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Views: 416 Created: 2017.03.24 Updated: 2017.03.24

Arabella and the rod by stephen rawlings

CHAPTER 16 - OLD SICILIAN CUSTOMS.

Morning came at last, after a troubled night. At first the two women could not sleep, the soreness in their throbbing rears nagging like a crab's claws. Arabella's wounds were not as fresh as her friend's, but the thong between her legs was sharper than the proverbial serpent's tooth. She eventually brought her bed-mate some ease with loving fingers on sensitive bud but was denied the same relief herself, by the

unrelenting strap in her crotch. Moreover, she was horribly aware of her lack of normal bedtime toilette, and the wet, unhygenic state of the leather. Tomorrow was going to be horrific, if she was not allowed to remove the thong for further natural functions, but eventually

exhaustion overtook her present discomforts, and future fears, and she had slept.

Now there were decisions to make, although, as she analysed her position, she realised she had no real choices. She was bound to seek out the miller woman, not only to fulfil her obligation to apologise and bless the harvest, as petitioned, but also because she was the only person who could remove the hideous crotch strap that was destroying her with its crippling bite and the mounting fouling of her person.

Her soreness behind and below would make sitting a horse torture but, while the bruises under her buttocks would ease with time, the pain and fouling in her crotch could only get worse, and she must seek out the miller woman as soon as possible, cost what it may. She was also very conscious that, as she was forbidden soap and water, brush and comb, her appearance would soon be shaming, and unworthy of a Countess, and the people she was meant to be honouring by her presence.

She made what toilette she could, with a dry towel between her legs, and fingers and a silk cloth to straighten and burnish her hair. She applied perfume to obscure her body odour, which was already perceptible and would undoubtedly get worse as the day progressed. Her morning bowel movement had been a horror and a humiliation, squeezed past the thong, and with no effective means of cleansing herself, and she prayed she could hold out the rest of the day without having to repeat the

degrading procedure. Without a maid, or Julietta's offered but forbidden help, her corset presented a problem, but she felt she would not be adequately accoutred for her role in blessing the fields if she appeared in anything but the full dress of the great Lady she was. She fastened the laces to the door knob and leaned against them to tension the stays about her waist, reaching behind to assist their movement through the eyelets and then straining again. By this means she got them to a modest tautness, though far from then iron hard restrain she would normally have her maid create for her. Julietta wished her luck as she left, but was too sore to offer to ride with her. Once again, she observed Carlo's admonitions and a groom followed her at a respectful distance.

Moaning occasionally, and wincing often, she made the best time she could to the village, and found the miller woman sitting in the shade, watching the gangling youth keep the donkey to its work. She felt a certain fellowship with the patient beast, remembering the time she had been in its position, and the same stick in the same heartless hand had whipped her flanks.

Marthe, the miller woman, jumped up at her approach, and greeted her with great courtesy and goodwill.

"It is a great honour to have you here, Milady," she exclaimed, "we hope you have come to give a blessing to our harvest."

"Indeed, I have," she replied, dismounting painfully, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the sharp-eyed miller woman, "but first I would like a private word with you."

"It would be even greater honour if you would step into my humble home," and she led the way into a nearby house, small but well furnished by village standards, evidently Marthe had some standing in the village, and, Arabella was surprised to find in view of the woman's nondescript appearance, very clean and neat.

"Signora Martha," she began, "I have, indeed, come to bless your harvest, as you asked, and will walk the bounds with you, and the other villagers, but first I wish to apologise for my rudeness to you when you greeted me at Petraverdi, and to ask your forgiveness."

"Milady, there is nothing to forgive. You have come, and that is all that matters, but if you wish me to say I accept your apology, then I freely do so."

The astute older woman looked at her closely for a moment, and then went on.

"Since we are in private here, and one woman talking to another, might I ask if your visit has anything to do with the court you hold at the big house?"

