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Girl without a sword

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Stumbling Seeker
I'm pulled back to the world,
surfacing, breaking out of the depths.

Cold water cascades,
as if I were shot up out of the sea itself

In truth I hang limp, spent and jelly-jointed,
but near weightless, almost levitating,
floating painless and free
while still tightly bound.

Can I not dream and drift a moment more?

There's a duty to be done, a price to be paid
I must return,
you tell me.

I must hang heavy again in my bonds,
armpits aching and my breastbone wanting to burst.
Wrists and ankles chafed
Fingers grasping for a hold on the rope
Toes seeking a tiny spot of support on the ground
skin stretched and seared
welts throbbing and burning
To this I must return
This way I must go on.

You lift my head, your presence fills my world,
your eyes cut through

I can't pretend, I can't escape,
I can't hide under the sheets or curl up in darkness
I must go through this
and I can only make it with you

how I must hate you for what you did!
But that's not true

What I resent
is that it was only that thing inside me
not you
but that can never happen, can it?

oh for sure, I'd guess you might roll in the hay with a peasant girl
Perhaps on lonely travels find pleasure in some tavern wench
Or in war, exert the right of conquest
on a newly taken slave
but these are all apart from me
above me

I've never been used this way, a thing forced into me,
but I understand,

I am tainted flesh
Destined to rot on the midden heap
or be cast into a pit
churning with maggots
cast forth with spoiled meats,
unclean vermin, beasts dead of disease

That is what it is, isn't it?

Is it?
For certain,
I should not hope to live after this humiliation.

I try to read my destiny from your eyes
I want to speak
But then the moment is gone,
you move away, behind me again.

I attempt to twist and turn my head, but it's too much of a strain.

I feel the twin cords
quickly being drawn between my legs,
held firm for a moment
then withdrawn again.

I hear the friction of the rope and your fingers working.
When the ropes return, I realize,
you'd taken the measure to find,
where to place the knots
that will further embarass me.

You press them in place with your right hand while coming around on my left side
Then you spread the two strands of rope and pull up high.

The crowd enjoys the spectacle of my body being used against me

Can I fault them?

Not when I used my nudity for treachery,
the image of an innocent girl bathing in a stream.
Revealing myself at the right time, a distraction,
to facilitate the crime.
Now I'm revealed for all, in any way

And as you work with the rope the knots tease me,
they are everywhere,
pressing deep into my folds, rubbing over my opening, working between my cheeks
shaming me for any move I make

I see now what you're doing, and how this frame works.
I had wondered about the double beams,
they could be used to hold two penitents face to face,
but now you use the other beam to run the rope over it,
and down again you pull ... I gasp as it digs in, lifting me

You fasten the bucket, and explain the rules of the game.

Weight must be added,
Pain must be sharpened,
Cuts deepened.

Shame must be piled on.

And the town
will have its part.

I wonder,

who will cast the first stone?


Staff member

You are back with me
You know where you are
See how a woman
Bound this way
Will grasp the ropes
That steal her freedom
Participate in her own restraint
She needs to hold
Seeks comfort, control
The rope in her hand
Makes her feel less helpless
She masters this small part
Of her shrunken world

"Who would like to try?
I will show you the way
I will cast the first stone"

Hold the rope firm, girl
And we will begin
Here is a rock
Palm sized, heavy
Let me move back
Make this more sporting
Give me a target
I may even miss
(I will not miss)

Your eyes meet mine
Join me in this
Gather yourself
The crowd quietens
Yes! Rock enters bucket
Bucket jerks, bucket sways
That gets your attention
Rope tightens, knots bite, rub
You writhe, but there is no escape

I am close
I see in your eyes
What the crowd does not
Pain, yes
We have far to go yet
You and I

"Come, who is next?
Who will help the lady
Pay for her crime?
You, sir, you look willing"
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Stumbling Seeker
I know how it's going to work now.
The sudden pull of rope, the bucket swaying
knots roll back and forth
And then, when it's come to rest again ...
... I can feel the rope is tighter, as the new weight draws on it
Each time it will cut sharper and deeper.

