Atticus was a strong and steady man. Built much like a Spartan warrior, his muscles well-defined and his appearance slightly barbaric. Caramel colored hair curled atop his head and waved carelessly in his face. He stood tall and straight and seemed to dominate any situation with his attitude alone, demanding respect with every hard footstep.
I gazed upon him, with my jaw half open, in awe of his delightful beauty. I was far too nervous to talk to him, let alone even walk beside him on this earth. I always looked at him from afar, and I’m awfully sure that he’s never even noticed me amongst all the other women. He was, as you would say, out of my league.
Today was the day of the Brighton Ceremonies, a gathering of all the commoners, and the King and his Queen, and the royal assembly would march through the villages trying to gather commoners as slaves. It was the greatest honor to be chosen by the King and Queen themselves, and commoners flocked about showing their worth.
Merchants would show their finest wares, boasting about the quality of their products. The merchants who were chosen, would not only service the King and Queen and their royal commanders, but would have the opportunity to sell their wares at events at the castle, where the going price for common items was much higher.
Daughters and mothers and aunts would wear their finest garments, though in comparison to the King and Queen’s, their attire was pitiful. They would bring out baked goods and picked fruits and vegetables and try to prove their worthiness for work in the kitchen or on the royal farms.
The men would come out and show off their strength, wielding axes or swords. Some would come with animals they had tended, hoping to earn a spot in the stables. Most came out hoping to join the Royal Guard, or work as a craftsman building armor and weapons.
The King and Queen and their daughter and son, the royal commanders and the royal guard would traipse up and down the small village road. Whispers would go through the group, and one by one, commoners would be picked out of the crowd to go work at the castle. To live a life at the castle, was the only way to live a life!
Every year, I would join in the Brighton Ceremonies, again, from afar. While it was my desire and dream to live at the castle, Atticus was amongst the men in the royal procession. I was so sure that if he saw me, he would automatically dismiss me to the King and Queen, and then I would never serve at the castle.
As I meandered in the crowds, my head hanging low, I heard above me a booming voice breaking through the commotion yelling, “You there! You there!”. I continued wandering with my head low, as the voice came closer, the sounds of horse hoofs thudding on the ground. I stopped slowly and began to turn slightly, and the hoofs slowed, the voice yelling louder yet, “You there! Yes You! Hold steady!”.
I stopped in my place and awaited the approaching horse and yelling man, with my head lowered to the ground and my eyes slightly up, though I couldn’t see anything but a blur. The horse stopped by my side, and a man swooped off of it, his cape flying down behind him. He said, “Raise your eyes to me at once!”, and I did as he said. In front of me, stood the man I had followed for years, and watched from afar during every Brighton Ceremonies. Atticus, strong and steady, stood before me and I just looked at him with wide, doe eyes.
“What are you doing back here? Don’t you have anything to show your King and Queen? What is your purpose here?”, Atticus boomed at me, his demeanor more of disappointment than anger. I didn’t know how to answer his questions, and was sure not answering would have serious consequences.
I said, “You Sire. It is because of you, I stand in the back with my head down trying not to attract attention. I do not desire to look bad in your eyes.” He looked upon me with such great contempt, as if I had completely spoken out of turn. Again Atticus boomed in a larger than himself voice, “You do not answer my question! How dare you not answer the question of a Royal! And then you carry on as if I know you, as if I should know you. Get on your knees and beg forgiveness immediately, or you know the consequences of your actions!”. Fearing the worst, I lowered to my knees and gently kissed the tops of his leather knee-length boots. I dared not speak, for the chance that something I said could result in punishment. Atticus didn’t seem to mind, as long as I kept my head down and my lips on his boot.
After a few moments, another horsemen came up, carefully trotting his horse through the gathering crowd. The royal assembly had moved on and was gathering those searching out commoners. The man strode up on his horse and from atop it’s back simply stated, “Atticus, we are moving”. Atticus nodded, walked over to the man, as I stayed kneeling on the ground, and whispered something in his ear.
At once, I was scooped up in Atticus’ arms and we were atop his horse. We quickly made our way from out of the crowd and caught up with the group ahead. Commoners that were left behind cheered in delight as their brothers, sisters, children, parents and relatives were scooped up on the backs of horses and ushered into large wagons, immediately falling into submission to the King and Queen. I sat behind Atticus, with my head down, my breathing heavy, my mind racing as we sped off in the direction of the castle.
