Queen Captured – Act III: Knight (scene iii)

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Eighth 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.

Atop the city walls, leaning over the parapets or even sitting recklessly upon them with dangling legs, Isabella got her first good look at The People.

There had been people, of course, here and there along the road down into the valley from the overlook where Sir Stewart’s company had stopped to rendezvous with envoys from the palace, to organize themselves for their triumphal entrance into the capital. But it was only when enough people were gathered together that their collective will became a political force worth manipulating. Only then, Isabella knew, did they cease being people and become The People.

As she trudged step by step towards the city’s West Gate, Isabella scanned the crowd arrayed on the walls. She squinted, trying to divide the undifferentiated mass, accented only by the white flags sticking up at random angles and intervals like monochromatic pins in a pin cushion, into its constituent groups and individuals. It was a futile task at this distance, but it took her mind off her feet.

The gravel road had given way to stone as they neared the nexus of royal power. Hard and unforgiving but far less sharp and uneven. A small mercy.

Despite the growing ache emanating from the soles of her bare feet, Isabella maintained a steady, brisk stride, matching her pace to that of Sir Stewart’s horse. She walked with her arms stretched straight out ahead of her, elbows locked, like a sleepwalker or a reanimated corpse. Her closed fists pressed their knuckles firmly against one another, fixed in their embrace by the coils of rope that wound around her wrists. It was the same type of knot that had been used to tie her hands behind her back in the Bishop’s chamber of horrors.

From one end of the rope fetters that spiraled up her forearm, a single cord snaked up towards her neck, encircling her throat before tying itself off in a loose-fitting collar. Besides preventing her from dropping her arms below her waist, the leash served as another token of her degradation. She felt like a fattened sow being dragged to market to be weighed and slaughtered.

Shooting out beneath her fists, from the other side of the entwining coils, a much longer length of rope connected her to the back of Sir Stewart’s saddle, secured astride the knight’s dappled white gelding. Isabella struggled to leave enough slack in the rope, lest the steed topple her with a sudden movement.

She was completely naked. As instructed, after pulling the captive noblewoman from her cage, Sir Stewart’s men had stripped her.

Word must have passed among the soldiers, for, by the time the door cut into the roof of the cage had been unlatched and Isabella lifted out like a sack of foodstuffs from the cellar, a small crowd had gathered to watch.  She’d stood compliantly before them, offering no resistance as the mangled remnants of her black gown were ripped from her shoulders, the dress slipping out from beneath her breasts and catching around her hips as the lacing on the corset was pulled apart, the entire elaborate costume slithering down her legs and pooling in a ruffled circle around her feet, helped along by the tugging and tearing of the men placed in charge of disrobing her.

Isabella glanced downward. Through the gap between her bound arms, she could see her nude breasts swinging back and forth in step with her forced march. Once more, she felt a warm blush tingle up her cheeks. Despite all she had endured since her capture, there was something strange and distinctly embarrassing about her current state of undress. Horrific as the experience had been, it was one thing to be kept naked within the dark confines of the Bishop’s torture room. It was another thing to find herself without her clothes in broad daylight, paraded down a public road toward the gates of the Kingdom’s most populous city.

She squinted back up at the walls, growing nearer with every step. The front of the procession would be passing through the gate by now, and the focus of the onlookers was directed downward towards the pageantry directly below them. She could hear their cheering and make out the white rose emblazoned on their waving flags, the emblem of her father’s royal authority, now usurped by Lady Joan and her corpulent consort.

On closer examination, however, there were those among the still-distant faces who were already gesturing towards the back of the parade, pointing in the direction of the splendidly-armored White Knight and the naked, barefoot prisoner he was towing behind him. The People had spotted her.

Years before, when her power in the Grey Lion’s court had been at its apex, she had been at the head of a council tasked with resolving the Kingdom’s financial crisis.

To address the crown’s mounting debts, King Harold’s minister of the treasury, Lord Baldwin Loxbury, had greatly expanded the capacity of the Realm’s mints, an achievement for which he’d been widely lauded, particularly among Lady Joan’s faction and their allies. When a scarcity of gold and silver ore threatened to slow production, the innovative minister had introduced the practice of fortifying their coins with tin and copper and other more abundant metals.

To the bewilderment and dismay of the King’s advisors, however, a new problem emerged. Just as Lord Baldwin’s new supply of cash began to flow into their coffers, there was a sudden, inexplicable rise throughout the Kingdom in the price of goods. The lenders they had relied upon to bankroll the affairs of state refused to extend them further credit and demanded repayment for the government’s debts in kind rather than in adulterated coinage.

