Men ran in all directions. Sucat handed Ranee’s rope to Jyll. Sucat went up to Hyd and punched him in his grinning face. Hyd laughed at him.
“Tie him to the post,” he said. “We may not have Eadward but we have you and you will get twice as many lashes since your brother is not here for his own.”
Hyd was taken to the post. His tunic was ripped from his body and thrown to the ground. His arms were attached to a rope that went through a metal ring at the top of the post. He his were pulled up over his head, his back stretched tight, his muscles rippling from tension.
Sucat called over the man who would whip Hyd. The man had an ugly disfigured face. He had been abused his whole life for his hideous appearance and it had made him hateful and cruel. On top of this, Sucat made sure the man had drunk his fill during the morning as drink made him even meaner. He was strong, the muscles in his arms and his shoulders thick cords, built from years of digging ditches. He hated everyone so he would be the perfect person to whip Hyd. He would take all of his anger and frustration out on the man in front of him.
The whip the ditch digger would use had six straps of leather tipped with metal studs. He sold with the whip hanging down, gently moving it back and forth. He stood near Hyd with his back to Sucat.
Sucat had not calmed down yet. He paced back and forth in front of his chair, waiting for his men to come back with Eadward or some report as to how he had escaped or where he had gone. He mumbled to himself, cursing, spittle flying from his mouth and flecking his shirt. He ignored what was going on around him until he heard Ranee cry out in pain. He looked up to see Jyll pulling on the noose around Ranee’s neck choking her and chaffing the raw skin there. He took the end of Ranee’s rope from Jyll and whipped Jyll with it.
“I am tired of you ruining things for me.”
He whipped Jyll again, the tip of the rope nicking her in the eye. She flinched, blood ran down her face and she ran off to the hall. He hated her so much. She was always getting in his way, taking what he wanted for himself. He could not wait to kill her. He jerked on Ranee’s rope and she fell into the dirt. He cried out in frustration and helped her up. She tried to get his hands off of her. Now she was dirty ad he was angry with her. He could tell that she had not believed he was being nice to her so he quite pretending. He pulled on her rope until she followed behind him. He walked over to where Hyd was tied to the whipping post. As he got closer, he could hear Hyd talking to the ditch digger. He thought Hyd may have called him by name but that could not be possible. How would Hyd know his ditch digger’s name? The man shook his head in the negative and stepped away from the approaching Sucat and Ranee. He stood back, head bowed, as Sucat walked up with Ranee in tow. Sucat went in front of Hyd with Ranee beside him.
“I will have Eadward found,” said Sucat. “You should smile too broadly over this perceived victory because it will not be long before you see it for the defeat it really is.” Sucat reached up and pulled on the rope tied to Hyd’s hands. Hyd was stretched so far he had to stand on his toes. Sucat held Hyd’s rope in one hand and Ranee’s in the other. When he tugged on Hyd’s rope he pulled on Ranee’s rope. Her noose tightened around her neck. She coughed as she choked and struggled for breath.
“Do you remember the stories I told you in the basement about my wife?”
Hyd did not respond. Sucat grabbed one of Ranee’s breasts and twisted. Ranee could not cry out because she could not breathe but she looked at Hyd as Sucat looked at Hyd. Hyd only looked at Ranee. Ranee shook her head willing Hyd not to respond to Sucat’s taunting.
Hyd looked away from her trying to look at the ground and block everything from his mind. He could tell Sucat was doing something to Ranee but he refused to look. There was nothing he could do right now any way and by getting upset he would only cause Sucat to do progressively worse things to her. Somehow Sucat had gotten Ranee on her knees below Hyd and he closed his eyes so he could not see her face. She made no sounds regardless of what Sucat did to her.
Sucat grabbed Ranee by the hair and attempted to drag her along the ground but he was not strong enough to pull her so he stopped and made her stand up. He pulled and jerked on her rope and she had to follow of be strangled to death.
