And so, the last snippet from the first chapter of my Medieval WIP, which I’m itching to call The Stolen Bride. Let’s see if the title lasts the editing process. Carrying on from last week, Nadia, a postulant (somebody who is not quite ready to be a novice) has been caught absconding from the convent. The prioress has it in for Nadia and swiftly instigates a birching.
The cold room had little comfort to offer. The rest of her might feel the iciness, but not the heated flesh of her throbbing rump. To add to the discomfort, the prioress landed a few swipes lower, across her thighs. Her skirts rose higher, nearly uncovering her bare bottom. Thankfully the prioress wouldn’t countenance such nudity. At least up to now. The rumours about the prioress couldn’t be true, surely? How the priests employed her to judge the readiness of the young women who lived in the villages about Kirkdale. Thank goodness Father William was not at the convent that day. Nadia couldn’t bear the thought of him witnessing her birching. Imagine it, her nearly uncovered behind on view and the sanctimonious weasel leering at her!
She jerked and nearly fell of the bench. An especially hard swat had interrupted her attempt at distraction.
“What else do you do outside these walls, Nadia?” demanded the nun in a breathless rasp.
“Nothing!” Nadia lied, squeezing the tears out of her eyes.
“I know you, child. I know what terrible temptations lie beyond this sanctuary and you have succumb to them. Confess!” Another sweep of the birch accompanied the shrill command.
Nadia gritted her teeth. It was worth it, she repeated silently. “Nothing,” she gasped. “Please, I beg you, I wandered too far into the meadow. That is all.”
The prioress sighed. “I cannot beat you any more today. I will not be made into a monster. You must live with your sins, Nadia. Go. Prostrate yourself before the altar in the church until supper. Pray for your immortal soul.”
Nadia rose gingerly and allowed her tunic to slip back down. The fabric chafed against her sore bottom. She swallowed her pride and wiped her tears with her sleeve.
“Thank you, Mother,” she murmured. She shuffled towards the door, but waited to she was on the other side before clutching her cheeks and releasing an audible cry. “Owww.”
The noise attracted the attention of a passing novice, Agatha. “Again, Nadia?”
She nodded. “And I still have to lie on the cold stone floor of the church for hours.”
Agatha whispered in her ear. “I’ll bring you something to lie on.”
Nadia smiled. “You’re an angel.”
“Somebody has to be,” Agatha winked.
What Nadia probably needs is an offer of marriage… wouldn’t that be helpful, especially from a knight.