Lord of the Manor, part 2
Chapter 7. Squire John
Steele had been gone for about twenty minutes and Gerwald had begun to pace as he had seen his host do. He found it relaxing in a way, thinking and burning off energy at the same time. When his host returned he once again met that unblinking gaze. “Your decision, Gerwald?” was all that his host asked.
“I would like to learn from you and stay, Sir.” Gerwald’s replied slowly. His decision had not come easily but it had come as an epiphany, a blinding flash of sudden understanding.
Again his host smiled. “Congratulations young squire, you have just taken your first step into a larger world. Please follow me. I'll show you to your bedroom for the night. You may want to get cleaned up some then rest a little bit. The ceremony tonight starts at midnight and I will send some one to get you at right time.”
His host picked up his bags and showed him to a room on the second floor. The room was nicely but not lavishly appointed. The room had a bed, chest of drawers, desk, and easy chair. There was a TV on a stand in one corner. It struck him that it was smaller then he expected, but he noticed while being lead down the hall that there were six rooms that opened into the hall where he had expected perhaps three or four rooms. For a house this size this struck him as odd, but not terribly so. It reminded him to some degree of the dorms at school.
One room on this floor was a bathroom and it was the only one with an open door. The rest of the rooms all had closed doors. Each door had large paper/binder clip attached to the door. Most of the rooms had a single five by seven-inch card in the clip with a name printed on it. Most had a single feminine name on the card but some had names like “Squire John” printed on them.
He laid down on the bed for a minute the got up. Got his Fortran book out of his bag, opened it at the desk, then closed it then began to pace again. Whatever was about to happen tonight he knew he wanted a part of it and now he could not wait to see what would happen, he felt like a kid again on Christmas Eve.
He left his room briefly to use the bathroom then went back to his room. Nothing had changed but it had burned some time. He had walked into this house at about 9:30 tonight to fix a stereo and by 11:00 he had found himself one hundred dollars richer and invited into a larger world. He paced his room like a tiger in a cage. He was having second thoughts now but the computer science major side of his mind had broken tonight’s events into a series of if/then branches.
He stopped his pacing when the program his mind was putting together saw several possible branches that he had not considered. He began to smile and relax and found the tension he was feeling bleeding off like the last of a year's work at harvest time being dumped into the grain chute. For no reason he could put a label on he suddenly felt much better.
He lay on the bed again and this time he was able to relax. The tension he had been feeling was not unlike that before a game at TAMU. Now it was gone and the restlessness he was feeling was gone. He would just have to wait but he was sure now that the wait would be worthwhile. His mind now began to drift of the things that might be.
His reverie was broken by a knock on the door. He got off of the bed to answer it. When he opened the door he found his friend John and the girl who had driven him to the house tonight. He almost didn’t recognize her.
John burst in and in the tradition of the football team at the time both men gave each other a bear hug and tried to see who would be first to lift the other off his feet. Gerwald had a slight advantage because of his height and beat John to the punch this time. But still both were grinning when Gerwald let him have his feet back. John has pounding him his shoulders.
“Welcome, you old farm boy! I see you made it and you must have impressed Steele. You got us out of a jam tonight that’s for sure, and the guests are just now showing up. Man, its good to see you. I still don’t believe I pried you away from your computer. At dinnertime, did you get something to eat? What do you think of this place? Did he talk you into staying the night?” While John continued his non-stop questions Gerwald was looking at the girl.
The girl was kneeling at John's feet, perhaps a foot in back of him, her back straight, knees wide apart, head and eyes down. She has dressed in a something similar to the blue dress he had seen on the girl who served him dinner. Her hair had also been piled high on her head and was beautifully done. It reminded him of the hairstyle his date had worn on prom night. He did remember his date talking about it and the time it took to get it that way. Why she was kneeling he had no idea.
He finally looked at his friend and started answering his questions. “Glad to help, you dumb halfback, and yes I got it fixed, just lucky I had the parts, you know I can’t walk away from a mystery like this and I still have not figured out what I got myself into.”
“You must have done something right, did Steele talk to you?"
“If talk is what you call the interrogation he put me through while I was try to eat, yeah we talked. Do you want to tell me what going to happen tonight? I keep finding more questions than answers. Would you sit and tell me what’s going on!” Gerwald demanded.
John sighed and looked at his friend. “You are much as I was a few years ago, impatient and demanding answers. You will learn to control that and your anger. Control, as Master Garret preaches, is the key. But I can answer a few things, but first what I came here for.” He then turned and looked at the girl who was still in the hall. She had not come in yet and this struck Gerwald as odd.
John snapped his fingers and pointed at a place near his feet, the girl rose and picked up a small item wrapped in silk that Gerwald had not seen at her side. She walked in to the room quickly then knelt again at the place where he had pointed. She again assumed the same position she had in the hall. Now that she was closer he could see her better. And what he saw gave him an erection. She was only wearing the one dress and nothing underneath. He could see her nipples through the light fabric and they had stiffened when she walked into the room. In the harsh light of the room very curve of her body was now revealed.
“Lovely, isn’t she. You may remember her from your drive. Now let me introduce you to her in a new light. This is Joanna.” She lowered her head and smiled as he spoke her name. “Tonight she becomes my slave.” He let this sink in for a moment then looked at Gerwald. The surprise on his face must have been obvious. “I can see that I got your attention.”
Gerwald said nothing but continued to stare at the girl a moment, the looked at his friend, “Yes, you have it now. What does that mean exactly.”
His friend was smiling as he gave his answer. “Control farm boy, it all comes down to control. But first what I came here for. Hold your right hand out to her.”
Gerwald did this and the kneeling girl first kissed the outstretched hand then opened her little package. It was a scarf that had been folded around a few loose items. He recognized a cloth tape measure and a paper and pencil, but not the bracelet-looking item.
The girl looked up at John and he nodded to her. She took the tape measure and measured his wrist. Then removed it and measured it again. She wrote down her results on the piece of paper. Next she picked up the bracelet-looking item and sorted through it. She began to try the various loops on his little finger. Only then did he know it for what it was; a ring-sizing guide. She wrote down this result as well. When she had finished she once again kissed his hand then placed all the items back in the scarf and folded up the corners of the scarf and loosely knotted the ends together. Only then did she return to her position.
Gerwald had watched this whole little ritual missing nothing. Every little movement seemed to have meaning attached to it. Again the questions came flooding into his mind. What had he gotten himself into? This whole evening had been one surprise after another. He had kept quite during this whole little episode but now that his friend had settled down maybe he could get answers. “OK John, what was that for?”
John was looking at the girl with an intense gaze that seemed to be communicating other things. This broke his concentration and he looked at Gerwald then held out his right hand. He noticed nothing at first then saw the bracelet he wore. It was a heavy silver ID bracelet , similar to what many men wore at the time. Gerwald had never given it a second thought. "Look at the bracelet, do you see anything different about it?” He took it off at this point and handed it to Gerwald.
Gerwald turned it over in his hand a few times and looked it over. It looked very normal to him. It was heavy, silver and had John's name engraved on the blank part of the bracelet. He started to give it back. “No, it looks like a hundred others I have seen.”
His friend shook his head a little. “Observation and attention to detail is something else you will learn here. Look again but this time look a little harder.”
Gerwald once again looked at the bracelet the only thing different about it was a crest or coat of arms engraved above the name. He had seen variations of this but the crest on this seemed to match something he had seen downstairs in Steele's house.
“The Coat of Arms?” he finally asked.
“Yes,” John said looking pleased. “You will learn to recognize that crest. In the tradition of the Guard a man who is accepted for training wears a bracelet like this until he completes his studies, then it's replaced with a ring for the little finger that bears that same crest. You must have impressed Steele and he is considering accepting you or he would not have asked for the measurements. You made it. I must have been here a dozen times before it happened to me.”