None of his men had come back. He wanted them to find that bastard, Eadward. He wanted Hyd to see Sucat kill the person Hyd loved most. He wanted his men to see that Sucat had the power to kill anyone. He wanted them all afraid of him. But he needed to do something in the mean time to burn off some of this energy. He called for more ale. A maid ran to get a pitcher of the brew so maybe Sucat would calm down. Perhaps if he got drunk, he would be calmed and they could all go home. Their worst fear was that he would turn on one of them before he could let his anger out on Hyd or Eadward or Ranee.
The maid went into the kitchen for the ale and say a jug of alcohol sitting near by. She poured some of the alcohol in the ale pitcher and then filled it up to the top with ale. Hopefully he would get drunk very fast and pass out and hopefully he would not notice that she had put the stronger spirit in with the beer.
When she came out of the hall, Sucat was sitting in his chair, Ranee on the ground and he was using her as a foot stool, her cheek in the dirt. The maid hoped this would work. She did not think anyone could take much more of this. Children were standing in the crowd crying, their anxious parents doing their best to keep them quiet so that Sucat would not notice them.
Sucat held his cup out as the girl approached with the ale jug. She poured it full and he gulped down the contents. He stuck out the cup again when it was empty and she filled the cup again. He stared at Hyd’s back as he drank, talking under his breath. He could not tell the best way to break his cousin but he needed to break Hyd. He needed to Break Ranee too. Some how they were able to communicate with each other and he hated them for it. They were able to give each other strength. It was not right. It was not fair. Ranee was his. Hyd could not have her. Sucat would see to it that Hyd would never have Ranee. And he needed a way to humiliate Ranee. She was entirely too proud. How she had gotten that way he could not tell but he must make that pride suffer and die. He signaled for a third cup of ale. He was beginning to feel much better and he had an idea.
He told some one to go find Jyll. She would love this. There was a barrel in front of Hyd. Sucat got up and jerked Ranee to her feet. They went to the spot in front of Hyd and he had the barrel rolled closer to Hyd. The people had been standing in the courtyard for three hours now. They were so anxious now that any action would be a relief to them.
Sucat stood Ranee facing Hyd. He grabbed the neckline of her dress and ripped it down the front exposing her breasts. She held her chin high and stared off into the distance. The crowd gasped. Sucat pulled the dress down here back and it hung in shreds to her waist. Hyd watched. Sucat had his attention now. Sucat took Ranee over to the barrel and bent her over it, her exposed stomach and breasts pressed painfully into the wood. He ran the rope from her neck down the barrel to her hands and used it to tie her hands and he wrapped the rope around the barrel’s base around her ankles and back to her hands. He had her tied securely by the time Jyll was brought to him in the courtyard.
Sucat touched Jyll gently on the eye where he had hurt her earlier. She tried to pull away but he held on and kissed the spot.
“I am sorry for my previous treatment of you. I have been upset because my plans have gone awry and I took it out on you. That was wrong and now I will make it up to you.” Sucat drained his cup and called for more. He swayed on his feet but he felt good. The maid rushed over and poured more drink for him. He leaned into Jyll and kissed her on the mouth. Maybe it was his imagination or perhaps it was the drink but he thought maybe she was not as enthusiastic in returning his kiss as she had been before. No matter. She would enjoy her treat and so would he. Sucat pointed to Ranee tied to the barrel. He removed the leather belt he had buckle around his waist. He handed it to Jyll and nodded towards Ranee.
Sucat called over the ditch digger.
“You will whip Hyd each time my Jyll beats Ranee with my belt.” Jyll turn to look at Sucat. She could not believe what he was saying. He nodded to her.
“Yes, my love,” he said. “You may beat my dear, dear wife.” Sucat laughed. He was so happy now. He loved everyone. He stumbled as he walked to Hyd.
“Ah, my dearest cousin. I have really loved this game we have played all of our lives but sad to say it is almost at an end.”
