Spin Offs, Gella Part a

Spin Offs, Gella Part a

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Masri was rising in the evening sky, full and beautiful. Its reflection was near the centre of the small lake that the bandit’s village was built around. A fish jumped, ripples radiated out from the splash, the sound of frogs generally drowned out the background noises of the settlement.

Gella stood on the small balcony of the loft, high above the village at the top of the bandit tree fort. She though it had been the most beautiful moon rise she had ever seen. In another month it would be the equinox. Tonight, after folks had mostly settled, she and her companions would be running away.

Gella had intended to run away, even before her father’s caravan was due to leave West Port. She had gone so far as to arrange appropriate passage to the Protectorates on a schooner out of Yonna. Captain Heldios Cappallico would be sailing south from West Port over a week before her father’s departure date.

Hetti, her handmaiden, had cautioned her about men from the Principalities and what she considered a very real threat of being abducted. She warned of being taken south to distant lands where they worshipped strange gods, where she would be sacrificed or worse yet, defiled by lusty men. Hetti was not a real handmaiden in the traditional sense. She did not come from a lesser noble family to be her peer and confidant, in fact she had been fifteen years older than Gella and was more of a tutor and servant, born of common stock from the Lake Lands.

It had all been besides the point in the end. Her father had decided to leave early. The winter had not been hard, the rains through the early spring had also been moderate and it was determined that the roads would be good for travel earlier than usual. Two weeks earlier. Gella had only found out a few days before the caravan’s new departure date. With most of her marks spent and no return likely to be issued from the southern captain she had still been determined to not go north with the caravan.

She had instructed Hetti to secretly pack supplies and some clothing. Gella had considered stealing a pair of horses from her father’s stables and had in fact started gathering a collection of small, easily portable valuables from around the family manor. Her intent at that point had been to ride to the west. Hetti had cautioned her against this course of action as well. Claiming that the freeholds was a barbaric place full of goblins and trolls and that they would likely be taken by lusty men with ill intent. Worse yet, there were rumours of Tannican armies taking cities throughout the western freeholds.

That plan had also failed in the end. Gella had been unaware that her father’s caravan rallied at a border station north of West Port before its actual departure date. She had only been informed of this the day before they had left. With all the activity in the household during that final day in West Port she had not even been able to find time to retrieve the valuables she had been secreting away.

There had been some moody days that followed. Hetti could not console her and even her father had made an attempt to do so. He had pointed out that he had made a good arrangement for her and that the family she was being married into was powerful and rich. However, he had said similar things previously. They had not made an impression on her then, and she was even less receptive to hearing it all again. All that she understood was that she was being traded off to some foreign lord so that her father could be richer. It was archaic and she was pretty sure it was illegal.

A couple of days past the northwestern border of Maldorn she once again resolved to run away. After observing her situation she understood that her only real option was to try and sneak out during the night. Gella had also realized that she had best do it soon, while she could still walk back to Maldorn. That evening she had sent Hetti to get some extra food, she readied a bag of clothing with some basic supplies for the two of them. They retired to their tent and she told Hetti what her plan was.

Hetti was horrified, “You cannot be doing that, my lady. It is too dangerous and there are wild animals in the countryside.”

“Come now Hetti, the road is nearly straight, all the way back to the border. There are farms and mills and even a few shops, it will be a pleasant walk.”

Hetti sighed and wrung her hands “My lady, consider that your father would send his guards to fetch you back.”

“We can hide.”

She shook her head, “No, my lady, it is too dangerous, lusty highwaymen would spoil your virginity.”

Gella could feel her jaw tightening, but in an outwardly calm voice she said, “We are going Hetti, tonight after the camp settles.”

They had gone, quietly sticking to the shadows and doing their best to stay out of sight. They had only been out of the camp for a few minutes when a small group of the guard found them and insisted they return to the camp. Gella briefly considered running, but it had been much darker out on the country road than she had expected. After that she had spoken to no one for days.



Not far from the Avatherron Valley, merchant lord Horthram Rasken, joined the caravan, one of father’s partners. He had brought her a gift, as well as having decided to bring his own daughters along with him to GreensBridge. She knew his daughters well, they had stayed in West Port with them for three summers when they had all been younger, Gella had last seen them two years ago.

