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. . . And The Truth Shall Set You Free

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Jon Smithie

Governor
This is one of my earlier stories. I'll post it in sections over the next week or so.


. . . AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE


The thing that Janine dreaded most about time travel was the nudity.

Janine did not like being naked around members of her own sex, let alone humans of the male persuasion.

That was partly why she was still a virgin.

She had developed later than her girlfriends. She was still in a gawky, skinny tweener phase while they grew breasts and widened their hips and started their periods. She despaired for a year that she would be forever skinny and flat chested. Her mother assured her that physical beauty was vanity, and anyway when she wanted a husband she could always emigrate to the New Puritan colony on Mars.

This was the other reason she was still a virgin. Her family was New Puritan and New Puritans forbade physical contact between the sexes, except for husband and wife, and then only at the fertile times of the woman's cycle.

Despite her isolated upbringing, from a young age Janine had felt a call to travel in time. During the year she applied and tested for Time Control, without her parents consent, she blossomed into a beautiful and shapely young woman. She considered that a sign.

Janine wore a paper gown to the time chamber. It was not much cover but it was better than nothing, and it delayed the inevitable.

The seven other team members in the chamber were stark naked. Janine blushed furiously and averted her eyes from the smiles and nods of the others.

"Jesus, Sister Althea," Professor Robertson said, using Janine's period name. "No need to be shy, we're all friends here." Professor Robert Robertson was the lead professor. His period name was Markus. He thought he light cover of Janine's lovely body was more of turn on than her nudity would be.

Professor Mildred Abernathy looked sideways at Robertson and eyed the first twitches of an oncoming stiffy. Her period name was Marta. She was well past middle age and had a rotund belly and pendulous breasts, which she did not in the least try to cover.

"Let's not get too friendly." She said.

Robertson closed his eyes and tried not to think about what he was going to see hundreds of years in the past.

Robertson had selected Janine from dozens of applicants for the position of intern/research assistant because she was certainly qualified; efficient, dedicated, intelligent, and after intensive training, knowledgeable about the culture of the time and fluent in the language.

But mostly he chose her because he wanted to see her naked.

As the countdown began Janine closed her eyes. The countdown began to fade, then stopped. Veteran travelers had told Janine the horror stories; that traveling in time was like stepping into a swirling time vortex, a tornado that could rearrange your DNA if you were unlucky, and at the very least render you speechless with nausea for hours. She hadn't believed any of that, or at least not all of it, but still the actual fact was as undramatic as stepping out of an elevator. It was just that this elevator opened into another time and place.

"Welcome to the Year of Our Lord fifteen hundred and eighty one," Robertson said.

Janine opened her eyes and covered herself with her arms as she realized her gown was now a light powder of dust on her shoulders and at her feet.

"Not much to it, is it?" he said, stroking her delicate shoulders as he brushed the powder off. "Hard to believe we just used up a week's worth of energy from a fusion reactor."

Janine flinched at his touch.

"Yes sir," she said hugging herself. "Can we get our clothes now?"

Janine felt the eyes of the men drawn to her nakedness, and she was mortified. She felt she was still that gawky, unattractive girl she had been in high school, teased and bullied in the gym shower. One of the men whistled.

"Oh, fuck off!" Marta said. "Act like you've seen a naked woman before. Come on, Althea, let's get our clothes before I drive these animals wild!"

The stasis pod was opened and clothes, coins and accessories, including daggers and stout walking sticks that could double as cudgels, were handed out.

Most important was the pair of molars in small individual plastic cases. These fitted into the sockets of the upper molars that had been extracted from each team member. One molar was triggered by the tongue in a sequence of three short taps, three long taps and three short taps. This was the ancient Morse code sequence S.O.S., Save Our Ship/Save Our Selves. It initiated a cascade of serotonins and endorphins and immune system mediators that would fight infection and pain, which in case of injury, would allow the team member to continue functioning. The physician from Medical Control mentioned that there could potentially be certain certain side effects after triggering the cascade, such as sexual arousal, since endorphins also mediated sexual response. This of course, had brought on the usual jokes and the the claim that S.O.S. really meant "Stimulate Our Sex."

The other molar was the beacon that would pinpoint the team member's location in time and space, allowing Time Control to lock on and bring him or her back to the present. Ideally the team would all key their beacons within a certain time, allowing them to return as a group.

Professor Robertson was eager to get into his breeches to cover his rapidly developing hard on. He'd been wrong. Janine was much sexier completely nude. He'd seen Janine's naked butt and back, the sides of her breasts, and her bush, and lord, he would've traveled thousands of years to see that.

"Alright, everyone, let's huddle up." Robertson said when everyone had gotten into their clothes and slung on their bags and belts.

They were standing in a meadow in a forested area. Janine heard the sound of a creek a little distance away. The air was cool on her skin and the smell was vibrant and pure. She had never smelled air so fresh.

"You mustn't forget these are dangerous times. We're on pilgrimage so hopefully any bandits in the area will believe we have nothing of worthwhile value. Anyway we're close enough to the city that the roads should be relatively safe. It will be a week or so before the generators can recharge the energy it takes to bring us back so as of now we are officially on our own. In any case you must not trip your beacon before scheduled return except in the most dire emergency. If you go back early you could be screwing the rest of us."

The team had heard all this before and were not paying close attention. They were eager to get on the road.

Janine shivered, realizing that she was really here, and for a moment had a bit of trouble catching her breath. She fingered the tiny cross at her throat. Her parents had been unalterably opposed to her traveling. But she had defied them. Her parents had shunned her when she left for training. They had not attended her graduation years later. It was only after she had been selected for this team that she had any contact with her family. A small box had been delivered to her. There was no letter, only a small gold cross on a necklace, the only adornment her mother ever wore.

She was over six hundred years from her home, and her only connection to her family was a tiny cross.

How appropriate, she thought.

She also wore a large crucifix outside her clothes, but that was for show. As a New Puritan, she did not make a display of her beliefs.

Although she did have a fish icon on her transpod.

They had all memorized the map of their location, and knew they would follow the stream down about a mile to a road that they would then walk to a convent two miles north. They would spend the night there. Then on to Trier, a large city for the time and an influential religious center. In two months the largest witch burning in history would occur there.

Janine had been wearing her period clothes the whole time while training with the team, so they were not clean, and they certainly had a lived in smell. Body odor was just something you had to get used to when traveling to the far past. But now she felt out of place in them, as though she were wearing a costume. She supposed it was the same with language. You can learn a language fluently but until you've actually lived in a foreign country and spoken the native language you don't really know it.

Butterflies were flitting in her stomach. She couldn't deny the apprehension she felt.

Robertson hugged her. "You okay?"

"I'm fine, Markus," she said, "Just a little nervous."