Jyll turned from Sucat to hide the disgust she felt at his drunken behavior. She stroked Ranee’s soft smooth back. She went to Ranee’s head, grabbed her hair and pulled her head up. She kissed Ranee on the mouth, her tongue darting in and out. The crowd gasped and Sucat turned to see what had caused their reaction.
He laughed with pure joy and moved so that Hyd could see too. This was the way things were meant to be. He no longer remembered that Eadward had escaped. He only thought about the show that was about to begin.
Jyll let go over Ranee’s hair and her chin bumped against the barrel. Jyll moved back behind Ranee running her hand along Ranee’s back so she would be able to compare the difference when she was done.
“Do not use the end with the buckle,” said Sucat. “I do not want her to die just yet.”
Jyll grabbed a hold of the buckle and got a good grip on the belt. She looked at Sucat waiting for his signal to begin. The ditch digger looked at Sucat waiting for his signal to begin.
“Let’s see who cries out first and then who passes out first,” said Sucat. He nodded to Jyll.
Jyll’s arm swung back and lashed forward followed along by the wide leather belt. The belt whistled through the air. The courtyard was so quiet that when the leather made contact with Ranee’s back it sounded like thunder echoing in the sky. Ranee’s body jerked but she did not make any sound.
Sucat was disappointed that Ranee did not yell out from the shock of it. She slumped on the barrel breathing as deeply as her restraints would allow her.
He nodded to the ditch digger who swung back his arm and let the whip in his hand fly. There was a loud crack, Hyd’s body jerked and blood sprang out on his back. Before the ditch diggers hand had come to rest, Jyll swung her arm up again and landed a heavy blow to Ranee’s back. In the blink of an eye Jyll swung back again and slammed the leather belt down on Ranee’s back again. Jyll went to swing again but Sucat ran up to her and pulled the leather belt from her hand.
“You ruined things again,” said Sucat. He swung the belt at Jyll and missed because he was so drunk. She laughed at him as he tried to hit her again. He nearly fell over.
It was getting very dark in the courtyard, the sun had gone below the roofs. Sucat and Jyll were arguing, he trying to hit her and nearly falling over. She laughing at him and taunting him, calling him names. The people started to quietly leave. The ditch digger dropped the whip and left.
Sucat lunged at Jyll and grabbed her hair. They were struggling together the drink he had consumed making him stronger than usual. He had a hold on her hair when his men finally returned from their search. They found the courtyard empty of all but Sucat, Jyll, Hyd and Ranee.
Sucat and Jyll stopped fighting when Captain Kennard and the others came up to him to report. At first Sucat had forgot what they had gone looking for. He did not care right now. He ordered guards placed around Hyd and Ranee.
“Leave them as they are for the night. And if you men allow them to escape I personally will castrate each and every one of you.”
Sucat pulled Jyll by the hair. She followed along behind him calling him names. As he pulled her hair with one hand he beat he with the belt in the other hand. He beat her the whole way into his hall and up the stairs to his bedchamber. He called for more of the ale as he went. When he got in the room he flung Jyll to the floor and tried to kick her. She fought back, trying to get a hold on his ankle and tip him over. The maid came in with another pitcher of the spiked ale. She placed it on the first surface she could find and ran back out. Sucat had thrown a small table at Jyll breaking it over her back just as the maid escaped.
The maid told everyone in the kitchen what was happening upstairs in the Baron’s bedchamber. The word spread fast and everyone went into hiding but it did not matter because neither Jyll or Sucat called for anyone.
The table breaking over Jyll knocked her out temporarily. While she was unconscious for a brief while, Sucat took his knife and carved his initials on her cheeks. When he was done he went and got himself more to drink. He sat on his bed with a full mug of ale and looked down on his handy work. She would not be so proud any more. He drank down his mug of ale and poured himself another. He nudged Jyll with the toe of his shoe. She did not move.
