Boxing Kelly
by Van © 2004

Chapter 2

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Debbie screamed through her gag, Kelly stared in wide-eyed amazement, and Debbie's sisters laughed and guffawed.  Her neck and wrists imprisoned in a line in one of Dawn's "shrew's fiddle" type yokes, her mouth stuffed with one rag and cleave-gaged with another,  Debbie's cheeks were bright red, and her blue eyes miserable.

"Poor Baby-brat," Dawn cooed, then came forward and untied her younger sister's gag.  "Deb, meet Kelly Fey, the famous author and our new neighbor.  I believe you've used a few of her books for coasters?"

Debbie spit out the rag stuffed in her mouth and tried to turn her head, but this was prevented by Dawn's firm hand on the chain attached to the fiddle.  "Oh, just kill me!" the honey blonde youngster muttered, blushing and averting her eyes.

Kelly smiled.  Poor kid.  Debbie's medieval serving girl costume showcased her fair skin, white shoulders, smooth legs, and bare feet.  She was as beautiful and athletic as her sisters, and absolutely radiated the charm and innocence of youth.  Kelly hardly knew the Behrs, of course, but the current situation felt like sisterly hijinks with no real malice involved.  "Pleased to meet you, Debbie," Kelly said kindly, reaching out and shaking the prisoner's imprisoned right hand.  "You've been wearing that thing for eight hours?"

"Almost," Debbie answered, still blushing, but now smiling weakly.

"I line the wrist and neck holes of all my devices with a quarter inch of high density foam," Dawn explained, "then seal the foam with latex and paint and comb in color streaks to match the woodgrain.  The carving helps camouflage the seams."

"She does a good job," Debbie added.  "Her fiddles and yokes aren't as heavy as they look, and they don't chafe."

Kelly was pleased to see Debbie recovering from her embarrassment.  "Still... eight hours?"

"I didn't say it was fun," Debbie admitted.  "Well, it is fun.  You know: Cowboys-and-Indians, Cops-and-Robbers, Damsel-in-Distress...  You know."  The youngster was blushing again.

Kelly smiled.  "Yeah, I know."

"I've got more examples of my 'RenFaire Accouterments' in the barn," Dawn said, and unclipped the chain linking Debbie's fiddle (and therefore Debbie) to the wall.  "I'll show you," she told Kelly, then turned to her little sister.  "C'mon, slovenly slop girl."

"I'm a tap wench!" Debbie objected as she stumbled after her sister.

"And don't rip your costume!" Dorey scolded, a smile belying her tone.  "It's got just the right combination of stains and ground-in dirt and poorly repaired damage.  I don't want to have to break in a new one."

"Yes ma'am," Debbie muttered, stuck out her tongue, and sent a rude and slobbery raspberry in her oldest sister's direction.

Dorey shook her head and walked away.  "We need to order a brank with a tongue stretcher from your smithy friend," she told Dawn.  "I'll be in the kitchen."  She looked back over her shoulder and smiled at Kelly.  "Again, welcome!"

Kelly smiled back.  "Thanks."  By this time Dawn was leading Debbie through the barn door.  Kelly followed them inside—and for the second time in less than five minutes—gasped!
boxing kelly
Chapter 2
Dallas was supposed to be looking for mushrooms.  That was her excuse to be wandering the forest with a basket, rather than sweeping the floor of The Red-eyed Boar... again.  And then she saw Princess Kellan.  This was her Big Chance!  Serving girl at a tavern was a step up from farm maid, especially at the tavern of a kindly innkeeper with a kindly wife, neither of whom brooked lewd behavior in their place, but what Dallas really wanted was to serve in the castle!  Fine clothes, compared to the coarse blouse, bodice, and stained skirt she wore now; real shoes, instead of dirty bare feet; and a chance to... to... Who knows where it might lead?

She saw which way the Princess was going and surmised she was planning a private picnic.  Dallas captured a curl of her dark blonde hair and curled it around a finger, deep in thought.  Hmm... best to follow slowly, let her enjoy her momentary escape from the Castle, then innocently wander into the clearing, introduce m'self, and pour out the charm.

She actually found some mushrooms: big, fat, brown ones, most with the ever-so-slightly upturned edges on the caps that signaled full maturity.  So even if she didn't impress the Princess, at least The Boar's sauces and pies would have a special savor tonight.  She picked the ripe and nearly ripe ones, leaving the emerging caps for another day (assuming no one else found them in the meanwhile, of course).

Mushrooms carefully bundled in cloth and packed in the basket, Dallas' thoughts returned to stalking her royal quarry.  She eased down the game trail at a slight crouch, and came to the edge of a clearing—and Dallas' eyes popped wide in shock!  She nearly yelped in terror, but managed to control herself.  She eased to the ground and crept behind the bole of an ancient oak.

