Chased into my love…

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There were certain expectations that came with high birth.  I had known from the time I was a child that I was naught but a pawn to be used in my parents’ game of social climbing.  It started nearly in the cradle with my mother cooing over my beauty and taking special attention of how I spoke, danced, sang, and especially flirted.  It was a game I little understood until I got older.  Then… the games grew more serious.  Maman would grow more serious in her instructions.  The bat of an eyelash, a coquettish smile, the flip of a fan… all designed to drive a man to madness.  Maman wished know know just how mad I drove them.  After every encounter she drilled me for details.  What had they said; what had they’d done?  Had they tried to kiss me… to touch me…?  All of these things were both forbidden and encouraged at the same time.  I was rewarded for how far I could push them.  A kiss… how passionate was it. Was it a gentleman’s kiss… that was worth a mere scolding.  Was it the passionate kiss of a man who wanted more?  Now that was worth praise.  Had he put his hands on me?  Were they sat upon my waist… or lower to cup my buttocks and pull him towards me… again, worth some small praise.  Better yet… could I drive a man to impropriety – make him shove my bodice down to bare my breasts and take liberties with the delicate flesh – that was not punished but rather rewarded with a new gown – some jewels – more lessons in seduction from Maman.  Poor Papa remained ignorant to these lessons, and it was best so.  Never was mother so proud as when I pushed the Spanish Ambasador to shove me to the wall, baring my breasts and claiming my mouth and he shoved his knee between my thighs and up until I gasped… by now, it was second nature to tell Maman all and she rewarded me with a new gown of lower cut and new instructions that my chaperone was to remain at a carefully timed distance to allow the Ambassador his freedoms while maintaining my virtue and reputation.  It was confusing.  I did not know the rules to this game, only that I was to play… more – I knew that my body belonged to another – so what was the point in playing at all.

I had been engaged since I was five.  The Duc d’Angou was a Prince of the Blood and a match far above my station… rumor was that he had been a lover of my mother’s – of course that was not rumor I would hear for many years.  Instead, I played my games.  The only time I failed her, I paid dearly.  I was to seduce to the Ambassador from Rome… his taste was not for women and that was hardly my fault, but that did not prevent her wrath.  When I came back and reported that he neither tried to kiss nor fondle me, I was bent over her bureau… the cane was supple and sharp.  It left deep red welts against my ass where she struck me.  Each one I had to count and each time I lost count, she struck again.  Ten became fifteen became twenty-two before I managed to count to ten between the pain.  How little I knew… I did not know that she would speak of the Roman Ambassador about my stripes, that he would wish to see them… no. His taste did not lie towards woman, but a girl bent over a desk was not much unlike a boy.  The first time I knew a man was excruciating.  He fondled the stripes my Maman had delivered before pressing himself to the rosebud of my arse… in my innocence, I did not think… my scream echoed back at me in the stone room but it only seemed to inflame him as he thrust harder against me – tearing flesh and bruising me where he gripped my hips.  He called me garçon and took his ease in me… leaving his seed to slip from my body as I smoothed my skirts down and fled to my Maman to cry in her lap – only to be scolded and beaten again.  So that was the game.  I was a tool and nothing more… so long as I was intact for my husband… my body belonged to her ambitions.

Fool that I was, I looked forward to my wedding day.  It came by proxy first – a huge affair held in the lands of the Medici from which I hailed.  Then I traveled to France… another huge affair in Paris… my spouse – older but still fair and fit.  After much that my mother had me do… it seemed a little thing to be married to a man so much older than me.  The wedding feast was a grand affair and I used all the powers of seduction that she had taught me.  By now I knew things… I had my first blood.  She had taught me that I could have a child.  She taught me that I could tell that I had inflamed a man by the hardness he pressed against me and the way he demanded of my body.  My husband was not tender – he was demanding… he hungered for my flesh and did not hesitate to press his hardness against my hip as we danced and moved together.  Of course, flirtation was, by now, a part of my nature.  The attention of men was something that I knew as I knew air.  I did not mean disrespect… I did not mean dishonor… in truth I do not know know if I offered either of if it was his own perversion that made him act so.

Upon our wedding bed, I was undressed and put in a fine chemise that was made so thin that one could see clear through the fine lawn.  It was edged with delicate hand lace and naught but a ribbon held the neck from falling from my shoulders.  I was afraid.  Yes… I had known the touch of a man in certain ways, but I came to my wedding bed pure, as was only right.  My husband joined soon after, but he was not alone.  A salle de arms that I had been dancing with joined him and I wondered at this company.  Surely my husband felt safe in his own chamber.  The Duc undressed and he was indeed still fit in his age… and he was indeed aroused… yet he sat on a chair at the foot of the bed, looking upon me.

“Your mother did not tell me that I was wedding a whore… she said you were sweet of nature and fair of face… true to be certain… but she did not tell me that you spread your favors like sweet wine at a bacchanalia…” he accused, still staring at my form through the sheer chemise.

“You find him attractive non?  You certainly seemed it so when you danced and rubbed against him like cheap putain… your mother says you are pure… your screams will mark it so petite chien.”  With a nod, the man began to undress.  Before my husband, who was fit and well formed, I had never seen a man undressed.  The Roman Ambassador had been behind me and thankfully I had not occasion to see him.  This man was also fit, though much younger and far more muscled than my husband.  That was not the only difference.  I had no way to judge such things, but he seemed… unusually… large.  It was engorged and swollen as he watched me with a hunger that I had not seen in him earlier.  Were I to be objective, it was not every day that one was invited to bed down with a Duchess, let alone a Princess… at husband’s invitation with no fear of death.  It was long and thick and sprang against his rippled stomach.  I gulped and scrambled slightly against my pillows.

“No playing coy now putain… this is not unlike dunking a witch.  If you are pure, we will know soon enough.  If you are not… then the marriage will be annulled and I will give you to the men to use.  Either way, your fate is in his hands – or on his cock more properly said…”

I stared at the man and tried to shake my head but he was not having any part of it.  He climbed on the bed and tore the chemise as if it were made of nothing but cobwebs rather than fine fabric.  Bared to the flesh, he stared like a man starved for a moment before using large hands much roughened by the sword to part my thighs wide.  There was no where for me to go.  The tester of the bed was at my back and he was a huge presence covering my body.  Protesting my innocence would get me nothing and my husband merely looked on eagerly, his own hand on his cock stroking slowly… it was almost as if he had a bet on the out come and then remembering what Maman had told me about the French Court – I realized he likely did.

There was no warning, no assistance in readying me – as if such a thing were even possible.  There was only a brutal and painful thrust that had me screaming out in pain like I’d not felt even when the Roman had taken my arse.  My body was on fire… he filled and tore me.  When he pulled out, there was blood on his cock and he swung around to show the Duc… as if my response had not been enough?  The Duc roughly shoved him aside.

“You can have her I’m done,” he told the man to my horror as he took his place.  While not near so large, the pain was still great.  The only balm was that the Duc was actually a skilled lover.  As determined as I was to hate all that was being done to me, he knew how to do things with his hands that made me shiver and moan even as he thrust against me.  Soon the pain abated and my hips thrust up to meet the hand that he’d fit between us.  The words he whispered in my ear were filth not even fit for the putain he’d called me… and me his wife no less.  His wife… that he’d given to another man first and would give to him again… once he’d planted royal seed… to his credit, he made me clench around him in ways that made the world spin and I hated him for it.  Only then did he sink himself deep and spill his seed… and only then did he pull out and nod at the man to go back to his plunder – rough, unskilled, far too large… the pleasure of my husband was replaced by the pain of this man… I cried out.  I begged the Duc to make him stop.  I begged the Duc to take his place.  It would take a long time for me to learn that was the Duc’s game… he did not let the man spill in me lest a royal bastard come of it.  Instead, the man spilled on me – but by then, my begging had my husband ready for another go and again, though I hated him desperately for it, his skill at bringing me pleasure made me welcome him and desire him so that when he spilled, I found my own pleasure as well. It was a game he played well… and the first night was not the last.  He was always sure to make certain someone was causing me enough discomfort that he could be my hero.  He would allow others to have me in such humiliating and debasing ways that I longed for him to make love to me… soon I would come to him.  I would sneak into his bed chamber and beg him to make love to be because if he was satisfied then there would be no reason to let any other torment me so…. he was training me as surely as my mother had.  Having children did not change this.  Being used to flirt with diplomats did not change that either.  After all, what better boon could a diplomat have than taking liberties with the wife of one of the Princes’.  And every time, I came begging to him, crawling to him, loving him for saving me from all of it… my beloved husband – may he rot in hell.

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Dieu merci, je suis joli…

This song is so asking for a story to be written about it ❤

moi-même threnody

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Thank God I’m Pretty by Emilie Autumn

Thank God I’m pretty.

The occasional free drink I never asked for.

The occasional admission to a seedy little bar.

Invitation to a stranger’s car.

I’m blessed

with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied.

Which only means that when it’s dark outside,

I have to run and hide, can’t look behind me.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Every skill I ever have will be in question.

Every ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myself.

Though the cops would come for someone else,

I’m blessed.

I’m truly privileged to look this good without clothes on,

which only means that when I sing you’re jerking off

and when I’m gone you won’t remember.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank you God

Oh, lord

Thank you God

Oh, oh and when a gaggle of faces appears around me

it’s…

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A family affair…

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❥ Warning – rape, psycological abuse, sexual abuse, underage, incest

The text popped on my phone with the ominous tone I’d set just for him.

Go to bed.  Now.

He sat across the living room from me, his predatory stare making me uncomfortable as I tried to watch television on the couch.  Our parents were both in the room… a part of me wondered how they could be oblivious to what he did to me.  If they were not and simply allowed it – that was a horror to hard to take.  If they were – such gross negligence was equally hard to swallow.

The easy answer would have been to remain exactly where I was.  Surely I was safe in the living room surrounded by family.  My brother had made clear that he would not hesitate in punishing me however.  Just the fact that I hesitated was the result of narrowed eyes and another heated text.

Be in your bed in five minutes or I tell father that I caught you fucking Derrick last Friday.

It was not true… but I knew that my father would believe my brother over me and that the punishment would be harsh.  I had no need to feel my father’s belt… my brother’s was quite bad enough.  With a yawn, I stretched and declared myself tired..  My father gave me a long look that made me nearly as uncomfortable as my brother’s… but I just headed down the hall to ready myself for bed.  I was brushing my teeth when the next text came through.

panties.  period.

With a sigh, I left the jack-and-jill bathroom that separated my bedroom from my brother’s and slid into bed in nothing by my panties.  I felt terribly exposed – which was foolish because she’d be far more exposed before too very long.

Sure enough – not a half-hour past before she heard her brother in the bathroom getting ready for bed.  He made show of going into his own room, slamming his door and playing his music loudly before he snuck back through the door that connected the two bedrooms through the bathroom.  Though I closed my eyes and pretended sleep, it was a weak attempt.

I lay stiff on the bed, rigid with my eyes screwed shut.  He sat on the side of the bed as if he owned it.  For a time, he said nothing, knowing that made it worse for me.  Finally, he rested a hand on my thigh through the blankets.

“I was wondering dear sister… what does it feel like to be your brother’s whore?”

My eyes shot open and I glared at him in disgust.  How dare he call me his whore… not once had I willingly… the lie in my mind made me feel disgusting and filthy… I was not his whore but he made my body respond.  He had not at first… but this game had started long ago and he knew where to touch and what to do to make my body betray my mind.

“I will never be your anything.  Leave… or I will scream this time… so help me god I will…”

He laughed.  Simply laughed like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

“Scream.  What do you think will happen my pretty whore?  Do you think Daddy will come running?  He will.  He will come running to watch me fuck you and see how your training goes… oh do not look so shocked you stupid cunt.  Who do you think taught me… why do you think I train you.  He has no patience for whining virgins.  When you learn to beg for me… you will beg for him.  Or do you think Mom will come running?  She will not leave her knitting… to think it is one thing, to know it is another but to see it would mean she would have to do something and we both know that won’t happen.  So please… scream.”  His hand slid up my frozen body and yanked the blankets down to bare me.  I’d learned not to cover myself when he’d broken my wrist for doing so.

“I have to work soon… Daddy wants you while you are still so young and pretty… before you turn into just another whore…”  His hands were both possessive and knowledgeable of my body.  I did not wish to respond and I willed myself to lie as if dead… but the way he palmed my breasts and rolled my nipples made my breath come shorter.  His mouth against my skin was like fire against ice in the chill of the room.  I hated him most because he knew this.  He used it against me.  My body would respond and he would reward me with more.  So long had he been doing this that even the cruel force of his hands shoving my thighs apart made me moan… because in the past he had mingled such painful acts with pleasure until I no longer knew the difference.

“You will beg…” he reminded me again, mouth soaking the thin cotton of my panties… enough to feel divine but not enough to bring any true satisfaction.  It could truly be said that her brother had ruined her in every sense of the word.  Oh, it had started slowly enough… but she’d only been ten when he started to sneak into her room at night.  He never asked, only made demands… but for every torment he taught pleasure.  She thought she’d die the first time he’d placed himself inside of her, but then he did things with his hands that made her squirm and moan and clench around him until she felt empty when he had pulled from her.  By now, as much as she hated him, she hated herself more.  As much as she fought, she anticipated the pleasure that she knew would come.  It had been two long years of his lessons and she no longer even knew the difference between pain and pleasure.  The only thing that remained to her was enough pride to deny her unholy desire.

He rocked back on his knees between between my thighs and stared down at me.  Again, he knew that the anticipation and fear of not knowing what he wanted was always as bad as the demand itself.

“Touch yourself… over your panties…” he ordered, pulling his own shorts down to expose himself.  My body still tingled from the pressure of his mouth and my fingers met the wet fabric.  It had been my brother who taught me how to touch myself in the first place, and I knew that this was far less about my own pleasure and more about a show for him.  His hand spread my thighs wider until my hps hurt.  I lifted my body to meet my hand… grinding against it slowly as he watched.

“Stop.”  It felt so good that I didn’t.  It was a mistake though because he grabbed my hand roughly and twisted it to the side.  Covering my body, he grabbed my other wrist and held both over my head as he ground himself against me.

“And you claim you’re not a whore,” he hissed.

“A whore that can’t even take simple commands because she’s too busy grinding like a cat in heat…”  The grind continued and while I turned my head and refused to speak or face him, my hips rose to his, trying desperately to find that spot that would bring pleasure… but as soon as he had pounced, he was gone… back on his knees between my spread thighs.

“Take your panties off… slowly.  Not a word from your lips… beg me to fuck you just by taking them off…”  I considered whether or not this violated my bride or not. He was not asking me to beg for him… only he was.  If I did not take them off or did not take them off the way he wanted… the last time I’d refused he’d cut a slit through the fabric and fucked me through it.  He was watching expectantly, cock jerking in anticipation and I would swear that he was hoping I would disobey.  Instead, I slowly slipped the cotton off one hip, then shifted my body to slip it off the other.  I lifted my pelvis up off the bed and ever so slowly exposed inch by inch of by body as I pushed them to mid thigh.  Knowing what pleased him by now, I lifted my legs and slid them off… he held my ankles high, enjoying the view and considering the possibilities.

“I told you that you would beg… you’re begging me to shove my cock into that tight little cunt of yours…”  Yet all I got was his hands running along the back of my thighs.

“Leave your legs just like that… hand between your thighs… pretty little fingers in your pretty little cunt.”  Sometimes I thought he liked to be vulgar just because he knew I hated it… or did I?  I put my hand between my clenched thighs.  Again, as much as I hated him and all he made me do… I was slick with need and the fact that he was there almost seemed irrelevant as I slid two fingers into myself, working them in and out, the pleasure of it against my tightly clenched thighs making me moan.

It seemed to please him as well.  He’d gotten closer.  His eyes were locked on the fingers moving in and out of my body as he pushed my thighs even higher up and drew closer.  I could feel him… the head of his cock against the inside of my thigh.  What once and still filled me with revulsion now also filled me with a certain anticipation and desire.  He had quickly taught me that my fingers could never do what his cock could and I was forbidden any toys of pleasure to replace his games.  He urged me on, teasing as he brought his cock closer only to slide it back up my thighs… building a desperation that I knew I could not satisfy with my own hand.  Oh, I could create that kind of surface pleasure that was so easy to achieve… but not that deep overwhelming pleasure that only came from being filled to the point of pain.

Leaving them high, he spread my thighs and rested them on his shoulders.  Now his hands could travel my body.  The pinches he gave my hardened nipples were cruel and bitterly painful, making me cry out even as he again teased, pressing his head into me only to pull it out.  His hand covered my own, forcing the pace to slow – refusing me even surface pleasure before he took the hand away entirely and drank the juices from it.  I was certain that soon he would not be able to resist… but still he tormented.  Leaning in to cover my body, he slid his cock against my slit without ever entering.  It was too much.

“Please…” I gasped.  He had destroyed the one think that I had left.

“What was that whore?  Please what?”  His words were hard and cruel, hisses against my ear.

“Please… please fuck me… I cannot bear it.  I need… to feel yo…” the rest of the sentence was cut off by my father’s booming voice.

“What in the fucking hell do you think you’re doing boy?”  Of all the times I had wanted my father to save me… I was desperate and aching and this was not one of them.  Yet my brother seemed nonplussed.

“Making the little whore beg for my cock…” he explained calmly, still paused at my entrance.

“Stupid fuck… you’ll never give her a proper fucking that way.  Angle’s all wrong.”  I cannot even describe my horror as my father approached the bed and shoved my brother to the side.  He had his fly undone in seconds and his cock sprung free,

“Best fuck you’ll ever give her is on her knees… but I want to see her face this time… well come on princess… beg for it.  You think his is better than mine?” he demanded, rearing back and putting my legs over his shoulders as his hands roughly grabbed at my hips.  He didn’t wait for an answer.  Better or worse, it was bigger and I screamed as he tore into me.  There was no pause, no adjustment, no consideration.  I’d thougth my brother cruel?  My father had my hips all the way off the bed as he drove into them hard enough that it felt as if my hip bones would dislocate.  I had no idea what world of ignorance my mother lived in, but my screams surely shook the whole house and only seemed to drive him on.

“That’s it… take it like the whore you are… you’re brother’s trained you well… now it’s my turn to take over your lessons…” Why did I have a feeling my brother’s lessons would seem kind by comparison.  My father trapped my wrists at my sides.  Tears streamed down my face and there was nothing pleasurable about the screams and whimpers coming from my throat.  It could have been minutes or hours.  I was raw and dry… he was leaving bruises on my wrists as the bones ground together in his strong grip.  My brother watched avidly as if taking notes.  After what was surely an eternity, my father grunted like a wild animal and slammed his hips into me.  The hot saline nature of his seed burned against the abrasions of my flesh but he remained seated tightly – making sure that every drop soaked my sore skin before pulling out.

Even then, I was not to have the relief of curling into the ball of pain and misery that I so desired.  Rather, it was my father’s turn to move to the side with a gesture towards my brother.

“Now make the stupid whore cum… she’ll learn to love it how I give it to her until she’s crawling into my bed on hands and knees…”  Always the obedient son, my brother obeyed.  He crouched between my thighs and used a mouth that was so very skillful at bringing out the deepest pleasures of my body.  It took a while to break through the shock and horror but the body is a deceitful and betraying creature.  Though I begged and cried, my hips arched into his mouth and I felt the familiar contractions from low in my abdomen that started to spread through me like a tidal wave until I cried out in pleasure.  If I thought him capable of it, I might have thought my brother capable of mercy… instead he smiled and kissed me on the lips – his mouth tasting of my juices and my father’s seed.

“Goodnight sweet sister.  We’ll see you tomorrow night.” Before leaving me alone in a disheveled heap of pain and misery, not even bothering to cover myself before I cried myself to sleep.