"What do you know of our court?" Arabella burst out in astonishment. "Ah, Milady, you seem to forget that most of the women who wait on you at Petraverdi, your maids, your domestics and kitchen staff, are our daughters. It’s not that they are disloyal," she explained, "far from it. They are very proud of the fortitude of the ladies of Petraverdi, and the discipline you subject yourselves to. It’s a woman's secret among the villagers, the men are far too thick to suspect it, and they would never gossip about it outside their own families, but word reaches us from time to time."

Arabella so forgot herself at this unlooked-for news as to sit down, only to flinch as the thong bit at her movement, and the hard seat inflamed her bruises.

"I do not wish to intrude, Milady, but it is obvious that you have, indeed suffered at the court, and, if things have gone as I suspect, on my account, and by your own report. Is there anything I can do to ease you?" She gave a surprisingly youthful grin. "We have our share of beatings here as well, nagging wives, erring daughters, reluctant brides, and we have salves and simples that can give much relief." Arabella found it difficult to recognise in this kindly and thoughtful creature the cruel wielder of the hurtful stick that had driven her to turn the mill, on and on, though her back was breaking and her legs folding. Quickly she came to a decision.

"Yes, you are right, I did report to the court that I had treated you discourteously, and I am being punished for it," and she went on to explain her sentence, "so you see, it is entirely up to you when the strap is to be removed, whether I should wear it to walk round the fields, or you could, if you wish, send me home in it, so that I have to come another day and ask you."

Martha looked at her a moment.

"Lift your skirts," she said, "you've worn it a night and a morning, and ridden many miles. I could tell something was cutting you in two, the minute you tried to walk." She whistled as the welted buttocks were revealed, "Oh my, they did skin your bum." and she reached under the raised skirts and unbuckled the thong and the belt on which it hung. Arabella gasped and bucked as the thong pulled out of the deep groove it had cut in her most intimate flesh, but started to protest when Martha brought a cloth to wipe her soiled anus and thighs.

"I'm not allowed soap or water, nor a maid or friend to help me," she reminded her

"That's all right," Martha replied airily, "there's no soap on the cloth, and anyway it's only so I can apply salve, and I'm not a maid, nor do I think you have considered me a friend, since our first meeting."

"You certainly treated me very harshly," Arabella replied, shivering at the memory, and the touch of a cold and soothing unguent on her cunt. "No worse than any other," said Martha, stroking gently round her anus and then sliding forward to work the salve around the inflamed clitoris, which responded instantly to such a pleasing touch after the harsh bite of the strap, "You are all sent for punishment, and there would be no point in it if you were treated too lightly."

"There have been others then, made to work the mill like beasts?" Arabella wriggled as the massaging of her sexual bud began to generate even more powerful feelings.

"Lord bless you, yes," Martha replied, keeping up the stimulation, "it's a regular way of dealing with sluttishness, and laziness among the women of the village, and about once a month my poor old donkey gets a well-deserved rest, while some lazy trollope gets a well-deserved work lesson."

"I expect you have the odd unfaithful wife or lover, doing donkey duty too," said Arabella, a little unsteadily, as the attention to her clitoris brought her close to crisis.

"Oh, no. Adulteresses, and unfaithful lovers are dealt with quite differently, as you'll be able to see for yourself, if you stay until evening, for it so happens that we've two being dealt with in one day." And then, as Arabella reached her climax, and fell, spasming, against Martha's shoulder, " There, there now, that will settle your nerves, and take away the hurt from between your thighs."

Later, when Arabella had recovered her composure, Martha proudly walked with her round the prosperous village fields accompanied, it seemed, by half the population who had heard the news and gathered while their visitor was being relaxed by the miller woman's cunning fingers. They found the other half gathering the crops, picking fruit, harvesting grain and tending cattle and chickens that foraged among the stubble. "Do you have no sheep?" Asked Arabella. "I had heard there were lots of sheep in the valley."

"Oh, there's sheep aplenty, right enough, but they're up in the mountains, and their shepherds with them. Good thing too," she added, darkly, "they're a rough lot those sheepmen, and best kept up on the hills, though I expect there'll be a few in the village tonight, once the word gets around."

Arabella would have asked what she meant by this cryptic remark, had her attention not been drawn elsewhere.