"Everyone's nervous their first time," he said, and gave her shoulder a squeeze.

Their were two professional soldiers in the group. One walked point, the other tail end Charlie. Janine had gotten to know them well during training, as she had the other academics, and she had a bit of a crush on the younger one, the man bringing up the rear. He was friendly and handsome, not like the older soldier, the Captain. Thomas was his period name. She had been very careful not to look at his naked body, and hoped he hadn't looked at hers. That would be a sin. He seemed to like her too. Intimate relations were highly discouraged among team members, but Janine had hopes for when they returned. She fantasized about kissing him. And who knows, she thought, perhaps he would covenant with the New Puritans if he had a good enough reason. To bring another into the fold would certainly reinstate her in the good graces of her parents and the church.

The others struck her as typical professors; they were focused and almost obsessed with their research, and argued quite heatedly among themselves about the minutiae of sixteenth century life. Mildred was the only female professor. It was a sad fact that women just didn't have as much respect or freedom to move in this society, and that made their research that much more difficult.

They had gone around a curve in the road when the soldier in back, Thomas, suddenly hurried to the group.

"Riders approaching," he said. "Let's get to the side of the road."

He smiled at Janine. She blushed and smiled back.

Four horsemen rounded the curve. The leader reined up when he saw the group, and walked the horse to them. The other three came up behind him.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

Professor Robertson, Markus, stepped forward.

"Good sir, we are on pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier, there to worship at the holy relic of the Seamless Robe of Our Lord and Savior."

The four men scanned the group warily, their interest drawn to the two men at either end of the group; soldiers of any time and place recognize each other, and to the pretty young woman in the middle.

"Stand aside," the leader said. "His Excellency the Prince-Bishop of Trier is passing through."

"Yes Captain," Markus bowed and held out his arms to the others as though to push them back a little further to the side of the narrow road.

One of the horsemen stayed with the little group while the others rode ahead.

Shortly the group heard the rumble of the Prince-Bishop's wagon. A few more riders came around the bend, nodding to the horseman watching the pilgrims, and scanning the group themselves. Then a priest or monk in a plain brown habit and cowl walked down the middle of the road carrying a long standard with an ornate gold cross on top. He was followed by several others, each carrying a flag or pennant. Janine recognized the coat of arms of the Prince-Bishop, and the flag of the archdiocese of Trier. The priests and monks did not even glance at the pilgrims.

As the cross came up to them, the team members dropped to their knees and bowed their heads, crossing themselves. Now the Prince-Bishop's wagon came around the curve, flanked by more priests in ornate vestments. The Prince-Bishop was seated in a padded chair, almost a throne, behind the driver. The fabric sides of the of the cover had been drawn up so the Prince-Bishop could look about him. He looked sharply at the group of pilgrims along the road, and then held out a hand in blessing.

Janine's soul was stirred to its depths. Despite the fact that this branch of Christianity was almost entirely misguided and corrupt, the seriousness with which these men marched stirred her. They looked neither to the right nor left, they did not talk or joke, but followed the cross wherever it led, their expressions fixed with a grim self righteousness that Janine found admirable and just a little frightening.

Then she gasped in shock.

Chained by their necks in coffle, a line of women followed the wagon.
 
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Jon Smithie

Governor
. . . And The Truth Shall Set You Free (cont.)

Their hands were drawn up behind their backs, their ankles were hobbled by chains, and they were gagged with some kind of large iron bit or cylinder. Their eyes were glazed with pain and exhaustion.

And they were all entirely naked.

There was a wide range of ages. One or two looked to be in their teens, their flesh smooth and breasts firm; several were old with long gray hair at head and pubis, wrinkled skin and breasts like dangling leather purses. Most were in their twenties or thirties, middle aged for the time, and some would have been attractive but for the dirt and dust on them and the obvious suffering they were enduring.

"Althea!" Robertson whispered.

Janine tore her eyes from the women, and saw that the Prince-Bishop was staring at her.

The Prince-Bishop spoke a word to the driver, who reined in the horses.

"My child," he said, "Come here, come closer."

Trembling, Janine rose to her feet and approached the wagon. When she judged herself close enough she kneeled again.

"You seem startled and frightened, my child. As though you recognized one of the prisoners. Have you seen any of these women before?"

"No, my Lord,"

"Address me as Most Reverend Lord or Your Excellency, child."

"Yes, Your Excellency, I saw their nakedness, and that startled me."

He motioned for two of the priests to help him down from the wagon. One priest quickly placed a step ladder to the side of the wagon, and they both took his arms as he stepped down. He was wearing a resplendent habit of white with a richly embroidered scapular. His miter had a golden cross on the front.

"Look at me, child," he said.

She looked up at his body and face. He was corpulent, and his face was bloated with too much wine and meat. His eyes were small and bulged slightly like two marbles. And they were just as hard.

"Why should it startle you that your Holy Mother Church vigorously prosecutes heretics and blasphemers and those in league with Satan? These are all accused witches. Why should you have pity on them? What is your name, child?"

"Althea, Your Excellency."

"And where are you from, child, and how is it you are here now?"

Janine told him the name of a small farming village. "I am on pilgrimage, Your Excellency, then I hope to take Holy Orders."

"Admirable," the Prince-Bishop said. "Which order?"

"The Ursiline's, Your Excellency, if God wills it."

"And yet you didn't know how to address me. How odd. Stand up my child."

Janine stood on trembling legs. She was afraid she was going to be sick.

"There is no need to fear. Only tell the truth, and you have no reason to fear. Come with me."

By now several of the riders had dismounted, including the man guarding the pilgrims. Ordinarily escorting the Prince-Bishop was boring duty, but when he went witch hunting, it could be fun. Like when he was questioning a really good looking woman. Like now.

The Prince-Bishop, accompanied by several of the priests and guards, took Janine to the first woman in the coffle.

"Do you know her?" he asked Janine.

Janine looked at the teary, grime stained face of the woman. The corners of her eyes were wrinkled in pain. Her nostrils flared a little with every breath. Her mouth was forced wide open by the iron bit in her mouth. It was shaped like a spool. Janine realized with a shock that it was a spool in more than appearance. The woman's tongue had been curled around it. Her tongue and lips were dry and lightly coated with dust.

"No, Your Excellency, I don't know her. I've never seen her."

"And do you know her?" he asked the shackled woman. "Do not be afraid to speak the truth."

The woman blinked at the Prince-Bishop, her eyes pleading, and gave her head a slight shake. No.

He moved to the next.

"Do you know this woman?" he asked Janine.

Janine could not trust herself to speak. She shook her head no.

"Speak up child, I didn't hear you."

"No, Your Excellency," Janine said. "I don't know her."

