A few lunari passed. One day, as Merete was sewing, a garment was snatched from her hands. She was half dragged, half carried from where she was sitting into the area that Emberlie had claimed as her own. “Merete, you're being accused of using threads again,” Emberlie said. “This time there isn't going to be anyone to tell me you didn't do it. I can't have you getting out of a punishment so easily.”
“So you're going to punish me just on someone else's word?” Merete asked. “I don't have any say in it?”
“No you don't,” Emberlie said. “Remove your tunic.” Merete stared at her in shock. “Remove your tunic. I won't have it damaged. You may hold it in front of you if you wish.” Merete did as she was told. “Ten lashes, five for the skirt and five for lying about not using threads.”
“Yes Emberlie.” A man took a few steps forward and a pain sharper than anything she'd felt since the stoning tore across her back. She screamed.
“Scream again and I'll make it fifteen,” Emberlie said. “You can whimper all you want. But no more loud noises.”
Merete couldn't keep quiet, though she did try to limit herself to whimpers. She bit down more than once on a scream. “That's ten, Emberlie. Any more?”
“No. I think she understands now,” Emberlie said. “You may put your tunic back on, Merete. There will be no blood because the lacerations caused by the whip are healed with thread magic as soon as they appear on your body. You're going to have some interesting marks that most likely won't fade any time soon. You may even have a few scars from this.” Emberlie caught Merete's arm. “Don't think you'll ever escape this again. I suggest you keep your head down. You never know when I'll decide you need this.” She let go. “Put your tunic back on and go to your place.”