Every other year, I stayed at the Brighton Ceremonies. Every other year, I helped my mother and sister and an older woman from down the street, who called herself Lady Godiva, cook dishes to take the Brighton Potluck, where all the women in attendance were required to bring at least one dish that included something their house made. Lucky for my house, we produced a number of different goods from the plates we served our food on, to the milk and butter in our homegrown mashed potatoes. Our house was wealthier than most commoners due to the fact that we worked hard and my father had served and died in the Royal Guard.
See, my Mother and Father only had girls born between them. I had no brothers to carry on my father’s name, and as women, we would take on the names of our future husbands. Families with no men to carry on the family name, who had served and died in the Royal Guard, were given a yearly salary to keep their house’s status. Our yearly salary was divided up between dowry’s for three daughters and to keep our farm and stables running smoothly.
Every other year, after the Potluck, I would dance with other commoner men and women until the night sky was pitch black and the Brighton Ceremonies candle was blown out. I would sleep well knowing other commoners were fulfilling the greatest honor, serving the King and Queen among other castle commoners. This year was not like all the other years before me. This year, I had been chosen by one of the greatest men in the royal assembly. I had been swept off on the horse of this great man, nothing but clothing between us.
My heart pounded rhythmically with the trotting of Atticus’ steed. We said no words as we made our way alongside the royal procession, down the curving rough trails. I looked around me, checking the faces of other commoners like myself riding in large wagons pulled by strong horses, or behind men on the backs of horses, as I was riding with Atticus, seeing if any of them were friends or relatives. I took in the glorious landscape around me, hills of rolling green and trees reaching higher into the sky than I’ve ever seen. A babbling brook cascaded in front of the forest and off the trail to our left.
A day of travel, and we finally descended upon the valley which held the castle. As we came to the top of a large hill, firelight flickered in the distance and roars of laughter and chatter filled the air. Just as the commoners of my village celebrated the Brighton Ceremonies, so did the royal commoners. Though their gathering was more elaborate and was attended by some of the greatest minds of our time. Kings and Queens of other countries attended the Brighton Ceremonies, hoping to bid the highest at the Brighton Auctions held the following day, where the King and Queen would sell commoners that were of no use to them, but that they had chosen with other rulers in mind.
The castle was much more than just a castle. It was an entire city upon itself. Shielded behind a mote and a massive stone wall, the city was impossible to get into and more importantly, impossible to get out of. Stationed at the large heavy wood gate doors, stood six burly men, dressed from head to foot in glorious strong armor, ready to attack any person trying to enter and ready to restrain any individual trying to escape. The heavy door was lowered, and the royal procession proceeded through the doors, the hoofs of the horses across the wood almost deafening.
The music changed and all in attendance at the castle’s Brighton Ceremonies, lined up to the left and right of the parade and cheered and oohed and awed at the commoners, all awaiting the start of their duties. The King and Queen would raise their fists and delight in the completed mission of the Brighton Ceremonies. Commoners would sit silently waiting for instructions from the royals, as the assembly moved into the great hall.
The Great Hall was immaculate, to say the least. Candles hung in every corner of the room, and sat on every table. This room was only meant as a reception area. Commoners were brought into this room, before making their way, without the royals, to the place that would then become our home, at least for that night. Royals from every country and wealthy castle commoners, proceeded to the Grand Hall to celebrate through the night with music, entertainment and fine dining and wine. The wealthiest people in the world had no sleep this night. This night was for celebrating!
Alas, I was not among the crowd in the Grand Hall. And I no longer had safe and strong Atticus at my front. Rather, I was surrounded by a hoard of commoners much like myself, dressed in our finest clothing, scurrying down a dimly lit hallway towards an unknown area. Commoners who had been released from their duties at the castle, or who had managed to escape, rarely told tales of the first night of the Brighton Ceremonies for the commoner. Many commoner told tales of the Ceremonies from the royal perspective, but not one tale was spun about the commoners journey at the Ceremonies.
As a group, the commoners came upon a large round room. Candles were lit and made the room very bright. A fire was burning in the middle of the room, and the roof opened unto the night sky. A line of men and women, dressed in the finest attire, spread out to our left and our right. Each held a long stick in their right hand, at their side, slightly hidden by the long capes they each wore. Deep, rich colors invaded my vision. Though the room was bright, the fabrics lining the wall were of the darkest red, and black was visible in all the men and women’s clothing. At the head of the rounded room, stood two figures, a man and a woman. Through the crowd of commoners, I couldn’t make out the faces of any of the people in the room, except the two women to my right who often helped on our farm.