Princess Kellan had been in the clearing, as expected... but what Dallas had not expected was to find the royal daughter bound and gagged and the captive of a tall, blonde, mercenary lad!  There was a blue flash, so brief and faint Dallas thought she might have imagined it.  She eased her head around the tree and gazed into the clearing, and the mercenary was lifting the helpless Princess and placing her in a wooden trunk... a trunk that hadn't been there before!  Magik!  Dallas eased back behind the tree.  What-to-do?  What-to-do?  Running away was an option.  Dallas gathered her skirts... and slowly settled back to the ground.   And who will save the Princess?  She wasn't crazy enough to think that an unarmed serving girl could best a trained soldier, even a tall boy of a trained soldier... but someone had to... someone like her good customer Watch Captain Alroy.  And if he could be led to the kidnapper's fresh trail with a posse of gamekeepers and elite men-at-arms...   I'll wait and see in which direction he takes her, then run back to the castle, and—

There was another blue flash.  Dallas peeked around the tree... and her eyes popped wide again.  Princess Kellan was gone!  And so was the trunk!  And so was the mercenary!  Only an open knapsack and the Princess' cloak remained in the clearing.  Dallas heard a sound behind her back (Oh no!), turned—and found the point of a sword at her throat.

The mercenary was holding the sword's hilt, of course, and Dallas could now see that the lad was in fact a sword maiden, a few summers older than herself.  "Well... what have we here?" the maiden inquired, a coy smile on her beautiful (hard) face.

Dallas knew the question wasn't meant to be answered.  She stared up the glistening blade at her captor and tried to prepare herself for death.

"A spy, I think," the mercenary continued, her sword point rock steady.  "Hmm... a spy... or a pack pony?  What's your name, wench?"

This question was meant to be answered.  "Dallas, mistress."

"Dallas..." the sword maiden mused.  "A fine name.  Tell me, Dallas... would you rather be Dallas-the-dead-spy... or Dallas-the-sumpter?"

"I... I don't want to die," Dallas stammered.

Still smiling, the maiden nodded her head.  "Pack pony it is, then.  Up you come, and put your pretty little hands on yon oak."  Dallas complied.  "Good girl.  Now, lean forward—feet back—and legs spread... like a good serving girl."  Taps from the flat of the blade reinforced the mercenary's instructions.  The sword was sheathed and replaced with a long dagger, all in one fluid motion.  The dagger's point pricked Dallas' ribs as the mercenary used her left hand to conduct a thorough, humiliating search for weapons and contraband.  There was no weapon to be found, but the pitifully small cache of coins that comprised Dallas' worldly fortune was discovered.  The single groat and handful of pennies, halfpennies, and farthings disappeared into the sword maiden's pouch.  "Hands atop your comely head," she ordered, and again, Dallas complied.  The maiden leaned close from behind, her lips close to her frightened captive's left ear, her dagger close to the captive's white throat.  "My name is Mistress Duana," she whispered, "but you may call me Mistress.  Understand?"

"Yes, Mistress," Dallas answered, shaking with fear.

"Do as you're told, and we'll soon be good friends," Duana purred, and led her captive towards the clearing.
boxing kelly
Chapter 2
The barn was filled with stocks and pillories of various designs.  All were solid and heavy, constructed of thick timber with hand-cut joinery and substantial, hand-forged hinges and hasps.  To Kelly's educated eye they looked completely authentic.  There was also a semi-reclined frame of timber and rope netting, what might have been a Spanish rack, and other bulky objects under large white dust cloths.

"That one's for a RenFaire in Minnesota," Dawn said, pointing at a set of double stocks with an attached bench, "and that pillory's going to Colorado.  Mid-summer's my busiest season for this stuff, believe it or not."

"Midsummer?" Kelly mumbled.

"Halloween orders," Debbie explained.

"Oh," Kelley responded, running her hand over the top of the pillory.  It had two vertical posts and a pair of horizontal planks.

"See the padding Dawn was bragging about?" Debbie asked, pointing awkwardly at the pillory with her yoked hands.

Kelly ran one hand around the neck opening.  The latex covered foam lining the inside was almost indistinguishable from the rough wood of the pillory, even under close inspection.

"Open it," Dawn suggested.

Kelly lifted the top plank of the pillory.  It was about five feet in length, two inches thick, and eight inches wide.  It pivoted on the far side on a thick iron pin that pierced the plank and upright.  She gestured for Dawn to hold the top plank, then placed her wrists in the small, semi-circular troughs in the lower plank, to either side of the larger trough awaiting her neck.  "Most men wouldn't fit in this thing," she noted, then shook her hair forward, leaned forward from the waist, and eased her throat into the neck trough.

