Once upon a time in a land, far, far away lived a young woman by the name of Isabella. She lived happily in the Kingdom with her mother and father. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a jewelry craftsman. Her parents complimented each others designs with creating custom dresses and jewelry which there would ever be, one of a kind. While growing up, Isabella watched her parents work and over the years, she ended up creating her own designs in both clothing and jewelry and that made her parents proud of her.
But things changed when the King stepped down and crowned his son. The old King's son liked pretty things around him. Things had to be perfect or they looked ugly to him, and were removed from his sight. Soon, the adults of the Kingdom were taken away from their families, they were set to work on making the new King's home and gardens perfect. The taxes increased and soon, the Kingdom was poor, all except for the royal estates; which where the riches laid. The people soon found it hard to place food on the table and soon, the people started to starve. Those to whom tried to move away were caught and thrown into the mines to mine the ores to sell to the neighboring lands. And that is what happened to Isabella's parents. Isabella didn't see her parents again.
Over the next few months, the King's guards would go from home to home, dragging the young women away struggling. The King started to remove all of the male employees from inside the castle and replaced them by the young women. The only males inside the castle with the King, were his guards. And soon the day came when they took Isabella to the castle. She knew the day was coming so when it did, she grabbed some of her belongings and walked with the guards towards the castle.
Everyone knew of the King's kinks, by wanting only beautiful things around him. And Isabella decided to use that to her advantage to go back to her life. Isabella was a beautiful woman. She had flawless olive skin, long raven hair with flecks of copper through it, and the bright blue eyes that looked like the bluest oceans.
When she arrived at the castle, there were other girls she recognized from around the village, she could see they were nervous and looking around anxiously with what was to come. A short time later, the King walked down the staircase with an older woman walking two steps behind him. As the King walked down the line of nervous women, the older woman with him was introduced as the castle Mistress. She was the one who made sure each girl did the jobs assigned to them. She started to hand out jobs and gave Isabella the task of seamstress because of her past. Which made Isabella happy. The girls were shown to their work places and then their quarters before being left alone. Tomorrow they would begin their work.
When the girls who were already there finished and filed back into the quarters, they looked around at the new girls. Some hugs of joy to see their old friends and soon all of them where talking. It soon got around the room that during the week, the King would call upon the new girls and have his way with them. So the sooner they were prepared for the call, the better it will be for them. When Isabella heard that news, her stomach turned. She had never let anyone have their way with her, and she wasn't going to start now. She would only ever give herself to the one man who she could see herself happy with. And the King was not that man.
The King had already decided that the raven haired woman would be his first for the meeting so he organized it that she would be brought to his chambers at lunch time the very next day.
The next day when Isabella began work, the older woman who assigned her the mending job told her to look her best, and gave the excuse that the King wanted to be fitted for a new outfit. Isabella played along and asked for the time they would come to escort her to him and the older woman said lunchtime. Isabella nodded, knowing she didn't have much time and as soon as the woman left her.
Isabella only had an 20 minutes to prepare herself. Over those few minutes, she messed her hair up, added soot from the fireplace to her face and arms, and wanting to check what the King thought of blood, knowing a few men had weak stomachs to it, she cut her arm with the scissors and wrapped her apron around it before bandaging her arm. And that was what she was doing when the guard came in. He had one look at her and she quickly said sorry, that time escaped her for the King's meeting.
But the guard knew what the King was like if people weren't prompt and lead her to the King's chambers as she was. He knocked and there was a call, "Enter" and quickly left Isabella, he didn't want to be the one caught letting her show up as she was.
When Isabella entered, she looked around and closed the door behind her to where the King stepped out from behind. He took one look at her and cringed, "You are not the girl I sent for. Get out of here and clean yourself up." Opening the door and pushed her out into the hallway.
Isabella couldn't help but smile and quickly went to the girls quarters and cleaned herself up before the Mistress showed up to see what had happened. By the time she got back to the sewing room, the Mistress arrived and questioned her to what happened. With the way the older woman spoke, the King was furious. And that was the first day of many. Each time the King called for her, she dirtied herself up to his disgust and kicked her out of his room. She had even gone to the point of asking one of the artists to tattoo her face which she knew would turn the King off big time. The artist designed a ivy type design which was between her hairline and her eye and brow. With the cut skin, the artist rubbed different coloured inks into it to give it a true look of ivy.
Months past and finally came the day the King was that frustrated with her, he threw her into the dungeons. She wanted to be dirty, now she could be permanently. She had been the first to deny him and word was getting around to the girls and more started to play the same games. He used her as a example to what would happen if any other woman denied him.
She was in the dungeon for what she guessed a month, when word came that there was a Warlord on the outskirts of the Kingdom. The Warlord had heard of the riches of the King and wanted it for himself. Soon, no guards were in the dungeons and from the high window of the cell, she could smell the smoke and see the red sky from something burning. That night, she didn't sleep at all. She heard the screams and calls from soldiers and battle calls in a strange language.
By early morning everything was silent. Even the normal business from upstairs was quiet. The village was taken, as well as the castle.