A loud voice proclaimed silence, and one by one commoners quieted their voices, until you could hear no sounds. The men and women, dressed in their dark elaborate fashions, stepped forward and all said a short rhyme, though I could not hear a word over my buzzing thoughts. I shivered as I became more and more worried about what would happen during this year’s Brighton Ceremonies for me.
The male figure at the head of the room, stepped forward. Again, everything was still and silent. One by one, first female, then male, would be ushered up to the male and female at the front of the room. After they had been seen by them, they would either be sent down a hall to the left or right of the man and woman.
As I was ushered up to the figures, I came to realize that the figures were the Prince and Princess, Atticus and Aria. My heart pounded as if it were about to explode, and my feet knew not what direction to go. My stomach felt tight and knotted and I was so scared for my fate. I took a step up, and immediately knelt at Atticus’ feet, not knowing if he was still disappointed in me for my earlier mistakes before him. Aria chuckled and playfully punched her brother in the arm. She bent down and grabbed me and insisted I rise at once. I did as I was told and kept my head down. Atticus whispered in her ear, again she chuckled and said, “So be it!”.
All at once, I was taken off by one of the caped, stick wielding women, and ushered through the hall to the right. She hurriedly scurried down the dimly lit hall, grabbing me by the arm and dragging me along behind her. We took a sharp turn and traveled down a short, dark corridor. A small door was opened, and I took a step inside.
The robed lady was rushing about, setting up trinkets here and there, laying cloth on tables and frantically lighting candles. I stood confused, trying to soak in my surroundings. Where was I? What was I doing here? What was going to happen? The lady came up behind me and began unlacing my dress. I quickly turned around and yelled, “What are you doing?”, and she swiftly slapped me in the face. As I looked her in the eye with a contempt bigger than myself, she sternly told me, “You never speak unless you’re spoken to! You never question authority! You do as you are told! And when you address me, it will be as Mistress, you scoundrel! Now turn yourself around, lower your head, and allow me to remove your dress. Do you understand?”. I didn’t answer, for I feared what would happen if I did. She screamed at me, “Do you understand? You answer me immediately”. “Yes”, I whispered. Another swift slap across the face. “Excuse me?”, she shrieked. “Yes, Mistress!”, I declared, the rebelliousness seeping between my lips.
I slowly turned, and she roughly undid my dress laces. The dress fell around my ankles, and she told me step out of it. There I stood in nothing more than my corset and cotton briefs. She smiled and told me to follow her every instruction from here on out. When I didn’t respond, she grabbed the stick and gave me a hard slap on the bottom. I jumped and squealed, “Yes, Mistress!”. She lead me to a large round table in the center of the room. She instructed me to lay in the middle of the table. As I crawled onto the table it squeaked beneath me. I laid on my back and Mistress quickly tied my ankles and wrists to the table. Then a strap was set just beneath my breasts holding my entire body flat against the wooden table.
Mistress covered my eyes with a thick piece of cotton held on by a strap fastened behind my head. She rubbed all my visible skin with a warm oil, and then I heard the door I had come through open, followed by multiple footsteps and then the door closed. Whispers were about me, though the only voice I could make out was my Mistress’. My heart raced and I knew not what to expect.
A sharp nail traced it’s way up my calf, to the insides of my thigh. A rough, strong hand glided down my oiled arm. A gentle, soft hand made it’s way around my neck, gently squeezing. My body trembled beneath the hands, and I shook hard. Suddenly, I felt breath in my ear, and a recognizable voice gently said to me, “Be calm, Dear. You have been chosen.” I knew better than to open my mouth, though I had no idea at all what had just been said to me. What did he mean “chosen”, hadn’t I already been chosen? I knew I knew whose voice it was too, but I couldn’t place a name to the voice. Somehow, I managed to calm myself and stay quite composed given the situation.
It felt like I laid on my back, in nothing more than a corset and briefs, for many hours. At points, I’m sure I dozed off beneath the cotton covering my eyes. Every so often, the recognizable voice would whisper something more in my ear, as fingers traced lines in my warm, oiled skin. After what felt like an eternity, I was covered with a warm blanket and the footsteps began leaving out the door. The cotton was removed from my eyes and Mistress and I were the only ones left in the room.
