Danka Siluckt woke up before sunrise, as always. She carefully got out of her bed to avoid disturbing her younger sister, Katrinckta. She cast her sibling a resentful look, irritated that Katrinckta got to sleep in most days, a privilege she couldn’t ever remember having.
Danka stumbled around in the dark, trying to grope for her work outfit. The first item she located was her peasant’s vest, hanging from a wooden peg that had been wedged between two logs in the wall. She slipped the flimsy garment over her shoulders. The vest was not a top that would have been considered appropriate for a young woman in most European countries at that time: it was sleeveless and completely open in the front. It’s only function was to protect the wearer’s back from the sun: it was not designed for modesty or fashion.
Danka felt around the wall before placing her hand on the second part of her work outfit, a worn and very dirty brown skirt. She pulled the skirt up over her hips and tied the drawstring. The skirt, never an attractive piece of clothing to begin with, most definitely had seen better days. Threadbare, torn, and tattered, it was little more than a rag. It was in such poor condition that Danka thought about taking it off again and not bothering with it. If she were to just stay home and work around her parents’ homestead, she would not have worried about the skirt. However, on this day her duties would force her to leave home and work closer to town, so she figured it needed to stay on. The next item she put on was her work boots. The boots were the only part of her outfit that had any value at all: if nothing else, at least Danka’s father saw to it that all of his children’s feet were properly protected against their harsh living conditions.
Finally, she retrieved her mother’s hat. Danka would be working outside all day, so her mother had given her permission to use it. The hat was a typical peasant’s hat, with a broad brim designed to completely protect the wearer’s head and neck from the sun. Danka had heard that in other countries men and women wore different work hats, but in Danubia a peasant’s hat was a peasant’s hat. The sun in the fields was as harsh on women as it was on men, so there was no reason a woman’s hat should be any different from one worn by a man.
Danka cast another resentful glance at Katrinckta, as the younger girl stretched in her sleep and sighed with the satisfaction of the luxury of now having the bed to herself. Dishonored little brat: I ought to grab her hair, drag her out of bed, and make her come to work with me. But no, Danka didn’t dare do such a thing. She would dutifully go off and work, while Katrinckta would sleep in and then spend her day at the pond pretending to feed the family’s ducks, but in reality just soaking her feet in the water and staring at the flowers falling from the trees or the birds flying in the sky. Katrinckta was worthless, but if Danka dared lay a hand on her, their mother would immediately take the younger girl’s side and brutally punish Danka.
Oh yes. Lovely Katrinckta, delicate Katrinckta, sweet Katrinckta, always Mother’s favorite. Danka quietly picked up her shovel. She resisted the urge to raise it over her head and slam it against her sister’s sleeping face. That would be nice. I wonder if she’d be so pretty after a hit to her teeth with this shovel. if she didn’t have her teeth, then they’d all think I’m the pretty one.
Danka struggled to open the rough heavy door that led outside. She decided to leave it open and let the daylight wake her family. It was just starting to become light, a clear early summer dawn that promised a hot day. The young peasant then unlatched the door to the chicken coop. As the fowl squawked and filed down the ramp, Danka walked behind the dilapidated structure to check on an important secret she was keeping from her parents.
Buried, in a broken cup, she kept a stash of copper coins. She had saved 15 coins so far, and hopefully by the end of the day she’d add a couple more to her collection. She knew that what she was doing was risky, but she needed a decent dress if she could hope to get married. If her parents ever could afford a dress, Danka knew that Katrinckta would be the daughter to receive it. Katrinckta would be the one to get married, while Danka would be expected to just keep working. No, that wasn’t going to happen. Danka would have her own dress, regardless of her parents’ wishes, and she would get married first. She grabbed a feed bucket before leaving for work. The feed bucket would be needed for her plan to get a couple more copper coins.
Danka emerged onto the muddy path that connected her family’s homestead to the outside world. She passed the duck pond her parents shared with another family of peasants; then passed several other dilapidated cottages. They were all the same: hovels made from stones and logs, hidden under trees and bushes, and surrounded by flocks of ducks and chickens. Some had vegetable gardens, but none of the properties was large enough to support a real farm. These were the dwellings of the lowest class in Danubian society: the day laborers.
