Raw: Precious

27Jun11

A month after her father had died and there was still no word about the will. At first it had all seemed so straight forward. The Institute had been interested in her continuing studies with them and the house would come to her. Then it had all got complicated.

First the Institute had told her that her entrance assessment had been below par and as she had not had a recognised academy tutor, there was nothing they could do. She had been strangely calm about not going further with her education, but the more she thought about it she realised that it had been her father’s ambition for her, not her own. She had always been her father’s precious.

Then the island’s hetman had told her that she was not welcome. That had hurt. She had lived on Penn all her life, but it seemed that some of the other island’s residents resented her freedom. Of course the official reason was that as she was under 25 and not recognised as an independent freeman.

“Where am I to go?” She had asked the hetman.

He had smiled and indicated that she should sit down. At least he was observing the niceties, she thought.

“I have received word that Abraham will take responsibility for you.”

“I don’t need anyone to take responsibility for me,” she had countered.

“Well there you see my hands are tied,” he had said expressively. “You are not technically a free citizen. If you stay here I can’t, in all conscience, continue to observe your status as an optimate.”

“But my house,” she had challenged him.

“You cannot legally occupy it as such, nor easily rent it, but Abraham will take care of that until the probate is resolved. Just think, one day you will have quite an asset. You will probably only need to serve as a bondsman for one term.”

“A bondsman, what are you talking about? I am Gillian Hepp Range, no woman has served a bond term in nine generations of my family,” she spat angrily.

That is all too apparent, he thought. But he kept his opinions to himself.

And so it had been decided. Well at least she was going to the capital at the behest of one of the most powerful men on Raw. Gillian was certain that a man of his breeding would understand her position and make some concessions.

*

The three day voyage aboard the brig was a chance to think, not that Gillian had come to any conclusions. When the hetman had said that she might be reduced to the status of bondsman she had been horrified. Despite her angry denials she had lain awake all that night considering the possibility.

Her father had been old-fashioned and had not sent her to one of the academies where young women were usually sent to be prepared for their life. He had insisted on teaching her himself at home. But he had been already old when she had come along and he was long out of touch. He had sheltered her so much from the world. Too much she now realised. Although she had heard rumours about the war even in her walled garden, she had not known that the Matriarch were off-worlders until after her father’s death. Imagine a war with a civilisation that a few years before they had not even known had existed. It was like something out of one her books. One of the books that he father didn’t approve of at any rate. And that was just one example of how little about the world she knew. She was determined to find out more.

The crew of the ship had not had much time for her, although she had tried hard to make friends with one of the young women who had first shown Gillian her cabin.

“Do you live at the capital?” She had asked.

“I live aboard ship,” the girl had replied impatiently.

“Where were you from originally?” Gillian had persisted.

“Butros,” the girl shrugged. The girl was about her own age and kept looking nervously up towards the deck.

“What do you do aboard?”

“Anything I’m told, I’m only an apprentice,” the girl was blunt to the point of rudeness. If Gillian had had more experience with people she would have realised that the girl only wanted to get away. However Gillian had met very few people, especially women her age. Her father being in effect Penn’s second citizen he had always thought that no one was their family’s equal.

“An apprentice? So you are learning? How long have you done this?”

“I signed articles a year ago, straight out of the academy ma’am.”

The girl’s use of the address ma’am and the mention of articles made Gillian realise that the girl was far below her station.

“So you are a bondsman? Oh poor you, is it terrible?”

The girl baulked and returned a look of disbelief.

“Ma’am?”

“To become a bondsman I mean. Didn’t you do well at school?”

If Gillian hadn’t been a paying passenger and an optimate to boot, the girl would have decked her.

“I did quite well enough thank you. I wanted to go to sea. Is that alright? How else was I to do it? Just like everyone else on Raw I started at the bottom. Almost everyone else, ma’am,” the girl added with an undisguised look of scorn.

“Oh good for you,” Gillian said brightly and not without being a little patronising, completely oblivious to the young sailor’s disgust.

“Bennie! Bennie, get your… get up here,” someone bellowed from above.

“Oh lore,” the girl groaned. “I’ve got to go.”

Without waiting, the girl, apparently the angrily hailed Bennie, scurried up the ladder on to the deck.

Over the next couple of days Gillian realised that Bennie must be little better than a cabin girl as she seemed to be everyone’s to order about, one moment helping in the rigging another serving food. Bennie’s lower station was confirmed on the second day out when a bored Gillian wandered below decks.

Passing what she had taken to be a store room, she heard an odd noise from within and pushed open the door. She was greeted by a tightly bent girlish bare bottom and an angry first mate brandishing a hazer. From between the girl’s legs appeared an equally angry and red-faced Bennie.

“Sorry to disturb you ma’am,” the first mate said casually as he brought the large paddle down on Bennie’s bottom with a loud thwack.

Bennie’s head bobbed up and she hissed through her teeth.

“Badly stowed ropes can pitch someone overboard,” the mate roared paying Gillian no more attention.

He struck the girl’s bottom again leaving an ever larger red mark.

“Check the ropes,” he said again blasting the hazer down with a biting sting that Gillian could almost feel where she stood.

“Check the ropes,” he roared again imparting another swat. “Check the ropes.”

“Ahh, yes sir,” Bennie wailed.

Gillian was torn between fleeing and watching, but her own embarrassment won out and she hastened away as all the while the sound of Bennie’s spanking was assailing her ears. In fact on such a relatively small wooden ship there was nowhere she could go to get away from the sound of poor Bennie’s correction, which lasted quite some time and ended with the loud broken cries of her weeping.

A little while later she watched as Bennie, who apart from walking a little stiffly, hurried about her tasks without fuss. However the apprentice avoided Gillian after that and they were not to talk again for the rest of the voyage.

*

When they arrived at the capital, Helm, Gillian stood on the prow of the ship in awe. It was like nothing she had ever seen. The brig sailed right into the harbour which was completely surrounded by more buildings than there were on the whole of Penn. Also many of the buildings here were arranged in great towers with twisted spires pointing proudly into the sky like fingers of a giant hand. From her position low on the water it was almost as if the great hand was extended to enclose her with its grasp, then looking up, she saw that it was not her that was the object of the giant’s clutch, but Severus, which was rising like a tossed ball of polished ruby against the sapphire sky.

For once Gillian’s native superiority melted away and she began to realise the enormity of her task of discovering the world.

As they closed to dock the forbidding harbour walls towered over a ship that had looked so large when she had come aboard at Penn. Here and there were other larger tall ships and great sail-less ships that were powered by new technologies.

The brig docked efficiently and quickly and soon her bags were put ashore on the dockside and with barely a cheerio, she was dismissed as the vessel readied itself for its next voyage.

“Where am I to go?” She asked the second mate who had supervised the unloading of her luggage.

He shrugged and turned back to the ship.

“You might try the harbour master’s office,” one of the crew, a tall redheaded woman, whispered kindly.

“Where…?”

The woman, anticipating the question, was already pointing to a squat grey tower set into the harbour wall.

“Thank you,” Gillian said gratefully.

The harbour wall was built in steps around the basin. That is the ships docked at a broad stone platform that had stairs set in at intervals that led up to another level set some 15 meters above the first. This level, Gillian noticed ran all the way around the harbour basin to a large open area with large windowless buildings set upon it. Above this, another 15 meters above, was the top level, or so it appeared. Perhaps beyond that the wall climbed even higher, but from her low vantage point she could not tell.

So large was the harbour wall that it took her almost 10 minutes to walk to the grey tower that the woman sailor had pointed out to her. Only on reaching it did she attempt the last set of steps that took her up to the top level.

Finally she reached a wide one-sided boulevard set at intervals with cranes and on the other side of a cobbled street were more windowless buildings, which Gillian now realised were great warehouses.

She was about approach the harbour master’s office when she saw the black lacquered landau. Standing next to it was a smartly dressed girl in a leather tunic and short swept back hair. Her loose skirt was impossibly short and Gillian knew at once from her dress that she was a bondsman.

“Ms Range?”

“Yes?” Gillian said, surprised at the greeting.

“I am to take you to Abraham’s house. Can I take your bags?”

“Eh… oh yes, thank you.”

Gillian was still distracted by the glories of the great city and now that she was atop of the harbour wall she did a slow turn to take in the impressive towers as they scraped the sphere of Severus. As she turned the girl was bending to retrieve the last of her bags and Gillian gasped. The short skirt had ridden up a little at the back to reveal not only the girl’s deficiency of underwear, but the fact that she had recently been soundly chastised. Her small neat buttocks were firm and still held some definition even as she bent, but Gillian could clearly see purplish grazes enveloping the lower curves of her behind.

The girl blushed and stood up quickly.

“I was turned two days ago,” she explained.

Gillian remembered Bennie on the ship and felt a little light-headed. At the back of her mind the hetman’s words scraped at her like an itch she couldn’t quite scratch.

*

The landau driver, who Gillian learned was called Hattie, was still in her first term as a bondsman and had been with Abraham only two years. Ordinarily Gillian would not have spoken to a servant, but Helm was so spectacular that she couldn’t help but ask about this and that as they passed something of interest.

The city itself was built up the steep sides of the bay. The routes straight up were too steep for the landau and usually took the form of steps anyway. Instead they took the lateral streets that ran in gentler slopes ever upwards in a kind of ziggurat.

On the streets Gillian could see that there was a greater proportion of optimates than there were on Penn and even the freemen were far more numerous than the bondsman. Also here and there, Gillian saw girls with close cropped hair and very brief garments she knew to be slaves. Slaves were rare on Penn, being either expensive commodities of the rich or those being punished by the state, neither of which had much of a place there.