"What on earth is that?" she exclaimed. 'That' was a young woman, little more than a girl, who stood with her back to a tree on the edge of an orchard. Her arms were stretched above her head and a rope wound tightly around her waist secured her to the trunk, her ankles likewise. She was naked from the waist up, and her well-developed breasts gleamed in the afternoon sun.

"I expect she's been caught stealing the farmer's pears," said Martha, unconcernedly, "He'll have taken a switch to her back, which now rests against the rough bark, and then he'll have smeared her breasts with the juice of the fruit she stole, she's bound to have picked ripe ones, and now the flies and wasps and all the other little flying things will settle on her bubbies to feed off the juice. She's unlikely to get stung if she keeps

quiet, but it's easy to panic if a wasp starts nibbling at your nipple, and she could go home this evening with rather larger dugs than she set out with. Serve her right for stealing, I say, though it's very likely her young man will compensate her for her sufferings, in exchange for an extra sized pair of pillows." And she laughed lewdly. By the time they had completed their rounds, the day's work was coming to a close, and Arabella was more than pleased to accept Martha's invitation to share her supper. It didn't seem likely, however, that her supper was usually that lavish, nor that she usually had twenty friends drop in every evening, but it was only fair for the honoured guest to meet the village worthies, and it seemed they appreciated the gesture. As the guests departed, Martha turned to her.

"Time for you to meet the adulteresses I promised you, and learn a little more of our local customs," and she led her out into the village square.

Two women were each bound to one of the posts that supported the mill canopy. They were naked, and the bruises and fading weals on their backs and buttocks, showed that their husbands had already extracted some personal revenge, before hauling them before the village elders, for final disposal. One of the women was quite young, perhaps twenty-two or three, with a slim but shapely body, very pretty features, now clouded by fear and apprehension, and a mane of glossy black hair, which matched the thick thatch between her thighs. The other older culprit, a very well preserved blonde in her early thirties, was obviously a woman who had been used to what passed for luxurious living among the villagers. Her complexion was still smooth and pale, as if she had never been made to work in the fields with the other women, and her soft white hands indicated that neither did she toil indoors. Her voluptuous body was still shapely, with narrow waist dividing flaring hips below from full firm breasts above. Her golden hair hung down her back, and again, a thicket of glossy curls covering her mons showed she had used no artifice to enhance its brightness.

A considerable crowd had now assembled, including the village Headman, who now called for order.

"Camilla and Bianca stand accused of adultery, and their guilt has already been decided by the meeting of elders. Have the husbands decided what their fates shall be?"

A good looking man in his thirties, a small farmer, Arabella thought, stepped forward and formally declared himself to be the husband of the younger, dark haired woman, Camilla.

"Well, what is it to be? Shall she ride the devil's prong, or the cart of shame?"

"I will keep her. She shall purge herself, and then come

back to the farm." He gestured towards his errant young wife, who sobbed loudly with obvious dread of what lay in store for her.

"And you, Antonio, will you have Bianca back?"

Antonio was a fat, prosperous looking man in his fifties, almost certainly a merchant of some sort, probably dealing in olive oil, grain and other local products, which would explain Bianca's pampered

condition.

"Not I," he declared roundly, "she's played me false once too often. Besides, she took money from my cash box to give to that no-good lover of hers. No, she can go to the devil on a handcart this time, or perhaps become a two-legged sheep. I'm through with her."

At this rejection, the blonde wife became frantic, struggling in her bonds, and calling out to him.

"Not the cart, Antonio. Let me ride the prick. Make me go every night for a week if you must, but don't cast me out. I'll do anything," she promised, "I'll make you die with pleasure, I'll be so loving in bed." "I dare say you would make me die, if you had the chance, and not with pleasure," her husband replied, acidly, "but you'll not get the opportunity now." And he turned his back on her as she continued to shout out and plead with him. Arabella turned to Martha for an

explanation.

"What are this cart, and the prong, or prick?" she asked, "and why is one so much more dreadful than the other?"