Carrying her shovel and bucket, Danka followed a somewhat better road that was roughly paved with flat stones, passing larger properties. There were several orchards and wheat fields, all neatly kept and surrounded by fences or stone walls. The houses were attractive, and instead of duck sheds, rabbit hutches, or chicken coops, the farmers had built real barns.
Danka came up to an apple orchard and jumped the fence. She looked around for the best apple, which would be her breakfast. She was not worried about the orchard owner, because Danubian protocol allowed a poor person to take a single piece of fruit or a vegetable from a rich person’s property per day. The tradition was ancient, based on the Church teaching that the poor have the right to sustenance.
Danka hid the apple core under some leaves and took a second apple. Now, she did have to be concerned about the owner. She looked around before committing herself to the second piece of fruit, because protocol only allowed her to take one apple, not two. One apple was sustenance, but the second one was theft. Well, thought Danka, that’s just too bad. There will be more theft from this orchard when I come back, a lot more.
When she finished her second apple and had hidden its remains, Danka resumed her trek to work. She walked along a tree-lined road towards the provincial town of Rika Heckt-nemat. By Danubian standards the town was large, boasting a population of over 20,000 people. Only the capital, Danubikt Moskt, and the eastern city of Rika Chorna were bigger. The city was built on a hill, with its medieval walls still standing, a relic of an age before cannons. On the south side of the town there was another irrelevant relic of the town’s past: a stone pier and row of docks that at one time serviced river barges, but now faced nothing but an open field. For centuries Rika Heckt-nemat had been a major river port, but four decades ago, when the Rika Chorna river flooded and changed its course to the north, the city was left landlocked. What had been a riverbed now was a series of swamps that were gradually being drained and converted to farmland. Hence the city’s new name: Rika Heckt-nemat, which translated to “the river doesn’t flow here anymore.”
Danka approached a group of workers whose task for the day would be to dismantle part of the now useless pier and move the stones to a site where the town council had decided to build a well. Most of Danka’s fellow workers were men. There were only a few women present, and of them, Danka was the youngest and by far the prettiest. She resented being expected to do such arduous work. I’m not a man, she thought bitterly: why should I be treated like one? However, she also knew that she would not be working as hard as most of the others, because undoubtedly, as soon as her male co-workers realized that she was still unmarried, they would vie with each other to give her small favors and even perform some of her duties. She smiled and flirted with a couple of the nicer-looking laborers, to encourage them to help make her day easier. Even though none of the men really interested her, Danka figured there was no reason she shouldn’t take advantage of her appearance while she still was pleasant to look at.
Wearing a ridiculous-looking tri-corner hat and an equally absurd felt coat, a city councilman approached the work site to explain the day’s tasking. Accompanying him was a servant lugging sacks full of hard-boiled eggs and small loaves of bread, which put the workers in a better mood. At least this man had the decency to pass out food before passing out orders.
As the workers sat and ate, the councilman explained what he wanted. The town was building a new well, cistern, and aqueduct; a project that would take advantage of the ample supply of stones and bricks from the remains of the old pier. The workers would be divided into a group responsible for tearing apart the pier, another to dig the holes needed for the cistern and well, and a third group that would move the materials needed for the new project. The councilman pointed at Danka, telling her that because she had brought a shovel, she would be part of the digging crew. A few minutes after finishing her egg and bread, she joined a group of 30 workers filing out to the planned well site.
Danka knew that no one in her group would be participating in building the new infrastructure. Their task simply was to get everything set up for the builders’ guild. According to the view of the townsfolk, the laborers were dishonored and uneducated rabble, good for nothing except tasks such as moving rocks and digging holes. Their Path in Life was to sit in their cottages among their chickens and ducks, and wait until they were needed for a project. Once the project was finished, they were expected to return to their cottages and stay out of everyone else’s way.
Danka spent the morning at the edge of an ever-deepening hole, glumly moving shovelfuls of dirt into a wheelbarrow. She did not have the hardest task of the group, but still, it was not a pleasant way to spend the day. The worst part of her job was knowing that her parents would not allow her to keep any of the money she was earning. It was her mother who had arranged for her to be here and who had negotiated her salary. Therefore, Danka’s parents knew exactly how much she was earning and would demand she surrender all of her pay upon returning home. After all, she was part of the household and Danubian tradition dictated that everyone in a household had to contribute to everyone else’s well-being.