As they turned on what Hattie said was the last street, Gillian noticed a girl, who she could tell from her dress, was a dependent freeman, moving in the shadow of a pillared arcade that lined the street. From her body language she was doing her best not to be seen. Then Gillian saw why. The girl had been tucked so that her skirt was pinned up into the small of her back leaving her bottom quite bare. On closer inspection it was obvious that she had recently been spanked so that the globes of her bottom were quite an astonishing red.

Gillian thought of Hattie her driver and the way she knelt to drive the landau. What must it be like to be punished like that, she wondered, taking one last look at the unfortunate girl in the shadows before they passed on up the street.

*

Abraham’s house was huge. To start with it had an outer wall that enclosed a large compound that included the main house and outbuildings that were almost like a small village in their own right. Beyond them was an inner and outer garden, Hattie explained. The landau drove into an open courtyard that contained stables and other buildings whose function Gillian could only guess.

“It is not usual to take guests up to the main door,” Hattie explained, “not unless it is a formal occasion.”

Gillian nodded, completely cowed by the impressive surroundings.

“Go through that arch to the main house and I will see to your luggage,” Hattie added.

“Thank you,” Gillian said casually.

Everywhere there were servants going about their business seeing to horses or dashing off on mysterious errands. She noticed that here almost everyone was a bondsman, which was in stark contrast to the streets beyond the walls. And something else, almost everyone was female.

The main door was set back in a half-open courtyard so that the house seemed to reach out wings to enclose all who approached in a kind of barbican. Gillian noticed that on either side of the door were five ‘steps’ that formed ‘corners’ from the walls, a common feature of the houses on Raw. Only Gillian had never seen quite so many on the entrance to a house before. The added corners reminded her of teeth set in the gaping jaws of some giant mouth. It was almost as if she was about to be swallowed. So it was with some trepidation that she rang the doorbell.

The girl who answered it was very young and bobbed a curtsy when she saw the optimate woman.

“I am Gillian Hepp Range,” Gillian said uncertainly.

“Yes Ms Range you are expected, please walk this way.”

The hall into which she was led had dark wooden panels on either side and the high ceiling was studded with great white marble nodes that hung down like stalactites creating a honeycomb lattice effect.

As her eyes travelled up to follow the line of the great staircase they fell upon an imposing woman who may have been well into her 30s.

At first Gillian took her for a freeman, but then she saw that the skirt, although below the knee at the front was angled up behind to almost mid-thigh. A special life-bond servant she realised.

“I am Kim. I am the chatelaine here ma’am,” the woman intoned.

“I am…”

“Gillian Range,” Kim supplied before she could speak.

“Yes.”

“Abraham is with his secretaries working. The war you know, it takes up a lot of his time,” Kim explained. “I am sure you understand.”

Gillian didn’t know what to say to that, so she said nothing.

*

Gillian’s room was nice enough, although not as good as the one she had at home. This wouldn’t have bothered her overmuch except that Abraham’s house was virtually a palace compared to her house on Penn and given her status, the accommodation might be viewed as a come down. As she thought about this, she began to bristle with growing anger with sinister plots and conspiracies piling one upon another in her head until she caught herself on. It was just a room, she sighed. Besides the view from the window was breath-taking and worthy of a queen.

As she looked out she saw the spires of Helm, hundreds of them, some dating back as far as the first settlers. From where she stood she could see a pattern of prestige, with the most stunning structures the furthest up the hill. It was then that she saw how Abraham’s stood among the highest and grandest. Only the Senate House, the House of Raw and the University were more impressive.

Her father had always told her that his friend was a man of high standing and she could not remember a time when she had not heard the name Abraham. As a child she had taken this for granted, but she remembered how the hetman at Penn had all but whispered his name in awe. But until that moment she had not quite realised how powerful and famous he must be.

On a whim she rang the bell for the maid.

At first nobody came and Gillian rang again glaring at the button as if it had betrayed her. On Penn someone would have come at once. Perhaps she had been put in the wrong room after all and the bell did not work, it would explain the reduced status of her quarters. Then there was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” Gillian called.

The door opened and a small woman who might have been in her late 20s peered casually around the heavy inlaid sea-oak frame and offered Gillian a quizzical smile.

Gillian was amazed at her slapdash attitude and extended the palms of hands in exasperation.

“Well,” she said at last.

“Sorry? Wasn’t it you who wanted something?” the girl asked, suddenly seeming much younger that she appeared.

Well obviously, Gillian gaped, what was a matter with the girl? A maid was supposed to come respectfully into a room, curtsey and enquire as to her needs. Not gawp at her between tasks, as if she had something better to do.

“Certainly I did? What is your name?”

“Oh, sorry, Penny, Penny Fury,” Penny said entering the room and extending her hand.

It was then that Gillian saw that she wore her skirts long like her hair, a dependent freewoman and not a bondsman maid.

“You’re not the maid,” Gillian accused.

“No… should I be?” Penny said puzzled. “Oh sorry, are you an optimate? Whoops.”

Penny pulled a face and giggled as if she had made a small social gaff between friends and not a great big one. Then she added belatedly and with more than a hint of apology, “ma’am. I am still getting used to this stuff.”

“Stuff? What stuff? Who are you?” Gillian was confused now. “Where is the maid?”

Penny hated being asked more than one question at a time and for a moment was flummoxed.

“Eh…” She wondered if this was leading her into yet another situation that would end in her getting a spanking. “I heard the bell and… well I was only trying to help.”

“I am sorry, who are you again?” Gillian tried again.

“I’m Penny. Didn’t I tell you that?” Penny frowned and tried to remember. “I’m Abraham’s ward or one of them. I used to live in the Matriarchy, but they… well Rachel said we should stay here, which is great. Mostly.”

“Oh,” Gillian slumped deflated, “So… the maid? Why don’t you come in and start from the beginning, because at least one of us is confused and I am beginning to think it is me.”

Penny grinned and then as if it explained everything said in a rush, “you’re Gillian.”

*

“We haven’t got a maid, Sandy and I have to do for ourselves. Of course there are other maids for the house but we aren’t supposed to just call them. But maybe that doesn’t apply to you? I mean I thought you were one of us, but you’re dressed like a lady…”

Penny had been babbling on for a while now and Gillian had thought it wisest to let her for the moment. It seemed Penny was actually about her age, but looked slightly older because she was an offworlder and had not yet completed her gene therapy. Furthermore, she was a former member of the Matriarch, who Gillian recalled, had something to do with the war.

Penny apparently had two friends, Sandy and Rachel, both of whom were offworlders. One had become a ward like Penny and the other was a bondservant of all things and seemed work as a secretary of some kind.

Gillian had gleaned that Abraham intended that she also become a ward and everyone, including this foolish girl knew about it but her. This was an outrage, she fumed.

“Will you be going to school as well?” Penny asked, oblivious to Gillian’s anger.

“What?” Gillian was suddenly listening again.

“Well it’s not like school really, they call it an academy, it’s more like college, sort of,” Penny said enthusiastically.

“I know what it is,” Gillian snapped, “it’s for kids, do I look like a kid to you?”

“It’s for 15 to 21-year-olds, usually, so more like college where I come from. I’m 22 myself and a college graduate back in the Matriarchy, but Abraham says I need some re-schooling. It’s pretty weird being in a beginner’s year with 15 and 16-year-olds, but the courses are tailored to what you already know and not everyone is 15 when they start. Anyway Sandy is older than me…”

“Do you ever stop talking?” Gillian asked, but her rudeness was a reaction to the sudden realisation that she and the girl were much the same. Both were 22 and both alone in the world aside from Abraham.

Still oblivious to Gillian’s discomfort, Penny rolled her eyes up.

“God, am I talking too much again? Caitlin says that as well. Caitlin’s my mentor, she’s also a student, but she’s in her third year and started late like I did. She sometimes makes me put a child’s pacifier in my mouth, a dummy you call it, it’s embarrassing. Lots of stuff’s embarrassing at school, especially the spanking, but it’s fun all the same…”

“You think a beating is fun?” Gillian gasped.

“A beating? Oh you mean the spanking, no not that, but it’s not so bad. Caitlin doesn’t spank me too often and I have only been thrashed by the housemother twice, no three times now. Oh then there was that time…”

“Caitlin spanks you? You said she was a student?” Gillian didn’t know much about the academy system as neither she, her mother, or either of her grandmothers had attended one.

“Yes it’s odd isn’t it? But you get used to it, sort of,” Penny frowned recalling her own shock at the system when she first encountered it. “After the first two years I will be expected to take on the guidance of first termer myself, which means I’ll have to spank her. Not that I’ll completely escape Caitlin. She still has to report to her ‘big sister’ as we call them for another two years.”

“I see,” Gillian said opening her mouth to ask more but closing it again as words failed her.

There was a knock at the door and Kim entered without invitation.

“Abraham will see you now,” she said, acknowledging Penny with a tight smile.

*

The meeting had not gone well. Abraham had sat with his staff and two representatives from the War Ministry all morning, only to be repeatedly told that the current thinking was that the Matriarch situation was stable and any new ship development could be put on hold.

“It’s just for now, you understand, there is reluctance to redirect so many people from the economy and without more personnel, the ships would be useless anyway,” Mark Reebok had explained.

Abraham had repeatedly and patiently pointed out that development did not necessarily mean building, but they had to be ready for the Matriarch’s next moved.

Then Rachel Helicon had spoken up, despite his strict orders that his junior staff should be quiet and save any observations for his ears alone after the meeting.

“The Matriarch won’t give up sir, they have underestimated Raw to be sure, but they will absolutely hate appearing inferior to a lot of men,” she had offered.