"And do you know her?" he asked the prisoner. "Do not be afraid to tell the truth. Tell the truth and you shall be rewarded."

She too shook her head no.

They stepped to the third woman in the coffle. She was old and stooped. The Prince-Bishop had a guard lift her chin so they could look at her dirty and pain wracked face.

"I don't know her, Excellency," Janine said.

"And do you know her, my child?" the Prince-Bishop asked the old woman. "Do not be afraid to tell the truth, for Our Lord Himself said, "And the truth shall set you free?."

The woman nodded her head up and down. Yes.

"No, She's never seen me before!" Janine protested. She glanced back in desperation at the team. They were still on their knees, their eyes looking up at her. All except Thomas, who was looking at at the nearest guard, measuring him.

"Let her speak," the Prince-Bishop said.

A guard unshackled the metal harness that kept the spool securely in the old woman's mouth. As he did so, her arms relaxed a bit from the strenuous hammerlock they'd been in. The iron cylinder was pulled off her tongue. Janine saw with horror that there was a small spike in the iron cylinder that pierced the tip of her tongue, allowing the tongue to be spooled around it as it was curled into her mouth. The woman's tongue was swollen and dry. Tears of relief and gratitude sprang to her eyes as she was given a long draught of water.

The guard pulled the water skin from her lips and slapped her face.

"You know this woman," the Prince-Bishop said.

The woman spit a mouthful of blood and then nodded eagerly.

"Yes, Your Excellency, yes Your Grace. I saw her fly naked over my shack. A snake was wrapped around her arm and there was a mouse in her hair. I heard her call 'master, I come! It was she who cursed my neighbor's pigs, Holy Father!"

Her speech was slurred but clear enough.

A couple of priests gasped and crossed themselves. The guard smirked.

"No, she's lying!" Janine cried. "You gave her water, you took out her gag! Of course she's lying!"

"Be silent!" the Prince-Bishop said.

He moved to the next and said. "Do not be afraid. Do you know this woman?"

This woman eyed the water skin and nodded her head yes.

"No!" Janine groaned. "Don't you see. . .?"

With her gag removed, and after a drink of water, she said, "Yes, Excellency, I saw her speak to a toad on the bank of a pond. She called him "Pyewicket?. After that, no one caught fish from that pond for days."

The Prince-Bishop nodded. Janine was in tears.

"On your knees," he said.

"No, Your Excellency, please,"

"Have no fear, my child, I shan't take the word of accused witches. They may well be in league with the Father of Lies. On your knees."

She dropped dully to her knees, fear and panic like living things trying to scramble out of her guts.

The Prince-Bishop handed her a crucifix.

"Recite the Lord's Prayer," he said.

She looked down at the crucifix, the heavy wooden cross with the golden glowing Jesus nailed to it.

"The Lord is my Shepherd. . ." she began.

"The Lord's Prayer," he repeated.

She bowed her head and tried to moisten her mouth.

"Our Father, who art in Heaven. . ."

The Twenty first psalm was the first thing Janine had learned to speak in local dialect. The Lord's prayer was the second. Once she started it, she felt peace descend on her. It was as though a spirit recited it through her. She felt a strength she had never known. She spoke it perfectly, she knew. In her mind she thanked God, and prayed for mercy for these suffering women.

"Stand up my child," the Prince-Bishop said.

She slowly rose to her feet.

He put his hands out and gently removed the crucifix from her grasp.

"Remove your clothing," he said.

"No, Your Excellency, I will not! I'm not a witch, you can't believe it!"

"Resistance is a sign of guilt," he said, his eyes glinting.

Janine shook her head no. Her mouth formed the word, but she couldn't speak it. Tears welled in her eyes.

He nodded to a couple of guards behind Janine.

One held her wrists behind her while the other grabbed her outer dress at the shoulders, and wrenched it down to her waist.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
Wow! @Jon Smithie, this is truely a gem!! Is this one of your stories you were missing?
Yes, it is. Like "Slavery 101," this too is unfinished, and I don't know if I'll ever finish it. I learned from my download of "Slavery 101," that readers don't always appreciate getting the whole lump in one go, so I'm going to post this in installments. I'll go ahead and post the next installment now. I do appreciate you remembering "Slavery 101," Tox, and I think you'll enjoy this one just as much.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
In that second Thomas made his move.

He grabbed his heavy walking staff and drove the point of it into the nearest guard's groin. The man collapsed instantly and Thomas brought the staff down full force on the guard's head, and then ran at the nearest mounted horseman. But the mounted guard had heard the unmistakable thock of heavy wood hitting skull and seeing what had happened cried out and drove his horse at Thomas. Thomas tried to swing his staff at the guard but instead caught the horse a glancing blow on its shoulder as the chest of the horse drove into him, sending him flying. As he fell Thomas lost his grip on the staff. He rolled and came up running, knowing that his plan to kill the guard and take his horse was already running out of time. He'd lost the element of surprise, but he believed that once he was committed to an attack, the Captain would back him up, and that two highly trained professional warriors could make short work of a Bishop's honor guard of peasant plow-boys.

Unfortunately for Thomas the particular guard he was attacking was a veteran of many vicious and dirty campaigns. His name was Peter Farmer and he had fought and raped and killed his way across the countryside in the service of various princelings and officers. He was no stranger to violence and hard living and was more familiar with his weapons than a man from the future ever could be. In an instant Peter had dismounted and had his sword drawn and was running at Thomas. Thomas ducked under Peter's thrust realizing in the fraction of a second as he prepared to drive his fist into the guard's throat that it had been a faint as Peter gripped the blade of the sword with his gauntlet-protected hand and drove the pommel into Thomas's face. The blow shattered Thomas's nose and broke a few of his upper teeth. As Thomas dropped Peter kicked him in the crotch, and then stomped him, yelling with adrenalin driven fury.

The guards stripping Janine paused as they heard the alarmed shouts of the other guards and looked towards the sounds of the disturbance.

"Hold her!" the Prince-Bishop said as Janine broke away from the distracted guards and ran for the woods.

"Don't kill them!" the Prince-Bishop shouted as Janine ran by the guard who was lifting his foot to stomp Thomas again in the chest. The guard grabbed Thomas's staff off the ground. He took a few steps then threw it like a spear at her legs.

She fell hard and he was on her. Twisting his hands in her hair Peter Farmer dragged her back to the Prince-Bishop.

Guards stood with swords drawn watching the pilgrims. A priest said last rites over the guard Thomas had jumped. He still had a pulse, but his breathing was ragged and blood was coming out of his ears. He was finished.

They stripped off Janine's outer dress and skirts, her kirtle and her light chemise. Two of the priests inspected her body as Janine pleaded and wept.