While Danka may have burned with resentment that her younger sister was not with her at the work site, her parents did not see anything wrong with that. There would be enough money in the family to marry off one daughter, not two. If that daughter could be married to a husband who owned land; that would benefit everyone. So… the plan was to save Katrinckta for marriage and use Danka for working.
Danka didn’t say anything, but she had no intention of spending the rest of her youth working for her parents and watching them dote over Katrinckta. As soon as she could afford a proper dress, her plan was to leave home and move into town. She wasn’t sure what she would do next, but she had convinced herself that the only thing she needed to find a decent husband was to change what she was wearing. After-all, she remembered the legend of the servant girl who, with nothing more than some magic, managed to transform her work outfit into a bridal gown, and in doing so got the heir to the kingdom to marry her. Her expectations were not so lofty, but surely she could wander the city in her new dress and attract some handsome young guild member or city official. Why not? The girl in the story did it.
The pace of work slowed as the day got hotter. Shortly before noon, the city councilman returned to the work site, this time accompanied by a female city guard and a couple of wretched-looking criminals tasked with carrying the mid-day meal for the work crew. The woman looked about 30, was very tall, and was dressed in the long gray dress and white tunic used by all female guards in the Duchy. In her hand she held a leather switch. She had a haughty expression and carried herself with an air of severe elegance.
It was evident the two criminals were very afraid of her as they struggled with their heavy loads of food. Danka could see why as soon as they approached. Their bodies were covered with welts from their merciless mentor. After the food had been distributed, they knelt, staring at the eating workers with gaunt faces. The guard turned to her miserable wards and Danka heard the following:
“You see, dishonored ones, how people who work get to eat. Look at that delicious food and think about how much you’d like to have some. Think about how that bread would taste in your mouth. Just think, if only you weren’t wearing a collar, how you too, could be sitting with these people and enjoying your meal. Think about it.”
The guard ended her statement with a savage blow to the back of each criminal, striking so hard that they cried out. Danka realized that the guard’s performance was not just to torment the criminals: it also was meant to scare the workers into staying out of trouble.
As soon as the guard and the criminals had departed, the workers passed around a jug of wine and lay under a tree to rest. There was no rush to finish the well, so they would take a nap and resume working when the sun wasn’t so strong. Danka did not join the others. She excused herself, picked up her bucket, and walked back to the orchard where she had eaten her morning apples. She casually strolled along the fence, checking to see if any of the orchard’s employees were in sight. Yes, unfortunately, a few women were picking fruit, but none close to the road. Danka decided to take the risk.
She set down the bucket and slipped under the fence. Crouching to stay out of sight, she snuck up to a tree and carefully pulled down an armload of apples. She quietly moved them to the fence; then returned to pick some more. As soon as she had taken about 30 apples and moved them to the edge of the property, she slipped back under the fence and carefully placed the fruit in her bucket. Trying to stay calm and maintain a neutral expression, she walked back towards the town. Instead of returning to her work site, however, she approached an inn just outside the south gate. She went around to the back where the kitchen was located, looking for a childhood acquaintance who now was working as a serving wench. Danka traded the apples for two copper coins. It was a fair deal with no questions asked. The serving wench needed cheap apples and Danka needed the money. Danka returned to digging site just as her work-mates were waking up. Perfect. Another two coins were safely in her possession.
Danka did not hurry home after she and the other workers were dismissed for the day. During her mid-day foray into the apple orchard, she had noticed how many apples there were and that many of them were in perfect condition for picking. Surly the orchard owner’s employees would not have time to harvest them all. Surly another bucket-full of fruit would not be missed. Another chance to sell some fruit, and another chance add coins to her collection.
The pedestrian traffic along the road was much heavier at dusk than it had been at noon, so Danka had to carefully time her entry into the orchard. It helped that a group of children had entered to help themselves to one apple each. Danka followed them and helped them pull down better pieces of fruit. As soon as the children finished and continued on their way, Danka crouched, waited for a few moments, then started grabbing apples and quietly placed them in her bucket.
In spite of her caution, she was being watched. Farmer Tuko Orsktackt crouched only a few fathoms away, drawing upon his former career in the Grand Duke’s forest archery battalion to observe the thief without being detected. Danka blissfully shook the branches and continued to pluck fruit as the property owner noted, in careful detail, what she was doing. Farmer Orsktackt was a meticulous man, and wanted to make sure his legal complaint against the thief was completely accurate.