There's jostling and joking in the crowd,
till the first volunteer comes to the fore,
out of his group of boys he strides,
makes his choice from the pile of spare cobblestones,
and swaggers up to the platform,
cocksure in his stance, he gives me a smirk,

I grip the ropes holding me, tight as I can,
My face goes thin-lipped as I strain,
That's his signal
- good shot!
the rock clatters, the rope pulls, I wince and grimace
Off he goes with cheers from the gang
who try their luck next.

It's harder than it looks, most miss,
shrug their shoulders, saunter off,
It's hard to hit me by mistake though,
only once does a rock bounce off the rim of the bucket,
and slap my thigh,
where a new kind of bruise will bloom.

You watch closely, not just them - me too
You notice me withdrawing, focusing inward
You call a pause and step to me

"Chin up, girl
Look them in the eye
Acknowledge each one
Pay respect to those
You have sinned against
Otherwise what you bear
Cannot count as penance"

It's true, and so I do my best to greet them all.

Though it's hard
to care about anything else
than the pressure digging into me
the knots pressing
the shame burning.

When I came here -
I gave no thought to these people.

Only to what I desired to take from them
so as to pay debts I owed at home.

They were nothing to me, I'd dupe them,
distract them, trick them and escape

Now each of them has power over me
and I'm not fooling anyone.

I've fooled myself I guess.
Sometimes my thoughts are very quick,
other times I don't think at all,

so now, too late, I see how it could have been,
Why not go to the guardians of the shrine,
confess of why I was sent and who sent me,

- Take the risk of asking mercy,

- not the risk of doing evil.

Perhaps serve some years at the shrine,
the thieves' guild will not search forever,
not for throwaway girl.

There's no profit in deceit,
no shame either,
in honest defeat,

so why not,
perhaps start anew here,
prove myself worth of it,
would not then,
in this same market
people greet me with pleasant eye and friendly voice
and not like this
with contempt, ridicule, and rock in hand...

Idle dreams,
I made my choice.
I made it so,
that my blood can be spilled without guilt.

It's every kind of people
who now come up to claim their right

Old and young, rich and poor,
They try their luck,
the bucket fills,
it is like the weight of my sins

This one comes up shy and young,
cornered almost,
they expect him to fail,
he's amazed, spellbound, almost shocked at what he sees
'Don't stare at that cunt all day, we're waiting!'

Well isn't it true,
you hit what you look at.

I manage to catch his eye
He almost drowns in my face awash with tears
Boy you have a job to do!
I lift myself up a bit
so the weight sinks down.
I lower my eyes to the bucket,
his gaze follows
And the rock goes in!

Here comes a merry old matron,
rosy cheeked and lively,
wagging her finger at me,
making a roaring comedy of every part of my body.

She picks up a heavy stone and says
you've been boring lads with your straight shots
She heaves it in a high arc and it slams into the wooden pail
A cruel jerk on the rope makes me shriek
Roaring comedy!

The stones fly wildly now
One grazes my shoulder as it's thrown too high and far
You call the crowd to order
but there's a sentiment now
a cruelness that simmers

The man stepping up next,
quick and determined,
I feel it'll go bad,
He looks nowhere it seems,
doesn't, like the others,
wait for me to find his eyes,
doesn't wait for me,
to pull myself together and signal, Do it, I'm ready

His shot comes quick from the wrist
Goes right above the point
where the two cords meet, to pass through my sex
right against my pubic bone
I give a beastly howl and then go silent as I writhe and writhe and writhe
Nauseating pain, breath-stealing agony

Waves of jeering and laughter from the crowd

Through a curtain of tears
for a moment my eyes find you

Help me!
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Staff member
Have you been here
On market days?
Or attended the fairs
That come through town?
Food and drink
And games of skill
Prizes to be had
You know how it is
Knock over the skittle
Win a hair ribbon for your love
So now they enter the game
Toss the stone
Try their luck

I see you withdraw
Against the pain
Looking for refuge
Hiding inside
This will not do

