A Winter’s Tale III

27Jun14

birchedPart I

The hour she stood in the corner had passed impossibly slowly for Sofia, a long miserable experience that left her with a strange new emotion she could not place. If she had been more worldly and less proud she would have recognised it as humility.

At first she had been angry, but it was a difficult emotion to sustain when all you wanted to do was runaway and cry. So little by little she became meek and something else, secure. It was embarrassing to be sure, but it was strange how…? She had sighed; she could not come to terms with how she felt. But then she didn’t have to, all that was required that she stand there until released. It was so simple and clear.

Outside the wind blew and the drafty room was in contrast to her still hot throbbing bottom behind. He was watching her she knew and she blushed. It was embarrassing, but she felt… safe. Not that she would ever, ever admit it.

When he had finally released her she had fled to her room and hidden there until he had roused her the next morning.

It was still dark when he pushed open the door.

“I need more wood for the fire, what we have is damp and besides we are running low,” he yawned.

“The storm?” she groaned, for once not keen to leave her bed.

“It has passed and the frost has done its work well,” he chuckled.

She didn’t know what he meant, but as soon as she tried to move her bottom flared and the memory of the day before came flooding back. She would never look him in the eye again. Oh just you wait until… she imagined sweet revenge and the perils of her father’s dungeons. What she wouldn’t do.

“Get up,” he bellowed.

She moved at once.

*

The day was almost warm. It was certainly clear and crisp with a crystal blue sky that seemed to go on forever. The snow was a smooth unbroken blanket shining in the morning light and for a moment Sofia thought that she might get home.

“This is likely to be the last good weather we have for a few weeks and I doubt if it will last more than a day or two,” Ivan said gruffly looking at the sky with distrust. “If we had not abandoned the horse and sled we might just have risked the road, but without it we could not hope to gain even Kelch Castle before the lull ends.

The mere mention of her father’s enemies made Sofia quail and the news that their lands were out of reach was a small compensation for being told she would not reach home.

“But I can’t stay here, I just can’t,” she wailed. But part of her knew that she was being childish.

“Follow the slope through the trees until you reach the small wood. There you can gather firewood,” Ivan said ignoring her. “Further on is the pool I mentioned. If you can brave the icy water you can bathe. But mark me, you will return at once if the sun falls behind a cloud or it should snow.”

With her chin resting on her chest Sofia stood and glowered at him, but she could not long meet his eye.

*

She made good time on the firm frozen snow. ‘The frost has done its work’ she remembered he had said. It was certainly easier to walk than before. Grudgingly she admired the way the man could read the forest even in adversity.

However when she came to it the firewood was harder to gather. Most of it was now buried and the larger pieces that she could see were almost too heavy to lift. She cursed every stick of wood and every step back to the hut; more so as she could not find the time or strength to go out again to find the pool.

Worse still, when she did final trudge back with a heavy armful of wood she saw a huge stack of sticks at the side of the hut where Ivan had been busy. His efforts almost rendered hers futile and her heart sank.

“You did not think you would fetch enough alone did you?” he chuckled.

The words she spat were low and fast so he could not catch them. Even then her hand strayed to her bottom in fear. But Ivan merely laughed and winked.

“Now you know how hard the country is. Next time you can take a basket and spade for the snow,” he said. “Now come eat.”

*

Ivan spent the morning showing Sofia how to collect snow for water and where to dig to get the last clinging plant or small wood for kindling. He even showed her how to deal with lice in her clothes by burying them in snow with just a small corner showing. Thankfully her jacket had none, but she grasped the concept well enough. All the lice would gather in the small exposed area where they could easily be removed. The very idea disgusted her and she made a face until he fell about laughing.

“Better not to have lice in the first place eh?” he chuckled. “Don’t worry; there are ways for that also.”

In the afternoon and with the work done, she asked if she might go to the pool. The day was warmer even than it had been the day before and with no wind she was dying to bathe.

“Very well, but remember, if clouds come or snow falls, return at once,” he told her. “But I have a condition.”

She nodded eagerly, in her fantasy dreaming a passing prince or Molotov warrior come to rescue her. She didn’t care what else he wanted.

“You will go to the birch trees on your return and bring an armful of rods as before,” he said sharply, then holding apart his arms, he added, “About yay long.”

