Queen Captured – Act II: Bishop (scene ii)

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Third Chapter of W.H. Collins’s dark erotic fantasy. All fourteen chapters are now available from Amazon under the title The Fall of the Black Queen.

Note that this story is intended for mature audiences only and contains extremely graphic depictions of material that many audiences will find disturbing, including spanking and forced nudity. Nothing herein is intended to glorify or condone the horrific experiences which the protagonist endures, and the reader is strictly instructed not to take any prurient interest in this tale of medieval violence and sexual exploitation.

A white leather glove, heavy and stiff, crackled as it balled itself into a fist and rapped thoughtfully against the chair’s ornate wooden arm.

The Evanshire bishopric was arguably the Kingdom’s richest, and that wealth was on display in this narrow antechamber. Gold crosses and other glittering, bejeweled icons hung from the walls. The large doors that loomed prominently across a far-corner alcove, marring the room’s otherwise rectangular symmetry, were made from exquisite sandalwood. Their richly lacquered surfaces were covered in intricate carvings which depicted, in graphic detail, what were presumably torments awaiting the unrepentant in the life hereafter.

The tower’s stone floor was buried beneath an unbroken expanse of lush carpet. The soft, forgiving weave oozed around Isabella’s bare feet, a tiny luxurious respite after their painful march through the Abbey, across the courtyard to the Bishop’s tower, and up flight after flight of stairs to this strange, pseudo-throneroom.

The Bishop of Evanshire looked down on her from his raised seat. In keeping with the chamber’s décor, his clothes were the height of finery, new and crafted from the finest material. Yet, for a churchman of his rank, there was also something stark and utilitarian about his dress. His miter was nowhere to be seen, his bald pate instead covered in a plain white cap. His robes were elegant and flowing, but, between the gaps in the embroidered, sleeveless outer layer, Isabella could make out the glint of chainmail. And his gloves, these were not gloves for paging through scripture or for breaking the Eucharist. These were gloves prepared for less delicate tasks.

This was the regalia of a warrior priest, and it fit the Bishop’s reputation of having personally participated in some of the White’s bloodiest engagements during the civil war. It was a fusion of fashions with which Isabella, herself an unlikely combatant, was more than familiar.

At the moment, of course, she had neither her armor nor the black gowns so cleverly tailored to accommodate it. She stood before the Bishop naked but for the roughspun brown vestment that bunched up awkwardly around her breasts and stopped just below her knees. Her hair was still wet and stringy from her humiliating bath in the bowels of the Abbey. His authority and her lack thereof could not have been more explicit if she’d been on her knees.

“On your knees before His Purity and Grace, Lady Isabella.”

The Queen turned her head slowly towards the voice beside her, and Sister Agnes’s stern, pinched face came into focus. The old nun had accompanied her into the chamber and stood beside her in the center of the room, as if presenting her to the enthroned bishop.

The White guardsman Duncan, for his part, had taken his place across from a similarly-uniformed compatriot, flanking the chamber’s entryway. As Isabella had strode past him in her cossack, head held consciously high and posture as regal as her shoeless gait would allow, she had caught him flashing a smarmy grin towards his comrade, and her stomach had knotted in fury.

Isabella looked back and forth between Sister Agnes and the Bishop. Trolwick regarded her silently, resting an elbow on his chair’s sturdy arm as he leaned back, flexing his gloved fingers. The Black Queen took a deep breath and gritted her teeth before lowering herself to the velvety, carpeted floor. She forced herself to move with an unhurried deliberateness, planting first one knee and then the other, smoothing her vestment and straightening her back before looking up at the Bishop, meeting his gaze squarely.

Isabella had not seen the White Bishop in years. During her childhood, he had been among her father’s closest allies and advisors and spent long stretches at court, particularly during the spring campaigning season. Shortly after the Old King’s reconciliation with Duke of Aardmore, the reconciliation that had brought Isabella back to the capital, the Bishop of Evanshire had fallen from the Gray Lion’s favor. Something to do with taxation of church estates was Isabella’s understanding.

Yet, she remembered those bushy white eyebrows, immaculately groomed, rising in spikey tufts like inverted icicles, capping his beady dark eyes and pointing towards the Bishop’s hairless skull. She remembered that rigid jaw, that look of quiet judgment. A hazy image of herself as a little girl in her nightgown flashed through her mind. She pictured herself sitting on this man’s knee. She thought she could vaguely recall the soft, deep drone of his voice. “Have you said your prayers, Princess?”

