Wednesday, November 25, 2015
rocketdave here. I realize many of you may have been saddened when Carrie's "A Suitable Position" came to an end a while back. But not to worry. Even though it's been a while since I've posted anything new, Bambi's "Swiss Miss Sissy" (you know, that other tale of a tourist in a German-speaking country who gets duped into working as a maid for an aristocratic woman) has many more chapters yet to go, so you will be reading this story for a long time to come. I'd just like to take a moment to thank all of you who who have been enjoying SMS and have been patiently awaiting the next installment. Rest assured, Bambi and I are not going anywhere.
Chapter 17: Equestrian girls. Cheryl is taken for a horse ride.
The next couple of days were relatively unremarkable as I went through my routine as a maid in Mistress' service. I would wake early in the morning, before everyone else, to prepare for my shift. I never was much of a morning person, so getting up at this ungodly hour always was quite a challenge. Still, at least I could get up on my own accord. I wasn't tied down on the bed nor did I find Jeanne and Bernadette standing next to my bed when I opened my eyes. Nor did anyone escort me to the bathroom, so I could indulge myself in a long and relaxing shower every morning.
But I made sure I would be back in my room before Miss Brigitt arrived for my corset training. She kept mentioning how busy she was, and indeed I would not see her for the rest of the day, but she apparently had all the time in the world to tie me in one of her corsets. I groaned and gasped as she mercilessly pulled the laces and tied them meticulously in a triple knot. Though it wasn't her responsibility, she would also select my uniform of the day. The more conventional uniforms and three-inch heels were ignored in favour for the more frilly outfits and higher heels.
“Your figure is improving nicely. It would be a shame to hide that under bland cotton or wool. Now that you got it, you should flaunt it,” she had said as she selected a brightly coloured satin outfit.
Though I thoroughly disliked the corsets, it was Brigitt's presence that always disturbed me the most. With that that amused and knowing smile on her face she would tease me relentlessly as she watched me get dressed. One moment she would mention how cute I looked in my pretty dress, the other mocking me for being a pathetic little sissy that loves dressing up as a frilly girl.
“Oh my, that is a short skirt, isn't it. A proper maid would never wear something like that. Much too slutty. But you are a real slut, aren't you, Cheryl? Perhaps I should make you Brigitt's girl again, right now.”
I just had to take it as I stood there in one of my ridiculous outfit, smiling prettily. Something deep inside me, something masculine, always wanted to wipe that smile of her face. I think she knew that, and that she did her best to make me angry or lose my composure. As difficult as it was, I still replied with a respectful and submissive 'yes, miss Brigitt', 'thank you, miss Brigitt' or 'If you wish, miss Brigitt'. One morning I couldn't help myself and gave her a sarcastic sneer. It must have surprised her, as she stopped smiling, and I felt a sense of deep satisfaction. But it didn't last as she cuffed me around the ears repeatedly until I cried. Her smile quickly returned as she looked in my tear stained eyes, her pearl white teeth shining brightly as they reflected the light.
So I just tried my best endure her ridicule until she would look at her watch and say: “Oh my, is it that time again. I have to run. See you tomorrow, sissy.” She would give me a tap on my behind, so I gave a cute yelp, then leave me alone to finish my makeup and start my shift. Fortunately, despite her threats, she didn't actually make me her girl again. I tried not to think what would happen when she was done with... whatever she was busy with.
Nevertheless, seeing Brigitt leave was enough to raise my spirits, so I was quite content as I did my chores. No one bothered, teased or mocked me as I did the laundry, dusted the furniture, changed the sheets, removed the cobwebs or whatever task I had to perform that day.
By noon I would get anxious again, as I had to report at Madam Directrice's office, who would inspect my outfit and punish black marks.
“Your suspender is not straight. That's a black mark. There is also some dust on your skirt. That makes two,” she said as she circled me, her crop probing my outfit. “Any I see a stain on your shoe. Three black marks.”
I tried to stay still as I stood before her desk, eyes firmly aimed towards the ground. But I nervously wiggled in my heels, hands fidgeting. At the edge of my vision I saw her open her little black booklet.
“And yesterday... Ah yes, you spilled some coffee, and you served Christina from the left side during dinner. That is another one. ” She stepped right before me and bent forwards, looking right into my eyes. “Anything else?”
This was the hardest part. I had to confess other infractions that should have earned me a black mark, but where no-one else was around to note it. I was effectively asked to assign black marks to myself.
“Er... well.... I... kind of went to the kitchen...” I started.
Madam Directrice tilted her head, an unreadable expression on her face. “And?”
“I... er... Frau Seiler wasn't there, but I got a drink anyway...”
“Without her permission?” She asked in a firm tone of voice. The kitchen was Frau Seiler's kingdom, and even Mistress herself did not interfere with how she ran her domain. Though I had to be there regularly in the course of my duties, I was not allowed to do or touch anything without her approval.
“Yes, Madam Directrice. I couldn't find her. Frau Seiler had just gone to town to buy supplies...,” My voice was wavering.
It was strange. No-one knew I poured myself a drink, not even Frau Seiler, And no-one would have known if I just kept my big mouth shut!