She gaped for a moment and then blushed. She had no doubt his purpose and having twice been spanked by the man she was mortified and in no doubt of his resolve.

“But what have I done?” she wailed.

He frowned.

“Nothing little princess, but I think now that we will not get through this winter without their aid. Trust me. It is better this way. Or else one of us will kill the other,” he said, his eyes smiling at her as if he was truly offering her a gift.

“But surely… couldn’t you just spank me,” she blurted, “I-I mean,” her face went crimson, “I mean, if you must… if you think I d-deserve…” she faltered again and unconscious hands stole to her behind.

His face took on a sage look and he smiled.

“I had a young cousin once. We too spent a winter together. She said much the same as you. But after a week or two she would provoke me regardless. Just to relieve the boredom I think,” he said.

Sofia gaped and looked at him aghast. “I wouldn’t… I mean…”

She wished she could not fathom such actions, but some measure of understanding touched her eyes and he saw it there and winked. She wished then the snow would open and swallow her. To answer him she turned on a heel and scurried away back to where he said she would find a pool.

“Remember,” he called, “I would have you cut birch switches.”

She stopped in her tracks and considered forgetting his request.

“Don’t come back without them,” he cautioned, as if reading her mind.

His eyes didn’t waver as she returned a killing look, but it was Sofia who broke contact first.

*

The snow was heavy on the ground, but the sun was shining and it was warm enough without a coat. In her mind Sofia had expected a smooth clean pool in a sunny glade. But when she got there she; almost missed it. The pond was tiny and fenced in on all sides by thick snow-draped pines, which towered like green trolls right to the poolside. The edge itself was layered in ice, which meant she either had to risk breaking through as she walked to a clear area or grab a branch and smash the crusted sides to gain access.

The latter course was much easier than it looked and the exertion made her warm enough to contemplate a plunge. In a moment she had shed her clothes.

Standing naked it was bitterly cold and for a moment she stood shivering with her arms hugging her breasts. Then something primeval seized her soul and shrieking she ran full tilt at the water until she couldn’t have stopped if she had wanted to.

The shock of the icy water might have killed her and she gasped beyond a scream. Then as a thousand needles pricked her skin she ducked under. Little by little the chill retreated until the shallow sunlit water felt warmer than the air, a happenstance she greeted with squealing joy.

The sun was red and long in shadows as she trudged back. Her skin fizzed like champagne from distant France and for the first time in days she felt like herself again. She even began to believe that Ivan had been wrong and that if the weather held up she might yet make it home.

“Oh please heavenly father seer of all, let me get home again,” she pleaded with the sky desperate for a sign of some sort.

Somewhere something crashed in the undergrowth and some formerly leaf-bound snow fluttered to the ground. A deer perhaps or Ivan come to spy on her. The thought of Ivan cast its pall as she remembered his orders regarding the switches. The man was a bastard, she cursed inwardly, and after all she hadn’t done anything. How dare he make her gather such a shameful crop?

For long moments she considered defying him. He would spank her again that was certain, but if he wanted to thrash her further let him gather his own God-cursed switches. Sofia folded her arms defiantly savouring the small triumph. Then she saw a stand of birch trees with crystal white talons reaching bold and straight from the ground. Each one was no thicker than her little finger and they would be so easy to gather. She imagined the sweep of the rods across a firm female bottom; God himself could have no wiser purpose for such bounty.

She remembered former defiance to her governess who would order her skirts to be raised and for Sofia to bend across a stool to offer her bare bottom.

“God has provided no better place for correction,” the governess would say. Even Sofia could not deny it, however much it shamed and however much it stung.

Is this your sign Lord? She rolled her eyes and ruefully glanced back at the stand of birch.

“It is so unfair,” she wailed.

*

The rods sat wrapped in damp skins in a box by the door. Diplomatically out of sight but never far from Sofia’s mind. It had taken far longer to cut and collect them than she had thought, but as she had worked a kind of defiant fervour had overwhelmed her and she had snapped off withe after withe in a kind of spirit of ‘damn you.’

Then bringing them to Ivan’s hut had required her to make a huge bundle on her back like a peasant woman. A ridiculous amount, she decided, but again in angry defiance she raged, “Well if he wants birch twigs, he can have birch twigs.”