All eyes turned to her and both Mark and Abraham had scowled at her. Mark’s assistant, a woman who would have been no more than 25 by her appearance in the Matriarch, but who must have been at least 40 by Raw’s standards only smirked. There had been enough raised eyebrows from that direction as it was, once it had become clear that Abraham was going to allow a bondsman to remain in the room for a high level meeting. Now Rachel realised that her native instincts to speak her mind had got her into trouble again. So with a blush she fell silent.

The ministry woman made a swiping gesture with her hand threw Rachel a mocking pout as if to say, ‘naughty girl, daddy spank.’

Rachel had a sudden sinking feeling, a spanking was quite probably on the cards and everyone in the room knew it. Why couldn’t she keep her mouth shut? She had been on Raw long enough to know her place by now.

After the meeting Abraham dismissed his staff and saw his guests out.

“Wait here Rachel,” he sighed as Rachel turned to go.

“Sir,” she acknowledged, avoiding his eyes.

When he returned he held a hazer braced between his fingers like a temple offering. Rachel’s fluttered nervously and her mouth went dry as her eyes fell on the stiff paddle.

“Do you happen to remember what I said before the meeting?” He said calmly.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to speak it just slipped out,” Rachel groaned.

“No, I didn’t say that, did I?” Abraham said dryly and Rachel’s next sentence froze on her lips and she looked off to the side and blushed.

“No sir,” she agreed pointedly.

He expanded his arms by way of enquiry, waving the hazer as he did so.

“You said no one was to speak and save all observations until after the meeting,” Rachel said woodenly. She hated being treated as child. “I know, I said I’m sorry.”

“So what is going to happen now?”

“You are going to punish me,” Rachel said stiffly as she licked her lips in agitation.

“Do you deserve it?”

“Yes sir,” Rachel sighed. Knowing it was true.

“Tell me, do you like working for me?”

“You know I do,” Rachel said quietly.

“So we’re friends?”

Rachel returned a tight smile and nodded.

“I hope so,” she added. Then she said, “It’s hard for me here sometimes, I don’t mean to mess up.”

“I know,” he said soothingly. “Should I go easy on you to make allowances?”

She knew he wouldn’t whatever she answered and he probably wasn’t even interested in her opinion on the matter. Today she was just an errant servant who needed to be punished.

“No,” she said with another sigh and after a pause added, “I suppose not.”

“Tuck up your skirt and kneel on the half-stool and bend over with your elbows on the carpet,” he instructed.

She noticed that he had put the hazer down and was removing his jacket. At least he hadn’t sent for a harsh.

By the time he had placed his jacket over the back of a chair she had tucked her skirt into the small of her back and buttoned it in place using the fasteners that had been so thoughtfully provided by Kim. She had no underwear to remove, another of Kim’s rules, so she was already naked for him.

Despite her fear she was excited as she always was being denuded in his presence. The chemistry between them was strong, but as yet he had not acknowledged it. Like for everything else on Raw, there was time. Thanks to this world’s genetic engineering, she would be young for a long time yet, just as he would appear to be in his 40s by her homeworld’s standard for another 20 or 30 years.

When he turned round Rachel was already on her knees with her head well down and her bare bottom pointing at the ceiling. She trembled a little and blushed when she heard the small scrape of the paddle as he picked it off the desk. She could almost feel his eyes boring down on her, exploring her naked bottom and much between with his eyes.

“After I am done here you will go to the corner at the foot of the main staircase and stay there until supper, which you will take standing up at the side table in the main dining room where I can call upon your insights about the Matriarch over dinner if I so desire.”

“Yes sir,” she said dully, already feeling the pressure on her knees.

“I haven’t finished.”

“Sorry sir,” Rachel said quickly. Please don’t let him assign me to Kim again, she prayed silently.

“I have a good mind to send you for a scullion for the rest of the month, but I need you in my office because of this damn war. As it is, you will remain tucked until further notice and I do mean at all times. You will provide quite a distraction at our next few meetings,” there was a hint of amusement in his voice.

She groaned inwardly and it was all she could do not to protest.

“Nevertheless, I can’t let you get off so lightly, you need to learn your place after today. It really is important that you don’t forget simple instructions. Also you will rise two hours early and report to cook for some chores before breakfast. Then after the evening meal, you will put your bottom at Kim’s disposal until you are dismissed.”

Rachel wasn’t as surprised as she might be at the punishment, but it didn’t stop her feeling absolutely wretched about it. She waited with dread in case he wasn’t done, but then he moved behind her and she knew her doom was sealed.

*

The spanking had been long and hard. From the very first she had screamed out her pain at each rasping impact of the hazer. He had opted for using the springy one with the rough spanking surface that really seared her as it blasted steadily and repeatedly across her bottom.

To say that she was used to the chafe, the more standard over-the-knee spanking paddle would be an exaggeration, such spankings were painful and humiliating for her. However, such punishment had become such a routine for her that she had learnt to cope. Well almost. But the hazer was a bitch.

The first impact of the paddle had taken her breath away, but before she could scream, another biting stroke had landed, followed too closely on with another. Within half a dozen swats she her bottom was under such a blazing attack that she thought she would never sit down again. She had forgotten how bad it could be, but even as she was reminded in such painful and stark terms, she knew that where sitting the next day after the chafe was sometimes all but impossible, after five minutes with a hazer, she would be unable to sit down for a week and her bottom would carry the purple grazing for a week or two after that.

By the time she broke into helpless sobbing she could take no more and was ready to promise anything and beg for any amount of degrading chores if he would only stop.

“I think you are beginning to get my point,” he said darkly, the implication of her further ordeal heavy in his words.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Abraham, it just slipped out, please,” she wailed.

“On this occasion perhaps no harm was done, but we are at war, you are privileged to sit in on high level meetings. Lives might be lost if we fail here,” Abraham hammered her with his words, determined that she see the import of his cruelty.

In her desperation she could not help but seize on the word ‘sit’ in his sentence. She would never sit again, she thought with bitter humour.

During this pause he studied the way that the once proud envoy of the Matriarch held herself submissively with her bottom turned up and presented as archly as any maiden on Raw. She had learned much in her short time on the planet and despite her desperate and pleading tears, she was handling her punishment well. The hazer was meant to burn.

By rights he should have sent her to await a lengthy public session with the harsh, but his fondness for her held him back and besides she was not yet ready for such a trial.

“You know we are not done here yet don’t you?” He said softly.

She answered only with her hiccoughing sobs, praying desperately that they were, knowing with growing desperation that they weren’t. Worse still, she knew he was right and her punishment was just.

He tapped her gently on the bottom, guiding it to present itself a little higher and submissively, not immune from her savage beauty as he did so. She mistook his moves as another opening salvo and jerked with a gasp at the hazers touch.

“Ready,” he whispered.

She answered with a sharp intake of breath and he struck again hard.

*

Gillian made her way to Abraham’s study with a slow measured gait, adopting a self-image of dignity that she based upon her late grandmother’s way of carrying herself. To anyone watching though, her processional ambulation looked faintly ridiculous; the girl even had her head tilted back with her nose in the air.

Then at the foot of the stairs she gasped and lost all notions of her dignity, for there in the hall was a woman standing at a penitent step. Her nose was pressed into the ‘corner’ and her bottom had been uncovered to leave it quite bare. The woman was standing with her knees slightly bent and her back arched so that her bottom was forced into an exaggerated posture that was highly undignified. But this was not what had really shocked Gillian. The woman had been very severely spanked. So much so that her bottom was mottled with purple and maroon, with delaminated blisters and swelling where ‘traumatised’ skin of her lower and middle bottom met the un-spanked flesh of her lower back and the greater part of her thighs.

On Penn she had seen the occasional cherry red bottoms on display when she had been out with her father, naughty neighbour’s daughters and various maids, but she had never seen anyone quite so harshly punished before.

Then she thought of Bennie, Hattie and what Penny had told her of the academy.

“Are you alright?” She asked, not knowing what else to say.

“I’m not to speak,” Rachel hissed miserably, “don’t you know that?”

“Sorry,” Gillian whispered.

But instead of hurrying on, she could not help but dawdle a moment to take in the scene. It was both horrifying and fascinating at the same time. Then somewhere a door opened and Gillian blushed as if she was doing something wrong and hurried on to the door she hoped held Abraham.

*

“Ah Gillian come in,” the man at the study door said.

He was tall and well-built and appeared to be in his early middle-age, perhaps 80 or 90, so somewhat younger than her father had been. If this was Abraham then this surprised her as from all that she had heard of him she was expecting a much older man.

“My lord senator,” Gillian said tentatively.

“Abraham,” he said taking her arm and giving it a squeeze.

Her eyes followed the gesture and she was taken aback. She might have pulled her arm away and berated him for the insult, but his demeanour was not that of a man who was either hostile or one to be readily crossed.

In Raw society, only freeman and above or those of equal standing shook hands. A superior touched a man lightly on his shoulder and took a woman gently by her upper arm. Unless, the superior was female, then the feminine gesture was made also towards a man. For a woman to make a masculine superior gesture to a man was a great insult, even if made to a bondsman.

All this Gillian had learnt from an early age and even casual visitors to Raw had it impressed upon them. So for Abraham not to shake her hand meant that he did not recognise her independent status, let alone her position as an optimate.

“Come in,” Abraham said easily standing back from the door and ushering her in. “You have come a long way from Penn.”

Gillian made one last glance down the hall to where the bondswoman was standing her public penance and then she obeyed.

“Pay her no mind,” Abraham smiled, “one of my staff learning how to obey simple instructions.”

“She was… p-punished before that,” Gillian said, carefully avoiding the word that sprang to mind.

“I had to soundly spank her earlier I’m afraid, the affects will be with her for some time I fear,” Abraham said as he closed the door.

Gillian blushed and bobbed her head to hide it.

“You know why you are here?”

“Not altogether sir,” Gillian replied.