It was Gerwald’s turn to shake his head in wonder. He had just become part of some secret lodge or club or something. The or something is what had him worried. Again he asked himself the question. 'Just what exactly have I gotten myself into?'
Chapter 8. Pomp and Circumstances
Gerwald handed back the bracelet to John with a sense of awe and perhaps a bit of trepidation. Rather than put it back in his wrist he handed it to the girl who kissed John's hand before she attached it back in place. His friend looked Gerwald over and noticed his discomfort.
“I will answer your questions in a little while but first it will not do for you to show up tonight sporting an erection. Part of what you have to learn starts now.” John stopped speaking for a second to motion to the girl. She stood before them head down and arms at her side.
“Strip.” John said to the girl and her hands went quickly to one shoulder and undid some fastening there and the dress fell to her feet, hardly making a sound so light was the fabric. “Display position” was his next command and she again quickly put her hands with fingers interlaced behind her neck. She balanced her weight on her feet at the same time to leave her sex open and available. Every inch of her was now exposed to their gaze.
“Control Gerry, that’s what this is all about. Do you like what you see?” He had gotten up at this point and stood behind her. He was running his hand up and down her sides, making he shiver in places. With the dress removed he could see the erect nipples and much to his surprise her crotch was completely bare of pubic hair. When John noticed where his gaze landed he smiled. "Yes, that reminds her of what she submitted to."
“Before I continue I’m going to leave her with you a few minutes, She will relive you of that.” He said glancing at his crotch. Then he put is hands tightly around her waist. “Blow job and when you are done come fetch me.”
He turned on heel and left at that point to leave a rather stunned Gerwald behind. The door closed a second later leaving him to wonder what would happen next. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Then the girl asked in a low voice, “May I please break position, sir?”
Gerwald had no idea how it was to act. He quickly decided to keep his answers simple and too the point until he had figured out things here. He had not felt this lost since that first day at college when the realization hit him that he was no longer at home.
“Yes.” He said to the girl and she knelt in front of him and went about her work. He started to undo his belt but her hands stopped him. And she shook her head no as if to say 'this is my job'. She soon had his pants unbuckled and was treating him to the best oral sex he had ever had. He had never felt anything like this, but he did recognize that this skill came from practice or training rather than from blind groping learned in the cab of a pickup truck at a drive-in movie.
Gerwald was hardly a virgin, having lost it under the high school stadium seats after a football game when he had made a tackle that won the game. His previous experiences were insignificant compared to what he was feeling now. His world for a few minutes got reduce to the area of his crotch. His orgasm came quickly and to him it seemed like the lights dimmed in the room. When he came back to the present the girl had some tissue paper from the bathroom and was cleaning him up. After she was finished she closed and zipped up what she could and buckled his belt.
She left at that point and nothing stayed but her scent. John appeared perhaps thirty seconds later again with a big smile on his face. “Fantastic, isn’t she?” was his only comment. He sat down by Gerwald and looked hard at his friend. He was recovering from what had just happened and his breathing was coming back to normal.
Gerwald nodded his head yes, and blurted out “I never felt anything like that.” then looked at his friend. He was dressed a little differently then before and was now in black slacks and loose black shirt. Similar to what he had seen Steele wearing. “Ok John, can you talk now? Can you explain part of what’s going on.”
“Anything in particular? I could talk all night and not tell you everything.” John replied.
“What happens tonight? I fixed the stereo for something special tonight, what the heck happens!” Gerwald shot back.
John smiled. ”Tonight I graduate and will be initiated into the Guard. I have been training with Steele for almost two years.” He looked at his watch then back at Gerwald. “OK I have a little time so let me tell you some of what is going to happen. Can you let me talk for a bit without one of your interruptions? I can explain anything else you want at school next week.”
“Yeah, I can do that as long as you don’t wander too bad like you do on the football field.” Gerwald huffed.
“OK, first what has Steele told you? Did he talk about his time in the service and where he met these people?” Gerwald nodded his head yes. “Good, that helps.” John said. “Steele looks for one or two young men a year to train. Most of them are on campus. He has taught us a lot of things but one of them is how to recognize dominant and submissive traits. I saw that in you right away but have been waiting for the right time to bring you into this. Things just fell into place tonight. The Guard has traditions going back centuries. Many of them are based on military or religious rituals from different countries. England, France, Russia and Germany are a few of them. Now don’t get the idea Steele's doing this is all out of the goodness of his heart. You work! You give him a couple of days a month. You will help him take care of his horses, work around this place, mend and paint fences, help him in his wood shop, his legal research and so on. Whatever suites your talents. In your case farm boy, I bet you get to muck out the horse stalls and shoe those moody creatures. Anyone who made the first cut on the equestrian team at school like you did is a natural for that job.” John started chuckling at that thought then got quite.
John paused for a few moments while gathering his thoughts. “Along the way he teaches. The big benefit that I see is you get to make contacts both here and abroad. He has two friends here tonight who were in the military with him from Europe to help initiate me. I’m in for a long night but its gonna be no worse then getting hit by an O.U. tackle on the field.”
As John appeared to have run out of steam, Gerwald decided to ask a few more questions. “The girl who was here, she is not dominant! Where does she fit into this?”
John looked up. “I told you, we look for both traits. Some women who know they have a submissive side seek Steele out. I meet Joanna in one of my classes and helped her find Steele. We look for that in our lives and make a few suggestions along the way. Don’t discount the power of suggestion, it can be incredibly powerful. Some of those who find him or he finds he trains or has them trained to cultivate that sweet submissiveness. You would be surprised, some of those who have found Steele vary in age from 16 to 60 and some of them are very successful and influential. Again a few of the contacts I have made along the way may surprise you. I should tell you now that Steele doesn’t like gay men, but one of the Brits he hobnobs with does. Just take my advice on this and don’t bring it up around him.”
Gerwald took a second to digest this, he still had more questions but they would not come into focus. He was about to ask another when John stood up. “Follow me for now and we can talk later. I’m glad you wore some decent clothes to come here rather than those jeans that always smell like horse manure.”
Gerwald did look at himself in the mirror and straightened himself out a little. Whatever was going to happen next help some importance to John. He led John back downstairs to the music room. Steele was there as well as several others and was deep in conversation with two of them.
The men who were sitting in chairs next to Steele were impeccably dressed. Both seemed to be Steele's age or older and both of them showed quite a bit of gray hair. The gentleman in the Brooks Brothers gray suit, complete with vest and tie, was puffing on an old briar pipe. Gerwald’s first impression screamed banker. The other gentleman was wearing a much more casual outfit. Black slacks and a black mock turtleneck shirt of some kind and a gray sport coat. Another young man was sitting across the room from the trio dressed identically to John. When John and Gerwald entered the room Steele stood and came and got them and led them led them back to the older guests.
Steele made the introductions. “Gentlemen, I would like to introduce a prospective squire of mine to you.” He turned the man puffing on the pipe. “This is Sir Nigel Grand.” Then he turned to the other man. “And this is Monsieur Jean-Louis Dauphine. Both are old friends of mine. They will be helping me tonight. We return a favor or two to each other from time to time.” Then he introduced Gerwald to them.
Sir Nigel spoke first in a decidedly proper British accent. He took Gerwald’s hand and began to pump it up and down rapidly. “Nice to meet young man, Garret has already told us about you providing a spot of help tonight. Well done, well done, indeed!”
Jean-Louis spoke next. As expected he had a French accent right out of the movies. “It was bonne chance that Squire John knew of you. Merci!” Then lightly shook his hand also. “You name, can you tell me how you came by it?”
Gerwald should have expected it but related the story one more time. When he was finished the Jean-Louis was smiling and nodding his head.