Danka moved back to the fence with her bucket full of apples. Instead of heading home, she returned to the inn and exchanged her loot for another two coins. Four coins in one day… an excellent take for such an impoverished girl. And to think… tomorrow she’d get another four coins. She’d have her dress bought within just a few weeks at the rate she was going.
Farmer Orsktackt quietly followed her to the Inn, and observed enough to make sure he was correct in his assumption the girl was selling the fruit instead of taking it to her family. Excellent. There would be no appeal for clemency, no sad stories about starving children or sick parents. As soon as Danka left, Farmer Orsktackt entered the inn and bought a beer and one of his own apples. Yes, indeed, this apple came from his orchard. He now had everything he needed to send the pretty young thief to the pillory.
Danka returned to her parents’ house to spend what would be her final normal night with her family. As always, nothing but unpleasantness awaited her. Her parents greeted her by demanding to know why she had returned home after dark. Not satisfied at Danka’s claim that she had tried to take a shortcut and ending up getting lost, Danka’s father struck her across the face and accused her of having a lover.
A lover. Oh, if only that were true. If only, and it will be, soon enough. I’ll show you. All of you, when I’m in the city with my fine dress and I get married and have my nice house. I’ll see to it that Katrinckta wears a collar and spends her entire life shoveling pig shit, and I’ll make you watch. I’ll show all of you.
Dinnertime came and went. Danka’s father sat in the only chair the family owned, while Danka, Katrinckta, and two younger brothers sat on the floor. They ate out of a pot with a large spoon they had to take turns sharing. It was a wretched existence, but it was the only one the Siluckt children had ever known.
Later that night, when she closed the chicken coop, Danka added four coins to the broken cup and covered it back up. Then she took off her clothes and got in bed with her sister, the person she most hated in the world.
Early the next morning, Farmer Orsktackt stationed two of his employees within sight of the fence and instructed them to report to him immediately as soon as they saw a very pretty, but poorly dressed, young peasant woman carrying a shovel and a bucket enter the property. Sure enough, shortly before sunrise Danka showed up, ate her allotted apple, and then took off for work. Curious to see where she was going, Farmer Orsktackt followed her towards the town.
Hmm… interesting… so it turned out she was an employee of the city council, working on that new irrigation system. More evidence to damn her at trial, given that Farmer Orsktackt was one of the project’s most important financial contributors. On top of everything else, the orchard owner was a personal friend of the city councilman in charge of the work crews.
Farmer Orsktackt decided to pay a visit to his friend instead of dealing with the hassle of going into town and trying to get an appointment with a court official. Each saluted the other by thumping his right fist against his left shoulder. After exchanging greetings and getting an update on the progress of the digging, the farmer inquired about the girl with the bucket.
“You mean the pretty one? Yes, her mother was the one who set her up with this job. I assigned her at the pit to shovel dirt into the wheelbarrows. Not the best worker, but the men like looking at her, so she’s good for morale.”
“Well, I have some bad news for you. There’s a bit more than her not being a good worker. She’s also been using that bucket of hers to take apples out of my orchard. She started two weeks ago… slowly… but yesterday it got worse. She came in twice, and each time left with a full bucket. Last night I followed her to the inn near the south gate and found out that’s where she’s selling them.”
“Very well. I’ll have her arrested. As soon as my wife shows up, I’ll have her go out to the pit and take the girl to court.”
The farmer thought for a moment.
“I don’t want to do it that way, Councilman. What I’d prefer is to catch her on my property. Have a guard actually see her stealing the fruit. That way she couldn’t deny anything and we could make an example out of her.”
“True, true. But I’m not going to have a city guard waste time sitting on your orchard waiting over a bucket of apples. We do have other concerns, you know.”
“I’m not asking you to have anyone wait. I know for a fact that she’ll go during the mid-day break. All you have to do is have someone go to my farm just before you let your crew rest. As soon as she shows up and fills the bucket, you’ll have her.”
“Very well. I’ll do as you suggest. And the guard I’ll send will be none other than my wife. I’ll send Annikki just before I release my workers for the mid-day meal. Assuming your little thief shows up, my wife will handle her appropriately.”
Farmer Orsktackt tightened his lips. “Handle her appropriately.” He had heard stories about the councilman’s wife. Annikki was a meticulous guard but had a reputation for cruelty. He saluted his friend and left the work site, beginning to wonder if he was really handling the girl’s stealing in the best way.