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Every Coin Has Two Sides

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  • Love me.
    Let your cold eyes linger against my flesh for a second too long.
  • Hate me.
    Strong hands grind the bones of my wrist together.
  • Love me.
    Knee between my thigh pushing up against the heat of my sex.
  • Hate me.
    Drop me to the floor and turn your back as you walk away.
  • Love me.
    On hands and knees I follow your retreating steps.
  • Hate me.
    Striking like a cobra, fist meets flesh and sends me sprawling.
  • Love me.
    Your body covers mine as you shove my skirt up around my waist.
  • Hate me.
    Thighs spread you grind your clothed hips against the bare heat of my sex.
  • Love me.
    Your hand reaches down to slip against the slick heat that begs for your touch.
  • Hate me.
    Spread open, your touch only teases. You deny even as I beg.
  • Love me.
    The slide of a ziper and the feel of your cock against my thigh.
  • Hate me.
    Rough hands close my thighs around your cock as you rut between them, denying my sex.
  • Love me.
    Your mouth devours my breasts through the light cotton of my shirt.
  • Hate me.
    So close. Hips thrusting. Inches from my pleasure.
  • Love me.
    Thighs lifted over your shoulders as you pause… making me whimper with need.
  • Hate me.
    Mere inches from satisfaction, your own hand strokes the cock that should be sinking into me.
  • Love me.
    A hard thrust and I am possessed fully.
  • Hate me.
    Pace slow. Long strokes as you look down to watch yourself disapear into my body.
  • Love me.
    Hips pushing forward. The effects of my begging evident by the jerk of your thrust.
  • Hate me.
    Nearly pop my thighs out of joint as you give up the game to simply rut like the wild animal you are.
  • Love me.
    Kisses as sweet as your thrusts are brutal.
  • Hate me.
    Rearing back and lifting my hips off the ground as you bruise my thighs and make me scream for mercy.
  • Love me.
    Rearing back and lifting my hips off the ground as you bruise my thighs and make me scream for mercy.
  • Hate me.
    Pull out to spill your seed all over my writhing torso.
  • Love me.
    Pull out to spill your seed all over my writhing torso.
  • Hate me.
    Heads, I win.
  • Love me.
    Tails, I win.
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All horrors are relative to experience.

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❥ Warning – torture, rape, incest, murder, infanticide

Open as to the air to the naked shadow
O she lies alone and still,
Innocent between two wars,
With the incestuous secret brother in the seconds to perpetuate the stars,
A man torn mourns in the sole night.

Something was different. The castle sounded different. Alys laid in her bed, keeping her eyes closed and remaining still. She found that she could prolong the day’s torments by remaining abed longer. There was only so long that she could linger, but every moment spent safe and warm in her quilts was a moment spent in the only real privacy she was allowed. Her body ached in ways that she could barely even comprehend. Her mind hurt. Her heart hurt. But in the mornings she could lie here, stretched out, eyes closed against the reality around her… squeezing out every moment. This morning her lingering had different cause. She wanted to put her finger on the different sounds… the different feel of things. Life was uncertain enough these days, she was loathe to rise into a situation she was ill prepared for.The choice was taken from her. Alys could hear her maid protesting at the door to no avail before it banged open and Lawrence came rushing in. Was there to be no sanctuary?!? Alys still pretended sleep, but her brother cared not if she was asleep or awake. He grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her out of bed and to her feet. Alys’ maid, the dear thing, was still protesting this handling of her charge when Lawrence backhanded her and told her to throw something on her precious mistress rather than fussing at him about her. There was clearly no time to dress properly and in confusion over what was going on, the woman grabbed what was most practical. While Alys only wore her skin, there was no time for chemise, kirtle, and the rest of a proper dressing. Instead, the woman put on a heavy blue velvet houppelande lined with mink. The sleeves were long and there was enough volume that one could not tell that Alys was bare beneath it despite the fact that it only closed at the waist. It dipped rather low in front and Alys had to resist the urge to hold it closed. At least it was soft against her tender skin and warm. She had neither stockings nor slippers on but something sounded outside the door and Lawrence grabbed at her anyway.

“…” Alys tried to form protest but he was dragging her from her room and down a side hallway. She could hear men in the other direction and a general sound of commotion. They were heading towards a clashing noise but Lawrence yanked her in another direction before they could reach it. Alys tried to struggle and pull against him. Whatever was going on, she figured her chances were better there than they were with Lawrence. If he wanted her to go one way, she wanted to go the other way. It was no good though; he had a bruising grip on her wrist and was dragging her behind him like a ragdoll.

Again, there was noise ahead, but Lawrence seemed to have reached their destination because they dove left through a doorway and Lawrence slid a bar down behind them. Alys looked around but they were simply in an empty room, round with stairs along one edge. That seemed to be their destination because Lawrence barely paused and only slightly loosened his grip on Alys’ wrist. They headed up the stairs, Alys clinging to the rope that ran through heavy rings in the wall for security. Her brain finally kicking into gear, she used that rope for leverage and stopped cold. Lawrence pulled at her but she didn’t budge.

“What do you think you are doing you stupid chit?” He demanded, fear mixed with anger clear in his voice.

“I might ask you the same. You are the one who drug me from my bed and are taking me God only knows where. I am not going… I know not of what is going on, but I’d just as soon have part of that than company of you!” Alys told him, taking a step backwards but not daring to release her grip on the rope. It was her hope that whatever had him so spooked would make the craven fool keep running and leave her in peace. She underestimated the situation however.

“I do not remember asking what you wished… you are coming to safety.” Without saying anything else, Lawrence reached out and wrenched at the wrist holding the rope, nearly toppling Alys off the side of the stair. She almost wished it had happened… the stone below seemed preferable to any idea Lawrence had of her safety! It did not matter what she wanted, Lawrence had momentum and strength on her side and she could follow and try to keep her feet under her or… as much as Alys might wish for death at times, the body or the spirit’s instinct for preservation eliminated the only other option.

The surfaced in a room similar to the one below… only this one had minimal furnishings and was not empty. A woman sat in a chair facing out of a glazed window. Alys was shocked to see that it was not even yet light outside… it was enough to distract her from the woman for the time being and she turned to Lawrence.

“What manner of insanity is this that you drag me from my bed in the middle of the night…?” She demanded, pointing out the window as if it was proof of his insanity. Though she looked, she could see nothing out the window that would give her clue as to what was going on, and from where they were, she could no longer hear anything.

“Mind your own concern whore,” Lawrence told her simply without explanation. His orders had been explicit and clear. He had been to fetch Alys and take her to the West Tower, bar the door, and keep her there with Lady Myriella and the wean until Quentin came for them. He was not going to deal with any of his sister’s head strong nonsense. It would seem that Staunton had played them false – hardly a surprise there, and there was battle below the castle. Not being of martial nature, Lawrence was of no use, save as a guard for the women. Lady Margot and Lady Celine were to be in His Lordship’s care… Sir Quentin was going to dispatch of this nuisance of Staunton spawn.

“…” Frustrated beyond bearing, Alys turned and looked at the woman. She was rocking slightly and Alys thought she saw some bundle in the woman’s arms. Lawrence pulled her all the way into the room and then let her go, standing between Alys and the stairwell going up and down. The woman seemed completely unaware that she had company, but Alys was curious. She was fair and looked pretty, but she was bedraggled and looked wan. Walking closer, Alys saw that there was a baby in the bundle… it looked nearly new born but seemed weak and sickly.

“Hello…” she approached and perched on the sill of the window. A look outside had revealed nothing of help and Lawrence was clearly of no use to her, so Alys focused on the woman instead. Any company was preferable to her brother, who seemed content to loom silently for the time being.

“Would you like me to hold the baby…” Alys tried again. The woman looked up at least, though she still seemed slightly dazed. She really was very pretty, though it was clear her youth had been spent. Alys wondered if she was yet another victim of her affianced… she certainly knew from experience that his cruelty could break a spirit and he had not had the keeping of Alys’ spirit for very long.

“No… let it be. Who are you?” The woman asked, still idly rocking the sickly looking infant. It was amusing really. The one question Alys had for the woman but had not thought to ask, yet here the woman was demanding that information of Alys. Fair enough.

“Alys… Lady Monteacute. I am… encumbered… to Sir Quentin,” she admitted with a scowl at the latter part. She was still worried about the baby. She knew little of such things, but thought it should be crying or fussing or something.

“Encumbered…” What an amusing term. Myriella Quatramaine laughed and looked the woman over. So this was to be her dear nephew’s bride… she was comely, though she already looked like a hunted deer so the poor thing had no chance really. While she realized that she should have some pity for the girl, Myriella was short on that emotion by this point. She was more curious at why she had been joined by the twisted one and this Worthy. Wait. Monteacute… Myriella’s brain made the connection and she realized that the poor girl was the twisted one’s sister… or some relation thereof. Well she could certainly sympathize with not choosing one’s relations.

“I am Myriella… Lady Quatramaine I suppose. Piers’ sister and your future aunt… not that you will know me as such, not that you will know me at all. I am not kept here… have not been for some time. I am only here now for the birthing, I will be sent away soon… as soon as the babe can be taken.” She looked down at the sickly thing dispassionately. This was her ninth child. Each had been born alive. Each had been sired by first Piers and then once Piers was well married and Quentin old enough to figure out how to use his prick, Quentin. Each had been taken before Myriella could even hold the child. The only reason that was not the case this time was because it would seem that the castle was in turmoil when she gave birth. The babe was born just three hours past. It was not as if she took joy in this triumph. She had not even looked to see if it be boy or girl. The thing sickened her… the spawn of her own nephew and his insatiable desires. Perhaps he would leave her be once wed – just as Piers had… somehow she did not think that her nephew shared her brother’s religious scruples or views on the marriage bed.

“…” Alys remembered vague mention of a sister… a dead sister… not one sitting here live as anything rocking a baby. She was not entirely sure what the proper response was under the circumstances. The usual courtesies seemed slightly absurd and the woman seemed a bit undone around the edges. The way she had laughed had unnerved Alys. Yet, what were there other than the usual courtesies… it seemed unlikely that this woman had any more clue as to what was going on than she did… nor did she seem like she would be of much help. With an unhappy sigh, Alys sat fully down on the window ledge, pulling the fabric around to keep her legs decently covered. There was little she could do about the top, but she reached up to pull the fabric tighter anyway, checking to make sure the clasp was pinned well and full.

What a clever girl her maid had been. In place of the pin that usually held the clasp closed, the girl had slid Alys’ stiletto with the ivory handle. She clutched it, looking at the woman furtively, trying to assess whether or not she would be any help or hindrance in taking her brother out of the equation that she might seek some sort of sanctuary from whomever was attacking the castle. The woman could ask it as well for her and the babe… surely it would be granted.

“It is nice to meet you… Myriella. I do know you, and I will… though I have no intent on you being my aunt if you will forgive my being so bold. I detest your nephew and would not have him to husband. I do not quite understand what you mean by kept here… and of the babe? Surely it needs a physician. Do you not wish things to be elsewise?” Alys’ voice was pitched low, her body turned away from him, the conversation meant for the woman alone.

She was sweet, but clearly mad. Myriella cocked her head to the side slightly. Who cared if the babe needed a physician? The best thing that could happen for the beast would be death. Did she wish things to be elsewise… there was no elsewise. The sooner this woman accepted that, the better it would be. Besides, if she did not marry Quentin, there was no chance at all that he would leave her be. Even if he did not have his father’s respect for the marriage bed, a new toy should keep him occupied and away from her for quite some time.

“I simply mean I live elsewhere. You will marry Quentin and he will make you a good husband… unless there is fault in your womb, you will give him many heirs. He is quite potent….” Myriella looked down at the child in her arms. It did not seem to be thriving and she knew not whether or not that was normal. She had not fed it, nor would she. The only reason she had not simply sat it on the floor was because she had been sat in that chair and told to hold it… doing what she had been told was instinct by now.

“I… see.” Alys thought she did. She looked to the child with some revulsion. If the child was Quentin’s… that was his own aunt. Why that should shock her, Alys did not know. Why anything should shock her here anymore she did not know. Her own brother’s behavior still had the ability to shock her. She looked to him, trying to gage how much attention he was paying. It would seem he was more worried about whatever was going on beyond the barred door a floor below, because he was turned toward the stairs headed down and not paying much heed to the silly chatter of women.

“Myriella… it would seem you know my… Quentin rather well. He is your lover no? I do not wish to be indelicate… I just wish to know what to expect when… well I have never you see. I find I grow nervous as the wedding grows closer. I fear… well I do not expect… but I would at least like to expect kindness… that he be gentle in bed…” Alys tried to be convincing, though the words sounded and felt false on her tongue. She knew well that Quentin was neither kind nor gentle and she knew exactly what to expect from him… though her fear was certainly not feigned.

“Lover… what a queer term you use for it. Toy. Pet. Conquest, though it is hardly much conquest when wrapped up by your father is it? Lover though… no. Never that. I was no more Quentin’s lover than I was Piers’. For the first, I was naught but toy to break and legs to take ease between until he found wife to sanctify the act. Then he had no use for me and decided I would serve well enough to train Quentin up on the finer arts… not that Quentin ever had his father’s patience or finesse… expect neither a kind nor gentle lover. Expect a sadistic beast who delights in your suffering. I should not tell you this… it is in my best interest that you should go ignorant into marriage. Still, you did ask, and so few speak to me at all that I feel compelled by your kindness.” It was foolish. She really should have kept her mouth shut, but none of her servants spoke to her, few of the men that used her spoke to her in any way that required response. Once she started speaking, the words just seemed to come of their own accord. Soon, the babe would be taken and she would be taken from this place and for a time she would be alone. While being alone was better than the alternative, Myriella was lonely.

“…” Alys had not expected such honesty and she had no idea how to respond to this flood of horror. While none of the information was terribly surprising at this point, it was disturbing on a deep level for Alys who was, in all reality, a very conventional girl. She looked at the woman and tried to judge her age. She had been exposed to this horror for such a short time really… it was so overwhelming and so shocking that Alys let it overcome her. It was impossible to imagine suffering this life for… years… when a week of Quentin’s steady attentions was more than she could stand. The woman seemed too far gone to be of help, but she also seemed too far gone to be a hindrance.

Giving Lawrence another furtive look, Alys slid the stiletto free of her robes while she tried to hold them closed with her other hand. She turned back to Myriella, afraid that a break in the conversation would draw her brother’s attention.

“I thank you for your honesty… I would rather know what I am facing than walk into it ignorant. Try not to worry about your best interest though, I promise to take that into consideration…” she was urging the woman not to be a hindrance as Alys slowly stood and turned to face the window as if she merely wanted to look outside again. Still, the view gave no illumination, and while she had no idea the hour, it was still full dark save for a heavy moon. While standing, it was only reasonable that she stretch around a bit, and Lawrence hardly seemed to care what she did so long as she stayed away from the stairs. Alys moved over towards the hearth but there was no reason to linger there considering as it had been banked the night before but not yet lit for the day. Alys returned to the woman and was surprised to find a more active gleam to her eye.

It had not occurred to her at first. Myriella watched as the girl slid a blade from her robes. Tricky that. Pity she had not used that trick to slide it between Quentin’s ribs… but what use did the blade have here? The child in her arms fussed a bit and Myriella looked down at the creature. She could not say why, but she thought it was a boy… how many boys had she had? What had happened to them? How many would grow up to be the monsters that their fathers were? Suddenly the blade took on a new gleam and Myriella found herself following Alys with her eyes. It would be so simple and so quick and so merciful and then she would know that this was one less monster loose in the world.

“You are welcome. I had considered lying but… well you have shown such kindness. Could you perhaps help me a moment? The babe…. It is fussing and I think I need to adjust its wrappings.” While part of Myriella felt bad deceiving the girl, she had a higher purpose. The girl might not understand at first, but Myriella was certain that she could make her understand. What came after didn’t happen. It had been so long since Myriella had enough time or freedom to form such an independent notion… once it was fixed in her mind she could think on nothing else. Angus was not even here, he had been needed elsewhere. The twisted one was indeed twisted but weak so far an intimidating presence on Myriella’s mind went.

“… of course,” Alys had no real idea what she could do to help, but she used the hand holding the blade to hold her robes closed as she bent over to either take the baby or to adjust its swaddling. It was fussing a bit… it was slightly alarming to realize how little she knew of children when she was of an age to have her own. It was not something she had overly thought about… assuming she would have the period of pregnancy to learn and others to rely upon. Of course… there was no reason to assume otherwise now – beyond the simple fact that Alys had grown leery of assuming anything anymore. While she desperately wanted to believe that Alain was going to find some way to get her out of this situation, hope was getting hard to come by as each day went by and each torment mortified soul and flesh.

The moment the girl leaned over to help, Myriella reached up and pulled the blade from her hand. The look she gave her was desperate for understanding. It was the work of seconds really… the thing was so small. The blade was so sharp. The blood… it spurted and soaked into the babe’s swaddling cloth, soaked into her gown. Who on earth would think that such a tiny thing could hold so much blood?

It happened so fast that Alys had no idea how to respond until the time to do anything was well past. The thing was so small and so helpless and the woman slid the blade across its throat, parting the skin like a hot knife through butter too long out of the spring house. She must have made some sort of noise because it drew Lawrence’s attention. Alys did not know if she was grabbing for the blade or for the child but she took both… having little idea what to do with either. Had she looked, Alys would have known full well that the infant was beyond any care. Myriella’s cut had nearly severed the newborn’s head. Nor could she effectively wield the blade with such a burden. Lawrence was bearing down on them though and Alys was well strained past rational thought.

“By Hell woman what have you done?” Lawrence demanded, seeing naught but red blood soaking the infants swaddling and Ella Quatramaine’s gowns. He did not know whether or not Ella or Alys was to blame or how harm had come to the child, he only knew that they were all under his care and that Quentin would be cross if anything amiss should happen. The child was Quentin’s, and the man took odd interest in the bastards he had put off on his aunt. Alys had the infant and Ella was always docile, so she was his target.

Lawrence dove for her, and Alys played ring around the roses with Myriella’s chair. The woman seemed inert there, seemingly immune to her actions. While sense would dictate going down to the barred door, Alys found herself diving past Lawrence and running up the steps. The choice was mostly a matter of logistics. Alys was panicked and it was much easier to keep one’s balance running up with the burden of the body, the blade, and her flapping robes. She had little idea where the stairs led, nor did she know if Myriella had followed or gone down to beg sanctuary of others. It horrified her to think that the woman was likely still just sitting in her chair. She could hear Lawrence pursuing and that was a much more imminent threat.

The stair led into a bedchamber that still reeked of childbirth. Clearly it was where Myriella had suffered her confinement, but had she any attendants or help they were long gone and Alys could see no benefit in lingering in a bedchamber. There were steps that continued up. Alys tried to picture the castle from the outside, tried to figure out where she was and whether or not there was any connection with this tower and the battlements. If that was the case she could escape into whatever group was embattling the keep and beg suffrage – safe transport home, not that she thought home very safe. Perhaps safe transport to the Palace and Princess Izzy…up she went, the bundle in her arms limp and going cool.

When Alys next hit level ground it was just a shallow stairwell facing a door. There was no time to listen at the other side for warning of what she would be going into – not with Lawrence on her hem. She pushed through the other side and gulped in frigid night air. Alys had not even realized that she had become so heated until the cold prickle of sea breeze hit her skin. She slammed the door behind her, but there was nothing to bar it with so it was only enough to buy her a moment’s reprieve to look around. She had been hoping to find fighting men. It was scant hope… but she thought to find some safety even among the Quatramaine fighting men. After all, Quentin and Lawrence and even Piers had kept their activities behind certain doors and for certain eyes. For whatever reason, the men must have known that there was little reason to protect that tower, or fighting was simply hotter elsewhere… because the top was bare of fighting men. Using the ocean and the rest of the castle, Alys estimated that she was in the lower west tower… it was hard to know though because she had become disoriented as Lawrence led her here. Regardless of where she was, it was fair isolated. She could go back the way she came and into the castle, or she could go along one wall into another part of the castle, assuming she could get through that door… but the only other options were breakneck paths of stone that really led nowhere of use to her.