But I couldn't. Here, in this room, under Madam Directrice's scrutiny, I felt like all my sins were laid bare. I simply had to confess.
“I wasn't thinking. I was parched, hot,” I continued pleading, “I had cleaned the windows and the sun was up and...”
“Silence, girl,” Madam Directrice firmly.
She leaned back against her desk, fingers tapping the edge while she kept her eyes on me.
“I will ask Frau Seiler to give you permission to get yourself a drink whenever you want. We do not want you dehydrated every time she is out. Nevertheless, you did violate her trust by not waiting for her consent.” She gave me a stern look. “Two black marks.”
I swallowed hard. Seven marks already...
“Was that all?” she asked me.
I shook my head slightly. “No, Madam Directrice. I accidentally dropped a cup.”
She frowned disapprovingly. “Did you break it?”
“No, Madam Directrice. It fell on the carpet. It looked fine,” I answered truthfully, but with little conviction.
She tapped the desk again. Then her frown transformed into a merciful smile. “Well, we can let that one slide. Just don't do it again.”
I felt a sense of relief at that small bit of clemency. “Thank you, Madam Directrice.”
She walked over to my side, holding the crop in both hands. She bent the stick into a large U.
“Seven black marks. You know what that means, Cheryl,” she said as she let the crop snap back into its original shape on its own accord. “Bend over my desk.”
I gulped. “Yes, Madam Directrice.” Reluctantly, I stepped forward and placed my hands on the desk, legs straight and torso slightly forwards, just enough to expose my panties.
Madam Directrice placed the tip of the crop on my behind. “Count the strokes,” she said as she readied herself for her first strike.
Though the daily encounters with Miss Brigitt and Madam Directrice were unpleasant, at least they were predictable. And after my visit to Mistress Margot, who delighted in tormenting me with one nasty surprise after another, that was more than I had dared to hope for. And though I was somewhat disappointed that Mistress mostly ignored me, it did save me the burden of having to please her in ways that I did not like.
So after a couple of days of reassuring routine, I was rather startled when Martina suddenly approached me.
“Hey there, Cheryl. I was just looking for you.” She called as she saw me.
“Miss Martina? Er... Hello. It is a pleasure to see you again,” I said while holding a pile of Mistress' clothes I had just folded. For a moment I was conflicted. It was only proper for me to curtsey to her, but that would require holding the hem of my dress. I looked left and right to put my load down, but there was no table in my direct vicinity. I briefly considered putting them on the floor, but that was silly. So I finally settled for a quick bob while holding onto the pile.
I smiled prettily as I bent my knees, and Martina smiled back warmly as she regarded me with interest.
Which surprised me, really. Though Martina had been friendly enough when she addressed me over the past weeks, she seemed to look right through me. Hardly remembering my name, even. To her, I was just another sissy maid, the last in a line of predecessors.
“How can I be of assistance, Miss Martina?” I asked her.
“Are you busy this afternoon, Cheryl?” She replied with that same smile.
“Well, I need to finish my chores,” I answered. “I have to put away these clothes, then I need to mop the floor...”
So grinned. “So, nothing then? Good. Come with me.” She turned around and walked off.
Confused, I glanced at the pile if clothes I was holding, then at Martina's retreating back. I really had to finish my chores, but I couldn't refuse. Still holding my cargo, I minced after her.
She was wearing flats and had a firm pace, while I had to mince in my stilettos, but I managed to keep up. “Where are we going, Miss Martina?”
“To my room. I have something for you,” she said over her shoulder.
We arrived at her old room, and she let me inside. “You can put that down anywhere. Hurry now.”
I did as she said, making sure the clothes remained immaculate. I had spent enough time to clean, iron and fold them, and I wasn't about to ruin my efforts by laying them down on dirty surface.
“Will this take long, Miss Martina? Madam Directrice doesn't like it if I do not finish my tasks is time...” I tried to say, but Martina interrupted me.
“Oh, don't you mind her, Cheryl,” she said as the opened a cardboard box. “I'm sure your duties can wait. Here, what do you think of this?”
She held out an outfit. One that I couldn't identify. “It's... very pretty, Miss Martina. But... what is it?” Her smile was from ear to ear.
Martina had locked her arm around my right one, while I held onto the hem of my dress with my left hand, making sure no sand or mud could touch it. I couldn't fathom why an outdoor dress would have a skirt that reached the floor. Don't women realize the ground is generally very dirty?
But that was not the most confusing thing of my outfit. I looked at the item I was holding in my right hand. I recognized it well, the long stick covered in leather with a flap at the end, but never expected to carry it myself. Nevertheless, for the first time since I became a sissy, instead of being at the receiving end, for once I was actually holding a crop. It felt strange in my hand.
Martina guided me towards one of the support buildings behind the mansion. She looked up to the clear blue sky, then sniffed the air. Tough these gardens didn't have the lush flowerbeds you found at Mistress Margot's mansion, the air was heavy with the smell of cut grass and blooming flowers, carried along the valley by a gentle breeze.
I was also smelling something else entirely. Manure.
“It's a perfect day for a ride,” Martina said relaxed. “You'll love it. I promise.”
