Shelley lay cold and weeping on the flagstones of the chamber, high atop the tallest spire in her family castle. With only the thinnest of long dresses to keep her warm she was very much at the mercy of the icy wind that swept through the solitary window. Her tears chilled her soft cheeks as they fell, stinging and berating her in her misery.
She had given up hope very quickly that her father would see reason. She had lost faith that he would dismiss Edgar and his hunting barbarians from the castle and take back his pledge to give her as Edgar's bride. After a while her tears flowed no more as she resolved to at least stop crying. Shelley was proud and obstinate, just as her late mother had been. Crying would do her no good and she needed a clear head to figure a way out of this predicament.
As she sat there, hugging her knees to her chest and doing her best to keep warm, she was forced to admit the situation was hopeless. Even if she could fit through the bars of the window, which she could most certainly not do, she would then face a descent to the ground from a height taller than the highest church steeple. This task too would be impossible for she had no rope, and the wall outside provided no purchase for her hands.
Inside the tower, escape back down the stairs was just as unlikely. One guard was posted outside her door at all times, and two more at the circular entrance room far below. King Grimwald had chosen these guards personally, knowing that they were impassive and totally loyal to him.
But escape she must! For the life of a traveler, poor and homeless, was preferable to the misery that would be wedlock to the Duke. Of that she was most certain. But the princess would need a miracle to escape. Part of her realized this, so she then began to pray.
Meanwhile her faithful servant Mirella was working feverishly on a plan to rescue her captive mistress. Over the months since her shaming at the hands of Duke Edgar's party, she had learned to keep quiet when working in the castle. Shelley had adopted her as her personal maid, a role that Mirella had come to love. This effectively removed any desire to leave the castle, regardless of Edgar and his fops.
While working away quietly in the corner of the castles crowded kitchen, Mirella had overheard the headwoman giving instructions to the cooks on how the newly captive princess was to receive her meals. The plan was to have one servant only, escorted by the guard, take the princess her gruel and bread. She would be given only enough time to eat the meal, then all the empty plates and bowls were to be taken away.
"I'll have no chatter up there, and no kindness shown either," said the headwoman to the cooks. "And I shall hand pick the girl to take her food up to her. She'll receive no pity from us, defying her father as she did."
Mirella burned with anger when she heard this. Olga, the Headwoman, was known to have no love for any of the king's daughters. In fact, she had no love for any woman at the castle, and had berated or beaten Mirella and the other serving girls on many occasions. Mirella was slicing tubers with a long curved knife and wanted nothing more than to dash across the room and stab Olga with it.
"No..." she muttered to herself. "I've got to free my mistress..."
Several hours later Mirella had conceived a plan and was ready to act. She was waiting in a dark alley, the sun having long since set, near to the north tower. She was clad in a dark blue cloak with hood pulled up, a white chemise with long billowy sleeves, and a dark blue dress the flared off her hips and thrust her ample bosom upward.
However this was not all she wore. Secretly stitched into the hem and body of her dress was a thin strong cord. It would, Mirella hoped, be sufficient to reach the ground from the window, and be strong enough to hold the slender princess’ weight.
Also hidden in the hood of her cloak was a small metal blade with a serrated edge. Sharp enough to saw through the bars on the window. All she had to do now was wait.
Eventually she was rewarded. She heard footsteps coming from around the corner then into view came a serving girl carrying a tray laden with steaming bowls. The serving girl was hatchet faced and whistling out of tune. She certainly looked like the most unsympathetic drudge that Olga could find for this task.
Bravely Mirella stepped out of the shadows. The servant noticed her and stopped, eyeing Mirella suspiciously.
"Please... Hilda is it not? Please, let me take the food up to Princess Shelley." Mirella wished she could summon more courage.
"Be gone with you, my orders are exact," Hilda scowled, an expression that seemed perfectly at home on her visage. She moved to walk past Mirella.
"Please," Mirella placed a hand on Hilda's shoulder, stopping her. "Let me go to her... the stairs are many... you might trip in the dark... I'm only thinking of your well being..." Mirella waved her hand over the tray and three shiny coins fell onto it. Silver! An entire week’s wages!
Hilda smirked, and then handed the tray over to Mirella before snatching up the coins. Laughing she turned and walked away saying, "As you wish, but you might regret it. It's an awfully cold night tonight..." And with that she was gone.
A brief walk later Mirella knocked on the door to the tower, she barely had time to think of Hilda's cryptic warning. The door was opened by a tall sour faced guard. He leered over Mirella as she entered the tower, gazing at the swells of her breasts. Another guard was idly sitting on a stool next to the start of the curved steps. Above her the tower loomed in darkness. Mirella moved to take the tray up the stairs.
"Halt!" The guard by the steps rose to his feet, but it was the other one who spoke.
"Sir?" asked Mirella, trembling slightly. The tall guard held out his hand for the tray. Placing it on the table he rummaged through it for a while, searching for hidden items. Mirella breathed a sigh of relief. When he finished she made to move towards the table and collect the tray but this time the second guard spoke, "No lass. Not before you strip."
"What?" Mirella did not think she heard him correctly.
"Olga's orders. You take the food up, but your clothes stay here."
Trembling Mirella stared at him. This would ruin all her plans! But she could not flee now or they would suspect her. She hesitated. The guards began to close on her.
"Don't want any little gifts getting up to the princess now do we?"
"B-But..." Mirella stammered. She could not bear the shame of being exposed so.
"Strip! Now! Or we do it for you." They both smiled.