Danka spent a second morning sullenly throwing half-shovels of dirt into waiting wheelbarrows and thinking about her next apple heist. She began to think about strategy; the possibility she could take more than one bucketful at a time, hide the extra apples somewhere, and make two treks to the inn. Another possibility was to obtain or make a large cloth bag and perhaps put more apples in that. Anyhow, that would have to wait, for today she’d still have to content herself with just one bucketful and two coins per trip.
While Danka was thinking about apples, copper coins, and the dress that would change the Path of her Life, the councilman’s wife showed up with her two starving criminals carrying sacks full of food that was not for them. Her husband pointed towards the well and told her about Danka and the plan to catch her. Annikki cheerfully set off towards the orchard, flexing her switch as she walked.
As soon as she was out of sight, the councilman told the two criminals to take two food rations for themselves before handing out the rest to the workers. He felt sorry for the unfortunate wretches, but did not like confronting his wife on such matters. Without saying anything, the two men ate like ravenous animals.
Danka ate her mid-day meal with the other workers. Then, as the others lay down to sleep, she grabbed her bucket and set off for the orchard. When she snuck up to the fence, she was pleased to see that no orchard workers were in sight. Excellent. That would make everything so much simpler. She’d grab her apples and sell them, and maybe even have time to relax before the afternoon work shift.
Had she been older and less naïve, Danka would have sensed that something wasn’t right and that she needed to leave immediately. It was too easy, with no one around. Instead of sneaking back and forth with armloads of apples, she simply took the bucket with her and within a couple of minutes had it filled with the best fruit. She hopped the fence and started her trek back to the inn. Her heart stopped when a man in Farmers’ Guild clothing and a city guard stepped onto the road in front of her, blocking her path.
“Good day, little thief! And just where do you think you’re going with my apples?”
Danka panicked. She tried to run, stupidly thinking that she could outpace her pursuers while still holding on to her shovel and apples. It was true that Annikki could not go after her, because a foot chase was considered unbecoming for a female city guard. However, female guards had the right to order any nearby man to chase and apprehend a criminal, and it was already understood that Farmer Orsktackt would be the one to catch and restrain the thief.
He caught up to her immediately. Danka screamed and threw everything down. The bucket hit the road with a clang and apples rolled all around her. It didn’t help. The farmer grabbed her arm and dragged the struggling girl to where the guard was standing. Danka resisted, incoherently protesting that she was innocent. To her horror, she saw the guard unwinding the leather strips that would be used to tie her hands.
“Take the girl to the fence. Face her to the railing and hold her arms.”
Farmer Orsktackt obeyed, moving his struggling captive to the fence. Danka cried and desperately kicked at his shins while the guard wrapped one of the girl’s wrists with a strip, expertly knotted it, then wrapped the other end around the fence railing. She secured Danka’s other hand. To make sure the thief had no chance of pulling herself free, Annikki secured her wrists with a second set of ties.
“Pick up the girl’s things and bring them over here. Make sure you get all the apples.”
Danka cried and helplessly pulled against the binds while Farmer Orsktackt returned to the spot where she had thrown down her things. As soon as he returned, the guard grabbed Danka’s hair and jerked her head back and forth.
“Who is your Master, you dishonored little tart? Who pays for your living?” The guard slapped the prisoner hard across the face. “Tell me, before I break your neck!”
“I… the… the councilman… he… ”
“That is correct! And do you know who I am?”
“City… honored… city… guard… Mistress… ”
“Yes, a city guard, but I am also the councilman’s wife! Do you understand me? You are in the employ of my husband! You dishonored his name… and the city’s name… and my name… with your vile and loathsome actions!”
“Please Mistress… I didn’t… I… AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
The guard had picked up her switch and struck a savage blow on the criminal’s thighs, just below her skirt. Danka continued to cry while the guard grabbed her vest and tore it off her shoulders. The fabric was old and gave way easily. The guard then tore at the girl’s skirt, ripping the worn cloth. She produced a small knife and cut the drawstring. She tossed the shredded garment on the ground, next to the ruined vest.
Now wearing nothing but her boots, Danka was shaking with fear, so strongly that her captors could see her body quivering uncontrollably. The sight of a scared naked girl brought out pity in the farmer, but had the opposite effect on the city guard. The guard had worked herself into a sadistic frenzy and seeing the offender helplessly tied to the fence, stripped bare, and paralyzed with fear animated her.
