The Girl with No Name

   

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Chapter Thirteen – The Grand Duke's Castle

Danka’s ride approached the capitol from the north, following the main road along the East Danube River. The road was thick with travelers and trading caravans. Fine farms, nice manor houses, and prosperous villages covered the landscape. The land in Danubia’s westernmost province was the best the Grand Duchy had to offer, a rich and pleasant territory compared to the nation’s outlying regions. It was wonderful to just sit as a passenger and watch all the new sites, momentarily free of any responsibilities or worries.

The traveler was truly excited, because finally her Path in Life would take her to the capitol of the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia, where she would fulfill her destiny. After two days of riding in the wagon, finally, there it was, Danúbikt Móskt. Long before she got to the city, she could see the Grand Duke’s castle, perched high on a hill in the distance. Over the next several hours other landmarks came into view: the steeples of several churches, the large city wall, and the high cliffs and mountains along the western shore of the wide, graceful East Danube River.

Danka had been under the impression that everyone in Danúbikt Móskt lived within the city walls, but as she approached the main gate along the northern side, she realized that was not true at all. The inner city was surrounded by an outer city: businesses and residences that had been built over the last hundred years by people who did not want to live in the cramped confines of the older walled-in settlement. Along the outer edges of the suburbs there were huge piles of stones, lumber, and sand. There were several brick factories working continuously and wagon trains were hauling the bricks to strategically placed warehouses surrounding the outer city. The wagon driver explained that the Grand Duke wanted to expand the city wall and enclose the entire outer suburb, and that the stockpiling of stones and bricks was in anticipation of his ambitious project. The wagon driver let out a hiss to signal his disapproval.

“I think the Grand Duke’s wasting our effort, if you ask me. A new wall isn’t going to do us any good. All it takes is some cannon balls and the whole thing comes crashing down.”

The wagon driver let out disapproving whistle and continued:

I’ve been west of the Duchy. On the other side of those mountains. I’ve seen plenty of cities that don’t even have walls…and the ones that do have them aren’t any safer. Stone doesn’t defeat gunpowder…not for very long, at any rate.”

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Danka jumped off the wagon, paid the driver some copper coins, and made her way to the northern gate. As soon as she passed through, she was not impressed with what she saw. Danúbikt Móskt was definitely a disappointment. Danka had expected the houses inside the city to be even nicer than the ones outside, but that was not true at all. The inner city was crowded with aging and moldy wooden buildings, many of which were three or even four stories tall. The upper floors extended over the streets, so in most places a person could only see a thin line of sky between the rows of rooftops. The smell of all that rotting wood along the enclosed streets, combined with thousands of cooking fires and piles of garbage, was impressive.

The city did have a few nice buildings. Instead of going directly to the Temple, she decided to first see the Christian cathedral. The cathedral was bigger than any other church Danka had seen so far and its open plaza was a relief from the claustrophobic streets. Danka noted with interest that no buildings were standing next to the church. There had been wooden structures standing there just a few months before, but the Duke had decided to build a park around the cathedral and ordered surrounding buildings to be torn down. The occupants were evicted and had to resettle outside the city walls.

Danka’s objective, the Great Temple of the Ancients, was only a few blocks west from the cathedral. She decided present herself to the Clergy and talk to the Grand Prophet about entering training for the Priesthood. She figured that she would wear her collar until the got to the Temple, then take it off after leaving the street. She figured that she could hide it in her bucket. Assuming the Priests welcomed her with open arms, she’d simply dispose of the collar, maybe by tossing it into the river. If anything went wrong, or the Senior Priest told her she’d have to wait before beginning her studies, she’d have the option of leaving the Temple and putting the collar back on. She was convinced the Priests would want her as an apprentice as soon as they realized how smart and educated she was, but she did understand that it was possible her studies would not start right away and she might have to keep herself occupied for a few weeks.

The Temple was a massive granite structure with a marble facade that pre-dated everything else in Danúbikt Móskt by more than two thousand years. It was a beautiful and solid building, designed to last forever. It was the most impressive thing Danka had ever seen. The cathedral looked like a flimsy stage prop in comparison. For a very long time the visitor stood in the Grand Plaza of the Ancients, staring at her destination with a dumb expression on her face.

Yes…this is my Path in Life…this beautiful building…this is my destiny…this is where I belong…

The traveler was so distracted that she did not notice the crowd had fallen silent and was stepping to the sides of the plaza. She heard a series of very loud whistles and then the shout:

“Doc-doc Danube!”