“Your father and I were great friends and I felt, no I have a duty to him to look out for you,” Abraham said kindly indicating that she should sit down.

“Really there is no need,” Gillian began, “I can take of myself.”

“Oh?” Abraham said casually as he rang a small bell. “And how do you propose to do that?”

“I have a house and I know that father must have left some money,” she said confidently.

“Exactly 2,000 marks,” Abraham supplied.

“Oh,” Gillian frowned, “it’s not much but…”

“It’s 13,000 marks less than you need to pay a citizen’s bond,” Abraham pointed out carefully watching the girl as he mentioned the payment that all new citizens had to pay. “I dare say that other things of value could be sold and some debts called in to meet the amount, although that is by no means certain, but then what? You will have a house but nothing to live on.”

“The bond? Oh I thought…” Gillian knew what a citizen’s bond was, but she had never even thought about it. Usually daddy took care of anything like that.

“Of course you are a bright girl and I am sure with my help you could get a decent apprenticeship. Just think, if you can meet the bond from your own resources then the first bond payment would be set aside for your future. That’s 15,000 marks or maybe more invested over seven years, quite a stake. What with seven years accumulated rent on the house you could set-up as anything you wanted afterwards.”

“Afterwards?” Gillian said nervously.

“After you have served a seven year bond; that’s not so bad, most people have to serve 21 years to get a stake.”

“Bond service,” Gillian exclaimed, “you can’t be serious. I am a Hepp Range of Penn and Far Isle.”

“I had rather feared you might take it like that,” Abraham grimaced, “I knew your mother. That is why I had another proposal for you.”

“I think you better have,” Gillian snapped.

Abraham cocked an eyebrow and answered her rudeness with a cold appraising look that made the girl quail a little.

“If I may continue; in honour of your father I was going to suggest that I adopt you as my ward. This could be for the term of your minority or an indefinite arrangement until you are ready to find your own way,” Abraham said carefully.

“Indefinitely?” Gillian exclaimed, “but I’m a grown woman.”

“Grown, certainly,” Abraham smiled indulgently, looking over her substantially developed curves significantly as he did so, “but not technically a full adult for another three years.”

“But even if I accepted your offer, it would only delay the inevitable for those years,” Gillian said petulantly.

“Not entirely, even in that time you could enrol in an academy and study for some conversion modules to get some recognised diplomas and then you could pursue an academic career as I believe you wanted.”

“A kid’s school,” Gillian snapped angrily. But part of her was thinking of how relieved she had felt when that avenue had been closed to her and it was perhaps this that drove her anger.

“My other two wards seem to have thrived in the same situation and they have much further to go in many ways,” Abraham replied patiently ignoring her outburst. “What other choice do you have?”

“I could…” Gillian began a retort but then swallowed. She could what? Go back to Penn? The hetman had all but told her she would not be welcome. Become a bondsman? She shuddered at the prospect.

“Yes?” Abraham made a church with his hands with the index fingers pointing at the ceiling.

Gillian sighed.

“How long do I have to decide?”

“Officially, 28 days from your father’s death. After that time you will have to either agree to wardship, pay the citizen bond and either have found a sponsor or have signed indentures.”

“A sponsor, why? What do you mean?” Gillian sensed yet another hurdle.

“Gillian you are technically a minor in the eyes of many aspects of the law, if you want to live an independent life you must have a legal guardian of some sort, even if it is just a guarantor for a registered young person’s hostel. But none of this addresses the central question of how will you live?”

Gillian’s heart skipped a beat. In one of her favourite novels, the Falcon, the heroine is an orphan who is on the run from an evil uncle. She takes refuge in a registered hostel. She remembered she had been secretly titillated by the strict hostel warden who often spanked or even whipped her errant charges. Most of the residents were bondsman anyway, she recalled. It didn’t sound like a true option. Otherwise she could possibly get by off the rent of the house on Penn. But for how long, what life would she have?

“Will you give me time to decide?” Gillian said at last.

Abraham frowned. He could force the issue, he thought. The silly girl really had no realistic option to what most women on Raw would consider a privileged opportunity. But, he decided, it would be better if she came to that conclusion herself.

“Very well,” he said thoughtfully, “you have 20 days to decide.”

*

Rachel Helicon had been up since before dawn and although her tasks so far that day had not been that arduous, she knew that as soon as breakfast was over she had to run an errand.

Normally the prospect of time to herself to explore the city would have been a treat, but today and for the foreseeable future she had been tucked and having to go into the public streets with her bare bottom exposed was a humiliation that the former Matriarch girl had yet to even got close to use to.

The first time she had been tucked after coming to Helm, she had let her skirt down once she was out of sight of the house. It had been so obvious that she couldn’t see why every naughty girl on Raw didn’t just do the same. She remembered thinking herself superior for accomplishing such a clever ruse.

However, on her return to the house, Kim had been waiting for her.

“You covered yourself didn’t you?” She had challenged.

Rachel blushed and seriously contemplated lying, but she knew from very bitter experience that Kim could tell a lie from the surface of Severus.

“I… how did you…” the admission escaped her lips unbidden.

“On Raw, girls are tucked from 15; do you think that you are first brat to think of doing what you did?”

She had, she realised, and had never ever felt such a fool.

“Gaia sees all,” Kim said gently, “don’t you know that what you did brings dishonour on this house and Abraham?”

Rachel had blushed until it hurt. She had never felt so wretched.

“I see you are ashamed,” Kim hushed her, “That does you great credit. I know you are a special woman and I know it is hard for you here.”

“I’m sorry,” Rachel said looking at the ground as tears sprang to her eyes. “It is so embarrassing, you have no idea.”

“You think I was never tucked,” Kim laughed.

Rachel waited, the way she felt, she was certain that she would be executed or sold into permanent slavery for her betrayal.

“I am going to punish you severely for this,” Kim said sharply. “I expect you to ask me humbly and imaginatively for your sanction. If you do not then your sneaky little dishonour will go unpunished, but you will be diminished a little in my eyes.”

The rest of that day had been the hardest of Rachel’s life. She had remembered the day on the beach with Abraham when he had told her to choose her future for herself. Finally, she had known what to do.

At supper she had entered the servants’ hall and knelt before the entire company.

“I apologise for interrupting your meal, but I have something to say,” she had begun. “Today I dishonoured this house, I untucked myself without permission. I know now that it was wrong, especially as I arrogantly assumed myself superior to you all when I did so. I am not fit to sit at table with you and pray that you will forgive me. I ask our lady chatelaine, if she will punish me appropriately at her pleasure and I humbly, I very humbly ask, that I be held in disgrace until the end of next month.”

There was silence and even the best behaved of the women present were somewhat chastened by such piety. Perhaps the rumours were true then, that Rachel Helicon would one day be mistress of this house.

“That was well said Rachel,” Kim beamed. “Tomorrow you will feel the harsh and then for the rest of your term of penance you will stand tucked during your leisure time at the main gate. I think in addition, for that time you will take your meals on your knees from a bowl like a dog, without the aid of cutlery. Is that fair?”

“Yes ma’am,” Rachel gasped as she blanched.

That first night during her degrading meal Kim had ambled over to her and given her shoulder a little squeeze.

“I pulled the same stunt when I was a girl,” she whispered, “I was given much the same punishment, only there was a girl who masticated my food for me before I was allowed to swallow it.”

Rachel looked up in horror and saw that Kim was deadly serious.

“If you ever do it again, I promise I will know and you will look fondly on the next 57 days.”

“Yes ma’am,” Rachel said in deadly earnest. “I swear I won’t, I promise.”

“One more thing,” Kim said quietly, then with a twinkle added, “I am proud of you, I never had such courage, I even denied my sin.”

Such a great system, she thought bitterly as she stood at the street entrance and pondered her chances of reaching the required shops before she was seen, I don’t dare not cooperate in my own punishment.

Actually if she were honest, although Rachel liked to believe she was being honourable and keeping her promise, it had been the experience of the harsh that time that had left the greatest mark on her, and the fact that she assessed she had zero chance of fooling Kim if she ever risked covering up again.

“Well here goes,” she said taking a deep breath.

It was still early and at first glance there weren’t many people about. Most of those that she did see were looking away. In fact she got all the way to the top of the first ziggurat before some girls passed by. One of them glanced at her and smirked, but the others were too absorbed in their conversations. Rachel blushed and stifled the instinct to tug at her hem as she hung back and waited for her the girls to walk ahead of her.

The first shop was not far, but in a way that was worse as it was a family run business and she was becoming known there.

“Good morning Rachel,” Art Stebbins, the shopkeeper said as she entered.

“Yes,” she said returning a stiff smile. Even though he was in front of her, he glanced at her middle for just a moment too long, she noticed. He had two daughters, she knew, and three female apprentices, it was too much to assume that he couldn’t tell even from the front that she had been tucked.

One of the trainees came out of stock room to her right and did the smallest of double takes.

“Looks like you really caught it,” she whistled.

“Yes thank you Amanda, get on with your work before you really catch it,” Stebbins scolded.

“Yes sir,” Amanda said with a bob, but not before mimicking an exaggerated wince coupled with a grin in Rachel’s direction.

As it was, Abraham’s order wasn’t ready so she had had a wasted trip. Not that she found out until a tall elegant man had entered and had got a good eyeful.

“Thank you Mr Stebbins,” Rachel blushed to her toes as she backed out of the store.

The next shop was way down the hill towards the high street. Although Rachel had to balance her embarrassment against the clock, she decided to take a less used alley by a more roundabout route rather than risk the main drag. In doing so she cut through a snicket to a passage just above the market.

At first it looked all clear but before she could scamper for the shadows Rachel noticed a woman standing at the edge of the street. Bother, she thought, wondering if she would wait there all day.

