tagSci-Fi & FantasyTwins of Trallis: Snowstorm

Twins of Trallis: Snowstorm

byxelliebabex©

Twins of Trallis Chapter 2

A physician standing at the back of the tent of the council of nine with the men of Stolle had watched the tiny dancer from the desert realm horrified. 'It couldn't be,' His mind raced backward in time and he relived the moment the dancer had come into the world unloved and unwanted by her father and left without a mother as the cold hand of death had snatched her away, he had often wondered what had become of the girl who now danced so erotically about the room.

The memories of that day were still vivid in his mind. Squalling loudly and totally unaware of the nature of her dramatic birth the first newborn girl was wrapped in a soft blanket and held by the kine, Clio. The physician scrambled around the bed of the bleeding woman to no avail. The watchers could do nothing as the crimson tide flowed over the sheets and the last breaths rasped from the dying woman. The Lord of the realm cared not for the woman or her daughter he required sons. "Stupid bitch," he muttered, "Brand the infant and take her to the kennels," and with no remorse for the child he had doomed to slavery he left the room.

Unbeknownst to those who had left the room, the dying woman's belly stilled throbbed with life and as the physician took her hand the dying woman grimaced and rasped hoarsely, "Do not let this child be a slave." Her eyes implored him and he nodded. Letting out a feral howl she pushed again and a second child emerged into the world. The placenta flowed with a gush of blood and the mistress of Lord Gerahn faded quickly and was gone. Bundling the child into a makeshift wrap with the placenta, the physician pronounced the woman dead and rushed from the room.

No one would question his taking the placenta to test for foul play, but time was of the essence. He knew of a family in the town that had just lost their child to the sleeping sickness and he hoped fervently that the apothecary and his wife would help care for the orphaned child. No one would question the child's legitimacy with the placenta as proof and the heart ache of the bereft mother could perhaps be healed in some way.

Having delivered the baby to the couple and happy that he had fulfilled the dying woman's wish he had returned to the palace prepared to let the fates decide the futures of the twin girls. He had done all he could for them now and he let the deep sadness of the loss of their mother wash over him. He had loved Dana deeply and his heart broke at never seeing her smile again.

Roused from his thoughts the physician, Janus, looked again at the tiny dancer as she leapt to land at the feet of her Master. The fate of this girl haunted him and he watched the young girl knowing in his heart exactly who she was and that her identical twin sister dwelt back in southern mountains of Stolle. He worried now that the new Lord of the Mountain Realm would see the resemblance and what his reaction would be. A quick glance told him that the truth would have to come out. Gerahn the last Lord of the realm and father to the twin girls had succumbed to a viral fever. His many sons had engaged in a bloody battle that saw Arimus take the throne. No daughters were thought to have survived Gerahn and only he, Janus, knew that both of Dana and Gerahn's daughters had survived against the odds.

*****

Allora's story.

The kine clutched at the baby as the blanket was folded back and the red hot iron bearing the insignia to seal her fate burned into the delicate new flesh. Running from the room the woman fled to the kennels picking up the small bowl of egg whites she had readied earlier in case this moment arose and poured it over the burning flesh. Watching it seal the burn with its own white skin. The babe was quiet. Its frail life hanging in balance as its small body hung limply in shock and began shutting down. Sitting quickly Clio opened her blouse and squirting a few drops of milk to the babe's lips encouraging it to suckle.

A slave herself, she had been deemed a kine, when her own babe died within months of birth. Kine, was old tongue for cow, and the men of the brewers guild had kept her breasts engorged, milking her every six hours for the sweet fluid that was then taken to be fermented to make Koumiss, a very potent drink enjoyed by the lords of all nine of the lands in this kingdom. The other lands made their koumiss with milk from cows or goats, and the subtle differences made the koumiss of Stolle, a more desired and expensive product. She did not mind being seen as a cow, her life was easier than that of other types of slaves and now she had a babe to care for if she could just will the baby girl to live.