The nearly-forgotten memories gave Isabella an unaccountable chill. Nothing specific, just the lingering taint of childhood fear, the kind directed towards certain figures of adult authority, an outsized, amorphous apprehension embedded somewhere in her subconscious.

She breathed deep and reminded herself that she was not a little girl any more. She was the Black Queen, heiress to the Duchy of Aardmore, Baroness of the West Midlands, champion of the Battle of the Fens and a dozen lesser engagements, and—whatever her current setbacks—the Kingdom’s one true sovereign. Her armies were still in the field. Her supporters still held key fortifications. She was not without power. And she was here to parlay that power for her freedom.

She held the Bishop’s gaze in silence for a few moments longer, unflinching. Inwardly, she surveyed the terrain across which the high-stakes negotiation would be fought, mentally revising battle plans for the coming verbal encounter. If this churchman was half the tactician his reputation suggested, he would surely recognize her leverage and the necessity of a negotiated peace. Better to maneuver him into making the first offer, she thought, as they regarded one another across the unsettling stillness of the hushed chamber. But to properly set the terms of the debate, she must speak first.

She raised herself as high as her kneeling position would allow, inclined her chin meaningfully towards the Bishop and used her diaphragm to discreetly fill her lungs, just as her oratory tutor had taught her.

“Bishop Trolwick. . .” she began.

SLAP!

Isabella’s mouth hung open in shock, caught mid-word. It took a moment for the sting to register, the pain fanning out across the side of her face like flames coating a puddle of lamp oil. Speechless, jaw paralyzed in its stupefied gape, she looked up to find Sister Agnes looming over her, her open palm held taut at the terminus of her swing, implicitly threatening another blow.

“You will address God’s intermediary with the proper respect!”

Stunned, Isabella looked back towards the Bishop, but the silent patriarchal figure made no sign that he disapproved the assault. Isabella desperately tried to wrest her expression into anything but the wide-eyed, open-mouthed look of stupefaction in which it seemed frozen.  Her facial muscles twitched with the effort, and she found with dismay that an involuntary tear had gathered on the side of her face where she’d been struck.

She glanced quickly back up at Sister Agnes, palm still raised, waiting. The old nun was as controlled as ever, but the anger in her rebuke had been filled with more passion than Isabella had previously heard her express. Address? Court etiquette and the intricate formalities of office had never been Princess Isabella’s strongest subjects. But vaguely she remembered being forced to memorize the inane escalation of honorifics that accompanied rungs of achievement within the clerical hierarchy. Your Goodness, Your Charity, Your Beatitude, Your Continence, Your Reverence, Your Righteousness, Your Hallowed Mercy.

“Aaahh . . .” Isabella vocalized dumbly as she turned back towards the Bishop. “Ah. . .”

The surprising strength of the elderly woman’s slap had jostled her brains. She flexed her aching jaw and aggressively swallowed the knot in her throat, bracing her voice for something more articulate.

“Yuh . . . Ah . . . Your Purity and Grace,” she managed to choke out, stealing a small glance towards the abusive nun, who lowered her hand in apparent satisfaction. “I have . . . That is, I am here to discuss terms, the terms of my release. My release from . . .”

Her words were tumbling out shrill and plaintive. This was not how she had planned to begin at all. She’d been flustered by the sudden physical attack. The throbbing of her cheek was clouding her senses. She tried to focus.

“Listen to me, Your Grace—Your Purity and Grace—once you relay my terms to the Earl of Carteaux and my sister Lady Joan . . . Ah . . . our terms, the terms that we will negotiate, I am confident that we can . . . bring a lasting peace to the Realm . . . at last. . .”

“You are not here to discuss terms, My Child.”

It was the same low, even tone that Isabella remembered. The sudden break in the Bishop’s silence caused her to abruptly clamp her mouth shut, cutting off her rambling entreaties.

“You are here to confess and to repent. As you know, God has entrusted me with investigating and purging His Church of corruption. You stand accused of crimes graver than any my holy office has yet encountered. I do not in all honesty know if your soul can be cleansed. But I do know that only once you have confessed and atoned for your heresies can we in good conscious refer your case to the King and Queen. Until you have been purified through God’s boundless mercy, My Child, this remains a Church matter.”

Isabella shook her head in incomprehension. Amongst his many other offices, she knew, the Bishop held the title of High Justice of the Church’s secretive and much-feared Tribunal of Heresies, and he was indeed known for a certain amount zealotry with respect to this post, whether out of true religious conviction or jealous guarding of clerical jurisdiction Isabella couldn’t say.