Had it been just another bondswoman, Rachel might have toughed it out, but this woman was an optimate by her dress, with a slate-grey jet-trimmed matching skirt suit that was tailored down to her ankles. Her wasp-waist jacket just screamed style and the whole effect had been topped off with a darling little round hat with a single black feather.

Then Rachel noticed that what she had taken for a reverse pleat at the rear of the ensemble was in fact a fold that took the back of the skirt up to the waistline. For a moment Rachel was confused as the look did not fit, but then the woman, who had not yet seen her, turned slightly Rachel’s way.

In profile her bottom was exquisite and quite, quite bare. Then perhaps hearing a noise she startled and offered Rachel a full look at her behind. The humbled bonds girl gasped at what she saw. The woman’s bottom described an almost perfect circle, which was well defined with innate but not over large muscles so that they dimpled a little at the side. The tight delicate cleft curved impressively in just the right way to hold an ascetic shadow. But what really stood out was the absolutely perfect shade of polished apple red that stained her bottom in such a way that not one blemish was to be seen on her alabaster white skin over the line of her well-defined buttocks.

Perhaps Rachel’s gasp of awe had given her away, but the woman turned now and saw her. Even the blush that suffused her face was an ornament.

“Oh gosh,” the woman winced in embarrassment revealing her perfect teeth. “I’m busted.”

“You and me both I’m afraid,” Rachel agreed sympathetically, turning as she did so to show off her own very soundly spanked bottom.

“Oh my, you have really upset the boss. I haven’t seen a bottom like that since my last year at the academy,” she whispered, echoing Rachel’s sympathetic tone. “I assume it was the boss? My husband spanked me. A very long dose of the chafe I’m afraid. The outfit you see, bought it without his permission, way over budget, way over. You know the kind of thing.”

Rachel didn’t, but she could see that it was expensive.

“I haven’t been tucked in years,” she said, sounding as if she might cry, “Now I have to go all the way to the main store where simply everyone knows me dressed like this and arrange to have tuck flaps put into all my clothes.”

“Tuck flaps?” Rachel said, but she just couldn’t help but stare.

“Oh you know, so that the back can be buttoned up for… well… so that I can be tucked more easily at any time even in tailored clothes.” The woman said miserably; then she did cry.

“I suppose it’s worse for you?” Rachel meant it to sound sarcastic, but as she said the words she realised it were true. A tucked bondswoman would gather no more than odd leer or glance. But an optimate, she might never live it down.

“I have to remain like this all through the party tomorrow,” she sobbed, adding, “Abraham’s coming and half the High Council. I’ll be a laughing stock.”

“Isn’t it a bit over-the-top for a skirt suit?”

The woman smiled through her tears.

“I was warned,” she shrugged. “My husband has a position to keep up and we are supposed to be cutting back on fripperies, as he calls them, on account of the war. I have done it twice before you see. But I just thought he would spank me again, you know maybe use the hazer rather than just a chafe.”

As the woman spoke she looked significantly at Rachel’s bottom. Hazer, she mouthed as a question.

Rachel nodded grimly.

“I haven’t felt one of those since we were first married, he is such a sweetie. Thinks I’ll break. But I used to get absolutely blistered at school. It’s my bottom you see, people can’t resist.”

“Are you going to be alright?”

“Yes,” the woman said with a great sigh. “I really do deserve it you know, he is far too soft with me, but I guess that has all changed.”

Then Rachel watched as the woman walked off to face the world.

*

Sandy had five books set out before her on her bedroom floor that she had to have read before returning to school. She wanted to be completely on top of the History of Raw, the Spiritual Philosophy of Gaia, Earth Cultures, The Innate Nature of Humanity Across Interstellar Civilisations and The Matriarch, Gender and Political Perspectives. Not only would she be tested on each one, but she had to write a comparative dissertation that drew upon elements of each book.

“Only about 300,000 words to read,” she sighed.

At least she had read the Matriarch book, it was required reading back on her home world. The other four books would have been banned, she realised. The irony was not lost on her. In the Matriarch, which considered male dominated worlds like Raw to oppress women, she was not allowed to think for herself and had to learn ‘the truth’ by rote. Yet here on Raw she had to read and understand books on feminism, a completely antithetical cultural perspective, if she wanted to avoid a really quite challenging spanking.

She remembered one of her first essays in her socio-political class at the academy had been ‘the Matriarch, wayward or tyrannical, discuss.’ She had let rip into her former culture with a vengeance, writing what she thought her Raw loyalist teachers wanted to hear.

“Sandy,” her tutor had said scratching her head in puzzlement once she had read out her work, “does this pass for intellectualism in the Matriarch?”

“Ma’am?”

“I mean apart from anything else you seem to have had humour by-pass. Do you really think an entire civilisation can be described as wayward? It was an ironic title.”

Sandy had blushed. And later for the first time she had gone in tears to see her mentor for some comfort only to be soundly spanked for her folly.

She lay back and laughed at the memory. School was great. She never would have believed it. Her grades were better than ever and she was well on the way to gaining a university place and a career as an optimate. The thing was she was not half as bright as Rachel who had turned her back on academia to be a secretary in the servant class. When her former team leader had told of her decision to sign indentures Sandy had been aghast. But now she was beginning to see that there was freedom in that path.

She might have thought about it further but then she had an epiphany.

“The Matriarch,” she said aloud, “the women there are afraid of themselves not men.”

She scrambled to her feet and began to furiously scribble notes.

“Aren’t we the bookworm?” Sandy heard a voice behind her. She looked up to see a girl of about 18 she didn’t know. Then remembering the slow aging rates on Raw she quickly amended, realising that she was at least her own age and possibly a little older.

“I’m sorry I don’t think we’ve met,” Sandy replied supressing her irritation at the intrusion in her own room. But in recent months she had since learned that she was at the bottom of the pecking order and politeness definitely paid off.

“I’m Hepp Range,” Gillian said snootily as if awaiting a curtsey.

“Hepp? Is that a funny name? Sorry I am still finding my feet here,” Sandy asked curious her annoyance evaporating as her curiosity kicked in.

“I am Ms Hepp Range to you,” Gillian snapped.

“Oh? Oh. The new girl. Yes we were told,” Sandy smiled and leapt to her feet to extend a hand. “I gather you are joining the family.”

Gillian glowered at the offered hand for a moment before Sandy remembered that it was the wrong gesture and withheld it.

“We?”

“We? Oh, Penny and I, she has the next room,” Sandy persisted in her friendly overture.

“Oh her,” Gillian scowled as she remembered her earlier faux pas, adding dismissively, “we met.”

Sandy didn’t know what to say, so she gave the girl the once over with her eye. Her attire she realised was that of an adult of high standing, an optimate in fact. This did not sit with her age, Sandy puzzled, but cautiously decided not to ask.

Gillian looked pensively anywhere but in Sandy’s eyes. She hadn’t meant to be rude, she had been curious, but her sharpness had just slipped out. Another friend lost before gained, she thought grimly. She had never felt so lost. When father had been alive she had been a good girl and a dutiful daughter. She had always done what he asked, but now she had to think for herself.

“What are you working on?” Gillian sounded sullen.

“Oh the bookworm remark,” Sandy chuckled. “I have to write a dissertation on the Matriarch as it compares to Raw. It has to be between 10 and 15 thousand words.”

“I hardly think there is that much to say,” Gillian snorted.

Sandy frowned. Was that crack aimed at the Matriarch or Raw? She wondered.

“Are you joining us at school? Because if you are then you will have a chance to find out,” Sandy said evenly.

Gillian darted Sandy a look and wanted cry.

I do hope you are, Sandy thought, that snooty attitude of yours wouldn’t last an hour there. She thought of what this ‘fine lady’ would look like tucked with her red bottom displayed in the corner.

“I had better leave the little schoolgirl to her homework hadn’t I,” was Gillian’s parting shot.

*

When Abraham entered room Rachel was setting out documents for the meeting. She started a little as the door closed behind him but did not turn around. He knew that was because, still being tucked, her bare bottom was displayed to whoever came in. He admired her roundness and the purple grazing he had imparted to her for a moment and wished there was not such a social gulf between them.

“Are we ready?” He asked.

She turned blushing, almost relieved that it was only him. Not that being bared before him was any less embarrassing.

“Do I really have to stay for the meeting?” She sounded like a little girl, he thought.

“It’s your job and I do need you here, so yes you do have to be here,” he scolded.

“Well couldn’t I at least let my skirt down?”

Poor kid her thought, the public submission was hard for her she knew, but the whole point of her latest correction was to teach Rachel her place. He really could not risk having her speaking one word out of turn. He needed her to listen and speak only when spoken to.

Instead of sharing his sympathy he glared at her.

“You can listen just as easily from the corner and if you try and wheedle out of your punishment again that is exactly where you will spend this meeting.” His voice was like dark rich chocolate as he spoke, not so much a threat, more a sacred prophecy.

“Yes sir,” she replied hastily.

By the time the rest of Abraham’s staff and his visitors from the Ministry had arrived Rachel was standing behind a chair with her back to the wall. Maybe they wouldn’t notice, she prayed.

Then she noticed that minister’s scribe. The woman had striking clean white-blonde hair and despite being a bondsman, her attire was well-made and cut so close to a free woman’s style that she was evidently quite senior and probably a third termer. This was confirmed in Rachel’s mind by the fact that in the Matriarch she would have been taken for at least 25, so in Raw terms she must have been well into her 40s.

There was nothing unusual about any of this, but Rachel had realised was that the woman had clearly been tucked. The fact that she knew this even though Rachel had only seen her from the front caused a surge of violent blushing within her and dashed her hopes that no one would realise her own humbled state.

