tagNovels and NovellasThe Pledge Mistress Ch. 05

The Pledge Mistress Ch. 05

bycaligula97236©

Chapter 5 - The presentation of the pledges

It was getting dark outside when Tracy and Heather returned to the pledge shower room wearing formal dresses. Heather was carrying a riding crop, which, combined with her severe-looking dress, gave her a truly intimidating appearance. The four pledges knelt yet again, ready to be escorted back to the Tri-Alpha ceremonial room. The most important event of the day still awaited them, the ceremony that would formally introduce them to the full membership of the fraternity and the sorority.

The four pledges and their two mentors quietly walked down the hallway to the Tri-Alpha ceremonial room. The room's appearance had changed yet again. It was completely empty of people and the only furniture was single row of long benches set up on both sides of the room. Near the wall opposite the main door stood two empty podiums. One podium bore the Tri-Alpha coat of Arms and the other the coat of arms of the Four-Betas. The room was strangely lit with sinister dark orange lighting.

"OK, you four, on your knees, facing the podiums."

The pledges did as they were told and sank to their knees. Tracy gave them some instructions.

"Pledges, Sergeant-at-Arms Heather is gonna be presenting you to the chapter president. You'll stay kneeling until Sergeant-at-Arms Heather taps you with the riding crop. Once you get tapped, you'll stand up and face the president. She'll ask you for your name, you'll give it to her, and then she will tell you to face the Four-Betas, who'll be over there..." Tracy pointed at a row of benches. "You'll face them, arms at your sides, 'till you get tapped with the crop. Then you'll turn around and face the Tri-Alphas. When she taps you again, you'll face the president again and then kneel back down. Get it?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Tracy then did something that surprised Lisa. She leaned down and put her mouth close to Lisa's ear. She whispered very quietly so no one else could hear:

"Pledge Lisa, what's coming up after you get presented is gonna be real rough on you guys. I need you to help me on this. When the moment comes I need you to volunteer to go first."

Lisa gave Tracy a very slight, quick nod to let her mentor know she could count on her.

The Tri-Alpha president, dressed in a tuxedo, and the Four-Beta president, wearing a formal evening dress, entered the room together and took their positions at the podiums. The Four-Beta president rang a hand-bell and the rest of the fraternity and sorority members filed into the room. The men and women quickly separated by sex and by class. The Tri-Alphas assembled on the right side of the room and the Four-Betas on the left side. The senior class sat on the benches, while the juniors sat on the floor in front and the sophomores stood in a row behind the seniors. There were over 80 people present, but their quick organization left the entire center part of the room empty. Everyone in the room was well dressed, the men in business suits and the women in dresses or business outfits.

The pledges looked around and exchanged nervous glances. Their large, well-dressed audience made them even more aware of their own nakedness. The fraternity and sorority's philosophy had intended for the pledges to feel so vulnerable and exposed, because vulnerability was an important part of a person's transformation during the pledge process. The pledge's body and soul were stripped bare while his or her character was broken down and then put back together.

The Tri-Beta president again rang the hand-bell. The bell had the Four-Beta coat of arms engraved into the metal and looked like an antique. Lisa guessed that the bell must have been used in this ceremony for many years. That thought put her at ease, because she knew that whatever was about to happen to her and her companions had happened to everyone else in the room. If all of the upperclassmen could endure it, there was no reason why she and her three companions couldn't endure it as well.

Upon setting down the bell, the sorority president got right down to business:

"Sergeant-at-Arms Heather!"

"Yes, President Alexandra!"

"We understand that you have brought us four persons who wish to share our journey through life!"

"Yes, President!"

"Very well, Sergeant-at-Arms! You will present them to us!"

"Yes, President!"

Lisa felt the tap of the riding crop on her shoulder. She stood up, facing the podium and its elegant-looking occupant.

"What is your name, Pledge?"

"Lisa, ma'am!"

"Very well, Pledge Lisa! Present yourself to the women of the Four-Beta Sorority!"

Lisa felt the tap of the crop on her arm, and turned to face the women. She stood quietly for fifteen seconds as about 40 well-dressed women studied her body and face.

"Pledge Lisa! Present yourself to the men of the Tri-Alpha Fraternity!"

Lisa again felt the tap of the riding crop and turned to face the men. She stood quietly while 40 young men studied her body and face.

