A Winter’s Tale VIII


Cossack spanking

Part I

Ivan sat at a crouch under the lowest branches in a stand of birch trees overlooking the valley. It was close as he dared get to the ruined castle before he made his move. But what move? So far he had counted perhaps 200 Cossacks and the only way in to the castle was across the open ground on which they were camped.

More than that, he didn’t even know for sure if Sofia was inside or what her captors would do in the event of an attempted rescue. A more religious man might hope to God but although the Good Father had brought him thus far, Ivan was at a loss as what to do next.

He thought of tales of Cossacks and heroes jumping outriders and donning clothing to sneak into hideouts. But not only had none of the assembled warriors in the camp conveniently strayed into the undergrowth, Ivan was pretty sure that it would take more than Cossack outfit not be challenged.

The only sensible thing was to find the Prince and come back in force. Ivan didn’t even need to ponder how many days that would take and the lack of guarantees that these men would still be here; he had no intention of turning back now.

What if the Prince were already on his way? After all Ivan had found this place. But again he knew that only a miracle of chance had sent him up this path and not another. There were a dozen valleys all with easier roads that the prince could come by and pass on without ever seeing the ruined fortress below.

As he looked down a large Cossack looked up and appeared to study Ivan’s hiding place. Ivan sighed and backed up to hunker down some more. These men were alert then. The man watching the forest kept up his gaze for some minutes before turning back to a fire he was building.

There were several fires in the camp, all small and professionally made so that only the barest wisp of smoke reached the tree tops. Had they been merchants then perhaps their smoke would give them away and lead the Prince here. In fact the fires were so small that they would barely serve to keep men warm at night and little light would be given off.

Ivan weighed all this without conclusion for some minutes before he winced. He slapped his hand to his head and almost laughed out loud.

“Fool,” he growled, “Damn bloody fool.” Ivan grinned.


Sofia shivered back into the corner and withdrawing deep into the growing dark. The small light that had gained her cell through the high slight windows was growing dim. It was the only clue that night fell; her last here perhaps. For there had been some talk among the other women that tomorrow they would be moved on.

Perhaps these men had enough captives from their raiding? She shivered again. It seemed churlish to feel sorry for herself now; whatever her fate, these women would fare much worse. Even now the food she was given was a little better than theirs. Then Sofia frowned. The food was late. The men had been bringing it a good hour before the sun went down. Probably because then they could easily see. But it was now close to full dark and yet no one had come.

She cocked her ear to listen for any sounds of approach but strangely it was quiet. Or at least the passage that led from her cage was. From the windows she heard another sound. A commotion of some sort, very faint but definitely men’s voices conveying some urgency.

“What is it?” Anya called over.

The peasant woman was on her feet now and came close to the bars to listen.

“I don’t know,” Sofia whispered, “But the food is late and…”

“Shush,” Anya hissed, “I can’t make it out, but look.”

Sofia suppressed her annoyance at being shushed by a peasant and looked where Anya pointed.

Beyond the high cell windows was an orange flicker. Camp fires maybe, but none had been seen before.

“Is the castle on fire? Anya asked anxiously.

Sofia answered her in a slow uncertain voice, “No, I don’t think so.” But all the same Sofia kept her eyes fixed on the windows.

Both women stared at the high walls nervously for some minutes until a clank up the passage startled them. No doubt it was the guard with their food.

Sure enough on looking they could see a large bear of a man, a Cossack still dressed for the outside lumbering up the hall. He was certainly carrying something although it looked too big for just a tray of food.

The man walked slowly and it wasn’t until he stepped into the faint light from the windows did they see he held not a tray but a man. Not dead Sofia thought, but from the way the large man dropped him carelessly onto the floor she did not think he cared overmuch.

“Are all the prisoners here?” the man demanded.

Sofia’s heart lurched and she strained to see what her ears did not believe.

“Ivan?” she ventured, and then more excitedly, “Ivan is that you?”

The man lunged forward only stopped by the bars and grinned. For a moment it looked as if even the bars would not stop him and then it did.

“Sofia,” Ivan gasped and then he laughed.


It was an act of sheer faith. There had been no way for Ivan to prise the bars. Instead, much to Sofia’s distress, he had run back down the passage and stood guard with his sword drawn to await reinforcements. Of course there was not the slightest reason to assume he would get any. Once the Cossacks worked out he was there he might just stand here in a fight to the death.

His plan, such that it was, was to light a great big fire and hope it spread to the forest. Then whilst the Cossacks were investigating he had seized one from the shadows of growing night to don his hat and coat and had merely strolled into the castle.

Now he hoped that the Prince and his men were close enough behind to see first the smoke and then as night fell the great glow in the sky marking out the edge of the camp.

Luckily the fire had put the Cossacks on guard, but instead of looking for one infiltrator who had already slipped in they grabbed their weapons and prepared to defend against what they believed was an attack; a belief that kept them busy for almost an hour.

Even then when someone did come to check on the prisoners he was alone and distracted.

“Someone’s idea of a joke,” he was muttering, “and why do I have to check on these bloody bitches?”

“What’s happening out there?” Ivan asked as the man approached.

“Buggered if I know,” the man yawned and shot a look back over his shoulder.

Maybe it was Ivan’s accent or the way he had donned the Cossack coat or hat. Or maybe it was just that the man quickly realised that he was a stranger, but for an instant the man froze. A hesitation that was a beat too long and as he drew his sword Ivan raised his and cut the man from should to crotch.

“Hey, what goes on down there?” came a shout and a moment later two more Cossacks came along the passage at a run.

Ivan chopped down the first but the second was too quick and the clash of steel rang through the old ruins. The desperate melee that followed was quick and well matched with slash meeting parry and thrust turned aside.

No more than eight or nine such blows had been traded when another voice piped up. “Oh Madonna, they are already here.”

