far too afraid to turn around, Eleanor simply gripped her hands together and prayed it was one of the women again.

No such luck.

A strong hand touched her shoulder and firmly turned her around.

Eleanor found herself looking straight into the piercing blue eyes of Lord Javiah Barnabas. Swallowing hard, she tried not to faint.

“My, my, aren’t you a pretty little thing?” he mused in a deep tone. His mouth made a smile but it didn’t rise to his icy eyes.

Eleanor didn’t reply, but in an unconscious gesture, grasped her hands into a tighter grip.

Lord Barnabas’ hand came up to grip her chin, lifting Eleanor’s face to his own. Her bound hands trembled, and his eyes were drawn to their movement. Smiling wickedly once again, he moved his other hand to the rope and tugged.

Pain shot through Eleanor’s body like a knife, driving its way up her arms and throbbing into her brain. Her captor smiled again, even as the wince of discomfort passed unmistakably across the young girl’s face.

Lord Barnabas kept his grip on her hands and turned, leading Eleanor towards the bed. The agony from the rope tension was almost enough to make her cry, but she was determined not to. Gritting her teeth, she bore it long enough to be pushed summarily down.

“God, I’m going to enjoy this,” the overbearing man in front of her said through a clenched jaw.

Eleanor closed her eyes, and prayed for death.

* * * * *

Next up: Chapter 2 [AA, contains sexual violence]


  1. Fort
    Posted 5 February 2009 at 6.30pm | Permalink

    Everytime a female gets introduced into the story, I’m wondering if she’s the love interest. I am guessing neither of these women are.

    You’ve set up Lord Barnabas as a strong, evil, powerful man well.

    Interesting first chapter.

  2. ballgirl10
    Posted 6 February 2009 at 4.32am | Permalink

    Okay, I hate him already. He’s an absolute ass, and I am sure you will show us more in further chapters just how much of an ass. Once again, I enjoy Eleanor’s spirit. Her determination not to cry was very strong. I know I am going to enjoy watching you explore her strength in chapters to come.

  3. Packingforthecrash
    Posted 8 February 2009 at 4.25pm | Permalink

    You know Clom…. I had to laugh when reading about her being able to wash and dry her nether regions by herself, was there a specific reason for that or did you just want to make sure no one thought the servants sexually harrassed her? *laughs*

    ANYWAY, I’m enjoying this, alot. I have no problems with it evidently being set back in time, you’re not drawing a boring picture at all. As said before, I really like your writing in this, I can’t just skim through it easily, I actually have to read out the lines in my head instead of just looking at them.

    I kinda knew this was coming in the story, and I’m intrigued cause I don’t know where else this is going. You did make me anxious along with Eleanor, my wrists also sorta started hurting, if you get me.

    I also have to complain about YBN saying Captain harfoot sounded like ‘Harlot’ cause now I can’t stop reading it like that! *grumbles*

    I really like this though, and you better continue! I see it’s not going to be an easily swallowed story, one you can just skim through and get what you want out of instantly, so people might be more reserved with reading. I am not though, I like the change. Continue, and people will see what I see =)

  4. smilesadly
    Posted 10 February 2009 at 2.32am | Permalink

    When I read the preface to this I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, mainly because I haven’t been introduced to any non-fandom related lesbian stories. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I still have started to really like this so far, and I cant wait to see where you take it.

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