The outfit Martina had shown me was a riding habit, of sorts. She had decided to take me out on a horse ride in the backcountry. Apparently, she was an avid horsewoman, and wanted to share with me the joy of moving around while sitting passively on half a tonne of bone, muscle and bad attitude.
I never fully trusted animals larger than a rabbit. And after my close encounter with Mistress Margot's mechanical version, I had a particular abhorrence of horses as well. I had voiced my reluctance to Martina, but she dismissed them. “Don't be silly, Cheryl. It's perfectly safe. I've been riding horses for years and I've never even sprained an ankle. Now, no more complaining and put this on.”
So, despite my objections and my tight daily schedule, I was about to ride a horse. Martina was very serious about it too, even dressing me for the occasion.
At first glance, my outfit wouldn't have look out of place in a costume drama about the English aristocracy. It consisted of a tailored jacket that closely fitted around my waist (and the corset underneath), accentuating my hips and chest. It was buttoned up at the front with brass buttons. Long sleeves covered my arms all the way to my wrists. Underneath the jacket was a silk blouse, with frilly trimming that peeked out from my sleeves and neckline.
I also wore a skirt. A long skirt, for once. It fell from my hips all the way down, hanging just an inch or so above the floor. I wore petticoats underneath. Short ones, which gave some volume around my hips to further accentuate my small waist and let the hem of the skirt fall around me in a wide circle.
Accessories included a top hat that had to be pinned on my hair to keep in place, with a sheer veil and bright feathers to lessen its masculine origins. Hat, jacket and skirt were various shades of purple, subtly different but nonetheless part of a greater whole. My gloves were made from the same black patent leather as my riding boots, both feeling very stiff.
Of course, this wasn't the nineteenth century, and I was no lady, so the ensemble included altercations made for a twenty-first century sissy.
The blouse was not buttoned up and showed ample cleavage, including the edges of my bra. The skirt had a split at the front, so that with every step at least one of my legs peeked out, giving onlookers a tantalizing view of my legs all the way up to my panties.
Martina had also added a wide choker in black satin, with a copper ornament in front in the shape of a heart. Martina thought it would look pretty, but I felt like I was wearing a collar again.
She pulled on my arm, urging me forward to a low building on the other side of the estate. “Keep up, Cheryl. No dawdling,” she said enthusiastically.
I looked at her apologetically. She was wearing riding clothes too, but much less elaborate ones. She wore a simple red jacket over a white blouse, and tight khaki pants that disappeared into her riding boots. Her spurs clicked with every step.
“I'm sorry Miss Martina,” I replied. “It's these heels. Are you sure they are a good idea for a horse ride?”
She sniggered. “Well, of course they are. They are to prevent your foot from slipping into the stirrup.” She stopped, then held up her foot. “See? I'm wearing heels too.”
“Yes, but yours are an inch high,” I tried to argue. “I'm wearing four-and-a-half inch stilettos...”
“Oh, hush now, girl,” she interrupted. “Just get your ass inside.”
We entered the building though a side door. It looked older than the mansion itself. It was clearly a stable, but mostly empty and clean. Martina told me that the horses were usually housed at a nearby riding school. Guess Mistress didn't like the smell of manure. Neither did I, I suddenly realized.
Our heels clicked as we passed over the wooden floor towards two box stalls at the end.
As we approached, two horses peeked out of their stalls at the new arrivals. One was white with a few grey patches. It looked at us, then snorted and shook its head agitatedly.
The other horse was brown. It gave us a disinterested glance before continuing with chewing the ball of hay between its teeth.
We came to the first stall, and the white horse whinnied and snorted. It kept its eyes at me as it bared its teeth, making me back down.
Martina let go of me and stroked the horse's head, whispering soft words in German.
She turned to me with a smile. “This is Blitz. I will be riding him today. He's a bit grumpy right now, but outside he can run and jump like no other.”
She let go of the white horse and patted the head of the brown one.
“This is Rosalin,” Martina said as she turned to me. “She is yours.”
I didn't reply. I just looked at the animal. That beast was huge!
It looked at me with mild interest, still chewing the dry grass. I saw yellow teeth grind the hay. The horse could bite my head right off, I thought, if it wanted to.
Martina must have seen my consternation, as she laughed, then smiled patronizingly.
“Don't worry,” she said. “Rosalin here is the most docile girl I've ever seen. Well, apart from you that is.” She winked at me teasingly.
I mumbled a 'yes, Miss Martina'.
“Come here, give Rosalin here a pat on the head. She likes that.” Martina told me.
Reluctantly, I came forwards and extended my hand, gently touching the animal. Even through my gloves I could feel the fur. Not soft and warm like a kitten's of bunny's, but short and hard. The horse didn't seem to notice me as it kept on chewing its hay.
The horse snorted, and I flinched.
“Oh, don't be so scared, Cheryl.” Martina admonished. “Just pet the old girl while I saddle her.” She entered the box fearlessly, got the leather item from a rail at the back and put it on the beast, with practices movements fastening it around the animal's bulk.
Then she got a leather and metal contraption.
“What is that?” I asked.
“It's a bridle, silly girl,” Martina answered with a snigger. “Don't you recognize it? Didn't you wear one at Margot's?”
I turned red. “Er... No...”