But he was also a shrewd political tactician. This was no time for some silly inquisition into what books had she read, what her opinions were on Manichaean dualism and when she had last spoken to a Jew. She was a prisoner of war, one who could determine the fate of their war-torn Kingdom. Surely he could see that.

“Sister Agnes will read the list of charges against you. You will have the opportunity to confess or to deny the accusations. But I warn you, these allegations are the product of extensive investigation by the Tribunal and are each attested by multiple witnesses. If they are true, I urge you to seek God’s mercy immediately and not compound your sinfulness with obstinacy. You may begin, Sister.”

Isabella looked up at the old nun, who had stepped behind a small podium and was arranging several loose sheets of parchment into a crisp row. She licked her lips and cleared her throat with a single, businesslike grunt.

“Lady Isabella of Aardmore, you stand accused of multiple counts of blasphemy, heresy, witchcraft, desecration, cupidity, lewd conduct, adultery, fornication, devil-worship, hypocrisy and murder. Count the first: that you did secret in your chambers certain unnatural potions and books of spells and other dark knowledge and that you did use such occult means to seduce and lay with men of position and rank and to thereby manipulate the affairs of court. Do you confess?”

Isabella could not help a snort of derision.

“Who said such- . . .?”

“Do you confess?” Sister Agnes asked again with greater emphasis.

“I do not!” Isabella responded in exasperation.

“Count two,” Sister Agnes continued, making a note upon the parchment, “That you did encourage and commit fornication with and amongst your servingwomen. That in particular you did order the women in your service to pleasure you with their fingers and with their mouths and to lay naked before you and allow you to place your lips and tongues upon their maidenhoods. That you did require them to touch one another while you watched, that you did lead them in heathen Sapphic rituals . . .”

Isabella ground her teeth, suppressing the urge to speak out. Where would these ludicrous stories have come from? In her mind, she imagined that barely-concealed smirk of her handmaid-turned-nun Genevieve. Was it that vindictive, rat-faced cunt feeding them these lies? Or just some hapless servant caught in the Tribunal’s crosshairs, making things up to save their skin?

“. . . between her buttocks and instructed to fondle your breasts while she did so.” Sister Agnes was saying. “Do you confess?”

“This is—” Isabella began.

“You shall confine your responses to confess or deny,” reproached the Bishop.

“Denied!” Isabella blurted in frustration.

“Count three,” the nun continued, “that you were initiated into a secret cult by your mother, Lady Anne of Aardmore, that you did thereby seek to learn the black arts of witchcraft and sorcery and that you did conspire with your fellow cultists and witches to communicate with the Devil and his minions, to worship him and to effect his will on Earth. That you were seen upon the occasion of your eighteenth birthday pledging yourself to the Dark Lord, that the Devil himself did appear to you in the form of a monstrous horned demon and that you did fornicate with this monstrosity in order to increase your powers . . .”

Isabella felt her skin burn in anger and embarrassment at being forced to listen to these crude, degrading defamations.

“That you did kneel before this demon and place your hands upon his scaly, black-skinned penis before taking it into your mouth. That you did remain at this creature’s feet for hours with your mouth wrapped around his inhumanly large member, servicing him enthusiastically with your lips and tongue before turning around and presenting yourself to him on all fours, allowing him to mount you like an animal. That you did moan in ecstasy as the foul, goat-faced monster thrust into you, its claws caressing your naked . . .”

“Ridiculous!”

Isabella could contain her rage no longer, and the unexpected force of her interjection stopped Sister Agnes in mid-denunciation. The nun raised her eyebrows in disbelief at the breach of protocol, but Isabella forged ahead, speaking rapidly to get as much of her grievance heard before she was silenced.

“Your Purity and Grace, you can’t possibly take any of this seriously. Fellating the Devil for hours? What imagination my slanderers have! Surely a learned man such as yourself does not credit such fantastical nonsense. Horned monsters lurking about the palace, having sex with noblewomen! And who is meant to be witnessing this extraordinary event, making note of every salacious detail!? Scaly black penis! Are these the stories with which you and your sexually frustrated brothers and sisters titillate yourselves on long, cold Abbey nights? . . .”

Isabella stopped herself, knowing she had gone too far but still feeling somewhat relieved by the cathartic outburst. Sister Agnes took a menacing step forward, hand raised. Isabella flinched, but upon a subtle gesture from the Bishop, the nun froze.