Sir Nigel was grinning from ear to ear then spoke with a hint of envy. “How do you find all these fine young men Garret? I’m lucky to meet one I would consider worthy in bloody year!”
“The advantage of being close to two universities,” Steele replied. “You really should have taken that seat on the board at Watt University. It would have put you back in touch with the real world.”
“No time,” replied Sir Nigel. “The financial business keeps me busy enough but your idea has merit."
“If you gentlemen will excuse me,” Steele said, “I must talk to Gerwald for a minute then perhaps we can get started with what we have laid on for this evening. He motioned Gerwald to follow him and he led him to the library. “Has Squire John told you what will happen tonight?” Steele began without preamble.
Gerwald looked at his host with an even gaze. “Some of it, sir. He did promise to explain everything next week.”
“Good,” replied Steele. He had begun to pace back and forth again, “Now the only question that remains is would you like to witness his initiation.”
"Is it permitted? If it is I would like to stay and watch.”
“Yes,” said Steele. "It is permitted and encouraged. You need to know what will happen. I do have your word so that is not a problem. I have learned to trust John’s judgment and it seems sound to me. I was sure you would want to witness this tonight.”
“You do have my word. sir and I would like to stay and witness this.” Gerwald was looking at his host while he said this and saw him smile. He had ceased his pacing and was looking at Gerwald with a steady gaze. “This, like anything else worthwhile in life takes time and must be earned. And once its earned no one can take it away from you. Now, my young Gerwald, let us return to the music room and see what the International contingent is up to. I'll be lucky if Jean-Louis doesn’t seduce all my staff by the time he leaves.”
He led Gerwald across the hall to the music room. Not a lot had changed other than they were all together now. John and the other young man had taken chairs closer to Steele's guests and were deep in conversation. Almost by agreement it stopped as they neared them.
Gerwald saw a small nod of agreement between Nigel and Jean-Louis and then they shared a look of agreement between themselves and Steele. Steele himself returned this nod then looked at the John and the other young man. “Are you two ready?”
They responded nearly in unison “Yes, sir.” Then Steele picked up the phone again and punched a button. “Its time,” was all he said and then the girl who had served Gerwald his dinner appeared again and stood behind John and his friend. This time Gerwald took the time to look at the girl. She was dressed in the same fashion as Joanne. He was sure now she was wearing nothing under her dress and when she caught Gerwald’s eye she quickly averted he gaze to the floor. “Prepare them and we will be along shortly.” Steele said.
They left the music room and disappeared down the hall. The girl was following them a few paces back. After they had left Gerwald was handed a cup of hot tea from a tea service and was told to wait. Steele and his friends left as well. He was looking at the cup in his hand. The little teacup looked ridiculous in his hand and he was afraid he was going to break the delicate little thing he was holding. He was wishing for something for something larger when Steele and his friends showed back up. All were dressed similar to Steele now and gone were the coats, vests, and ties to be replaced by black slacks, loose black shirt and shoes. Jean-Louis was wearing a black sash about his middle and the proper British gentleman was now wearing a black ascot at his neck rather than a tie. There must have been bedrooms downstairs as well and Gerwald was beginning to wonder just how big the house really was.
Steele selected a piece of music from a collection of reel-to-reel tapes and threaded the tape machine then started it. He was playing with the switching system and the music began to play in the room then switched it to another. When he left the room every one followed him.
After taking a few steps down the hall he opened the door to another room and they all went in. The lights were low and the bulbs in the light fixtures gave the impression of flickering torches. The walls contained all manner things. Gerwald did see a little larger crest like he had seen on John's bracelet in the center of one wall. Other things adorned the walls as well including mounted trophy game heads. The music Steele had started was playing unobtrusively in the background. The room looked like furniture had be re-arranged recently as things seemed to have been moved to give them room in the middle of it. A Ping-Pong table was folded up and was to one side. A table to one side had a variety of crops and floggers and other implements neatly lined up. Steele went to the table and selected one.
In the center of the room John and his friend were kneeling on large cushions. Their shirts had been removed and were kneeling back on their heels, backs very straight, hands on their thighs in front of them. It looked almost as if they were at prayer. Nigel and Jean-Louis went to a place in front of them.
Nigel began the evening by opening a little book he had and consulting it then looking at Steele “Master Steele, do you testify to us that the squires before are worthy of the title Master, they have learned from you and know the ways and traditions of the Guard.”
“I so testify.” replied Steele then used the flogger and struck both the kneeling young men one at a time. “Duty!” he announced as the first blow fell. “Honor” he announced as he struck them the second time. “Courage” he announced on the third blow.
“That they will uphold these traditions. That they will never shirk from their duty to the Guard?” Nigel inquired again.
I so testify,” replied Steele, then used the flogger again for another three strokes each.
“Will they honor their charges' desires, be strong for them, protect and defend them in all ways as is the tradition of our order?" Nigel asked.
“I so testify that they will,” replied Steele then used the flogger again for another three strokes each.
“Have they attended well to their lessons and learned all that you have tried to teach them. Is their character strong and have they accepted and never shirked from their duty to you? Have the accepted both the work and pleasure of their training?” Nigel asked.
“I so testify that they have,” replied Steele, then used the flogger again for another three strokes each.
“Do they know the ways of the Guard, will they in time accept others as their own squires and teach and train them as you have trained these men before us?”
“I so testify that they will,” replied Steele, then used the flogger again for another three strokes each.
Gerwald had been standing to one side and had been watching the proceedings with mild interest. He though of the punishment he had received by his father and came to the conclusion that this was more ritualistic then any real attempt to punish. Now he understood John's comment. He would get hurt worse on the football field than by this initiation.
He had noticed that both of them had broke out into a sweat. It was clearly visible now in the flickering light of the playroom. He began to think that perhaps this was a game but then he remembered the strength and control in Steele’s handshake. If he took it into his mind to really punish he was dead sure that Steele could deliver it and would without hesitation.
And so it went on with Nigel going through page after page in his little book and the young men stoically men accepting the blows from the flogger. This tradition and the ritual they were going through had roots in several places but mostly from old military schools which trained men to become officers in the various services. Later he would learn that this one was a combination of traditions from several things including Greek Orthodox and a Russian military school prior to the fall of the Czar. Not as impossible as it seems as the church and the clerics ran the best schools at the time. Similar to Jesuit schools in many respects they “Made men - for men”. If the candidates made it through the scourging without resigning, they immediately became officers in the Czar’s service. Those who did not became corporals and sergeants, as they had to be able to read and write.
On it went with Nigel reading and Steele delivering three sets of strokes to each man's back. Nigel got to the last page in his little book. Steele had evidently worked up a sweat in his exertions. At the end, Nigel looked at the two kneeling men. “On the testimony of Master Steele and by virtue of your endurance I accept you both into the Guard. You both may now carry the title of Master.”
At this point Jean-Louis approached them both carrying a small velvet lined tray. The velvet was blood red and on it were two gold signet rings bearing the crest of the Guard.
He went to John and removed the bracelet and put the signet ring on the little finger of the right hand. He repeated this for the other young man. Jean-Louis put his tray on the table and returned with another tray with a bottle of wine and six glasses. He set the tray down and poured the wine into two glasses.
Every one was smiles at this point and Nigel spoke again. “Arise, gentlemen, and welcome to the Guard. A bloody good show!” Then Jean-Louis handed them both a glass of the wine he had poured. After they had finished the first glass only then did he fill the remaining glasses and passed then around. Gerwald would have drunk his but he noticed no one else has touched it. When Jean-Louis he had refilled the initiate’s glasses he waited.
Both of them then raised their glasses and the other followed. “To the Guard” was their simultaneous toast. The others repeated this and every one took a small sip of the drink to share in toast. Then this started a round of handshakes and back slaps all around. Again Gerwald could only think, 'What have I gotten myself into?'
