By punishment I’ve been assigned to serve a Mistress which has been taken as a prisoner ten years ago, during the conquest on Zaria. Her husband, which name haven’t traveled from mouth to mouth with admiration and awe like of the other warlords, was spending his time in barracks with common soldiers where he gambled and drank. That kind of behavior didn’t suit well the commander who had right to wear fur on his cape. He would visit her only when battle qualms tortured him, and usually he have left her in bruises and tears. He has two sons with her, and three beautiful daughters for which I was ordered to follow decisively through gardens and take them in long cruises on water, where battle galley were anchored.
They glared at the city walls and boats braided in ropes while I watched over them with a pride. I felt sorry for the Mistress which had to suffer brutality of her husband for the sake of the children she had with him, but, alas, that wasn’t any of my business. If she would have came forward to me with a complaint, it would be my grand pleasure to slay that savage man and relieve her from this misery, and then I would proudly walk in court to defend myself with the Protectors code, bestowed on to me to serve and protect my Mistress.
That Zarian daughter spent her time locked up in a room where just few people visited her. I remember, once I have barged in on her, and found her in a foreign dance of daggers, where at first I thought she was performing a ritual suicide, but then I figured that was some Zarian custom, similar to belly-dancing. She even thought her daughters of this guided fluttering moves, resembling those of the bird’s wings fighting the wind. Smile was always present on her when around kids, despite deformities made by ungrateful husband upon tanned face. I was on sight when kids were involved, so my friends often ridiculed me, calling me a woman, because I have dedicated myself seriously to the bodyguard mission. It felt bad, because I was forced to defend my honor, courage and code, but I understood how silly did „Knight of Dresses“, sounded.
At one occasion, Mistress summoned me for a private audience, which almost never happened to a knight, to go at the chambers of a married woman, without husband and servants present. Beside the fact I was determined not to lay with her, I knew how swiftly my head will fall if just one pair of eyes would took my shadow entering. I walked in a room making a gap in a pearled curtain, when I became surrounded by jolly silky strips on a wind, and a balcony view through where a scent of sea was flourishing. She showed me to approach the spacious piece of furniture on which she was sitting and sowing ornaments onto strange suspenders. I set myself near her, more than confused, cause I didn’t knew what to expect.
– Ser Potos. I have heard in a verse that you were under the correction. Does shame bothers you, planted upon heroic shoulders? – She spoke to me in royal manner.
– My dear Mistress. Nor shame, nor weight does my punishment beats on me, and even if it did, what kind of hero would complain? – I replied dubiously.
– „What can a knight, do so badly, to greet such sour faith? “, I wondered, and mind my luck, you have been the most qualified to speak the word. – She steered conversation hiding her intentions, along with calming moves of a lady.
– Bad, was for me to speak the truth. – I answered.
– Does for the truth, a knight pays his tolls? – She asked cramping her eyebrows above what was still a girly face.
– Many have paid their tolls with their own head, my Lady, placing truth in wrong ears. – I responded as noble as I could while rubbing sweaty hands, expecting real question to hit.
– Why haven’t you spoke a lie or chastened you tongue so it won’t fly, rather than lust for glory and gallantry? – She fired upon me like Ildocian ballistas over the Zarian gates, and I grew more suspicious towards her intentions and where this conversation lead.
– Because, my Mistress, lie flies, but truth wins, and to hold my tongue I am untrained to perform, so I made amends with my destiny, to teach others where my path is misleading. – I was thinking how to forge words, when she smiled in please.
– My husband snatched me from Zaria and wed me in the temple of Godlessness, where death masters, but I haven’t turned to change my religion. What is a lie more, my life before, or this one? – She questioned absent gaze while stitching a leather strap.
– My Lady. In your search for lies, you forgot the truth. What is in your hart, is what the truth have left for you to remember her by, when air feels heavy with lies. For life in marriage, I hold no experience, nor destiny have given me one, cause I have been forever chained in Order of Dread Guard. My nature is in combat against my own kin, in honor of Ildok which took me inside its city walls and saved me from a hard life of a miner between the hills ingrown in sun canes. Customs of Gratna, from which I hail, didn’t stuck in my hart, because I was brought in glorified Ildok like a dog-horned calf, therefore I am unqualified to speak of my first life. – I confessed it all to her while she placed leather clothing on her and turned in place, slightly spreading her legs as a warrior.
– Enough Ser Potos. Don’t you understand we are the same? Both of us were dragged here beyond our wishes, and both of us have lived trough the horrors of captivity. I desire only one thing. How loyal are you to my children and me? – She surprised me with sharp tone in voice and a change of style, altering from a lady into a bitch, but she steel was my Mistress, and I had to obey.
– To the death, Mistress. – I replied in deep reverberating voice with a humble bow when she returned her daggers back in holsters.
– Alright then. – she said – , Then help me hide my husbands’ body. – she added, making me turn at her wonderstruck, and she rolled her eyes, – Oh, by the Aramons balls. I had to toughen up, because I was too protected in Zaria. This dog-horn shit thought me of deceit, military tactics, hand to hand combat, although I knew some myself… hence the daggers. You see Ser Potos, my adventurer spirit and ambitions surpass mere pleasure of being a mother, a woman, a slave, a whore to that bufalo-phant. I want much more than that, but they won’t give it to me, therefore I will take what I want by myself… isn’t that an Ildokian way: Army always takes, never gives away? – she spoke self-confidently while dragging late Master by his feet leaving a trail of blood on the ground.
Gradually she began to pierce though the ranks and military hierarchy until she developed new fraction inside Ildok. She climbed to the top with her sexuality and cunning warfare logistic, along with the help from ancient Order of Dread Guard, made from foreigners and for the first time in history from women for which it got heard far across the continent. She even included herself in temple of Godlessness to reinforce her domination and deflect assassination attempts that grew more frequent, where she even won them successfully and started offering death to those that restrained her rule.
She became first Dread Guardess which title and legacy have been constantly stocked by patriotic poems and warnings. Every bloodiest battle took place under her skillful leading hand, where our forces kept winning. She made sure that a good name of the elite Dread Guard remained unstained by foul voices. My punishment turned itself into honor of serving her and her children, which later on took the rule over Ildok through the storm of wars and appointed the new dynasty for many years to stay.
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