“No need to blush, Cheryl. I'm just teasing,” she said with a smile. “Seriously though, you probably will, sooner or later.”
When she was finished, she led the horse out of its box. “Go stand on that step, Cheryl. Hurry now.”
I obeyed her command as she guided the beast towards me, holding its reins and stopping it with its flank right before me. Aside from the all-pervasive smell of manure, I noticed an odour that reminded me of a wet dog. A whole bottle of perfume wouldn't be able to hide the stink that entered my nostrils.
“Good girl,” Martina said. I didn't know if she was talking to me or the horse. “All right, Cheryl. Get your leg up, put it in the stirrup and pull yourself up on the saddle.”
“Miss Martina? I don't think I should do this. I really should be getting back to my chores. Madam Directrice will be angry if I...”
“Cheryl!” Martina snapped, startling me. “Stop your whining! Now be a good girl and get on the bloody horse!”
Shocked, I quickly took hold of the saddle. I hesitated, then glanced at Martina, Her expression clearly brooked no further repugnance or delay. I lifted my leg and put it in the stirrup.
“Mein Gott...” Martina said exasperated. “Your other leg, Cheryl.”
I looked at my feet, then at the horse. “Er... right. Thank you, Miss Martina.”
I put my other boot in the stirrup, hoisted myself up and threw my other leg over the saddle.
I grunted as I sat down on the saddle, putting pressure on the plug I was still wearing.
I looked over the side. That was a long way down! This animal was even bigger when you sat on top of it.
I held firm onto a knob at the front of the saddle, trying to sit down a bit more stable. That was difficult, as the saddle seemed to be asymmetric, and my right leg still dangled freely from the horse's flank.
“Miss Martina? Where is the other stirrup?”
She barked a laugh. “There isn't one, silly girl. Prissy sissies like yourself do not sit astride. It is unbecoming. You get to ride side saddle.”
She pointed to the two leather hooks at the left side of the saddle. “Keep your left leg in the stirrup and put your thigh under this pommel. Very good. Now, pull your right leg up and put it around the other one. Excellent. See? Now you can keep your legs together, like a properly demure girl.”
“Yes, Miss Martina,” I said half-heartedly. Demure? Thanks to the split in my skirt my legs were now completely exposed from the tips if my boots to my groin. At least the back of my horse was now covered modestly, I thought sarcastically.
Sitting here on my high horse, I saw Martina saddle her own ride and mount it effortlessly. She was sitting astride.
She guided her horse next to mine. “Ready to go, Cheryl?” She said with a wide smile.
“How do you move this thing?” I asked troubled. I was holding onto the saddle, sitting in an awkward position on the biggest bag of meat and bones I've ever seen, and I had no idea how to steer it. The crop I was holding in my hand felt like a mean joke.
“Don't you worry about that, girl. You just enjoy the ride,” She said as she reached down and unwrapped the reins. She held onto them as she put her spurs in the white horse's flank. It neighed, then pranced, but Martina remained seated effortlessly. Her horse went into a trot and she pulled at the reins of mine, and the brown horse dropped the mostly eaten ball of hay and followed suit. I felt a shock as the horse picked up speed, and held the saddle tight.
With me following right behind her, Martina rode towards the wide open stable doors at the other side.
After my initial apprehension, it didn't seem all that bad. Our horses were pacing with a very stable trot. If it wasn't for my plug, it may have even been comfortable.
I might have even enjoyed it if I wasn't feeling so darned self-conscious. I simply could not ignore the fact that I was out in public while wearing girl's clothes. I may have passed for a real woman (though I felt very conflicted whether that was actually a good thing), but my exposed legs drew far more attention than I would have liked. Several cars had sounded their horn as they passed us by.
“Blow them a kiss, Cheryl. Show them you appreciate the compliment,” Martina told me with a smirk.
Another car passed us on the main road, and I felt the urge to hide my face in my mount's long mane.
“Cheryl, don't lean too far forward. Keep your weight on her back or you'll annoy poor old Rosalin,” Martina said over her shoulder
“Yes, Miss Martina,” I answered as transferred weight back on my behind, glad the car had already passed.
She smiled, pulling on my horse's reins, drawing it closer to hers until we were riding side-by-side. “You may call me Martina when we are alone, Cheryl. Mutter may be strict with formalities, but I'm not.”
“As you wish, Miss... I mean, Martina.”
I heard her snigger. “You'll get the hang of it. Just do not let Mutter hear you say it. Or Esther. And it’s probably a bad idea to let Brigitt hear it too.”
We left the main road and rode through a dense forest south of Mistress' estate, moving along a path that would be generous to call a road. We had also been steadily climbing the moment we came amongst the trees.
“Where are we going, Mi... Martina?” I asked.
“There is a nice viewpoint up this hill. There is a cliff that goes straight down to the river, and you can see all the way to Germany. I go there sometimes if I need to relax or think. And after your time with Margot, I would think it would do you some good as well.”
“That's... very nice, Martina.” Personally, I would have preferred to simply finish my chores today. Still, it sounded rather considerate of her.
“It's the least I could do, Cheryl. I know your time with Margot must have been... difficult. Us girls need to support each other,” she said without a hint of derision.