"Pledge Lisa! Face the podium!"

Again Lisa felt the tap of the crop on her arm. She faced the podium. The president pointed at the floor and Lisa felt a final tap, indicating she needed to return to her knees.

One by one, Heather tapped the remaining three pledges and they presented themselves in the same formal manner. Lisa had no qualms whatsoever about being naked in public, so presenting herself to her 80 spectators had been no big deal. However, the others were very scared and embarrassed. The public presentation did not put them at ease at all. Lisa glanced at Cherine, who was trembling and sweating.

The president of the Tri-Alphas spoke next.

"Gentlemen of the Tri-Alphas and Ladies of the Four-Betas. You have the honor of having been introduced to four young women who have chosen to seek to join us. Each of you will guide them with both support and firmness to prepare them to join our community. President Alexandra and I will hold each of you accountable for making sure that these four young women are ready to join us at the end of this school term."

He turned to the four pledges and addressed them directly.

"The journey you are about to undertake is the same that each of the rest of us in this room has chosen to undertake. I look into your faces and see myself as I was three years ago: naked, kneeling, frightened, and thinking 'what the hell have I gotten myself into?' At least one of you is thinking about quitting, and if you choose to do so, we will not hold that against you. You are free to stand up and leave whenever you wish. Not everyone can make the journey into our circle, and we are determined that the people who join us are only the ones who truly want to join us. That is the purpose of the initiation process, and the reason why you will be subjected to very harsh treatment between now and the time we meet again in this room at the end of your initiation. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. We will now subject you to your first test as pledges. Each of you who wishes to continue will receive two items from us. The first item will be the restraints that you will wear at formal Four-Beta functions and whenever you are disciplined for violating any rules pertaining to your status as a pledge. Please keep in mind that I'm saying 'when', not 'if'. Don't think that you can escape punishment, because that won't happen. Every pledge faces discipline. Every person in this room was at some point restrained and punished as a pledge, President Alexandra and myself included. The second item you will receive tonight, according to our tradition, will be a temporary mark on your left shoulder. Accepting the restraints and the mark will indicate your seriousness in committing yourself to our community. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir."

President Alexandra spoke next.

"We are not going to just give you the restraints and the mark on your shoulder. You'll need to ask us for them."

Lisa realized that was her cue. The moment had come for her to volunteer to go first.

"Ma'am, Pledge Lisa requests permission to speak."

"Speak Pledge Lisa."

"Ma'am, I...I would be honored to wear the restraints and receive the mark...to...to continue my...commitment as a pledge."

"Pledge Lisa, you will stand-up."

"Yes, ma'am."

As Lisa stood up a well-dressed member of the sorority walked up to Heather and handed her a black felt bag. Heather opened the bag and handed Tracy a black blindfold and a pair of handcuffs.

"Pledge Lisa, do you wish to continue your quest to become one of us?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Then you will accept this blindfold and these restraints. Until you are accepted as a full member of the Four-Beta Sorority, from this point forward you will wear them at all formal gatherings to demonstrate your acceptance of your status as a pledge. Do you understand and accept?"

"Yes, ma'am. I understand and accept."

You will wear the blindfold and restraints whenever any officer of the Tri-Alpha Fraternity or the Four-Beta Sorority tells you to do so, for whatever reason. You will understand that whenever you are required to wear these items, you completely forfeit your right to exercise free will. Do you understand and accept?"

"Yes, ma'am. I understand and accept."

"Very well, Pledge Lisa. Hold out your hands to accept the restraints."

With that Lisa held out her hands as Tracy laid the blindfold and handcuffs in her open palms. She left the items in the pledge's hands exactly fifteen seconds, then took the blindfold and placed it over her eyes. Lisa felt cloth tighten slightly as Tracy knotted it behind her head. She felt the handcuffs leave her palms and the cold uncompromising metal wrap around her right wrist and click shut. Tracy took both of her hands and guided them behind her back. The metal closed around Lisa's left wrist. She now was blindfolded, handcuffed, and completely helpless.

Lisa shuttered with fright. She had done the exact same thing to Ken many times over, but only once had she ever been restrained herself. Now here she was, cuffed, blindfolded, and naked, having forfeited her right to exercise free will. Through her own choice she had reduced herself to little more than a passive inanimate object, nothing except an extension of Tracy, or whoever happened to be controlling her at that moment.