Thomas had been stripped as well, and had been bound hand and foot. He was barely conscious. Guards threw him in the back of a wagon face down with his head over the back end, so the blood from his broken nose and mouth would drain out, and not choke and drown him.

"Here and here," a priest said, combing his hand roughly through Janine's pubic hair, pointing out tiny blemishes on her vulva and the insides of her thighs.

"And possibly here," he said, gripping her right breast and pulling up, pointing out a small beauty mark at the base of her breast. "Of course, the devil's teat could also be invisible. She should be thoroughly pricked."

The Prince-Bishop nodded.

"I'm not a witch!" Janine cried, "let me go, I'm a Christian; for the love of God please don't do this. . ."

The Prince-Bishop made a sign to one of the guards who then slammed his fist into Janine's stomach. The guards holding her let her collapse to the ground, heaving and gagging.

"That unfortunate guard, was he a friend of yours?" the Prince-Bishop asked the guard who had defeated Thomas and had brought Janine to him.

The man kneeled at the Prince-Bishop's feet.

"Yes, Your Excellency, he was"

"You shall be rewarded for your service, my son. What is your name?"

"Peter, son of Johann, a farmer near Kleinstadt, Your Excellency."

The Prince-Bishop was interrupted to give his gracious permission for the priests and guards to load the injured guard onto his wagon.

"Attempted escape from religious authority is a civil offense, is it not, Peter Farmer?" the Prince-Bishop asked.

"I don't know what that means, Your Excellency," he said.

The Prince-Bishop smiled. "It means you can draw blood. Stretch her on the ground and whip her."

Peter smiled grimly and rose to his feet.

"Oh no, please!" Janine gasped, "Oh God no, I beg you, oh Jesus help me!"

The guards pushed her face down on the road. One kneeled across the backs of her calves, putting all his weight on her lower legs, forcing her knees and shins hard against the stones in the road. Two guards gripped a wrist each and pulled her arms above her head, stretching her body as taut as they could.

Janine choked as her face ground into the dust and stones in the road.

"Please! I have done nothing wrong! I beg you, in the name of God!" she pleaded. For a moment her resolve nearly weakened. She had determined that unless it was necessary to help another team member she would not trigger the analgesic hormones for herself. As a New Puritan, the side effect of sexual arousal was simply unacceptable. She had requested that she not be fitted with the analgesic tooth. That request had been denied.

The Prince-Bishop walked to the pilgrims. He was flanked by priests and surrounded by guards.

"I should have you all arrested. You there," he said to Robertson, "Explain who this woman is and why that man attacked my guard."

"Excellency, we beseech you in the name of our Lord and Savior for mercy. We are pilgrims traveling to the Cathedral of Saint Peter. Those two joined in with us only yesterday, Excellency, I had never seen them before that time. She must have bewitched the young man, Excellency; his will was weak, she must have turned his eyes from God and caused him to sin, as women will. As God is my witness this is the truth, Your Excellency!"

The Prince-Bishop looked down on the row of kneeling, bowing pilgrims. He looked at the guards standing over them with swords drawn. A single word from him and their bloody work would begin. They looked like wolves, eager to hear that word.

The Prince-Bishop pulled his sleeve back from his hand. He held out the ring of his office to Robertson's lips.

Robertson kissed the Prince-Bishop's ring. The Prince-Bishop placed a fatherly hand on Robertson's head.

"The Adversary is always busy in this world, and we must be constantly on the lookout for his deceptions. You may continue your pilgrimage. Have no fear, you shall not be harmed."

He said this last for the guards as much as the pilgrims, for the Prince-Bishop could see that even if they couldn't murder these people the guards hoped to at least rob them. He turned and made a sign for the whipping to commence.

Peter Farmer had borrowed the wagon driver's whip. It had made a quite satisfactory hiss as he slashed it through the air. He had used such a whip many times in his youth in driving plow oxen and horses. It was a long, light cane dressed in leather that was used to tap the flanks of the animals to direct them and encourage them to greater effort. A tap was usually all that was needed, but if the beast was stubborn, the full force of the whip laid on its hide a few times was enough to gain its cooperation. Like most farm boys, Peter could snap a fly off a horse's ear with a whip or cause an ox to bellow in pain.

At the sign from the Prince-Bishop he snapped the whip down hard. It whistled as it fell and made a loud smack as it struck Janine across her buttocks.

Nothing in Janine's life had prepared her for such pain. Even held as tightly as she was, she bucked in agony. An animal scream tore from her throat. A red line appeared across the center of her buttocks. She drew in an agonized, choking breath, and pleaded.

"No, no, no, I beg you, please, have mercy. . .!"

But her words were interrupted by the loud smack of the whip. Another red line sprang up across the globes of her ass, neatly parallel and less than an inch from the first. The guard let her sob and choke and catch her breath again.

"Oh God, please, don't do this, it hurts, I beg you!"

Another loud smack as Peter laid the whip across Janine's ass with all his strength.

She bucked and writhed and twisted with strength driven by extreme pain. The pain of the whip was like a blow torch or acid or a hundred bees lined up perfectly and stinging all at the same time.

Desperately she tongued the molar that would relieve pain.

Another lash across the small of her back made her cry out. It was nearly impossible to tap the right sequence of long and short touches with the tip of her tongue, distracted as she was by the fierce pain of the lashes.

Three short taps, three long taps, three short taps.

Another lash burned across her buttocks. She realized then with a flash of despair that she was tapping the wrong tooth!

Gritting her teeth to keep from screaming she tapped out S.O.S. on the opposite molar.

Blood stained her buttocks and the whip. But the hormones were working. Now she just grunted as the whip welted and cut her. The Prince-Bishop mistook her decreasing response as a sign that she'd had all she could endure.

"That is enough for now," he said.
 

toxidomaskjr

Magistrate
Hey Jon, is there a chance that people of the year fifteen hundred and eighty one will be this cruel to Janine?
 

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Jon Smithie

Governor
Hey Jon, is there a chance that people of the year fifteen hundred and eighty one will be this cruel to Janine?
I'm not a huge fan of blood, gore, and mutilation, so there won't be much of that, but the short answer would be yes. However, I don't want to get your hopes up too high. Please remember that this story is unfinished. I leave Janine in the dungeon of the witch house, before her first interrogation. But I think you'll appreciate how I leave her.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
(. . . And the Truth Shall Set You Free cont.)


Peter looked back at the Prince-Bishop, his eyes eager to continue, but he dropped his gaze and bowed his head in acquiescence.

The guards who'd held Janine down now stood her up. She mewled and cried with shock and humiliation more than pain. Her face was a mess of snot and tears and dust.