Mental pictures of the penalty box flashed through my mind, but I ignored them. I was uncertain where she was going with this. After dressing me up for Mistress' birthday and delivering me into her hands, Martina had hardly given me a second thought. What was it with this sudden concern? I began to feel suspicious. “Thank you, Martina. But that is not necessary, surely. Mistress Margot has been very... er... hospitable. And I can assure you...”
She interrupted me, giving me a hard look “It's good that you watch your words, Cheryl. If you spoke ill of Mutter or even Margot, I would spank you myself. Right here, right now.”
Her eyes softened. “But that doesn't mean I do not know what you really feel. You hated your stay at Margot’s, I'm sure.”
She drew my horse even closer to her. Then patted me on my leg. “But you endured. I did not expect that. Truthfully, I didn't even expect you to last as long as you have. Mutter's last maid didn't even last the month. She burns quickly through prospective maids, especially when she loans them out to Margot.”
I felt confused. “...It's not like I have much choice. I cannot actually leave,” I muttered. That was one lesson I learned at Mistress Margot’s.
She laughed. “Right... Anyway, I suspect you'll be around for a bit longer. So I think it’s a good idea for me to make your... transition... a bit more bearable.”
I made a weak smile. “Thank you, Martina.”
“Don't mention it. Besides, I always wanted a baby sister,” she said with a playful wink.
She smirked amused. “I love my mother. And I know you do too, in your own silly way. No, don't deny it. I've seen those puppy dog eyes of yours when you look at her. That basically makes us sisters, don't you think?”
“I guess...” I said unconvinced.
“And that makes you my baby sister, with you being so much younger than I am, and all.” Martina said with a grin.
“What do you mean? We’re the same age,” I replied.
She gave me a stern look that she must have inherited from her mother. “You are nine months younger. And a sissy. That makes you a toddler in my book.”
Her eyes made me wince. “Yes, Martina...” I said with a quiver in my voice.
She smiled again. “I was the youngest, always the baby. Now with you around, I have my own younger sister. Now you will be the baby.”
I didn't say anything, but I heard myself gulp.
She patted me on the leg. “I will be stern with you, of course. As the older sibling I am responsible for you. I will have to keep you in line and out of trouble.”
I remained silent.
“Oh, don't give me that look, Cheryl. It will be fun. I don't have to teach you how to put on your makeup, but we can do other stuff together. Go shopping, watch some chick flicks,” She smirked. “Talk about boys...”
I tried very hard to smile. “That would be... lovely, Martina.”
“Absolutely. But for now let's just enjoy the ride.” She said with a content smile. “Big sis taking her little sissy out for a ride in the country.”
We came up at a clearing, a wide meadow interspersed with a couple of bushes and trees. A couple of tree trunks laid stacked near the path.
Martina turned to me. “How about your cool big sister Martina giving you your first riding lesson? Here, take the reins.” She held out the leather loop before me. “Let go of the pommel, Cheryl. I promise you will not fall off. Cheryl! Let go and take the reins! Now, little girl! That's better...”
With both hands I held the leather strap slack before me, unsure what to do next. Without holding the pommel for additional support, I suddenly remembered how high above the ground I was.
Martina gave me some basic instructions on how to steer the horse. I had to use the crop to tell her to move, and gently pull the reins to turn or stop.
'You ready?” Martina asked. “See that tree? Go there and back.”
I took a deep breath, fastened my grip on the riding crop, and slapped my horse on the back.
Nothing happened. Rosalin didn't even snort, let alone move,
Martina sniggered. “I said slap her. Not tickle her. Come on now, Cheryl, strike her behind like Esther slaps yours.”
This made me blush, but I did as she said. With a slow pace Rosalin began to move.
“That's good. Now make her turn left,” Martina called.
I tugged the reins. The horse ignored my command and continued towards a tuft of high grass.
Martina shook her head in amused annoyance. “Pull harder, silly girl. Show her who's boss.”
I had been forced into the life of a sissy maid, and was wearing girl's clothes against my will. I even had a plug up my behind, and I had to show this half-a-tonne monster who was in charge? “I think she already knows who's boss, Martina!” I called out annoyed.
Rosalin stopped to eat some grass despite my protests. “No, don't stop, you oversized ass. Move! Giddy-up! Tally-ho! Go left! Or Right! I don't care, just move!” The horse snorted, and I was sure it just told me to take a hike. Then she simply ignored me as she nibbled on the blades of grass.
Martina was laughing hysterically, leaning on Blitz's neck as she almost doubled over. If I wasn't blushing before, I certainly was now.
There were tears in Martina's eyes when she finally regained her composure. She hadn't quite exorcised the mirth in her voice as she spoke. “Well, I think that is enough for one lesson. Wait there Cheryl, I'll come and get you. Don't move.”
Rosalin snorted, as if she said 'not bloody likely...'.
I looked at Martina, who put her weight on her stirrups and pushed her spurs into her horse's flanks. With a loud bellow, Blitz jumped forward and went into a gallop. Martina steered her mount across the meadow, zig-zagging left and right as she easily evaded obstacles. Her body moved with perfect unity with that of her mount.