With that another Cossack who had come to investigate the noise went stumbling back up the passage yelling out his lungs.

Oh well Ivan thought, at least I die for Sofia.

This resignation gave him fresh impetus and in two strokes he overwhelmed his fellow duellist and chopped him down. But now he had only 197 Cossacks to beat.

The men outside were slow to rouse it seemed. Maybe they still looked for an attack. But little by little men came in threes and fours to investigate the intruder.

The first of these fell easily but by then the Cossacks were fully alert and only the narrowness of the stone walls on either side enabled Ivan to stand them off. But swords fell upon him like rain and with each slash he fell back a step or two towards the chamber where the women were kept.

Worst still with each parry and counter blow Ivan’s arm began to tire and here and there he came close to losing an ear or even his head.

The Cossacks were furious and did not even think of accepting a surrender. Instead there were bilious screams of “Get him,” “Bastard,” and “I want his head on a pole.”

Ivan had no breath for an answer or bravado. His head ached, his arm was weak and every step back was one nearer his doom.


When at last the men fell back Ivan wondered if he had won or… but then he saw that the Cossacks were grinning and among them was an officer who was a head taller than all the rest. He was even taller than Ivan, an elevation only challenged by the breadth of his smile.

The man had two swords, one in either hand, which he now spun in eccentric patterns as danced forward with a martial confidence.

The only hope now was that the brief halt to the attack had let Ivan gain his second wind. But he did not think he could best this warrior.

“Who are you eh? One of the Molotov’s men?” the man leered. He had a Muscovite accent and carried himself with unusual assurance. “You have come for the Molotov bitch neh?”

“And what of you your honour, you are a long way from Moscow, have you come to die?” Ivan at last found the breath for some bravado.

“The Kern pay well,” he shrugged, “And the Molotov girl is her father’s only weakness.”

So that was it, Ivan thought, not that the knowledge would profit him much. But at least he did not rise to this aristocrat’s taunts and every delay allowed Ivan to get his breath.

It was a false hope for even as Ivan relaxed the man scissored forward in whirlwind of blades and Ivan was forced back yet again. This time only his sure feet as he tottered backwards saved him from evisceration. Oh to be sure here and there he expertly parried one or other of the blades but the nobleman always cut across with his second like a prince of swords.

Ivan doubted that had he two swords and the gift to use them that he could best this man.

“Do you like to ride my friend?” the Muscovite asked innocently without missing an expert beat. “I like to ride. I can ride like a Cossack. Perhaps tonight I will ride you little Molotov girl neh?”

Ivan roared at this and hacked at the man like the woodsman he was. If it was what the swordsman had hoped for he misjudged for in his rage Ivan threw the man back until he had gained almost all the ground he had lost.

“I sense a nerve to touch,” the man tut-tutted with a grin.

But something had changed. Behind him men were peeling off and running back up the tunnel. Ivan didn’t hear what they shouted and just then it made no difference for this was a fight between just two.

“Your honour, your honour,” someone yelled. “We are attacked.”

But nothing more was heard except the sound of battle from the field beyond the ruined walls. Steel clashing upon steel and the death screams of a dozen men all falling at once.


Prince Molotov had been the first to see the smoke rising. Not a campfire or a charcoal man, he adjudged. This was too much for that. Even so he might have just sent scouts but as night was falling he knew he had one chance.

“That way,” he ordered as 300 men wheeled at his word and waded into the forest.

The smoke was gone from view almost at once in the thick undergrowth, but as night fell the glow persisted giving a lie to any that said it was hunters.

“It is too big my Prince,” said his captain, “And nothing lays that way to explain it.”

But one of the men remembered the ruined castle and rumours from the past that it had been used by Cossacks.

“Cossacks?” the Prince hissed; his voice redolent with disgust.

He didn’t wait for further words and without a pause he pressed on deeper into the trees.

It had taken an hour to reach the Cossack camp and by then the once alert reception had fallen back inside to confront their interloper.

“There seems to be a fight,” the captain reported, “Perhaps some of our other men have attacked first.”

Prince Molotov stood up on his stirrups and studied the scene. He thought of his daughter and… he sucked in air through his nose.

“My lord, shall we attack?” the captain pressed him.

The Prince tightened his grip on his reins until they showed white. Courage do not forsake me now, he muttered. Then he nodded.


Even outnumbered Cossacks never flee. On open ground or without having the numbers one never fights Cossacks. But these men were afoot and in some disarray when the prince struck. He had more to lose than even they, so in the event the battle was a short one.

The first to die did not even see the horsemen charge. One minute there was all glow and smoke on the forest side and then there were horses and men dripping red in the firelight. The more superstitious of them took the attackers as devils and stood to gape and by the time the rest sensed the danger the Molotov’s were upon them.

Prince Molotov did not wait to see to the killing. With one great leap from his horse he dashed sword in had into the castle and the gaping maw of the dungeons.

“Sofia,” he screamed, running on like a man possessed smashing aside anyone in his way.

The tunnels were a maze and dark holes fell this way and that as he stumbled screaming through the dark passages. But finally he found his way and rushed on.

There was only one when he reached the cage room. He stood like a giant hefting a sword like an axe over another large man on the ground.

“If you have harmed her…” the Prince rasped; his breath now ragged and raw.

“My lord,” Ivan whispered. “Do you not recognise me?”

The Prince’s eyes shot back and forth as he tried to comprehend.

“Your daughter is safe,” Ivan said simply. “I have her.”

To be continued.

4 Responses to “A Winter’s Tale VIII”

  1. Yay! She is saved (and I assume the other girls are too). Ivan was so valiant. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

  2. 3 Raffe

    A wonderful tell, with no spanking either. Only Magic was such. I hope you take this story to the same height.

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