Dawn lowered the top plank.  It scissored home and imprisoned Kelly's wrists and neck, sliding solidly into the notch cut in the left upright.  "Been to many RenFaires?" Dawn inquired.

"A few."  Kelly twisted her wrists and neck to test the pillory's fit.  "This isn't exactly tight, but I'm not going anywhere."

"No, you're not," Dawn observed with a grin, lowering the top plank's wrought iron hasp over the padeye on the lower plank.  It snapped into place with an authoritative click.  "Anyway... 'Fair Young Maidens' buzz around my stocks and pillories like bees to honey, and their male escorts are almost always content to just watch.  I've stopped making these things with unisex size openings, except for special orders, of course."

The pillory forced Kelly to stand slumped forward, with a bend in her spine.  It wasn't painful, but she knew that (hypothetically) it would be, increasingly so as minutes turned into hours.   If asked, Kelly would have been unable to explain exactly why she had allowed herself to be captured in Dawn's pillory.  She trusted her new friend, but why allow herself to be made helpless?  "I... I've always wondered what these things were like," Kelly said softly (although in truth, she hadn't).

"Well, now you know," Dawn laughed.  "Here, I'll let you out."

"Wait!" Kelly blurted.  "Uh... Debbie, you're almost done setting your new fiddle wearing record, right?"

Staring at her favorite author, and now fellow captive, Debbie nodded her head, as best the shrew's fiddle would allow.  "Uh, yeah."

"You and I can talk until dinner's ready," Kelly suggested, then shifted her attention to Dawn, as best the pillory would allow, "okay?"

Dawn smiled, leaned forward and arranged Kelly's hair so it draped to one side, then clipped the chain on her sister's yoke to the padeye of the pillory's hasp.  "I have to set the table and open the wine anyway."  She turned and walked to the barn door.  "Just great," she muttered, loud enough to be heard, "another doting idiot to spoil the Baby-brat."  And then she was gone.

"This is great!" Debbie beamed, settling to the barn floor in front of Kelly.  "This is like Lady Rosalind and her lady-in-waiting Jayne in The Ax of Orren—I love that book!—after Baron Torin locked them in his dungeon—sort of—no chains or stone walls or iron bars or rats—and before the part where Maid Rosheen contacts them about the escape—but after the big gloating scene where the Baron threatens to wall up the entrance to their cell—and—"

Kelly smiled indulgently.  Eventually Debbie would run out of breath or ask a question, and then she would get to talk.
boxing kelly
Chapter 2
When they reached the clearing, Mistress Duana helped Dallas don the knapsack.  She kept the dagger in her right hand and was careful not to give her new captive an opening to mount any resistance.  A long thin cord was then used to bind Dallas' wrists together in front.  Next, the center of a length of stout hemp was hitched through her bound wrists, knotted around itself after a short run, then the ends passed around the maid's slim waist and knotted together at the small of her back, under the knapsack.  The arrangement left the prisoner with some degree of motion for her joined hands, but she could neither reach the knot behind her back nor lift her wrists far enough to attack the wrist bindings with her teeth.

Dallas' heart was hammering, but her initial terror was under control.  If her captor really meant to kill her, she'd already be dead.  Best to follow orders, try to discover what had happened to Princess Kellan, and wait for an opportunity.

Duana was rummaging in the knapsack.  "Can you cook, Maid Dallas?" she inquired.

"Yes, Mistress."

"Dress game?"

"Of course, Mistress."  Silly question.

Dallas heard a metallic rattling noise, something hard and cold encircled her throat, a locking latch was secured, then a light chain was tossed over her shoulder to dangle down her front.  Dallas sighed.  It was hardly surprising that a sell sword had the training and equipment to control a prisoner.

"Just to be perfectly clear," Duana said, "burn my meals and you'll be punished.  Try to mark our trail or escape and you'll be punished.  Make a habit of it, and I'll hamstring you and leave you for the ravens and foxes.  Understand?"

"Yes, Mistr—rnfh!"  A thick, knotted cloth was wedged between Dallas' teeth and Duana was knotting it at the nape of her neck.

Duana secured the flap of the knapsack, then stepped to the front.  She stooped and retrieved the Princess' cloak, draped it over her shoulders and secured the front clasp, then rakishly tossed the left fold back to free her sword.  She then thrust the basket of mushrooms into Dallas' bound hands.  "Don't drop these," she chided her captive.  "I want them with my supper tonight.  Away we go, dear pony," she announced, grabbed the end of the chain, and stepped off.

Dallas stumbled, then followed her captor from the clearing, down the game trail, and away from all she had ever known.
boxing kelly
 Chapter 2

Chapter 1
Chapter 3