She steered Blitz towards the stack of logs, which was almost as tall as me. She couldn't be serious, I thought.
Blitz ran even faster, grunting like it was uttering a challenge to the obstacle. Martina bent forward, leaning close over Blitz' back, then the pair jumped.
I watched in awe as the thousand pound animal flew over the obstacle, clearing it with room to spare, and landed with a gentle thud.
With a slow trot, Martina steered her mount towards me, giving it encouraging pats on the side of its neck. She was smiling widely as she stopped her horse next to mine.
I realized I was looking at her with my mouth wide open. “...That was amazing!” I cried. “How did you... Where did you learn to do that?”
She grinned “Two-time canton champion,” she said with pride. “I could ride a horse before I could walk. Now, shall we continue towards the cliff? We still have some way to go. Give me your reins, Cheryl.”
I handed her the leather strap. When she pulled it, Rosalin immediately dropped the grass it was chewing and followed her own mount. I was silent as we passed the tree line, still overawed by my new cool big sis.
Perhaps I had slipped into a character again, like I had done so many times with Mistress Margot, but I started to feel safe in Martina's vicinity. As we rode through a green tunnel of trees and dense foliage, I relaxed and began chatting with her merrily.
But something had been bothering me for a while now, and in Martina's presence, I finally had the courage to address it.
“Martina?” I said. “I wanted to ask you something.”
“Yes, sissy?” She replied cheerfully
“A month ago... in that café...” I said hesitantly.
She didn't say anything, but she looked at me intensely, a knowing smile on her face..
My mouth opened and closed without uttering a word, unsure what to say. “...Why me?” I finally asked.
She gave me an empathic look. “Of all the people in that café, why did we select you to be feminized and given as a present to Mutter, you mean?”
I blushed. “Yes...“
She smiled amused as she shook her head. “Actually... we didn't. Mutter did.”
“Huh?” I replied confused.
She looked at me with an thoughtful expression.“You know how some people have... what's that word again? Gay-dar? That intuition that somehow allows gays to recognize one-another?” She gave a slight shrug as she continued. “Mutter has something similar. Call it sissy-sonar, if you will. The moment she laid eyes on you, even surrounded by other people, she recognized you for what you are. It's uncanny, really.”
“I... I don't understand. Mistress wasn't even there,” I countered. “She walked in later, when you had already invited me at your table.”
She laughed. “Oh come now, Cheryl. Surely you must have been at least a bit suspicious that Mutter just suddenly appeared at our table? And that she'd invite some complete stranger into her home, to her birthday party no less? She had been watching you the whole time from across the room, eavesdropping on our conversation. She kept her distance until it was clear to her you were a... shall we say... promising recruit?
My eyes went wide. “She was there? I never... Where? ...How? ...When?” I stammered.
Martina laughed. “Don't break yourself, sissy Let me explain. The four of us were having lunch at that very café. Me, Brigitt, Ingrid and Mutter. My sisters and I had been shopping for a nice gift for Mutter. Well, I wasn't kidding when I told you it was impossible to find a decent present for her:” She continued in mock annoyance. “Three hours of strolling through town and we couldn't find a single present that would suffice. Very tiresome, let me tell you. I did get myself a nice pair of shoes, though.”
She pulled at the reins of my horse, drawing me closer to her. “Anyway, during lunch we jokingly told Mutter just what a difficult woman she was when it comes to presents. She was right in the middle of reprimanding us for our lack of commitment, when she suddenly just trailed off, her gaze aimed at another table.
She looked me straight in the eyes as she continued. “We followed her stare, and saw you sitting there, nursing that glass of wine like it was your last, looking lost and disheartened. You had those girlish features mother liked so much, even though you tried to hide them with your baggy clothes.
“She didn't say anything, but we all knew that look. Mutter was very interested in you.” Martina brushed away a leaf that had fallen on her jacket. “So when she went to the bathroom, me and my sisters stuck our heads together and decided to surprise Mutter with the perfect present.”
She gave me a conspiratorial wink. “Since I was about your age, we agreed I would be the honeypot; seducing you to join us and keep you comfortable while we investigated your... suitability.”
I was perplexed as I heard all this. “And I was suitable?” I asked rather redundantly.
“Are you kidding?” She called out amused. “You were perfect! Alone in a foreign country, with hardly any roots in your own? Better yet, it wouldn't be hard to make you pretty. You even had long hair.”
She grinned at me. “And so easily dominated too. I feared you would be rebuffed by Brigitt's cheeky remarks, but you just timidly accepted it as she insulted you.”
That heckled me “That was not true!” I told Martina. “I was about to contradict Brigitt! But you said she was bad at English, so I never got the chance.”
Martina laughed heartily. “Sure sissy. Go ahead and believe that, if that makes you feel better,” she patted my bare knee. “And while you are at it, you might also like to know that Santa Claus has put you on his 'nice' list, you sweet girl you.”
I must have blushed, as Martina smiled from ear to ear. “Oh sissy, don't you look adorable,” she said as she pinched me in the cheek.
I wanted to say something snappy, but didn't. Instead I asked: “And Mistress saw this happen?”