There was no other time for thought. Lawrence came bursting through the door. He had proven himself cruel and twisted, but he was as ineffectual and craven as Alys had ever thought him. He seemed as anxious to find fighting men as anything else, and his demands that she return seemed based more on Quentin’s demands than anything else. There was nothing waiting for her back through that charnel tower, and nothing for her here. It was, in all truth, more than Alys could take. The sheer hopelessness of the situation – God’s seeming refusal to hear her prayers or see her plight…

“What have you done to Quentin’s child?” Lawrence demanded of his sister. If anything happened to that child, Quentin was going to be livid. Granted, it was likely Alys that suffered his temper, but Lawrence still had no desire to engage the man’s wrath.

“What have I done? That poor woman… the babe’s mother, Quentin’s aunt… she killed the poor thing.” Saying it made it true. Alys looked down at the cold bundle in her arms. The skin had gone blue… the poor thing had barely been clinging to life before its mother slit its throat. The world went slightly blurry and Alys realized that she was crying. She had no idea whether or not the baby was girl or boy. She doubted it had been graced with a name and knew it had not been baptized. Surely the tiny soul would not be consigned to hell or purgatory for the sins of father or mother – let alone simply for lack of proper rites. Perhaps the reason that Alys clung to the infant was that while she knew that a lay person could perform last rights in an emergent situation, she did not have the first idea as to how to go about it and surely the body could not be allowed to be simply cast aside without proper burial.

“By all the Saints!” Even Lawrence crossed himself as he approached and saw the reality. The child’s head gaped from its body. It was well and truly dead, Quentin would be upset at the loss and it had happened under Lawrence’s guardianship. According to Alys, Ella had done it – yet Lawrence had a hard time imagining the woman doing anything so… well anything she wasn’t told to. And how had it been done? He was of half a mind to go down and drag her up there by the hair to question her – it was either that or drag Alys back down the stair… the better idea but logistically difficult.

His voice startled Alys. Or rather, the nearness of his voice startled Alys. She looked up at her brother, spooked at the proximity he had managed while she focused on the fate of the poor child’s soul. This was not the time. Perhaps later she could have masses said, perhaps later the body could be properly laid to rest. Right now, she had a more exigent concern. Whatever the fate of the child’s soul, it was decided. By sheer reaction, she threw the child at Lawrence, knowing he would wish to avoid the projectile. All in all, Alys figured her odds were better running towards the door back into the castle. There was no way she was going to get around Lawrence back into the stairs and even if she did, going down stairs like that would be treacherous. While she had no idea whether or not the door was barred, Alys figured it her best option so she ran for it the moment she hurled the infant, sending a silent prayer in apology for the abhorrent action.

It was not enough. Yes, Lawrence was startled and moved to the side to avoid the bundle flying at him. While most of the blood had left the body but the wrappings were soaked and the body landed with a sickening sound. He had already moved though and was trailing Alys. The woman simply had to ruin everything he did or tried to do. It was like her mission in life to destroy his. Then there was the fact that ever since he had decided that he desired her, that desire had been thwarted. The most he got out of her was whatever Quentin felt the need to hand out at any given time, and now he was stuck playing nurse-maid to her tantrums, and worse, failing. He had no idea how the child was her fault, but he was certain that it was. He finally caught up to her and spun her around to face him. Alys was not the only one at wits end… Lawrence had enough of her and suffering either at her hand or because of it. He pulled back and backhanded her just to get her attention.

It would have been a mistake to look back, but it didn’t really matter because Lawrence caught her up anyway. She felt his grip on her arm before her whole body whipped around. He trapped her between his body and the wall. Alys struggled to free herself, but she was too busy trying to hold her robe on and keep a hold of her blade and keep her balance. She was braced against the wall, the stone cold and sharp against her palm. The velvet and fur was soft, and the ivory grip of the blade was as true as she had expected. Alys had always considered herself capable of killing a man, She had never really considered the logistics of actually fighting anyone off.

Having her actually to hand was almost too much and Lawrence had to take a minute to breathe her in. She was heated and panicked like a frightened creature harried. She had the same look she’d had that day they chased her into the ocean. Lawrence had loved that look on her and that time he had to share it. This time, he had been the one to give her that hunted expression. Even though he was the elder, his sister had always had a power over him, and to have power over her was intoxicating. It was as intoxicating as the scent of her heated flesh.

“I tire of waiting,” Lawrence told her, pressing against her to lean in. He ran kisses from behind her ear and down her throat. Having been there when she was so unceremoniously dressed, Lawrence knew exactly how little she wore and how easy it was to access what was beneath the velvet and fur. It was even easier than he thought though. At some point during the stupid bint’s dash, her robe had become unclasped and the only thing that kept her even remotely decent was the sheer volume of fabric and well placed seams. Despite the urgency of the situation, he actually found himself laughing. Lawrence had no idea what was going on in the castle. The infant was dead, so he could hardly maintain accountability for that. It was highly unlikely that Ella would move from where she was left and even if she did – with the babe dead he doubted that Quentin cared much what happened to the woman anyway. His only concern was with Alys, and while his mission had been to preserve her for Quentin – Lawrence had lost that focus as well.

His touch always made her skin writhe. There never seemed to be anyplace for her to go. Just as now… he pressed her too tight for her to move from side to side. Alys did not have enough leverage to push forward into him. Behind her was two feet of solid stone pressing into her hips. He had her arm pinned to her body which made the blade all but useless in these quarters. She did the only thing that she could… Alys let out a scream in hopes that someone might hear and come to help. The blow that came in return felt as if it were going to take jaw from face, but Alys was far too desperate to let such a minor thing deter her. She let out another scream, this time aiming it for her brother’s ear as well as for volume. Maybe that was the one thing about the abuse she had taken of late… a mere backhand did little to phase her.

Livid, Lawrence drew back his hand and let his knuckles tear against his sister’s jaw the second she let out her first blood curdling shriek. Such treatment usually silenced her. It always had from Quentin, so when his blow resulted in naught but another nearly deafening shriek he became inflamed. She never took him seriously. Alys feared Quentin and Piers and by God above she would fear him too by the time he was done. His hand darted forward and slid into the opening of her robe, running his hand possessively up her body. He was torn… while he wanted to see her exposed and knew that such exposure humiliated her, there was something enticing about having her both so exposed and so covered at the same time. He was confident that Quentin was going to be otherwise occupied for some time. He was equally confident that Alys’ pride and modesty would keep her mouth shut until Quentin was too far committed for her virtue to be worth much. What did it matter if he’d already taken it? In truth, the sheer idea of stealing Quentin’s prize out from under him when the man had been lording Lawrence’s desire over Alys over him from the start was enough on its own to give him a cock stand – not that he needed assistance just then.

“Scream again…” Lawrence hissed before pulling back his fist and punching Alys so hard in the stomach that she tasted blood when she coughed. While his backhand had not been enough to silence her, this was at least enough to give her pause. If nothing else, she had no breath to scream. It was all Alys could do to draw air in and push it back out for a moment. All the while, Lawrence’s hand roamed her body like he owned it. His other hand had gone up to grasp Alys’ hair, pulling her body back so that she was bowed and forced further against the wall. Cold air hit her breasts as her robes fell open. Her other hand had automatically gone behind her to brace her body. She retained her grip on the blade and Lawrence was too focused on other matters to notice something so negligible as a trinket in her hand. Still, without her hand to clutch it closed, Alys’ robe fell open under Lawrence’s attention. She could feel his eyes devour her just as his hand did. He was not gentle. Alys found her breath and her voice and decided to chance another yell. It was a mistake.

“…” There was no talking to her! Lawrence pulled back his hand and gave her another solid punch to the stomach, but he knew one sure way to shut her up… it had never failed to strike terror when Quentin had done it. After striking her, his hand slid down her body and cupped her sex. Oh so sweet. Untouched and it would be his long before Quentin knew its pleasures. He would feel robed when he took her and found the cupboard bare…

Lawrence’s hand cupped her sex and Alys wretched. Her body stretched back, the burn of bile was only able to come up to burn the back of her throat and her nose. It was the body’s automatic response to pull against the pressure holding her at such an unnatural angle. It only served to make Lawrence pull harder, forcing Alys’ body into an even more unnatural angle. The position of her body also solved any dilemma Lawrence had over whether or not to disrobe her, as they fell open and slid down over her shoulders. The air was like ice against her fevered skin and as horrified as she was by Lawrence’s hand on her body there was still a part of her that was mortified on a base level at being so indecently exposed. He quickly took her mind off all such concerns. Quentin had breached her body but once… and it still stood sharp and stark in Alys’ memory. Lawrence did not hesitate to do the same. Two fingers forced their way into her body, making her cry out and again pull against the pressure of his hand at her hair – as if she could curl in upon herself like a teasel for protection.

The touch was not merely sexual. It was abrasive, shocking, abusive, debasing… and painful. Lawrence lifted her bodily by the pelvis and braced her against the edge of the wall. She was not fully sitting on it, but it gave him leverage and took her feet completely off the ground. Lawrence decided that she was done with her robe. Besides, the ability to handle her was arousing. Without removing his fingers from her body, Lawrence yanked her from the wall as easily as he’d put her up there. He pulled her into his body and away from the wall completely. The robe had already fallen most of the way down her shoulders. This sent it the rest of the way, trapping Alys’ arms behind her and freeing Lawrence to enjoy her. He cupped her cheek with his other hand, stroking tears away with his thumb before letting his hand slide behind her neck. His mouth lowered on his and the kiss he gave her was anything but brotherly… nor was it a lover’s kiss… nor did it contain the surety of possession that Quentin’s had. Like so much about Lawrence, it was desperate and searching – demanding yet not as willing as Quentin to take as he wished without a certain hesitation.

He got the taste of bile for his effort. The abrupt gesture had left Alys’ blade on the wall and her hands were trapped neatly behind her back. It was impossible for her to ignore the fingers that were violating her body any more than she could ignore the kiss… but the natural response was to make her wretch and without her body being bent backwards it was allowed a more natural path into her mouth. As if she had done it deliberately, Lawrence bit down on her tongue before withdrawing with a lingering bite to her lower lip that would be seductive done with the finesse of a lover but left her bleeding and torn. Lawrence finally relinquished the violation of her body in order to turn her to face away from him. He yanked the robes from her arms and discarded the garment before pushing Alys back toward the wall, her wrists twisted behind her back in his hand.

“Now scream,” he ordered. Now that she was not in his ear and her first yells had drawn no attention… Lawrence was feeling bold.

“I said scream!” He demanded impatiently when she refused to give him what he wanted. He lifted her wrists, forcing her torso forward. He had her bent over the wall, the cold stone scraping against bare skin. He continued to pull up on her wrists even though there was nowhere for her body to go. It felt as if her shoulders were going to pull out of the sockets and Alys finally gave his brother what he wanted. She screamed. She screamed at him, she screamed for help, she screamed at God… She screamed as Lawrence laughed. He seriously considered taking her that way. There was something sensational about taking a whore from behind… but then he would not get to watch the fear and revulsion in her eyes…

Releasing her wrists, Lawrence spun Alys around again. It was so easy to simply manhandle her that Lawrence could not believe he had not thought to do so sooner. Her frame was petite and it was easy to use leverage against her. He did not need to have her hands… all he had to do was use his own body to press her into the wall and there was little she could do. Her own revulsion helped because it made her actions predictable. Christ she was a lovely creature. As bold as a hawk, and much like one with a broken wing just now. She could not fly and she knew a larger predator had her to ground.

Alys could not believe when her brother’s hand breached her for the second time. As horrid as Quentin was, he had only resorted to such tactics once. He also wasn’t her brother and no matter what, Alys could not make that stop mattering. She could not even blunt the fact from her mind. When Quentin did these things, he was a man behaving without honor. When Lawrence did them… he was beneath a man or a monster. He was beneath contempt. It was sick and it was unnatural. To force her to be a party of it, to blacken her soul with his tar… it was as cruel as anything he had done to her. The fact that she was forced only helped so much to ease her mind at this point. Now he was once again violating her. Again, lifting her painfully from her very womb it felt to brace her hips against the ledge. This time there was no padding of fur and velvet. The stone was cold and scraped against already abraded and striped skin. Again, he did not give her the comfort of a true purchase but perched her hips, his other hand going back to her hair.

“By all means, keep screaming.” Lawrence had a desire to see her stretched out before him again en dishabille. He strung her body like a bow. Pressing forward, he forced her thighs open, her heels scrambled against the stone in the most adorably ineffective way. He had no need to occupy himself with her hands, because she handicapped herself by putting them behind her out of some ridiculous fear that he was going to toss her off the wall backwards. Okay, perhaps not so ridiculous. If he happened to drop her when he was through with her, he could always claim that she’d jumped and Quentin would believe it of her. Her chest was thrust forward… he bent to her breast, tracing his tongue over Quentin’s bite mark. He had this urge to overwhelm the other man, to make his own mark bigger. His teeth sank into her flesh, tearing at the existing wound. It was not an old wound and it opened quickly, but Lawrence was not satisfied. He tore at it, ravaging it. He hardly even heard her screaming.

As usual, Alys warred with the physical pain over the psychological pain. The latter seemed so much more visceral until one of them did something to truly break through new heights. Lawrence did that now. He did not simply tear at her flesh… it felt as if he were literally devouring her. She could feel the blood flow, the pain radiating out from a sharp awareness where teeth worried flesh to an intense throb that spread deeper as he kept at it. Would he not be satisfied? Yet, there was also the mortification of the violation of her sex… fingers that currently worked inside her as if demanding some response. The only response was pain and discomfort. Her body was already starting to ache from the strain of fighting the position that he had put her in, her balance precarious unless she wanted to lean against him – something she would never do. Screaming had no effect on Lawrence, but Alys still held out some hope that someone might hear her and come to aid.

The sharp metallic tang of her blood washing his mouth was delicious but not as wonderful as the sensation of her shivering and shuddering beneath his touch. He didn’t even think she had any control over it, but she struggled, pulling against his hand, pulling against his teeth, moving against his hand. By the time Lawrence pulled back to enjoy his handiwork, her flesh was truly rent.

“Delicious,” he told her, whipping the blood from his mouth against her throat. He worked his fingers inside of her. If she thought it was to give pleasure, she was fool. Lawrence knew that it was a torment to her. She was dry as a bone and clenched against him. That was far from a deterrent. All Lawrence could think about was what a tight fit she would be when he finally sank into her. It was almost so much that he had to distract himself because if he took her right then, he would be so quick in his pleasure that he would not take near enough enjoyment from it. Pulling his hand from her quim, Lawrence lifted it up and ran his two fingers over he lips. She tried to pull back but her body gave her no exit. Delighting in her expression, Lawrence shoved the fingers in her mouth. She gagged as if he’d just shoved his cock down her throat… the idea was enticing… perhaps even Quentin would allow that so long as he didn’t find out about this… but for now, Lawrence just fucked Alys’ mouth with his fingers, shoving them down her throat as he pressed himself between her thighs. She continued to gag and choke against the pressure as she fought his actions, but he simply ignored her protests and tilted her face to the side slightly so the bile ran out the side of her mouth rather than letting her drown in her own vomit – if that happened he would have no choice but to toss her over and Lawrence would much rather have her. While he most certainly fancied taking her, he had no interest in taking a corpse. To each their own.

Lawrence had to have her and he could wait no longer. He would wait no longer. Confident that she was well occupied, Lawrence let go of Alys’ hair to free himself from his breeches. He unlaced his fly and pulled himself out, groaning slightly as the cold air hit him. He had no intention of remaining exposed long; He was already nestled between her thighs. Knowing it would be a torment, Lawrence put his hand back to her hair and pulled the other hand from her mouth. His fingers were slick with her spit and he slid them against her sex, wetting the outside. He grabbed himself and slowly stroked, rubbing himself against the inside of her thigh – as much as he wanted her, Lawrence wanted to make this as painful for her as possible. He got as much pleasure from her horror as he was going to from her sex.

Revolted does not even begin to describe the way that Alys felt. Her gorge rose the second his fingers moved against her lips. She did not chose to flinch away – it was simple reaction. But then what he had done to her mouth… it does not seem like such a very big thing, and yet she had a very violent reaction to it. That he would take it this far though… one good had come of Lawrence’s actions. When he had let go of her hair to free himself, to torment her with his cock (Alys continued to tell herself that it was merely taunt – that he would not dare), she had tried to adjust her body and her hand found the ivory hilt of her blade. Alys’ hand had wrapped around it instantly, holding onto it as her only true lifeline. He was touching her, he was drawing closer. It was not so much an actual choice as it was a desperate act. For all of her declaration that she could kill a man – that the blade had been made for her brother’s blood – to actually do so was not the cold calculated decision she pictured in her mind. He was between his thighs – she was no longer able to convince herself that he was simply resorting to new tactics of terror – he had bent to work his teeth over her throat.

“Oh sweet sister. I cannot wait to sink my cock into your superior cunt. I will take you now, and I will take you again. I will take you as I please and you will say not a word because the Lady Alys is hardly about to admit that she is her brother’s lover… oh yes and lover you shall be. And when your stomach swells with Quentin’s precious heir – you can wonder the whole time whether or not it is your husband’s child you carry… or your brother’s basta-”

The motion was quick and simple. Alys shifted her weight to her left hand and brought her right around. A blade going into flesh is not like anything else – nor was this like sliding a blade through the inert flesh of an animal already dead. Alys was no amateur with a blade. She and Alain had grown up around them and you could not keep her away from knives and swords. She eventually gave up the latter for the most part but never the former and would often corner Sir Wylde or other knights on the training grounds. Nothing could have prepared her for this. The shock of the blow reverberated up her arm. Despite how sharp her blade was, human flesh was resistant and pliant. As usual, Lawrence wore no form of protection. Had he, the blade likely would have glanced off of him. She had neither force nor leverage behind it. She had come at him from a strange angle. The shock of the blow told her that the blade slid off a rib, but the stiletto’s very design was such that allowed it to slide off of it rather than sticking into it or bouncing off of it. It let the blade slide between the ribs and enter into his body. Lawrence made a shocked expulsion of sound that was not quite scream and staggered back away from Alys. His eyes held such a shocked resentment and a deep loathing… as if he were not the unnatural creature thoroughly abusing her.

The blade had stuck in his back, the shock breaking Alys’ grip of it. Though Lawrence was surely incapacitated by her blow, Alys was still incapacitated by fear. Sense would dictate getting off the wall, retrieving her robe, perhaps going to the wall to see if she could gain access to the castle proper or going back down through the tower to see if she could budge Quentin’s crazy aunt and seek out help in the castle proper. Yet she found herself frozen. Instead, she used her heels to push herself all the way onto the wall. Alys watched as Lawrence crumpled to his knees and then fell forward on his face, the ivory hilt of her blade sticking out of his back. She did not think he was dead, but was not sure and had no intention of getting close enough to find out. Rather, she stared at the body, pulling her knees up to hug them to her. Alys did not even realize that she was rocking slightly just as the mad woman below rocked – she simply sat in the frigid air staring at her brother lying before her…

 

Posted in death, fiction, incest, limits, non-consensual, psychological sadism, rape, sadism, taboo, torture | Leave a comment

Mortification of Flesh & Soul

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❥ Warning – sadism, psychological & physical abuse, and incest

Open as to the air to the naked shadow
O she lies alone and still,
Innocent between two wars,
With the incestuous secret brother in the seconds to perpetuate the stars,
A man torn mourns in the sole night

She had to be taken from the saddle and supported that she might walk. Thankfully, The Lady Margot had seen to her coming with a fine chamber, a fine hot copper tub, sat before a hearth. Alys found it idly interesting that her own girl was dismissed instantly with one of the Lady Margot’s own maids employed to help. Not a word was said. No excuse was asked or given for the stripes from knee to shoulder or for the stiffness of limb or from the broken cheekbone that was now a lovely black. She was simply soaked, washed, gowned in the softest flannel in the world… and put to bed. Alys slept through a whole day, and it was upon waking the next morning that the girl’s silence was so striking… she spoke not at all. She seemed to understand requests well enough, it was not a trial, but she made not a sound. She brought in food with which to break Alys’ great fast. Her garments had been laundered, and she was shamed by her shabby wardrobe, knowing of how Celine would wish to dress up. Celine made her smile, protecting the girl turned that smile hawkish. Please let Emily have gotten to him.