But as alarming as the monetary chaos was to King Harold and his court, the consequences fell hardest on The People. From grain to lamp oil, they found themselves unable to afford the basic commodities of survival. Unrest swept the countryside and flared into violence in the towns and cities. Fortunately, the King’s ministers were able to swiftly solve the problem by enforcing strict price controls, but, no sooner had they done so than a perplexing new woe befell the Kingdom’s economy: widespread food shortages. Famine loomed.

Desperate, the Old King had commissioned an emergency council, granting them extraordinary powers to deal with the situation as they saw fit. At its head, he placed his elder daughter. It was an unusual position of authority for a woman, but Princess Isabella had the loyalty of the Aardmorian faction, whose political support and financial backing the crown needed more than ever in those troubled times. Besides, the fiercely intelligent young princess had been outspoken against Loxbury’s policies from the beginning. Perhaps she had the sound judgment needed to exert command over the capricious forces of commerce.

It was not quick or easy, but Isabella and her fellow councilmen, who swiftly learned to respect the princess’s talents if they hadn’t already, turned things around. There was hunger, to be sure, but the famine was not as severe nor as prolonged as it might have been. Credit began to flow again, prices stabilized, trade resumed, prosperity gradually increased.

Yet, Princess Isabella’s success did not make her beloved by The People. Whatever her policies may have done for their wellbeing in the long run, in the short run she had ended the popular price controls on grain and levied new taxes that, while directed mainly at the Kingdom’s largest landowners, were resented on principle. Cause and effect became muddled in the minds of many, and it became common to lay blame for the years of turmoil and the hardship at the feet of the Grey Lion’s daughter.

These misplaced grievances were stirred up and exploited by the Whites, who refused to acknowledge Lord Baldwin’s mismanagement. Isabella was portrayed as having manipulated her way to her position of responsibility and, once there, of abusing her power for personal gain. It was around this time that the rumors concerning her and her mother’s occult practices first started gaining traction.

It did not help that the beautiful young princess who would soon be dubbed the Black Queen had little patience for public relations. Though outspoken when it came to matters of state or military policy and unshy about asserting herself within the halls of the palace, she had never been comfortable drawing attention to herself in a public manner. Unlike her younger sister, she did not make public appearances or cultivate a public persona, and she certainly did not employ a network of gossips to burnish her reputation or slander her opponents. Effortlessly gorgeous and unapologetically intelligent, Isabella had always come across as aloof and uncompassionate where The People were concerned.

Now, though, they would have all they wanted of her. The snooty princess who had so selfishly kept herself to herself, who had arrogantly refused to court their adoration while ruling over them, now she would be subjected to public scrutiny more probing than she could possibly have imagined, whether she liked it or not. The noblewoman who had valued her privacy over the opinion of The People would soon find herself offered up on public display for their entertainment and their ignorant judgments. There was nothing she could do about it. She belonged to them now.

Isabella had put on a brave face thus far, burying her past traumas and future fears beneath the tangible, immediate struggle of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other. One step at a time. But as the city walls loomed closer, her courage faltered. Whatever diversions the parade ahead of her offered, the attention of the throngs who’d flocked to the West Gate to welcome the victorious White army was now unmistakably directed towards the procession’s centerpiece and finale: the dazzling figure of the King’s High Marshal himself, the gallant and glamorous White Knight, and, behind him, stumbling along at the end of a rope like a pack mule, a nude woman who could not possibly be the indomitable Black Queen, the infamous Lady Isabella of Aardmore.

She could hear them now. Shouting down at her. Or shouting down about her to Sir Stewart or the other soldiers. She fixed her gaze ahead, trying to keep her chin from trembling, keep her stoic expression from contorting into sobs of helplessness and humiliation. Her legs felt wobbly, and she channeled all her willpower into bringing them under her command. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. To aim higher than landing her next footfall successfully was to expose herself to certain despair.

Ahead of her, the haunches of Sir Stewart’s steed swayed in dependable rhythm with its steady, well-trained trot, the same rhythm that Isabella had been doing her best to emulate and internalize. Ten paces behind. No more no less. Meticulous as always when it came to matters of self-aggrandizement, the White Knight had emphasized these instructions multiple times, made her repeat them back to him like a condescending schoolteacher while she stood there naked before him, his followers readying to hitch her to the back of his saddle.