It was then that the woman saw her looking and joined in with her own festival of blushing. Rachel responded by looking at her shoes, but when she glanced up the woman greeted her with a small friendly shrug.

“Shall we begin Abraham?” The Minister said breezily.

“By all means,” Abraham responded.

“Oh I hope you don’t mind if my secretary stands,” the Minister said archly, as he indicated the woman’s well-polished red bottom.

The blonde sucked in her cheeks as if swallowing a forbidden pout and from the look in her eyes was trying desperately to vanish. Although the vivid blush against her fair complexion and almost white hair made that impossible.

“I rather think my assistant here will join her,” Abraham agreed.

Rachel felt like crying and shared a sisterly look with the blonde who looked everywhere but anywhere that would risk meeting anyone’s eyes.

*

After the meeting Rachel tried to slip away to her room for a good cry.

“Rachel,” Abraham said calling her back.

“Yes sir.”

“You’ve done well. It really isn’t as bad as it seems.”

“Thank you,” Rachel said sullenly, desperate to escape.

“What I mean to say is… well I am part of the reason you stayed are I?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

“I haven’t forgotten,” he said giving her a tight smile.

You have, she thought, although these were the words she had prayed for since accepting an indenture.

“I have decided that it is time that you met my mother,” Abraham announced.

“Your mother but you’re…”

“Old?”

She blushed.

“We live long on Raw and my mother is very much alive,” he chuckled. “Will you meet her?”

Rachel smiled and nodded vigorously, her eyes finally unleashing the tears that the earlier humiliation could not set free.

*

Three days later Rachel had been allowed to untuck herself and had been dispatched to Quentis, a small island in a bay on the other side of the Helm Island mainland.

It had taken her two days to travel across the large island to the bay on account of the mountains and forests that were heavily featured inland.

In the Matriarch there would have been motorised transport or even an aircraft, but roads were rare and aircraft virtually unheard of. The latter suffered because of the over-wind that blew unpredictably a few hundred meters above the sea and the rocky nature of the islands of Raw, which made building runways and landing areas difficult.

However, Rachel knew that there were emergency aircraft and extensive military use of VTOL craft of all kinds, so she rather suspected that the over-wind and other factors were an excuse to limit travel to facilitate the Raw concept of stability and Gaia.

As it was she was pleased to travel by landau across one of the most stunning landscapes in the galaxy. The mountains rose and fell like ocean waves frozen in place. Here and there some soared to the clouds coated with snow, while others hung perilously close to the ground forming tree-lined ravines. Everywhere there was water, either rushing beside the roads in rivers great and small or tumbling from the rocks around her in slivers of liquid silver.

Rachel was struck with how few people they encountered. Hattie, her driver, explained that in former times most people had lived at the coast and the few settlements of the interior were built around walled villages and castles.

“How very feudal,” Rachel observed, meaning it to sound vaguely disapproving.

“Yes, very much so,” Hattie agreed happily.

Rachel could have kicked herself for her cynicism and ingrained Matriarchal knee-jerk response.

They stayed the night at an inn built into the side of a cavernous gorge overlooking one of the walled villages that Hattie had told her about. Of course as bondsmen they were not permitted their own rooms in the main inn, but were given a room to share above the stables.

“I would love one of those balcony rooms,” Rachel gushed dreamily. All the same the roof of the stables had a good vantage overlooking the valley and in the distance she could even see the sea for the first time since leaving Helm.

“This is far better than where I grew up as it is,” Hattie shrugged throwing herself down on the bed. Then changing the subject she said conspiratorially, “Did you see those girls as we came in?”

The girls Hattie was referring to had been the first and most obvious thing in sight as they drove through the gates. There had been three of them in all, kneeling on a low wall with their backs to the street and their noses to the wall of a house. All three were tucked and displaying well-spanked bare bottoms to the community at large.

“I couldn’t exactly miss them,” Rachel blushed.

“That was my upbringing,” Hattie said ruefully rolling her eyes up to heaven. “They probably didn’t do much but answer their da or gaffer back.”

“Sisters do you think?”

“Maybe, but they could just as easily be girls from different households spanked for completely unrelated mischief. I bet it is an almost daily occurrence here.”

Rachel whistled low and shuddered, but felt a frisson all the same.

“What about boys?” Rachel asked suddenly. “You never see it, how are they punished?”

“What in these parts? An apprentice would probably just get his gaffer’s fist. I don’t know about younger boys, I never had brothers.”

“Well I meant generally on Raw.”

“There’s the wheel, the run, bucket hauling, believe me a spanking is a breeze by comparison.”

As she remembered her two hour humiliation at the meeting with the minister, Rachel wasn’t so certain.

“What’s bucket hauling?” She asked.

Hattie looked up and wondered why Rachel didn’t know all this, then she realised that on Raw where female punishments were conspicuous by nature, male punishments were lone trials of honour and not usually described in disciplinary manuals.

“Never seen it done, it’s not for a girls eyes,” Hattie whispered.

Rachel was intrigued, like she was sharing a secret.

“But you know don’t you?”

Hattie nodded. And Rachel bounced down beside her on the bed like she was about to hear a story.

“I heard one way was to yoke the boy like dairy maid, only the ankles are strapped to the thighs so the hauling is done on his knees; two heavy buckets back and forth in a cobbled courtyard or on gravel.”

Rachel swallowed.

“It’s not used for young boys and those between 14 and 21 are usually away at camps under military type discipline anyway,” Hattie added hastily, least Rachel think Raw overly cruel. “Why do you care anyway? I hate thinking about this stuff.”

“I just wondered if you ever thought it was all unfair.”

“Maybe that’s just what you think.” Hattie said tartly.

Rachel went quiet for a minute and thought about how unjust her world had been in so many ways to both men and women and she felt ashamed.

“Sorry,” Rachel said at last.

“No worries. Oh do you want me to leave you alone for a bit since we are sharing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you offworlders, you know, on your own for sex?”

Rachel blushed. They did indeed and once upon a time she would have been casual about it, but not now.

“It’s ok, but if you are I’d rather… well unless you need a hand?” Hattie did a double eyebrow raise and smiled.

Rachel squealed at the suggestion and threw a pillow at the girl. “I ought to spank you,” she challenged.

Hattie shrugged, a small smile dancing on her lips.

*

Quentis could only be reached by boat and Rachel went alone as Hattie was required to stay with the horse and landau.

The island rose out the early mist like a vision from some child’s fairy story and from her position in the boat Rachel could see the house nestling near the top of the sharp point of the mountain island.

Once ashore it did not take long for Rachel to realise that virtually the whole island served as a garden to the house. A garden divided up into groves and orchards dispersed among rose gardens and sycamore-like mazes.

“You are Rachel Helicon?” The woman who appeared from nowhere was small and of indeterminate age in Raw years. Not old certainly, but given that even in the Matriarch she would easily pass for over 30, Rachel guessed she was in early middle age. However, Rachel did know at once was that she was an optimate from her long silk white dress and long hair which she wore in a twisted braid thrown over one shoulder so that it hung to her waist.

“Yes ma’am,” Rachel replied remembering her manners.

“My mother will see you now,” the woman said as she turned and walked back up a path between an avenue of trees. “Please follow me.”

Rachel suddenly felt lost. Abraham’s sister no less. Was she to meet the whole family then? Then she realised that the woman was not about to slow down for a bonded-girl and Rachel scurried to catch up with her.

The path was winding and rose above sharp sea cliffs and then fell into random dips that led off deeper into the gardens. However, it did not take Rachel long to work out that the path was leading to the house high above and so she was not surprised that even on such a small private island it took almost an hour to reach their goal.

The woman sitting under an old tree was quite beautiful, or certainly would have been once. To Rachel’s eyes she looked at first glance to be little more than 40, but as she drew near she saw the smile lines, more than she had ever seen on anyone since arriving on Raw and also the silver white hair which she had at first taken for blonde. Even so, in the Matriarch, she would have thought the woman barely 50.

“You are the first old person I have seen on this planet,” Rachel said.

“Are you trying to be impertinent?” The woman snapped.

“Oh… no sorry, I… ma’am, please I’m sorry I was thinking aloud, a foolish habit, especially here… I…” Rachel blushed and fell silent. She could so easily be turned and tucked by this woman, and for once she had a horrible feeling that she deserved it.

“You see mother, I told you that an off-worlder was totally unsuitable for Abraham,” her guide said imperiously.

“She was rude, but as you say, an off-worlder. What is your excuse?” The older woman snapped. “You are not too old for a spanking my girl.”

The younger woman blushed and Rachel stifled a giggle. Even if this woman was younger than Abraham, if she was a sister she was likely to be at least 60.

“That amuses you?” The older woman said evenly.

“I am afraid it does ma’am, but I mean no disrespect. I think the greater fault was mine, I apologise.” Rachel curtsied as she had seen other women do in the presence of optimates.

“I am Lyre, Abraham’s mother. This is my daughter Lilith, who I don’t suppose bothered to introduce herself. I take it you are Rachel Helicon.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“You may leave us,” Lyre said to her daughter. Then to Rachel she said, “Please child, sit.”

Lyre was sitting on a garden chair but Rachel saw no chair for her so she knelt down near the old woman’s feet. Nothing was said until Lilith was well out of earshot and then Lyre bid Rachel move nearer.

“So you think I should spank you, do you?” She asked.

Rachel blanched and then blushed.

“If you think I deserve it,” Rachel said bravely.

“Do you think you deserve it?”

“I suppose. I am a little awkward when it comes to social etiquette.”

“That’s no excuse.”

“No ma’am.”

“Good girl,” Lyre smiled. “You must forgive my daughter; she is my youngest and a little insecure about her status. You see some years ago she had a spectacular fall of grace and has only fairly recently been returned to us.”