"It depends how you look at it," Martha replied, "which you think the worse. The prick is made of brass. It's larger than life, or at any rate, as good as any man round these parts, and its made in one with a wide, hollow base. Charcoal burns in the base until the prick is hot enough to sizzle when you spit on it, and the woman has to lower herself onto it, to purge the foulness she has done from out her cunt. They say it's very ancient, and was brought here by the saracens, when they ruled Sicily."

Arabella shuddered at the thought of hot brass penetrating a delicate vagina.

"Surely no woman can survive that?"

"Oh, you'd be surprised what women can survive. It's hell at the time, and her cunt's a source of misery, rather than pleasure for months, but they heal in the end, and are good as new. You don't think that lusty farmer is going to deprive himself of the satisfaction that sweet body can give him, do you? Mind you," she added, "he'll have to use her bum for a while, until she's healed, if he wants her to get back into shape, but I don't suppose he'll find that too much of a hardship." "So what is the cart then?"

"Just what it says, a plain little hand cart, with a flatbed about thigh high from the ground. They say this idea is even older than the brass prick, and was introduced by the Romans of old. The woman's strapped down on it, on her back, with her buttocks on the back edge, and she's led rounds the village for anyone to have her, any way they like. Placed as she is, the men can put her legs over their shoulders and ram it up her, cunt or bum, just as they please."

"And it's not just the men either," Martha added dourly, "there'll be a lot of settling of old scores this evening. I'll wager Maria, that's wife to the silly young idiot that ploughed Bianca's fat furrow last, will be filing her thumbnails to points right now. Bianca won't have much clit left if all the wives she's stolen from do the same."

"Even so," said Arabella, "it's not as bad as having to sit with red hot brass up your cunt. Bianca's lucky to have got the lesser evil, and I cannot understand why she should plead to change it."

"Well Milady-" she hadn't addressed her as Milady for hours. Perhaps Arabella was displaying a lack of understanding of the peasant condition that rankled with her guide. She made a mental note to report herself at the next meeting of the Court. Would she always wear a red gown to their gatherings? "it might be the less for a personage like yourself, a few rough pricks and a mauling from the women, and you'd crawl off somewhere and start again, but these women have nowhere to go. Antonio's rejected her and, after everyone's had a go at her, she'll be wheeled out to the waste lands, beyond the cultivated fields, and tipped out on the rocks, naked and penniless, with nowhere to hide. Her only hope is that a band of shepherds has lost their woman, and will take her up to the hills with them, though she might well wish, in the end, that they'd left her to die, since their women are slaves, cooking, cleaning and mending for a dozen men, and servicing them all every night, and a beating every day. Their sheep are treated better. Actually the shepherd's women are known in the village as two-legged sheep. "They were distracted from further conversation, for the moment by signs of movement among the knot of village elders. The two husbands came forward, each holding a vicious looking whip, and stood behind their respective, if not now respectable, spouses

"Twenty strokes, well laid on," announced the Headman, "and don't spare that Camilla, just because she's young and pretty, and you want to use her again. This is meant to be an encouragement for the other women."

"What about the men?" Arabella enquired of her mentor, "Do not they have to suffer as well?"

"Oh, no, they're not expected to pay, unless some husband asks for financial compensation for the use of his property. No, men are supposed to be animal creatures, ruled by their pricks, and no more to blame if they ram an offered cunt than a bull in a field who comes across a willing heifer, and mounts her."

By now the floggings were well under way. Both women cried out as the cruel leather cut into their backs and buttocks. Camilla's husband seemed to have taken the Headman's warning to heart, and was laying on his strokes with a steady power which demonstrated familiarity with the whip. He worked his way down her back, leaving a trail of ten angry red weals in a regular spacing from high on her shoulders, down almost to her waist, the tip curling round under her right arm, to seek out armpit and

tender side of breast on the way. Sparing her kidneys, he switched lower, to lay ten more scalding stripes across her sweet rounded cheeks, leaving the once smooth white globes a ravaged battlefield where the whip was victor, and the weeping, choking, writhing woman very much the vanquished.

