Chapter VI: The Eight of Harrowden
Copyright © 2002-2017 by Dustin Jon Scott
[Last Update: Decemberrd, 2017]
§βI¶¶I. As the sky began to darken, Faith and Serenity found they?d been brought to a barren dell, where collared by vines unto the deadwood trees at the dell?s edge were seven Dryads bound. And Faith and Serenity too were soon haltered in ropy canes, and were each tied to a tree near their fellow Dryads by a lead.
§βI¶¶II. Serenity whispered unto the seven Dryads, asking of them their names; and each whispered back in reply, and their names were Allegiance, Duress, Servility, Accord, Obedience, Suffrage, and Deference.
§βI¶¶III. With whips of braided vine the Maenads lashed at the Dryads, and in throes of agony the Dryads thrashed, and to unseen saviors screamed. Excepting, strangely, for Allegiance, Obedience, and Suffrage, whose cries were not those of pain but of purest rapture.
§βI¶¶IV. The Maenads recoiled their whips, and then began to fondle and grope at the Dryads, and with their fingers probed deeply between the Dryads? legs. In anguish Duress sobbed, whilst Accord, Servility, and Obedience remained poised, feigning as if nowhit at all were being done to them. Faith and Serenity were overcome by their shame, whilst Allegiance, Deference, and Suffrage fondled their captors in return, praising them and begging aloud for their molestation to continue.
§βI¶¶V. After a time Allegiance, Obedience, and Suffrage were loosed from the dead trees to which they had been tied, and were taken by their leashes into the center of the dell, where quickly they began to service the Maenads. And so the other Dryads were left alone at the dell?s edge, still tethered to the deadwood as the last of the Maenads joined their sisters and their three Dryad slaves.
§βI¶¶VI. Servility then spake unto Faith: “Whatever hath brought thee here??
§βI¶¶VII. “We could not pay the tax, and we were found guilty of being in contempt of the law,? said Faith. ?Why art thou here??
§βI¶¶VIII. “I ate of the buds of the hemp tree,? Servility answered.
§βI¶¶IX. “Ye are not permitted to eat of certain plants?? asked Serenity.
§βI¶X. “ ?Tis a small price to pay for freedom,? said Accord.
§βI¶XI. “What sort of ?freedom? dost thou call this?? answered Faith.
§βI¶XII. ?How can thou dare to question our freedom?? queried Obedience. ?We have the freedom to think and believe whatever we wish, the freedom to say whatever we wish so long as it isn?t in contempt of the law, and doth not encourage anyone to break the law. We have the freedom to go wherever we wish and to do whatever we wish, so long as we do not break the law by wandering about without our trusses. We have even the freedom to eat whatever we wish, so long as what we wish to eat doth not include certain whits that the law forbiddeth.?
§βI¶XIII. ?How canst thou call thyself ?free? when thou art tied to a dead oak?? said Serenity.
§βI¶XIV. ?Because,? said Obedience, ?I have broken the law, and must serve my time. When I have paid for my crimes I shall once again be permitted to wander anywhere the Maenads allow.?
§βI¶XV. ?And meanwhile thou shalt be contented with the Maenads? violations against thee?? said Faith. ?Thou wilt service them at the mercy of their whims??
§βI¶XVI. ?It is the duty of every denizen of the Somberwood,? answered Obedience, ?to ask not what the Maenads can do for us, but what we can do for the Maenads.?
§βI¶XVII. ?Of course,? said Serenity, ?for the Maenads hath done nowhit for thee, nor for any of you, except place you under the thumb of the law.?
§βI¶XVIII. ?If not for the law,? said Accord, still slightly bleeding from when the Maenads had cut her with their whips, ?there would be violence. ?Tis a matter of keeping the peace that the Maenads enforce the law. ?Tis for our own safety.?
§βI¶XIX. ?And thou,? said Faith, looking to Duress. ?I saw thee when the Maenads were pawing and fingering thee. Thou wailed in misery, with tears pouring from thine eyes.?
§βI¶XX. ?That is mine own fault,? replied Duress. ?Look at Allegiance, Deference, and Suffrage. They are happy because, even after having done wrong, they still love the Maenads and respect the law. If I could submit myself unto them and their law as Allegiance, Deference, and Suffrage do, then I might be happy as well. But instead of taking joy, I cry. Instead of respecting the law, I violate it, and so must I be violated in return, I?d suppose. Rather than loving the Maenads and enjoying the way they enjoy me, I instead twist it into a vile whit. I truly am a wretch.?
§βI¶XXI. ?They are raping you,? said Faith.
§βI¶XXII. ?It is not rape,? said Duress. ?The law says that I must consent. If I do not consent, then it is mine own fault that I feel as I do now. We must all learn to follow the law.?
§βI¶XXIII. And nowhit more was said, for it appeared that even Duress, whose dolor was most evident of all among them, was willing to resign herself entirely unto the law.