The knight’s costume was even more flamboyant than usual. His armor, plainly forged for ceremony rather than battle, glittered in the sunlight, and a long white cape flapped heroically in the wind behind him. Managing the reins with one hand, he kept one arm raised in a perpetual wave towards the spectators on the walls, rotating his palm slowly so as to diffuse the benevolent rays of his humble thanks towards The People.

Sir Stewart and his trussed trophy were almost directly below them now. The multitude of faces, hundreds perhaps, gawked down at her. There were too many voices, all shouting and calling out on top of one another, for Isabella to pick out much from the general clamor, but here and there recurring phrases would rise out of the background noise of boos and hisses: Her name, for example, or, more often, one of her epithets. “The Black Witch.” “Whore of Aardmore.” Curses, taunts, appeals to see her hanged or worse. Unimaginative observations about her nude body, remarking on the size and shape of her bouncing tits or calling attention to her shaved cunt.

Her heart raced, and, with the city gate looming and the temporary shelter of its stone archway drawing near, her stride unconsciously quickened. Her tether to Sir Stewart’s horse slackened as she hurried forward. Without thinking, she approached within nine paces of the waving knight. Then eight. Then perhaps no more than five or six.

Zzzzzzzz-CRACK!!

Isabella staggered forward with a yelp of surprise as an acute sting licked across her naked backside. Above her, the crowd cheered and hooted in delight, as if their favorite tournament combatant had just made an impressive tilt in the joust.

She looked back over her shoulder, impotent anger swelling within her. There, she met the eyes of Charley, the sadistic farmboy from the village west of the capital. Shortly after Sir Stewart’s men had stripped her of her clothes and positioned her in her proper place within the procession, the White Knight had arrived, accompanied by his fresh recruit.

He had dressed the boy in royal livery. A finely embroidered white tunic hung from his shoulders. Most strikingly, he wore a tall white hat, ringed in fur and with a gigantic ostrich feather running up the center and fluttering over the top. It was a grandiose costume, like the cupbearer for some emperor out of the distant Orient.

Sir Stewart had given him a thin, flexible cane of birchwood, the sort of stick used to drive mules and other beasts of burden. He was instructed to march behind the captive queen. If the prisoner fell behind or surged too far ahead (“How many paces, Isabella?” “Ten, My Lord.”), he was instructed to strike her.

With so much else to take in, Isabella had nearly forgotten the boy was back there. But the sharp pain that nipped her bare skin, making her involuntarily clench her bottom and arch her back even as she stumbled onward after the white horse, made clear that the lad intended to take his mandate seriously.

He returned her backward glance with a look of smug satiety, as if he had been waiting for this moment. His arm was still raised from the arc of his stroke, the thin wooden rod, nearly as long as he was tall, held high in his hand, still reverberating from the impact. When the cheers erupted from the crowds along the city walls, he raised his face in dawning exhilaration. He lifted both arms towards the onlookers, waggling his stick above his head, welcoming The People’s adulation.

“Well done, boy!” shouted the White Knight from up ahead, once the crowd’s cheering had subsided, “Mind your pace, Isabella! Ten steps! Not nine not eleven! If she forgets again, you give her another reminder, boy! Don’t be shy!”

Choking back a sob, Isabella turned back ahead, fell back a few steps and tried her best to simply march on, one foot in front of the other, making sure that the rope connecting her to the knight’s saddle stayed slack but not too slack.

They passed the city watch, standing at attention in straight lines projecting out from the wall and flanking the entrance to the West Gate. Their pikes were raised in salute to the King’s High Marshal and his triumphant forces. They had adopted a similar formation during the ceremonial inspections that Princess Isabella had made during her time at court, accompanying her father at first and then later on her own. It had been important to her to demonstrate her authority and to make her face familiar to a key constituency in the power games that animated the capital.

Some of those same men were here today, she had no doubt, witnessing her homecoming, leashed naked behind her cousin’s horse, to the city where she once held such sway. Against her higher will, she was unable to resist a quick sidelong glance. One of the guards pursed his lips as her eyes rose towards him in an elaborate, mocking kissy-face.

“Lift your arms higher, Your Majesty! We can’t see your tits!” one of them called out, to the chuckles of his comrades.

For some reason, the unprofessionalism angered Isabella more than the taunts. When she’d been in command, she’d have had these men flogged for such lapses of discipline.

As if reading her mind, another guard called across to his neighbors, “Lookit that stripe ‘cross her arse! Red as a raspberry tart. Musta stung fierce that. Discipline, My Lady! Discipline is the mortar that binds the Kingdom!”