She lazed on the bench which was classed as the bed when heavy footsteps were heard coming down into the dungeons. She could hear the other prisoners bustling when doors were opened and people speaking quietly. Then she heard the key being inserted into her cell door and turned her head, not moving from the bed. A strange dark skinned man entered her cell and looked over to her. She sat up slowly and said, "Yes?"
He gave her a look before motioning her to come outside which she did. A deep tanned man stood there and asked with a heavy accent. "What are your crimes, girl?"
Isabella looked at the dark skinned man than to the one who spoke. "I committed no crimes, except for denying the King my body."
The man who spoke nodded. "Come with me."
She looked down the hallway to the other cells which each door was opened. Hers was the last cell and walked slightly behind the men as they lead her upstairs. She was dirty from the long stay in the cell and the men took her to one of the rooms with other dirty women in it. The tanned man said, "Clean yourself up." Looking to the other women and speaking more loudly, "You will be called by the Warlord soon so hurry and clean up. He'll be wanting to speak to all of the people from the cells." Shutting the door, the two men left the room for women to do as they ordered.
When Isabella walked further into the room, she saw the artist who did her tattoo and smiled to her. The artist nodded back to her as she washed. Isabella and the artist stayed close together, not speaking, just washing each other from the dirt from the cells. Then each of the women there dressed in dresses that were left for them. Isabella recognized some of the dresses of being her mothers work and she softly sighed, running her hands over the work before slipping a dark blue one on that she had made herself.
Time soon came when there was a knock on the door and a moment later the man who bought her up, opened the door. "Ladies, follow me please." Once he saw all the women were dressed, he opened the door further and motioned them out. When they stepped out there was other men there, each of them dirty and bloodied from the battle the night before but the women never spoke and just stared at injuries they could see untouched and looked a little worried to the men who carried them. The man cleared his throat to get the women attention and motioned again and started to walk down the hallway. With the other men following behind the women.
They walked straight to the thrown room where a tall, broad shouldered man was speaking to the men who were kept in the dungeons. The women could see the men were relaxed and some were even laughing with the tall man. The tall man then motioned for the men to follow his men and they left in good spirits.
The women looked between themselves, a little confused with what was going on and the tall man motioned to the man who escorted the women to bring them over. The escort cleared his throat again to get the women attention and took them over and spoke, "Sir, the ladies who were in the cells."
Isabella took in the tall mans features. He had a rugged look about him, his skin was worn from a hard life but his dark gray eyes were filled with life. His messy dark brown hair hung just below his shoulders. His armor was dirty from dust and blood. It looked like he was in the middle of the fight with his men instead of being on the sidelines watching. She could see that his knuckles were bloodied as if he had gotten into a fist fight with someone, and there was a nasty looking cut to his arm and one at the base of his neck.
When he spoke, it sent shivers down Isabella's spine. His voice was deep but had a gentle tone to it. "Ladies, I am the Warlord Dominic Cassiss. You can call me Warlord or Sir. As my first commander said, you are the women who had a stay in the dungeons here, I want each of you to tell us what your crimes were." His accent was heavy with some words but others you couldn't tell that he wasn't from the lands.
As soon as he said his name, the women began to huddle together. They had heard stories about the Warlord Cassiss and nothing was good. But each time he motioned to one, they would speak their crimes and he nodded before going to the next. Then last was Isabella, when she told him what her crime was, she could see anger in his eyes before he relaxed and nodded. Then spoke once she was finished. "If I may ask of your services ladies, some of my men are injured. If possible, I'd like to ask of your care for them. We have no healers with us and you know what men are like, we won't get treated unless told to do it." Making a sweeping bow. "You are our commanders if you will accept the position."
The ladies stood stunned with his request and behavior which relaxed them a little. Over on the table at the side of the room, were already medical supplies set out and Isabella looked around at the women before stepping forward. "If allowed Sir, ask your men to wash with light clothing on and to come in. We'll see to their injuries." She kept her nerves in check and walked towards the table with the supplies. And was waiting for someone to toss her back with the other women, but no, she wasn't touched and allowed to walk freely.
Dominic nodded to Isabella and looked over to his first commander. "Ter, make it so."
Ter nodded. "Yes Sir." Then with a hand motion the men in the room started to file out and go about cleaning themselves up.
Isabella started to move around the room, placing chairs at different intervals and soon the other women had snapped out of their thoughts and began reorganizing the room. Isabella looked up over to Dominic and said, "That includes you Sir. I see you have some injuries that need seeing to. So off with you as well." Her last words to him were a little stronger than the rest of what she said and tried her best not to flinch just in case he didn't like the tone of her voice.
But Dominic surprised her by smiling. "As the lady commands." He bowed his head and left the room. The other women blinked when Isabella spoke to the Warlord and held their breath until he answered her. As soon as he left the room, they ran over to her and started to speak their concerns with the way she was acting.
She just shrugged them off and told them to finish setting everything up. The injured men would be arriving soon. And before they knew it, the men started to enter. Some where brought in on stretchers where the older women would go straight to them and started cleaning up their injuries. Others with minor injuries waited at the side for their turn. Each man surprised the women even more, no matter how bad or minor the injuries were. Each said thankyou, and they might of yelled when the women poked and set broken bones, but none swore. They acted like proper gentlemen.