The crowd roared its response and snapped to attention. Realizing she was standing alone, Danka scrambled to run off the plaza and join the crowd. She would have slipped to the back to avoid drawing attention to herself, but there was no time. Everyone saluted. She barely had time to get on her knees before Royal Guards marched into view. Not knowing the capitol’s protocol, she knelt forward and placed her face to the ground. The man standing next to her kicked her ankle and angrily whispered:

“Up-right, Penitent! What do you think he is, a Priest? He’ll want to see your face!”

Trembling from the strange situation and her apparent violation of protocol, Danka reluctantly knelt upright. Everyone, including the Royal Guards, had noticed her. Being noticed before safely getting to the Temple was absolutely the last thing she wanted.

Four foot-soldiers preceded the nation’s ruler, loudly whistling to announce their presence. The Grand Duke followed, along with four Royal Guards and two of his ministers, on horseback. The entourage wore finer clothing than the populace, but the exaggerated get-ups of other European royalty at the time would not have been considered appropriate in Danubia. The only detail that really set the Duke apart from his companions was his tunic, which was embroidered with gold thread instead of blue thread.

The Royal entourage rode past the crowd, placing their fists against their chests to return the public’s salute. Then the Grand Duke noticed Danka. He rode up to her, signaling one of the guards to follow him.

“Tell the girl to stand up.”

“You heard him, Lass. Stand up so his Majesty can better see you.”

“Y…yes, Master…as you wish.”

Danka stood up, her knees badly shaking. She had no idea why the Duke had taken an interest in her. She figured that she must have committed a breach of protocol and worried she was about to be punished. The guard dismounted.

“Look at his Majesty. Lift your head. Let him have a good look at your face.”

Terrified, Danka obeyed, forcing her eyes to meet those of the nation’s ruler. Her knees were shaking so badly that she had a hard time staying on her feet.

The Grand Duke carefully looked her over, as though he was trying to make a decision. She estimated him to be about 30. It was clear that he spent much of his time exercising, because even under his clothing Danka could tell the Danubian ruler was in excellent physical shape. Apart from that, his appearance was typical of a healthy upper-class Danubian about to enter middle age. He looked intelligent and had the confident expression of a man used to getting his way in life. There also seemed to be a hint of cruelty and arrogance in his face.

The guard exchanged glances with the Duke. The ruler nodded and returned to the other horsemen. The Royal entourage continued on its way, minus one of its members. The guard took his horse by the reins and tapped Danka on the arm.

"What is your name, girl?"

Danka believed that she had to come up with a new identity. She decided to call herself "Silvítya".

"Silvítya, Master. I'm Silvítya."

“Follow me.”

Danka, now to be known as Silvítya, was even more terrified. She wondered if the Grand Duke somehow knew she had been a Follower of the Ancients, and if that had anything to do with her detention. Or, perhaps she had unknowingly committed some serious breech of protocol.

“Master…please…I…I don’t know…what I did…please tell me…what I did to…offend the…the Grand Duke…”

“You didn’t offend the Grand Duke.”

“But…I’m not…being arrested?”

“Arrested? No. You need to come with me, but it’s not because you’re being arrested.”

“But…”

“Listen, girl. It is not your Path in Life to ask a bunch of questions. Your Path in Life is to obey your superiors and do what you are told.”

“Yes, Master.”

The guard led both his horse and the young woman towards a side entrance of the Temple of the Ancients.

“Go in there and tell a Priest to remove your collar. Be quick about it. If he has any questions, you can show him this pendant.”

The guard took off a large pendant that was mounted on a thick silver necklace and handed it to the terrified young woman.

“Go in there, find a Priest to remove your collar, and come back out. Very simple instructions, even for a dumb peasant girl like you. I will have your head if you do anything other than what I’ve ordered.”

“Yes, Master.”

“And take those boots off and stuff them in your bucket. If you’re wearing a collar, you have no business wearing boots.”

“Yes, Master.”

Silvítya ran into the Temple. It was just as impressive on the inside as it was on the outside, but she had no time to appreciate it. She looked around for a secluded spot where she could take off her collar without anyone seeing her. Her fingers were trembling so badly that she had trouble with the latches. Then she had to stop for a few minutes, because some worshippers in prayer robes decided to stand within sight of her. As soon as they moved, she took a deep breath and again started fiddling with the collar. Finally it came off. She took off one of her boots and pushed the collar as far down as she could. She took off the other boot, shoved both boots into her bucket, and ran out the door. As desperate as she was to run off in the opposite direction, she reluctantly returned to the Royal Guard. Trembling, she began to kneel, but cried out when he gave her a sharp kick.

“What are you doing, you idiot?”

“Please, Master…I don’t…”

“I’m a commoner! You don’t kneel to me! What are you trying to do, get me dismissed?”