Martina smirked. “When she came back from the bathroom, she was quite surprised to see that you've joined us. Ingrid signalled her to wait while we interviewed you, so she sat down at a table close behind you. You didn't notice, of course, you were too busy staring at us. Or were you really looking at our pretty outfits? I'm still not sure. Well, no matter, as from now on you'll be wearing pretty clothes as well. Wonderful, no?”
I swallowed with difficulty. “Yes, Martina.”
She gave me a content smile. “When Mutter was satisfied, she came to our table and invited you to her party. And the rest, as they say, is history.”
“I see...” I replied. What else was there to say?
Martina patted me on the knee again, which actually was mildly comforting. “The truth is, you were hers the moment you joined us at our table, even though you did not know it yet.”
I nodded, but then a thought popped up in my mind.
“But Martina...” I said hesitantly, “...when you took me to her mansion, when Mistress saw me dressed for the first time... she hadn't expected that. She seemed surprised to see me like that.”
Martina gave a amused snigger. “Indeed she was! No doubt Mutter had planned for you to stay with her for a couple of days, and slowly feminize you. But a present that is no longer a surprise loses some of its charm, don't you think, Cheryl?”
“Er... I don't know...” I answered.
“Well, I certainly think so. Fortunately, you were so timid that it was no effort at all to make you pretty and get you in a nice uniform.” She shot me a mocking glance before continuing. “Mutter was very surprised to see we had done the boring stuff for her already, hand delivering her a ready and willing sissy maid.”
“I wasn't willing!” I said defiantly. “You tricked me! Forced me into it!”
Martina laughed, but her voice had something eerie, like she was warning me that I was very close to being insubordinate. I fell silent, and Martina gave me an approving grin.
“No reason to pout, little sissy,” she finally said. “It is a shame that being played like a fiddle has bruised you ego, but believe your older and wiser sister when she tells you that is of no concern, really. The important thing is that we saved you from a life of fake masculinity and put you where you belong: on your knees, under Mutter's heel, wearing a dress and high heels like a good and obedient sissy.”
Saved me from masculinity? Was that some mean joke? I thought incredulously. “But Martina...” I tried.
She gave me a stern look. “Hush now, sissy. I will say no more on the matter Let's just enjoy our ride and talk about something else...”
“...Yes Martina,” I conceded obediently.
At some point, she asked me about my week at Margot. I told her about inconsequential stuff, about her impressive mansion, her intricate garden, but didn't go into detail about Mistress Margot's games or penalty box. Was I afraid to slander Mistress Margot, or didn't I want to be reminded of my tribulations with her? I did not know myself.
“Sound like you had quite a week,” Martina concluded.
“It was... tiring. Mistress Margot was very... creative,” I said guarded. “But Miss Ingrid had prepared me well. Taught me the skills to please Mistress Margot.”
She smiled. “Well, it seems you are a good student. I've heard Margot was delighted with you. She and Mutter are probably arranging the date for your next visit already.”
I felt dry in my mouth. “That's... great to hear, Martina.” My mind wandered for a moment on these implications, but then I suddenly said: “In exchange for Daniëlle again?”
Martina looked at me sharply. “Yes. Why do you ask?”
“No reason, Martina. It's just...” I fell silent.
“Just what, Cheryl?” Martina asked, not unkindly, but stern nonetheless.
I carefully chose my words. “It's something I overheard when I was at Mistress Margot's. Something about Mistress Christina and Daniëlle.”
Martina did not speak. She just nodded for me to continue.
“Martina, what did Mistress Margot mean with Mistress Christina's and Daniëlle's...” I hesitated for a moment, took a deep breath, then said it “...wedding night?”
A shadow fell over Martina as we passed some particularly dense bushes, turning her stern expression dark. “You were not supposed to hear that,” she said with a disconcerting tone.
“I'm sorry, Martina,” I quickly replied. “But I was not eavesdropping or anything. Mistress Margot just said it when I was... when she... It wasn't my fault. I didn't even realize she had said it at the time.”
“That was very indiscreet of Margot...” Martina said annoyed. She looked into the distance front of her, tapping her saddle as she was lost in deep thoughts. Then she sighed resigned.
“Well, it was supposed to be a secret, but now I might as well tell you.” Martina looked at me. “Mutter and Daniel are getting married.”
“They are?!” I almost cried out.
Martina nodded. “Everything has been arranged. Margot had promised Daniëlle to Mutter for a long time, and now she is finally going to get her.”
I felt a sharp sting of jealousy, but I ignored it. “Daniëlle said nothing about this,” I told her, not quite hiding the dismay in my voice.
Martina shrugged. “Daniëlle doesn't know yet. They were planning to tell her on her birthday party. The official documents will be signed immediately, making it official. A more elaborate marriage ceremony will be held a week later.”
She suddenly looked at me with an intense expression, her eyes blazing with fire. “I should not have to tell you that you will not utter one word about this to Daniëlle, should I?”
I was speechless, so I nodded in agreement. Martina held me in her penetrating gaze for a while longer, then nodded approvingly. Her face radiated warmth again.
I had to ask, but the words became jumbled in my head. “...When?” I somehow managed to utter.