One guard drew her hands up behind her and slipped a pair of iron rings over her thumbs. The rings were designed with a crude clasp so they could be tightened to fit the blunt, thick thumbs of a common peasant, or the delicate thumbs of a noblewoman.

Another guard approached her with the wide iron bit and a slender iron rod with a hook on the end.

Her eyes were so teary and blurred that she didn't realize what he was doing until a guard seized her by the hair and throat to hold her head still. The first guard thrust the iron rod between her teeth and hooked the end of her tongue. Janine's eyes nearly started from her head as he pulled. He thrust the spike in the iron spool down through the hole the hook had made. He pulled the hook out of the end of her tongue ad then wrapped her tongue around the iron gag as he rolled it into her mouth. Her jaws were forced wide apart by the size of the gag, and she felt like the root of her tongue was going to be torn out of her mouth.

The gag was strapped behind her head, and her thumbs were drawn up behind her back by a short length of chain that was secured to a ring in the back of the metal harness that held her gag in place.

Her ankles were hobbled with shackles and she was led to the coffle. An iron collar was put around her neck and secured to the collar of the woman in front of her.

They had taken only a few steps when Janine stumbled and fell, wrenching the entire coffle down.

Guards pulled the women to their feet, jerking them up by their hair or arms or breasts. Peter twisted Janine's nipples viciously.

"Stumble again and I shall whip you from here to Trier!" he said.

Janine mewled and trembled, incoherently begging the man to have mercy.

He released her and gave her a slap on her bruised and bloody ass.

Janine stumbled again, but this time he held her up by her chain so she wouldn't fall, choking her.

"Remember what I say, witch."

When he saw that she had her legs under her he let go of the chain. The coffle began to move again.

Janine was nearly hysterical and blind with tears. She shuffled her feet and kept up, wincing as she stepped on sharp stones in the road.

The hormones only muted the pain. Her shoulders were beginning to ache from the strained position. There was a band of fire around her thumbs, which were pulled by every motion of her head. If she looked down she drew her arms up higher behind her and pulled her thumbs, but if she didn't she risked stumbling again. Her throat was already dry, and her tongue felt coated with dust. Bloody drool from spilled from her mouth and coursed down between her breasts.

And she felt like she could fuck a horse.

It was impossible, but as miserable and humiliated and frightened as she was her pussy was soaking wet. She felt flushed and hot. Her nipples felt like two hot little coals. She understood that this was a result of the hormones. She understood then as never before the powerful effects of sexual arousal. It was not her fault, but that didn't matter. It was maddening and humiliating.

How far to Trier? She wondered desperately. How long did the effects of the hormones last? She hated being so aroused, but she didn't know how she could endure the pain that would come when the effects wore off.

Oh Jesus, help me, she prayed.

For several minutes the pilgrims remained kneeling after the Prince-Bishop and his guards had passed. They were too stunned with the catastrophe that had just taken place to say anything. The other soldier stood and walked down the line of pilgrims and knelt at Thomas' body.

"Why didn't you do something?" one of the professors demanded.

"If I had, we'd all be dead, or stripped and bound like Thomas and Althea. He reacted without thinking. He's a good man, but he was thinking with his balls and not his brains."

"What about Althea and Thomas?" Marta asked.

Robertson shook his head.

"We've all discussed this. They'll be taken to the witch house. Their best chance is to confess to being witches immediately. Once they've confessed if we offer a large enough donation to the Church they might let them go after some minor penance."

"Minor, like a public whipping." Mildred said.

"Dammit, Marta, we all knew the risks."

"Are we going to have to abort the mission?" A professor asked.

"Of course," Robertson said, "but even so we're not going anywhere for at least a week. Marta and I will see what arrangements we can make about Althea and Thomas. The rest of you may as well get done what research you can. If we get them back, we'll leave as soon as possible."

"And what if we don't?"

"Then pray that her god protects them, because the god of this time will not."

Janine had no idea how many times she was pulled to the ground. She made the mistake of trying to brace herself the first time someone stumbled and brought the coffle down. She had been wrenched violently by the neck and jerked to her knees, smacking them painfully on a stone, and then barely managed to turn her face away as she fell full length. Agony ripped through her thumbs and shoulders as she hit the ground. The guard who had whipped her seemed to have taken a proprietary interest in her, for when the coffle fell, it was he who pushed her face into the dirt or pulled her up by her hair or nipples. Others in the coffle either managed to stand themselves or were "helped" by other guards. The woman who tripped and caused the fall was given a few lashes, and the coffle was started again. After that Janine tried not to resist falling, but to roll to her hips and shoulders and quickly get her legs under her and stand as the rest of the coffle recovered. Even so, the sadistic guard was always there to torment her.

Her knees were skinned and they ached, and her feet were raw and bloody. But that was nothing to the fire in her shoulders and thumbs and butt, and the ache in her jaws and tongue from the iron gag. Apparently the hormones were wearing off. But she still felt flushed with sexual heat.

As they approached the city they met more traffic, mostly people on foot who dropped to their knees and crossed themselves at the sight of the Prince-Bishop's cross, and others who'd pulled their carts or horses to the side of the road. All kneeled at the sight of the cross.

As they walked through the city gates the populace was not so circumspect.

The Prince-Bishop, with most of his entourage, had gotten well ahead of the the coffle. They would continue on to the church or to the barracks. But before they parted the Prince-Bishop called Peter to him.

"How shall I reward you, my son, for your service this day?"

For a time, before he had established himself in the Prince-Bishop's guard, Peter Farmer had fallen in with a company of mercenaries and renegade soldiers. They wandered the land, raping, pillaging and plundering with even greater abandon than when they were in the service of some lord. It had been a great time for Peter.

Once, they had invaded a small village. The burgher of the town was not forthcoming about where he'd hidden his riches. The captain had threatened to hang his daughter by her hair from the rafters of the burgomeister's house. He'd quickly shown them his treasure, such as it was. The captain had allowed the men to loot the house and village, and rape the peasant women, but not to murder everyone, nor to burn the town, since they had not resisted.

Ever since, Peter had spent many a hot night wondering what a girl would look like, naked, hanging by her hair, a whip cutting bright stripes into her pale ass.

Now was his chance to find out.

"Your Excellency, I want to take those witches to the witch house, and see to them myself. That is all I ask."

The Prince-Bishop nodded to Peter and smiled to himself. He knew there was one witch in particular he wanted to "see to". The man was crude and straightforward, as peasants are, but perhaps this peasant son of a plowman could be put to other uses than riding alongside the Prince-Bishop's wagon.

"I admire your zeal, my son," the Prince-Bishop said. "I shall speak to your officer. Go now with my blessing."

Two guards were detailed to carry Thomas. They took a pole and ran it between his bound wrists and ankles, then each lifting one end, carried him suspended from the pole. The remaining guards, with Peter Farmer at their head, herded the coffle down a side street towards the witch house.