“Yes, Master, I…mean no, Master…I…”

“And quit calling me ‘Master’. I’m not a Lord and I have a name, Alexándrekt Buláshckt. You will call me Protector Buláshckt.”

“Yes, Protector Buláshckt.”

The guard held tightly to his horse’s reins and ordered Silvítya to mount. Silvítya struggled to climb up, wincing as the sharp edges of the metal stirrups pressed into her unprotected feet. Everyone stared at the bizarre spectacle of a Royal guard leading a horse carrying a completely naked rider. Silvítya wanted nothing more than to hide. Instead, once again she was the center of attention.

Protector Buláshckt led his horse and his mortified passenger across the entire city. By unhappy coincidence the Temple of the Ancients was on north side of Danúbikt Móskt, and the castle was on the south side. It took more than two hours traveling through crowded streets to complete the trip. The road to the castle zigzagged up a steep hill that overlooked the capitol to the east and the East Danube River to the west. As she rode above the city, Silvítya noted the tightly packed wooden rooftops separated by a labyrinth of narrow streets.

The hill was topped by a large castle that had been built in the Fifteenth Century and had changed very little over the ensuing 300 years. It had been the home of Danubia’s royalty over that entire time, first to a succession of kings, and then to a succession of dukes. The Royal Family’s lineage went back even further than the castle, with the current Grand Duke being a direct descendent of that very ancient family.

The Grand Duke was really the nation’s King, but no Danubian monarch had officially taken that title since 1531. That was the year that Danubia’s most revered leader, King Vladik the Defender, died in battle and his son-in-law took the throne. King Vladik’s heir was a very unassuming and humble man who preferred to be called a Duke instead of a King, and none of his descendants had the nerve to break that tradition.

The guard led his horse and his rider up a final curve in the road and emerged into a large garden. They passed through the greenery and arrived at the castle gate. The castle’s inside totally contrasted with its plain windowless exterior. There were large windows, whitewashed walls, and decorated doorways with Greek-style pillars. Balconies ran along the entire second and third stories, and in the center flowerbeds surrounded a large fountain. The contrast between the beauty of the castle’s interior and the rotting squalor of Danúbikt Móskt shocked the naked newcomer.

Three older women in expensive-looking dresses approached and saluted Protector Buláshckt. Silvítya reluctantly dismounted. Not knowing what else to do, she got on her knees and knelt upright. This time the guard did not object. He picked up her bucket and started to lead his horse to the Royal stable outside.

My bucket…please…don’t…take my bucket…

Protector Buláshckt noticed the desperate look in Silvítya’s eyes, silently pleading with him not to take away her belongings.

“I’m putting this away. I’ll return it to you whenever you leave his Majesty’s service.”

Leave the his Majesty’s service? What on earth did that mean?

Protector Buláshckt exited the castle with his horse and Silvítya’s bucket. She dreaded what might happen the moment he went through her possessions and discovered that she had a fake penance collar stuffed into one of her boots.

Silvítya began to tremble as the three castle women studied her. She later would find out the women were senior servants, among the most trusted and highest-paid members of the Duke’s staff.

“Stand up, girl.”

Silvítya stood up.

“Open your mouth.”

“Mistress?”

Silvítya felt a sharp pain searing across her exposed bottom. She screamed. The woman holding the switch spoke:

“Learn your lesson, girl. When we give you a command, your Path in Life is to obey. Your Path in Life is not to question. Now, open your mouth.”

With tears flowing down her cheeks, Silvítya opened her mouth. One of the women looked inside and ran her fingers along the newcomer’s teeth.

“She certainly has good teeth. Her mouth is clean.”

The women proceeded to conduct a physical exam of the exposed newcomer in the garden. Silvítya later learned that she was being subjected to a pre-inspection, to make sure her health was good enough for her to be allowed into the castle. The women looked over her skin, closely examined her hands and feet, and pulled apart the braids of her hair to look for lice.

The next part of her induction into the castle was a bath. The three women escorted her to the castle bath house; then totally surprised the newcomer by undressing. They had to bathe the younger woman and did not want to get their own fine clothing wet. The women ordered Silvítya to stand still while they covered her body with soap and scrubbed her skin, paying particular attention to her hands and feet. They put a strong-smelling detergent in her hair and spent a long time massaging her scalp. They rinsed her hair and repeated the shampoo with a much more pleasant-smelling soap.

The women then ordered the newcomer to stand with her arms above her head and her legs spread. They explained what was about to happen. They needed to completely clean Silvítya's vulva and make absolutely sure she had no lice. That meant they would have to shampoo her between her legs and run their fingers over her most private area. They had to warn Silvítya because what they were about to do was considered an extreme insult in Danubian culture, but in this particular case there was a specific and practical reason for it.