Alys put on simple cambric as it was smooth on still injured skin. She found the men and nearly returned to hide.

“They were to take you to the city, but your behavior thus has been abysmal,” Piers declared.

“In your leave, they have gone to get you sweet presents to make you less sick for home…” There was a definite edge to his voice. He seemed to be considering me while Quentin and Lawrence considered us both.

“Come here.” Piers demanded.

“I am not your dog to heel.” The sharp edge of my tongue spoke before sense could bear down on it.

Piers laughed, stood, and had Alys in her skin in a matter of seconds. He had his own belt around her throat and Quentin’s through that. He strode forward before Alys could gain any purchase on the marble floor.

“You are my bitch to heel and I will train you just as one is trained if I must,” Piers said pleasantly.

“The first is, if a bitch moves above her place, kick it.” Alys had been scrambling but the second she came a head of his heel Alys got a sharp kick to the sternum. Then he took to stopping sharply. If she did not stop, Alys was beaten with the loose leather edge. Alys could not breath and if she tried to pry her fingers around her own noose, Alys was drug along the floor. The men took turns at Alys’ leash, trying to make her mess up simply that they might hurt her. Piers finally put an end to the morning’s sport. Lifted by the neck, Alys’ face was purple, she was filth and bruises from the various kicks. She panted at the sudden air.

“You are nothing in this house but a bitch to heel. Right now, you will return to your chamber, take a bath, and remain in the bed. I will send Margot and Celine to see you. Do not think to get petted and cossetted out of this sulk you are in. Be up at a proper time to break fast and dressed decent. You will spend the morning with the ladies, then Quentin and Lawrence have asked me to show you some of our beautiful shores… an offer you will pay most court too in front of Quentin’s mother. Do you begin to understand Lady Alys?”

Not trusting herself to speak, she simply turned and found the kettles already on the fire for a long hot soak with her mute maid who had become a comfort. She soaked, she wrapped in a fresh flannel nightrail, and she propped herself on fluffy pillows to receive the attentions of the house, all of whom acted concerned. Lady Margot and Celine did bring her many wonderful gifts and to hide her delight would have been churlish. Besides, they stayed and spend quite a bit of time conversing and reading to one another.

The next morning, Alys did as she had been bid. Sore and bruised, she rose and dressed – finding her wardrobe improved overnight. She met all to break her fast with smiles and polite chatter, even accepting Quentin’s overtures without cringing. The whole time, it seemed as if Alys could feel Piers’ eyes boring into her. She, Lady Margot, and Lady Celine retired into the conservatory. They spent an enjoyable morning. Already knowing that Alys did not care for needle work, they chose to read to each other instead. Lady Celine played at her harp a bit and sang… she has a lovely clear voice with a slightly throaty quality that draws you in. Had she been allowed to pass the day thus, Alys would have been content. To pass a life in this manner would drive her slowly mad, but it was a nice day’s diversion, especially given her options. Yet the ladies were dining on cheese and fruit when the bell struck and Lawrence and Quentin, true to word, showed up to give Alys the grand tour.

Feigning enthusiasm for Lady Margot’s sake, Alys made excuse to change into something more suitable – but was told she was fine as she was. Offering his arm, Alys had no choice but to take Quentin’s arm and let them escort her towards the Marshalsea. Circe was already saddled and Quentin sat her up neatly in it. At least she could run… at least she had some distance… all of these thoughts ran through Alys’ mind. She had no word from Alain, but how could she. Still, it made it hard to keep faith. At first, the ride was pleasant. They made way around the property. It was truly beautiful here. Alys determined to ignore the japes and jests of the men while she enjoyed the scenery. They turned back as they neared the cliff, but rather than return, Quentin took Circe’s reins and began a path that was hard to see and treacherous. It led down the cliff face to a secluded beach below.

Trapped and alone with the two men, Alys began to feel fear rise up. As soon as they reached the beach, Quentin dismounted and plucked her from her saddle. The horses’ reins were tied to side rings and they were let go… there was nowhere for them to run off to at any rate.

“It is so hard to find a bit of privacy to spend with my rose petal…” Quentin said softly, caressing Alys’ cheek where it was still deep purple. Before she could react, he had a grip on the back of her neck and his mouth was claiming hers with the same sense of ownership with which he treated her. Alys screamed, but it was swallowed into his own body until the only reason she knew she had even tried to scream was a soreness of throat and that she had felt it reverberate back through his chest. His arms had wrapped around her, a hand at the back of her neck and a hand at the nape of her back, so to feel two more hands at her hips caused first confusion and then panic that made Quentin draw back, laughing.

“Precious rose petal. So innocent. Surely you know Lawrence here has taken a fancy to you. You will be mine first… that is only right. But that is okay… he likes to watch if you had not noticed, and he has a patience I lack. He will wait for you…” Quentin’s fingers worked the laces at the back of Alys’ bodice with ease, her gown dropping to the sand. The wind was sharp and cold against naught but the lawn chemise she wore, but Quentin saw fit to relieve her of that as well, untying the ribbon at the neck and letting it fall. He stood back as if to admire.

“Please… feel free to scream as loud as you like. No one who cares will hear you here…” he told her before walking closer, hands roving her body. Trying to escape, Alys looked out over the water, trying to hear nothing but the waves. It was a better alternative to feeling Lawrence behind her, his hands upon her, reaching in front of her to cup her, his fingers hard on her nipples, his voice in her ear telling her just what he has decided he wishes to do with her. If she remained there… mentally there… she would find herself throwing up on the sand. As it was, her bile rose. She could move forward away from Lawrence – into Quentin’s equally unpleasant attentions, or she could move away from Quentin – into her brother’s unnatural desires.

Unable to take any more, Alys wrenched free from both of them and ran. Thinking it great sport, they laughed and gave chase, splitting up. She was well and truly trapped by the nature of the small beach. They harried her like a rabbit and she was panicked enough that she made it easy. Before she knew it, Alys had run into the icy water. The waves lapped at her knees. Sand pulled under her feet as the undertow shifted. Turning, she put her back to the ocean and faced her pursuers. They stood at water’s edge, the laughter almost turning their faces red and may they choke on it Alys thought bitterly. It was cold. Her legs were going numb and each wave splashed against her back, sending icy water over abused flesh. The salt burned and the cold put pins and needles to skin at the same time. She took a step forward, but could not bear to go to them. Maybe if she just kept going into the ocean…

As if understanding her intent, Quentin shook his head and took a step forward into the water.

“Oh no you don’t my pretty petal. If you think escape is that easy, you had better think again. I intend to keep you quite safe until I am done with you…” the implication was clear. Beyond that, he could likely care less if she tossed herself off the cliffs, so long as he’d had his way of her, gotten an heir off her likely, suppressed her and broken her as Piers had done to his mother… Alys took a step backwards into the water, feeling the sand shifting between her toes. It was the strangest sensation, to be pushed and pulled at the same time. She took yet another large step back, gasping as the icy salt water reached her thighs. Alys closed her eyes and let her head tilt back, the world seemed to shift. It had been a fatal miscalculation… without a line of sight she had no balance and the next wave took her crashing down.

Her mouth and her nose filled with the sharp sting of salt water and up became confused with down as Alys was tumbled. A hand lifted her by the hair and drug her, spitting and coughing, to the beach. Quentin dropped her there on the sand.

“Stupid chit… and now we’re both all wet because you thought to escape… what exactly? Have you not realized I can do as I like with you…” As if to prove it, Quentin kicked her in the ribs and then dropped down into the sand, flipping her on her back and pressing his body over hers. His mouth dropped to her breasts, tasting the salt from them before he sank his teeth in one. Alys screamed, twisted, fought, tried to push him off of her… it was all for naught. He did not rise up until his lips were stained with her blood.

“Do you know what your sweet brother here did the other night… I believe it was the night we had so much fun in the library actually. Prior, we’d been at this convent there and the lady abbess… well she had a girl we used to own. Very pretty little bit, but grew to enjoy it too much… she adored your brother. Especially when he carved a heart over her breast with his blade. Now she quite fancies his visits…” Quentin was rewarded with the proper degree of revulsion and Alys had to turn her head to the side in order to vomit into the sand else she choke on it. It was sand and salt and bile and the knowledge that her brother was every bit the monster this man was. She’d never thought highly of him but…

“Look at him now… look at him watch you, how he puts that memory on your body. Imagines carving your flesh. Look at how aroused you make him.” He knew this one of the best ways to torment her, and sure enough, Lawrence was watching closely, eyes clouded by lust. Quentin moved and Alys tried to get up but he simply grabbed her wrists and pinned them above her head. She was too weak and she could not turn her body. The most she could do was kick up her legs which left her looking like a flopping fish. She might not have much, but she had some dignity left. With his other hand, Quentin forced her face towards Lawrence.

“Watch him,” Quentin demanded. Alys was horrified when her brother revealed himself and started to slowly stroke. Quentin, the tutor, the enabler, whatever their relationship was, moved his hand from her head to stroke her body. Lawrence would tell him to hit her and a stinging slap would soon follow. Her thighs were spread and again, Quentin’s hand cupped her. A mortal fear gripped her, but he did not breach her this time. Instead, he hit her. The pain shocked her all the way from toes to crown and made her stomach clench. Her brother’s hand was moving faster with his excitement – again, and again Quentin hit her hard between the thighs. Unable to take anymore, Lawrence took a step closer and spilled himself all over Alys. Had she the ability to crawl out of her own skin to escape it, she would have. As it was, it burned like molten fire and she felt filthy by being a very participant of the act.

Alys felt herself being lifted by the hair and drug back into the water. At that point, she would be perfectly happy to have them drown her, but no such luck. Rather, Quentin splashed water over her, cleaned the sand off of her, cleaned her brother’s seed off of her… a pity he could not cleanse her soul. She was drug back up the beach. Still wet and looking quite bedraggled, Quentin tossed her chemise over her head and tied up the ribbon around her neck, then tossed the gown over and tied the laces in the back. He did nothing to quell the untamed mess of her hair or to keep the water from soaking through the fabric. Instead, he sent Lawrence to get the horses and simply plopped her on Circe before mounting up himself. He continue to hold her reins as they retraced the path back up and headed back to the castle.

When they got there, he took her from her mare but did not put her on the ground, rather, he carried her into the castle, calling out in near panic.

“Maman! Have your lady draw a bath, my dearest rose petal took a tumble from Circe when I took her down to show her the cove. I think her mare must have shied at the foam… I went in after her but she was already all the way in. I would hate to think of her catching chill…” He was all sweetness and concern, as was Lady Margot. Once more, Alys found herself faced with letting the woman know the true monster she had birthed… or going along meekly with his lies and allow herself to feint into him as she was carried and put into a hot bath, the men being shooed out of the room. Again, Alys thought she might be able to live in a hot tub if only left well alone. She was even brought a restorative glass of warmed wine with winter spices, the water was reheated twice. Knowing she would be expected to pull herself together, Alys started to do just that, trying to think how she was going to survive until help came – and just how long she was willing to wait for help before she bolted.

It would seem that the men determined the day’s trauma enough for Alys. In light of the accident she had suffered, a light supper tray was brought into her room and again Margot and Celine joined her for a time, doing their best to cheer a very wan Alys. The events of the last week were taking a serious toll on her. The weakness in deed and expression was neither feigned nor exaggerated. Alys was feeling sincerely ill, but she had little faith that even having half drowned today would buy her much reprieve. Indeed, Quentin made it a point to come in and bid her good night and good health and to tell her that he looked forward to seeing her over table come morning. It came as no surprise, and as she was still bidding Margot good evening, Alys managed a smile and returned the pleasantries.

It was terrifying to Alys how quickly fear could become a routine. She slept lightly, waking at the slightest sound. She woke early, but to rise would mean to spend unnecessary time with others. Besides, there was always the chance that she would fall back asleep and she seldom had any real sense of time. The chamber she had been given was an interior one and had no window. Still, one can usually tell by the different sounds and stirrings of a place when people are starting to rise. Come next morning, Alys had already learned that she could prolong her peace and sanity by feigning sleep. She could hear the ever silent maid about the room, setting out garments for the day, lighting the mornings fire in the hearth from last nights banked coals, pouring fresh water into a pitcher and heating a basin… but in the soft sanctity of her bed, she knew a certain warmth and safety. By now, Alys had no idea what to expect of the day to come, but as each day on the road here had held some horror or another for her, and save the day she had spent sleeping she had been beaten, drug about by the neck, nearly drown, violated by her own brother… she had no desire to see what fresh terror they had concocted for their amusement.

Yet she also knew the day could only be prolonged so long. When the noise around her told her that the household was well and fully up, she finally opened her eyes and stretched. It was odd, how comforting she found the maid’s silence. If asked, Alys would have said she would think such a thing unnerving, but it relieved her of any pressure to keep up appearances for the woman or make explanation or excuse. If she had any thoughts, she kept them to herself. Alys knew she spoke because she heard her speak to others… yet she also knew with a certainty that the woman did not speak to Lady Margot or Celine save for the barest of courtesies. No… they would have given her a creature that belonged wholly to Piers. Yet Alys did not hold that against her. Rather, she found it a certain relief. Roused, morning ablutions could only be drug out so long. Deciding to make life slightly more difficult for the men in her life who seemed so bent on making her life hell everlasting, Alys wore hose, chemise, kirtle, gown, and houpplande. She knew that Quentin liked her hair down, so she wore it up. Such were tiny victories that usually ended up being no victory at all, save perhaps a tiny one for her sanity.

All were already there when she made it to table to break her fast, but no comment was made on her tardy appearance. Nothing was said about yesterday’s accident or the fact that she looked more than a bit peeked. It would seem that, as her slumber foiled first attempt, the Ladies were to go into the port and tour the town that day before returning for the afternoon’s amusements, which were left vague. Alys wondered if Quentin and her brother had not yet decided upon her torture or if it was something so bad they were unwilling to even allude to it in the mixed company of mother and sister… affianced to Lawrence. Alys must try to remember that if only to remember to try to do something about it. While she had every desire to protect Lady Celine, her concern about her own hide was a bit more exigent to Alys’ mind. Besides, as the two paid each other little to no mind, it was an easy point for Alys to forget. In fact, she wondered if the girl even knew and decided that it was certainly not her place to divulge such information.

While she usually hated carriages and would always eschew one in favor of a good horse, Alys’ abused flesh was grateful for the conveyance that pulled them into town by a pair of very handsome bays. The seats were well padded and she was not sure she could survive such a ride in the shape she was in. Even this far south, there was chill to the air this close to the water, and Alys was glad that she had dressed warmly and had added an ermine lined cape that Lady Margot had pushed on her. She liked the ability to pull the voluminous fabric around her, feeling naught but the soft fur and feeling like she was nearly hidden. Could she logically get away with it, she would have pulled the hood up as well to view the world through the narrow shadows. In truth, she was vain enough to be aware that her face was still quite a mess. Still… the town of Southwinds is charming. It is very much a port city, and once you got down into it, there were many places a conveyance could not go. Streets were replaced by canals in some places. The buildings were mostly stone or wattle construction, whitewashed and stacked close together. One could easily go from roof to roof.

It was hard to hold any of this against Lady Margot or Lady Celine. They clearly wanted Alys to like the city that was to become her home. They showed such enthusiasm, were so sweet and concerned. They went into small curio shops and some of the strangest places that belonged to merchants and seemed to carry whatever had happened to come in on the ship – which Alys would find exciting and fascinating under ordinary circumstances. They stopped and had tea with a friend of Celine’s – a dear girl though painfully unattractive. A light repast was taken with a friend of Lady Margot’s… though the friend seemed as quiet and withdrawn as Lady Margot so one had to wonder upon what the friendship was based – the mutual business of husbands or the mutual sport of husbands? Alys was honestly surprised that they were gone so long. The sun was already heavy in the sky as the conveyance pulled around to the front to drop the Ladies off.

Something had changed during their absence, and whatever it was, it was unexpected because Lady Margot got very uncertain before entering the keep. The sound of strange voices were coming from the Marshalsea, and the sound of many hooves when none should likely be out. Though it was early, all the tapers had been lit… the glazed windows of the household proper were ablaze – but so were those in guest chambers as maids worked to ready them it would seem. Alys picked up what she could as Margot streamed an urgent inquiry to her daughter… who seemed just as confused though not so uncertain about all of it. Alys honestly did not see what there was to dither about. They could hardly stand out there all night… but she was not about to tell a woman to go into her own house. Rather, she waited impatiently. Now that they had returned, she wanted to find out what fresh hell was in store for her and be done with it so that she could find comfort in a hot bath and a soothing bed.

As it would turn out, whatever torment had been in store was postponed. Lady Margot was accosted as soon as they entered the house and informed that they were all expected in the main solar as soon as they got home. Not one to ever disobey or keep her husband waiting, Lady Margot issued a short burst of instruction in nearly whispered French to Celine and then led the way. All were gathered including guests. Piers sat near the fire in the seat of honor due him as head of house. Quentin loomed over his shoulder as if he should like to draw steel at any moment. Lawrence, ever the jester in motley, lounged insolently plucking out notes on a lyra. The other two men were a mystery. Both were attractive. One was very stern and martial in his mien. While she did not know why, Alys was certain she would have known him had he been in armour. The other man was beautiful in a way that was not particularly attractive to her… though she would be blind not to have the ability to recognize it. He was fair and almost as lovely as a maid. While he did not quite have the other’s martial bearing about him, it was more a lack of… Alys could not put her finger on it. She knew it in men. Prince Tristan had it, Prince Rowan did not. It did not make Rowan the lesser man (though there were some who thought it so), it just made them different.

“Lady wife. Glad I am you are to home safe… we have quite unexpected guests. Allow me to introduce Sir Edward Staunton and Sir Gregory Croft… Sir Staunton, Sir Croft… my Lady wife… the Lady Margot. My daughter, the Lady Celine, and of course, my son’s affianced, the Lady Monteacute. Please Ladies… take a seat while our visitor regales us with his tale…”

Piers was terribly fond of the sound of his own voice however, because he spoke rather than allowing Prince Edward to do so… Prince Edward. Yes, that is who it was. Should she consider him thus when he was not her prince, though he was her love’s dearest friend… the politics had always been something she resented without much thought to the people behind it – largely because of her own royal friendships and what choosing one side meant to the other. She had seen Edward compete at Tournaments though – oft when she would sneak to tournaments on the Newon side that she might catch precious moments with Alain. She had seen him at the Winter Tournament as well, though she had been more than a bit preoccupied and could not say how he fared that day. Should his presence here give her some hope or sign? He did not communicate with her and she dare not do so with him. In truth, she would hear of why he was here from his own mouth, but the Ladies had not even all situated themselves (Alys as far from the men and as close to the newcomers as possible) before starting to drone on… seemingly in a high state of amusement and smug self congratulation – though over what she could not quite decipher.

“You will remember Staunton of course dear. It was before you were in the country – but he is the filthy whoreson who defiled my sister and ruined her match to Titus Kyngeston…” he crossed himself piously at mention of the dead man’s name and Alys too instant dislike to any that Piers held in that high of esteem. Besides, she actually got on quite well with Lord Kyngeston most of the time and had heard tell of the kind treatment he had received at the hands of his father and brother and it would be no wonder if they were just as wicked and depraved as this lot was. Birds of a feather and all.

“…of course the family had to cut all ties after such a scandal, and then Staunton betrays his King and commits treason with his war. Cost us precious it did. Cost me my brothers – dead in the fighting for King Lucas. It would seem that the whoreson treats his children no better than he treats his King – either that or treasonous bastards beget treasonous bastards, as my nephew here would seek sanctuary that he might rise up against his father… I am assuming that he wishes to reunify Belwall at the meager cost of being granted power over the territories that currently belong to Newon. Personally, I could care less and he had not gotten so far in his tale. I was just thinking what a shame it was that the whole family was not to home for this little reunion when here you come. Such timing… I had expected you back hours ago…” there was a clear edge to the last, despite his general sense of amusement and Alys gave Margot a nervous look. She had the absurd urge to plead that it was her fault in some way, as if anything rational mattered to this man.