She smiled at me and told me that I was very good. The Prince was pleased. I smiled to myself. She told me to sleep and I did exactly that. It felt like a very short sleep. As I awoke to the scuffling of feet, my stiff bones tightened against the wood table. Mistress came to my side and began to undo the straps which held me down for the night. She helped me up from the table, every part of me felt sore and tired. She began to remove my briefs and corset, and I was too exhausted to put up a fight. She slipped a robe around my shoulders and tied it at my waist. She proclaimed that today was going to be the most special day in my life, and that I should be very proud of myself, though not proud enough to form an ego.
Covered in a soft and simple ivory robe, my Mistress steadied me as I stumbled towards the cushioned sofa she instructed me to. I sat, my muscles relieved to feel such comfort. She brought a stool for me to rest my feet upon, and a soft pillow for beneath my head. As I laid there in complete relaxation, she scurried about the room, gathering things of all types from different areas in the room. Fabric, jewelry, ointments, jars and more, were gathered up into a finely made weaved basket.
After a short time, she appeared at my feet and told me we must be on our way. I stood very carefully, feeling the stiffness throughout my body. She led me down the rest of the hallway, into yet another room. In the center of this room was a large pool filled with water, surrounded by stone statues of women and men, gracefully draping stone fabric to cover their genitals. Each looked different and beautiful and larger than me. Around the pool, behind the statues, lining three of the walls in the room, were square bathtubs filled with everything from water, to mud and milk. At the end of the room, at the wall across from the door, were two more doors, one to the left and one to the right.
Mistress took me to a bath of water. The water was hot, and bubbles floated on top of it. I crawled into the warm water, and sighed as I was encompassed. A woman, quite possibly my age, began to wash my feet and my legs, scrubbing the dirt off my body vigorously. I was then told to stand, and the remaining parts of my body were scrubbed and water was poured over me to rinse. The woman escorted me to another bath, this one filled with brown, bubbling, warm mud. With a look of hesitation, I slowly climbed into the mud tub. The mud was smooth, and the woman began rubbing the mud into my skin and my hair. Again, I was told to stand and a bucket of water was dumped over me, though it hardly rinsed me at all.
After this, I was put straight into the milk, which was not as warm as the other two baths. It was thick and smooth and seemed to coat my skin. I was left in that bath for what felt like too long, as the milk cooled and I began to shiver. After my soak in milk, I was taken to another hot bath of water, where my skin was washed less vigorously than the first time, and my hair was washed thoroughly with soap. I was instructed to step out of the bath, and purify my soul in the pool. The idea was to swim it’s length, underneath of the water, without coming up for air once. I swam to the end and back with ease. My father had taught me to swim in the lake not far from my village, when I was a young girl. I stepped out of the pool, eager to carry on. If the rest of the day was anything like what this part of today had been like, I couldn’t wait to get started.
Mistress appeared at my side once again, and dragged me down the hall to the left. “You have taken too much time to yourself! We must prepare you at once, it is almost time for the meal and you’re not even ready yet! Master is going to be very angry!”. She quickened her pace, and continued down the hall. She stopped at a large wooden door and knocked three times. A tall skinny man answered the door, and as they nodded heads, he grabbed my arm and ushered me to the center of the room. In front of me stood a large mirror, and the man came up behind me and removed my robe.
I stood there, shivering in all my nakedness, my hair tousled about on my head. The lanky man behind me proclaimed, “You may call me ‘My Lord’ and my name is Gregoire. I am in charge of your attire and you will stand still here and will only speak when spoken to. Remember, address me as My Lord, or you will suffer!”. I knew by the tone of his voice that he was serious, and that I would want to listen to him.
Gregoire rubbed an oil in my hair, and began to brush it with the finest bristles, pulling the hair from my forehead down my back. My hair reached my lower back, so he spent a majority of the time brushing my hair. He braided my hair, faster than I ever could, evenly on each side of my head. He laced bright red ribbons into the braids, which almost blended in with the brown hair atop my head.
He then brought me a stiff corset, garter belt, petticoat and stockings, which he placed upon me with ease. He slipped a white and red dress over my head, and laced it tight at the back. I was so squeezed into clothing, I could hardly breathe. He placed black leather heeled boots on my feet and quickly polished them on the spot. I was given a beaded choker to place around my neck, with charms dangling between my swollen cleavage.