"We're not insulting you, unless you choose to make an issue of it. In that case we’ll insult your tender bottom with leather, many times over. Do you understand, newcomer?"

"Yes, Mistress."

Silvítya closed her eyes and tried to stand still as the older servant rubbed harsh shampoo through her pubic hair. The woman spent a long time roughly massaging her to make sure she was completely clean for her new master.

Following the bath, the servants combed her hair and stretched it out on a cloth. They noted that because Silvítya had never cut her hair, the ends were uneven and ragged. They produced a pair of sharp scissors and cut off about a third of the length. Silvítya’s hair now came down to her upper back, but it looked neater and would be much easier to comb and maintain.

The castle women clipped her fingernails and toenails, and then did something extremely strange to their ward. They ordered her to raise her arms and produced a straight-edged razor. Silvítya stood still while the woman who had hit her with the switch shaved her armpits. Well, that was certainly weird, but it was a quirk of the Grand Duke. He required all of his women to be shaved under their arms, nearly two centuries before the custom became widespread.

At that moment Silvítya still did not have a clue why she had been brought to the castle. Her terror subsided into worry and bewilderment as she realized that the fate awaiting her was not punishment or execution. The Royal staff had something else in mind for her.

The servants ordered Silvítya to dry off as they got dressed. She wondered if she had been brought to the castle to be a servant, and if so, would there be a servant’s dress for her. However, there was no extra dress in sight. The only thing she would be given was a pair of velvet slippers. She also expected the women to braid her hair, but they ordered her out of the room with her hair still loose.

Silvítya was famished. Certainly the bath made her feel better, but her mind was on eating. Fortunately the next stop of her induction was a small room with a table containing a bowl of fruit. She devoured the fruit as the women looked at her with disapproving expressions. She still ate like a peasant, which was a flaw that would have to be fixed as soon as possible.

“Do you know how to clean your teeth, girl?”

“Yes, Mistress.”

“Then take this salt to that water basin and do it.”

Finally, after being cleaned up and fed, Silvítya was about to learn why she had been brought to the castle. The servants ordered her to follow them to the Royal chamber. They passed through a banquet hall and entered the Grand Duke’s library. The Duke, now dressed in casual clothing, was standing at a table studying a map with one of his generals. The three women and their ward approached an empty chair. The servants motioned the newcomer to kneel before kneeling behind her side-by-side. They knelt upright and were totally motionless as they waited for their ruler to finish his conversation. Silvítya’s knees were starting to cramp when the Grand Duke and the general saluted each other and the officer left the room. The Duke took a seat.

“Greetings from your servants, Your Majesty. As you can see, the girl has been prepared for presentation. Your servants hope that you find her pleasing, Grand Duke.”

“Stand up, girl. Stand straight, arms away from your body.”

Trembling, Silvítya did as she was told. The Duke spent a long time carefully looking her over.

“Now turn around. Stand straight, arms in front of you.”

When Silvítya turned around, the Duke noted the welt crossing the young woman’s backside.

“The mark…why does she have it?”

“The girl was insolent to me, Your Majesty. I had to correct her.”

“Hmmm… Let us hope that doesn’t happen again. Turn around, girl.”

Blushing, Silvítya did as she was instructed.

“You had better never be insolent towards me, or you’ll receive far more than a single stroke. Is that understood, girl?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

"What is your name, girl?"

"Silvítya, Your Majesty."

The Grand Duke gave a disapproving look at the three servants.

"Have you instructed this girl about the proper way to address me?"

"Not yet, Your Majesty."

"Enlighten her."

The oldest servant stood up and tapped Silvítya with her switch.

"Listen, girl. When you address His Majesty, you will always refer to yourself as ' your humble serving girl', because that's what you are. A humble serving girl who lives for the pleasure of our Sovereign. If you need something or have a question, you will kneel properly and say: Your Majesty, your humble serving girl wishes to know' such-and-such. For example, if you need to know what His Majesty wants to drink, you would say: 'Your Majesty, your humble serving girl wishes to know what you would like to drink.' Do you understand, girl?"

"Yes, Mistress."

“Present yourself to the Grand Duke.”

Danka knelt with her hands extended in front, her forehead to the ground, and her knees widely spread. Her back was arched, completely exposing her vulva and sphincter.

“Your Majesty, your humble serving girl uh… Silvítya…presents…uh…myself…to…AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

A cruel blow of the leather marked her tightly stretched backside. The oldest servant snapped…

“Idiot! You’re not worthy of saying “me” or “I” or “myself” to his Majesty! You are an object of pleasure, nothing more! You’re not worthy of claiming your own identity!”