When the last of the men were going through, Dominic waited until the other women had their patients and walked over and sat in the chair of Isabella's area and waited. She didn't notice who sat down and started to check the injuries. She spoke softly as she picked up the needle to place stitches in the wound on his neck. "This might hurt a little. But the gap in the neck wound, you'll need it stitched or it won't heal properly."
Just as she was about to make the first one, he spoke just as softly. "I am in your caring hands, my Lady."
The same heavy accent made her look at his face and into his dark gray eyes and that made her jump a little and move her hand back that was holding the needle.
He smiled softly and took her hand gently. "Relax my Lady, I won't bite unless you ask me." He winked before looking straight ahead and tilted his head slightly.
She was about to speak but nothing came out so she turned her attention back to the wound and started to place stitches over the full length of it, letting herself forget who was sitting there, she started to look after the rest of his wounds before leaning back and looking at her work. Just as she was finishing up, Ter came up and spoke quietly. "Sir, the feast is ready."
Dominic nodded slightly. "The ladies who finished, ask them to go with you to the hall.."
Ter cleared his throat a little and quickly interrupted. "Your the last Sir.."
Dominic took Isabella's hand gently and looked around to see the other ladies were indeed finished and watching them. "Alright," He looked straight ahead again. "Take them to the hall, we'll be there soon."
Ter nodded and walked over to the other women and motioned them to follow which they did. Leaving Isabella and Dominic alone in the room.
When the door closed Dominic spoke softly. "I heard stories of the King taking women from their homes and draggin' them here to work.. Is that your story as well?"
Isabella nodded a little as she wrapped a bandage around his arm. "Yes Sir, it is. He got rid of the men who worked here and put women in their place. Even if the job meant the women hurting themselves, or something was to heavy for us to do, we'd still had to do it."
Dominic nodded a little. "And he took advantage of all the women but you?"
Shaking her head a little. "Elizabeth, she's an artist and friend here, she denied him as well that I know of."
He looked at the tattoo on the side of her face and smiled. "I heard from the men that were locked up, he liked pretty things. Was that one of the ways you were able to turn him off?" Lightly outlining the tattoo with the tip of his finger. She looked into his eyes, he could see the look in them and nodded. She didn't need to answer. "I see". He grinned. "In some cultures, my Lady, tattoos are attractive."
Hesitating slightly with his touch then a rose color came to her cheeks as she blushed when he added the last part. She felt words caught in her throat so quickly stepped back and began to tidy up. While Isabella was tidying up, Dominic went to a mirror to look at the wounds and smiled slightly to himself as he watched her reflection. He was never a vain man but was curious why she paid so much attention to the stitches and now he knew why. He was pretty sure once the wounds had healed, there would only be faint scars behind if that. He then turned and walked over to her, placing his hand lightly on her shoulder. "Leave that my lady. You must be hungry, let us join the feast." Holding his arm out to her.
Looking at him strangely, she had never been escorted like that before so lightly placed her hand on his arm and walked with him to the great hall for the feast.
* * * * *
Once they arrived in the great hall, massive of food were laid across the tables. The Warlords men along with the men and women who were released sat down next to each other. Joy and laughter was spread across the room.
As soon as Dominic entered with Isabella, Ter stood up and yelled, "Hail Warlord Cassiss." Cheers were shouted, hailing their leader.
He held up his hand for silence as Isabella and himself went to the head table. He seated her first before calling out. "It is you who I cheer for. If it wasn't for my warriors, we wouldn't be here today." Holding up his goblet and saluting his men with a bow of his head before taking a deep drink of the wine. Then calling out, "Let the feast begin!"
During the feast, both his men and captives came up to the head table to give thanks to him. Isabella sat silently and watched. She didn't say anything unless she was spoken to.
By the end of the night, one of the Warlord's men came up and whispered something to him before disappearing again. Dominic looked over to Isabella and softly said, "Come with me."
She looked into his eyes, nodded a little. He pulled out her chair and moved his arm out once again and she lightly placed her hand on top of the back of his hand which made him smile.
They walked in silence until they left the feast and once in the hall he spoke again. "You seem like one of the leaders here. Might I ask for some help with your knowledge?"
She looked up to him as he spoke then gave a soft nod. "Because we assume you've freed us, I will help you," she answered softly.
With a pat of her hand, he lead her down the hall and stopped at one of the rooms. Opening the door and ushered her in. Inside where people were trying to talk their way out of being captives.
She recognized a few of them, but not in common clothes. She squeezed his hand a little which made him stop and look over to the people his men found inside the castle. He lent down and softly say, "You know these people?"
She nodded softly as her eyes roamed over the men and women. She softly spoke. "The woman with dark brown hair with the light blue dress and the blonde in the peach, they were taken like I was. The others worked for the King." Then she started to scan over the men.
Dominic motioned to one of the men and told him which ones to take out, and leaving the other women where they were.
She looked up to him when the women were taken out then looked back to the men. "The small one in dark brown hair and the gray haired man with the scar, they are from the village."