Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sword & Sorcery 18 Cooking lesson

"How long have you been there," Delrayna demanded.

"Long enough," Aleric grinned. He entered the stall far enough to lean against the gate.

"I suppose you think I'm a leech." Delrayna stared at her master.

"I think it's a little late to start worrying about that." Aleric stared hard at Delrayna. "You made your choice when you burned my name into your leg. Now, Eva is willing to teach you how to cook and I am willing for you to learn.'

Delrayna turned on her heel and stomped over to the ice box. She pulled out a piece of meat and all but threw it at Eva.

Eva just grinned as she took the meat. "Now watch closely," she instructed as she slipped th e meat into the pan. Soon the meat was sizzling. "The trick is to remember that meat has two sides, and both should be evenly cooked. Not charred on one side and raw on the other."

Delrayna watched as Eva checked one side. She did it by using the edge of a knife to lift up one side amd peering under it. She was quite happy with Aleric doing the cooking chores, despite any comments she might have nade about not being a good slave. Those were mostly for show anyway.

"See," Eva caught Delrayna's attention. She had flipped the piece of meet in the pan. "See how evenly that is browned? Do this enough times, and you get a feel for how long each side needs to be cooked." She waited for a period of time, that Delrayna judged to be approximately the same amount of time the first had been cooked for. Eva flipped the meat over, and Delrayna saw that it appeared as evenly cooked as the other.

"So, if both sides look the same then it's cooked?"

"Nope," Eva answered Delrayna's question. "But close. Now, we check to see if the meat is done." She turned to look at Aleric. "How do you like your meat?"

"Medium," Aleric grinned. Maybe owning a slave might not be so bad.

"Touch it," Eva told Delrayna.

"What?" Delrayna stared at Eva.

"Touch the meat."

"But it's hot," Delrayna.
"Just touch the meat," Eva said. "I guaranteee it won't feel as bad as the brand you applied to your leg."

"Delrayna," prodded a voice from behind.

Reluctanty Delrayna put oput a finger and poked the meat with it.

"What did it feel like," Eva asked.

"Like hot meat."

Eva rolled her eyes. "Was it squashy, not so squashy, or firm?"

"Not so squashy," Delrayna said.

Eva prodded tjhe meat with her finger. "Not so squashy it is, just a bit longer. See, when you cook something, you're removing water. Raw meat is squashy, because it has lots of juices. Well done meat is firm, because all the juices have been cooked away. Keep that in mind, and your master will be a happy master. Feel it now."

Delrayna did as she was told.

"Aleric said he liked his meat medium. It feel's medium now." She speared the meat out of the pan, and sliced a piece off. "See no red. Raw to medium will have red in it." Eva cut the meat into three pieces. Delrayna reached for one only to get her fingers rapped with the knife in Eva's hand. Delrayna looked startled.

"Masters eat first," Eva said curtly.

A soft chortle told Delrayna that Aleric was quite enjoying the show.

"Get a plate and some cutlery," Eva instructed Delrayna. "Place a piece of meat on it and present it to Aleric. It's not a full meal, as it has nothing to go with the meat, but there's no need to be rude about it. Place it in front of him, do not plunk it down. Remember, he is your master and deserves your respect and obedience. While he eats, I'll take the pan down to the stream and clean it."

"I'll go with you," Delrayna saw a way to escape this.

"And how will you attend to your master's needs if you are not here," Eva asked. She found it difficult to hide the glee she was feeling. It wasn't that Eva wanted to look down on Delrayna. Eva looked on slavery as a lifestyle, one that she enjoyed. Sure there were many inequities to that life, but the laws that governed slavery protected the slave more than they did the master. Eva knew many slaves that had chosen that protection over the vagaries of freedom, but they had all attached themselves to Masters that were willing to take them on as their slaves. Delrayna, as far as Eva could gather, had attached herself to a Master that had shown no interest in owning a slave. That, as far as Eva was concerned, was just plain wrong and, while she didn't want to show it, she had no qualms in finding amusement in Delrayna being required to be a slave. "You chose to be a slave so be one."

Delrayna stared at Eva.

"He's not my master," Eva stated. "It is your place to see that he has what he needs to enjoy his meal. Not mine." Eva disappeared with the pan. leaving Delrayna to glower, leaning against a wall.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sword & Sorcery 17

"What is this?" Eva poked at the items on her plate. Delrayna had invited her over to her stall for supper. "Am I being punished for something?"

"Er ah sorry," stammered a flustered Delrayna. "I, ah, never really learned how to cook."

"Your Master is okay with this?" Eva speared a piece of meat and held it up. It was charred black on one side and raw on the other.


"Good man," Eva murmered, and raised an amused eyebrow. "You must be good in bed."


"It's been my experience that a man thinks about two things. His stomach or his bed. You can't cook so you must be good at bedding."