With a dizzying fury, Isabella recognized her own words. It was a maxim she’d deployed for years, organizing institutions large and small, from her household staff to the multiple field battalions of the Black army. Now it was thrown back at her by a bunch of impudent rogues befouling the uniform of the city watch, as they watched her struggle to maintain a disciplined march upon threat of being once more whipped across her bare haunches by a preening little boy. Conscious of the warm flush smoldering across her face, she gritted her teeth and looked away.

“Lookit ‘er blush!” someone said, just as she stepped across into the shadow of the city gate. The observation made her redden further.

Beneath the stone tunnel, the sounds of the crowd grew muffled. The clopping of Sir Stewart’s mount echoed around her. The sound was joined with the footfalls of the flamboyantly costumed peasant boy behind her and the handful of soldiers who formed the procession’s small rearguard, and with the patter of her own tender steps scrabbling across the cool, shaded bricks.

Upon the sheltered tunnel walls, several large sheets of parchment had been plastered. Isabella glanced at them in astonishment as she passed, her attention caught by the sight of her own visage gazing back at her in the form of a crude woodcut. They were all identical, and she struggled to take in the text that accompanied her ink portraits, craning her neck to read the poster receding behind her before picking up where she left off with the next in the series.

It was her confession. Every slanderous lie she’d been forced to sign. The fornication, the adultery, the Sapphic orgies, the Satanic rituals, even her mother’s shameful fate in the afterlife. All disseminated for public consumption. Isabella felt a knot rise in her throat. She thanked God that so few of The People were literate.

A moment later, the parade emerged back into the sunlight. The roar of the crowd erupted full-throated once more. The sound now came not just from above, the same onlookers having run to the other side of the wall or else a whole different set of spectators now getting their turn, but also from the throngs around and ahead of her.

The narrow alleyways of the capital forked out in chaotic tendrils from the open square just inside the gate. In the whole of the city there was only one path wide enough to accommodate the plunder-laden carts and three-abreast cavalry formations of the White Knight’s grand triumph: the Palace Road.

The Palace Road sloped down in a wide arc, following the city’s natural topography, towards the central plaza between the cathedral and the guild hall. From there, it was a short climb to the gates of the Royal Palace, its fortifications looming over the city like a watchful benefactor, giving no hint of the extravagant garden and courtyards ensconced within. Unlike the filthy mud streets the otherwise criss-crossed the capital, the Palace Road was mostly paved and reasonably maintained. Yet, frequent potholes were inevitable on such a highly-trafficked throughway, and the road was by no means free from the hazards created by emptied chamber pots, those stagnant puddles that gave urban life its universal texture and fragrance.

Isabella could see the parade ahead of her snaking down the Palace Road. The masses had gathered along the road, standing in the doorways of cramped shops and houses or leaning out windows from the rickety upper stories that jutted out precariously above the road, forming a partial canopy over its narrower stretches.

Like the crowds on the walls, they waved white banners as they cheered the martial pageantry marching by. The white rose hung from balconies and fluttered over rooftops. A fresh wave of huzzahs seemed to crest as Sir Stewart emerged through the gate’s stone archway in all his knightly pomp. A moment later, gasps and astonished laughter mingled among the cheers. Far down the rows of rabble lining the parade route, heads turned. They pointed. Losing immediate interest in whatever sideshows made up the triumph’s vanguard and meandering midsections, the focus of the crowds swung inexorably back towards the prize that the White Knight towed behind him.

Isabella stood out from the rest of the procession. She walked alone as if surrounded by an impenetrable unseen bubble that separated her from the tight formations of soldier’s marching ahead of her or the rearguard behind her. She was bookended by solitary figures: the gleaming mounted figure leading her from ten paces on and the absurd, grandiose little attendant urging her forward. Isabella’s position announced plainly that she was the centerpiece of the whole affair. She was situated so as to call maximum attention to herself.

Willing herself desperately to stifle the tears of shame that seemed to be building to a critical volume behind the levies of her eyes, she concentrated on simply taking one more step. Then another. Then the next. As for the jeers and derision that rained down upon her as she was paraded down the Palace Road between and beneath the teeming buildings of the capital, she did what she could to shut them out.

Eventually, a step thwarted her. Distracted momentarily by particularly shrill heckling from a gaggle of women hanging off a balcony directly above her, Isabella’s foot sank deep into a crater of mud that marred the center of the road. At least she hoped it was mud.

