Work continues on this fantasy book, which I'm now thinking of calling "Her Knight's Mastery." It should be done soon!
She startled him, by seeming to read his thoughts, when he broke the kiss and Hala said, "So you must punish me for letting you kiss me? My friend Dera got a terrible spanking from her father, because she let my brother kiss her, and then Dera's mother brought her to the sisters' hall, and they whipped her there, too, on her bare bottom. Is it like when my mother whipped me for touching myself?"
Wake smiled, very unsure of how to answer. Again, Hala's curiosity overwhelmed him with that warm feeling for her--he must be falling in love with her, he realized with a shock of recognition. Knights did not fall in love, or they were taught thus. Falling love was for the village-folk.
"Sage Hazeran would say that that was it," he said slowly. "I suppose he would say that the spanking and the whipping drove the demons from your friend's cunny, while your fire was just too high. He might say that Dera's husband should keep a very close watch upon her, and whip her, for her wickedness, and enjoy her every day, almost as if she were a castle girl and he her knight."
Hala fell silent at that, dropping her eyes from Wake's and looking down at his doublet. Wake looked down at her, trying to read her thoughts as she seemed to be able to read his.
Finally, Hala whispered, "Will you do that to me, now? I am so very wicked. I let you kiss me, and… back at the castle… I kissed Jas, too, even though mistress said we must not, and we would be whipped if we did."
Wake could not help replying, "Yes, I will do that. I will whip you, and I will fuck you, and teach you to please my cock."
Hala gasped at the harsh, masculine words. "Oh spirits," she murmured. "Oh, spirits."
Then, looking at her, Wake knew at last the beginning of the answer to the whole mystery. "But," he said, "though I may punish you someday, if I must truly teach you a lesson, when I master you today it will not be because you are wicked, for you are not wicked."
"What?" Hala asked, looking back up at him with wide eyes. "That is like what mistress said, that I am a good girl. But… Lord Jetal said, and the sages say…"
"Sage Hazeran said that," Wake replied. "But do you remember what Sage Gader says about the indoor garden?"
Hala shook her head. "Sister Margra just said that we didn't have to learn that part of the book, because it was for the king's court."
Wake smiled wryly. "That's the way they've always interpreted it. He says, 'Make a garden in a warm room, and let the windows' light shine upon your little rose. Trick your rose to think it is spring, and she will blossom. Tell her that she is tarnished, and must be plucked, and she will love your lashing hand'."
Hala looked terribly puzzled. "But what does it mean?"
"No one ever pays it much attention--people have always thought it means that the girls of the king's court should learn their lessons well, because they should not let themselves be tricked, since the court is so important. Some even say it means that the court girls should be whipped more regularly than other girls. But right after Gader writes that, he says, 'A true, untricked rose will give herself for plucking, gracefully, and thence shall come salvation for the Rising'."
The crease in Hala's brow seemed to deepen.
"It's you, Hala," Wake said. "It's you and I."
"What?" she shook her head. "A true, untricked rose?"
Wake chuckled. "Let's ride down to the castle and find a place to hide ourselves, and I will explain," he said. "Once we have that, my own Hala, I shall show you what I mean."
He put all his knightly authority in his last words, looking with lustful sternness upon the girl he now knew belonged to him by right of the spirits' blessing. He narrowed his eyes at her, in order that she understand that the showing of his meaning would involve his claiming her with whip and cock at last.