The Bishop stood and regarded the supplicant queen. Isabella was unable to read his expression and unsure how to interpret his sudden intervention on her behalf. She decided there was no turning back at this point. With the giddy recklessness of having nothing to lose, she seized her momentary spotlight to make one last desperate attempt to steer the course of proceedings.

“Please hear me out, Your Purity and Grace. I may be captive, but my armies are still in the field. My uncle and my husband will never lay down their arms while the pretender Queen Joan and her incestuous consort she calls King sit the throne. Only a negotiated peace can stanch the bloodshed . . .”

The Bishop had stepped down from his raised platform and was approaching her with an unhurried bearing, as if patiently allowing her to tire herself out. He stopped just in front of where she knelt, so that she had to crane her neck straight up to continue to address him. Yet she did not let this shake her momentum.

“. . . I am willing to consider an arrangement whereby I abdicate my rightful claims to the crown in favor of my sister, and I will convince Aardmore, the West Midlands and all my bannermen and supporters to recognize the sovereignty of the White Queen . . .” @ @The Bishop was calmly loosening his heavy leather glove, one finger at a time, but Isabella ignored him. She was hitting her stride.

“. . .But in exchange we must have certain concessions, the first of which of course is my safe release, alive, whole and with no further harm to my person and my dignity than I have already suffered. In addition, those who have defended the justice of my cause will need certain guarantees, number one that—Bwoooooaaahhh! Oh-ooooooh!!”

Isabella felt her carefully chosen words evaporate into a gasp of pain as the Bishop suddenly snapped his glove downward, striking her full across the face with a fierce Fffff-THWAP!!! The room disappeared behind a cloud of shimmering, swirling shapes. Her ears filled with a metallic hum. She gulped for air, her lungs paralyzed in shock.

As her senses returned, Isabella looked back up at the white-robed man looming over her. The Bishop smoothed his glove methodically before placing his hands behind his back and leaning down towards her.

“From now on, you will speak only when spoken to. Is that understood?” he said, and, without waiting for an answer, he nodded to Sister Agnes. “Continue.”

Sister Agnes continued the charges. Meanwhile, Isabella rocked her jaw back and forth, fearing it might be dislocated. When asked if she confessed, the helpless queen could do little but mutter a feeble “denied.”

The counts continued, some outlandish some mundane, but all painting the picture of her as a scheming, hypersexualized sorceress who had driven the Kingdom to ruin with her occult machinations. Trying not to let the throbbing pain that coated her face wring further tears from her, she hardly listened, offering the same mechanical “denied” whenever prompted.

“Count eight. That, to secure Satan’s favor, you did offer your own mother up to him, to be taken directly to down to Hell and to serve for eternity in the Deceiver’s unholy harem. That, this bargain accepted, Anne of Aardmore’s soul left her body that very night and that she has ever since sat at Lucifer’s right hand as his favorite whore. That she intercedes on your behalf, uttering curses upon good Christian men and women whenever her mouth isn’t stuffed full attempting satisfy her dark master’s boundless sexual appetite. Do you confess?”

Blinding rage roiled up through Isabella’s core. Her mother had died suddenly of river fever six years prior, but the grief was still raw. To be blamed for her death, let alone in this obscene context, was almost more than she could bear. Yet, realizing that the words must be calculated to anger and disorient her—after all, insinuating that her mother was sucking Satan’s cock in Hell bore greater resemblance to a cruel schoolyard taunt than to a cogent denunciation—she did her best to refuse the provocation and to choke back her fury.

“Denied,” she managed to growl, finally.

“Count nine. That with the Devil’s aid you did use your powers to murder King Harold that you might seize his crown. Do you confess?”

Accused of murdering mother and father both. Isabella shook her head bitterly at the audacity of this kangaroo court.

“Denied.”

“Count ten. That upon your marriage to Baron Reginald de Cassingham, you did commit adultery with Sir William Cantor, a knight in your service. Do you confess?”

Isabella’s breath caught in her throat. This one was true.

There were others who knew of her affair with Sir William, but they were trusted members of her inner circle. She had been discrete. Surely rumors had not traveled as far as the White court, let alone to Evanshire Abbey. She was momentarily flustered.

“D-Denied . . .” she sputtered unconvincingly.

Sister Agnes made a final mark on her parchment before gathering the sheets into a neat stack.

“The accused has denied all charges against her,” she announced.

The Bishop shook his head slowly in a look of wistful disappointment.