Chapter 9. A collaring
Steele and the international contingent held up their glasses in salute and there were more congratulations all around. More toasts made, wine sipped and a general feeling of relief and camaraderie as the new Masters were welcomed into the Guard.
Steele called things back to order by tapping the signet ring on his little finger on his wineglass. “You must now all join me in the dinning room. A small buffet should be laid out by now and as my young squires ... excuse me, let me correct myself. He paused a minute to look at John and his friend. “My young Masters,” he paused again to raise his glass to them in salute, “have been fasting today I think it is time to move the celebration there as I’m sure they are famished!”
Steele opened the door and the normal room light spilled in and made everyone blink and squint. After nearly an hour in the low light conditions of the playroom it was surprisingly harsh. One by one they drifted out, except for the new Masters.
Joanne and Shirley were kneeling in the hall waiting. They had set on the floor in front of them a small bowl filled with water, a towel, and a small jar of something that looked like balm or medicine. The came in and the young Masters knelt on the pillows again and the girls began to bathe their back and dry them and then treat with the balm the few welts that were there.
Gerwald watched this a few seconds and began to smile. 'Better than a personal trainer or conditioning coach', was his thought as he made his way to the dining room. The dining room table where he had a steak just a few hours earlier was now covered with white linen, and trays of meat, fruit, cheese, vegetables and bread were laid out. Condiments were in small bowls rather than their commercial containers. One of the servers to the side of the room was laden with hot beverages and another server held ice buckets and cooling in them were a bottle of champagne, some wine bottles, and other cold beverages. One thing that did surprise Gerwald was the absence of hard liquor.
He made his way to the table and began to make a small plate for himself as he had seen the others do. Nigel had made his way to the hot beverage server and had made himself a cup of tea to go with his food while Jean-Louis had made his way to the cold beverage server and was pulling the cork on a bottle of wine. Jean-Louis had caught Gerwald’s eye and waved him over. “Do you know wine, young squire?” was his question as Gerwald arrived.
“No sir, we never had that much at home except on holidays.”
The Frenchman shook his head in a very Gaelic gesture of resignation. “You Texans and your foolish wet/dry laws. Every time I am here and I must wonder at what has happened. All I can find in your stores is merde French wine and the California stuff you call wine. When I come here to Garret's place, I am find I am forced to bring a case of my own in order to survive. A Frenchman without wine is like our English friend over there without his tea or scotch. It just is not done! So lacking in civility.” He sighed. ”I was started on wine mixed with water when I was six.”
He got over his diatribe the looked again at Gerwald. “So young squire, your education in the finer things in life begins now. This is an excellent Beaujolais from my family label. You must tell me what you think of it.” He poured a splash into two glasses then handed one to Gerwald. “Just a sip and tell me what you taste!” he demanded as he lifted one to his own lips.
Gerwald did as he was asked and tried to answer, “I taste wine, sir, but nothing else.”
“Again young squire! But divide your taste this time into a beginning, a middle and an end! You should be able to taste the fruit and the sweetness or tartness of it. Look for sharpness in the middle taste, perhaps a hint of acid there,” tutored Jean-Louis.
And so began Gerwald’s training, learning wine under a Frenchman’s tutelage. A sip of the wine, then an explanation of what to look for or what to try and taste. Along the way a few comments on what made a good wine and how the growing season could affect things. An early spring rain might improve the color, but then the sugar content would go down. His farming background gave Gerwald a good background for their discussion. Somewhere in there Jean-Louis talked of his vineyards and how he had combined this trip with a visit to an importer in Houston and how he would soon be selling his wine in America.
The two new Masters came in about this time and began to work their way through the buffet. Both were eating as though famished. Gerwald did ask about the fasting only be by told by Nigel, “To prevent accidents, old boy. Spilling ones cookies during the initiation is considered very bad form!”
While giving his lessons to Gerald Jean-Louis commented at one point about the Communist Party and the elections going on in France and how it may affect him and his business, but the talk always came back to his love of the wine. “We French may elect a communist house this time, but you tell a Frenchman he may have no more wine, and voila, political revolution overnight! He made a cutting motion with his hand to amplify the comment.
Everyone in the room was listening to this and most got a big chuckle out if it. Good food and conversation, and for Gerwald, a feeling of belonging to something larger than himself. The party lasted for perhaps an hour and he was beginning to feel exhausted. This day had been longer then he expected. He was about to make his apologies and head for his bedroom when the girls returned and began to quickly whisk away the food.
When they were done Steele announce the second ceremony tonight would begin shortly. Gerwald did remember that Steele had said something about it earlier. Between the food and the wine he was getting a little fuzzy.
He started some very quick deep breathing exercises to help clear his head and increase his circulation. Whatever was happening he didn’t want to miss a minute of it. Steele excused himself saying he had to change and Nigel and Jean-Louis took their leave also with the same excuse. Gerwald got the idea that something special was about to happen tonight and went to up John.
“You see?” John said to the other young man “Nothing to it.” Then he turned Gerwald. “Gerry, meet another of Steele’s students, this is Ed Grant. This turkey goes to UT Austin, he is the business school there.”
Ed and Gerwald shook hands and he winced a little at the handshake Gerwald gave him. “Nice to meet you, but go easy please, I’m not the beef you two are! I was lucky I made it through that!” Ed said. That got a laugh from all of them.
"Balancing budgets and fighting a hard statistics problem is not much preparation for what happened tonight. I don’t think John there even felt it!” Ed said as he rolled his shoulders and flexed his back a little.
“Oh, that dumb halfback felt it, alright,” commented Gerwald, “he will just never admit it to an underclassman or a UTA student."
“Never let 'em know it hurt, just smile back at em. It scares em,” John said. This got a chuckle from everyone.
“John,” Gerwald asked, “Can you tell me what else is going to happen tonight? I still haven’t figured out everything here, just some hints from you and Steele.
Both John and Ed looked at each other and a look of understanding passed between them. Things had moved so fast that they seemed to have forgotten Gerwald was new to this. John waved them both to the music room and they sat down.
"How much time do you think we have?” John asked Ed.
Ed glanced at his watch then looked up, “Maybe five minutes, you know how Steele is about punctuality.”
John was nodding his head in agreement then looked at Gerwald. “OK, the really short version. Basically if a woman approaches Steele and want to learn about being a submissive she goes through training like we did. She gets a collar of consideration immediately if she passes his initial interviews, and then it's replaced with a training collar, and if she gets through that, and, if she asks, it can replaced with a collar of ownership. Shirley has asked for that and Steele is granting it. There is a formal collaring ceremony tonight.
Gerwald was having a hard time grasping all of this and was shaking his head in disbelieve. “What’s that mean?”
“Simply put, Gerry, she becomes his owned property tonight, Steele doesn’t grant that to everyone, but Shirley has been after this for over a year.”
Ed Looked at both of them then said “We had better get to the playroom, we don’t want to be late for this. Besides I’m the bell ringer tonight.”
Again Gerwald just shook his head and followed John and Ed to the room they had been in earlier. Whatever else was going to happen had to very special to rattle John. They got to the room and Ed went to one side and checked that what he needed was on the table. He picked up an oblong bell put it back down then checked on some other things. He waved to others behind to get behind him. One of the cushions they had been kneeling on earlier was gone and the one that was left was in a different place. The earlier lighting had been turned off and now there was normal room lighting. He said, “Everything is perfect, they must have been working around the party”
John was nodding his head in agreement. “Shirley wants things perfect and I haven’t seen her this nervous since the last time she was expecting punishment. Kara even did Joanne’s hair and the other to match hers. It’s kinda like a wedding so I think she has the right to be nervous.”