The child not only lived but thrived under the tender maternal care of Clio and as she flourished the scar of her brand healed and faded. Having once been married to an apothecary Clio knew how to treat deep wounds like the brand inflicted on the babe and the pale scar became barely discernible except by those who would peer knowingly at it.

The days were filled with mundane chores and Clio taught the small girl she had named Allora about the kingdom, the caste system and her place within it from the earliest age. She explained about the history and culture of the people and on cool winter nights when the sun set early she taught the little girl to dance in the snow. To her surprise the flakes seemed to whirl about the little girl coating her skin in a shimmering sheen of sparling light. It was Allora's favourite thing to do and even as she grew older they still met late on winter's nights when they were sure no one else was about and danced the snow maiden's dance.

Clio explained to the girl over and over again about the brand upon the girl's arm and what it meant encouraging her to keep it covered at all times. As a slave her life would be difficult enough but should others know she was the daughter of their lord and master her life could be made significantly worse and infinitely more dangerous.

The child thrived under the tender care of Clio, and the other kine women and as she grew Clio fostered friendships with the kitchen slaves in the neighbouring kennels hoping they would find a spot for the girl so she would not be taken further afield, to serve in the gardens or worse in the upper floors of the castle where she would come under scrutiny. No other daughters had been born to their master that had survived the branding and by the time the child was five she had more brothers than fingers such was the lords desire to breed sons.

Forgotten and unseen by anyone who would recognise the brand on her upper arm Allora took her place amongst the kitchen slaves at the age of five and fell into the exhausting rhythm of the days looking forward to the times she would see Clio again though they became rarer as she grew older and took on more tasks. She bloomed into womanhood hiding behind a quiet docile compliance and the long hair she let fall constantly over her face, she saw how new girls tried to fight their status and the punishments they received with wide eyed terror. On her coming of age not long after the beginning of her time of bleeding she was sent to the physician where she endured a humiliating inspection.

Strapped to a hardwood table by her waist her hands her secured at her sides by cuffs of hard leather, her knees bent when her feet, secured together by rope were brought up to almost touch her bottom. Standing at each side of her the assistants pulled her knees apart and secured them in place to leather straps from the table, Allora felt like a frog on its back. She had been warned by Clio what would happen and not to fight, it would not last long, the physician would declare her fertile and able to be bred, and then give her the bitter herbs to prevent the breeding from occurring each month and ultimately pregnancy.

What Clio had not told Allora was how vulnerable she would feel bound in such a way, her body open and accessible to the men in the room. Cold large hands roamed over her starting at her throat, they poked and prodded into her skin and she swallowed noisily closing her eyes and willing herself to breathe deeply and be calm. 'She must not give them any reason to look at her as more than a worthless kitchen slave lest the secret surrounding her birth came to light,' Allora reminded herself. All of her life Clio had instilled her the need to remain in the background, The Lord had hopefully forgotten her now and it was best kept that way, for who knew her fate if the evil man discovered her existence, he was a harsh and cruel man to any that did not please him.

Allora screwed her eyes shut as fingers travelled over every curve of her torso, her breasts seem to swell under his hands as he pressed the soft flesh between his fingers seeming to feel around and into them before pulling on her nipples. Allora felt a strange tingling course through her, her eyes opening momentarily as her breathing quickened. His hands travelled lower over her ribs and belly to finally caress her womanhood. The physician looked up in surprise at the whimper that escaped her mouth and she bit her tongue clamping her mouth closed tightly.

Allora closed her eyes once more as one of the fingers delved inside her. Pushing further into her he felt at her lower abdomen as she whimpered, 'It wasn't pain really more an uncomfortable and unknown sensation to add to her humiliation. His hands finally withdrew after what seemed an age and he stroked a wet finger over her rectum, lightly testing it.

He stood next to her undoing her left arm, "Prepare the bitter herbs and an armlet for..." the physician's voice trailed off. "Bring me a candle!"

