|Under the Lash|
|Summary:||Petra exacts the lord's punishment on Sela. Afterwards the girl's wounds are tended.|
|Related Logs:||Sela's caught: To Speak Of Things.|
|Dungeon — Tanglewood Manor|
|Access to the dungeons is obtained through the squat little tower that funnels traffic up the keep. Where most of the traffic goes up and along the rampway, a very select few instead go down. A wide winding staircase leads several meters down into the motte. The structure here has been given the most amount of care — all stone walls and ceilings. The space is divided off into several dark cells which are walled in wrought bars. There are always guards assigned to this area, and is occasionally visited by retainers meant to wash down the cells of scent and stains. Stocks are placed near the back of the chamber and a door rests between them, leading into another room that is no doubt used to acquire information from prisoners who might have such to offer.|
|18 Oct 289AL|
There will never be a dungeon that isn't dark, dank, cramped and uncomfortable. But what can be done has been done, at least in the one Petra is currently walking through. A torch is lifted in her left hand, lighting the torches in their brackets along the walls. She's been nearly silent, in the way from the gardens to the underground cells, the guard leading the prisoner and the guard with the salt trailing after her. When she pauses, it's at the cell in the far rear of the cells. This one…looking almost new, and neatly kept. There even seem to be fresh(ish) rushes on the floor. Well, at the least, they're not soaked with blood and other fluids. A small cot, clean and covered with fresh linens, is set at the wall opposite the wall that bears four shackles, for hands and feet.
Silence has always been her best defense. All through the keep, she walked with her head down and lips tightly sealed. So quiet she was that sometimes the guard had to make sure she was actually still there. She does not look up from her feet even as the ground transitions from the dirt courtyard to the stone dungeons. The dank smell down here makes her nose itch, but she refuses to scratch it. No, she's going to be stoic. It drove the guards in the Finger crazy, perhaps it will irritate the Highfield guards as well. As the courier comes to a stop outside the clean cell, she looks up. Her blue eyes fall on Petra. "You won't need to shackle me, Mistress," she finally says, her voice a soft hollow.
Did Petra hear the girl's words? It would be impossible not to, in the unnatural silence of the cells. Does she answer? After a fashion. "Strip her to the waist and shackle her to the wall, hand and foot. If she resists, knock her unconscious, strip her naked and then shackle her." Petra claims the bucket of salt from the second guard, directing both men to see to the prisoner's disposition as she moves to retrieve what she might need from the locked chest at the far back of the room. As for the guards, they've spent too much time with the courier toquestion her, and too much time in Lord Aleister's service to take insult from prisoners.
There is no time to argue, no time to suggest that Sela isn't going to be a problem; she's taking punishment before, though Surly Sal did mention that lashings weren't the same as getting beaten to a pulp by the baker's sons. She flinches briefly as a strong hand grips her upper arm, though the start of a yelp is swallowed down hastily. The guard's hand tightens around her arm, sending pain up through those nerves. She is pulled toward the shackles, and she does not dig her heels in. Doesn't take more than a second for the jerkin and tunic to be torn away, and with them her gloves. There may be no point to hide the brand at this point, but instinct causes her to try to press it into her thigh and out of sight. The attempt is decidedly moot, however, as there's no way to hide it once she is positioned in the shackles.
Once the girl is in position, Petra sets the hardened leather rod on the table, before she moves to inspect the shackles. Each of the metal manacles is inspected, the movement bringing Sela's hands into relief, and Petra pauses, taking the branded one in hand, and studying the mark there. "If I send my guards," because, for the moment at least, the guards are in Petra's service, "To your cot in the servant's quarters, will I find anything there that does not belong?" Petra steps back, moving to retrieve the whip, and then getting into place. Her blows, which come after whatever answer the girl might offer are practiced, methodical, and counted, lest the courier cheat Lord Ashwood and apply too few or punish the girl beyond the Lord's mandate and apply too many.
The question draws Sela's face around toward Petra, and she holds her gaze steady. "No," she says honestly. "There ain't nothing there that isn't belong." She curls her hand into a fist, though it only stretches that T instead of hiding it. The fist does not remain tight, however, as the moment the first blow falls on her back, she releases a sudden noise that is not a scream, though it is definitely a sound of pain. Surly Sal was right. By the time the last blow is given, tears are running down her face and collecting under her chin.
There is a detachment in Petra's application of the girl's punishment. A punishment give and delivered. But, perhaps, if it was a kindness of sorts that had the courier set to the task and not another. For the woman clearly takes no pleasure in the act. It is what it is. An act of discipline, not sadism. "Unbind her, and lay her on the cot." The guards move to do as they are bidden, taking the time before they carry her to reclothe her as best they can, or at the least, to cover her. And they are, at the end of it all, gentle. As much as they can be. Petra, for her part, has set the salt into a small bowl, and carries it, as well as a jar of salve and sets them at the head of the cot. A skin of wine is retrieved from the chest as well. That, however, is not opened.
There is a sobbing breath as she is released, and Sela weakly grasps at the thin tunic as it is offered to cover her front. Each step she makes causes her back to scream, and she is almost thankful there is very little space between the shackles and the cot. She refuses to look at Petra, and once she is placed upon the clean linens, she buries her face into them so they may soak up her tears. She curls that branded hand under her, where it is safely unseen. She doesn't speak, it's not as if there's anything to say.