Ivan had stifled a laugh as she staggered up to his door knee-deep in snow and bent like a babushka under the weight of her burden. Kept supple, a dozen would have more than sufficed for his purpose, but the girl had brought half a forest. How often did they thrash this girl back at that castle of hers, he mused? Once they are dried out they will make fine kindling, he thought with a shrug, but that wasn’t what he told her.

“I was hoping for rather more,” he had said with a scowl, no amusement showing on his face. “But I suppose that will have to do.”

Sofia had just gaped.

Now the rods sat wrapped in damp skins in a box by the door. With no books or even paintings on the wall, the box held all of Sofia’s attention.

*

The weather held and three days later Sofia decided to take one last swim before the winter finally closed in for the duration. This time she braved the high track where the snow was thinner. It was an elevation that put her above the treeline where she could see the far mountains in the crisp clear air. They looked so close, she thought, and yet Ivan had told her they were further yet than Castle Molotov and home.

For a moment she wondered if he had tricked her and was keeping her against her will. But then she remembered the storm and the wolves howling among the trees. He was right, with weather that could turn in in the time it took to draw a breath and without a horse to draw a sled, it was much too far.

So for the moment she was almost content to go for a swim.

Half an hour later she reached the place above the pool. From where she stood the water looked like a small blue stone, delicate enough to be held in the palm of her hand. Completing the suggestion of a jewel were the dark green pines that ringed it like emeralds and she sighed. Never had the forest seemed so beautiful.

Then all at once mischief overtook her and she ran headlong down the bank of snow screaming like a banshee. The weather was warm and the sky was blue. There was no one to see her swim naked but the squirrels and… she shivered. She did not dwell on thoughts of wolves and bears.

By now she was accustomed to the cold so when a cloud dashed across the sun she paid it no mind. Even when it began to snow she remained unconcerned as the water was tepid compared with the growing chill.

It wasn’t until she heard a low distant roar that boomed beyond the trees that her ears pricked. Somewhere far off she heard a shushing sound like a wave breaking on rocks. Then as she listened it got steadily louder and moved towards her faster than a man’s run. It broke all around her in a tempest of dancing trees showering snow upon the water.

In moments the light flurries of snow had turned into a cascade and she could hardly see the edge of the pool. Even Sofia now took the hint and splashed for the sides and her clothes. The cold was bitter on her naked skin and for the first time in days she feared she might actually freeze to death.

It took her a minute to pull clothes over her slick nude body, but the boots were a struggle. By the time her dead white finger had worked the laces she was caked in snow and shivering hard.

Luckily the storm was yet high in the tree tops and although it was now dark, she could still see the main track that led past the stand of birch trees and on to Ivan’s hut. But the snow was falling hard and the shallow path of compressed ice was covered in a white dusting that already obliterated her earlier footsteps. At a run she adjudged the hut was 10 minutes away, but she would only make it if the storm didn’t worsen.

*

Damn, damn, damn, she thought. Each word sounding in her head in time to the crunch of her boots on the snow. She was blind now; her only view was of dark grey tree spars to her left and right. Still, the hut must be near, just around the bend in the path, she guessed. But what path, it was impossible to see track from forest floor now. Damn, damn, damn, she sang inwardly, trying to quell the rising panic.

The troll-twisted rock at the foot of a steep bank loomed out at her suddenly. In the gloom it looked alive and she almost screamed before she identified it. Not only was there no way through, but she had not seen the boulder before, not on the way that first day or since.

“Ivan,” she yelled. But the storm swallowed her words.

She shot a glance back and just made out the blurred pits of her feet in the otherwise perfect carpet of white. She missed the turn was all, she told herself and turned and ran back.

“Ivan,” she screamed, “Ivan.”

Backtracking took her to a clearing. Well she guessed it was a clearing. There were no trees near, not near enough to see anyway.

“Ivan,” she called.

There was a clearing near the hut, wasn’t there; this clearing? Wasn’t this where she gathered birch rods? She could no longer see the trees at all, just a wall of swirling white, and barely that in the blinding glare. I must be close, I must be, she prayed.

The dark looming shape made her heart lurch.

“Ivan,” she wept in relief.

A moment before she realised her mistake the creature roared.

The bear didn’t charge but she didn’t wait. Instead she whirled around and ran. Damn, damn, damn, went the litany in her head. Please Holy Father save me, she prayed, but she felt unworthy.