"He hasn't touched me," Delrayna squeaked. "At least not that way."

"Then why...," Eva gaped at Delrayna. The a slow smile slid across her lips. "You did it yourself, didn't you girl."

"What," Delrayna repeated.

"You made yourself his slave."

"I didn't..."

"Men are selfish. They don't take slaves unless there's something in it for them. You can't cook and he doesn't bed you..."

"I told you how that happened," Delrayna interrupted.

"You also told me that you wanted out from under your sister's thumb," Eva said, a harsh note entering her voice. "He could have left you at the nearest town, or just ridden off." Eva stared at Delrayna. "That's what he wanted to do wasn't it?" Delrayna stared back defiantly. "You leeched yourself onto the first half way decent man that came along didn't you?"

"What else was I supposed to do? It was either that or spend the rest of my life under Sarah's thumb, or as a whore."

"Better a whore than a leech," Eva snapped. "And what's between you and your sister anyway."

"She a selfish bitch," Delrayna practically shouted. "Why do you think I never learned to cook? Because she was always right there, making sure that she got the attention that Mama needed to give to me, so she could teach me how to cook. It's not like Sarah wanted to learn to cook, or cared about my wanting to learn to cook, or anything else. It was about her being the center of attention. Always her, and when she got magic. It wasn't enough that she was finally going to get a life where she could be the center of attention and be catered to, it was how Mama had stolen her birthright and needed to be punished. And how she was going to rescue me from a life of drudgery and how I would come to appreciate her and love her for what she did for me. She wanted to use me to punish my folks, and to cater to her."

"Well that won't happen now," Eva told her caustically. She grabbed a poker and spread out the coals in Delrayna's brazier. She grabbed a pan and slammed it on, dropping in a bit of pig grease.

"What are you doing?"

"Teaching you how to cook. Slaves don't always get to have a choice in their Masters. You might eventually have one that requires you to cook, and he deserves better than that." Eva waved at the trash bin where she'd scraped off her plate.

"You can't," Delrayna started to protest.

"Actually," a voice said from behind them. Both girls turned to see Aleric standing there. "She can."

Monday, March 16, 2009

sword & sorcery 16

Aleric entered the Tavern and looked around. It was a bit early in the day, but he was sure that there'd be someone around. And he was right. Ther big room was nearly empty, except for a group of ment slustered around one end of the bar. Some of them looked like they's been there since yesterday.

Aleric chose a seat near the men and signalled for the barkeep. A pitcher of Ale, he ordered and glasses for my friends."

"Hey," a sloshed voice called out. "We ain't your..." The voice clamped off as shekels clinked onto the bar.
Aleric grinned as he eyed his new found companions.

"It is said," He said conversatiionally. "That the Glorious One comes to Osoyoos. Another shekel hit the bar. A coin that soon disappeared into a grimy hand, but not before the Ale was delivered and the glasses poured. Aleric took care not to let his companions know that he'd seen the owner of the hand.

"Aye," a voice said. "He does, runs the Hed Sed there. Like we care if he can rule the world or no."

Another coin fell on the bar.

"He may not this year."


"He did not reach Osoyoos, though it's said that his chariot did."

"A bit of free advice," The barkeep wandered over polishing a glass. "The Guard's antsy, and will be asking about strangers that nose about." He paused and studied Aleric's features. "What do you know?"

"Nothing," Aleric grunted. More coins landed on the bar as he ordered another pitcher of ale for his friends.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sword & Sorcery part 14

"Triboda's on the warpath!" Cynthia rushed into Sarah's room and flopped herself down onto a large bean bag thing. "I just saw her storming off down the corridor."

"Did you see someone else," Sarah sniggered as she put the lid back on a pot of cosmetics she's confiscated from a first year apprentice.

Cynthia thought a moment. "Well I did see that Anekhsenamun kid..."

"And she was walking funny."

"Not that I noticed."

Sarah's eyes narrowed as she turned to face Cynthia. That was clearly not the answer she was expecting. "Was she at least crying?"

"Was she supposed to be?"

"I sent her to Triboda with a note saying that she had refused Priest Jeremy..."

"Who's Priest Jeremy?''

Sarah rolled her eyes. "There is no Priest Jeremy. There never was a Priest Jeremy..."

"Then why..."

"Because Anekhsenamun, and who names their daughter that, was a little too independent for her britches and needed taking down a peg or two. Can you imagine she actually refused to do what I asked. And all because she wanted to go to class."

"She needs her education."

"Why? She already knew how to scry. That's all I needed."

"Well Triboda is really steamed. You might want to ease up a bit."

"I'll ease up when I have Delrayna here, where she should be.," Sarah snapped. "Besides, what can Triboda do to me? I'm the High Priest's favourite."