Steele, Jean-Louis, and Nigel walked in at this time. They were wearing more formal clothes this time, matching gray suits with ruffled shirts and bow ties. Not quite a tuxedo, but close. They took their places near the cushion. Jean-Louis and Nigel stood behind Steele and after they had checked each other's clothes and fixed a wrinkle or two Nigel went to the table that held the floggers and whips earlier and picked up a crop. He handed this to Steele like one would surrender a sword. “You are ready,” he declared, when Steele accepted it. Nigel went to the door and opened it then stood there at attention. His back ramrod straight.
Steele looked at Ed and nodded. Ed picked up the bell and rang it once. No sooner had he rung the bell then music began to fill the room. To the strains of Johann Pachelbel’s (1653-1706) Canon in D, several women began to walk in the room in a procession. All the women were wearing the same off of one shoulder tunic in a light blue. All had their hair up in the same ornate style he had seen on Joanna earlier, but this time all had flowers pinned in their hair. The beauty of the three women who entered the room stunned Gerwald. Never had he seen such lovely creatures.
They walked into the room in time to the music and when Shirley entered the room they stopped for one step to allow Nigel to fall in between them. Shirley was carrying a small pillow in her hands slightly out in front of her. An open ornate collar and a chain leash, wound up neatly, were in the center of the pillow. When the procession reached the front of the room the girls who led the procession melted to the sides and each knelt by her Master.
Nigel turned to face Shirley. “I have known this woman for three years. It is my pleasant duty to give testimony of her character. She is one of the most submissive women I have every known. I was present when she received her training collar. I have had a hand in her training. She has worked hard at everything I have taught her. She has done nothing but enrich Garret's life. Never caused him embarrassment or given him any pain. I declare her worthy of the collar of ownership.” Then Nigel went behind Shirley. He produced a tiny key from his pocket and unlocked the collar and left it loose about her throat, then went to in front and removed it.
“Any and all contracts between this woman and any one present are now dissolved. She is free now to make what choice she will.” With that Nigel took the training collar and tossed it to a far corner of the room.
Ed at this point rang the bell again. The significance was all this not lost on Gerwald. Whatever Shirley did now was her own decision.
Nigel moved to the out of the way and to the side. Shirley took a step to move herself directly in front of Steele. She was still several steps away, and she waited there with her head down.
Jean-Louis moved from Steele’s side to between them than began his testimony. “I have known Garret Steele now for over thirty years. I have known him in the good times and the bad. We dove in foxholes together during the blitz. Shared wine and music and hugged each other when the war was over. When his wife and slave died in a car accident ten years ago I was at his side. He said to me then that he doubted he would ever collar another and yet we are here today. I have known Garret to be a good and generous man, a good husband, a good lawyer and a stern but fair master. I have never seen him punish without reason. Today I stand by him once again in the hope that he will once again know happiness and joy.” When Jean-Louis had finished he took his place beside Steele.
Shirley then walked to Garret and stopped as if contemplating her choice. Then she walked to each dominant in the room. Her journey took her in a circle that lead from John, Ed, and Gerwald, who were standing to the far side of the room, to Nigel to Jean-Louis then back to Garret.
In front of Garret she stopped and laid the pillow she was carrying at his feet. She took the leash from the pillow and offered it to Garret.
As she offered the leash to Garret she began her vows to him. "I offer this leash to you to guide me and lead me along my journey though this existence. It is my desire to belong to you and to follow you where ever you choose to lead me.”
Garret looked between Shirley and the leash she was holding. He reached over and took the leash then began his vows to her. "I accept this leash as a symbol of the offering of yourself and give my promise to carefully guide you and lead you safely on my path. You will belong to me from this day forward and I will do all within my power to protect and cherish you as you join me down this path."
Both looked at each other for a long frozen moment. What ever they shared seemed to be communicated in that moment. He bent down and picked up the open collar that was on the pillow and held it out in front of him. "Will you kneel at my feet and take this symbol of my ownership to wear as a sign to us and those we meet on our journey?"
Shirley knelt on the cushion in front of Garret. Her head was straight but her eyes downcast as she did this. "I kneel as a sign of my submission to you and acceptance of the symbol of your ownership. I will wear it proudly for all of my days, Sir."
Garret took the open collar and placed it around her neck. He held it there a good five seconds before closing it. After it was closed he stated, “You now belong to me.”
Shirley replied to this with tears in her eyes “I now belong to you,” and then a pause as she finally got out the word she could use now and had been for so long denied “Master.”
Garret then took the leash and attached it to her collar. She put her head to Garret's feet and pressed her lips to his boots kissing them and then turned her head to the side and put her cheek there.
Garret then spoke to everyone. “Normally in a formal collaring such as this, both read and sign a contract between them. I have been a lawyer too long to be impressed with legal-looking documents and we have agreed to forgo that, but will instead rely on our vows. For those of you who know me my word is my bond. Ten years ago I thought I would never do this again but this slave,” he gestured to his feet, “has changed my mind.”
Garret let her head stay there for ten seconds or so then tugged on the leash. When she looked up at him he commanded, “Stand.”
As she stood Ed began ringing the bell as the couple hugged and kissed. He kept ringing the bell until Garret stopped kissing her.
Garret then reached in his pocket and produced a small black velvet bag. From it he produced a ring with a large ruby in it. He took her right hand and placed the ring on her ring finger. “For when the collar is not appropriate.” Then he tugged on her leash and pulled her in close and kissed her again. Only when she yielded to him did he stop.
Chapter 10. A Squire is Born.
Now that Steele had properly claimed his slave he looked at his assembled friends and guests. “Join us now for some refreshments in the dining room.” One again everyone drifted out with Garret and Shirley remaining behind. When they got to the dining room they found a small cake, dishes, and silverware, as well as Jean–Louis' wine laid out on the table.
The men took seats at the table. The three women who lead the procession continued to stand near their masters. It was easy now to figure out who was with whom. Ed and Gerwald were the only ones without someone standing near them.
Jean-Louis began to pull the cork on several bottles and fill wineglasses and pass them out to everyone. All had a glass in their hand when Garret entered leading Shirley in on her leash a pace behind him. Her tunic had been changed from blue to yellow.
As soon as they were in the room all stood and raised the glasses to the master and his newly collared slave. Garret stood there a minute and accepted the toasts of good luck and long life then accepted a glass wine and shared it with his lovely slave He made a few toasts as well. When the toasting had quit he pointed her to the cake.
She cut the cake put tiny pieces on a plate then went to each Master in turn. To each she held the cake out at arms length and lowered her head and eyes. She said the same thing, "Desert, Master?"
Ed was whispering into Gerwald ear explaining this. "In this context see the way she puts her eyes head down as the cake is offered? It is understood that she is offering not only the cake but herself as well. When she gets to you take the cake but don’t say a thing. It would be a terrible insult to Steele today to accept this, as they have both waited so long."
When Shirley got to Gerwald with the help of Ed's coaching he accepted the cake with out a word. She finished her rounds of everyone she then got a piece for her Master and offered it to him with the same formula. He accepted the cake then put it down and raised her chin. After he looked deeply into her eyes as he said, "Yes, I want desert." Then clipped the leash back to her collar and tightened it up on his hand. The he turned to the room and said, "Good Night to you all," and started to leave the room pulling Shirley along by her leash. She was crying and laughing at the same time and the room made toasts to them as made there way out of the room and vanished from sight.
The party in that room broke up shortly after that as the drifted off it ones and twos. Nigel was making pointed comments about "Bloody jetlag," and he led off the female who was attending him shortly after that. Jean-Louis made his excuses shortly also and left as well.
John had disappeared with Joanna right after Steele took his leave. But this gave the two remaining a chance to talk. Gerwald got a chance a thank Ed. "Thanks for the advice earlier, that helped a lot!"