“I had feared you might take this position, My Child. I hope we can persuade you to reconsider.”

Isabella knew enough of the Tribunal of Heresies’ reputation to feel a sense of mounting fear. Briefly, she considered confessing, just going along with their ludicrous stories. If she could just make whatever tokens of spiritual atonement were necessary to satisfy their little witch hunt, perhaps they could move on to less mystical matters, at which point the Bishop would surely see the political necessity of releasing her. Once she was safely back amongst her supporters, time enough to renege on her false confessions and plot revenge for the humiliations she’d experienced in this godforsaken abbey.

But as soon as she considered it, she knew the fantasy was hopeless. She was accused of regicide, with patricide and matricide thrown in for good measure. These were not sins she would be allowed to absolve with a few prayers and a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Justine. Confession was a trap. Her only hope was to call their bluff.

“God knows my innocence,” she proclaimed through gritted teeth. “I will die before I give credit to these lies.”

“I pray that will not be necessary,” replied the Bishop. “Sister Agnes, strip her and bind her hands. We will be proceeding to the interrogation chamber.”

Sister Agnes reached for her, grabbing her beneath her arm to raise her to her feet. Instinctively, the Queen fought.

“No!” she shrieked, jerking her shoulder away without thinking.

SLAP!

The nun’s blow lacked the leverage and the planning of her previous, but it stung nonetheless. Isabella shook her head, trying to regather her wits. As Sister Agnes adjusted her grip, Isabella looked up towards the blurry, jittering image of the Bishop. She tried to muster a tone of command, but the words that fell from her aching jaw came out shrill and desperate.

“Your Eminen—Grace! Grace and–! Bishop! Don’t be foolish! I—“

SLAP!

This slap landed better.  The room swam. Her mental state was rattled by pain and surprise. Only one sensation came through crisp enough to cut through the cloud of her sudden discombobulation, and that was anger. Anger, arriving like a steadfast old friend, the last of her senses to desert her. In a dazed fury, she grabbed the nun’s arm with an animalistic snarl.

For a moment, the two women froze at the cusp of violent struggle, their faces an inch apart, nails digging into one another’s biceps in symmetrical assault, muscles tensed, both half-kneeling on the floor of the ornate chamber.

Isabella heard the clomp of boots, signaling the approach of the two White guardsmen behind her. As she stared down the old nun’s dark, determined eyes, the blinding sting on the side of her face settling into a dull throb, the fight went out of her. With a knot in her throat, she released the other woman’s arm and allowed herself to be raised to her feet.  The sound of the guards’ approach slowed.

She stood facing the Bishop with her arms at her sides. Mortified to find her jaw trembling, she clenched her teeth tight and looked to the floor.

Sister Agnes undid the tiny knot between Isabella’s shoulder blades that kept the brown penitent’s vestment tight. With a deft movement, she spread the rough fabric apart and pulled it down over the captive queen’s shoulders. Stretching and shimmying the cloth in order to clear the bulging hump of Isabella’s chest, the old nun finally grabbed and squeezed one of the Queen’s tits to pull it free and then yanked at the vestment until the other bounced into view.

From there, the garment collapsed until catching briefly around Isabella’s hips. Another small tug, and it slid all the way to the floor, leaving the Queen standing completely naked before the Bishop. Automatically, she placed her hands in front of the hairless crook between her legs, but no sooner had she made this trifling gesture towards modesty than Sister Agnes was grabbing her wrists and pulling them roughly behind her back.

Isabella chanced a brief glance up at the Bishop. He maintained the same distant expression of contemplative authority, but she noticed his eyes climbing up and down the bare curves of her body. Isabella squirmed involuntarily under his gaze, even as Sister Agnes’s iron grip on her wrists kept her from twisting very far out of place. Never had the Black Queen felt so exposed, restrained from covering herself, from turning away or from otherwise controlling how the most intimate corners of her body were exhibited.

Sister Agnes pressed the Queen’s wrists flat against one another, causing a stab of pain to coarse through Isabella’s shoulders as they were forced back, propelling her nude chest upwards and outwards with a jolt that sent her breasts swinging and bobbing before they came to rest, thrust emphatically before her and standing at obscene attention. A length of rope was wound several times around her pinioned wrists and tied off in some manner that Isabella couldn’t see, thus fixing her arms in their uncomfortable and incapacitating position.

When Isabella looked back up, the Bishop was no longer at his seat. He was standing in the alcove at the back of the hall, just beside the tall stone arch of the doorway. Somewhere along the way, the heavy, ornate door with its violent depictions of damnation had been opened, and it now stood ajar, leaving in its place a void of total darkness.