Chin up, girl
Look them in the eye
Acknowledge each one
Pay respect to those
You have sinned against
Otherwise what you bear
Cannot count as penance

That is better
Each one sees her
Not just as flesh to torment
But as a woman
A relationship
It is important that the people
Take this as their own
I act for them
I am not alone

Young and old they come
To play, to get a reaction
This young lad is wide eyed
Your body so close, exposed
Could this be his first sight
Of a bare young pussy?
He is as embarrassed as you!
"Don't stare at that cunt all day, we're waiting!"
You handle him with surprising grace
But I see the tension in your limbs
In your face
It is not meant to be easy

The bucket sinks
With each good shot
Your folds are squeezed, rubbed
The cords dig deeper without relief
You pay the price, as you should
What is this?
One cocky buck
No respect for the task
Aims a fierce shot
Straight at your sex
Your agony is a gift shared
Between we two
He has stepped outside the rules
Order must be restored
He does not sense me coming

The whip catches his throat
His face pulled down, meets my knee
Then that handle
Which probed between your thighs
Finds his head, again and again
Boot in his belly
Heel crush his hands
As you writhe in your bonds
He squirms on the ground
Watch him crawl away
He will not hurt you again

The crowd is quiet
They did not expect
That harm could go both ways
I am not a violent man
But order must rule
Law is law, girl
You are learning that

It is time
Our faces close
I raise the bucket, ease the weight
That cuts you so
So so near
Only you see in my eyes
What this does to me
"It is time girl
Time to reveal your crime"

"Good work my people, the rocks
Have drawn truth from her
She has whispered her guilt
Her sorrow is genuine
It is greater than we knew
Deliberate treachery!
She sought to steal
The sacred sword
And more
She laid hands on it
Defiled it, insulted the ancestors!
The law is clear"

They brighten
On sure ground again
With one voice they shout
"The cross! The cross!
Crucify this woman!"

I want to reach out
Comfort you
Kiss where the rock struck
Taste where the rope bites
Our eyes meet
There is fear in you, and excitement too
Do you sense the same in me?
Don't worry, I am here
I will not leave you
I will guide you
I will not ask
What you cannot give
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Stumbling Seeker
Yeah the line 'no profit from deceit' somehow surfaced from my memory and so I couldn't resist the tempation to use it, but also smuggled in a reference to the source.

100 bonus points to Bobinder for picking up the clue!

Sadly bonus points dispensed by one condemned to the cross aren't worth very much.

The question will be, if that other phrase, 'an honest man knows revenge is not sweet' can have any applicability to a crux-girl's fate ...


Stumbling Seeker
The theft of the sword seems to lead to more and more extreme consequences!
Well it seems there is some ancestral law here familiar to everyone, and crimes against the collective honor must be taken very seriously!
Meanwhile, a strange Chemistry is developing between condenmned and tormentor! I look out how this will develop further!:clapping:
That's at the heart of it and let's not forget I condemned myself here by my deed and he's helping me make the best of it...
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Graf von Kreuzigung
Well it seems there is some ancestral law here familiar to everyone, and crimes against the collective honor must be taken very seriously!

That's at the heart of it and let's not forget I condemned myself here by my deed and he's helping me make the best of it...
I sometimes get the impression that there is more on your soul than just the sword. That, deep inside, you have a secret that haunts you, and that you use this opportunity to get even with yourself.


Stumbling Seeker
Have you been here
On market days?
What started in the spirit of a merry fair,
(though at my expense, deservedly)
has gone tense and nears the boiling point.

You'd promised me,
you'd not ask anything I couldn't give
You don't like others invalidating your word

As a maintainer of order, you must bring to heel
the baser instincts of the crowd
The law is the law,
A sword that cuts both ways.

but there is more
in that sudden storm of retribution
as the interloper crawls humbled and defeated
You act, I understand,
not only as my punisher
but also my protector.

Oh what a champion I could have had in you
If I had not come in treachery.

The ancient custom of the shrine, it seems,
gives great privilege to the captor of an evildoer.

in many ways it makes me your property
but how you dispose of me
must conform to that same custom.

