Or how men got what they wanted, once upon a time. (Very PC - NOT!!!)
"In days of old when Knights were bold, and journeyed from their castle, trusty men were left behind, knights needed not the hassle. They helped themselves to pig and peach, and drink from the kings own chalice. Ah, it was a stirring sight, these gypsies in the palace."
- Jimmy Buffet
The noise in the great hall had gone quiet. All was still to her ear. The ones left behind had finally debauched themselves to a stupor. Just as well she thought. Morning is nigh and there's much work to be done. With that she arose from her bed and began to dress for her day.
When she was done dressing, she went out into the corridor and roused the other women of the palace.
"C'mon you layabouts" She commanded, "There's work to had!"
Hearing no sounds, she drew back the tapestry to one of the cells, to her horror the bed was not slept in. Checking the rest she found them in similar states.
So my maids are no longer maidens eh, she thought.
She turned to go to the great hall but was pulled up short by one of the minders. He was a tall scruffy sort, unshaved and and unwashed. His eyes were blood shot and sunk deep into his head. He was generally a disreputable looking fellow.
"we missed you, m'lady."
"Fie", she replied, " You're all for the debauch and for draining your mead. I'll have none of that"
"is that so, well your scullery maids seemed to have much of it", he replied moving closer to her.
"aye, and there'll be hell to pay for it", she stepped back slightly.
"why so", His eyes bored in on her.
"Sir, you impose upon me" She whispered
He managed to block her exit from the corridor, and with the court gone, she was dependent upon this man's honor, such as it was, for her protection.
She folded her arms across her body in defiance of him. Only thing this did was to uplift her ample bosom, presenting more cleavage to his lascivious eye.
"M'lady should not tease me with her charms so...", he mockingly ventured
"Sir, you should take care with whom you jest."
"I am quite serious", he replied, trapping her in in a dark corner.
She could smell his breath, last night's meal, mead and God knows what else. His skin was dark and oily, a fetid aroma surrounded him. His eyes, God his eyes just bored into hers.
Seeking, but not finding a hint of acceptance. This one would not be swayed, he thought. His hand ventured to cup her left bosom.
He was rewarded with a slap to his left side. And no caress here. His ear rang, his skin stung.
"You'll not do that again", he whispered.
"Sir, you'll not touch me like that", she replied.
He pressed her closer, "I'll do as I please"
He kissed her hard on the mouth, pressing close to her. She was revolted by it all, the place the situation but most of all by him. He was a vile man. Squirming to escape him, he held her tight against the corner.
She struggled for long moments, until a sound distracted him, and she escaped his grasp. But not before her sleeve was torn, leaving him with not more than a scrap of fabric.
She fled to her chamber, closed and bolted the door. Only then did she allow herself to think and breathe normally.
What was the king thinking, leaving these dishonorable men to guard his domain, whilst he went off to fight battle. They take his kingdom and drag it down low.
Looking in the glass she saw herself for a moment afraid. She buried it, and then looked at herself again. Finding her clothing torn, her removed her dress and replaced it with another, taking care to remember to repair the first one later.
Looking again in the mirror, she felt better and proceeded to go about her business. The business of the king's household. After a while she knew she had to go out in to the castle. She was made of stern stuff, and she had to get on with her tasks. She went to the door and unbolted it.
The corridor was empty, but she could hear the rest of the castle beginning to rouse. She would be safe from that retched man. At least for today.
She found comfort in the the daily routine. As mistress of the castle, she had much responsibility, but very little real authority. She made sure meals were prepared, rooms and halls were kept clean, She worked with various merchants in the city surrounding the castle buying food, cloth and other vital items, in the kings name, for use in the castle. She was efficient, thrifty but a bit bookish.
The king felt, for a commoner, she was very intelligent. Although never admitting it, prized her above all of his advisors, because she said what she believed, not what she thought he wanted to hear. And as a man, he found her to be attractive. When she came into the hall on festive days, he watched her, her gait, the way her bosom stood out proudly, the sway of her hips. He often thought of how she might make a good mistress some day. But then he would dismiss that thought with a smile. She was far to good at what she did for him, and he was a practical man.
This morning she had the breakfast to supervise, the maids to discipline and there she paused. Thinking... No I'll let them think they've pulled one over on me. When the king returns I will ask his leave to decide what to do.
She paused briefly and peered through the archway into the great hall. As the daylight had improved, she could see several forms on the floor, tables and chairs. The sounds of heavy sleep resounded off the stone walls and ceiling. She smiled for a moment, realizing that they would wake later, the worse for last night.
She began to move on when she noticed a cup on one of the tables. A golden colored chalice with precious stove inlaid around the surface.
The king's cup.
She paled. Who would be drinking from the king's cup? He will be furious. If he ever finds out. Quietly with some haste she crossed the hall to retrieve the chalice and put it away for safekeeping. She carefully picked it up, noting it still half full of some noxious potion. She poured it into another cup on the table and prepared to beat a hasty retreat. She turned to find the minder from earlier in her path.
"so you've decided to join us in the hall." he remarked casually as if nothing had passed between them today.
'nay sir, I merely come to retrieve King's property"
"king's property? Oh my cup."
"Your cup? I think not sir. King's cup, for use by the King only" she replied
All the while she was edging around him, trying to get to the archway of the hall.
"Milady, while the King is gone, am I not king in his place?"
"nay sir, merely minders of the castle." She replied, with some sarcasm.
His body stiffened at the remark. He moved to block her path. His eyes locking on hers.
"You malign me, milady".
In a loud voice she said, "I must be about my business, as the castle needs to be tended to."
He closed with her, his hand clasping her buttock through her clothing. Up close he was unwashed and vile. His breath fetid and warm.
"So be it then," he he whispered. Then in a similar loud voice, "I and my men require our morning meal, see to it."
With that her swatted her backside to send her on her way.
She yelped and was gone into the corridor. he watched her depart, marveling at the sway of her hips, her skirts swishing across stone floor. The image of her uplifted bosom still in his mind. He wondered if she was as haughty and reserved in the bedchamber. And her eyes, oh yes her eyes, how they flashed when he challenged her. The green fire in her her eyes was something to behold. He felt that she would be a wild creature, when released in the bedchamber. Passionate and untamed.
He felt sure that the king would have partaken of her, being a lusty fighting king. And yet he wondered about that. Perhaps he judged the king wrongly. As all men are in battle and camp, they may be different in home and hearth. Be as it may, the king will return soon and he and his men would be paid and send on their way. But he wished to partake of her charms before then...
She scurried into the corridor, her backside stinging from his hand, and her left buttock sore from his firm grip. She was outraged by this fellow, and the liberties he was taking. She felt nothing could be done to control him until the king returned. All she could do was to continue to stand firm and resist him as best she could.
If he would only bathe once in a while he would be at least palatable. We are not country folk here, we allow for baths once a week, as in all civilized areas of the land.
It was his eyes that held her. So blue and clear, penetrating to her soul. She felt as if when his gaze settled upon her, she was completely revealed before him. It made her very uncomfortable. But also, in a way, she was - she banished the thought from her mind. Vile, she thought. Positively vile man.
She managed to avoid him for the remainder of the day, by staying in the kitchen and bowels of the castle she knew so intimately. The meals were prepared throughout the day, the minders were fed and kept out of mischief, at least for a time. near the end of the day she felt she could make her way to the kings chambers and replace his cup. Saving herself and the head minder much trouble from the king upon his return.
.... There is more of this story ...