One of the assistants jumped to his feet from his half dose and moved forward with a lantern. The physicians eyes widened as the light grew brighter. "You know what this is?"

"No." the assistant said.

"I wasn't talking to you dungbrain, girl do you know what this is?"

She had been coached for this her whole life and she whispered unconvincingly, "A birthmark, Sir."

He turned then looking at his assistants, "Both of you need to know that as the best physician in this god forsaken place, I can poison you in a hundred different ways and no one would be the wiser. Any information given in this room is not to be divulged, we are physicians not spies." He looked back at her kindly, "You know what this is girl?"

She pressed her lips together and shook her head slowly. "I can see the fear in your eyes, you do know and you need not tell me. Now, who healed it so well an untrained eye would never have seen it for what it was?"

Again he was met with stubborn silence. Allora turned her head away a tear escaping down her cheek she could not betray Clio. He wrapped a bandage about her bicep, "Fine," he sighed, "you two unbind her and give her clothes to her."

The Physician paced the floor as she was released and dressed in the rags that served as her clothes. Sitting at his desk he penned a quick letter and beckoned her over to him. "You two sad cases sit over there and have some tea or something." He pointed to the far wall.

He spoke to her softly in whispered tones, "I know you. I was at your birth and I knew your mother well. There is only one girl child I know of with that brand that I did not sign a death note for," Allora's eyes opened wide in shock, "You could not have survived that branding on your birth without skilled hands, you can tell me quietly and I can thank the physician for sparing the child of a woman I admired or you can stay silent and I can raise a fuss searching for answers bringing the Masters wrath down on you; a girl child he thought was dead!"

She was frightened and trembled as she looked at him, "You admired my mother," Allora stalled.

"More than you will ever know. Now speak girl for I lose patience. How did the kine who held you get you to another physician so fast?"

"She didn't" Allora stated truthfully. "She healed me herself and raised me and loved me and I will not give her up to you or any of the Masters men."

"I should have expected as much from Dana's daughter." He paused as she physically blanched, 'of course she didn't know her mother's name.' he thought sadly.

"I want you to tell the kine what I have said and bring her immediately," Allora took the piece of paper he handed her and glanced around to the assistants who had fallen asleep against the back wall. "They will sleep for two hours or so you must be back within one if you wish to protect the kine. Go now, you will not be followed and the piece of paper will keep you from being taken off your path."

Allora had a keen mind and she had learned to read from Clio, sitting with her night after night writing out the stories she told on dusty pieces of old roof slate that could be erased so no one would know. 'The physician thought they were brainless slaves, an hour they had to plan, Clio would think of something' she consoled herself as she stood and left the room.

*****

"Well there is nothing for it," Clio sighed resigned to her fate as Allora showed the letter and told her the story. "We must go see the physician and quickly," She took in Allora's horrified expression, "if he meant you harm he wouldn't have let you come to find me, we don't have much time I expect it must have taken you an age to find me here."

Allora looked around the weaving room, "What are you doing here?"

"I am going through the change my milk is almost dry, I am being reassigned. Now let's go. The supervisor has seen the letter so he must wonder why we dally."

Taking Allora's hand before she could ask more Clio walked out of the building and across the bailey toward the house of the physician. Allora was still asking questions as the door opened wide for them on their arrival the physician smiling. As Allora sat to the side the physician who introduced himself to Clio as Janus, he began to quiz the kine. Allora was entranced as the story of how Clio had once been a free woman, daughter of an apothecary she had married a physician in a neighbouring kingdom before the lord and master staged a small war to expand his lands. Her husband having died she was taken as a slave with the rest of the women of her village.

Clio had been pregnant but the child had died after a premature birth and she had been taken to the milking room to be branded as a kine. Encouraged to lactate by the primitive machine pumping at her breasts she had quickly become a favourite of the chief herdsman who had used her for his pleasure often between her milking times. He was a master of rope and knots and took pleasure in tying her like a yearling calf before taking her body as his, often binding her breasts to leak the remnants of the coveted milk and lap at it while he violated her. He had sent her to Dana as a reward for particularly harsh use on the day of Allora's birth and found another in the herd to play with.

