ARABELLA AND THE ROD 48, girls tied stories

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But now he was back, and she rejoiced in the summons to his bed, though it tugged at her heart strings to leave Julietta to suffer alone each evening she shared Carlo`s bed and ardent body. Soon she had to withdraw even further, for Carlo announced he was returning to the city, and wished her to accompany him, and be his hostess in their town house in Palermo. The two women took a tearful farewell of each other, Carlo, ever the perfect Gentleman, ceding his rights to her body, so that she could spend the last night cradling Julietta in her arms.
Back in the city she found herself making the acquaintance of those members of the extended family that she had not met before, and receiving the homage that was her due as the Countess, and senior lady of the clan. For nearly a month they lived in a constant whirl of parties and banquets, many of them in her honour to meet leading members of the city society, others hosted by herself in the rather grand `palazzo`, that was the headquarters of the Petraverdi clan.
During the day Carlo received a constant stream of visitors and, even during the grand entertainments they attended, men would come up and be taken aside for serious discussions of some kind. Something was brewing, and it came as no surprise when he announced that he would be leaving at the end of the week, taking most of the younger men with him, on a mission to the Ottoman Porte, an important errand that might keep him from her bed for some weeks, perhaps a month or more, but, he gallantly declared, almost worth the separation for the joy they would have on his return.
After the turbulence of his departure she planned on a few days to calm herself, before setting off for Petraverdi again, as was now natural for her as a proper Petraverdi female. The first evening though was to be no rest. Hardly had she sat with a volume of poetry by the notorious young Lord Byron, than she was aware of a commotion in the hall way, and a servant knocked to enquire discreetly if she was at home to the Signora Guida, the senior lady of a minor branch of the family, who she had met during her introductions to the Petraverdi connections in the city. Before she could answer, the lady herself appeared in the doorway.
"Pardon me, Contessa," she said, in a voice taut with distress, "I am sorry to disturb you at this time, but the matter is of the utmost importance and confidentiality. I must speak with you tonight."
Arabella dismissed the servant, and invited the woman to sit, where she wrung her hands in her lap and looked even more upset than before.
"I came to you because all the men are away, and something must be done quickly or it will be too late."
Arabella calmed her down, then coaxed the story from her. It seemed the Guida son and heir had been seized with lust for the daughter of the Malcardi clan and abducted her off the street, leaving her to find her way home raped and pillaged of her honour. The boy had left that morning on Carlo`s ship, before the girl had limped home, and now there would be hell to pay. The Malcardis would be calling for his blood and, finding him absent, their own hot-headed young men would seek out and kill any Petraverdi male they could find in revenge. What was she to do.
Arabella dealt with the hysterics, then sent the woman home, assuring her she could leave matters where they belonged, in the hands of the senior lady of the clan, herself. No sooner had the carriage bearing the distraught mother left than Arabella called for her own coach, throwing an all-enveloping cloak over the light `dishabille` she had affected for comfort in her own home, and left instantly for the `palazzo` of the Malcardi`s,a few minutes drive across the city. At the door she had her coachman knock loudly until answered, then hand in a sealed note, demanding that it be taken immediately to Donna Isabella, the matriarch of the clan, while Arabella remained discreetly hidden behind the curtains of the coach. In a few minutes the servant returned, asking if the lady would kindly accompany her to La Signora.
Donna Isabella was a woman in her seventies, still very upright, her indomitable will would not have let her bend, and with enough clues in the fine bones of the face, and the elegance of her carriage, to confirm her reputation as a noted beauty in her youth.
"In view of your evident haste, and the fact you came yourself, I will assume that you know of the outrage that has been committed against my family by a foolish youth of your own," she opened, looking at Arabella`s obvious informal style of dressing, "I can appreciate that you would be concerned, but I must tell you outright, there is no question but that young Guida raped my grand-daughter, and very comprehensively too. The poor girl is still in pain, before and behind. She was virgin of course, and God knows if she will get away with a flat belly after what that brute did to her."

"Donna Isabella, I have no doubt at all as to the facts. Such things are only too common among the head strong young men of today, and no more forgivable for that, but the youth has gone on an embassy with the Count, my husband, and who knows when they may return."
"In the meantime," Arabella continued, "it seems highly probable that one of `your` young men will display an equally intemperate nature and run his sword through the first male Petraverdi he comes across. We may then look forward to a `vendetta` that will claim more blood than the late war, and last ten times as long."
Donna Isabella crossed herself fervently.
"It is only too likely," she admitted, "there are feuds on this island that have been going on for so long that no-one now knows how, or even when, they started, the original wrong having long been lost to memory. But what can we do? The wrong will have to be made right somehow, or Malcardi honour will be impugned."
"I am only a newcomer here," Arabella said, "but I have heard that a rape of this sort can sometimes be balanced by a woman of the offending family being given to the victim`s family to be used by them as their female was handled by her rapist. Is such a thing still possible do you think?"
The stiff black-clad figure opposite did not answer at first, then -
"Yes. It has not been done for a long while, but such traditions die hard and, in any case, many of our men are away from home too. It should be possible to persuade the immediate family that honour had been satisfied, as I don`t believe anyone actively wishes `vendetta`, although all would actively pursue it once it were declared."
"Would you help me to achieve such a resolution, and avoid blood shed in both our families?" Arabella asked.
"Certainly, but do you think it would be possible to find a woman willing to sacrifice herself in this way? You appreciate that there would be more to it than merely submitting to intercourse with one male of the aggrieved family? That family would have the right to make her suffer as much as the victim did."
"I do, and I have a woman in mind who would submit to this, but I would like to establish the details of such a hostage-giving before I commit her."
"Very understandable. Well, in the first place, the woman must expect to be used sexually by the immediate male members of the family. That goes without saying, and is the heart of the matter."
"How many immediate family are there in this case?" Arabella asked.
Donna Isabella considered.
"As I said before, many of our men are also away but, at the moment, there is the father, one brother, an Uncle and two male cousins old enough to use a woman, which makes five altogether."
"That is acceptable," Arabella agreed, "The woman may be given to the five you have named. Would you require anything else?"
"Oh yes. The recompense must match the offence. In other words, the hostage must suffer as closely as possible the pains inflicted on the victim. That is only just."
"I can see that could be so," Arabella admitted, "What would be involved here?"
"The girl was quite badly bruised and beaten. To be fair, i think it was done more to subdue her struggles than from naked cruelty but, either way, the beating, and the tearing of her vagina by his rough courtship, might be appropriately matched by the woman being beaten in her turn, and her sex similarly abused. Since her female relatives are at least as affronted as her male kin, it seems to me that they should have the woman first, and inflict on her such cuts of the cane or strap, on buttocks or vulva as would have a comparable effect. I take it the woman you have in mind is no virgin."
Arabella looked more concerned at this proviso than at the straight-forward rape involved in the hostage being given to the males.
"How many women are there? I would not trust women to restrain themselves as men might in those circumstances, and it would have to be clearly understood that nothing was to be done to the woman that might affect her future health and appearance. My informant told me that the girl, although sore and shaken, has taken no actual injury, other than some very nasty abrasions, and the damage to her vulva."


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