Peter had never been to the witch house. That duty was usually detailed to those of the dullest sensibilities and strongest stomachs. He had heard from others what went on there, and he was eager to find out for himself. Peter Farmer was by and large an unforgiving and ungrateful man, but he remembered now to thank God for this opportunity, and cast his eyes hungrily over Althea.
 

toxidomaskjr

Magistrate
Glad you enjoyed it, Tox! I have enough story for another couple of posts, so stay tuned for another episode next week.
Wonderful news! Now I know how much time I have to wait.
One guard drew her hands up behind her and slipped a pair of iron rings over her thumbs. The rings were designed with a crude clasp so they could be tightened
Genius!
Another guard approached her with the wide iron bit and a slender iron rod with a hook on the end.

Her eyes were so teary and blurred that she didn't realize what he was doing until a guard seized her by the hair and throat to hold her head still. The first guard thrust the iron rod between her teeth and hooked the end of her tongue. Janine's eyes nearly started from her head as he pulled.
I had to re-read this part several times cause I was thinking the metal rod would be used to tighten her hands behind her back BUT! once I got the scene I was perplexed
Her ankles were hobbled with shackles
Lovely!
Janine was nearly hysterical and blind with tears. She shuffled her feet and kept up, wincing as she stepped on sharp stones in the road.
Lovely(X2)
Her throat was already dry, and her tongue felt coated with dust. Bloody drool from spilled from her mouth and coursed down between her breasts.
exactly the same treatment as any of the other witches, no more Miss uppity here.

How far to Trier?
I would really love to know how many miles she would walk coffled here, but nevermind!
"Of course," Robertson said, "but even so we're not going anywhere for at least a week. Marta and I will see what arrangements we can make about Althea and Thomas. The rest of you may as well get done what research you can. If we get them back, we'll leave as soon as possible."

"And what if we don't?"

"Then pray that her god protects them, because the god of this time will not."
Just as I expected!
Her knees were skinned and they ached, and her feet were raw and bloody
Legs and feet hurt!, Lovely(X3)
After that Janine tried not to resist falling, but to roll to her hips and shoulders and quickly get her legs under her and stand as the rest of the coffle recovered
so realistic! thats what anyone would expect from watching a real coffle in action
Apparently the hormones were wearing off. But she still felt flushed with sexual heat.
I really hope that was her last dose of hormones
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
I really hope that was her last dose of hormones
The idea that a woman secretly (or not so secretly) is turned on by her abuse and/or abuser is probably the most common trope in BDSM fiction. And I'm sure that's because most people find the idea erotic. But personally, it's my least favorite. So it amused me, as I reread this, that I had played with the idea back in the day. I thought briefly of simply removing references to her sexual stimulation; I really don't think it adds anything to this story, or makes it more erotic. It seems altogether too contrived. But rather than try to uproot the literary crabgrass in the story, (who knows where that would end) I just went ahead and posted as is. But I will take a closer look and see if there's any other weeds need pulling.
 
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toxidomaskjr

Magistrate
I thought briefly of simply removing references to her sexual stimulation; I really don't think it adds anything to this story, or makes it more erotic
It definitely makes the story more erotic but if you'd ask me: erotic VS a realistic set, I would go more for a realistic set.
But rather than try to uproot the literary crabgrass in the story, (who knows where that would end) I just went ahead and posted as is
I'm crossing my fingers again for you to add another long coffle scene, and, if you can, some interrogation/torture scenes ending in a BATS, thus completing their research.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
In answer to Tox's comments above, I thought I'd just go ahead and post the rest of what I have of the story. There's not a lot left, and I really don't want to play coy, or disappoint anyone's expectations. And as it turns out, I've spent entirely too much time pulling up more crabgrass. So anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoy!



. . . And The Truth Shall Set You Free (cont.)

"Witches!" the cry went up. People began to jeer at the accused women.

Janine was not fully aware of the change in the attitude of the crowd until a woman came up beside her.

"Burn in hell, witch!" she said, and dumped the contents of a chamber pot over her.

Janine sputtered, gagged and nearly fell.

The crowd became a gauntlet. Witches were hated and feared only slightly less than their master, the Devil. They brought pestilence and ill luck and bad weather. They had sold their souls to work evil, and fully deserved whatever misery could be inflicted on them in the mortal realm; even so it would be nothing to what they would suffer in Hell. Rotten food, feces, the offal of slaughtered pigs, cows, and dead rats where among the garbage hurled at or poured over the accused women.

The guards of course kept their distance, watchful only that nothing was used that could kill or injure the accused witches, for none of these women had confessed their crimes. Yet.

The crowd thinned as they got neared the witch house. Even the least superstitious, or the most virulent witch hater, did not like to be near the witch house.

It was a large building with three levels, purpose built by the Prince-Bishop. The bottom level was of stone, and was almost entirely below ground. The ground and second floors were of wood, of very solid construction.

The ground floor was where the accused witch would be shaved, inspected for witch's marks, and where the initial questioning would begin.

If the witch was cooperative and repentant, she would be taken up to the second floor. She would be placed in a more comfortable cell, she would be fed comparatively well, and if she confessed fully and denounced other witches in her circle, then the possibility was held out that after serving a minor penance, usually involving giving up all her family's earthly belongings and land, as well as long and regular stints in a pillory and public floggings, she might ultimately be reunited with Mother Church. This was Heaven.

If, on the other hand, the accused insisted on her innocence despite the evidence against her and the councils of benevolent and concerned clergy, then she would be taken to the lowest level, where awaited smaller, danker, less comfortable cells and the various devices of persuasion. This was Hell.

Most of the cells were in Hell, and this is where the prisoners would be held until the questioning of each individual could begin.

It was cool and dark below ground, and if Janine hadn't been in so much pain she might have felt relief at the cool flagstone on her bare feet. But she was far beyond feeling any relief at something so trivial. Her shoulders and back were cramping and burning and she felt like her thumbs were pulling out of their roots. She was trembling with terror and fear, and was nearly gagging at the stench of herself and the others, and the added smells of burnt flesh, vomit and feces from this level of the witch house.

One by one the women were unshackled from the coffle and each taken into a separate cell that lined the wall. Thomas was taken to a cell on the upper floor where his injuries could be seen to. Janine was eager, almost grateful that at last her shoulders and thumbs would be unbound and that she didn't have to walk barefoot over sharp stones, or get jerked down by the neck if someone tripped or stumbled.

She had not looked into the middle of the room until the guard unhooked the chain from her collar. She heard a gurgling, strangled cry, and startled, turned to look.

The guard too heard it, and turned her to face the scene.