"What so important about having Delrayna here?"

"Because she wanted to stay down on the farm with those people. After what they did to me."

"But she's not there any more. Didn't you say she was some barbarian's slave? She won't be accepted here."

"I'm not going to let my sister be slave to some ignorant savage," Sarah hissed. "I'm going to bring her here and they are going to accept her or they're going to find out the power the Priest's Favourite can wield."

"Didn't she enslave herself," Cynthia asked.

"If the little bitch wants to be a slave then she can be my slave and then I'll ease up on the underlings."

Sword and Sorcerty part 13

Mistress Triboda stormed into the Administration Office and pulled out the top drawer of the ancient and battered filing cabinet. The One Whole Earth and True Religion didn't give a damn about her far flung Temples, just the amount of shekels Luxor could squeeze out of them. Snatching the red punishment file, she slammed it open on the desk beside her.

"What was it this time," a sympathetic voice came from the main counter. Mistress Triboda glanced up to see the clerk standing beside the counter.

"Anekhsenamun refused Priest Jeremy." Mistress Triboda particularly hated the fact that the OWETR actually realised that the Priests were men, and that men had needs and actively recruited girls to fill that need. Something that she had brought up time and time again, and had been shot down time and time again. With the same old tired excuse that it meant that the Priest would keep hands off children and. anyway, the Priestesses over at the competing World Delphic Religion did the same thing. Just in reverse. Every time Mistress Triboda heard that piece of logic her right arm started to tingle. True, the Priests were supposed to confine their needs to those who wished to learn the baser ritualistic types of magic, but it didn't always work out that way.

"Ummm, there is no Priest Jeremy here." The clerk looked confused.

"And I'm willing to bet," Misress Triboda snarled, "that none came calling either."

"Then how...," the clerk began. "Ap Nud," she finished.

"A sealed note," Mistress Triboda said, finishing writing up the punishment log, and slamming the folder back into the drawer. "I'm willing to bet Anekhsenamun knew what was in it too."

"And did you..."

"I gave her the standard lecture, then I put a pillow over her butt and gave her the strokes she had coming. Just so I could record the infraction, the fact that she had come to me, and had received the required amount of strokes." Mistress Triboda sighed. "I'd go to the Priest but Ap Nud's his favourite and he's got a rather blind eye when it comes to her."

"Maybe if you wrote a letter to their parents," the clerk suggested. "About how their daughters are being treated."

"What good would that do?"

"Probably not much," the clerk admitted. "Most of them are gullible enough that the Priest will win them around. Eventually. But it might be enough to delay donations and Luxor is begging for cash."

"Might be worth a try." Mistress Triboda thought. "Okay, give me addresses for the thirds years and below. Those are the ones she usually terrorizes."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sword & Sssorcery part 12

"I don't see why you're all that interested." Clarissa rolled over on her bed and stared at Nekki. Who was kneeling in front of a small stand on which she had set up her scrying equipment. "Besides, don't you need something of your subjects?"

"I got enough hair for a couple more views," Nekki yawned and rubbed her eyes, cursing the day they had found out that she was good at scrying. She looked at her closest friend. "I'm interested because I don't want Ap Nud going nutso all over my ass."

"She still sending you to Mistress Triboda?"

Nekki nodded. "I kind of hope that if I can keep Mistress Ap Nud happy she won't keep sending me. Even Triboda's getting tired of it."

"But not so tired that she lets you off."

"You know she can't do that, and she never looks at me with anything less than the stern expression she's got welded to her face." Nekki grimaced. "You know how she likes to have you lay over three pillows when she wants to get in a good swing?"

Chrissi nodded.

"She's having me lay over two and covers my butt with the third."

"So she..."

"Whacks the pillow instead of me," Nekki finished. "Still though, if I can keep from being sent to her..."

"So," Clarissa rolled out of her bed and went over to sit beside Nekki. She peered into the mirror but could see nothing. "Telepathy was her thing, not scrying. "What's happening?"

"Delrayna, I guess her name is, is reading tarot cards." Nekki peered into the mirror. "She's using four cards, which doesn't really give the whole picture. She'd be much better off using a five card spread."

"Well," said Clarissa, if I could see her I could teletell her."

"She's in Penticton, you couldn't reach her there. Besides you have tom see her before you can teletell her anything. At least the first time. And you can't see her because you can not scry her."

"But," said Clarissa, "I can see you and if I can look inside your mind and see the image that you are seeing then maybe I can teletell her how to read the cards properly."

Nekki looked at her friend. "You really think you can."

Clarissa just grinned and sat cross legged and started some deep breathing excersizes. As she did so she imagined herself reaching our to embrace Nekki, slipping inside of her, seeing what she saw. Slowly an image formed inside her. An image of a stall, and a girl prodding at four cards, looking as if she was trying to make sense of it. "You're not doing it right," Clarissa thought. "Let me help..."