Sucat fell off of his bed onto Jyll and he passed out. When she felt like she was suffocating Jyll finally revived. Her face burned. She reached up and touched her wet painful cheeks. When she looked at her hand it was covered in blood. She pushed and shoved Sucat off of her and sat up. He moaned in his drunken sleep.
Jyll left his room and went into his bathing chamber. She found his polished copper looking glass and looked at herself. She began screaming and could not stop. Her beautiful was cut and ruined, blood streaming from the letters carved on her cheeks. She ran back into Sucat’s bed chamber and kicked him over and over again. He would not wake up so that she could exact her revenge. She took the knife that had fallen to the floor when he had passed out. She ran out of the room, down the stairs, into the main hall, out the front doors and into the courtyard.
The guards around Hyd and Ranee took one look at Jyll and were scared. They were sure she was a banshee come to claim them. The three men looked at the wild haired apparition with blood all over her face and close and turned and ran. They were strong men and able fighters but they knew you could not fight and enraged spirit.
Jyll ran over to Ranee and pulled on her hair. Ranee looked up in the crazed woman’s eyes, saw the knife in her hand and thought Jyll would slit her throat. Instead she bean hacking at Ranee’s hair. Jyll grabbed a handful of hair and sliced it off. She grabbed another lock of hair and cut it off. As she chopped off Ranee’s hair said the word ugly over and over again. When she had cut off all of Ranee’s hair Jyll grabbed the rope around Ranee’s neck and pulled it tight. Ranee could not breathe. She struggled against Jyll’s hold but could not fight her. Just as Ranee was about to pass out, Jyll sliced through the rope with the knife and left Ranee gasping for air.
Jyll went over to Hyd. She ran her hand down his torso, repeating the word ugly.
“You did not want me because I am ugly,” she said. Hyd turned his head to look at her and she screamed. She swung the knife at him hacking at the rope that held him aloft. Finally she cut through his rope and he fell to the ground, his legs unable to support his full weight.
Jyll ran off yelling the word “ugly” as she went. Her screams echoed in the courtyard and were held between the buildings by a fog hovering near the roof line.
Ranee pushed herself off of the barrel when she was able to breathe again. She did not know what Jyll had done to Hyd but she needed to check. This maybe the only chance that they had to escape and they needed to take it. Her back burned from the lashings she had received from Jyll. Her body ached from being stretched over the barrel and countless other abuses. Her clothes were falling off of her but she could not let modesty stand in the way of freedom. She had no modesty left anyway. She stood up and turned around. She had a hard time getting her body to obey her mind.
Ranee saw Hyd laying on the ground. At first she thought he might be dead but then she saw that he was breathing his chest rising and falling however shallowly.
She stumbled over to him and collapsed beside him. He rolled over and looked up at her.
“Are you too hurt to move?” she asked.
“No, I think I can managed if I try hard enough.” Hyd smiled at her. She smiled back. They looked at each other like two simpletons.
“Then we need to go. Our luck can not hold out much longer.” When she stopped speaking she heard a sound behind her and she turned to find the ditch digger standing there, a sword in one hand and a knife in the other. She cried out in alarm, put Hyd reached out his hand to calm her.
“He is a friend,” said Hyd. “He will help us.”
The ditch digger came over to Hyd and Ranee. He took the shirt off of his back and handed it to Ranee. She stood up and put it on over her head to cover her chest.
“Thank you,” she said. The ditch digger barely looked at her. He had dropped the weapons to take off his shirt. Now he bent over to help Hyd stand up. Hyd was a little shaky on his feet but his legs were beginning to adjust.
“Ranee, this is David. As I said he is a friend and he will help us hide until we can figure out how to escape. Which way, my friend?”
Hyd picked up the sword and knife. He handed the knife to Ranee. David took off in the direction of the stables and Hyd and Ranee followed. Before going around that building they heard Jyll’s voice yelling the word “ugly” off in the distance.