Ed was relaxing a bit and still wiggling in his chair. "No problem, I sometimes forget that anyone can be new here. I'm glad to see that he has found someone else to work with and teach and train. Hard to explain, but he just doesn't seem complete without a student or two." He began to roll his shoulders and finally commented. "I'm gonna be hurting tonight and I’ll bet I have to sleep on my belly."
Gerwald could only nod his head in agreement. Not used to the physical stuff and conditioning exercises like John and he were he had to be hurting. Note to myself, he thought, Before my initiation, lots of back, abdominal and oblique exercises. And then the realization hit him that he had already made up his mind to continue and finish whatever training Steele could provide him.
He looked to Ed and realized that he had a wonderful source of information right here, right now, and everyone else was gone for the night. “What should I be doing now?”
Ed was looking at Gerwald while he was flexing different muscles experimentally and wincing anytime a sore one made itself known. The question stopped him. “Tonight I would go to bed and get some sleep, it’s nearly 2 AM. Then hang around tomorrow until Steele gets a chance to talk to you. This next part is a bit of a test. He will want to see if you will make a step towards him. Don’t pester him first thing in the morning until he has at had his coffee. He is liable to have a very active night and will be getting up late so get what rest you can.”
Gerwald could see that he was right and he was tired to the bone. “Thanks Ed. I’ll do that. I may not see you in the morning, so could I get your phone number now, we might not see each other tomorrow.”
Ed found a napkin and wrote down his number. Then he stood up as fast as his punished back would allow and announced, “Bed time for me!” and headed slowly for the stairs. Gerwald could think of nothing better to do and followed. It had been a long day and his few hours here had already changed his life. He knew had had hit one of those cusp events where the direction he chose now would forever change his journey this life.
He made sure Ed got into his room all right then went to his. Once inside he felt the restlessness hit him again. He had the feeling he should be doing something but could not put a label on the 'what' it was he should be doing. He turned on the TV a minute and cycled through all the channels then shut it off. He went to the desk and opened one of his textbooks and closed that as well. Whatever it was it would come to him and he slipped out of his outer clothes and got into bed.
He did find that sleep eluded him and now that he was still other sound from various parts of the house could be heard. Mostly acts of physical pleasure is what he heard and one set of sounds from a room or two away were the most obvious He was sure that John was having an active night as well.
It took awhile but sleep finally found him. His dreams that night were full and rich and erotic. Between what he was hearing and what he had seen today left his sleep fitful. He woke up the next morning well past ten. His usual habit of being up before the sun had been broken this trip.
He dressed in casual clothes and found the toilet, then explored the floor he was on to find no one up and went down stairs and explored a little. He did find other rooms he had not seen, but he didn’t give into the curiosity to open closed doors. He did find the kitchen and began to look for something to eat.
The coffeepot he found held no mysteries, it was similar to a drip maker he used at school but finding the supplies for it took longer. After getting it started and finding the leftovers from the night before, he soon had a pile of toast and jam. The coffee finished after that and he ate at the counter as all of the table spaces seemed to filled up with dishes and platters from the night before.
After he was finished he cleaned up his mess as his father had taught him. If he used a tool, he had better of put it back where he found it right down to the smallest drill bit. He had found this applied to many things so with the exception of a hot and nearly filled coffeepot and dishes in the dishwasher he had left the kitchen exactly as he found it.
He took his coffee and wandered around the open rooms and ended up in the library. Most of the books were law texts. After examining a few of these he found one wall of books that had more interesting reading, mostly devoted to erotica. He looked through a few of these then continued his search. He did find three small canvas bound books, similar to what he had seen Nigel reading from at the initiation. Surprisingly they were handwritten, and written in a very precise masculine script. The first page of the book had the only printed notation 'Field Notebook RAF', then an issue number.
As he leafed through the pages he found some of the history and tradition of the Guard. He felt like he was intruding on something yet he couldn’t put the book down. Because of its age, he began to look for a date. On the flyleaf he found a hand-written note in a very different handwriting.
Given to my Squire, Lt. Garret Steele, US Army, 17 November 1943. London.
Cap. Basil Smythe RAF
He began to go through the other books similar in size and appearance and found other writings. More of the traditions of the Guard were listed and detailed. This was not book one bought, but a journal relating the time and training while in England. He shook his head while reading some of the entries and dates and again began to have a feeling of intrusion. He carefully placed all the books back on the shelf exactly as he had found them.
A voice behind him spoke up. “Did you find it interesting?”
Gerwald whirled around to find Steele leaning against the doorjamb of the library. He was wearing casual clothes this morning and had a cup of coffee in his hand.
"Yes, sir I did." He straightened up from his place where he had bent over to put the books back. "It made very interesting reading."
Steele smiled at him "I must say when you concentrate, you really focus. I have been here about ten minutes and you were so involved in your reading you didn’t noticed me. Do I have you to thank for the coffee?" he asked, raising his cup.
"Yes, I made the coffee, a necessary survival skill, as my father would say."
"Your father was right, and he seemed to be good at teaching you the necessary things in life. Were you always a good student at learning when he tried to teach you something?”
Gerwald started chuckling “As my father said to my mother, 'My brood is all young hellions, you will need a whip and chair and club to teach them anything and don’t be afraid to use them'.”
That made Steele smile, ”I hope you have mellowed some as time as gone by. I’m getting to old to have to do that. I expect instructions to be followed and explanations come later. I do hope you will find that acceptable,”
“Yes sir, it's just like the way my head coach is, you wont have any problem with me on that,” Gerwald said. After a moments hesitation he continued. “But I will ask one thing. As you have seen my concentration is a great asset but also my greatest fault. Make sure you have my attention before you tell me something important, please.” Steele was smiling as he said that.
“So I see and I will try.” Steele said as he sipped his coffee. “Good job on making this, I like it strong as does my French friend, the rest however prefer a much lighter brew. I’m afraid I didn’t wake my slave, she was very tired. Normally I have her take care of this in the morning. Sit a few minutes, we need to talk. I would imagine that most everyone would be getting up soon. It's getting close to noon."
Gerwald had not realized that the time had slipped away from his so quickly. He sat back down again at the library table. Steele sat down in the chair next to him. "I take it from your continued pursuit of this you are still interested?"
"Yes sir, I am, this whole weekend has opened my eyes to things I had wished for but never thought would happen."
Steel nodded agreement to this. "Yes, it's real and it's for lack of a better word underground or hidden, but its real and it exists and it's just a question of you being strong enough to reach out and take it. I can see now that you are. I see the desire and the will to see this through now.”
It was Gerwald’s turn to smile. “Yes sir, I believe I have that.”
“Tell me about your schedule at school, what time do you have free?”
Gerwald began to tell him about his schedule, both school classes as well as athletic requirements. The football season was far from over and the away games meant travel as well. At Steele’s request he began to write it down over the next couple of months. There were a few free days here and there. Steele was frowning when he was looking at the schedule then looked at Gerwald. “I didn’t realize how lucky I was that I got you here this weekend. You are as busy as I am!”
“Its not as bad as it looks. I can make time here and there. The problem always boils down to transportation. I walk or ride my bicycle most places on the campus and I don’t have a car.” Replied Gerwald.
Steel was nodding. Then pointed to a hole in what he saw on the schedule. "Could you get enough ahead in your studies to give me these two days?”
Gerwald was looking at the weekend he was pointing at and doing some rapid planning in his head on what he could and couldn’t do. “Yes sir, I could do that.”
Steele was smiling when he said that “Good, I could see that you would understand. If you would be so kind as to get those books you were looking at last, I have one little formality to get out of the way.”