Antonio had needed no encouragement to make his wife's punishment exemplary for the lustful females of the community. He set about his task with gusto, but lacked the skill of his fellow cuckold. Luckily, perhaps, for Bianca, he seemed to have formed a desire to attack her large soft white udders, which her position, with arms upstretched, rendered potentially vulnerable. He struck repeatedly across her back, forehand and backhand, seeking to get the tip to curl round and cut each breast in turn, but his accuracy was poor, and only half the blows actually reached their real target, though a cut on any part of that soft back would be agonizing. Tiring of the sport, he transferred his attention to her broad, but still shapely, buttocks, and drew out her last half dozen screams with vicious blows that fell indiscriminately on under-buttock and the tops of her thighs, only the post, to which she clung for dear life, preventing him from trying to get the whip to curl upwards from behind, curl round her flank, to assault her cunt, and the source, as he saw it, of her lust.

They were cut down, sobbing and clasping their wounded dugs, to be sat on a hard wooden bench, which did nothing for their welted bottoms but rather imparted further suffering through contact between their raised purple bruises and the hard unforgiving, surface. Two women came to stand behind them.

"That's Maria that I told you of," explained Martha, "just look at her nails, didn't I tell you she'd sharpen them like needles, and the other one's the fianceŠ of the young man that Camilla was so foolish as to let between her thighs."

The women carried scissors and proceeded to hack off their rivals' hair, none to gently, judging by the cries of pain and shame as the black and gold tresses fell to the ground. As they sat there with their treasure falling about them, they could contemplate, on another solid bench, a curious brass object being prepared. Its base was circular, flaring out to about eighteen inches in diameter, though only about a quarter of that height, and was perforated all over, in the Arab style, and appeared to be covered in inscriptions in the Islamic, kufic script, an odd survival in a nominally Christian country, though Arabella had observed on her travels that, in these mountains, the people were more Pagan than Papist. From the centre top of the curious receptacle rose a gleaming brass phallus, moulded in perfect detail in full erection, the glans uncovered, and the great vein with its convoluted turn seeming almost to pulse

with lust. It was worn smooth by generations of assiduous polishing. Indeed, Arabella learnt later, both this evenings adulteresses had been made to polish it earlier, so that they might have an intimate

foreknowledge of what lay in store for them, if their wronged spouses were to give them a chance to rehabilitate themselves. Now it shone in the late light and a woman, another wronged wife perhaps, fanned the base, driving thin streams of smoke through the vents, and demonstrating that the miniature furnace was heating the stem to the proper

temperature to cleanse an adulterous vagina.

When the vengeful wives had completed their work, leaving the once proud heads covered in ragged stubble, a little man, obviously the village barber, appeared, carrying a bowl and razor. The two victims made no protest as he proceeded to shave each head completely free of any trace of hair, but sat there, huddled over themselves, clasping their wounded breasts, and shifting on their welted hinds. They might even have been grateful to have the barbaric handiwork of their vicious executioners converted into clean smooth domes.

Their respite, if respite it was, did not last long. With a squeaking of ungreased wheels, a small flat handcart arrived, and the struggling blonde was seized and forced to lay her voluptuous body on its lacerated back, her raw buttocks resting on the rough rear edge of the cart, which chafed them sorely. Her arms were drawn forwards and tied to the front corners, while a stout leather strap was passed through slots in the bed of the cart and drawn painfully tight across her belly. Her legs were free but any man, or woman for that, standing between them, would have her at their mercy, and could use her as they pleased.

As the cart, pulled by several women out for revenge, set off on its round, Martha laughed shortly.

"She'll have a busy time tonight. Some men will abstain, for their wives' sake, especially those who've had her already, but she's a lush piece still, and it's generally accepted that it's a civic duty to punish the sinner, and not therefore fornication, and most men, married or not, will feel free to put it to her. Apart from that, I've seen a good few rough men from the hills wandering in and out the tavern, so she'll get some sport there. I wish her joy of them. Mostly they make do with sheep, and each other, so their taste generally runs to buggery. From the look of Maria's nails I'd say she can expect a sore cunt, a sore arse and a sore clit, if she has one left, by morning." Just then the woman fanning the malevolent brass erection into life called out that she thought it might be ready. Whimpering with terror, Camilla was hauled to her feet and dragged to the other bench. The Headman stepped forward and carefully let a small gobbet of spittle drop onto the gleaming glans. It hissed and crackled, as Camilla moaned and shrank away.