The law is the law,
a sword that cuts both ways.

There is confusion in the crowd,
'whose side are you on', some ask,
your answer, to them, would be
'Justice, and Truth'

To me?
A thing unspoken in your eye.
An unmentionable hope.

So, it is time.
The game is finished, the crowd has had its part.

You free me of my load,
Take the weights away
The weight that makes the rope cut deep
and punishes my body where it's most vulnerable.

and the weight that makes the guilt cut deep,
and punishes my soul where it's most troubled.

Standing right in front of me
You lift away the weight of my pain
And you lift away the weight of sin

You wrap it in words
and throw it to the crowd.
It is out in the open,

I had not been just a trespasser,
as so far they had believed,
I had been a thief, a defiler of the sacred

And deeper still hides what made me so.

The truth is out.
The weight is gone.
And I can be free
even if my body is bound and chained,
even if my body be condemned.

'To the cross' chants the crowd.
But I see you,
I hear you,
You impress on me again...
You shall not ask of me what I cannot give.
You will be there for me, with me.

I can't comprehend,
because I do know what the cross portends.

Where was raised,
among the warrior caste,
cowards and deserters went the way of the cross,
and I saw it once,
though I turned away quickly

I could not possibly...
...give this...
can you not see?
It can only be taken from me.
Wrested from me
with my dying breath
and the last beat of my heart
against its prison in the ribs
cursed to fight past all hope.

I could not possibly take it,
could not bear it,
is that not the entire purpose of it?

My heart is in confusion
How could you ask this of me?

But then,
As you work to release me from my bonds,
I remember my own thoughts.

My imagination of what could have been,
Had I made another choice.

I reconsider my own thoughts,
how by failing to ask for mercy,
by failing to trust,
I brought about my own fate.

The very last thing to learn in my life
Is to trust,
and whom else but you?

To the cross it must be
for the both of us
Is it true a part of you will suffer with me?

I will trust,
that you'll be able
to show me how to give
what I think I never could.


Things happen so quickly after I'm released
We are are parted and I'm led away
New hands upon me
down through the crowd

A crowd full of voices
Not all of one mind
A few speak words of mercy
'she's just a girl'
'the sword was not lost'
'what does old law mean,
that even toothless crones cannot recall being applied'

but simple, plain, and strong
and finally overwhelming
like a mighty drumbeat,
forcing its rhythm upon each pulse
is the call for the cross

My cross.


Scant hours in a cell
seem an eternity of anxiety
In between, an apparition
A bowl of water and a slice of bread
and someone to ask
What shall become of me?

I know I shouldn't ask - just accept
but my heart is weak, when alone

'The elders confer', she says,
'It is a long and exhausting deliberation',
'but I can tell you, he is with them',

She too, knows where my hope lays.


Time has come,
Is it truly still the same day?
All my fate wrapped up in a few small hours.

I'm led out
Here they emerge,
The council of elders,
The platform now a pulpit
the speaker holds forth

None of us alive today recalls
the enforcement of the ancient law
But we know too well we are alive today
only because our ancestors bowed to it.
Obeyed it and preserved it.
The law is the law
and we have turned to the law itself
nothing but the letter that was written
which I shall read out for all
from the scroll we have drawn from the shrine:

Whosoever dares to defile the sacred blade,
shall be nailed by hands and feet to a cross of wood,
to spread them out in pain,
and they shall be raised on that cross,
to hang and suffer
under sun and moon,
to be seen by all
in their disgrace.
And their name shall be forgotten among us!
So it shall be done!

We are a people of kindness and civility
but we are also a people of lawful order
The letter of the law is clear
But letters can be misunderstood
So let us hear from the citizens
Is there an objection?

Silence falls.
Like the hammer of fate
I look to you
Up on the platform

Must I?
If I must,
I will give this.
To you,
not the law.

The elder speaks,
So it is then determined
According to the law
Adhering to the letter

We shall indeed
Crucify this woman!