“In a couple of weeks, when Daniëlle comes of age. Christina and Margot are celebrating that with a birthday party,” she said. “When the clock strikes twelve, Mutter and Daniëlle will sign the document and Margot will then hand over Daniëlle's reins to Christina.”
I thought of Daniëlle. Her fearful face when I last saw her. “But what... what if Daniëlle doesn't... you know... want to?” I asked hesitantly, the shock audible in my voice.
Martina shrugged “That's not up to her. She will sign. Her aunt will make sure of that.”
“I see...” I mumbled. Then something hit me. “Wait. Comes of age? What do you mean? Daniëlle is eighteen. Doesn't that make her an adult already?”
She shook her head “Not quite. Three years ago her aunt arranged to have complete power of attorney over her,” Martina told me.
She continued talking as she looked down unconcerned at a seemingly jittery Blitz. “She may be an adult in mind and body, but as far as the law is concerned, she has the same legal status as a toddler. It enabled her aunt to completely dominate her.” Martina pulled her mount's reins when Blitz tried to increase its pace on its own. “The flip side of this arrangement is that Daniëlle is not allowed do anything, or be forced to do anything, that a minor cannot do either. Like getting married. This situation will end on Daniëlle's next birthday, when she'll come of age and become a legal adult. Margot and Mutter have made sure authority over Daniëlle will be transferred without a hitch.”
I was appalled. Mistress Margot would trade Daniëlle to Mistress Christina, so she could somehow lay claim on Daniëlle's fortune? What a horrible woman!
As I thought about the implications of having Daniëlle in Mistress Christina's household, I suddenly thought about my own position. “...what about me?” I asked with trepidation.
She looked at me with regret. “Your contract with Mutter will be transferred to Margot. She will become your Mistress, and you will go live with her.”
I think I turned pale. I felt nauseous and a sudden case of vertigo washed over me. I breathed heavily.
Martina put her hand on my shoulder. “Hey, it will be alright, Cheryl. I will come visit. And I'm sure Mutter will insist you continue performing some maid's duties at her mansion, so you'll continue seeing her. Daniëlle too.”
Her hand felt warm, but it didn't console me much. I was to be traded away to horrible Mistress Margot like a piece of meat. And the fact that it was Mistress herself who had simply given me away hurt me like a knife in the heart.
We continued riding along the path in silence while I felt sorry for myself.
“Since I'm already spoiling secrets, I might as well tell you that you'll be going to school,” Martina suddenly said.
I looked up. “School?” I asked confused.
“Yes. Margot is sending Daniëlle to the Baroness' school in Freistaat. She lacks quite some basic etiquette skills required of Mutter's future consort. Margot has asked for you to join Daniëlle, so that she has a familiar face amongst the other students. Mutter has agreed with this.”
I groaned as I heard this. First I heard I was given to a mean woman, and now I was told I would be enrolled in some school for... what? Sissies? Could this day get any worse?
Martina scowled at me. “When Mutter tells you, try to look surprised. And a bit more enthusiastic. Understood?”
“Yes, Martina,” I somehow managed to say
The trail started to level of. The cliff was close now. Not that I cared. Moping, I looked at the bushes next to the path.
I heard rustling coming from a bush, and saw movement beneath its leaves. My woes momentarily forgotten, I looked down.
Something looked back at me. Then bolted.
The outline of a fox shot from under the bushes, crossing our path right on front of Martina's horse before disappearing into the green again.
But the damage had been done, it had startled Blitz. The horse neighed and whinnied, rearing up on its hind legs in panic. I was sure she would have been thrown off, but Martina managed to remain seated, keeping balance while Blitz pranced wildly, trying to control the frantic horse. She dropped the reins of Rosalin as she focused on her own mount.
“Ruhig Junge! Ruhig!” I heard her call as she pulled on her reins while the white horse bucked.
I just looked at the scene in fright, fearful for Martina's life. But this Amazon just stuck to her mount as she fought to control it. In this battle of wills between horse and rider, it was clear that Martina would eventually prevail.
But no-one could have anticipated what happened next. Her horse suddenly turned right and bucked hard. Martina remained seated, but couldn't prevent Blitz bumping hard into my horse.
Rosalin gave a pained and frightened neigh, and panicked in turn. It didn't buck, but ran off blindly. With me still on top.
I squealed a high pitched scream as my horse carried me along the path at full gallop. I held on tight to the saddle, feeling my skirt flutter behind me.
“Help! Stop! Halt! Help! Help me! It's gone berserk!” I called out in fright. “Please stop, stupid beast! Someone, please help me! Save me!” The horse ignored my wails if it even heard me. I saw white in its eyes as they rolled in panic, foam at the animals' mouth. The reins dangled from its bridle, well out of reach. Though I highly doubt I would have been able to control the horse if I did manage to grab hold of them.
Thick foliage flanked the path, and I felt twigs and branches reach for the fabric of my widely fluttering skirt. I ducked for a branch that hung low enough to knock off my hat, but now only tickled it with some leaves.
The dense undergrowth forced Rosalin to stay on the path as she carried me along. Without slowing down, we rounded a bend. I saw that ahead of me the trees and bushes became more sparse. Behind them, I saw bare rock, followed by nothingness.
The cliff... My mount was running at full speed towards the cliff!