“C’est bon. It is good we are coming to home in time then, to meet such esteemed guests. Family I should say, surely family has more than guestright. We would have been home ealier, but I had no wish to push a pace on Lady Alys after all she has been through, and we stopped for repast with Lady Amelia… Lord Hornhold sends his felicitations and mentioned something to Amelia about looking forward to a hunt to take place after the wedding… something about the rarity of the pray and hearing tell of what a prize its hide is. Her recollection was not specific, but I thought a bit you might wish to know,” Lady Margot offered up. Alys was not at all offended by the woman’s putting the reasoning on her health. For all she knew, it was perfectly true. Her health was dreadful and a brisk pace today would have done her in completely. The information about Lord Hornhold was something that Alys had failed to hear the first time around but the details sounded frighteningly familiar. She remembered being harried by Quentin and Lawrence, their laughter behind her like the baying of hounds. She thought of all the times he mentioned her skin. Her eyes met Quentin’s over his father’s chair and he was openly smirking, confirming worst suspicions. Piers was more interested in this burst of speech from his wife – which was somewhat uncharacteristic.

“Indeed. It sounds as though you Ladies have had a rather tiring day. Perhaps such socializing should wait until supper. That will leave my nephew and I to get better acquainted and you can freshen yourselves and rest up. We will see you at table.” It was a clear dismissal. Margot and Celine were both already standing but she was sluggish to her feet… that just drew Piers’ and Quentin’s eye which was the last thing Alys desired. She was desperate to make some kind of contact with this man. Trust… it was not something she had ever given away easily and it was getting harder and harder for her to give it away as those she had trusted most betrayed her. She had spent her entire life thinking of this man as the enemy. Not just the Staunton’s or Newon… but it was Edward. It was Ned who Alain was so loyal to that it kept him from her side – just as her own loyalty to her parents and to Princess Isladora had always kept her from him. If he and Edward were so close, then surely this could not be mere coincidence… but the artifice was more than she could wrap her mind around just then. She could find no rhyme nor reason for it. Without reasoning, she could not allow herself the hope of solidly saying that he was there for her. If she were only able to… but Celine had actually moved behind her and was walking forward as if knowing that by defying such a dismissal was to bring punishment down on her own head.

It allowed for no opportunity to so much as actually meet the man’s eyes. It would have to wait… there would have to be some opportunity during the pleasantries expected at the evening meal to speak to him in some way. Truly, even a direct glance might be enough to gather the confirmation she needed for hope. Alys returned to her room and tried to think up ways that she could subtly converse with the man and do no harm. While it would not be fair to say they had broken her, it would be fair to say that a good dose of fear had been installed and she no longer deluded herself into thinking that there were limits to the punishments Piers and Quentin were willing to met out. It made her think before taking such a risk. She had ample time. She washed and decided to change, though she remained in so many layers as if they could offer some protection from the world at large. Last night Margot had brought in a slender volume of illuminated French poetry that was as beautiful to the eye as it was to the ear and to the mind. She picked that up and read aloud for a while. Though her maid never spoke to her, Alys knew she listened and knew she heard. She could also tell that she enjoyed Alys reading aloud, and Alys found herself doing it specifically for the woman who had done her many a small kindness.

Certainly it was time for supper, but Alys did not have household privileges. She was essentially put into her chambers at night and the closest thing to freedom she had was in that she was allowed her parole to make it from her chambers to table in time to break her fast with the rest of the household proper. Yet she was desperate to try to converse with one of these newcomers. She had decided that it was worth the risk – that even should their being here have naught to do with her, she would appeal to them as Knights and as honorable men… she must have faith in Alain’s faith – and that meant Edward Staunton was an honorable man that would not allow her to suffer so. Yet when the door finally opened and Alys rose, she saw that it was to have a tray passed into her maid. It was well laid with hare and kidney pie. In the corner was a small Venetian glass bowl, in which a white winter rose had been placed. Alys looked at it with revulsion and clarity and saw the note under it.

Softest Rose Petal,

Considering the frail state of your health and that you have blessed Mamman in such a taking of concern that it excludes all thought and clearly distracts, as you were expected home before the sun reached apex, yet the bells were pealing vespers by the time you finished your travels. We would all be sore of heart should you take ill. I would be to blame and be both negligent lover and undutiful son if I did not take special care of one so dear to me and remove this burden of worry from my dearest mother’s shoulders that she might turn her eyes where they should be focused. Please, enjoy your meal and rest assured that I have promised Mamman that every care is being taken. Should time allow, I will come in to bid you good night, but given our visitors that is uncertain. In case I should be unable, allow me to do so now. Take this time to rest well and compose your mind. The Bishop should soon arrive, and our guests shall certainly not deter from such a blessed occasion as our union. In fact, I really do not think they will prove much distraction at all. Someone will come fetch you if you are expected to table to break your fast, but worry not; you will not suffer from my inattention tomorrow. I have something quite special in mind – in light of the day you have had today. We have explored the grounds and Mamman and Celine took you to explore the city, yet I have not shown you all of the amenities your new home has to offer. This is a rather big place… it could easily take as long to explore the nether regions that I desire to explore tomorrow as it took you to peruse Southwinds with Maman today. I look forward to it… I am certain you do as well.

Bonne nuit et rêves doux ma pétalée délicat.

P

She read it twice. Alys knew that she was being punished for the day, but she could only pray that they were limiting the blame and the punishment to her. Somehow she doubted it. While she did not think it was ever as overt… Alys was nearly certain that Piers would find some way to make Margot suffer for this as well. Perhaps Celine would escape unscathed. Not only was she being punished tonight by her isolation and by being directly told that the general opinion was that Margot had neglected her duties in her efforts to take care of Alys… but she was to be punished tomorrow. Whether metaphoric or literal, no exploration of nether regions that Quentin wanted to undertake with her boded well… she was quite sure there were places in this castle where no one could hear the screams, just as she knew that a very real part of her betrothed would take special pleasure in doing such things under the nose of their guests. Much like her mother’s sherry glass the night Quentin had so debased her in her father’s own library, the excellent dinner and the beautiful glass was somehow offensive to Alys in a world grown so ugly around her. In a similar fit of temper, she flung the tray towards the hearth, sending food splattering, crockery breaking, silver clattering, and delicate hand blown glass shattering.

Her temper did her little good though. The only result was her poor long suffering maid on hands and knees cleaning up the fit of a small child. The sight made Alys angry at herself and that she should be angry at herself of all people in this situation seemed so profoundly unfair that she became more upset. Before she knew it tears were marking her cheeks and drying there ignored. Her maid left the mess for a bit and went to her charge. Whatever edict she had not to speak to Alys held, the woman said not a word – only made soothing noises and carefully took Alys’ garments off layer by layer. She did not even bother with nightrail but simply slid her mistress into bed. Limp, compliant, weak, and simply exhausted by all of it – Alys let herself be easily manipulated and slid between the warmth of soft flannel sheeting. The felted velvet quilts and furs were both warm and heavy. It was all so comforting. She was so tired. Every day she seemed to wake more exhausted and go to bed in more pain. It did not seem like she could take much more of this, though in truth she did not know any alternative save for putting one foot in front of the other while hoping that Quentin goes too far and actually manages to kill her with a minimum amount of malingering.

As it was, she worried. She was so weak and felt so tired all the time. There were always stories of men who took injuries on the training field or at tournament which seemed to be naught until they simply did not wake. Her ribs where several different shades from a sickly yellow to a deep black to a virulent green where she had been kicked her first morning here. Who knows what other ills her body had taken at their hands… ills unseen as well as seen? Alys did not wish to die slowly. In truth she did not wish to die at all, she just could not see living like this. It was actually impossible for her to put her mind to a future of this. As she lie there, tears still streaming, her maid once more cleaning up the mess she’d made in her immature and impotent rage, Alys actually tried to place her mind a week in the future. Surely the Bishop would have gotten there by then. There would be the marriage. Then whatever indignities she was expected to suffer on her wedding night…there were Lawrence’s hardly discreet comments about his intentions and Quentin directly informing her that, at some point, he fully intended on letting Lawrence have his way with her… though it was unlikely that Quentin himself would be content to idly sit by without some kind of participation… then there was this hunt and the concerns that other promises had been made with regards to her person. At the end, that was not even the worst of it for Alys.

If she took it, horror by horror, with each thing she was disgusted at the very notion of most of it, Alys realized it was all something that could be survived. No. What was finally too much for her mind to take was that she could not picture waking every morning to wonder what fresh horror awaited. It was the daily drudgery of it. It was the notion that what was now grotesque would become simply banal until it just did not matter to her at all anymore. How long would it take before Alys lost the capacity to be shocked and disgusted… a week, a month – certainly no more than that. She knew that the mind and body could only live in a heightened state of fright for so long. This would destroy her… or it would destroy her, for certainly if this lost the capacity to move and disturb her very soul she was already lost. Alys did not know where her rosary was, but there were small round decorative tufts of fur on one of the quilts. There was nothing she could do about her body and nothing that she could do about tomorrow… so Alys did the only thing that she could think of… she begged Mary for intercession and protection. Either such perversion and evil was proof against a fair and loving God, or it was proof that He must exist, for only could such good balance such evil. While she was not sure that she had enough faith to draw the Virgin Mother’s mercy down upon her, with her everlasting soul hanging in the balance, Alys had decided that such evil must be proof of the goodness of God, and to that she would consign her soul if not her hopes… such as they remained.

 

Posted in choking, fiction, incest, non-consensual, psychological sadism, taboo, torture | Leave a comment

violation of the spirit can harm more than violation of the body.

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❥ Warning -themes of sadosexual violence & incestuous thoughts.

No lover, if he be of good faith, and sincere, will deny he would prefer to see his mistress dead than unfaithful.

One could not say that Alys was one to engage in futility, yet the tensions of spending day in and day out lying to people that she cared about was driving her quite mad. To make it worse, the longer that she waited for word – even knowing it had not been that long at all – the harder it was to believe that Ellen’s mad ideas could be trusted. She had been going through the motions… subtly packing away all but a small purse of coin, all but the barest few jewels that she would need to wear, the majority of her wardrobe. Emily had dutifully traveling to Crystalpine on one made up errand or another to deliver Alys’ bundles along with one of her precious horses to the stable there. Of her own stables, she’d declared that she intended on breeding many of her mares this spring to a new stallion that she was looking to acquire, thus her existing stock would have to be evaluated and culled. It was not only plausible, but something she had done numerous times before. Yet it was all artifice and deception, two things Alys detested.

When she could stand it no longer, she begged leave to visit her father, giving no explanation as to the purpose of the visit. By now, the engagement was known at Court – and blessing had been granted by the regents… a fact that felt like betrayal to Alys, though she realized that unfair as she had said not one word of appeal on her own behalf. What could she say? I can not marry this man Your Majesties… as my heart lies with a disgraced traitor who serves as Knight and companion to a Prince of Newon. No. Nor would arguments based on the man’s nature mean a thing… such matches were made all the time. It was a woman’s place to sooth her husband’s savage nature – or at least suffer it without complaint. There was only one person to whom she could appeal for peaceful resolution… Baldwin Monteacute was a reasonable man, and had denied his daughter little – even though she had often denied him his desire to see her properly wed. While he had approved the match… she knew he did not approve of it. That was the hope in her heart as she rode Circe towards Chamberlayne and home.

Riding into the hunt gate and directly into the marshalea of Curlisbrooke Castle, Alys dismounted and handed Circe off to Marshal Jules. Many of the horses were out of their stalls and this was not the time of year for pasturing. With a pause, she listened to the bark from the kennels…

“Is father on the hunt?” she asked with the familiarity of one who had grown up with the trusted servant – and been paddled by him more than once for her misbehavior.

“Aye m’Lady. He’s off ahunting the winter hart with guests…” the sentence was delivered with offhanded deference as he’d already begun to untack the tired mare.

Alys had to suppress a sigh. Company boded ill and she was in no mood to wait on her father’s return. Besides, this was a fool time to be hunting… yes, they’d likely be hunkered to protect from the chill, but what was the sport in that? It did not matter, she had not come this distance to turn around and make the journey back to the capitol. With a firm nod, she lifted her skirts to keep the rushes from sticking to the velvet and swept into the house, hoping to go up the side stair and to her rooms without encumbrance. Sadly, boots are not so quiet as slippers and her dearest Lady mother poked her head out of the conservatory.

“Alys… you did not warn of your coming…” So far as Lady Clarice was concerned, that was the height of ill manners – be it Alys’ home or not. It took but a moment to write a note and send it off to be delivered. Still, it was fortuitous that Alys had chosen now to return home.

“I did not,” Alys agreed with a pleasant smile. She wished no conflict. She would not bring her suit before her mother… she knew it would be without point. In fact, she wished to speak to her father alone, as hard as that could be at times.

“It is of no consequence. Come, join me… I believe your last attempt at embroidery is still in its hoop. I had thought to try to improve upon it but…” The gesture she made implied that such a thing was beyond possible and turned, leading the way into a room brightly lit by windows.

With heavy sigh, Alys did as she was bid. She had no taste for embroidery. It was dreadfully boring and how her mother could sit in one place for half the day working a needle in and out to form some bit of uselessness was something Alys had always failed to understand. Still, she dutifully went to the hoop that did indeed hold her last attempt at a thistle bloom… at least Alys thought that was the original intent. The needle and thread stuck delicately into the fabric got a look of loathing before Alys picked it up and considered where to begin on the blasted thing. She would far rather be in her chambers, changing and freshening from her ride to await her father that she might get a word in his ear. A moment alone and she was sure she could convince…

“It is good you have come…” Clarice had been smart enough to let her daughter sit in silence for a time. It was always best to lull Alys. It took all of her will not to scold her for the unattractive way that she scrunched her features when looking down at her work. Clarice herself wore a beatific smile, as if this were the most peaceful occupation in the world. Her words were light, as if they were idle conversation. She had no wish to face one of her daughter’s abominable tempers.

“In light of your recent engagement, we are entertaining. His Lordship, the Earl of Southwind has come with the Lady Margot as well as the Lady Celine and, of course of most interest to you, the young Viscount himself.” Clarice was not foolish enough to believe her daughter would actually be pleased by the news, but it was high time that she settled herself to the matter and this private moment for mother to make plain that no nonsense would be suffered was a boon.

“Lord Piers is out hunting with your father and some other friends… I dare say that Lady Margot and Lady Celine will be joining us fairly soon. Lawrence and Lord Quentin went into town for a bit, but they’ve promised to be back well in time for table.”

Her mother could not have done more damage to her had she actually physically hit her. In fact, Alys – too absorbed in her mother’s words – stabbed her thumb with the needle and drew a bright bead of blood that she had to quickly blot against her skirt lest it stain the snowy linen and bring more reproof from her mother. Though she knew that some response was required, she could honestly think of no acceptable thing to say. Everything in her was telling her to simply stand and leave, even if it required taking another horse and arriving in Winterbridge late at night. That was the instinct of panic though, and Alys once again plied needle to linen as she considered her situation in silence. This was her father’s home. No harm would befall her here. On the other hand, leaving would end any chance at peaceful resolution with her father, as his guests would surely see it as the insult it was. Her head was starting to ache and she gave her mother a resentful look under her lashes.

“It is quite a full house it would seem.” There. That should be safe and non-committal. It would seem not.

Clarice carefully put down her needle lest she make a mistake in the elaborate cluster of cherry blossoms she was working. She gave her daughter a long level look. She had tried to be pleasant about this, but as usual, Alys simply would not allow for it.

“Let me make something perfectly clear. I am quite glad that you are here… you will show our guests every courtesy. You seem to have no trouble turning on charm for common soldiers and married men… I expect to see every bit of that sparkling charm on full display. Do not think me ignorant, you willful child. This brand you carry is to be quenched. This match will not be undone through your own devices as previous ones have. For one, I simply will not have it. For another, I do believe that you will find the Viscount far more willing to put up with the more unpleasant aspects of your personality than others have been in the past. That matters not… as he will not see those aspects until after you are wed. From that point, be shrew, be harridan, be whatever you like…” While her daughter’s mouth opened for speech many times, Clarice had simply kept going. She had fought the girl’s original betrothal to Merys, but acceded simply because it would grant them the adjoining land and port. Well the man’s traitorous nature gave them those things without the cost of her daughter, so Clarice had set her sights on seeing Alys wed to a Prince. Then she had simply despaired of her being wed at all. This match might have a slightly distasteful beginning, but Clarice cared not. It would be seen through and she would hear no word against it.

It was more than Alys could take. She attempted to interrupt her mother several times, but Clarice had simply spoken over her. The fact that her mother was partially right in that she was willful and unwilling to wed did not help her temper. To be told that she charmed soldiers and married men… that alone had been enough to inflame her. But if her mother thought that she was going to court this disastrous match… sparkle and flirt and charm the snake… Alys finally jumped up from her seat, knocking over the embroidery stand carelessly.

“You will not have it? You will have me as I am and he will not have me at all. If you think that I am going to bat my lashes and give coy smiles over table and make courtly speech to this monster than you are ignorant – there is no need for me to think it!” She was set to storm from the room without bothering with the fallen hoop stand, and her mother already had that pained pinched look that implied that she was going to take to her chambers rather than suffer to hear her daughter’s truths. It was a standoff rudely interrupted.

The women that walked into the room did so on nearly silent feet. The Lady Margot was attractive but had a drawn expression and seemed to move with a certain timidity. She might have been a beauty in her youth, but it was hard to tell. It seemed that she was loath to interrupt what was clearly a voluble dispute between the two women. On her heels was The Lady Celine, on the other hand, was absolutely beautiful. The girl was only fifteen and had not yet come graced the court… but her appearance almost startled Alys out of her temper. She had the thick dark curls of her mother but with the most unusual violet eyes that were clear and innocent. Her expression was pleasant, but she too was silent.

Shamed by her daughters inexcusable outburst, Clarice found herself suddenly unable to leave the room. With a deep breath, she found her smile once more and turned to her guests.

“Do please make yourselves welcome… Lady Margot, Lady Celine… allow me to introduce my daughter, the Lady Alys… darling you seem to have knocked your hoop over… do pick it up that you might resume your work.” She would not suffer a scene in front of these women and Clarice could only pray that her daughter would be shamed into some semblance of grace as well.

Never one to enjoy being backed into a corner, Alys dropped an adequate curtsy to their guests.

“Welcome…” then she retrieved her hoop and sat behind it, though she did not bother with the pretense of picking up her needle but rather slid it into a fold of linen.

“Bonjour… nous sommes heureux de vous rencontrer ou vous ne parlez pas français? Pardon …” Lady Margot said in a voice that was melodious but so low that it was nearly hard to hear.

“Pas de pardon est nécessaire, mon français est adéquate,” Alys interrupted, surprised that the woman spoke in native tongue after living so long in Belwall. Of course, her French was only adequate, but conversational at least.

“Mamman…” the Lady Celine’s voice was a soft as her mother’s though a different tone. It was dark and husky. There was a slight scold to it though that made Alys smile a bit. The woman nodded at her daughter and nearly whispered,

“Oui. Bon. It is a pleasure to be here, Quentin has… much spoken your beauty. Good it is to be meeting you.”

It was hard not to flinch at the compliment. The reason for the woman’s original greeting in native tongue made sense, and she was far clumsier in English. Alys was feeling hemmed in. There was nothing offensive about these women… but she wondered if they had heard her call their kin monster. As it was, her mother kept giving her pointed looks as if she should already be using charms to win over this family that her brother had sold her into. She was overtaken by sadness and dropped her eyes to her embroidery hoop and took up needle to pick out stitches. She found it unlikely that either woman were to blame for the situation and Alys thought she might even like the Lady Celine… yet she could not bring herself to grant any favor in her heart to any involved in this. While usually quite adept at social niceties, her silence drew longer as she picked stitches and listened to her mother try to gossip with two women who obviously knew nothing of what was afoot at Court. It made Alys wonder at their presence here, because for all they lived in a bustling port town, the two women seemed to be of few words and even less news. It would seem that they lived a rather isolated existence… yet another fate she could not suffer. From beneath her lashes she watched the Lady Margot and wondered what she had been like in youth. All she knew of her was that, like her own mother, the Lady Margot had come from France – though she seemed to remember hearing that she had come from Versailles rather than her mother’s origins in the Luberon valley. While this was naught but fear and supposition, Alys did not think the woman had always been as she was now… and the thought of turning into some silent timid creature was terrifying. The room became too hot, there were no more stitches to pluck out. The conversation around her was doing nothing to ease her mind. If her mother glared at her one more time, Alys thought she might snap.