Mirella undid the clasp on her cloak. With a heavy swish it fell to the floor taking her serrated blade with it. Her fingers shaking she undid the laces on the side of her dress. They were knotted and awkward and she could feel the growing impatience of the two guards.
"Move it along wench, don't be all night about it."
The laces undone she stooped forward, lowered the dress from her shoulders and slid it down over her full hips. Now gone was the rope! The guard in front had a splendid view of her melon heavy breasts, trembling with nervousness. The guard behind could only look her delectable rump. She straightened up and stepped out of her dress, now clad only in her loincloth and chemise, its flowing length only barely covering her bottom.
"P-Please... may I go up now?" Mirella's face was flushed rosy red, and the same shade seemed to blossom slowly down her neck to her breast. A thin bead of sweat rose on her forehead, despite the fact that she now felt cold and vulnerable.
Slap! The guard behind her slapped her backside sharply with his gauntleted hand. Mirella gave a little scream in surprise and pain. Her eyes watered.
"The shirt as well wench. I'll not ask again." The tall guard scowled, but there was lust in his eyes as well.
Shaking as would a leaf in the wind, Mirella pulled the chemise up slowly. First her rounded belly was exposed, then her quivering, heavy breasts. Crying quietly in shame she lifted the garment over her head and dropped it on the floor with the rest of her garb. She stood trembling before them, hands clasped to her chest in a vain attempt to preserve her modesty. She could feel in her hands that her nipples had become hardened as she stood there, cold and exposed.
With a harsh tearing noise her loincloth was torn from her body. Sharply it cut into her nether parts, stabbing into her quim painfully before the flimsy garment gave way. She turned quickly, her body jiggling, to see that the guard behind her now had the last shreds of her clothes in his hands.
With one hand she now covered her womanly thatch, and with the other struggled to hide her breasts. All her efforts to preserve her modesty were in vain as she squirmed out of the way and tried to face both guards.
"What ho," said the taller guard. "You are a fine strapping lass." They stepped back from her and gazed intently at her quivering form. Her face was crimson now, and her eyes stained with tears. So choked with shame and tears was she that Mirella was unable to speak in reply.
"Take off your shoes" the shorter guard instructed. Without bending down the servant girl feebly kicked off her shoes. Now she was totally naked and terribly miserable.
"Now take the food up."
Sobbing and broken in her humiliation she crossed to the table and took the tray in her hands. She was able to hide the nipples of her ample breasts behind the bowls on it but now her bottom and mound were exposed totally. The tall guard grabbed a flaming torch off a wall bracket and waved the humiliated serving girl up the stairs in front of him.
Every single step was an agony. The guard followed her up, leaving his companion behind to guard the entrance. Mirella could feel the weight of his stare on her jiggling, exposed rump as she heaved herself up the stairs.
She was not sure what was more distressing to her. That she had been totally denuded before these men, or that her plan to rescue the princess was doomed already to fail. She prayed silently that the guard below would not inspect her discarded clothes. The penalty would be terrible indeed if her attempt at rescue was discovered.
At one stage she yelped as the flames from the guard’s torch licked painfully at her arse. Another time the scalding hot broth was splashed slightly onto her right breast, stinging her smooth skin and causing her to cry out again.
After what seemed to be an eternity they arrived at the top of the steps outside the chamber door. There was a guard sitting outside the door on a stool. He looked up, saw Mirella's shadowy naked form and smiled, unlocking and opening the door to the princess’ chamber to let the serving girl inside.
As the door shut behind her Mirella almost dropped the food in shock. Shelley was huddled next to the wall and shivering in the cold wind. Mirella gasped in dismay and after placed the tray down on the floor she dashed to her mistress' side.
"My lady! My lady! Oh..." Mirella wrapped the quivering princess in her arms as she sank to the floor next her. Weakly Shelley managed to open her eyes and smile.
"Mirella? Oh thank the heavens." The fair princess leant into the embrace of her naked servant and started to cry. Even though Mirella herself was already trembling with cold she could feel that her mistress was already as a statue of ice.
Mirella tried to will what little strength and warmth she had left into Shelley. Trembling in each other's arms for many moments they rested there, Mirella feeling her Lady's tears splashing onto the soft skin of her bosom.
Reluctantly Mirella broke from the embrace and fetched over the tray saying, "You must eat my Lady. Please." Feebly Shelley took in the broth and bread. Slowly through the food, and the warmth from her serving girl's nude body, strength began to return to the princess.
Between mouthfuls flowed questions and explanations. The princess's servant spoke of her plan and her frustration at her failure.
"Do not be sad my brave, brave Mirella." Shelley smiled kindly and pulled Mirella close in her arms once more, this time as a comforting gesture.
"But I failed you mistress..." the pain in the serving girl's voice was plain to hear.
"But you risked all for me, I... I want to tell you how much... that is..."
The Princess was cut short as suddenly footsteps and raised, angry voices were heard outside the door. Suddenly it was flung open and there stood Olga! She appeared to be furious and in her hands clutched Mirella's rope and saw blade. With horror Mirella realized that Hilda had gone straight to the headwoman and had voiced suspicion to her.
"HOW DARE YOU!" Olga screamed at the cowering servant. The two younger girls clung to each other as the Headwoman roared.
"I'LL SEE YOU STRIPPED, FLAYED AND HUNG BY YOUR HAIR FROM THE RAMPARTS!" Olga turned and stormed out of the room, slamming the door shut. The princess and her servant blanched as they heard the door lock; now shutting them both away from the world outside.