Impressed by old kine and filled with surprising joy that Allora had inherited her mother's brilliant green eyes and beautiful smile, the physician had petitioned to have them assigned to his personal home due to Clio's knowledge of medicinal herbs and Allora's cooking ability. He had often felt guilt over the years for not doing more for Dana's daughters and now almost two decades later he was finally in a position to help them, if he only knew where the second child had gone.

The family who had taken the new born babe had disappeared during a civil war. The Barons of Stolle were constantly at war with each other over mining rights, livestock and the like. The only hint he had was a bird that had come heralding the physician's death. He had hoped the child would return to him but she never did and he assumed she had suffered the same fate as her adopted father but could never find out for sure.

Clio's slavery was granted to the physician easily, she was old and little good to any of the guild masters. The head of the kitchen, however, argued the need of young strong bodies and once he had noticed Allora, he was loathe to give up the pretty young slave girl and she began to receive more than her share of attention from the kitchen master and his underlings.

Having come of age and been given the bitter herbs, Allora now wore an armlet to show her new status of maturity and found that there was little escape from the men who ruled the kitchen. Janus Promised he was doing everything possible to have her reassigned to his hospital but that it was more difficult that he had first thought it would be. He gave her errands and sent for her as often as he could but time moved forward and so did the advances of the kitchen Master.

Allora continued to hide behind her long hair and try to stay in the background meekly doing the more mundane tasks that others avoided in order to befriend the other girls in the kitchen and afford her some protection from the wandering hands and caresses that came her way but it could not last forever.

The day came when, frustrated with her lack of attention to him the kitchen master called her to his office. The female slaves of the castle had no rights to speak of and each of the guild masters knew they could do as they wished with their assigned slaves within reason.

Clio had prepared her charge well for all facets of living within the castle slave caste and Allora knew well why he had asked her to his office. She had seen other girls enter the office and come out again in one way or another. Some had fled in tears, others had returned to their stations clearly shaken, a few though did not emerge during their shift only to reappear days later after having been admitted to the infirmary for a time. A few had returned to work without any sign of distress or discomfort and those girls were often bullied by the older women when the kitchen master was absent and within the kennels.

With great trepidation Allora approached the door and knocked gently when she had been summoned. The voice of the large man boomed through the heavy door and she opened it and walked through standing before the large desk and the even larger man sitting behind it. She stood for long minutes as he surveyed her making her increasingly anxious and uncomfortable. She knew there was little choice in what she must do here but the look in the man's eyes frightened her beyond reason.

"Seems a few people have asked for your release from my kitchens," he said suddenly surprising her. A slow lascivious smile crossed his face. "You must have given that physician the ride of his life. He has been unyielding in his petitions to have you reassigned." Shock registered on her face and made him curious about why the physician would want her so much. "Tell me what you did for him, and Ari, son of Gerahn, he also has suggested you be reassigned to the upper floors. If I think it is worthy of interest I might let you go to one or the other." It was a masked effort to find the real reason for not only the physician's interest but that of Ari, Gerahn's third son.

Again shock registered on Allora's face. Though she had never met any of her half-brother's she knew all of their names. Why would Ari want her release from the kitchen and what would that mean for her. She remained silent waiting not realising his statement had required a response.

"Well?" The kitchen master roared at her.

"I have never met Ari," she said quickly her obvious fear in her voice. "I have not even heard the name until today." Allora continued as she remembered all of the training Clio had given her.

"And the physician?" He prompted narrowing his eyes and not commenting on her remarks about Ari.

"He examined me many weeks ago on my coming of age. He gave me the bitter herbs and an armlet before sending me back to the kitchen kennels," She said honestly leaving out many pertinent details but looking the kitchen master in the eye as Clio had told her she must do when wanting people to believe she spoke the truth.

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