“If I might beg excuse, I did not properly freshen from my ride here…” Alys said in the mildest voice she could manage. She knew it would displease her mother, but she also knew it was a request that could hardly be denied in front of company. Shameless, but not so shameless as what she might do if she stayed. With a deeper curtsy and a sincerely kind smile to their company, Alys took her leave to the sound of resumed conversation of a stilted nature behind her. She had no intention of staying around to listen… the danger of listening to other people’s conversations is that you might not like what you hear. Instead, she retired to her chambers and paced the floor while a servant brushed the creases out of one of the gowns left in the wardrobe since her last visit home. Clearly the girl had been given instructions… the gown was far too low cut and far too formal for a quiet evening at home. Moreover, as she sat to have some repair done to her hair, the woman braided and wrapped the front into submission while containing the thick mass of length into a jeweled net. The only advantage Alys saw to any of it was that she’d entirely forgotten about the jewel casket she had here… it contained several lovely pieces, including the sapphires that adorned ears and neck and hair. It would be returning to Winterbridge with her, that it might be spirited away to Crystalpine with the rest. No. Do not think that way, she reminded herself. Father will see this right. Yet the current company was worrying indeed.

When dressed, it was not yet time to sup, nor had her father returned from his hunt. Alys knew she should likely return to the conservatory… but the idea was loathsome to her. Instead, she headed for the library. While she would prefer to be hunting or doing anything but being idle, the only chance of finding any peace of mind was to occupy her mind with a challenging bit of reading. Thankfully her father was fond of books, and it looked as if he’d picked up some new ones at the Tournament. She ran a finger over the illuminated scripts before finding one she’d been looking to get her hands on. La Divina Commedia written by Dante Alighieri, a somewhat controversial figure. Between the subject matter itself and a language that Alys was rusty with, it was the challenge needed, and she soon found herself immersed, mind on nothing but Alighieri’s brilliance and the levels of meaning within his poetry. Alys knew that it had been some time, as the light had faded from the windows and a servant had come in to light the tapers that she might not strain her eyes… yet bell had not been rung to table nor had she heard the baying of returning hounds or the boom of returning voices to signal her father’s arrival home.

It was an entirely different sound that broke her from her reverential meditations on the nature of the soul. The braying laughter of her brother Lawrence in response to a quip made in a voice she knew all too well. Both entered the room in a fine humor. It was clear from their mien that they had been drinking and Alys did not at all like the way that Quentin Quatramaine leveled his gaze on her as if she were already his possession. To her mind, the man had neither the beauty of mother nor the certain attractive nature of father. All she could see was a lean hard cruelty. He took steps towards her as if Lawrence were not even there, and he might as well not have been – as he simply grabbed a decanter off the sideboard and flopped down in a chair, one leg akimbo over the arm. Quentin plucked her reading from her hands and examined it for a moment… he was truly in his cups, as his eyes nearly crossed simply in the reading of the cover.

This my precious, is no occupation for a Lady’s delicate mind,” he informed her, turning to place it back on the shelf with over-careful steps. There was not much to recommend Chamberlayne in comparison with the port of Southwind, but Lawrence had known of a convent in which the lady abbess would let you do pretty much anything to her nuns you wished for a bit of extra coin. Not only that, but Viscount of Frostwine had personally stocked the cellars for his visits. They’d overindulged in more ways than one and it left Quentin in a rather queer frame of mind.

Bristling with anger, Alys felt for the poniard she always kept on her and realized it remained in her soiled gown. Her gaze lingered on Quentin’s back as he walked away before she turned and leveled a hateful stare at Lawrence. He looked truly dreadful. The one thing she could give Quentin – begrudgingly at that – was that he wore his excess well. Seven and twenty years were not many to carry, but Lawrence’s libertinous lifestyle showed its marks in lank hair and pocked skin. Still, he was a handsome man… if only he had a soul. Quentin poured himself goblet from the bottle Lawrence was freely drinking from and took a chair opposite. With some disquiet, Alys realized she would have to walk the gauntlet between them in order to leave the room. So be it… she would remain. Again, she reminded herself that no harm would befall her in her father’s house.

“I am neither your precious anything nor delicate and I will choose my own occupations,” she told Quentin with a sharp tone, leaning back in her chair and crossing her ankles defensively under her skirts. She knew it unwise to bait him, just as it was unwise to expect any protection from her brother who merely laughed as if she’d made great jape. As happened too often though, her temper ruled her tongue and she’d not have terms dictated by this bastard… no, that was to do unfair disservice to his mother.

“…” Quentin narrowed his expression and leaned forward in his seat. He smiled as if greatly pleased by Alys’ words. In truth, he was. It would be inaccurate to say he admired her spirit, but breaking her would be far more pleasurable for it. Still, he would have to tread with care. He wanted that spirit fully intact upon their wedding night. Come to that, he was rather glad he’d not taken her that day… as now he’d get her virtue as well as the joy of breaking her. Due to the nature of their engagement, both families intended on acting quickly lest something interrupting the arrangement. It was the main reason for his father’s visit here now… as they had just gotten proper approval from the regents. If he worked this right… he should be able to manage setting her into a fine mettle by the time they propped her up in front of the Bishop.

“Oh, but you are mine everything and your beauty as delicate as a winter rose… as your occupation shall soon be as my wife, who but I should say what be fit?” he proposed with courtly good manners and a hard glint to the eye that dared her to challenge the assertion.

Enraged, Alys put her hands into her lap that she might grip the rich blue brocade of her skirts with white knuckles. She was absolutely shaking with fury. The man dared to presume… he who knew well how she felt on him. It could not be born.

“I am naught but the ill gained spoils of wager foolishly made by my scapegrace of a brother…”

“HIE!” Lawrence interjected, realizing that his own honor was being impugned.

“’twas naught foolish about it. Father wanted ye well wed, Quentin just wanted ye, so while I would not have minded the coin should Wylde have won the Joust…” Lawrence gave a shrug that said all was well and that she should be content as well. He never did understand why his sister felt the need to be so contrary.

“Besides… ‘s not as if the good Ser ye were a courting need be brought to light…” he added with a threatening gleam. She’d keep a civil tongue in her mouth when speaking to him by Lord, or he’d slap it out of her face… the drink always did put him in violent frame of mind and though he knew his father would not thank him for treating his sister so in company or otherwise for that matter, he was little disposed to care what the old man thought.

“Oh yes dear brother, we will pretend you blameless in the matter. As I was saying… I am naught but the ill gained spoils of a wise wager made by my kind and loving brother. I will never be your dear anything, my beauty is of no concern to you – though since you choose to compare me to a rose you might wish to mind my thorns – and I will never suffer the occupation of your attentions as wife or otherwise.” It was almost sad to Alys that her brother was easily mollified by her change in words, ignoring completely the context and tone with which she spoke them. Sometimes she wondered if he were quite right in the head… as he seemed to have no mind for wit save the crudest jests. It mattered not, as all of her attention was focused on Quentin. She trusted not the look of pleasant patience he was giving her.

“Spoils are spoils my dear, and thorns make the rose that much more the remarkable beauty for the care one must take in striping them off. One. By. One. I assure you, whether you choose the occupation or not, you will occupy my full attention… as I intend on being a very attentive husband.” Any implication that the marriage would not occur were ignored as what they were… the futile thrashing of insect against glass. That she thought she had any say in the matter almost had him laughing aloud. Of course, the best way to stop an insect from thrashing against a window was to pluck it up and pull of its wings… then again, there was something to be said for simply letting it thrash until it lay exhausted and dying on the sill.

“…” God’s truth, the man frightened her. The way he spoke of stripping thorns, savoring every word – and then after… there was something in his eyes as if he were picturing some delight. It made him look slightly crazed and Alys wanted no part in it. Yes, she could continue to exchange what was supposed to pass for witty repartee, but was in actuality simply a duel of words, but she did not overly care for being toyed with. No matter how vile she was to him, Quentin seemed determined to toss it back with backhanded compliment laced with a reminder of his ownership. At least over table there would be his mother, sister, father, her own father, mother, brother… While she knew that her mother would put them in proximity, she had some hope of being close to the Lady Celine as well – that she might converse and ignore the monster. At worst, he would have to temper his behavior somewhat – or so she assumed. Rather than continue this banter, Alys rose and smoothed her skirts where her grip had wrinkled them.

“If you will excuse… gentlemen… The atmosphere in here is not conducive to reading and I would save what little wit allowed to my delicate mind for the table…” she told them with a stiff curtsy. Lawrence simply waved his wrist as if he could care less, while Quentin made neither move nor pardon. Deciding that his neutrality was a safe dismissal, she strode towards the door in measured steps. Alys would be damned if he saw her scurry from the room like some game bird flushed from thicket. Even with his chair, she even dared relax her expression slightly, certain she was free of the room.

The motion Quentin made was both abrupt and adept. In no more than a heartbeat Alys went from walking on solid flags to sitting in Quentin’s lap. Her legs were hooked over the leg of the chair and her skirts had flown up to bare her from nearly knee down. With an involuntary squeak of indignation, she tried to struggle – both trying to get up and trying to straighten her skirts at the same time, making both goals futile. Worse, the more she struggled, the better grip Quentin seemed to get on her, shifting his own position so that their bodies met in a quiet… compromising… position.

“Let me up this once!” she hissed, slapping at his hands and trying to lift her hips up off his lap. The position allowed for no purchase or leverage though.

Thinking this all quite a lark, Lawrence did not even move from his chair as he kicked the door shut. Serve the wench right for showing him the sharp side of her tongue. Let there be some sport made of her temper for a change.

“I do not think I do excuse… you do not seem to suffer for lack of wit. I am sure you will find something to say come table. Or remain silent, ye’ll be just as much fun mine pet,” he informed her, gripping her firmly around the waist with one strong arm and pressing her down into his lap. The other hand reached up to hook into the back of her gown, pulling her backwards a bit to better afford him a view of the wide expanse of décolletage revealed by her gown. He did sincerely hope she kept up her struggles, as her hips were doing wonderful things to arouse.

Tipped back, Alys found herself with even less leverage to fight Quentin off. Not only was Lawrence of no help, but he simply sat back with a lecherous stare as if she were some strumpet in a bawdy house rather than his own sister. She was not at all sure he was not looking up her skirts and Quentin’s arm was trapping her own arms so that she could not even push them down to decently cover herself. She was without her weapon, and likely could not have gotten at it even if it was on her person. Really, the only option left to Alys was endurance or to scream as loud as she could. The latter would cause no end of fuss… and would it serve any end save her release? She had little doubt Quentin would release her… but little hope that Lawrence would back her up if she claimed her affianced had been manhandling her. For that matter, so long as her father was not yet in the house, she was not sure there were any who would care. It would only displease her mother and distress the Lady Margot and the Lady Celine. Again, she comforted herself with the idea that no harm could come to her in her father’s home. Surely he would tire of toying with her… and if not, well she’d scream and bring the whole house a rushing and damn the consequences.

Quentin watched her weigh her options with some amusement. Her silence was not as entertaining as that saucy tongue, but it would not last long. Of that he was sure. For one, he did not think the wench capable of silence for long. That was a lesson she’d have to be taught. For another, he intended pressing her into more verbal abuse. Reaching over her shoulder with the arm that held her back, he traced a gentle finger along her collar bone.

“Yes… a white winter rose. Your skin is as soft as a petal… you can even see the fine veins beneath. It was my father that taught me the true value of the rose though…” Quentin told her idly, bending to trail tender kisses up her neck even as she fought to shy away from him.

“The true value of the rose is in rose madder. It is no easy thing to get though… you must thoroughly bruise the delicate petals until they release all they have to give… Worry not though my pet, one does not do such a thing until the rose is fully bloomed and blown, the petals loose and falling from their stem… speaking of stems, yours are quite lovely, but I see no evidence of these thorns you warned of.” He asked, trying to bring out those thorns.

His touch was repugnant, but the more she squirmed, the more his desire became clear. Still, it was involuntary. As he stroked her flesh, as his lips traveled down her neck, Alys was not capable of not trying to shift and struggle against him. There was only one man allowed such liberties with her flesh, no matter how her manner might suggest otherwise. The fact that Lawrence was actually leaning forward in his chair sickened her. He wanted thorns… if she had a blade she’d stick a thorn in his side, but as she did not, she bit her tongue until it bled in order to remain silent.

Defiant wench. He’d train her like a bitch to heel before he was done with her. He used his teeth to yank her gown over her shoulder, baring more creamy white skin. Quentin had her neatly pinned, and the more she struggled, the more he simply lifted his hips to grind against her in a display of pleasure. The barest trace of his tongue ran the line from behind her ear, down her neck, along her collar bone and to the curve of that lovely shoulder. His eyes flicked to Lawrence and he smiled before lifting his hand to cup it over Alys’ mouth before sinking his teeth deep into the flesh there. It was a deep bite, and he worried the flesh until the copper tang of blood washed his pallet.

“MMMMMMMPPPPPHHHHHH” Her attempt at a scream was muffled into Quentin’s palm and Alys was left frustrated in pain and rage. The pain in her shoulder and in her pride was sincere. She tried to bite at his palm, but he had her as one would feed a horse and all she could do was gnash her teeth against flat flesh, gaining no purchase. Worse, her scream itself seemed to increase the desire plain even through the bulk of her skirts. If she had no measure of the man, she’d need none now!

“Definitely the sweetest part of the rose…” Quentin told her, lifting his head enough to give her a slow smile, licking her own life’s blood from his lips before bending to nurse the wound further. There was truly no wine as sweet. Not quite done with his games, he did not yet give her the freedom of her mouth. While he would not mind the flaying of her tongue, he’d not have her bring the whole house down upon them until he was properly done with her. Deciding the wound was not enough, he tore a bit at the edges of the flesh, muffling further sounds of outrage with a grip on her mouth that would surely leave marks if he were not careful. No. That would not do. Quentin would give her no excuse. It would be far more entertaining to watch her have to sit across the table from him making polite conversation for the sake of their respective families. He started to work his hips in a firm rhythmic motion against her struggles. To think, he’d thought him spent on the lovely child he’d kindly broken in at the nunnery earlier… but now he found his desire once more pent up and had no intention of allowing the dear Lady Monteacute off his lap until that desire was released.

Horror filled Alys’ mind when she realized what it was Quentin truly did. It was a horror that surpassed the pain he caused and even ceased the futility of her screams behind the hand clamped over her mouth. Even knowing that it was no true violation, Alys could not even find the words to describe the humiliation she felt. To have this man taking his pleasure from her – so clearly against her will – was nothing short of violation of the soul. Her struggles had not only served to inflame him, but they had also disserved her by bunching her skirts up all the way to the thigh. In a mode of sheer panic, her eyes sought Lawrence over the hand that nearly suffocated her. Surely even he could not allow this base abuse. Gorge rose and Alys felt herself choking on her own bile as she saw her own brother watching with avarice, his own hand stroking through the slit in his coathardie. Now she was gagging and coughing against the pressure at her mouth… the feeling of panic increased as Alys started to feel as if she were going to drown, bile burning her throat and the back of her nose.

Laughing, Quentin continued the steady writhe against his affianced. Deciding it rather unlikely that she could scream and choke at the same time, he moved his hand, and wrapped it around her throat as warning… at this point he seriously doubted that she would realize that it was an empty threat. The terror in her eyes was intoxicating and he nearly wished his father were here to witness it. While Quentin and his father differed in certain respects, they shared much where these things were concerned. Idly, Quentin wondered if his father would cease to approve of his carnal inclinations once he was married. He knew his father believed heavily in the sanctity of that union… personally, Quentin could not imagine limiting himself thus.

Taking it as her only opportunity, Alys took a big gulp of air. Her throat was raw and burning and she tried desperately to bite at his hand before it closed around her throat. Again there was that feeling of not being able to breath and all she could feel was panic… no, panic, humiliation, and shame at the fact that she was as frozen as a vole in the shadow of one of her precious hawks.

“You will pay for that…” The playful tone lingered on Quentin’s tongue as his little she-devil attempted to fight back. The arm wrapped around her waist dropped, hand burrowing up under her skirts.

“By God my precious petal, scream and I’ll have your virtue in this very chair before the first soul has time to make it to the door.” That was coming dangerously close to being a sincere threat. Quentin would not suffer the humiliation that would come from her bringing the house down upon him at his sport… and while he’d rather she come to the wedding bed chaste and terrified… one did not always get everything they wanted. This would be diverting in an entirely different way. Maybe he could take her here and then get the marriage annulled – citing his bride’s impurity at the occasion of the marriage bed. Yes, life was conquest, conquest was strategy, and strategy was the ability to constantly modify one’s plans in the face of the enemy. Hand a mere inches from the heat of her sex, Quentin delivered a vicious pinch – twisting a healthy measure of creamy skin betwixt thumb and forefinger… half hoping she would, in fact, scream.

The man had very nearly taken her virtue in the castle gardens by broad daylight. Alys took the threat at face value. She knew the door to be heavy, her brother to have betrayed her on levels she still could not wrap her head around, and a hand around her throat enough to strangle whatever volume she managed to produce. Worse, the way he easily manhandled her petite frame, she had little doubt that he could do just as he claimed – it took little to imagine it and the visual that came unbidden made her shudder in revulsion. As his hand violated territory that not even Alain had been granted, she again bit her tongue to keep from screaming. The taste of blood did nothing to ease the ill digestion that her brother’s acts had brought up… but naught but the barest sound escaped from lips clamped shut in firm determination. She turned her head away, refusing to see either man. Closing her eyes brought images she could not handle, so instead, Alys gazed into the fire. She tried to ignore the pain between her thighs as Quentin twisted. She tried to ignore the pain as he resumed his attack on her shoulder. She tried to ignore the grind of his hips – reciting poetry in her mind did little to drown out the subterranean groans resonating from his chest and against her bodice. She realized that too had become askew during her struggles, baring her to his gaze. Of all the indignities, it seemed such a minor thing that she was nearly wont to laugh if not for the tears silently falling.

Satisfied that his shrew was subdued enough for the moment, Quentin finally gave into his own pleasures. He attacked shoulder and thigh with increasing intensity, nearly groaning aloud as she fought to keep in her distress. The fact she believed he would do exactly as he said was clear in eyes glazed in abject terror. Silent tears fell beautifully – rain against his rose. The motion in his hips started to get more frantic as he came closer to realizing satisfaction. Unable to resist, the hand at her thigh released its grip only to slide upward. She was in no position to clamp her thighs shut, though Lord knows the dear thing tried. He cupped her, forcing a rough two fingers inside of her quim… she was dry and tight, fighting to pull away from the violation even though that meant pushing into his other attentions. It was too sweet. With a sigh of satisfaction, he loosed into his own breeches – the scent of it sharp in the air between them.

Surely it could get no worse. That was the thought that kept running through Alys’ head. No longer was she able to fool herself into thinking no harm could come to her in her father’s home… distant thought seemed to recall the baying of the hounds that signaled their return but no rescue had been forthcoming. Let him be done… was all that she could think. There was even the slightest feeling of relief when he released the bruising grip he had on the flesh of her thigh – that is until she realized that his hand was sliding up and not down. Still, her mind denied his intent. When he cupped her, she nearly thought that she was going to lose her battle not to scream. Then he actually breached her body and Alys very nearly bit the tip of her tongue off before shock shut down all ability to process. It seemed like she removed to a great distance as she felt him sigh against her hair, felt the final push of his body against hers, caught the sharp scent that surely meant his release. So far was her remove that she had not even noticed that he’d removed his grip of her.