Gerwald went and got those books and put them back on the table in front of Steele. They looked identical to each other and he had to open each one to find the one he was looking for. When he found the one he was wanted he handed it over to Gerwald. He looked at the passage indicated and looked up at Steele. “Read it out loud.”
Gerwald read a passage that was basically a promise to protect and defend and pass on what he learned as a Squire. When he finished Steel stood and placed his hands on Gerwald’s shoulders, “I accept you as my squire!” he said.
Then he went to his desk and rummaged around in it a minute and found a small book similar in size and shape to the one he was just reading out of. He made a short inscription in the front of it then handed it to Gerwald. It had stiff imitation leather cover rather then the canvas cover the one he had been reading out of had. When he opened the book to the inscription had the date and his name and a similar inscription to what he had seen earlier.
Then Steele handed him the pen, and opened the canvas-covered book to the passage he had just read. “Copy this down exactly into the book I just gave you. I'll be back in a few minutes.” He left leaving Gerwald to wonder what would happen next but began to write. He was sure that he would be doing a lot of this in the near future, copying from one to the other and started to jump ahead and copy out some more but then stopped. He was sure there was method to Steele and tradition built into this.
When Steele returned he was with two of the lovely females Gerwald had seen last night in the procession of the collaring ceremony. The both seemed very awake and hair seemed to be almost as perfect as it had last night. When the entered the room they went to where Gerwald was sitting and knelt at his feet and put their heads to the floor.
Then Steel spoke. “You have before you my squire, I have accepted him into training today. You will obey him as you would me. You will now show him your acceptance as a Master.”
They both kissed his boots once then straightened up and took a hand each. Then holding it, they both moved the hand lovingly towards their faces and each kissed it.
Steele then clapped his hands and they returned back to his feet to kneel. He reached out and petted both of his subs. “He is very new to this so he will have to be brought along slowly. Take him to the downstairs bathroom.” He looked at one of the subs specifically. ”Do your magic and cut his hair, and then both of you bath him as a Master before he has to leave today.”
The he looked at Gerwald. “This is somewhat traditional and will be an exercise in control for you.” You let them do all the work from undressing to bathing to drying to dressing yourself again. You don’t get to touch them, but I think you will find this pleasant.” Then he picked up his coffee cup and left Gerwald in the care of the two lovely subs on the floor.
Chapter 11. Training of a Squire
AS an exercise in control, this is sheer torture! thought Gerwald as he was given his bath. First he was put in a chair and a towel wrapped about his shoulders and one of them began to trim his hair. Not a hair cut so much as a trimming and shaping. The other cleaned and buffed his nails. It did answer the mystery of how Steele looked like he how just out got out of the barber's chair, his barber was on “staff” here.
Next he had been undressed, the two lovely subs kissing every exposed inch of flesh as they undressed him then they drew a bath for him. Three times one of the lovely female subs put a bowl in the water and held it out to him head down and arms extended. He would test the water temperature with his fingers and ask for warmer or colder.
After he was seated in the tub, the subs stripped and got in with him. He was not allowed to do anything but feel the sensations. Twice he tried to caress the lovely creatures but his hand was gently placed back in his lap with little “tsk, tsk” noises.
They gently covered his body with warm water, used a rough sponge to loosen sweat, dirt and dry skin, then a wash cloth to remove the residue and the bowl to rinse, then lathered him up and washed everywhere. He had had an erection from the time he entered the room, but they had paid no attention to it. It was washed and cared for with the same attention as everything else no more or now less attention paid to it. They shampooed his hair and rinsed him off again.
By the time they had finished he was feeling pampered again but the though came back to him like it had at the gym at school. He was being treated like prize livestock being groomed for an upcoming show. The question he kept thinking “Am I being prepared for sale, or slaughter?”
After thirty or so minutes of this he was motioned out of the tub and was seated on the side of it while he was dried off. Next one of then gently massaged his back and kneaded some kind of oil into his shoulders. He admitted to himself that it felt good. His hair was blow dried and brushed. He was dressed again after one of them left and came back with his clean clothes. His boots had been polished while they were giving him the bath and he had to admit they had not looked that good in long time!
He was lead back to the library. He took a seat there and looked at the little book he had been given. As he began to wonder what he should do next Steele appeared again. He was smiling as he walked in. “Well you certainly look refreshed. Did you enjoy that?”
“It was torture,” Gerwald replied, “but I think I could get used to it.”
Steele was still smiling. “It was hard, wasn’t it, not to just seize and take them. They would not have resisted if you had, but you just passed your first test and got about B-minus, I think. That will be repeated from time to time. If you will look in my book I kept as a squire you can read about my first experience with this.” He pushed one of his books to Gerwald. It was open to the first page. Then he handed Gerwald another book identical to the one he had made his first entry in not an hour ago. “The second book will be your journal. Read my description of my first experience with this then you describe your experience as your first entry.”
Gerwald read the entry made so long ago and then made his entry. After he had finished Steele smiled again. "Now go pack and put these books in your bags. I need to get you back to school or your absence will be missed. I'll call you later and set up a time for you to come here next. When you are ready, bring your stuff down and I'll arrange your transportation. Good luck on your game next weekend." Then he shook Gerwald's hand. "Forgive me for running off but I do have other guests to attend to. I won't see the Nigel and Jean-Louis for a long time and I need to do some catching up with them."
Gerwald did go to the room he had used and now he found a small change. There was a card on his door now that read "Squire Gerwald". He looked at the other doors to see a few other changes there as well. Squire John was now changed to Master John. And the same for Ed. Once he was in his room he noticed changes there as well. His things that had been scattered about the room were now on a freshly made-up bed. His possessions were and neatly folded and laid on one corner of the bed. It took him no time to pack now as all he had to do was put these into the bag and gather his books and tube caddy. He picked these up and headed downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs he was meet by Joanna. She was dressed again in her chauffeur's uniform. She showed him out to the car and took his tube caddy and opened the door to the car. A minute later he found himself on the way back to school. He tried to study but his mind kept coming back to the events of the past eighteen hours. Not even a day and how my life has changed.
He studied his driver a few times and saw some changes. Her hair was down now but neatly clipped at the back of her neck with a beret, and now she was wearing a heavy gold necklace that he at not seen on the previous trip. Her hand reached up to touch it a lot as she drove. Almost is if she was reassuring herself it was there. Several times on the trip back he tried to concentrate on the book open in his lap only to find his thoughts drifting back to what had happened this weekend. All this because he could change a tube in an amplifier and some how, some one, had noticed something about him he did not know himself.
He finally started talking to Joanna and found out a little about her. "How long have you been training with Steele?"
"Three years, Sir. After I finished school I found I didn’t want to really do anything until Master John had finished his training and college. Master Steele offered me this job in the interim. My parents don’t understand it but they don’t have to for now."
"Now that John has finished his training what happens to you?"
"A few changes, Sir, but I will drive Master Garret as I have been doing then wait for the spring when Master John graduates. I guess its up to him at that point what happens." She smiled and touched the heavy gold necklace when she said "Master John".
"The necklace, did my friend collar you last night?"
She touched the necklace as he said that. "Yes Sir, he did, it was an understanding we had that I could not accept it before he finished his training. Not until he had earned the title of Master. One of the other girls witnessed for us at a very short meeting, we have both been waiting a long time for this and I think my Master's patience was at an end. I'll be taking him back to school early tomorrow morning so we could have another night together at Master Garret's house."
Gerwald was nodding his head in agreement at that. The way the dorm rules worked John was much better keeping this aspect of his life off campus. An important lesson. These activities need to be kept separate from my regular life.
The rest of the way back to school he was able to concentrate some. Partly because his curiosity about his driver had been satisfied. Partly because he had a paper due and had not even started on it. He was dropped off about a block from his dorm and he watched the car as it moved back off into the light traffic. Mostly he was thinking about food and he looked at his watch. The cafeteria would be open soon so he went to his room and unpacked. As he put the tube caddy back into the corner of his room he used as his work area he realized he would never be able to look at the humble black box again without smiling.
