It had been a long hard journey, travelling by night as well as by day,
across the mountains in the bitter cold of early winter. The golden light of
dawn fell on the ground with the golden leaves from the tree overhead. He
had been a long, long time on the road and no longer felt the miles. What he
felt was the solitude.
Serving the King was a good position, and a Crown messenger did have certain
prerogatives. Like turning up at an inn and demanding food and drink in the
King's name. Like having the door opened by the Inn Keeper's daughter, the
only soul awake in the place at the crack of dawn. Like having the buxom
lass prepare him a simple but hearty breakfast, and slide along the bench to
hear the gossip from the city.
Like having her pretend there was a nail loose in her boot heel, and
stripping her boots off to show some very shapely ankle. Like having her
heave her bosom in his general direction and slide along the polished bench
while she listened to him. Like grabbing hold of her wrist, and wrestling
her to the floor...
She looked very pretty wriggling around in red rope. The King's messenger
helped himself to a jug of beer and a second helping of stew and listened to
her (rather unconvincing) protests. She didn't seem to be making much effort
to get herself untied, even though the position looked quite strenuous.
After a while though her struggles took on slightly more urgency. He guessed
that her hands were getting a bit numb, and she was probably finding it a
bit hard to breathe lying on the hard wooden table. He finished his beer,
wiped the froth from his stubble, and smiled at her.
"Now my dear, I have been on the road a LONG time..."
She yelped as he started to unbuckle his belt.
It didn't last too long. He had been on the road a long time. As he
rearranged her skirts and made her look a little more presentable (if still
a little flushed), he asked her how often they got visitors, and where
everyone else had got to.
"Well, if you'd ASKED I could have told you. They've all gone off to market
and they won't be back until nightfall. And we'll be full this evening, but
everyone stays in town on Market evening. So we're all alone here."
"Perfect", was his reply.
"You COULD untie me you know. I live here, I'm not going anywhere."
"I could, but I don't think I will. It is more fun this way!"
He left her to struggle, tied to a chair, while he went in search of
firewood to warm the hall. Even after a month on the road he still needed
some break between exertions. She wasn't going anywhere, after all!
The next time around he took his time. Slowly untied her, slowly undressed
her. He wasn't going to tie her up again... but somehow it just seemed like
the right thing to do. She pouted when he untied her, but pouted even more
until he tied her up again!
The life of the open road. The life of an innkeeper's daughter. Each had
their compensations, on days like today. Tomorrow, he would have to leave.
But today... today there was time to remember what life was really all
about. And maybe some day soon he would get sent this way again, and the
Innkeeper's daughter would be here to greet him again.