Ivan had told her to return at the first hint of a change in the weather. He had told her. Curse you girl, you’re a fool, she berated herself. But at least there was no sign of the bear. Perhaps he was just as lost as she? She looked back in terror, dreading what she might see hard on her heels and ran straight into a hard wall of fur and muscle. Her scream rivalled the wind.

*

Ivan carried her for what seemed like hours as they clawed their way through the ever deepening snow to a point in the gloom neither could see. The girl was lost in a funk now, muttering over and over that there was a bear. Fool of a girl, of course there was a bear and three score wolves or he was no woodsman, but why had she dallied when the weather closed in?

In later days he would claim that the journey had been second nature to him, an instinct born of years in the forest. But as his foot found the snow-covered plank at his door Ivan knew that he had found home purely through dumb luck.

He dropped Sofia on the floor and turned at once to manhandle the door back into the frame, a heroic endeavour in the teeth of the snow-laden gale. By the time he was done he was knee deep in snow to that end of the room of breathless with exertion.

Sofia knelt in a heap glowering from under a damp mess of hair, no more able to move than he. But finally she found the strength to cough and mouth the words “I’m sorry.”

“Oh you will be,” Ivan growled.

She knew it was a promise he made and nodded. Fool, she breathed herself, but she thought of home and her foolish escapade in leaving it. Suddenly all of her father’s petty rules and restrictions made sense. She had a whole life-full of growing up to do.

“Go to bed,” Ivan said at last as he staggered to his feet. “We will talk in the morning.”

*

Sofia was awoken by the howling gale and knew she was lucky to be alive. She knew too that Ivan had risked himself to save her when it would have been far safer and easier to let her die and never be found. She sighed. Now she was beholden to him, was this God’s plan for her? She remembered the curses and secret promises she made while lost in the woods. What did it all mean?

The first thing she saw when she staggered through the door into the other room was the rod on the table. It was a larger birch bundle than even her governess had used and she swallowed hard. She knew what it was for and unbidden her buttocks clenched. He wouldn’t dare would he? But she knew he would. Deep down she knew too that she deserved it. Too deep as yet for her to accept her fate bravely.

“But I am a princess,” she moaned, “A noble woman of the house Molotov.”

Ivan snorted at this and regarded her with eyes of steel. But he was pleased that by her words she had half accepted what was to happen.

“I’ll tell my father,” she whined.

“If you were my daughter I would have your arse raw until spring time,” he replied, the implication being clear.

Her father would think much the same way she realised with a sinking feeling. She remembered the summer before and her governess’s slipper long applied to her bare bottom as prelude to some hours in the corner. It had been a long grim wait, knowing as she did her father would come with the rods. She had not sat down for a week. Sofia could now not meet Ivan’s eyes and he saw the truth of it.

“Remove your coat and lower your breeches,” he said sharply.

Her belly lurched and the blood shot to her head so that she felt faint. But something lower became tight and tingled, a feeling to be supressed if she were to retain any honour.

“But…” she began.

“Do it,” he barked so that she startled.

She clung to the coat more tightly; it would serve as her final veil. Under it she undid her belt and let her breeches fall to her knees. She wore nothing beneath.

“How do you want me?” she whispered.

“Bend over the table,” he said quietly.

She nodded and bowed her head. Then with the leaden feet of one facing execution she tottered forward and slumped at a bend over the roughhewn wooden surface. As she did so she dropped the coat so that her bottom was bared to his gaze with her sex turned away from him.

“Bend right across so that you can grasp the far edge and stick your bottom out,” he ordered.

Flushing around the face she swallowed hard, but after a pause she obeyed, her backside obscene now in its posture.

Ivan was not unmoved but honour had its demands and seizing up the rod of switches he stepped to within an arm’s length of Sofia’s exposed bottom. So close in fact that he could hear her breathing and see the tight goosebumps arrayed on her alabaster skin.

Then drawing back his arm he brought it down with a wide sweep so that the thin withes struck crossways on her bottom. She hissed.

It was the sound that unnerved her more than the first impact. It was a swish-thwack that ended in a sharp tickle across her flesh. But the searing pain was a delayed one, and after a beat she went wide-eyed and gasped. The grazing pain was worse than any she had felt and even her father could not rival this man. But another stroke robbed her of reasoned comparisons and she clenched her fists at the table’s edge.