Quite sated, Quentin let go of Alys and just allowed himself to enjoy the trauma that had managed to remove her so far from the situation that she just sat in his lap like a broken doll. With a bit of a laugh, he stood, scooping her up with him and dropping him in the chair he’d just been sitting in. He was even kind enough to draw the shoulder of her gown up over the bleeding gash his teeth had left there and adjust her bodice so that her décolletage was tastefully displayed. In courtly manner, he lifted her hand and held it to his lips.

“If you will excuse, my precious rose petal… I must make myself presentable for table. I do so look forward to your company.”

Alys stared after him. She had not quite found her tongue any more than she’d found the ability to stop the tears from spilling. It felt like someone else that watched as Quentin made a leg before leaving the room. Lawrence remained… staring at her with an avarice she did not care for one bit. Swallowing, she finally found her tongue.

“So help me God Lawrence… if you make good on what you are thinking right now, I swear to you on all that is Holy and right – not that you know aught of either – that you will draw last breath at my hand.” There must have been something convincing in her tone, for as he stood, he did not approach her.

“Make yourself presentable dearest sister. Father and Lord Quatramaine have returned. I am sure we shall be called to table soon… our parents have no idea what a dishonorable trollop you are, and I am sure that you would like to keep it that way. You always were keen on being favored in their eyes…” Lawrence’s words were bitter. He did not like being denied what he’d decided he desired and Alys was no longer in a position to make threats.

“… swear on whatever you like. I hold nothing holy so I will not bother with the hypocrisy. Make one move to displease this night and I will lay all to bare before all… Earl and Countess of Southwind, your betrothed, his delicious sister, our own sweet parents. I will tell them of your treason playing the harlot to Merys all these many years, and I will swear on father’s bible that I came in and saw you paste the point of virtue with Quentin in this very room and on this very day. You will be disgraced here. You will be disgraced at court. You might as well join a convent… and I speak of St. Magdalene’s in the city rather than taking any Holy Orders. I’m quite sure the lady abbess would have you – quite the novelty.” With that, Lawrence made his own leg and left the room. He too had some… adjustments  to make before he was presentable at table.

Blessedly alone at last, Alys put her head in her hands and let her sobs come freely. Thank God – did such a being even exist – Lawrence had closed the door behind him. It hid her from prying eyes and gave her much needed moments to think. Anger overcoming misery, she swept at her cheeks to dry them and then stood. Alys straightened her skirts, smoothing them carefully, feeling behind her for any despicable taint – grateful when she found none. There was no looking glass in the room, but at night, the light bounced off the glazed windows enough that she could make rough stock of her appearance. A careful adjustment to her bodice, fixing her necklace, tucking her hair back into place… Alys pinched her cheeks a few times to put color in a face blanched white and wiped any trace of tear away with the tips of her fingers. It was almost offensive how easy it was to look as if naught had just happened.

Refusing to return to either chair the men had occupied, Alys poured herself a glass of her mother’s Spanish sherry to calm her nerves and returned to the chair she had originally occupied. After taking a sip, she stared at the glass by the light of the fire. It was a thing of beauty… glass blown in Venice filled with a milky beige fluid. Alys drained it as if it contained poison that could end her suffering – alas it did not. It only left a slight warming in her belly and a soothing in her throat. Better able to see the delicate swirls of color blown into the glass, Alys became affronted that something so beautiful and delicate should exist. It hit the back of the hearth in a shatter of fine glass. Eyes closing, she only saw her brother’s leer and had to open them once more. Leave. That had been what Lady Lightfoot had said to do if she felt herself in danger. Was she though? Where did the greater danger lie? She knew Lawrence was as good as his word… so seldom was that the case, but in this it could be counted upon. Should she leave tonight, it would be in disgrace and scandal. Two different countries they might be, but the island was not large and word of her infamy would spread. All eyes that looked upon her would hold the question. While she had managed to stow some things away in Crystalpine, it was precious little to bring to a marriage and she had her pride. To come to Alain with the taint of suspicion, scandal attached to her name, and barely a thing to her name… While she hated to admit it, she even wondered if he would even question her… not her chastity, as that would be easy enough proven. Yet she bore the marks of another man. At the base of her fears was a simple humiliation. She felt filthy. The urge to check the back of her skirts was nearly a compulsion even though she knew them free of Quentin’s taint. She felt tainted by the man though. In the most intimate way, she had been violated. While her virtue might be intact, he had breached her body and worse her mind. If Alain did believe…? Alys did not think that there was a force on earth that would keep him from Chamberlayne – to challenge Quentin, to challenge Lawrence… to do so would be sentence of death, if not at Quentin’s hand then at magistrate’s. With a horror she imagined Sir Wylde being called upon to met out the King’s justice… friend though he was, she knew he would.

The door opened and Alys jumped, but it was only her father and His Lordship. Sir Baldwin was a kind man and Alys had always been fond of him. He greeted her with a warm smile, and a hug as she stood to greet him. His Lordship, however, had a light to his eyes that reminded Alys far too much of his son… or perhaps it was simply the impression she’d taken from Lady Margot. While it was a bit rude, Alys saw her father’s arrival as precipitous and the only way free of a quandary.

“Father! I am so glad you have returned. I hope the hunt was fruitful…” she could observe niceties after all, especially when she was about to be unspeakably rude in light of company.

“Swell. A fine doe fell to my arrow but Piers here…” Sir Baldwin clapped the man companionably on the back.

“…His Lordship felled a young bear early out of its den. Took half his quiver, but he promises the pelt as bride gift!” Sir Baldwin told his daughter in good cheer. It had been a braw day of hunting, the bear had been quite unexpected, as they were nearly always a den this time of year. There had been a false thaw though, so the fool creature must have thought spring come soon. Besides, Alys was finally to be wed, and that was a day he’d nearly thought to perish before he’d see. He had no like of the way the match had been made. Sir Baldwin did not approve of wagering whatsoever and detested his son’s habit. But in this case, that was exactly the point. The man was not fool enough not to realize how much coin funneled through Alys to Lawrence. He did not blame the lass, she had a delicate heart and a fondness for her brother. But the idea of leaving his estates to Lawrence was enough to make a man’s wame curdle. Unease over Quentin had been easily overcome by the whole family being in attendance. Clarice did not have an unkind word to say about the Ladies Margot and Celine, Piers was a companionable sort, and Quentin seemed willing to usher Lawrence around without suffering from his son’s dissipation. While Lawrence would not be pleased, upon the wedding it would be announced that Lawrence could retain stewardship of Frostwine without right of succession and Quentin and Alys would succeed Sir Baldwin in inheriting the duchy as a whole.

“Splendid…” Alys did not entirely have to feign interest, as sport was a topic she was quite interested in, however it was something to save for table as much as that would displease her mother.

“Father, I was not aware upon my coming that you were entertaining. Might I ask a boon and speak with you alone for a moment on a bit of a pressing matter?” In truth she hated to ask it of him. While she loathed Quentin and had no taste for his father, she honored hospitality and had no wish to dishonor her parents. Lawrence had drawn her clearly there. While it was not so much that she enjoyed being favorite, she did wish to honor thy mother and father… even if getting along with the first was quite a trial. She did much to please them, even if it went against her own accord. Those things that she did against them was done with a large dose of guilt. Still, this could not be avoided, and it even looked as though His Lordship were going to leave them in privacy.

With a hearty laugh, Sir Baldwin put his hand on Piers Quatramaine’s arm, stopping the man from giving him the audience his daughter had requested. He then reached out and grasped both of his daughter’s hands in his and kissed them.

“No need my love. I have just had words with Quentin and your brother. I cannot tell you how it pleases me that you are so excited about this match. I know that the circumstances were unconventional, but to hear that you wish to stand your vows before the Bishop as soon as may be arranged is balm to your father’s old heart…”

Preempted. Alys could not allow her father to see the disappointment on her face any more than she could now contradict what he had been told. An attempt to smile was likely tremulous at best, and Alys hoped that he took it to be high emotion overcoming her delicate sensibilities or some rot like that. She was still trying to form words when another joined their merry little party.

Once more, the Lady Margot moved on silent feet. Alys watched, noticing that she did not meet her husband’s eye or come too close. Rather, she hovered in the doorway. It seemed that she tried to catch Alys’ eye, but Alys looked elsewhere, unable to allow this woman to see her pain.

“Salle à manger est à la table, mon seigneur.” Lady Margot announced in her quiet voice only to be rebuffed at once.

“En anglais, sale pute.” His Lordship Piers Quatramaine hissed over his shoulder.

Was the man fool enough to think that neither Sir Baldwin nor his daughter were educated… her own mother was French. She’d spoken it as soon as she’d spoken English. Alys was embarrassed for the woman who flushed and swallowed, eyes inspecting the pattern on the tapestry that covered the floor.

“Dinner is to table m’Lords, m’Lady.” She muttered downward.

Unable to tolerate a moment more of this, Alys gave the Lady Margot a bright smile and swept past her father and his Lordship, taking her hand and heading for the dining room. “Si je suis heureux d’être votre fille, s’il vous plaît appelez-moi Alys.” She told the woman with warmth. Once more, it seemed she was mired in deception, but at least she could offer comfort with her lies. Her mother had arranged them much as she had suspected that she would. Her father sat at the head of the table with his Lordship to his right and Lawrence to his left. Clarice sat at the other end of the table with Lady Margot to her right and while ordinarily Alys would be accorded the spot to her right, Lady Celine was seated there. That left Alys and Quentin to face each other across the middle. If she was between Lady Margot and Lawrence, Alys could at least take comfort that Lady Celine was at safe distance from her brother… whom had just called her delicious while eyeing his own sister with lustful gaze. The arrangement might even be bearable… only the two men determined to make it otherwise. Quentin made point of pulling out her chair. As she sat, unable for form’s sake to shrink away let alone to unleash the force of her wrath on him, he wrapped his hand around her injured shoulder and gave it a tight squeeze while bending to give her a familiar kiss on the cheek.

“My rose petal,” he said lightly before taking his own seat. The retort was nearly out of her mouth before she bit it back, just like she bit back the yelp as his hand reminded her afresh of what her dress covered. Conversation began as servants walked around the table to fill trenchers with the delicacies of their kitchen. Looking down, Alys pondered that she finally had a weapon to hand when she dare not use it. Trying hard, she spoke with her father and his Lordship about the hunt… but it seemed that Quentin and her brother both made constant veiled comments behind hers until she thought she might be going mad. Where they making jest or was she just so strung with nerve that all words from their mouths seemed polluted. Alys tried to chatter in French with Margot and Celine… but while Celine was able and witty, Margot’s conversation often stalled at answers that did not invite continuance. It did not seem to please Lawrence to have her so diverted from their sport though, for as she spoke about some of the new bloodstock coming in from France to the port at Southwind – a topic the girl was surprisingly knowledgeable about – Lawrence, brushed obtrusively at her injured shoulder.

“How have you managed to soil your gown dear sister… I would think our company would warrant more care,” he said in teasing tones as he brushed roughly at the spot of dark where she was bleeding through the heavy blue satin of her sleeves.

“…” As a means of escaping his touch, Alys twisted her body as if to look. There was, in fact, a stain nearly the size of a winter apple on the point of shoulder. It was dark and the fabric was sticking uncomfortably when she tried to shift her shoulder. Clearly the injury done was bleeding through, and as it was not yet dried, it was likely bleeding still. Humiliated and angered at being baited, Alys nearly took up the small knife meant for eating against her brother. He had accomplished his aim though – all eyes were on her in expectation of an explanation. She searched for one and found inspiration in her goblet of wine. With a laugh, she shook her head and even managed to look abashed under her mother’s harsh scrutiny.

“You know how I am… After you two left the library I was putting Daddy’s copy of Dante up and knocked over the wine goblet I’d left on the shelf. ‘Tis miracle more of a mess did not come of me,” she admitted with a darting glance at Quentin who was shaking his head and making tsking noises.

“Careless rose petal. From stories I have of your hunting and riding and such carelessness, it will be a wonder if I can keep you in garments at all… not that such would be tragedy,” he added sotto voice to the men at the table who had hearty laugh at Alys’ expense. Even Sir Baldwin, taking it for good natured jest between the young dancing the courtier’s dance had a good laugh at the jape.

Not laughing, Alys noted, were the women at the table. Her mother was continuing to give her the disapproving stare that had become so familiar as to lose its ability to shame her. The Lady Celine simply looked confused until she got the nature of the ribald joke and then she blushed furiously and began to examine her food. An innocent lamb then… among wolves it would seem. The Lady Margot was silent, but it was a knowing silence. As if caught, the woman stirred and forced a smile.

“We are having so many new fashions come to port. It is always being an excitement to go see what is coming off the ships,” she promised, and conversation normalized. Still, the meal seemed an eternity. At the end of it, Sir Baldwin and Piers declared that they were headed into his study in order to finalize the contracts that Alys could have her wish of a quick marriage. Lawrence declared that there were cock fights taking place in Frostwine and the two proposed to go. Alys could tell that her mother wanted to withdraw into the sanctity of her bedchamber, but hospitality came first, so she, Lady Margot and Lady Celine were going to return to the conservatory where Clarice promised to play at the harp to the accompaniment of the Lady Celine’s singing. Alys was begged to attend as well, but she had excellent excuse of a tiring journey and a day full of excitement. Even her mother took it with decent grace when she excused herself to her chambers.

Once there, Alys allowed the laid fire and the tapers to be lit before shooing the maid out. The dress had to be removed carefully. The sleeve stuck painfully before she pulled it loose, letting forth fresh blood. Alys set the ewer of water near the hearth to warm and then went to the looking glass. Even in her pain, she’d had no real idea of the actual damage he was doing. Her inner thigh was already an angry purple bruise larger than her fist and her shoulder… it was hard to tell until she could tear a piece of fabric from a gown she knew she would burn again to dip into the warmed water so that she might carefully cleanse it. The whole round of her shoulder was bruised. In all truth, she did not even know how he’d managed such a thing. The bite itself was more like three bites – jagged tears of skin. Though she tried, the edges did not quite come together right as if there were pieces missing. Alys knew that the surgeons would use needle and thread to stitch up the men… and she could take a good deal of pain… perhaps she could handle it were someone else plying the needle, but Alys did not believe herself capable of actually plying a needle through her own abused flesh. Instead, she cleaned as best she could, smoothed the pieces together as if it were torn parchment, and the moistened a piece of square linen torn from her underskirt with the honey and beeswax mixture she used to soften lips while adding a slight sheen. With a wince of pain, she stuck the linen over the torn flesh and smoothed out any wrinkles. It was in such a place that made actual bandage virtually impossible, so instead she chose a chemise with sleeves that laced tight, that her make-shift bandage might stay in place.

Her father had interrupted before aught had been decided, and with his arrival he had dashed any hope she had of appealing to him for salvation. Only one course was left, but all the objections that had come to mind in the library were just as true now. Her head was fit to explode and Alys sorely wished she still had La Divina Commedia. Not only was she in desperate need of mental diversion, she could also use any inspiration on the soul’s journey towards God. Instead, she went to the writing desk for parchment. The ink pot had a tight fitting lid, so it was mercifully fresh. The sharpening of a fresh quill with her penknife was soothing and allowed her to compose words before she put quill to ink. She wrote a careful letter to Countess of Highgarden, Thunder Bay & Westanchor. That sealed and delivered into trusted hands, Alys slid into her bed without the illusion that sleep would come. Yet the exhaustion of the day proved too much. It started with more tears, and when she’d cried herself dry Alys slept fitfully, dreaming of terrors too horrible to contemplate while awake. If there was any God at all, He would at least grant her the mercy to forget such night terrors.

❥ fin ❥

Posted in desires, fiction, incest, non-consensual, psychological sadism, taboo | Leave a comment

Toys are fun until you break them.

Image

❥ WARNING –  torture, bondage, blood play & sadism

The pleasure of those who injure you lies in your pain. Therefore they will suffer if you take away their pleasure by not feeling pain

Beautiful. Her skin was so pale as to nearly be translucent. Piers could trace the path of blue veins along her collar bones. Eyes were large and trusting. It was so easy to get them to this point… take them from poverty and put them in comfort. Give them food, a comfortable room with a warm hearth, clean garments, regular baths, ladies to serve them… it lulled them into thinking they were in a far better place. Little did this precious pet know what Piers had in mind for her.

He’d had her brought to his study. It was sweet, the way she had curtsied for him… rough and unschooled. She was nervous, desiring to please. There was a tremulous smile on her lips. She sought to please, they always did. Piers was aware that his good looks could please just as his smile could be deceptive. He bought girls out of poverty because they always looked at him as the great Lord… at least for a time. There was a pleasure to be had from that shine in her eyes, that eager desire to be what he wished – if only to hold on to the comfort he had provided thus far.

“Come here.”

She approached and he ran his hands through dark hair. It was clean and silky… the wenches he employed to care for his pets knew their job. He was gentle. Piers stroked the fine skin, already planning just where it would bloom with the purple flowers of bruising. The girl smiled, leaning into the touch. She was more than willing if this was all her creature comforts would cost her. He leaned down and kissed her gently and then pulled away.

“I just wished to bid you welcome,” he told the peasant with courtly manners. It was a dismissal. One of her keepers touched her on the arm and she was led back her chambers.

the next eventide

Piers sat in his study. His wife was already abed and the house was quiet. The hour was late and the candles had burned to bare stubs. He had his latest pet sent for, knowing that their last meeting would be fresh in the girl’s mind. He was right. She entered the room freshly bathed and eager. He caught the scent of her willingness and smiled.

“You look lovely tonight. Stand near the fire… I would see you…” he made motion at the pet’s keeper and the woman moved forward to remove the pet’s garments. It was no surprise that the girl made no move to resist – though she did show some signs of modesty that were quite arousing.

When the pet was fully disrobed, Piers stood and walked around her, examining her for flaw or defect. He found none. She was creamy, young… the bloom of womanhood had only barely begun to ripen breast yet she had the slim hips of a child. Piers ran a finger from the base of her neck down her spine, lingering in the cleft of sweet innocent buttocks. Few of the pets he acquired were actually chaste, but this one might actually be. She might not be. It hardly mattered… his interests did not lie between their thighs. His hands ran through her hair, letting it cascade down her back. Piers liked to toy with his pets. He liked to lull them into complete desire. It made the hurt and fear in their eyes so much keener. He took one of the many fire tools from the rack and sat it on the andiron with the end into the flame. Standing behind his new pet, he stroked and petted, soothing like one would a skittish horse. Hands roamed up smooth sides, cupped breasts just barely forming, slid down belly, hip bones, the front of her thighs. He cupped the pet towards him… letting her feel his arousal… letting her think it was for her rather than for what he was to do to her.

The pet writhed like a bitch in heat. Her modesty was quickly failing her and Piers was starting to think that her chastity was in question or his charms were stronger than he had thought. Turning back, he looked at the brand in the fire. It glowed red and he smiled. Where to decorate this beauty with his first mark. She did have lovely hip bones, but better was just above those slim buttocks. One hand reached back to grab the red hot brand and the other reached up into her silky dark hair. Rather than stroke the strands, he wrapped the length around his fist and yanked her head back hard and fast. Her body was strung like a long bow and she was allowed little time for thought of fear before he pressed the brand into the flesh just above her right buttock. The hiss of burning flesh, the scent of meat roasting, her scream echoing against the stone walls. When he removed the brand, his pet’s keeper put it with the other fire tools. The “Q” was red and angry with a crust of black. Piers knew from experience that with the careful care it would receive, the mark would soon become raised and distinct.

Moving around to the front of his pet, Piers made soothing sounds and wiped the tears from her cheek.