“I see,” Rachel said.

“No I don’t think you do, but let’s let that slide.” Lyre said pleasantly. “You know I think I will spank you one day.”

“Ma’am?”

“I spank all the women in my family at least once and usually more often than that, so I think that one day I will spank you.”

Rachel blushed and then realised the significance of the old woman’s statement.

“But… I am just a bondsman and a pretty lowly one at that. Lilith’s right I’m…”

“Shush, do not diminish yourself, all may rise on Raw,” Lyre scolded. “I was a bondsman once. I served four terms before marrying Abraham’s father. Lilith herself served for 21 years in penal servitude as a bondsman. If Abraham takes you for a wife it will be no more than is usual. And I know my son, in time I think he will.”

“Lilith,” Rachel exclaimed, not wishing to confront the other topic just yet.

“Oh yes. She had every advantage; unlike me she succeeded at her academy to such an extent that she won her scholarship and studied for six years at university. Then she became and advocate at law; a good one for a while.”

Lyre looked away.

“Well what came to pass, came to pass and it is done with now,” Lyre said sadly. “You will know of it when the time comes.”

*

On her return to Helm, Rachel felt humbled by her experience. She knew now that Abraham loved her and that it was only his honour and deep sense of propriety that caused him to be distant from her. Also she saw that now, stripped as she was of her own self-obsession, that there was another reason for his apparent reticence, the war. All her most serious punishments had been about that one way or another.

“Abraham,” she said, suddenly nervous, as she chanced upon him in the hallway of the house unexpectedly.

“How did you find my mother?” He grinned.

“Well,” Rachel said shyly.

“She is always well,” he laughed expansively, glee flooding his eyes. “No I mean, how did you find her?”

“Intimidating,” Rachel said ruefully. “Although I found I liked her very much.”

“Did she spank you?”

“No,” Rachel said meekly. “But she threatened to. She said that one day she would.”

“Then you know what that means?”

“Yes,” she whispered hardly daring to say more.

“I won’t wait forever,” he said gently, “but you need to find balance.”

“I know,” Rachel nodded encouragingly. “It is a privilege to be your wife and I am not fit for the role. I am too selfish, too steeped in the Matriarchy still.”

He did not answer her, for whatever reasons and guesses she made, had to be her reasons and guesses and until she had finished pondering then he knew she was not ready.

“Couldn’t we, Couldn’t I…? I mean you have other girls, not just your concubines…” she left the suggestion hanging.

“And what does the little ‘civilised’ off-worlder feel about that? The other girls I mean.”

“If I were first then… I don’t know, but now I would settle for being just girl number seven on the left.”

“I will think on it,” he said, his voice rumbling from somewhere in his chest. Then he drew her to him and wrapped his arms around her.

After the longest time he let go of her and she could see he was his old self again and in control.

“Right now I have another problem.”

“Anything I can help with?”

*

They spoke for the greater part of the afternoon. First about Gillian and then about Lilith, about which Abraham said little as regards details only that his sister had been a criminal.

“I can’t help you with Lilith,” Rachel said suddenly, “but I have an idea about Gillian.”

“Well my pretty little adviser, tell me,” he chuckled.

“Send her to see your mother. I don’t know why exactly, but it did help me. Also, you are asking Gillian to join your family in a way…”

“In a very real way,” Abraham interrupted. But she could see he was thinking.

“Exactly, let her see that there is a family to join. You are trying to be her father, but she has a father in her heart still and you cannot offer her a mother to replace the one that she has never known, but…”

“But I can offer her an aunt and a grandmother,” Abraham was nodding thoughtfully.

“Am I being too presumptuous for a little bondswoman?”

“You certainly are,” he said cocking one eyebrow.

“I am sorry.”

“Don’t be, you know I’m joking.”

“No but I have been slow at learning my place in the past though haven’t I?” Rachel blushed. “I am only just beginning to see that properly.”

“So I’ll have no more problems with you then, will I?”

“I am not so sure about that,” she laughed and he joined her.

*

Much to Rachel’s delight, Abraham entrusted her with escorting Gillian to Quentis. Given the distance it was odd to return so soon, but Abraham needed someone who understood the problem and on account of the war he could not spare the time himself. Not that Rachel thought Gillian would have responded so readily in such proximity to the one who was demanding a decision of her.

As before, the first night they stayed at the inn in the walled village and as before there were some girls standing penitently near the gates. Rachel watched Gillian’s reaction carefully and wondered what the sheltered girl was thinking.

On reaching the island they were again met by Lilith.

“Hello Rachel, I hadn’t expected to see you again so soon,” Lilith said rather more politely than she had the first time. “I presume this is Gillian?”

Gillian didn’t answer if sensing for the first time the import of the meeting.

“Yes ma’am, she is,” Rachel answered for her.

“You are to go on up, just follow the path towards the house and head for the old tree,” Lilith said to Gillian.

Gillian nodded and did as she was told. Once she was gone Lilith invited Rachel to walk with her.

“I have been instructed to… no actually I want to apologise for my attitude on your last visit,” Lilith said blushing. “I have been instructed to tell you that my mother spanked me soundly on the bare bottom and left me tucked for three days after you left.”

“I see,” Rachel said, blushing a little herself. “I’m sorry, I think. That must have been difficult to tell me.”

“Yes,” Lilith whispered, sucking in her cheeks.

“It must be difficult meeting someone like me who you are…”

“Please Rachel, you don’t have to make excuses for me, I was rude.”

Rachel nodded at this but said nothing.

“For many years I was taken out of the society that I knew and, well I am perhaps a little insecure about my position. Although my mother allows me the status and trappings of an optimate, I am her legal ward and she keeps me on a short leash.”

Again Rachel said nothing and for a time neither did Lilith. Instead they walked along the low cliff path overlooking the sea of the bay. The main island looked close from where they walked, almost as if it were but a short swim to the far beach.

Looking back, Severus was rising behind the peak of Quintis, casting its reddish glow over the rocks. High above Rachel could see that Gillian was a spec, climbing ever higher towards the house.

“You cannot quite see the tree from here,” Rachel observed for something to say.

“Did Abraham tell you of me?” Lilith’s question hung between them for an age.

“Not much. He said you had served a penal sentence of some kind, a long one. But I thought that was over?”

“Legally yes, but I failed the family. I failed my mother and I have still to atone for that.”

Rachel nodded.

“When you marry Abraham you will be my senior,” Lilith said quietly. “It would be foolish of me to make an enemy of you.”

“I am not your enemy,” Rachel said earnestly. “Indeed, I hope we will be friends.”

“You may not say that when you learn what I did.” Lilith looked as if she might cry.

“Why don’t you tell me, so that I can make up my own mind?”

Lilith took a deep breath and fixed her eyes on the rising Severus. Then she gave one emphatic nod.

*

“You know who I am child,” Lyre said as Gillian approached.

“I am not a child,” Gillian said indignantly.

“I had lived to over 100-years-old before you were even thought of,” Lyre said, her eyes smiling kindly. “To me you are a child.”

Gillian gulped.

“Come and sit with me,” Lyre said patting the grass beside her.

“I would rather stand thank you very much,” Gillian said, meaning to sound assertive but instead it was even a little sullen to her own ears.

“I would rather stand thank you very much, ma’am,” Lyre corrected the girl. “And I would much rather you sat down.”

Gillian considered arguing, after all wasn’t she an optimate in her own right? But the old woman’s countenance was formidable and before she knew what she was doing she had taken her place on the ground, tucking her legs up under her as she remembered doing once long ago with another old woman she could not quite recall.

“My son has offered you a short extension to come here before you have to take a decision about something,” Lyre said gently. “What was that decision?”

“Is that any of your business?” Gillian said angrily.

Lyre frowned and remembered another girl from so long ago. Daughters were always more troublesome that sons, she found. The girl was a wounded animal, so precious, Lyre thought, although not in the way the girl thought herself.

“I really don’t know if it is any of my business or not,” Lyre said as she considered. “But if you don’t tell me, I won’t be able to judge.”

“Well if you must know, Abraham is keeping me from my house and wants me to be his ward. He is threatening me with indentured servitude if I refuse.”

Lyre tilted her head and regarded the girl as if for the first time.

“Is that true I wonder?”

“Yes it is,” Gillian said sulkily.

“My son is a very powerful man, I wouldn’t have thought that he had descended to threatening a little girl.” Lyre said with a little amusement creeping into her voice. “That is a very serious accusation. How has he threatened you exactly?”

Gillian looked away at the tree and pretended to study it.

“Can’t you tell me? Maybe I can help.”

Gillian turned back and tucked her chin down on her chest so that she had to look up through a cascade of hair with sad eyes. She thought about all the things her father hadn’t taught her and what the hetman on Penn had said.

“Well…” she said looking away again, “maybe Abraham didn’t actually threaten me, but he was horrid, I don’t want to be a bondsman.”

“But hasn’t Abraham offered you a chance not to be?”

“I suppose,” Gillian plucked at a piece of grass, she couldn’t ever remember feeling like this.

“So Abraham, rather than threaten you, has offered to help you?” Lyre asked pointedly.

Gillian rolled several strands of grass around two of her fingers until they snapped.

“I suppose,” she mumbled at last.

“What are your other choices?” Lyre asked casually, “a clever girl like you must have a plan I bet.”

Gillian shrugged.

“You return to Abraham in a few days and by then you must have an answer. If you don’t accept Abraham’s arrangements or don’t make some of your own, your contract will be put out for general auction to pay the citizen’s bond. Is that what you want?”

Gillian knew this. She had used what little education she had devouring law books ever since Abraham had given her his ultimatum.

“I suppose,” Gillian said again, after a rapid bout of face rubbing.

