It's an interesting view.
Not that it can last, but still, one has to appreciate the world as it comes, not as we might wish it might be. Clearly, I can see sweet Genevieve, a bruise on her beautiful forehead, the centre of this whole mess. Next to her is Bishop Grandin, the sadistic bastard. The two of them holding hands. What has it been? Two, maybe three days since this all started? It was only yesterday that the Bishop and I had our little meeting.
Genevieve was, without any question, the sweetest, most alluring young female I'd ever seen. It was market day and I was on a mission for my master, the Lord Unhurst, to procure the weeks-worth of supplies for the kitchen. This was not my job and I can only find myself wondering how my life might have turned out differently if the cook had not come down with the runs on that particular day. Aside from any comments that his medical condition made on his own cooking, I was, at the time, only too glad to get out of the confines of the castle grounds and see what was going on in the wider world. I felt like a child, almost skipping along beside the donkey cart as we wound our way through hill and vale, past beautiful woods that ached of freshness and new life, through the tiny hamlets of cottages, some in marvelous shape, some barely staying upright. It was all beautiful and charming to me.
I'd been in Lord Unhurst's employ for nearly a year on that day, acting as Sargent of the castle guard and instructor to both his own two boys and the steady stream of young fellows from the surrounding farmsteads who were required to train as soldiers at a certain age, stand guard over the castle for one month out of every year, and be ready, willing and able to come to His Lordship's defense, should the need arise. For some twelve years that need had not arisen, but there are two schools of thought regarding peace. One group says the longer peace lasts, the longer it's going to last. The other, probably more accurately, says the longer peace lasts, the worse and more sudden will be the conflict when it does arise. Either way, Lord Unhurst was no fool and, even though his recruits had no choice in whether they served or not, seldom was the lad who refused or caused problems. The boys were fed well and there were lasses at the castle, most of whom I had already tired of. Most of the young fellows were glad to get away from the confines of the farm and see some of the wider world, much as I was glad as I made my way to the market scarcely three days hence.
The market is located in the county seat, the town of Bersherville, named, as you may know, after the Bishop Bersher, who I hear tell was a much fairer man than the current holder of that office. On entering the town with my creaky cart and cranky donkey, I pulled them both into the nearest stable and asked the boy there to tend to their needs while I did my business. When I left, he was unhooking the donkey and leading it to a water trough. I went into the local meeting house for a pint before heading to the market and it was there I met the lovely Genevieve.
What a beauty she was. What a wonder it was to me, at least at the time, how such a lovely lass should be pulling pints behind the bar of such an establishment, in such a town. I pictured her as the lady of a manor, perhaps wed to my own Lord Unhurst, filling his home with her beauty and laughter as well as the many children she appeared to be obviously capable of producing. The beautiful face and laugh, the full hips and ample breasts, the stout and powerful body, she was like the fulfilment of every man's dream of the beautiful and bountiful woman who could turn a house, or indeed, a castle, into a home.
I wasn't far into my pint when we began to talk and I learned the reason for her installment in such a place. Her father, the owner and proprietor of the house, was ill, and had been for almost two years. Though she was of marriageable age and stature, and had received many offers from rich and poor alike, there was no way she could leave her father in such a predicament. They had tried a couple of hired hands to do the job, but the thievery was so rampant and so extreme that it fell to her to do her duty.
In spite of her situation, she was not averse to flirting, especially to one so gainfully employed as myself, and before I had finished my pint, she had agreed to meet me for a stroll at the market after I had finished my shopping and the meeting room had closed for the evening. With such an invitation in my mind, I carried on to the market feeling like the luckiest man on earth.
It was there she met me, and it was there the troubles started. My orders were simple. I was to buy root vegetables, potatoes, turnips and the like, as well as grain and oil. It took me a couple of hours to go round the stalls, make my best deals and arrange for pickup first thing next morning. The donkey and cart would stay at the stable overnight and I, during my purchases, had procured a room in a local hostelry. By the time I finished with my arrangements, many of the vendors were closing up for the day and it was with a glad heart that I saw Genevieve come wandering my way, her ample hips swinging seductively and a lovely smile on her face.