“Easy there pet… I would not want anyone to mistake you for someone else’s now would I… it will only hurt a while,” he promised. It was no lie. This was foreplay… once more her keeper took his pet back to her chambers. The burn would be treated with soothing salves and gentle care. Meanwhile, Piers left his study and went up to his wife’s chambers. He could never resist his rights as a husband after such sport.

a fortnight later

It had been a fortnight since Piers had left his mark on his latest pet. He wanted to see it healed and he wanted the comforts provided to ease the betrayal in her eyes. He had so much more planned for her, it would be a pity if such a small matter ruined her. Again she came… but now there was a certain wariness. It was still beguiling – more beguiling than her wide eyed innocence. Now she knew that there were dangers lurking in this room, but also tenderness and care. She did not know what to think and it was that uncertainty of mind that excited Piers. Again, he bid her stand by the fire and again he bid her keeper to disrobe her. She was still flawless… only now there was a raised “Q” scarred brightly against such creamy flesh. Piers ran his fingers around it and felt her flinch slightly.

There were many tools of cruelty and Piers was skilled in the use of them all. One must be careful with a toy, lest it too soon get broken. For some, whips left the loveliest marks. For some, it was the simple mental game of pain and reward that brought about that look of fear that Piers so desired. His favored weapon was his bared hands… there was something raw and visceral about it. More – he’d found that it made the pet feel special in an amusing way, as if Lord Piers bothering to use his personal hand to damage was some sort of intimacy. Maybe it was, it certainly brought him more pleasure.

Walking around to the front of the pet. He stood before her, giving her a level searching stare that brought back that original modesty that had so intrigued him. His hand went up under her chin, fingers firm – bordering on rough – and he lifted her head to meet his gaze. She was nervous. There was fear there… fear of what he might do to her, but still more fear of being turned out from her new position of comfort. She was trying to be brave, but she did not understand why he was being rough with her when she had done no wrong and he had been so gentle before. It was exactly as he desired her. Piers released her chin and stood back. Once more, his hands roamed her body – only this time he was not so gentle. He cupped the buds of young breasts but then turned it to bruising grip. His head bent, teasing kisses down her collar bone until teeth found tender pink nipple. There he caressed until he felt her yield, then he bit until she cried out. The pet stepped away but Piers moved with her… one more step and she would burn by the hearth fire. Her guard stood to one side – silent sentinel capable of his own violence. The iron taste of blood bloomed in his mouth and he released her, licking his lips.

Now he found real pain in her eyes. She shrank away from him in the sweetest way. When she found only flame behind her, she was forced towards him. His hands dropped. Bruising grips against her hips that would leave thumb prints over her prominent hip bones. Some pets took days to purple up with the marks of his pleasure. This one was far quicker. Her fair skin was quick to show the blue flowers of his touch. A thought that had flitted through his mind countless times, Piers thought what an amazing thing poverty was. For as much as the pet was in pain and showing true signs of terror… still she showed an iron resolve to do what she must to maintain comforts that she had never known.

Pressing his body into hers, Piers backed the pet closer into the hearth. He did not wish her to truly burn… not this time. But he did want the heat to cause the discomfort of burning upon such fair flesh. Again, he tangled her long hair around his fist, this time to force her to her knees. What came next was predictable. He didn’t even blame them… his arousal was plain, their purpose here seemed simple enough… put upon their knees, it was a natural gesture. The pet was attempting to please, to anticipate in order to avoid punishment. Thank God for such foolish chits. She reached for the lacing of his fly and Piers struck out like a viper. The backhand sent the girl flying back towards the hearth, a crumple of bare flesh with a cut upon her cheek from the signet he wore.

“Did I give you leave to touch me pet?” he asked in the sweetest tone you could imagine. Piers moved over to her and lifted her up by the hair, placing her back on her knees. He could see where the fire was reddening the whole of her backside and tears streamed down her cheeks. Leaving her there, he went to his desk and opened a drawer. Piers pulled out a length of rough sisal twine. Moving back to the pet, he took both wrists and pulled them behind her. It was a method his father had taught him when tying a boat to one of the smaller docks. Over and under several times around the wrists before twisting the length around the center several times, then the same to her angles, the whole tied off with an anchor hitch. Without another word, he walked away from her and back to his desk. After all, he had work to do and she would make a lovely objet d’art to look upon as he tended to the business of managing lands as well as the port of Southwind.

Piers worked for hours. He imagined the pet’s limbs growing stiff, the rough rope cutting into the flesh. A couple of times he looked up and caught her adjusting in order to find comfort when there was none to be hand. The fire was broiling hot where she was tied kneeling. The bruises on her front were presented to him. She was even bold enough to give him the occasional pleading look, having no idea how much pleasure that gave him – having less idea that giving him such pleasure would only prolong her torture. Finally, done with the evenings work and unable to endure the frustration of his own desire any further, Piers stood and walked from the room without giving the pet a second look. Her keeper would untie her and take her back to her chamber… more salve and gentle care. He would return to his wife’s chamber where he would demand his rights as her husband… being none too gentle about it this fine evening.

two nights hence

There were times that Piers wished his pets to be free of his marks when he next toyed with them. There was something about the way his bruises bloomed on this creature though… he wished to see the cut of rope at wrist and ankle… how his strike had affected her face once allowed time to ripen. He was well rewarded. By the time she stood bare in front of the hearth, the marks he had left stood out stark against the pet’s pale flesh. Her face was a mottled purple and green with the cut from his signet still visible. Her breasts were like purple irises where he had crushed them with his palms and her hips should the print of his hands plainly. She met his eye boldly. Ahhhh… this one had decided that comfort was worth pain. They all had a price and Piers enjoyed finding it. Determination was one thing, but she still could not prevent the natural instinct that made her flinch when he approached to trace the marks he left.

“You look lovely in purple…” he informed her with courtly manners in the seconds before using his other hand to strike the other side of her face. He felt the bone of her cheek crack under the pressure of the blow that nearly sent her sprawling. For a moment, Piers closed his eyes and inhaled… simply savoring the pleasure of the moment. She was rethinking the bargain she’d made with herself, but he had a feeling she could take much more. Piers was in possession of many tools of torture, and he’d found that they had many uses. Thumb screws for example… two clamped down on her nipples until her screams were reduced to cries were reduced to whimpers. Whips created sharp pain and could flay flesh, but bamboo cane… Piers said nothing as he drug his pet by the hair and pressed her face first against the wall with enough force that the breath escaped from her body. At least she was wise enough to remain thus as he went to a wardrobe and pulled out a bamboo reed barely as thick as his thumb. This seldom cut the skin. The first few strikes did not hold much impact… but it created an aching pain and a deep bruising that took weeks to work out of the system.

Piers started just above the back of her knees. He was an expert on how much pressure to put behind the swing. This was a pet he intended to keep for a bit… so it would not do to break her all at once. The strikes continued up her body with a building intensity. From just above the back of the knees to her shoulders, Piers layered hits up and down her body until the blush of red turned into the bloom of purple. By God it was a beautiful sight. She held back her screams, which amused Piers. He would have them before she was sold on like so many before her. She could hear the slight whistle the bamboo made before it struck and before long she was flinching involuntarily just before the strike hit home. Soon her body was plastered to the stone wall, clinging to it as if there were some comfort there. Obviously the hard stone was more a comfort than the punishment she was taking behind. Satisfied, Piers stopped. He watched her as she waited for the next hit… the moment she relaxed, Piers put all of his weight behind a strike just below her slim buttocks. To her credit, she did not scream. The sound she made was stifled somehow and only came out a startled squeak. Again… Piers waited. It took longer for her to relax, but the human body can only hold tension for so long before the mind convinces that the danger has past. Another strike with all of his strength whistled through the air and hit her just below the shoulder blades, splitting the skin and letting a fine wash of blood streak down her back. Again Piers stopped. He could wait forever, as the sight of her was beautiful to him. The ache in his loins only added to the pleasure… she relaxed once more, and he left her, returning the bamboo to the wardrobe.

“Come,” he said simply, turning and walking towards the desk. In front of it was a simple wooden chair, high of back and without cushion. The pet had followed, eyes shifting from Piers to the chair with a wary expression that made him smile warmly.

“Sit.” Again, his voice was quiet, kind even. He noticed her lower lip was bleeding freely and understood just why he had not heard her scream. How lovely. She made move to sit gingerly and he shook his head as if disappointed. Placing his hands on her shoulders, Piers shoved her down into the chair, making sure that she was well seated and that both seat and back were firmly connected against the wood.

“Now… you can sit there like a good girl… or you can be tied there. Honestly, I prefer you struggle a bit… the rope cuts you so nicely…” as if to prove it, Piers traced a loving finger around the reddened and raw mark that circled one wrist. Imagine marks like that circling her whole body… it was definitely a thought to ponder during idle moments. For now though, she decided upon obedience. The pain was clear in her eyes, along with a pleading for mercy that would not come. Rather, Piers once more sat on his own well upholstered chair and set about the business of the evening… gazing at her above his papers. He knew the cane left a sneaking pain that grew greater with time. He made her sit there beyond all tolerance. While she never broke contact with the seat, she constantly shifted and quiet tears streaked a face bruised and bleeding. When done, Piers once more stood and left the room without word, leaving her keeper to take her to her chambers for tender care while he visited his wife for less tender caresses.

a moons passing

While he enjoyed the sight of his work on this pet, she’d be nearly useless with the fresh cane bruising. Besides, this was a particularly deep bruising, and Piers knew she would still bear some of the pain when he next sent for her. Every time he’d had her disrobed, the pet seemed to maintains some sense of modesty, so this time, Piers ordered that she be bathed, dried, and brought to him in naught but her skin. It was a long walk from her chambers in the cellar up through the vast castle to his study. It was a walk past fighting men, courtiers, servants… all who leered and watched as the girl was marched naked through the halls. Piers’ proclivities had become the worst kept secret of his home… he kept them out of sight of wife and daughter. His son was learning well the fine arts of pain. Those invited to stay there were generally of a like mind and those who served him mattered not to Piers.

By the time she got to his study, his pet was pink with shame. Fascinating… perhaps she was chaste after all. If that was the case, he might give her to Quentin when he was done… as his son enjoyed more carnal relations with his toys. Walking around her, Piers inspected his pet carefully. The bruises at hips and breast had faded to pale yellow. Her nipples were still bruised and the skin still broken slightly from the thumb screws. Her face also still showed sign of his abuse. The left side had faded to yellows and greens, but the right side was swollen and a deep black had centered on the top of the cheekbone. It was her back he was most interested in, and Piers moved behind her. The stripe of cut skin had heeled but the mark was still there. She was not bruised so much as discolored. Piers gave her ass an experimental slap, hardly as hard as one would smack a horse to let it know you stood behind it, yet she flinched away in pain. The marks at wrist and ankle were still there, though faded. That was the thought that had hardly left Piers’ mind since his pet had last left this room.

Leaving her, he went to his desk. The length of sisal he had was much longer. There had been much internal debate as to whether or not he should literally wrap her from ankle to neck just to see the spiral of marks later or if he should devise some sort of harness of knots to enhance the beauty of her body. He decided on the latter. Taking his time, Piers used the rope to devise a series of loops and knots that bound his pets arms behind her from the wrists to shoulders, making what chest she had stand out in the loveliest way. From there, the rope wrapped around her neck in a way that made her eyes go wide in alarm… ahh so that was a particular fear of hers… before crossing around and over her body. The rope cut into tender flesh – making breasts stand out, delicate knot work going down her torso, forming a girdle that emphasized her hips, her buttocks, her sex… spreading her thighs and dropping her roughly to her knees, the knot work continued down each leg before tying the ankles together and back to the wrists. Her body was strung as tight as a bow, the angle unnatural and surely painful. Beautiful.

Satisfied with his work, Piers went to his desk. He knew that his pets were kept in a state of unknowing when it came to time of day. She’d been sent for earlier than usual… and Piers had his reasons. This was not to be a private session. His wife and daughter were at the port fetching the kinds of trinkets that pleased women. Quentin was to house, as were several retainers that Piers involved in his game. The girl was a work of art… as much now as she would be when a mess of raw and cut flesh. While he started to work, it was not long before there was a knock on the door. The pet’s eyes flicked to Piers in horror and he merely smiled as he bid the guest admission. The girl was admired for a moment before the two men got to work. When he went to leave, Piers rose with them and they approached the pet. Piers lack of carnal interest in his pets was fairly unique. The girl could not move as the man undid his laces and shoved himself down her throat – taking his pleasure of her face no different than if it were his own good wife’s cunny. There were no words as he did up his laces and bid Piers good bye. The pet’s lips were bruised and seed leaked out of the corner of her mouth. Enraged by the filth, Piers struck her hard.

“Sloppy whore,” he told her firmly.

“Do not let me see such filth again.” Turning on her, he returned to his desk and his work until the next came. Again, the pet was admired and work was tended to between the two men. This good Lord had other uses for Piers’ pet. Idly, Piers sat at his desk and wondered if her chastity was about to be tested. It would seem not. As the Lord knocked her over he lifted her hips with her hand and took her like a young boy, thrusting without mercy while the pet still bit at her lip to keep her screams to herself. Piers was glad for it… as long as she tried to keep something to herself, there was still something that he could take from her. The Lord finished and left the pet there, painfully pinning ankles and wrists against the rushes. Piers did not bother to lift her up until the next caller came to visit. Only then did he go and lift her up by the hair to better be admired. It was a long day. Piers had much to accomplish, and with each bit of business came a new form of abuse as each man was allowed to use his pet. Each time, Piers sat dispassionately behind his desk, aroused only by the pet’s distress at her situation. Interestingly enough, not one man tested the pet’s chastity… Piers saw it as a sign of respect – perhaps respect born of fear, but it pleased him none the less. Once the last caller had left, Piers was still left with the days business to do. He left the pet there, bruised, aching, blood staining the sisal in places, an expression of the most abject dejection on her pretty face. At last, his work done, Piers rose up. It was his tendency to leave without word of praise or dismissal. Tonight he had promise.

“Enjoy your evening… as I’ll find you right here as you are come morning.” He informed her, actually laughing at the expression on her face before turning on his heel and leaving the room. He sorely wished his wife was present. He ached with desire but to abuse one’s self was a sin just as adultery was. He ached by the time she returned… and she ached by the time he was done with her.

the next morning

Waking refreshed and excited by the morning to come, Piers dressed quickly and went to his study. Once there, he gave the pet a bare glance. She was nearly broken. The night in bonds had been almost more than she could take and she was seriously rethinking the bargain of pain verses comfort. Her guard had been ordered to do nothing unless she actually escaped. A life on the water had taught Piers much about knots, including how to tie them in such a way that they got tighter the harder one pulled. She had definitely pulled. Blood coated the sisal at wrist, ankle, shoulder, neck, hip, thigh… she had clearly been wriggling in his absence. The anticipation was nearly more than he could stand, and yet Piers sat on his desk and let his man bring in a large meal to break his fast. Once a person has known starvation, it is all they know. The pet stared at the food and watched every bite go to his mouth, even though she’d been fed no fewer than eighteen hours before. Piers finished every bite and washed it down with an ample quaff of mead. With a contented sigh, he sat back and studied his pet. She was nearly broken, but he’d gotten his money’s worth out of her.

Yes. As he walked toward her, she flinched as much as the ropes allowed. Idly, he wondered if she’d spent the night unused. He had little care about what his sentries or guards did when he left a pet in a public situation like this. She was on display for a reason after all. Right now, he bent and started to untie the sisal that bound her. He did so slowly, knowing that as he removed rope from flesh it would pull and tear in the places that she had forced it to truly cut in, and even in those places that were comparatively slack, the rush of nerve sensation would create its own kind of pain. He had been right, the marks left on her delicate flesh were quite gratifying, as was the squeal of pain she gave when he yanked her to her feet by the rope still around her throat – not giving her body any time to adjust to muscles knotted in such an unnatural position. Yes, she still had a bit to give him. Her defenses were gone. Her body was a mosaic of rope burns and cuts.

Like all addictions, it was not enough. He traced some of the deeper burns with his finger, smiling as she shuddered with revulsion at his touch. It had not been so long ago that she’d writhed against him, moved to unlace his breeches of her own free will. He looped the sisal rope and held it loosely in one hand. The longer he watched her, examining his handiwork, the more she squirmed under his gaze. She had learned what he was capable of, and it frightened her. Only she didn’t truly know what he was capable of. Piers moved behind her to see what damage the rope had left there. Nice, but the patters were prettier from the front. Taking his time, he tied a running bowline into the sisal. He slid it up her back, enjoying the way she shied away – but was clearly too frightened to actually step away from him. Instead, her body bowed in a sinuous line. He wondered if it would matter to the pet if she knew that he took far more pleasure of her like this than he would between her thighs… it was an idle thought, for as soon as she so much as accepted his attentions, let alone took any pleasure in them, she would be of no use to him.

Holding her with a firm grip of hair that became tangled through her struggles, Piers slipped the knot over her throat. He gave the rope an easy toss that sent it up over the heavy beam of the ceiling and crossed back to the front of the pet to catch the end. Yes. He had read that fear well. He took up the slack slowly, watching her eyes grow wider as the rope started to tighten around her throat. It was hardly even tight yet, but there was a slight tension. No… it was not so much the rope that terrified, it was the curious look in Piers’ eyes… the sure knowledge she saw there that he would have no compunction in ending her life. The rope pulled tighter and she tried to swallow against the pressure. Tighter still and she reached up to try to pry it from her throat. For that, she was beaten. Piers wrapped the end of the rope around his fist so that each time he hit her, the rope would tighten around her throat. He used both fists, pummeling her until she went limp and docile. Still, she had not given him her screams though, and by the Lord Almighty, he would have them.

By the time he stepped back, she was sincerely strangling. There was true panic in her eyes as she tried to find breath. Piers loosened up just a touch… he wanted her to know that there was give and take in this game. He took once more as he walked to his desk to grab the stiletto that he used to open missives with. By the time he returned to her, his pet’s face was purple and she collapsed slightly against the new slack, gasping. With an icy calm, Piers began to trace the beatific mosaic the rope bindings had made with the tip of the stiletto. It cut through her already raw skin like fine vellum. There they were… the fine screams she had held back from him. Not just screams, but pleas for mercy as he traced a pattern of lines and swirls against her flesh. Blood washed over his work, ruining the effect… but then Piers decided that it created a whole new effect. The screams were sweet – the begging fell on deaf ears. When her voice bothered him, Piers simply yanked the rope tight.

He had nearly completed tracing the whole of her bonds when complacency settled in. Her voice fell silent… her eyes were dead. They held no fear. They held nothing. With a sigh, Piers pulled the rope tight to make her stand upon her toes and tied it off on a bracket near the hearth. Leaving her there, he went to his desk and scribbled a note to be sent to Quentin.

“A gift…. Clean up the mess when you’ve done with it.” It needed no salutation. Piers’ wife would still be abed, and he would join her for a moment before restarting his day. By the time he returned to his study, he would expect his broken toy to be gone and the stained tapestry under her to be replaced. It was of no consequence. He’d just acquired another two days earlier that showed great promise.

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Cherry Wine

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❥ Lips like cherry wine. Drunken kisses in the dark of the alley. Bodies pressed together so tight that it would be impossible to get a whisper between them. Nothing but silk between breasts. More leads to more. Desperation mounts and my hand slides between our bodies. Indecision. To part the silk and reach the lush breasts pressed against my own, or to slide down… down. Buttons create frustration. Yank, justification. A gasp of pleasure as her hips leave the wall and come towards me. Barrier free, my hand slides down between us, grasping at the hot slick moisture of her sex. Our breaths were one, neither were willing to part for more than the slightest whisper of desire against skin. The pull of teeth against lower lip. Gasps swallowed into my own moans as her hands explored my own body. Close to ecstasy. So close. The honk of a horn. Desperate moans of frustration. She shimmied a sharpie out of her pocket and wrote a number up the side of my arm – her name smudged below it.

Then she was gone. Running towards her cab, trying to shove her sharpie back in her pocket and button her jeans at the same time. Adorable.

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The soft strains of a velvet threnody.

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This blog is home to erotic fiction and poetry.  This exploration of  human nature looks at things considered anthropologically and sociologically, “wrong” by current moral standards.  The erotic works you find here will have warnings as to their subject matter.  I hope that you enjoy them, but if you do not… then simply do not read them.

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