"It's ready," he announced, "and now you must cleanse yourself, Camilla, if you don't want to be put to the cart. Bianca's got a greedy cunt but there's sure to be plenty left for you," he mocked, "if you can't face the fire."

Propelled forward by women at each elbow, the wretched young woman was forced to stand astride the bench, just above the phallus, whose heated tip was poised a mere three inches below the cringing vulva. Her arms were seized, and bound, wrist to elbow, behind her back, and all was ready. Her female jailers released her and her husband came to stand in front of her. Another male, a sort of bizarre 'best man', stood behind her.

"You know what you have to do. Down on the prick, and legs straight out in front, or it won't count. That hot lover has to go right up." The woman, almost gibbering with fear, flexed her knees, but

straightened them at once as she felt the heat of the phallus

approaching. Half a dozen times she dipped and rose, moaning all the while and then, gathering all her courage, thrust herself down. As the hot tip touched her labia, too far off the mark to make any penetration possible, she shrieked and jacked upright again. Her husband spoke again.

"You'll have to do better than that. I want that bastard's spunk boiled right out before I'll have you in my bed again."

Three times more she made the effort, only to be unable to face the pain while she tried to get it to enter her terror dried orifice. Watching, Arabella felt her own belly contracting in sympathy, each time the woman dipped, and she shivered as she imagined that searing length entering her own tender sheath, but, perversely, her vagina flooded to overflowing, rather than dried up with fear, and the contractions she felt were composed as much of lust as of dread.

"If you don't go all the way this time, it'll be the cart for you," her angry mate threatened, but, before she could gather herself for one last try, there was an interruption by the woman who had earlier fanned the phallus to full fervour.

"Give her a chance," she pleaded, "the poor cow has done her best. You can't expect her to get that thing started in a dry cunt without her hands. Let me grease her a bit, and then she'll manage it." and she stepped forward with a lump of bacon fat in her hand, and pushed fingers full into the bone dry shrunken vagina.

The young wife drew in her breath in a long gasp, and then expelled it in a great cry, as she plunged herself down onto the burning brass. As the great prick plunged into her with a sizzling sound and a smell of frying bacon, her husband seized her ankles and jerked them forward, so that her full weight drove the hot brass pillar fully home, and she sat with her buttocks and thighs resting on the even hotter charcoal brazier, that formed the base.

"On my command," the husband bellowed, above her piercing shrieks, "uno, due, tre, avanti!" and, with the 'best man' holding her under her arms, they hoisted her off her fiendish perch.

As she came clear, the watchers could see the inflamed red circle left by her fiery seat, but could only guess at the state of the vaginal lining. In a state of collapse, she was carried away.

Arabella could not believe that a woman could survive such treatment, and still remain a woman. She confided her doubts to Martha.

"Don't you believe it," that worthy replied, "I'll let you into a little secret," she said, "you may not believe it, looking at me now, but, when I was younger, and first married to the miller, God rest his soul, I was good looking enough to have my pick of the men, and I did too, until the miller had had enough, and sent me to the prong. I thought I would die, indeed for the first week or two I wished I had, but I healed in the end, and the miller got two sons on me, but I never looked at another man again."

Arabella looked at her new acquaintance with fresh interest; the woman had depths she had not understood at first. Quite apart from the relief of losing that dreadful crotch strap, though the discomfort of it paled into insignificance against the sufferings she had just witnessed, she felt she had made major gains from her pilgrimage to the village, cementing the allegiance of the peasants, and gaining a valuable ally and informant in the deceptively dour Martha. She wished her farewell, warmly, and set off back to Petraverdi, and a week of degrading, toilette-less, penance.