With a shove, Sister Agnes directed the naked queen, hands tied firmly behind her back, towards the ominous black opening. Stumbling at first, then with as much composure as her trembling legs would allow, Isabella inched forward. At the inner chamber’s threshold, the soft carpet gave way to cold stone beneath her bare feet. The Bishop remained at the door’s edge like an usher or coachman, welcoming her inward, and Isabella had to cleave to the side of the narrow alcove to avoid brushing against him. She could feel his breath as she passed, and it was discomfort at this proximity more than anything that impelled her to keep moving into the darkness.

Once inside, though, she had to stop for fear of colliding with a wall or tumbling down unseen stairs. She stood there for a moment, naked in the pitch black. Behind her, she could hear the rattle of armor as the two guards followed her inside.

Then suddenly a torch was struck. A sphere of illumination bloomed around Sister Agnes, tossing shadows across the Queen’s bare skin. The nun began making her way around the chamber, lighting wall sconces and standing candelabras, and, area by area, Isabella’s surroundings revealed themselves.

The stone walls and floor lacked the fine décor of the Bishop’s antechamber, but the room was far from empty. As the candlelight spread and grew, the contours of the dark ambiguous shapes which populated the chamber slowly coalesced. Yet these objects became no less sinister as they emerged from the darkness. The chamber’s only furnishing, the diverse contraptions, fashioned in varying proportion out of wood and metal and leather, left no doubt as to the room’s purpose.

Isabella did not recognize most of the devices, as she looked around with mounting panic, but she recognized enough: here was the Saracen box, there the maiden’s bane, in that corner the throne of sorrow. In addition to the bulkier torture centerpieces, a staggering array of menacing handtools hung from the walls and lay in neat rows across benches and shelves. Ropes and chains and hooks dangled from the ceiling like vines from a dense jungle canopy.

When Sister Agnes had finished lighting the room, she returned to the Queen, circling around behind her and slipping some sort of hook beneath the bindings around her wrists before turning to adjust something at the nearby wall. So rapt was Isabella’s terrified attention to these activities that she was startled when she turned her head back around to find the Bishop looming over her, inches from her face.

He leaned forward and cupped a gloved hand beneath her chin, pinching her delicate face between thumb and forefinger and guiding her skull gently back and forth in an exploratory wobble, as if testing the pliancy of a piece of equipment.

“Know that we will break you,” he whispered. “It is a matter only of how much suffering you endure before you submit.”

Before Isabella could respond, her body was assailed with pain. The restraints around her wrists had been attached to a rope that now shot upwards in a taut line towards the ceiling, curving around a pulley before diving back down into the hands of Sister Agnes. The nun tugged down on the rope again before clamping it tight against the wall. Isabella screamed in pain and surprise as her pinioned arms were thrust straight up behind her at an excruciating angle. She lurched forward slightly, her naked breasts brushing up against the Bishop’s chest.

The Black Queen teetered back and forth, bobbing up and down on her toes in a desperate attempt to find some position that would relieve the piercing agony in her back and arms and shoulders.

The Bishop had dropped his possessive grip on her face and disappeared behind her. When he returned, he was carrying an implement with a short black handle. A half dozen leather tassles, each the length of a man’s forearm and hanging with visible weight, snaked out from the stem, swinging casually as the Bishop paced around Isabella, inspecting her naked body from various angles with the keen eye of an artist gauging his canvas.

Isabella was panting, attempting to get control over her pained breaths, when Sister Agnes walked into view holding a small device that appeared to consist of a short wooden dowel wrapped tightly in white cloth and attached to a leather strap. With Isabella’s mouth already hanging open in agony, there was no need for negotiation as the nun shoved the stout rod lengthwise between the captive queen’s teeth and wound the strap around the back of her head, hooking it in place on the other side of Isabella’s muzzled face. It was the human equivalent of a horse’s bit. A sigh of anguish escaped from the Queen, which turned into a slobbery moan as it passed through the gag.

Eyes oval in dread, Isabella watched as the Bishop dipped his flail into a nearby bucket of water and then methodically shook off the excess moisture so that only a slick veneer of dampness clung to the leather.

“Lady Isabella, you have heard the charges against you,” he said as he approached, gauging his distance from the Queen’s trussed-up body. “Do you wish to confess?”