My mind is spinning and I waver a moment
They are expecting me to faint, or crumble,
to scream and beg and tear my hair
But you've prepared me well
I'm ready, as far as any can be.

I step up to the platform, and kneel
I ask of the elders, may I speak
to those against whom I've transgressed
in acceptance of my sentence.

The wise men nod, and beckon me up,
so I shall be seen
Standing open, hands behind my back,
I address my betters

The ancient law proscribes,
after all is done,
to forget my name
that is good and right

But my wish is,
to be remembered not only as the one who stole the sword
to be remembered not only, for the wrongs I did

instead, as well,

as one who took her fate upon herself
as willingly, and bravely, as she could

It is in this way I have the last chance
to prove myself to you
as worthy
of anything.

I will be good and obedient
I'll spread myself on my cross
place my limbs where they belong
place the first nail where it must go
if you so wish.

I shall suffer my cross through day and night
until I am finished
And law's fulfilled.

So you can forget my name.
but remember how I took my fate.
Forget who I was,
but remember my fate.

The chief elder tells me - close your eyes
And he reads out once more
The letters of the law
tells me to repeat loud and clear
for all to hear
each and every line
that spells my doom.
I do,
though my voice sometimes falters.

When I open my eyes again
I see, the first time,

my cross.

Made anew during my hours in the cell
It is more delicate than I would have expected
The short beam hardly wider than my arms fully spread
But taller also, than I'd thought
The end though, of the long beam,
is a sharpened stake
To be planted into soil.

I thought it would be raised right here,
where my punishment began

I understand there is another place
A place apart,
a suffering-ground

There is still a way to go,
To the place
where you will
Crucify this woman.
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Staff member
You are shocked
I see it
I want to reassure
But those words
"The cross!"
They pierce your soul
Your heart flutters
Like a caged bird

Be calm
I will unbind your limbs
Your ankles free
Your sex again guarded
By closed thighs

Though in my minds eye
You hide no secrets
I will not forget
The folds between your legs
The welcoming cleft of your woman's parts
The way you danced
As the whip bit
As the rope cut

Now, my flesh touches yours
Bare ankle, wrist
What I had bound
The Frame has done its job
Our story continues

Your wrists are free
Let me help you,
Take your weight
Rest on me
There will be a cell
There will be many words
Yet you will see me again
I will not leave you
You will not face this alone

Rest in your cell
Gather yourself
I go to give council
Argue your case
Take your part
The law is clear
Yet there is room
For mercy still
Mercy of a sort

After the words
I watch from a hidden slot
You nurse rope hurts
And whip cuts
Yet under the blood
Still strong and supple
Able to take more
Able to give?

Candle light flickers
On soft curves
Gives outline to
Breast, nipple, ribs
Face, clouded in concern
Who would not wish
To kiss that face,
Give comfort?
To know that body in gentler ways
Than I have come to know it

Turn from the viewing slot
There is work to do

Now reunited in the square
You hear the words of sentence:
Whosoever dares to defile the sacred blade,
shall be nailed by hands and feet to a cross of wood

We are a people of kindness and civility
but we are also a people of lawful order

What does this mean?
What does this mean?
We will go for a walk
You and I
A hard walk
A harder penance
Trust me
I will guide you

You have said your piece
Come now
Prove yourself worthy
Your cross waits

Before you start
Take this cord
Tie back your hair
(Arms up
Breasts thrust forward
A taste of what comes)
Now another gift
This cord, around your neck
On the end, your nails

Let me help
Here, on your shoulder sits the cross
Hold it so
Take the weight here, or you will fall
The end will have to drag behind
Are you set?
Steady your legs
Let us begin

"Move aside, let her through"
They part, some go ahead
To find a good spot
The rest will walk with us
Or line the road
You stumble, your first steps
Swaying under the weight
It is hard, but the road is smooth
You find a rhythm

Alongside you
I watch the nails
Bounce between your breasts
Sway in unison
A reminder, always present
Arms work to hold wood steady
Legs struggle to find the way
You walk ahead
Your natural grace marred
By the balancing act
Of woman and cross