The gift their father had brought for her was a pony, so that the three young ladies would be able to ride together. The girls had their own house-wagon, whereas her own father had not made such accommodations for her. The house-wagon was much better than her father’s coach with its fold out beds that required you to sleep curled up. The girls had also brought their instruments and books.

Other than the required formalities she had not said much and by the time they were in the girl’s wagon, with the caravan back on the road, it was obvious to the other two that Gella was not in a pleasant mood.

Estrial, the oldest of the two, a year older than Gella, asked, “What is wrong Gellatherial?”

“This marriage.”

“Oh, no. I had not realized you were not happy about this.”

“How could I be? This is not what I wanted.”

“The Probancruq family is delightfully rich.”

“I barely speak the language. I dislike winters. I had intended to go to High Fort, get an education. Become a modern woman.”

Myrtha, younger than her by two years looked at her critically. “What’s a modern woman?”

“Oh! You wouldn’t understand.”

“Why not?”

“You’re too provincial.”

Myrtha looked indignant, “Provincial?”

Estrial held up a hand, “Gellatherial, is correct. I however am very happy being on the edge of civilization. Nothing reeks more.”

“GreensBridge was once the centre of the world, all politics, art and engineering came out of the city. Most of what we know is recorded in the library there.” Myrtha said with a knowing tone.

“Well, I’ve heard it said the city is likely to be attacked by the Tannican Empire.” Gella pointed out.

“Please, Tannica is nearly the other side of the world from here.”

Estrial corrected her sister, “Just the other side of the continent, Myr.”

Her sister stuck out her tongue, then said, “I can’t wait until I’m married, I’ll have a dozen kids and always keep my husband happy.”

Gella rolled her eyes, “That’s disgusting.”

Estrial asked,”What are you going to do?”

“I’ve tried running away a hundred times, nothing works.” she pouted.

Myrtha suggested, “You could kill yourself.”

Her sister, interjected, “Even provincials don’t say things like that when in polite company, Myr.”

“I don’t know, maybe I could join the Sisters of Mercy.”

“You could find some lusty men and let them ravish you.”


“It not so bad.”

“You didn’t!”

“I did.”


“Why not?”

“What are you guys talking about?” Myrtha asked.



Gella tried a different approach for a while after that. The problem was that she could find no lusty men who wished to ravish her, despite Hetti’s assurances that such men lurked everywhere. At first she thought she was going about it wrong, she had tried a number of different approaches with no success. Eventually she realized that most of these people had worked for her father for upwards of a decade, some of them even longer.

Then one evening, over at Dahlah’s wagon, she had met a charming young stableman in the employ of Lord Horthram. He did not seem to find any problem with her approach, he was lusty and he did ravisher her, kind of. It was awkward.

She tried a couple of more times with the stableman over the next week, it was better, but still weird and she bled a bit. Though, all of a sudden he was not around anymore. When she inquired she learned he had been sent back to the valley with messages.

A while later, Mr Dahlah’s, new teamster, Dunbar, expressed some interest and that had been kind of fun. Though on the third time they were sneaking off to ravish each other, Mr Dahlah intercepted them.

“Dunbar, you should probably go watch the wagon for a while.”

“I’m more than a bit drunk, Mr. Dahlah.”

“I’m aware, but you’ll do less damage there, than here.”

He was unsure for a moment or two, but Dahlah had a way of looking at a person that tended to let then know when they were out of line. Dunbar gave a quick nod, and without a glance to Gella he headed to the wagon.

Dahlah looked at her critically, “You’re drunk and being selfish. You’re going to get someone hurt if you keep it up. Likely yourself.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“I’d never presumed to. So, leave my men alone, I’ll put it that way.”

Then, a couple of days after that, Hetti had told her that there was talk around the camp of what she had been up to. Hetti said, in no uncertain terms that if Gella ended up pregnant with another mans child before the marriage, she would ruin herself and her father’s name. It was certainly not the way a proper lady acted.

Gella did not see the problem with any of what Hetti was trying to caution her about.

In response, She had gone out and drank until she was staggering around. Then she had found the nice western man with the horses. They had drank, danced and gambled. It had been a lot of fun and things had only started to get more fun when they were caught and then the fun was done. The westerner was gone before morning. She sometimes wondered if he had been killed, she hoped not.

She spent the next week under close observation, with guards nearby and usually a servant or two, even when Hetti was otherwise occupied. It also seemed the sisters had been told to keep an eye on her as well. For a while she thought life could not get any worse. Until it did.


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