"Cybeline, tell the reporter how the Champion brought you to Gweden," Tsarrina asked the Altmer.

The tall girl smiled wistfully, as she remembered how it had all happened.

I was walking around a corner in Bravil, when I bumped into a well-dressed Imperial. I was quite a bit taller than him, especially as I was wearing high heels, so he planted his face right in my cleavage. He was polite enough to take all responsibility for the accident, and equally ready to admit he'd quite enjoyed it.

"It must have given you quite a shock," he said " I think you should sit down for a moment, perhaps in that tavern over there?" He offered me the support of his arm, and I accepted.

He was dressed in green velvet with gold trim, very opulent-looking. I didn't know who he was yet. "Probably a noble", I thought. "I hope he likes me!"

I was just a commoner, and I worked as apprentice to a skillful seamstress. I was learning to sew a straight seam, make simple lace and piping, that sort of thing. My employer also had me model outfits for her customers, particularly the men who were buying for their wives and mistresses. I was young and pretty, and all Altmer are tall and elegant. I was also not shy, even when I was modelling the more intimate garments.

She had the idea of letting me wear examples of her dresses, whenever I went into town. Then perhaps the women would see them, and want to look like me. If they dared to wear them, of course! Some of them were cut very low, like the one I was wearing on this outing. It was also one of her more expensive designs, and quite concealed my station, if little else.

He told me his name was Gellius, and I told him mine. He hadn't mentioned his family name, so I still didn't know exactly who he was. He showed his good taste by ordering a bottle of Tamika's 415. I was sure we were going to along fine by the time we emptied that!

Much later in the evening, we left the taven to head for his bed. Things were going just as I'd hoped. Then he turned us over the bridge towards the Castle! No, he can't be related to the Count, he's got such a nice personality.

The following morning, he asked me more about myself, and I had to tell him the truth. He was disappointed, as he knew his father wouldn't let him marry a commoner. I told him, quite honestly, that I'd never even considered marriage. I would perfectly happy as his mistress, especially if he was always as good as last night!.

He thought for a few moments. He wanted me to come and live in the Castle, so I really ought to become one of the staff. He'd ask his father if there was a job I could do. That seemed like a plan, but I had to get the dress back to the shop. I'd return later, to see what he'd worked out. He had a better idea. He'd buy me the dress. He really liked the way it looked on me.

I pointed out that I still had to return to the shop, whether I gave the dress back, or paid her for it.

So an hour ot two later, I was back at the castle, still wearing the same dress. Count Regulus liked it too. I could tell by the direction his eyes kept wandering.

He told me I could have a job in his court. I'd have a bed in the servants' quarters until he decided on more permanent arrangements. I could take my bag down there now while he talked further with his son about what sort of position I'd have..

I went down and changed into a plainer dress. Half an hour later, a guard came to fetch me. He took me up to the private quarters and opened the door to the Count's chamber. He pushed me inside and closed the door behind me. I soon found out what position the Count had in mind for me. Several, actually, and none of them comfortable. My dress was torn, and I was crying, as I clutched the remnants across my breasts and fled from the room.

When Gellius found out, his reaction wasn't what I expected. He wasn't angry with his father, but at me for not resisting his advances. I realized I wouldn't get any help from Gellius where the Count was concerned.

I got the job I'd been promised, but it was sweeping floors, and other drudge work. I was expected to sleep with the Count whenever he wanted. I tried to run away, back to my old job, but the guards wouldn't let me leave the Castle.

Gellius was obviously deeply affected by his father's treatment of me. He grew more and more remote, and started drinking heavily. Soon alcohol wasn't enough, and he moved on to skooma. His bed was no longer my refuge, it was just another part of my jail.

I was sweeping the floor in the dining room off the Great Hall when a stranger came up and spoke to me. He'd heard around town about the Count and how he treated his servants. Was it true?

I looked around to see if a guard was listening. When I was sure we were alone I told him all about Count Regulus Terentius and his disgusting demands. I probably embarassed him when I showed him where I'd been bitten.

He wanted to help me leave immediately, but for some reason I felt I had to give Gellius a chance to redeem himself first. Perhaps without the skooma, he'd again be the Gellius I'd fallen in love with He wasn't mean to me, like his father, just distant. There was still hope, wasn't there?

I knew Gellius kept his skooma in a chest behind his bed. I was only allowed in the room when I slept with him, so I didn't know how to take it from him. The stranger did. He slipped on a ring, and disappeared!

A few minutes later, he re-appeared with three skooma bottles in his hand. He'd give me three days to see if Gellius could straighten himself out, and then he'd come back to collect me.

Of course Gellius just got more skooma. He didn't care about me any more. He didn't care about anything. But there was still a problem with trying to leave. I knew the guards had orders not to let me leave the Castle, and I didn't have one of those rings. He let me wear his, but the guard's eyes still followed me. I knew it wasn't strong enough for me, and my weak skill at sneaking. They could still hear me, perhaps.

There was another chance, though. I could wear a robe and hood that covered me completely. The guards would see me, but they wouldn't know who I was. And if I looked like a noble, they wouldn't dare ask me to show myself. They were too afraid of the Count's bad temper to risk it.

So I just needed a silk robe and hood. And steady nerves. He could leave the first two in a sack in the servant's quarters for me, the third I'd have to supply for myself.

Two days later, the sack was full. I was happy they were red, as I always look good in that color. The silk accentuated my curves, which meant the guards wouldn't be looking at my face. This could work!

I started to creep out of the room, and then stopped myself. I had to think like a noble and stride out confidently with my head high. No, with my head down and my hair across my face. I wished I had longer hair.

In the end, I just walked. I couldn't decide what was the optimum strategy, so I didn't have one. That was probably for the best. The guards glanced appreciatively in my direction, and probably thought me stuck-up and aloof when I didn't look back. I headed over the bridge and across to the Lonely Suitor.

The stranger was waiting there for me. He had some normal clothes for me to change into. While I was doing that, he asked me what I would do, now I was out of the Castle. I replied that I couldn't stay in Bravil, as the guards might take me back. I didn't know a trade, as I'd not finished training as a seamstress, and the Castle had only taught me to be a drudge and a sex-slave.

"Regulus hasn't turned you off sex, I hope"

I wasn't sure if I was being propositioned. I was in the middle of changing, and everything was on show. He might want a reward for rescuing me, should I prove that I wasn't turned off?

I just laughed and assured him that that was impossible, and carried on getting myself dressed. He didn't try to stop me, even helped with the buttons at the back.

"Then I do have a proposition for you" He told me all about Gweden Farm, and Tsarinna's band of girls, He asked if I'd like to join them.

"As long as Regulus Terentius isn't a customer" I said.

She was wearing that dress. The one she'd worn when she met Gellius. She asked him to stand up close to her, so he could see her from Gellius' viewpoint. He put down his notebook and did what she asked. He wasn't so shy about looking at the girls now, and Cybeline was easy on the eyes, especially from that angle..

However, he wasn't expecting her to slip the material aside and show him how the bite marks had faded. She nearly put his eye out doing that!