We strolled about the remaining vendors, her admiring the produce and I admiring her. It was a lovely summer evening and the lamplighters were just beginning to make their rounds, bringing a soft glow to the main street, while the alleys and side streets remained in shadow. Genevieve and I stopped at a local inn that stayed open late and had a pint each, while we shared a bowl of curried potatoes and talked of our lives. She was as enchanting a young lass as ever I had met and I would certainly have gone far to have her become a permanent part of my life. Any mention of such a thing brought a smile to her lips and a shake of the head. It sounds lovely, she said several times, but was not to be her lot.
When we left the inn, I offered to walk her home and she accepted. We hadn't gone a hundred paces when she insisted she had to show me something on the next street over and pulled me down a darkened alley. When we were about halfway down the alley, in almost complete darkness, Genevieve suddenly stopped, turned to me and began engaging me in the most sensuous kissing I had ever experienced. I am not normally a hot-blooded man but I was at that moment. She could have asked for anything and would have had it, save my life. Sadly, that was exactly what she wanted. When she had me in a state of obvious arousal, she took my hands and pulled them up under her top, to fondle her wonderful breasts, then began unbuttoning my trousers. When she had my pants down around my knees, she turned to the wall, hiked her skirt up and invited me in. What was I to do? I was beyond all rational thought. I entered her. Everything was going wonderfully until she suddenly started screaming bloody murder.
Well, actually, she started screaming rape. To overemphasize the argument, she suddenly pulled her head back and banged it into the wooden wall she had been leaning on. Within seconds, torches appeared in rough hands that grabbed me and threw me to the ground, growling that they would teach me what happened to filthy rapists in their town. I was beaten and kicked until I lost consciousness. When I came to, I was lying in a dingy and stinking room, chained to the floor. I had no idea how much time had passed. I called out and a face came to the door of the room, slid open a small shutter, looked me over, then slid it shut again and opened the door. In walked the Bishop.
Now, let me say that my first impression of Bishop Grandin was actually quite favorable. Although he wasn't all that old, he had a kindly, grandfatherly look about him, with soft red hair and a glorious red mustache. It was when he reared back and kicked me in the ribs that my impression changed. Suddenly his face became flushed and he began screaming at me about what filth I was and that nothing good awaited me.
He wasn't joking. A few minutes later, his torturer entered the room, calmly and methodically took out a series of metal instruments and began what I can only describe as something that should not be described. For the next hour, I endured the most merciless treatment a human can endure. Yet, somehow, he always seemed to know when was the precise moment to back off, lest I should die or even pass out and be spared the conscious knowledge of what was being done to me. When this was over, the man packed up his instruments as casually as if he were preparing his lunch before heading off to work, then left. The Bishop followed.
Truly, I had no idea what it was all about. They weren't trying to force a confession out of me, or extort funds. Nothing of the sort was even mentioned. It was as if they simply liked doing it and I couldn't help wondering if I was the first or only fool to fall prey to sweet Genevieve's seductive and psychotic ways.
I'm sure you can guess the rest. The next morning, I was unshackled and hauled out into the same square where I had made my bargains the day before. A small podium had been erected or hauled into the centre of the square and what must have been the entire village was clustered around it. As I was led to the podium, the gathered town folk spat on me and swore insults. I was forced up onto the podium, my hands tied behind my back, and made to kneel. An incredibly large man with an equally incredibly large sword in his hand mounted the podium after me and, quick as a cat, kicked me in the stomach. He must have done this many times before, since he obviously knew that I would retch and, in doing so, would bend forward and put my head down. As soon as I did, the sword came up and my head came off, rolled around the podium and came to rest, amazingly enough, directly upright, facing away from my body, on the cleanly cut incision the sword had made, so that I was left in the state I now find myself, looking out, for my last few moments, at the beautiful and treacherous Genevieve and her morbid and sadistic lover, Bishop Grandin.
It's an interesting view.