Fresh blood on your back
Wood opens wounds once more

"Look at her, she must be drunk!
She can't walk straight"
"So skinny, no strength for this work"
Then a sharp rock
Unexpected, savage, under you foot
Down you go
Heavy. I move to help
But you are already struggling up
Swaying to your feet
I get the cross seated
On the other shoulder
Place your hands on the wood
Set you forward again
(My hand on your thigh to comfort)

ERIN the Brave

Staff member
View attachment 868975
I truly did not know this was the Sacred Blade of the Forefathers.
Yes of course I shall return it to its rightful custodian.
Here it is. Take it.
I regret my sacrilege.
What will be ... my punishment?
Erin is never without a sword, she carries the mightiest sword of them all...The Sword Of Asaroth!


Stumbling Seeker
Come now
Prove yourself worthy
Your cross waits
Sometimes in our lives we come to the point,
where we must do something never tried before,
a dive into cold water, leap into the unknown.

I must bear these beams to the suffering-grounds?

I've never ... carried a cross before.
With everyone watching -
I hope I'm not too clumsy.
What if I drop it?
Slip, sprawl under it?

I ought not care, one might think,

but I want to do this right.
This one last thing -- It has to be right.
Make good what was before.

That cross, it's taller than me,
Much of its length will go into the ground,
Planted deep, rooted well,
so as to hold me firm and unshaking,
when I'm left to twist and throw myself about,
in the last of my torments.
That much I understand of this.

How to bear it?

You sense my hesitation,
see my trembling hands
hands moving to cover me,
instead of embracing my destiny

You could seize my wrists,
force me to show myself
but you want me to find my own way
A cord to tie up my hair
I should not hide, I should be revealed

I imagine again, us meeting in a different world
A chance encounter, not a capture

Something in your eye, something in your smile
That makes me be open

Raise my arms like that, for you to see...
fixing my hair
... an excuse to steal ...
- some of your attention,
not a stupid sword

I imagine your strength used upon me gently
One of your hands clasping both my wrists
Up over my head, I'm fixed
your other hand
free to roam
that would have been nice

things we'll never do
instead you gift me with nails,
a necklace of pain,
the long spikes cold upon my skin

instead you'll pin me down against a beam of wood
(It will be you won't it, please, it must be you)

Have you done this before?
Oh what cruel monster would you be, if you had!?

Still, it must be done right!

I'll do all my best but ...
there is so much only you can finish
It needs to be right,
I want you to have a steady hand and clear mind
I want you to know exactly what to do,
when all my knowing must end.

So you should have done it before
(I wonder who she was!)

Here is the wood now
for a moment an awkward dance
as I almost let it topple

You help me shoulder it.
The march begins.

I struggle to find a footing
struggle to find a hold
but -- forward now.

My left hand on the crossbeam, steering
My right arm wrapped round the post
and its weight on that shoulder
I can move.

The sharpened end of the post
dragging over cobblestones
Tok, ... tok, ... slowly first
then faster as I find my rhythm

Hesitant steps become a more steady walk
It is heavy but I can do this.

It's not easy though, balancing those beams
All the while the spikes sway in front of me
sometimes catching, poking into flesh

Freshly worked wood right beside my cheek
A nice, warm smell.

The crowd opens up to let me pass.
Some it seems, shy away from me
... marked for death as I am


Oh it is not easy at all!
It gets hard
then it gets unbearable

The weight presses hard, the wood opens weals
My shoulder numb and throbbing,
pain shoots up through my neck,
nearly makes my eyes pop out!

Blinded by tears
the cord gone loose,
hair in front of my face
can't see where I'm going,

"Must be drunk ... she can't walk straight"
"no strength for this work"

well damn I'll show you lot!

I speed up, bad idea,
stumbling, foot down hard, ouch!
Damn those pointy rocks!
Down I go...