Looking in the mirror, I smiled at myself and did a half curtsy. Gregoire smiled at me, and said, “Be humble, my dear.” I nodded, and said, “Yes, My Lord”. This pleased him and he smiled knowing I had been chosen. He looked over me once more, nodded at my Mistress, who had been silently sitting by the door, and walked into a room off to the right.
My Mistress came over to me, grabbed me by the hand, and told me it was time. Time for what, I didn’t know. I could not ask, as she had not given me permission. I silently walked alongside her and she led me back out into the hall we had come in from. We were almost back to the room I had begun at, when we abruptly turned down a hall to the right of us. This hall was brightly lit and the walls were covered with artwork, from portraits to landscapes. This time, at the end, there was no door. We just stepped down into a large hall.
There was a large rectangular table in the center of the room, and the walls were lined with seats, lowered in the front and risen feet off the floor in the back. I realized very quickly, that this was what a stadium looked like. I had never been inside of a stadium before, though the table in the center of the room struck me as odd. I dare not ask. My Mistress brought me to the table, where I was seated at the head of the table, facing the right wall from the door.
After I had been seated, a handful of commoners came through the door, adorned in much the same way I was. The women with their hair fashioned in different types of braids with brightly colored ribbons. Men had ribbons wrapped about their heads. Women wore long dresses with petticoats and black heeled boots. Men wore long dark pants and brightly colored shirts with high boots of leather. Each one had a look of confusion upon their face, as they were ushered by their Master or Mistress, presumably, to their designated seat.
A scrawny blonde haired, green-eyed man, sat across from me, his head adorned with a lime green ribbon. He couldn’t have been more than nineteen years old, and he wore his scared emotion wide on his face. He stared at me, searching my face for some sort of answer, I just gently shrugged my shoulders at him. My Mistress and his Master, scurried over to a large gong once everyone was seated. They each picked up a mallet and at the same time swung and hit, the sound startling us all. A group of people were filed in and seated in the risen seats. Then a group that was clean, but dressed in garments that looked much like potato sacks, were brought in from the same door I had entered through. The group consisted of probably close to a hundred people, all looking rather scared and rather ashamed.
Food was brought out to those of us who were sitting at the table. Fruit-filled platters were placed down the center of the table. Mashed potatoes and cheese were served, and meat was cut table side and placed on our plates. Wine goblets were filled with a bright, bubbling champagne. Napkins made of the finest cotton, and embroidered with stitching, were placed among our laps. We were told to eat at once. We all did happily, as it had been an entire day since we had last ate.
The crowd in the seats watched on with delight. The standing and rather drab commoners, watched as we greedily ate our food, and the crowd looked on and cheered with glee. After the food was done, commoners were led out of the room, hopefully to go eat themselves, though I did not know what their future held. My Mistress and the scrawny nineteen year old’s Master, once again struck mallets to the gong, and asked us all to rise. Each one of us slowly stood. Mistress was at my side within moments, and she grabbed my arm and wrapped it around hers. One by one, we were grabbed by our Master’s and Mistress’ and paraded around the large stadium. If we stumbled or tripped, they would grab their sticks and a swift thud would land upon our bottoms.
After we were all paraded about the room, we were lined up in the middle of the room, where the table had now been removed from. Facing the same wall I had faced while eating, I now saw the King and Queen and Atticus and Aria seated amongst the top risers. The King looked at me and hollered, ”You there!”. I looked at my Mistress, unsure of what I was to do. She jerked her head towards the King, and motioned for me to step forward. I took a step forward and looked up to the King.
He hollered down from the top of the room, “From this point forward, Atticus has chosen you. You will be forever his, and only upon his permission will you be let go from this castle. Your Mistress, Atticus and Aria will train you on how you are to conduct daily life here at the castle. You will be under Atticus’ demand and must fulfill his every wish. Do you understand?”. I was not sure how you speak to a King, especially a King surrounded by other royalty. I slowly nodded my head, unsure of everything that had just been said to me. The King boomed, “Speak up my dear, we wish to hear that you understand!”. “Yes, My King, I understand”. “Very well then. Mistress please escort her to Atticus’ chambers at once!”, and quickly My Mistress grabbed my arm and led me down a series of hallways and up a winding stairway to a large chamber, as large as mine and Lady Godiva’s house put together!