Isabella met his eyes, silent but for her heavy, pained breathing. She tried to muster a look of defiance, but it was hard to tell if defiance would read properly on her pathetic gagged face, contorted as it was in pain and fear. Besides, in truth she knew that defiance was not a choice. Confession would gain her nothing. Her silence was an act of helplessness, not strength.

The Bishop bowed his bald head as if accepting her answer. He raised the leather flail up across his chest and then whipped it downward with a vicious diagonal backhand. The straps collided with the right side of Isabella’s torso, just below the ribs, the damp corners snapping against her skin like hungry teeth.

It was a calculated blow. The sting was immediate and far more acute than the improvised beating she’d received in the woods at the hands of the White footmen. With a squeal, the Queen bit down hard on the stick between her teeth. Her body writhed as it reflexively and belatedly struggled to shield its imperiled flank.

This reflexive twisting brought even greater pain by putting pressure on her strained, pinioned arms. She fought to regain her centered, tip-toed stance, even as the sight of the Bishop raising his arm once again made it impossible not to flinch.

The leather thongs snapped down on the same spot. But this time the Bishop struck her forehand, and the whip’s tail, where its venom was most concentrated, pricked her stomach rather than her back. Once again, the force of the blow set off a chain reaction of agony, as her body instinctively retreated from the attack and the rope from the ceiling jerked at her shoulders at unnatural angles.

The Bishop allowed the momentum of his swing to carry him through into another swift backhanded strike. He flicked the savage leather straps down across one of the Queen’s outstretched tits. The buoyant white orb jolted violently to the side, colliding with its mate and causing both breasts to sway rapidly as if trying to shake off the unexpected onslaught. Isabella gasped.

Pale pink streaks were just beginning to rise across the Queen’s milky skin from her cleavage to the delicate pucker of her areola, when the Bishop whipped her breast again. The tail of one of the straps caught her nipple directly in its bite.

“Nnnnnnnnnnnngggggg!!!” Isabella cried through her gag.

The Bishop landed a blow on her other breast. Her body twisted and the rope yanked at her shoulders, thrusting tears of pure physical pain up into her eyes.

The cruel leather slapped her tit again before striking her twice in quick succession across her left hip. The Bishop circled. Maintaining her balance and minimizing the pressure on her arms forced Isabella to lean forward, to arch her back and to stick her bottom out behind her. And it was the Queen’s exposed bottom, thrust upwards like an offering, that the Bishop targeted next.

Isabella stared forward helplessly as she listened to the unseen leather tendrils whizz through the air behind her. Immediately, a dozen agonizing pinpricks exploded across her right ass cheek. Her jaw closed down so forcefully around the bit that she feared she might break a tooth.

A moment later, her other ass cheek was given the same treatment, the Bishop’s flail slapping against the Queen’s bottom with a crisp wet fwack! Two more lashes in quick succession, and her backside was on fire. He whipped her again. Then again.

To her intense dismay, her eyes could no longer contain the tears of pain that the whipping relentlessly dredged up. The wells overflowed. The Queen felt streaks of moisture begin to run down her face. Crying was a token of feminine weakness that she had fought against her whole life, and the humiliation of losing control pained her even more than what was happening to her raw, smoldering buttocks.

As the Bishop then began to whip the backs of Isabella’s thighs, the first sob welled up within her, so alien a sensation that at first she didn’t recognize it. It slipped out around the bit in her mouth accompanied by wave of drool and a low, sputtering moan.

Once the bound monarch’s thighs had been thoroughly reddened, the Bishop circled back around in front of her. He landed two quick blows across her breasts, as if to catch her attention, before lifting her chin to look pointedly down into her moist eyes.

“Do you wish to confess?”

He barely waited for an answer. Pausing only to dip the flail back into the water, flicking droplets of water around the interrogation room floor as he cracked the air with a flourish, he resumed the assault. A rising backhand glanced across the underside of the Queen’s left tit with terse POP, sending it bounding upwards just as a second slap crashed down on it from above.

The Bishop’s aim drifted lower. Isabella was whipped several times across her sides and hips and stomach in quick succession. Then the torment briefly halted. But the fleeting respite was merely to allow the sadistic churchman to adjust his stance and line up his sights, preparing to strike with greater precision. Setting one foot in front of the other and leaning forward intently as if setting up a winning shot in a game of rails, the Bishop snapped the flail forward.