The post bangs against the back of my head
Winded, I sprawl ungainly
On top of it all ... a nail pricks me
brings out a silly little squeal

Snickers from the bystanders
I'm not doing it right
and I know there's so much worse ahead
right there - I just want to give up and cry
just go limp, let me drag there if you must

But you're there on time,
Helping me to get the beam on my other shoulder
A brief touch, tells me ... you trust, I can do this...
I can.
Pausing briefly
balancing the cross, fix up my hair again.
You keep a close eye on me,

The weight is now on my weaker side
I tire more quickly
Shift back to the right shoulder, that's still aching
so soon I need to shift again
Each time tiring more quickly
But you're there to help,
you drape a small leather rag over my raw shoulder,
that helps

Thank you, again.

Here is the stream.
A high-arched bridge to get over.
Heavy breathing and hard heaving,
and I'm on top.
A brief pause, looking out over the land.

There's hesitation and discussion.

Gallows hill?
Where we strung up those highwaymen
what was it ... four summers ago?
It's overgrown with brush and bramble!
(We are a peaceful, orderly town!)

And anyway she'd never make it up there
Who else will carry the cross?
It's for her,
you go pick it up for her,
and her bad fortune will rub off on you
She won't be going far...

Some doubters, too, have tagged along
"Do we really need to do this?"
"Shave her head, brand her a thief,"
"and send her running, be done with it"

But no,
the law is the law,
and we've got to finish what we've started.

Amidst the uncertainty
from atop the arc of the bridge
I raise my voice
Softly but audibly

"Take me back to where it began"

Just a bit upstream
Opposite the grounds of the shrine
Where it began
As I waded into the midst of the stream
A raging current there, after the recent rains

Playing the innocent girl in distress
Just a quick dip on a hot day
Ignorant of the sacred land on the other bank
But now in danger of drowning in the torrents
(in truth, as a swimmer, I'm strong and enduring)

My subterfuge succeeded
feigned cries alerting a guardian
It wasn't hard though,
to make my rescue appear too risky

So he told me,
hold on to that branch
I'll be back with more men,
we'll get you out for sure

As soon as he'd gone off
I'd quickly saved myself
sneaking silent into the sanctuary
but then you caught me

It's the way I'd abused the goodness of these people,
their willingness to help a stranger,
that condemns me most,

and just here,
where I first showed myself in subterfuge
is now the right place
to see me stripped of all falsehood
Concealing nothing.

You tell me to put down the cross
so that it's angled a bit on the rocks
Better to run ropes underneath

So soon now.

The people gather round ...
The cross off my shoulder
I feel so light, almost floating
Though I'm tired dirty and sweating.

I clasp the nails against my heart...
So soon now.

A polite people,
the chief elder with his staff,
raises his hand and asks for quiet

Do you have a last request, wench
Before we do with you,
what you have earned for yourself?


Angelus Mortis
Staff member
So many beautiful touches to this, drawing out the tragedy, the attempts at stoicism, or just the words to try to bring this situation within the realm of some sort of comprehensible life experience. The warm smell of the wood. The idea that carrying a cross is akin to work. Politeness of the elder. If it's normal, it can't be so bad, right?


Staff member
How can it be
That something so public
Has become so intimate?
The rag shields your shoulder
Your only garment
Gives comfort, as I wish to
Brush back your hair
Wipe sweat from your face

Your struggle is mine
I want to protect you
I must uphold the law
No use wondering what might have been
Had we met another way
This was our meeting
This our test

I will do my duty
You will be crucified
Laid upon the wood
Those nails around your neck
Will be in my hands
Your body laid under me
Bare and ready
It makes my heart race, my mouth dry
It must be done
You must trust me

And can I trust myself?
This is my first time, as it must be yours
I know wood, and nails, and bodies
A competent man, handy
Taking pride in his work
It will be done well, I promise
You are in good hands
(Gods let me not fail the test!)

For now, I watch you
Step by step, weighed down
Not defeated, dignity in your movements
You, too, take pride
You will play your part
When the moment comes
When we must give strength to each other
When iron and flesh meet
I trust you

So it is decided
We take you to the stream by the shrine
The place it began
To make things right, close the circle
All will be made right
You will see
I will guide you
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