"Pledge Lisa, you will kneel."

"Yes, ma'am."

Lisa heard her three companions gasp with fright. She realized why when she felt the tip of the riding crop touch her upper left shoulder, about halfway between her collarbone and her breast.

"Pledge, Lisa, according to the tradition of our sorority, you must be harshly struck on the shoulder. The mark will symbolize your courage and your commitment to the rest of us. I will strike you in the same spot three times. Do you agree to be marked, in accordance with Four-Beta tradition?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Lisa felt the crop tap her shoulder a final time. She flinched, but tried her best to avoid moving. She felt a slight moment of air as Tracy raised the crop for the first blow.

CRACK!!!

"Uh...Uhhh!"

The blow seared into the tender skin of her shoulder as Lisa gasped, struggled against her cuffs, and tried to fight back the tears. The pain was a cruel burning that seemed to only get worse as her nerves registered what had just happened with her brain. Lisa trembled, because she still had two blows to go. She forced herself to kneel upright and nerved herself for the second stroke.

Through the burning of her injured skin Lisa felt tap of the crop a second time. She held her breath and winced as Tracy raised the implement to strike.

CRACK!!!

"Uhhh!...Er!...Uh!...Uh!..."

The burning felt white hot and totally consumed her thoughts. Lisa gritted her teeth and was gasping, totally shocked that something as simple as the tip of a riding crop could hurt so badly.

"OK, Pledge Lisa, just one more to go. You ready?"

"I...I...Yes ma'am...I'm ready...

CRACK!!!

"Ahhh...Ow...Ow!"

Lisa twisted and gasped as the pain from the final stroke settled over the first two strokes. However, she wanted to set an example to the other pledges by being as stoic as possible. She managed to quiet down within a minute, although her face under her blindfold was wet with tears.

"Get ready to stand-up, Pledge Lisa!"

Tracy reached for Lisa's arm and helped her to her feet. Lisa stood quietly, displaying a vivid red mark on her shoulder that was still swelling and getting darker. Tracy took the pledge's shoulders and turned her to face the two presidents, then the sorority, then the fraternity, and finally the other three frightened pledges. The women's eyes were glued to the raised welt that now marked Lisa as eligible to continue her pledge commitment.

"You will understand that all of us here had to accept the mark before we continued our journey into the circle of our sisters and brothers. Pledge Lisa now bears that mark and will continue her journey, if she so desires."

Tracy paused.

"Pledge Lisa, you will kneel."

"Yes, ma'am.

"You have earned the right to continue your journey with us. Do you wish to do so?"

"Yes, ma'am. I want to continue."

"Then...congratulations, Pledge Lisa. You're journey with us will continue."

Lisa had expected to have her restraints taken off as soon as Tracy was finished presenting her, but her mentor left her kneeling cuffed and blindfolded. She shifted uncomfortably as her shoulder throbbed in pain. A mark. Yes, she was marked all right, with a very painful welt that would take more than a week to completely heal.

As Lisa squirmed from her throbbing shoulder and her uncomfortable position on the floor, there was an ominous silence while the other three pledges looked at each other and tried to work up the courage to be the next one to be cuffed and struck on the shoulder. Much to everyone's surprise, it was Cherine who spoke next.

"Ma'am...I...I...I mean...Pledge Cherine...requests...requests permission...to speak"

"You may speak, Pledge Cherine."

"I...I mean...ma'am...please... I...I would be honored to...to wear the restraints and get the mark...and...to continue my...commitment as a pledge."

"Pledge Cherine, you will stand-up."

"Yes, ma'am."

For the second time that night Heather handed Tracy a black blindfold and a pair of handcuffs.

"Pledge Cherine, do you wish to continue your quest to become one of us?"

"Y...Yes, ma'am."

Cherine was shaking badly from fear. The sorority president interrupted to ask her a question.

"Pledge Cherine, from the looks of you I'd say that you're quite scared right now."

"I...I...yes, ma'am...I'm scared. I...I'm sorry."

"Pledge, that is nothing to be sorry about. You're afraid, and you're facing your fear. That makes you not a coward, but quite the opposite, a very courageous woman. Real courage is not about not being afraid. Real courage is about being afraid but learning to get past it. That's what you're doing right now and I commend you for it."