She stood me at the foot end of a large bed facing the door we had come through, which was off to the right a bit. The door opened and in walked Atticus and Aria. She playfully punched him in the arm and he playfully tugged at the long single braid down her back. They came towards me and looked me over with careful eyes, examining every part of my body. They instructed me to turn and Aria unlaced my dress. She snapped her fingers, and my Mistress scurried over and quickly removed the rest of my clothing.
Again, Aria and Atticus looked over me, examining every curve of my body. Aria reached out and squeezed my breasts and then softly bounced them in her hands, as if to discover their weight. Atticus, strong, steady, safe, Atticus, came around behind me and squeezed my bottom, gently slapping it as he walked away. They exchanged glances of pleasure, and again Aria playfully punched Atticus’ arm. He bashfully cocked his head to the side.
Aria took my hand and led me around the bed. She gently pushed me face down, and I sunk into the softness. She whispered in my ear, “Be on your best behavior and you shall be rewarded.” With that, she smiled and turned to Atticus and with excitement in her voice proclaimed, “She’s ready!” She stood to my right, and Atticus moved to my left. I laid there, in my nakedness, the cold air tickling my skin. A fire flickered in the far corner of the room, and my Mistress was nowhere to be seen.
Without warning, a hard slap came down on my ass from my left side. Atticus had just slapped my bare ass! I jumped up and gave him a look, begging for an answer. He said to me in a loud voice, “Lay your head back down and be a good girl, or this shall become much worse for you!”. I did as I was told, fearing what could possibly be worse than this. Another slap fell on my ass, this time from Aria. And another from Atticus. They kept slapping my ass, taking turns until I was crying into my pillow.
Atticus cupped my ass in his strong hand, as Aria bent over and gently kissed the reddened area. I moaned beneath them as her hot breath touched my skin. They both began pinching the skin on the backs of my thighs, my flinching inevitable. A wetness began to form between my legs, and it no longer hurt or felt uncomfortable, and I began to enjoy the pinching and spanking.
Aria whispered in my ear once more, “Roll over, my dear, and close your eyes”. I rolled over, and closed my eyes. I heard movement around me, and the fire flickered fiercely. My skin felt warm and I shivered frantically. Soft hands grabbed my ankles then, and opened my legs wide, until my toes touched the edge of each side of the bed. I was fully exposed, my nipples hard and my pussy wet.
I opened my eyes, and felt a hard slap on my inner thigh. Immediately I closed my eyes, and they remained that way for a long while. Kisses fell upon my legs, and someone sucked on my breasts as they gently cupped and rubbed them. A gentle pointed tongue found it’s way to my exposed pussy, and flickered across the hard nub that laid above it. My hips squirmed involuntarily, and soft gentle moans escaped my lips. A hand slapped my breasts, and squeezed my nipples. Suddenly, nothing could be felt at all. There were no hands upon my body, no tongue inside of me, no lips caressing my skin. Again, it was silent and the fire could be heard crackling.
I felt a hot breath at my face, breathing down upon my nose. A body was on top of me, and upon the entry of his member into my exposed pussy, I was sure it was Atticus who was inside me, filling me. I opened my eyes, and he bent down and kissed me, sliding his tongue past my lips and playing with mine. He pumped himself in and out of me, again my hips involuntarily squirming. My body felt on fire, and I could not contain my moans. I reached my hands up into his caramel hair, and wrapped the curls around my fingers. I gripped at his back, gently scratching the skin on his shoulders. He continued kissing me, hard and deep until he finally erupted into my swollen pussy.
He kissed me once more and then swiftly raised himself off of me. He sat on a sofa in front of the fire, facing away from me. Aria was at my feet then and whispered to me, “I’m just going to clean you up.” She knelt on the bed between my open legs and began licking my cum-filled cunt. She nibbled on my hard nub and flicked her soft tongue around inside me. She was squeezing my inner thighs with her hands, pulling my pussy lips apart and back together again.
Within moments, I was squirming frantically beneath her and moaning as quietly as I could. All my muscles tensed, and my back arched clear off the bed. I let out a squeal and collapsed flat on the bed. Aria rose, and went to the sofa. After a few moments of rest, Atticus and Aria both left the room. My Mistress came back in the room, and put a night gown on me, covered me with blankets and instructed me to go straight to sleep, as tomorrow was an even bigger day. My first day as Atticus’ chosen. I drifted off into a deep sleep, anxious to see my strong, safe Atticus again.