The girl in the image jerked, and the image was gone.

"I got a head ache," Nekki groaned.


Delrayna had a splitting headache. She'd been sitting in her stall when a voice had clearly said that she was, doing it right. Doing what right, and who had said it. There was no one in her stall and Mathilda was sitting on a stool near the entrance to the barn.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sword & Sorcery 11

"I need a room," Aleric told the Innkeeper.

"For how many," the pimply faced boy asked.

"Just me and my slave," Aleric answered.

"Any animals?"

"Two, a haorse and a mule."

"That'll be one single room and three stalls." The boy started writing in a book. Aleric stopped him.

"I hae only two animals."

"Yes Sir. That'll be one stall for your horse, one stall for your mule and one stall for your slave."

"Why can't she sleep in the Inn, share my room."

"We used to allow that sir, placing extra cots in the rooms for slaves. However that would lead to brawls if a guest interfered with another guest's property, or gave the appearance of doing so. Since most of our guests also frequent the taverns, we decided it best to remove temptation from their paths. Our stalls are clean sir, and your slave will be provided with a cot,and adequate bedding, no different than what you'll find on your own bed. She will have a small table for her use, and a brazier to supply warmth. For however long you are with us." The Innkeeper looked over his shoulder. "Mathilda," he called.

"Whaddya want Jon?" A massive woman came out of the back room. She was massive, not massive fat, massive muscular. She had blond hair, blue eyes, and a broad face. "I'm just getting off shift and I wann go home."

"You working the barn tonight."

"You know it," she growled. "Got three girls and a boy out there. Not that they're much company, sawing logs like they do, even louder than the animals, I swear. No activity, no nothing. Why?"

"This guest has some concerns about billeting his slave in the barn."

"Why my company not good enough for her?" Mathilda gave Alaric the once over. "You can rest easy sir, she'll be safe enough. Nothing ever happens on my watch. Never has and never will. " Mathilda winked. "Why don't you go on down to the Tavern and Jon boy here'll get you and your slave all fixed up right properly, and I'll be along to see that her beauty rest is not disturbed."


"Damn!" Delrayna cursed. She must not have mixed the cards right. For an hour now she'd been shuffling the tarot cards, getting a feel for them, and laying them out in a simple pattern. Of course it would help if she knew what they were casting for, but this four card layout. It was supposed to allow the Tarot to instinctively pick up on her energy and give her hints. What they were telling her was to evalutate everything carefully, rise above pettiness and not to overburden herself, to focus her emotions and to fullfill promises made. The only major promise she'd made int he last while was to be a slave. She'd even sealed the bargain with a brand.


Eva didn't seem to mind being a slave. The two of them had spent the day moving around the Market and talking. Eva had admitted to being enslaved at an early age, so didn't really know what it meant to be free. Except that free people didn't seem to be all that happy. Because they had to grow up, be mature, take responsibility for their own lives. They didn't have Masters to take responsibility for them so they didn't have as much time in their lives for carefree fun and laughter.

They'd run into Della at the Apple Seller's booth. What he had didn't look all that good, but they were cheap, and some of the more bruised. the Apple Seller let them have, free, so they wouldn't drag down the quality of his other apples. Eva grabbed a couple and tossed one to Delarayna before grabbing a couple more. Della sniffed and picked a couple better one which she had to pay for.
Eva ran off, leaving Delrayna with Della. There was a slight disgusted look on Della's face, but she agreed to walk Delrayna back to the Inn. They talked on the way.

Della didn't like being a slave. She'd been born to a dirt poor mothr, who'd barely been able to eke out a living for herself and Della. Her father had run off and left them with next to nothing. Della seemed to take pride that even though the roof over their heads was a wooden sidewalk, or a rat infested crate, they were free. Then she had been captured, marked as a slave. She dressed better, ate better, had a room and warmth at night. But she longed for freedom, even if it meant starving in the streets, and looked down on those that accepted their slavery.

When they reached the Inn, Delrayna watched as Dellla marched stiffly away. Della had asked how she had been enslaved. Delrayna had told her about the ambush, and her Master coming along and saving her life. She didn't tell Della that she had practically forced herself on her Master, and felt a twinge of guilt because it felt like too much of a lie.


Aleric entered the stall and hunkered down against the far wall. Delrayna glanced at him. "They told me you were at the Tavern."

"I was," Aleric grunted. "Hoping that someone there would know something."

"Like about the Pharoah running the Hed-Sed in Osoyoos." Aleric jerked his head up. " Should have asked a slave."

"Did this slave say when the Hed-Sed was going to be run?"

"No," Delrayna answered.

"So either the Pharoah was not travelling with his crown and will show up in Osoyoos. Or he did travell with his crown and was captured."