A naked woman had been stretched face up over a wooden post. Janine could see every muscle and bone in the woman, so tightly was she stretched by her ankles and wrists. Coarse rope sank into her flesh at her ankles, knees, armpits, elbows and wrists. There were wooden dowels in the ropes that by twisting would tighten the ropes like a tourniquet. Her breasts were swollen and purple, the nipples grotesquely large from the thin twine wrapping the bases. For a shocked moment Janine thought the woman was pregnant, for her belly was enormously swollen.

"The water treatment," the guard said. "Now the witch will talk."

Janine realized the interrogators had just removed a funnel from the woman's mouth, hence the strangled, agonized cries. She vomited up water, and tried to get a gasping heaving breath as one of her torturers struck her across the belly.

The guard who had whipped her took her by the arm.

"My name is Peter Farmer," he said. "Ordinarily I wouldn't introduce myself to a witch, but we're going to get to know each other very well. Now let's get you put away. Don't worry, I'll fix it so you can still watch."

Peter had observed how the other guards had secured the witches in their cells; merely shackling them to the walls, even occasionally allowing them enough slack to sit or lie down. He had other ideas for the woman he knew as Althea.

He pushed her inside the small cell, and eased the door closed behind them. He turned her around so she was facing the door. She felt him doing something with her hair. She grunted and twisted in her desperation for him to unshackle her thumbs and take out the horrible gag. He slapped her on the butt, causing an explosion of pain and a keening, muffled scream.

"Stand still, you fucking witch." he said.

Janine felt him pulling on her hair and then her scalp caught fire as he hung her by her hair. Her toes scrabbled for purchase on the flagstone.

"Now step up on that iron staple." he said.

Her foot connected with something solid behind her, and she did as she was told, stepping up on a narrow, round iron staple in the floor. It relieved the pressure on her scalp, but almost immediately her feet began to ache.

She mewled in protest, pleading incoherently with the pitiless guard.

His answer was to shorten the chain holding her thumbs to the gag.

Janine wailed in despair as her shoulders and thumbs took greater strain. She bowed her back, thrusting out her chest, trying desperately to relieve the pain in her shoulders.

He dug two thick dirty fingers into her vagina.

"You fucking cunt witch," he said. "You're slick as a frog."

He stopped abruptly.

"I'll be damned," he said. "You've got your maidenhead."

His eyes burned into hers as he withdrew his fingers from her sex and sniffed them. Then he put his coarse hands on her buttocks and pushed a finger deep into her rectum.

"I suppose your master the Devil only uses the back door, eh?"

Janine groaned in agony and humiliation.

He pulled his finger out of her and wiped it in her pubic hair.

"Tell me the truth. Are you a witch?"

Desperately she grunted and shook her head no, despite the pain tearing at her scalp.

"Ah, that's good," he said. "Then I can fuck you without danger. But witch or no witch, I'll be first to fuck you. Give it to me willingly and I won't make your life a living hell. But one way or another I'll have you."

He stepped back and looked her over. He unlaced his fly and gripped his stiff, massive cock. He wanted desperately to fuck her here and now. He knew that the guards routinely raped the women prisoners, but only after the priests had left. There would be time later.

"This will be your devil, witch. You will learn to worship it as you worship your master Satan."

Janine mewled into the gag and shook her head.

"No?"

With his free hand he held up something that he'd borrowed from one of the regular guards. It looked to Janine like a small double vice.

"This is a thumbscrew," he said. "It's called that because it's usually put on thumbs."

He stroked it over her breasts.

"But I think it can also be used elsewhere. Tits, for instance."

Janine winced as he teased her nipples with the device. He gave her nipple a long pinch with his fingers.

"Like that, only much worse."

He pushed the device into the pink circle of aereola of her right breast, trapping the delicate bud of her nipple in the screw’s iron jaws.

Janine screamed in muffled protest as he screwed the device down. The pain was searing. Peter observed with fascination as the young witch’s face and body descended to yet another level of suffering. Her eyelids wrinkled and closed, her brow furrowed. Her nostrils widened like a winded or terrified horse. He could feel short, sharp gasps of air. Her breasts heaved and her stomach muscles tightened and stood out with strain and the effort of simply breathing through the pain.

Peter Farmer’s eyes were bright as he tightened the other screw on her left nipple.

He stepped back, satisfied with his work.

He did not stand long admiring, however, for his need had become too great. He gave his erect penis a few strokes, then stepped up to her again. He smeared the wetness from her pussy over the insides of her thighs and thrust his shaft between her legs. Her eyes flicked open as she felt this new violation. She grunted in despair as his cock rubbed her labia and perineum. Her scalp and toes burned as she twisted. She closed her eyes so as not to have to look into the monstrous face of the man as he worked his lust on her.

The head of his cock slid between her labia, but the angle was wrong, and with her legs together he couldn't penetrate her deeply. He pressed her upper legs together, and, lubricated by her moisture, thigh fucked her. He began to grunt like an animal in rut, bursts of fetid breath slapping her in the face as his cock pistoned in and out between her thighs. He dug his fingers into her whip torn buttocks and jabbed the head of his cock into her belly. He came with an explosive grunt. She felt the horrible hot spurt of him on her belly, and wailed in disgust as she felt his come trickle onto her pubis.

"Just a taste, just a taste for now, you witch cunt. Soon you will have my cock tickling your belly from the inside."

He twisted the nipple screws and pulled her off the staple. Immediately her scalp took her full weight, and jerked her head straight up like a marionette at the end of a string. Her arms and thumbs cinched just a little tighter behind her. She screamed a gurgling cry as her scrabbling, throbbing feet sought their cruel footrest. This was unbearable! Desperately she eased up her feet, and tried to find a tolerable balance. Dehydrated as she was, a few tears coursed down her filth streaked face from the pain of the impossible position she was in. While she was struggling he had backed out of the cell and had closed the door.

His face loomed in the barred opening of the cell door.

"I promised you could still watch," he said. He moved away to give Janine an unobstructed view of the poor woman undergoing the water torture. The funnel was back in her mouth, and she looked several months more pregnant now. The woman's body glistened with sweat, her body twitched and thrashed in its bitter restraints, and her gurgling cries of horror and agony sounded muffled, as though she were being tortured at the bottom of a well.

"Confess it!" an interrogator cried. "Confess your witchery or we shall wring it from you, you whore of the devil!"

Janine wept in pain and fear at the nightmare she was undergoing. How could this have happened to her? Why had she defied her parents? Why had she defied her God? Now she would suffer. Now she would lose her virginity to an animal! A man so degraded and cruel he would stop at nothing to satisfy his own sadistic lust! She felt an obscene sticky drop hit the inside edge of her foot.

It was nearly impossible to maintain her balance on the staple, but every movement pulled at her scalp.