The leather thongs lashed out towards Isabella’s defenseless crotch, stiffening as they reached their full extension. Their tips barely grazed the smooth lips of her vagina before recoiling backwards, delivering the lightest of kisses. But the sting of the blow was all the more poisonous for its brevity. With a startled intake of breath, the Queen’s body cringed, her tender loins shrinking from the direction of attack.

Once again, the movement put agonizing pressure on her arms, and she was pulled back towards her previous stance, with her bald slit presented unconcealed to her torturer, offered up shamelessly for further punishment. As soon as the Queen’s teetering body came to rest, the Bishop whipped her again between her legs, swinging his flail in an rising motion. The leather straps collided with her crotch in a wet slap, less acute than the bite of the previous lash but a more comprehensive pummeling of her sensitive womanhood. Through the bit in her teeth, Isabella cried out.

Once more, the Bishop waited patiently as his victim’s body lurched painfully and then came back to rest before striking Isabella’s pussy again. Then, before she could twist away, he struck her a second time. The naked crevice of her sex glowed bright red as the Bishop stepped back to admire his work, rotating his whipping arm gingerly as if gauging its soreness. Isabella’s tears flowed uncontrollably. Slobber bubbled up around her gag and oozed down her chin.

“We will resume the interrogation tomorrow,” announced the Bishop. “I trust that you have been given much to contemplate, Lady Isabella. Sister, show the false queen to her bedchamber. Brother Duncan and Brother Theodore will assist you as needed. I must retire.”

With that, the Bishop placed his implement on a nearby table, smoothed his robes and walked towards the chamber’s doors with a solemn yet self-satisfied stride. Isabella watched him go. His men remained by the entrance, opening and shutting the door as their master passed. The gagged queen found herself making silent eye contact with the two men through her tear-blurred vision. The guards were staring unabashedly, and Isabella had to choke back a sob of shame. How did it come to this? The rightful queen of the realm, trussed up naked in a windowless church tower, a bit strapped around her head and sticking out from between her teeth like a beast of burden, these two leering knaves watching her weep and moan as the Bishop of Evanshire flogged her.

Just as she was thinking the disgrace might suffocate her, the tension on her arms and shoulders was suddenly relieved and she could breathe more freely. Sister Agnes had unfastened the rope and was slowly lowering it, allowing Isabella’s wrists to drift back down towards their natural resting place at her lower back. Her deliverance from suffering continued as the old woman then set about untying the Queen’s bindings. It was almost enough to make the abused noblewoman feel the stirrings of a perverse gratitude.

But her sense of relief was marred when she looked up to see the Bishop’s two white-clad thugs approaching her.

“Brothers, if you would,” Sister Agnes was saying. “we’ll secure the accused over here for the night.”

Isabella’s newly-freed arms were seized by the two men, who spun her around and led her towards a corner of the chamber where a thin layer of straw had been strewn about the stone floor. As she was dragged towards it, Isabella noticed the chains. Thick iron spikes had been driven straight into the stone at intervals. To some of these had been fastened short lengths of chain and heavy-looking manacles. Unthinking, the Queen began to struggle.

The men had little difficulty maintaining control over their flailing naked prisoner. Duncan held her around the torso while the one called Brother Theodore wrapped his burly arms around her thighs to stop her kicking, knocking her off her feet. Between the two of them, they forced her to the ground.

Pinned helpless on her back by the muscular guards, Isabella could do little but squeal impotently into the rigid bit between her teeth while Sister Agnes calmly snapped the manacles in place. First one ankle. Then the other ankle, her leg stretched into place with Brother Theodore’s aid and forced inside an iron hoop two feet away. Then her wrists were shackled to opposite points above her head, leaving her chained spread-eagled to the floor.

As soon the guards released their hold on her and rose to their feet, Isabella thrashed against her restraints. They jangled before pulling taut, announcing the futility of her struggle with a bitter clink. The short lengths of chain allowed her limbs an inch or two of movement in any given direction, but no more. She was powerless to sit up or to roll over or even to close her legs, which were splayed shamefully apart, exposing her completely to the stares of her captors, who now gazed down on upon the disgraced Black Queen from high above.

Reluctantly leaving the Queen’s side with one last long lecherous look up and down her nude fettered body, the guards trudged back to the entrance, while Sister Agnes saw to extinguishing the chamber’s many candles and torches. She then joined the men at the doorway.

“Think on your sins, Lady Isabella,” said the nun. “Tomorrow His Purity and Grace may not be so gentle.”

With that the ornate wooden door of the interrogation chamber slammed shut, and Queen Isabella was left alone, chained naked to the cold stone floor in total darkness.

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