"Yes, ma'am. Thank you, ma'am."

"Sergeant-at-Arms, you may continue."

"Yes, President Alexandra."

With that Tracy wrapped the blindfold around Cherine's face and cuffed her hands behind her back.

Cherine was every bit as scared as before, but the words of support from the sorority president took away the shame that she had felt from being so frightened. That support, and the inspiration that Lisa had given her, was just enough to keep her focused on getting through the upcoming ordeal.

All day long Cherine had been wondering if she could possibly get through the pledge process. She had spent much of her time trying to figure out how to quit without causing too much of a stir for everyone else. That moment had passed. She would get through the pledge ordeal, just like she would get through being marked, because she knew that she absolutely had to. She realized that the Four-Betas offered her the only hope she had of making a clean break from her past. She would become a member of this sorority and a friend of Lisa, she would change, and finally she would confront the ghosts of her childhood.

"Pledge, Cherine, according to the tradition of our sorority, you must be struck hard on the shoulder. The mark will symbolize your courage and your commitment to the rest of us. I will strike you in the same spot three times. Do you agree to be marked, in accordance with Four-Beta tradition?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Tracy raised the riding crop for the first blow.

CRACK!!!

Cherine screamed and jerked back. She started crying immediately, but to everyone's amazement, managed to right herself. As her small body shook with sobs, she bravely knelt straight to position herself for the second blow. Tracy struck hard a second time, eliciting another scream and more crying from the suffering pledge. She waited for Cherine to catch her breath so she could deliver the final blow.

Tracy felt somewhat sorry for Cherine, much more so than she had felt for Lisa. While it was obvious that Lisa was by far the toughest member of the pledge group, in contrast Cherine seemed to be by far the most sensitive. The strokes would be much harder on her than they had been on Lisa, leaving Tracy somewhat concerned that Cherine still might not make it through the night as a pledge.

However there wasn't anything that could be done to ease the young pledge's suffering, because for her to continue to be eligible as a pledge for the sorority, she had to have a painful and visible welt on her shoulder. Tracy was enforcing a tradition that went clear back to 1926, when the first Four-Beta upper class-women marked their pledges in the same manner and then forced them to go out in public wearing flappers with low neck-lines. Since the very origins of the Four-Betas, it was the mark on the left shoulder that distinguished a Four-Beta pledge from all other sorority pledges.

"OK, Pledge Cherine, just one more to go. You ready?"

"I...I...Yes ma'am...I'm ready...

CRACK!!!

Cherine screamed pitifully, but Tracy heaved a huge sigh of relief that the pledge had taken her final stroke. All she needed to do was recover enough to stand up and allow her mark to be presented to the officers and upperclassmen in the room, and then she'd be finished with her ordeal.

After several minutes Cherine stood up for Tracy and allowed her to be presented to the officers, the members of the fraternity and sorority, and finally her fellow pledges.

Pledge Cherine now bears that mark and will continue her journey, if she so desires."

Tracy paused.

"Pledge Cherine, you will kneel."

"Yes, ma'am.

"You have earned the right to continue your journey with us. Do you wish to do so?"

"Yes, ma'am. I want to continue."

"Then...congratulations, Pledge Cherine. You're journey with us will continue."

Cherine struggled to quit crying as she knelt cuffed and blindfolded next to Lisa. She was traumatized by the incredible pain burning into her shoulder, but she had made it. She had passed the first serious test in her pursuit of joining the Four-Beta Sorority.

----------

The marking of Bernadette and Kathleen went well and was over relatively quickly. The two women realized if Cherine could make it through the ordeal; there was no reason they couldn't. Each stoically knelt to take her three strokes and afterwards each quietly knelt wincing at the burning pain in her shoulder. Bernadette cried quietly for a few minutes as she knelt, but Kathleen held up as well as Lisa and made no sound after receiving her final blow.

The four naked pledges, all of them blindfolded and handcuffed, continued to kneel quietly while the Four-Beta sorority members voted on whether or not to allow them to continue pledging. The vote was a formality, because normally no Four-Beta ever voted against a pledge who had made it through the medical exam and had successfully submitted to being marked. Crying was never held against anyone, because some women cried and some didn't. What mattered was not crying, but instead the pledge's willingness to follow orders and suffer on behalf of the traditions of the sorority.

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