After three he stood back, admiring the strain of her lower back where it tapered to an almost impossibly small waist before ballooning into almost spherical tightly divided hips. He felt his manhood twitch and cursed the distraction.

Her bottom was pinkened with streaks of roughened red welts like cat’s scratching’s across both cheeks. But he knew he had hardly begun.

The next four strokes came fast and hard so that by the last Sofia was rocking her hips in a vain attempt to twist her bottom out of range of the rod. She was breathing hard too, straining ever harder so that her knuckles were white where she gripped the wood.

Her bottom too was a rash of tiny red welts and raw like butcher’s beef; this just a few strokes into her punishment. Not that Ivan would thrash her to the thousand strokes or so often ordered by the Kelch or Kern. But if she weren’t already so red raw he might have gone to half a hundred without breaking a sweat before he even considered stopping. It was no more than his sisters or a house maid would get in this brutal country.

Sofia bucked up her bottom in an obscene curve and let out a shuddering wail. At 16 or so she cast a plaintive look back over her shoulder and he could see tears flowing although the woman did not sob.

He had seen women birched almost to blood and then kiss the rod in gratitude before getting on with their work. Why should this over privileged brat fare better? It irked him that he should be so soft-hearted.

In annoyance he struck her hard and followed a dozen times more as she mewled and bucked under the onslaught. But still she didn’t cry out.

“Defiant to the last then my pretty one,” he murmured, at the word ‘pretty’ his hard part twitched again. Focus man, he chided himself, she is not for you.

He took her beyond 30 before she shook at the shoulders and began to claw and unclaw her hands in distress.

“Ivan, Ivan please,” she wept, “I’m sorry, so sorry.”

Ivan struck her hard thrice more to break her down and then cast the rod into the fire. Even a light punishment would have been half as much a gain for a woman among his people, but the weakness was his and he cursed under his breath.

“Since you can only take a girlish punishment you can go to the corner like the brat you are,” he scolded her, “And leave your breeches down so that your bottom has some air.”

Her behind was twice the size as was usual and redder than a holly berry. It certainly looked as if it had been scratched by a dozen holly twigs. But she was comely nonetheless and his manhood was painfully hard.

Her vigil would serve as an itch he could not scratch as penance for going soft on her.

“You will stay there for a good while and until I have a chore for you. Now get over there,” he growled, angrier with himself than with her.

All the way to the humble corner Sofia held her dignity, only sniffing as she struggled down her breathing as she went. But once facing the wall he could see her shoulders shake and after a moment she gave over to loud heartfelt sobbing which did not abate for almost an hour.

At any other time Ivan would have felt a grim satisfaction at her submission but today he felt something else and it was all he could do not to cross the room to console her. Instead he turned to the fire that blazed now like Sofia’s bottom as it consumed the birch rods as it had burned her.

Continued.



7 Responses to “A Winter’s Tale III”

  1. I really have to stop reading your posts first thing in the morning… 😉

  2. 2 paul1510

    Damian
    I have to agree with Natasha, most distracting. 😀
    Paul.

  3. 3 Kia

    Loved the taste of snow in late June, and the peek inside Ivan’s mind. Both very refreshing 🙂

  4. 4 DJ

    I think i jinxed the weather with this one 😦

    But glad you like it. 🙂

  5. 5 Winx

    I’ve been reading your stories quiet for a while now. You are a awesome writer 🙂

  6. I’m very fussy about what ” Turns me on ” in a spanking, lol. I only like it given by someone who loves and cares about me, and knows I’m enjoying it ( secretly, of course, *winks ), with either his hand, or a leather / wooden paddle. Over my undies. I want it long,( the longer the better ) hard, but never severe, and mostly undeserved. I’m totally submissive – apart from quiet sobs and moans – I don’t move, resist or make a sound ! Unless I’m being scolded and requested to respond. I’m always very sweet afterwards – no sulking / pouting / attitude . And there HAS to be lots of caring & affection – sweet words, hugs, and kisses – afterwards ! AFTER I’m married, sweet words, hugs, kisses, ETC.,…..sighhhhhh. Also, I prefer it to be when it’s just the two of us in the house, alone, and I like getting it all over the house ( chair in the den, sofa in the parlor, counter in the kitchen, and someday the bed in the bedroom…..


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