The guard’s next target was Danka’s hair. She roughly pulled at the girl’s braids while she screamed. She landed a very hard slap across the peasant’s face before finishing undoing her hair.
“Now the world sees you for what you are, dishonored tart! You are a loose-haired savage slut!”
The guard picked up her switch and viciously slashed it through the air. Danka screamed from panic while the guard ran her hand up and down her naked bottom.
“Girl-meat. Dishonored girl-meat, meant for my leather. Prepare to suffer, dishonored thieving little tart!”
The guard struck hard as Danka screamed and pulled at her bonds. She twisted and jerked her body, but the bindings held tight and she could not evade the cruel blows. The guard smiled as she tapped Danka’s naked bottom and struck another cruel blow. The crack of leather on bare skin echoed throughout the orchard between the thief’s high-pitched screams.
Farmer Orsktackt was both fascinated and horrified by the girl’s punishment. Seeing the girl with her hair unbraided was a unique experience, because never had he seen a Danubian woman with her hair loose. The peasant was very attractive and had a nice body, so seeing her aroused him. However, the extent of her suffering, and the knowledge that he was responsible for making it happen, made him sick with guilt. He had not expected the councilman’s wife to tie her to the fence and whip her with the switch on his property, and certainly he had not expected her to undo the thief’s braids.
After 30 hard strokes, the guard paused. Danka had sunk to her knees and was sobbing uncontrollably.
“Very well, you miserable dishonored lying slut… now I’ll let you talk. You sold the apples at the Inn near the south gate, correct?”
The guard concluded her question with a cruel swipe at the girl’s welt-covered backside, crossing multiple welts and eliciting another shrill scream.
“Y… yes… Mistress… I sold… the apples… Inn… ”
“For how much?”
“Two copper coins… per… bucket… Mistress… ”
“How many coins do you now have?”
“Mistress… Please… AIEEEEEEEEEEE!”
“I’ll ask you again. How many coins do you have?”
“Nineteen… Mistress… ”
“Chi… chicken coop… house… AIEEEEEEEEEEE!”
“Hmm… so your father will be happy to know that his dishonored little slut liar is keeping stolen money on his property! I’ll make sure he knows. ”
Danka sobbed, not just from the pain, but from knowing that her dream was gone. Her father would either use the money on Katrinckta or have to return it to Farmer Orsktackt. She screamed when the guard grabbed her hair and pulled her to her feet. The guard struck savagely several more times and Danka sank back to her knees. When the girl’s sobs died down, she continued the interrogation.
“How many times did you steal apples from this orchard?”
“I… I don’t… maybe ten, eleven… ”
The guard grabbed Danka’s hair and again jerked her to her feet.
“Yesterday, how many times?”
“Two times, Mistress.”
“Lunchtime, after work, Mistress.”
“Now. Why did you steal the apples? What did you want to do with the money?”
“Buy a dress, Mistress, AIEEEEEEEEEEE!”
“Buy a dress? Why?”
“Go… in town… be nice… ”
The guard pulled Danka to her feet yet again and struck hard.
“You miserable dishonored slut! So you wanted to buy a dress to go whoring!”
The guard raised the switch. At that point Danka cared about nothing except trying to avoid any more blows. She sobbed and confessed to something that was blatantly untrue, that she wanted the dress to work as a prostitute. At that point the farmer interjected:
“Guard Annikki, please. The girl’s confessed. There’s nothing more to be done here. I’m a busy man and I’ve seen enough. I insist you take the criminal to court.”
The guard gave the farmer a disgusted look, angry that he cut short her fun. However, he was right. The girl had confessed and there was no point in interrogating her any further. She untied Danka’s hands from the fence and secured her wrists behind her back. With a firm grip on her arm the guard led her towards the gate and a holding cell inside the city. The farmer, deeply regretting his part in the arrest, reluctantly followed, carrying Danka’s boots and her bucket filled with his apples.
As they approached the gate, a couple of Danka’s neighbors passed by. When the girl tried to put down her head and hide her face under her loose hair, the guard kicked her in the backs of her knees and forced her to kneel. She grabbed the captive’s hair and forced her to look up.
“Tell these men your name and what you did.”
“I… I’m Danka Siluckt, and I, stole apples… ”
“She’ll go on the pillory tomorrow. Make sure her family knows, so they can see their daughter’s dishonor.”