Silvítya flinched from yet another cruel stroke of the switch.

“Now…address his Majesty properly!”

Silvítya received four additional welts on her bottom before she finally managed to say correctly: “Your Majesty, your humble serving girl presents herself to serve you. Your Majesty, your humble serving girl hopes that you find her body pleasing.”

“Stubborn little minx, aren’t you? The kind I most like…the little sluts who put up a fight. That’s not a problem…you’ll earn the switch, and then you’ll conform and obey…of that you can be sure.”

Silvítya managed to choke out: “Yes, Your Majesty…”

“And by the way, your desire is granted. I do find my newest girl pleasing. Very much so. I have very good taste in girls, so you are honored to serve me.”

The Grand Duke ordered the other servants out of the room. He deliberately left Silvítya waiting, to increase her tension and fear.

“Very well, my little pleasure-minx. Get on your elbows and knees on the bed. Let’s see what you have for me.”

Trembling, Silvítya obeyed while the Grand Duke undressed. She winced at the painful welts crossing her bottom. She had been hit seven times so far and was very worried about receiving more blows. Tears ran down her cheeks as she felt her new Master’s fingers fondling her vulva and pushing hard into her anus. She tried to avoid flinching. She had not permitted any man since Bagatúrckt to touch or put his finger into her sphincter.

The Grand Duke turned out to be a vigorous, over-sexed, and impatient lover. He took Silvítya from behind, rubbing hard against her welts as he thrust hard into her pussy. As soon as he climaxed, he ordered Silvítya to massage his wet, sticky penis. Within a couple of minutes he was hard and ready for his next target, Silvítya’s tight sphincter. As the young woman winced and grit her teeth against the unbearable pressure on her insides, the Sovereign muttered:

“Oh yes…nice and tight…worth it…totally worth it….”

As Silvítya lay on the bed clutching her burning bottom, the Grand Duke ran a bell and called in two other young women. Like Silvítya, they were completely naked, and like her, they did not wear their hair in braids. The Grand Duke ordered the women to lie in a row on their backs. He vigorously entered all three mistresses while ordering them to hold hands.

Silvítya was taken aback by the Grand Duke’s seemingly endless supply of sexual energy. He copulated as though he were possessed. He had a total of seven orgasms before he finally wore himself out. When he finally tired of using the women, he ordered them to kneel in a row and clean his penis and testicles with their tongues.

“You will thank my manhood for offering you the opportunity to serve, my little objects of pleasure. Show how grateful you are that you can fulfill your Paths in Life as pleasure sluts.”

The other women responded:

“Oh yes, Your Majesty…your humble serving girls are so grateful to serve your manhood…Oh thank you, Your Majesty…for letting us be the sluts we were intended to be.”

When they finished, the Grand Duke ordered yet another young woman to enter his chamber to help him bathe, while telling the other two to clean up their “little sister” and show her to her sleeping chamber.

Silvítya quickly washed off and scrubbed her teeth with fine salt, desperate to get the taste of sex out of her mouth and the smell of sex off her body. Without saying a single word, the other two women escorted her to a small, but elegantly-furnished sleeping chamber. As soon as she entered, the heavy door went shut and she heard the sound of a metal bolt securing the latch.

With anguish, Silvítya looked at herself in the mirror. The image staring back horrified her. Her hair remained unbraided, her bottom was covered with welts, her vulva and breasts were raw, and her lips were chapped from having the Grand Duke’s penis in her mouth. The image staring back at her was that of a concubine, or worse yet, a sex slave. Yes, how many times had she heard that expressed in so many different ways, just during the first day?

Minx, humble serving girl, slut, toy, pleasure slut, object of pleasure, little slut...

And to think…just one day before Danka had been a free, independent woman. She had taken pride in herself and had huge ambitions. Just one day before… What a difference a single day, a bad decision, and a moment of bad luck can make in one’s Path in Life. What a difference…

Suddenly Babáckt Yaga appeared in the room, with an angry expression and pointing her finger: “…remember my words…the day you act on your fantasies, your life as you know it will be ruined. Your Path in Life will change, and you will have to begin anew. Remember my words when that happens.”

As suddenly as Babáckt Yaga appeared, she vanished. Silvítya sat on the bed and held her head, as tears rolled down her cheeks.

My life as I knew it is ruined. I lived in honor, and for an idiotic fantasy I threw it away. Now…I must begin anew…as a pleasure slave…of all things…in the castle of the Grand Duke. What have I done?

Indeed, what had she done?
 

Chapter 14

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