Coherent thought was nearly impossible, distracted as she was by the many pains she had to endure. The fact that she was unable to relieve her pain by triggering hormones only made it worse.

She didn't know how long she hung in the cell. The pain settled into one continuous, throbbing, burning ache, with occasional flares when her shoulders or arms or feet cramped. But she was in constant motion, trying to even out the competing demands of her suffering. If she eased off her feet, her scalp burned. With more weight on her feet, the dull throbbing of her feet and calves felt like someone was beating on them with a rubber hammer. But it eased her shoulders and thumbs. It was a wearying and hopeless trade.
 

Jon Smithie

Governor
. . . And The Truth Shall Set You Free (conclusion)


Then suddenly, as easily as she had stepped into the sixteenth century, she stepped out of her body. She was not aware of the transition. It was just that she found herself looking down from a corner of the cell to the cruelly bound young woman she knew to be Janine, Althea, herself. She felt no pain, no fear, only a sense of curiosity and compassion that reached out to the suffering woman before her.

Time had no meaning. It never occurred to her to wonder how long she floated serenely above herself. It was just herself, floating. She wanted neither to go nor stay, to eat or drink, or to sleep or wake. She was content.

The bolt of the cell door shot open.

"You can't let this happen." the guard said.

"She deserves it, she's a witch," Peter Farmer said.

"Of course she deserves it," the guard said. "But look, she's gone away! Look at her face, her eyes. They're blank. She's gone away! They call on their familiars to take them. You have to guard against it! She must have somehow called one to her!"

The guard looked Janine up and down, then gripped Peter Farmer's arm.

"Look!" he said, pointing at the gob of come matting Janine's crotch hair, "The devil's spunk! Don't touch it! It's cold as ice, but it will burn like fire." He crossed himself. "She must be a powerful witch!"

"Let's take her down," Peter said. He was worried that in his lack of experience he'd gone too far and her mind had escaped and cheated him. He cursed himself for a fool. He had seen this happen before, after all, particularly during and after gang rapes.

The guard crossed himself again. "We must tell the priest!"

"You tell the priest. I'll take her down."

"Wait for the priest!" the guard said, as he hurried from the cell.

Peter quickly removed the thumbscrews from Janine's nipples, and then unclasped the rings around her thumbs. Her arms fell lifelessly to her side. He loosened the rope from which she was suspended and eased her to the floor. He unshackled the brank from her mouth, pulling her dry tongue out almost gently.

He had the oddest feeling that he was being watched. It was a sensation that he had never ignored. He scanned the cell, and went to the door without turning his back to her. Warily he glanced around. Nothing out of the ordinary. No one was paying any attention to him.

Peter picked up one of the two buckets of water that he and the guard had brought. It was holy water; a priest had blessed it. The water was dirty and it stank, but it was blessed. They were supposed to allow the accused witches a drink from it.

From above in the corner, Janine felt herself being pulled. Now her equanimity was disturbed. She began to gasp with panic. She didn't want to go back! It hurt too much! But the pull was as irresistible as gravity, as though she'd stumbled off a cliff and was falling into a pool of ice cold water.

Peter threw the bucket of water over the witch Althea. She jerked and spasmmed and let out a long, low moan.

Peter grinned. She was back.

So was the guard. He reappeared at the cell door with a priest in tow.

"What are you doing?" the priest demanded.

"I was afraid her soul was leaving her body, and would escape her just punishment."

"Fool!" the priest said. "Never release a witch from her bonds without a priest to protect you!"

Both the guard and the priest crossed themselves.

"Don't ever call me a fool . . . Father," Peter said. "If you have any complaints about my methods, take them up with the Prince-Bishop."

The priest had already heard the story. His face flushed, and he held up a hand that had never seen hard work.

"I only mean to protect you, my son."

Peter looked at him with contempt. He ranked priests slightly below cowards and whores. Most of the priests he knew were drawn to the church only so they could work their lust on young boys or seduce married women with promises of reduced penance.

"Thank you, Father." he said. "Who could do this work without the protection of the Church?"

The priest nodded, somewhat mollified. He cleared his throat.

"This man says there was evidence of . . . demonic emission."

"I don't know about that, Father, but she had come smeared on her legs and pussy like some wanton slut."

The priest's mouth tightened.

"That is what I meant. She should be shackled in iron, and kept off the floor. Witches draw strength from the earth."

He turned to the guard. "See to it," he ordered.

Althea moaned and turned on her side. The priest nervously grabbed at the crucifix hanging from his neck and thrust it towards her, unconsciously taking a step back as did so.

"You must secure her quickly!" he shouted.

Peter wanted to laugh at the man. The guard ran from the doorway and returned in a moment with a device made of iron rods and loops. He fastened the iron loop at one end of the short rod around Althea's neck. Both Peter and the guard forced Althea's thighs to her chest, and fastened the two iron loops at the other end of the rod around her ankles. Then they drew her arms under her thighs and secured her wrists into two shackles halfway up the rod.

Althea had been drawn into a tight ball by the iron restraint.

"Please, for the love of God," she gasped in English.

"Father!" the guard shouted.

To his credit the priest took a step forward and began rebuking the unclean spirit in Latin. His voice trembled. All he'd ever wanted was a quiet church in some forgotten corner of the realm. He hadn't signed up to do spiritual battle with demons and witches.

Peter secured the brank back into her mouth, not bothering to impale her tongue on the spike.

The guard led Peter out of the cell and together they carried a grill back in. The grill was about three feet by two feet, and the height of a milking stool. Generally a witch would be seated on it while confined in the stocks, and her ass slowly roasted; but it had many uses. The bars were square, but welded to the frame so the corners pointed up.

Althea was lifted and placed on her side on the grill. This was another of its uses. It made an uncomfortable bed.

Even as the guard and the priest retreated, the priest reciting his Latin incantations, Peter stood over Althea and ran a coarse hand over her shoulders, dipping down into her chest to grope the soft fullness of her breasts, then down her ribs, following the curve of her hips and over the soft globes of her blistered buttocks, then down the length of her silken thighs.

He was hard again, and he didn't care if the priest saw it. He felt like a barnyard bull. He wanted to fuck her as he'd never wanted anything in his life. He drank in the sight of her drawn up thighs, the clam shell of her sex just waiting for him to pry open and take his fill of the slippery, delicate flesh within.

"You're to be questioned in the morning," he whispered. "But don't worry, I'll be back later. And if you treat me nice, perhaps I'll give you names to give them."

Peter looked up at the priest waiting at the cell door. The man met his eyes and quickly glanced away.

You want her too, don't you, you piss ant priest, he thought. Well, you can't have her. She's mine. Find your own witch.
 
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