Before going to get something to eat he stopped at the bathroom. Before he relieved himself, he caught a glimpse of himself and the mirror and stopped dead in his tracks. He had not seen his reflection since they trimmed his hair. He had to admit that this had greatly improved his appearance. Normally he was a person of little vanity and he simply had his hair cut to get it out of his way and out of his eyes. The sub who had cut his hair had shaped it to suit his head and face and he agreed with the result. While he had never considered himself handsome, the shaping she had done had complemented his features rather than detract from them. Perhaps not handsome , but now rugged good looks would be his description. Much different from the farm hand image he usually projected.
Not even a day since he had left to do a favor for a friend and the results of this trip were now staring him back at him. For the first time in a long time he studied his reflection, and after seeing what she had done, made sure he could duplicate the effect. Then he finished the business he had come in to do and headed for the cafeteria.
Chapter 12. A New Awareness
Over the next several days Gerwald fell back into his routine of school and studies. Then to the football field for practice, exercise, and the never ending play book instructions. John was there and they got a chance to have several long conversations. He was able to answer many of many of the questions that Gerwald still had.
Gerwald did ask if John could help in the training him and help speed things along, but John kept saying the same thing. “Patience and control, Gerry.” He went further a couple of time to explain the relationship that existed now between the three of them. “Can I assist in your training? Yes. Can I train you? No. You are not my squire. Steele has that honor and privilege, don’t rob him of that.”
It took Gerwald a day or two to assimilate that. He could see now that John’s word had been given as well. Once he understood that he accepted things but kept asking his questions. He did want to see John’s book that he copied down the traditions of the Guard in and see his journal that he had kept.
John granted the first request and denied the second. “If I let you see my journal, what training Steel gives you won't be effective. The experiences he provides with the lessons will have been lost. Patience and control, farm boy.” While Gerwald had a hard time accepting that he did understand the intent.
The book of traditions he did borrow for an evening and read it from cover to cover. He was sorely tempted to start copying it into his book but then caught himself. He could see now that each one of these little rituals was more effective if he experienced it first hand then wrote it down. Otherwise it was as dry as reading a book on Fortran or COBOL.
John did help him with a few things, small lessons he could pass on. One of the big ones being there is a huge difference between seeing and observing. He began to help Gerwald cultivate the latter. Small things at first that helped him on the football field. For example, you could observe the mannerisms of a player for just a few minutes and determine if he was right or left-handed. Most right-handed people tend to favor their right and would run on the football field in that direction if they had the option. Gerwald tried this and found after that he could read a play better.
John passed on several of these small lessons. He would have would pick out a player at random and see if Gerwald could pick up on the 'precede' most people have. A little bit of body language or a gesture or some mannerism that most people usually have that precedes their actions. This was a more subtle exercise for Gerwald. It would some time days for him to sort them all out. Most people have more than one. A hand moved to some place on the body to scratch an imaginary itch, or a shuffling of the feet or rolling of the shoulders. There were a thousand little things people do. All may have meaning attached.
John would chose a player on the field and it would be up to Gerwald to see if he could catch them all and what they meant. When he had them all figured out John would go to another. Again this helped him on the football field in some places and in the classroom in others. He began to notice some of the little things his professors would do. Many if explaining something they were uncomfortable with would have 'precede'. Gerwald began to pick his place to question a professor. Rather than blurt out his challenge to something, he was learning when to pick the time for his battles rather than charge in blindly as he had before. He was learning patience and control.
John continued to teach Gerwald many small things. Most had direct application to his daily life. He was changing; maturing and liking the changes. But still there was the ever-present grind of school and athletic practice. The weekend he promised go to Steele’s place got changed when an away game got postponed and there was not time to change things. Steele had called them both and made arrangements for later. He seemed to be keeping up with what was going at their school and in the meantime enlisted John’s aid.
John was given a few items to help Gerwald with. Or as Steele put it a “A bit of the bard to balance the warrior.” John showed up at Gerwald’s dorm a few times with books to read. One hole John had discovered in Gerwald’s education was that he had never attended a play. They found a few of these off campus and attended them. Although Shakespeare held no attraction for Gerwald he did discover an affinity for comedy and he enjoyed Noel Coward’s Blithe Sprit.
The effect was to try to expose Gerwald to a lot he had missed in his rural life. It did add a bit of polish to the rough exterior that had been forged under summers in the Texas sun. Language learned at high school and at stockyard auctions had done little to prepare him for the world he was entering.
John did begin to take meals with Gerwald so he could start a part of his training. As they were sitting and eating he would pick people out of line at random and then see what Gerwald’s opinion of them was. Did he think they had dominant traits, submissive traits, and so on. Again he was taught body language and what to look for. Was a gaze meet evenly, did they turn away, if so what direction did they turn. And John explained, you had to be careful not to read too much into a first look.
Gerwald asked, “Why do you say that, I would think that a lot of people look away or down.”
John laughed “Yes but you, farm boy, already taught me something about that. Do you remember when I first meet you a few years ago, I thought you had low self-esteem, because you always seemed to be looking at your feet. I asked you about that and why you were always looking down, and what was your answer?
It was Gerwald’s turn to laugh. “I told you I was raised on a farm and it was a good idea to watch where you put your feet because you might be stepping on a snake!”
John nodded “So a first impression can be mistaken. You had other things I look for such as expressing an opinion, meeting a look evenly and so on but that habit of yours to look down made me wonder. It took weeks before I had formed a firm idea of what you were. So here a first impression was just plain wrong.”
Gerwald was trying to analyze this when John picked another girl out of the lunch line. “Green sweater, Jeans, blond hair. Smile at her and try to catch her eye. See what happens.”
Gerwald did this and the girl smiled then quickly averted her gaze down. Her look did not go to her food tray. That was interesting but what he didn’t see this time was a flirtatious action that many of the girls he had tried this on had done. No flipping of the hair this time or returning his look with a scorn.
He looked at his John and his friend was nodding agreement. “It’s what you didn’t see this time, rather than what you did see.”
“Yes,” Gerwald replied, “No flirting, no angry looks back. Nothing like some of the others you have asked me to do that to.”
John was smiling as he said that. “Good, you have just raised your awareness to a new level. Next time you see her try that again, she could be just shy but I don’t think so. I noticed her a couple of weeks ago and have watched her with others. Just try a smile and a good even gaze now and again and see what happens. Take it slow and easy. She is one of the three or four I have noticed that might be gently encouraged or nudged into this.”
“So what should I be doing now?”
John gave him a little sad smile. “Patience for now watch and observe. See if she seems to have a boy friend when you notice her on the campus. If she does forget about approaching her at all on this, it’s not worth the risk. This is not sinister as you might think, but questions get asked and sometimes the people don’t like the answers. For every action there is a reaction. Open you eyes and use them.”
“And if she doesn’t have a boy friend?”
“Then perhaps it is time you made her acquaintance,” John said. “Take you time and I’ll show you a few other things. Now about what I was telling you about suggestion.”
He walked up to another of their football friends who had finished his meal and talked to him a minute. The whole time he was talking to him he was wiping his forehead with a napkin. He was heard to make one loud comment, “Man, it’s hot in here.” Then went back and joined Gerwald.
“Now watch him. Six times out of ten he will want a drink of water because of that harmless suggestion that it's hot.” John then turned his back to the friend he had just talked to and faced Gerwald. "Watch him and see if he goes to the water fountain.”
As Gerwald watched, the man he had been talking to got up and left and stopped at the fountain on the way out. Again Gerwald had only been vaguely aware that this was possible and now he began to see what might be done.
End of part 2