“May I recap?” Lyre asked. Then she waited for an acknowledgement.

Gillian shrugged, which was a blessing under the circumstances, as Lyre dreaded another ‘I suppose.’

“So you have two choices, Abraham’s offer or indentures. But instead of being grateful, you have lied and accused him of threatening you? You cannot decide because you want neither option, but by your own admission you have no real choice. Is that about it?”

Gillian knew that it was true, every word and that she had finally come to the end of her road.

“Have I spoken the truth young lady?” Lyre scolded.

“I suppose,” Gillian whispered.

Lyre winced.

“Do you know what I am going to do for you?” she asked, sounding kindly again.

“No,” Gillian looked up, suddenly there was hope in her eyes.

“I am going to make that decision for you.”

Gillian gaped and stared at the woman in wonder. She wanted to protest but at the same time she felt a weight had lifted somehow.

“Do you know what else I am going to do, you ungrateful brat?” Lyre was scolding again.

“No,” Gillian said with a swallow, but perhaps she did, she thought as she suppressed a sudden rising panic.

“I am going to give you a very long and very sound spanking on your bare bottom until it is red and shiny like the cherries that appear on that tree once every year,” Lyre said with an authority only someone well into their second century on Raw could carry.

Gillian’s jaw dropped, but she felt an odd tickle like a forgotten cuddle at the threat. Then in one smooth motion acquired through decades of practice Lyre swept her up and pulled her tumbling across her lap. Much to Gillian’s surprise the woman’s grip was firm and despite her best struggles she could not break free from the judo-like hold Lyre had pinned her with.

Then Lyre picked up a small bell and rang it thrice. In a short moment a maid appeared and curtseyed.

“Bring me a stiff chafe, oh and some tea and a set of Lilith’s old clothes, I think they will fit,” Lyre ordered. Then to the girl squirming on her lap she said, “I really think this costume of yours in unsuitable for my son’s ward and my adopted granddaughter.”

Gillian stopped struggling, startled at the sudden news. Only to resume her ‘lap-dance’ when she felt the old woman’s hands on the fastenings of her clothes and begin to remove them.

By the time the maid had returned with the chafe Gillian had been stripped down to just her bodice and stockings. Her bare bottom was folded neatly and prominently over Lyre’s lap mooning up for some serious attention.

“I will be here a while,” Lyre said to the maid, “we will serve dinner on the veranda for three, this little girl won’t be joining us on account of the fact that she has corner time to do. Oh you had better leave a hazer to hand in case Gillian here decides to rebel.”

“Yes ma’am,” the maid said handing her mistress the chafe. She had been over the old lady’s knee many times and had seen others share that fate many more.

“Now Gillian you know you deserve this don’t you?” Lyre said gently to the girl in her lap.

“No please get off me,” Gillian blustered.

“That’s alright, your first spanking I know. It is going to be an awfully hard and long spanking, but we won’t start in earnest until you admit your error,” Lyre said, sounding somewhat reassuring.

Then the chafe swept down with a crack that caused Rachel and Lilith to break off from their conversation far below and look up.

“I rather think mother is getting to the bottom of the problem,” Lilith chuckled. “Do you want to watch?”

Rachel giggled and shook her head.

“Never mind, there will be plenty of time to change your mind; I think mother is going to teach Gillian a lesson that she will never forget.”

Both women laughed and then Lilith remembered the tragic tale she was unfolding and smiled sadly at her new friend.

*

The spanking had been going on for ten minutes or more and Gillian was already breathing heavily and gasping at every swat of the small paddle. Her bottom was a very rich deep ink that suffused both buttocks and not one inch of flesh on her behind was now unmarked.

“Are you ready to say sorry and admit that you have this coming?” Lyre asked spanking in hard with another volley.

“Please you can’t do this to me,” Gillian wailed between gasps.

“I am doing this to do you,” Lyre snorted. “And I am going to go on doing this to you and there is nothing much you can do to stop me.”

The spanking had been slow and very, very hard. Lyre knew just how to let gravity and her old-world wrist flick make maximum impact. But had she spanked any faster the old woman would have been too tired to really make her mark. As the self-appointed grandmother vigorously spanked on, she was amused by the way that Gillian rocked her bottom both up and down and back and forth in a motion that was somewhere between escape and a callipygian sacrifice.

“Please I’ll be good, I’ll be good,” Gillian spluttered.

“I know you’ll be good, but are you sorry?”

“I’m so sorry, please, I’m sorry,” Gillian panted.

“And you admit that you deserve this?”

“Yes,” Gillian collapsed in defeat.

“Good girl,” Lyre sighed. “Now let’s get this party started, you have a long, long spanking to come.”

Then in determined defiance of her years, Lyre spanked even harder and that much faster.

“Ooh, yeow,” Gillian spluttered to a sob, “I’m sorry, please, please, please, I’m sorrreeeee!”

Although the old lady paused several times to draw breath and take more tea, the spanking lasted for the better part of the afternoon.

*

By the time Lilith and Rachel joined Lyre on the veranda for dinner, Gillian was already standing in the corner sniffing little tears with her bare bottom cooling in the early evening breeze. To Rachel, Gillian’s bottom appear tight to bursting with a punitive swell that Kim would have envied. It was also as promised, an even polished red like ripe cherries.

“Oh my,” Lilith gasped, blushing at the vision before her as she realised that it could so easily be her standing there.

“Yes our little Gillian has learnt quiet a lesson, haven’t you?” Lyre said, turning her head for another look at her handiwork.

“Yes ma’am,” Gillian said quickly.

“You have a very well deserved sore bottom don’t you child?”

“Yes ma’am,” Gillian responded miserably.

“Yes and the slightest word out of turn or bratty remark and what did I say I would do?”

Gillian hesitated and visibly swallowed. Rachel wondered if she couldn’t remember or was reluctant to say.

“Come on, I drilled it into you not an hour since, I told you if you forgot that after supper we would cut a switch,” Lyre prompted.

“You said you would take me down to the harbour for another spanking on my cherry red bottom for the edification and amusement of the fisher-folk and sailors there,” Gillian choked on a sob at the last word.

“And?”

“And I would stand facing the harbour wall for the rest of the day, ma’am.”

“Good girl,” Lyre said in genuine praise. “I have told our little miscreant here that she is to remain tucked for the rest of her stay here and all the way home to Abraham’s, do you understand?”

“Yes ma’am,” Rachel said quickly with a blush, her own bottom clenching a little.

*

Lyre had come all the way down to the island’s small harbour to see them off. Rachel and Lilith had come to an understanding and much had passed between them. However, what was the real surprise was the rapport between Gillian and Lyre. The girl hadn’t been able to sit down since that first afternoon, but had otherwise been no worse for wear. In fact she looked as if a great weight had been lifted from her.

“Now you be a good girl won’t you?” Lyre said affectionately as she kissed her son’s new ward.

“Yes grandmother,” Gillian said shyly.

“Isn’t it better calling me that than ma’am?”

Gillian nodded. Then she asked tentatively, “may I not… I mean do I have to be…?”

“Tucked? Yes all the way home mind, you are in Rachel’s care and she had my full permission to spank you,” Lyre chuckled.

Gillian blushed, it was bad enough that she was now dressed as a dependent in a much shorter rig than she was used to, but then she thought of the embarrassing boat ride across the bay, not to mention the fact that she would have to kneel on the back seat of the landau in open country. Perhaps she could persuade Rachel to relent, she thought. Then she saw Lyre hand Rachel a chafe and a hazer. The second item made her audibly gulp and squashed all notions of wheedling around her temporary guardian on the way home.

*

High above the special stealth craft dropped out of orbit at a dizzying speed only to cut its velocity to below Mach one as it approached the island. Then as it finally slid below the over-wind, three hang glider-like affairs detached from the craft and drifted away in three different directions. Even as they did so the stealth craft veered away and ran for a good long distance until, its job done, it broke up scattering debris into the sea.

Lieutenant Casey Franks had been dreading this bit. A glider pilot she wasn’t. Now she had dropped too low and there was no way she was going to top the cliff to land so she opted instead for a crash dive in the sea. It might be wet, but the water was always her chosen element.

“I only hope the others made it,” she said aloud as she dragged herself up the beach. Then looking around she sighed and added, “I only hope that this is Helm Island.”

Her briefing back in the Matriarchy had suggested that some islands were uninhabited still. Not that it mattered, if it wasn’t Helm then her papers were no good and she had almost no hope of passing for native of Raw, six months training or no.

Raw will continue.



9 Responses to “Raw: Precious”

  1. 1 Karl Friedrich Gauss

    Wow, this is epic; you’ve created a whole alternative universe here, Damien — in your own image I dare say! Reads like the first chapter of a novel.

  2. 3 homeatlast

    Loving this story! 🙂 Thank you.

  3. 4 paul1510

    DJ, a long read, but certainly worth it, excellent. 😀
    Paul.

  4. 5 anushree

    It feels so very real, dj. It is great as usual. Thanks a huge lot. It was completely worth the wait.

  5. As all have said, this is a fantastic series. Can’t wait to see how you continue to unfold the plot. Wonderful work, DJ.

  6. 7 fatherjim

    Dear DJ,

    I have read many a spanking tale over the years, but this has to be the best I have ever read. Each paragraph is more enjoyable than many whole books I have read.

    Please continue this epic series and allow us to lose ourselves in what may be a man’s Utopia and a woman’s perfect naughty dream!

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Jim

    • 8 DJ

      Thanks for that – some serious praise there.

      All the more welcome becasue I was not sure I had lived up to the first two parts this time.

      DJ

  7. 9 scarlet

    It is an entire world, or universe perhaps, as Karl said. It was good to see Rachel again. There was a lot that caught me. I wish I had taken notes.


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