Whether she expects words or not, angry, hateful or otherwise, Petra gives no indication. Her first task, and the most important, is to see that she staves off infection as best she can. The whip she used is kinder than others she might have chosen, but the Lord did say lash, not flog. And so there are welts a plenty, but only a few places where the skin was broken. "Hold her still, if you would." She offers to the guard who helped Sela to the cot, before she retrieves a bowl, and filling it with water from another skin, carries it over to the cot. Just the edge of her hip on the cot, as a delicate, feather light touch of her hands begins to clean away what blood has accumulated on the broken skin.
Wordlessly, Sela releases a whimpering series of sounds at the initial touch before she settles into quiet. Hatred quietly builds in her, but it is spread across a handful of targets. Petra is even one of them, but the fact that she didn't laugh or jeer has perhaps earned her a slight reprieve. She flinches now and then as Petra sends zings of pain through her nerves. She finally opens her eyes, staring at the stone of the wall. The whimpers have subsided, though there is still a soft noise coming from her. She's humming, the tune somewhat forced, but very soft. Anything to distract her.
Petra and the guard seem to have things well in hand, as it were. The courier's hands are quick and sure. Perhaps it's a bit morbid to dwell on the fact that it's probably from years of experience. But there it is. But to the other guard, her words are directed, "Uncork the skin, and let her drink her fill. It will help with the pain to come." And the second guard does move to do as instructed, and although he won't hand Sela the skin, he will help her to drink. As for Petra, she makes quick work of the salting, dusting, not grinding it in, and giving it only enough time to dissolve, before she takes up that jar of ointment. Cooling, numbing. It will not deaden the pain completely, but…it helps.
The wine sits sour in her stomach, but she does drink her fill. She might even drink a bit more than her fill, letting it slosh about in her belly. It does not quite do what she expects it to, but it helps. She cannot seem to manage to speak until the pain subsides, face buried in the sheets. Her words are hoarse when she speaks, very soft. "Thank you," she murmurs, which is perhaps an odd thing to say. She does not look at the courier though — funny, she didn't think that this was part of the courier job description. When the cooling ointment is applied, she releases a whoosh of breath that makes it look as though she is sinking into the cot.
"You are welcome." A glance at one of the guards, "Please go to my quarters and retrieve one of my tunics. One of the long blue ones, please." The guard moves off, before Petra continues, "I would not advise eating yet, but, food, simple things, can be brought to you, if you wish. You are not a prisoner, but it is quiet here, and away from unfriendly eyes."
Sela is quiet for a moment until the guard moves off, and then she turns her head a bit to look at the courier. "Bread would be alright," is all she says at first. She hungers for her mother's seed bread, and she almost wonders if Lania is baking up a batch right now. That uncomfortable homesickness settles into her belly. "I was just trying to tell her I couldn't do it."
It will be a short while, before the guard returns, and so, for the time being, Petra can only answer with, "I will have him bring some when he has brought the tunic." A bit more salve, before Petra reseals the ointment jar, returning it, as well as her other tools to the chest and locking it. "It is a difficult thing, choosing to work in a Lord's House. Especially one that you and your family were not born into. You must set aside many of your ties to friends and family. You exchange the freedom you had before for security and sustenance. It is more difficult for some than for others."
Sela lapses into a moment of quiet as she lets the cool salve sink in. Her breath is shaky as she breathes in and out in an uneven rhythm. "I couldn't work for her… she's not Lady Ashwood. I serve the Ashwoods." She isn't ecen sure why she's trying to convince Petra of this, but she has to convince someone. "Highfield is my home," she says in a softer, smaller voice.
"If Lord Aleister did not believe that you could provide good service to the House, he would not have allowed you to stay in Highfield. It does not often seem as though he understands what it means to be forgiving. But in truth, this is as an act of contrition. You have made amends for your actions and you will receive his forgiveness. Well do I know that such thoughts will not ease the pain of a torn and bleeding back, but I offer what I can of my own experience." The guard, sent to retrieve the tunic returns, and Petra accepts it. Given that Petra is a full three-quarters of a foot taller than the younger woman, what is long on Petra will be nearly dragging on Sela, but at least they are close enough in build that it will not be a tent on the girl. "Fetch bread, some small pieces of cheese, butter," and once again, the man departs, "Come, I will help you change."
Something about Petra's words actually comforts Sela. She glances up toward the guard as he returns with the blue tunic, though she does not dare move until he is away again to fetch the food. She breathes out a steadying sigh as she starts to sit up. The wine strangely enough has dulled her a bit, and brought on a strange warmth. She waivers a bit now that she is upright, and the world seems to want to keep on tilting in a slow rotation. She has to close her eyes to stop such nonsense. She cannot seem to get her mind to settle into a cohensive thought, so all she can muster is another soft thanks. She allows Petra to help her change, though eventually the wine is putting her to sleep.
Petra takes her time, helping the girl as she requires. But she presses no further conversation on her. No admonitions or advice. She only does what she can to make her comfortable. And while she does not redress her in her own clothes, instead leaving them neatly folded beside the cot, she does help her back into her gloves. And once Sela has settled on the cot to sleep, Petra rises. Poor overworked guard. He's put upon again, "Remain by her door. She is not a prisoner, but she has need of rest and I will not have her disturbed. See that she has water, wine and food as she requires and when she is ready to leave, escort her back to her cot. I will come to check on her, but if she has need of more salve before I return, only send word and I will tend her." To the guard who got the 'easy' duty, "Bring the chest." Now that the cell's occupied, she can't just go leaving things around.