Isabella stumbled. Only the pull of the rope kept her from toppling over, and she teetered from side to side across the width of the Palace Road, leaning back against the taut cord connected to her wrists for balance, knowing that if she went down, her body would be dragged across the jagged cobblestones until Sir Stewart saw fit to halt his horse. Her nude breasts, too big to fit through the narrow passage between her locked elbows, leapt and jiggled, jostled by the force of the tightening rope which jerked her arms upwards and outwards. Even as she battled madly to right herself, she could hear The People react to her peril, their cries rising in excitement and glee.

Finally, she found her footing. She straightened out, and the soles of her feet began to strike the stone path in a painful but regular rhythm. No sooner had the danger of capsizing abated, however, than she felt the sting of the cane lash across her bottom, its whizz and crack somehow cutting through the din of the crowd. Caught off-guard, it drew from her a high-pitched wail of shock and pain that she would never have consciously allowed to escape her lips.

The People cheered.

A sensation of piercing heat sizzled in a straight diagonal down her lower buttocks where she’d been struck. Her arm twitched in an instinctive urge to reach back and rub the tingling, exposed flesh, but the coils around her wrists foiled that tiny solace before it began.

Still fighting for her balance, she tried to adjust her stride to catch up with Sir Stewart. She wasn’t nearly quick enough. Perhaps emboldened by the positive feedback he was receiving from the crowd, her handler Charley decided a second reprimand was in order. Lifting his rod high in the air with a theatrical flourish, he brought it hissing down into Isabella’s nude backside, leaving its mark across the soft curve of her ass with crisp pop and forming an angry X where it crisscrossed his previous stroke.

This time, Isabella stifled her cry beneath a throaty grunt, even as the burning of the second welt rose and throbbed. Clenching her buttocks against the pain, she pranced forward to catch up with Sir Stewart. It was an awkward, degradingly comical little dance, and, indeed, peals of laughter greeted her from the surrounding doorways and balconies as she hopped gracelessly past.

The city grew increasingly dense as the parade neared the cathedral plaza, and the chatter and cheers of its citizens ricocheted through the cramped alleys, echoing down the Palace Road like wind through a canyon. Isabella tried to treat it like wind, loud but indistinct, something that could be shut out as she fought to keep her aching feet moving one after the other. One step at a time. Ten paces behind.

Isabella settled into a sustainable pace, eyes locked down and forward, ignoring the taunts of the crowds and the lingering pain that pricked her backside, trying as best she could not to dwell on the horrifying reality of being whipped naked through the streets of the city that should have been her birthright. Suddenly, something struck the side of her face. It felt like a wet slap. Her neck whipped to the left with the force of the blow, causing her rope collar to bite into her skin.

A fresh surge of cheers and laughter accompanied the moist smack of the impact, augmenting the general cacophony.

Isabella’s mouth hung open, absorbing the shock and the sting. Momentarily blinded and disoriented, it took her a moment to register the film of sticky goo that had sprayed across her cheek, leaving splatters from her jaw all the way up into her hair. Still scurrying onward to maintain her pace, she looked down and behind her to see a piece of rotted fruit lying smashed on the receding pavement, a distended brown mass that might have once been a peach.

Another missile landed near her feet, splattering mush up her ankles and calves. Another struck the road a few steps ahead.

Her sharp temper, so worn down beneath the incessant grind of her subjugation, swelled anew. Outrage swallowing her shame and despair, she scanned the passing balconies and rooftops for her attackers, but the peach barrage had inspired such widespread merriment among the throngs of onlookers that it was impossible to tell who might have actually hurled the fruit.

“Cowards!” Isabella screamed, her voice cracking as it squeezed out her dry throat. “How dare you! Worthless craven filth! You dishonorable knaves! Bestial weak-livered ma—Gaaaaaaaah!”

The cane crashed into Isabella’s bare bottom with a heavy Thwaaaaap!, sending her dancing forward in another clownish, high-step trot.

“Oh! Oh G-God!” she gasped through gritted teeth.

“Behave yourself, Isabella!” she heard Sir Stewart shout back at her. “We’re almost there!”

She was panting, her nude breasts heaving in the crook of her bound arms as she tried to keep herself together. She could feel the syrupy peach juice oozing slowly down the side of her face while, traversing the plump curves of her bottom, the bite of the birchwood rod tingled insistently. Still, she staggered on, the firm cheeks of her victimized buttocks bouncing in rhythm with her faltering stride.

Spoiled produce rained down sporadically, copycats or collaborators of the initial ambush. Peaches seemed to be the ammunition of choice, though some of the smaller bombs might have once been plums or nectarines. The People’s aim was unimpressive, and the cobblestone path around Isabella’s feet erupted periodically with the splatter of exploding fruit.

But a small fraction of the squishy projectiles found their mark. Something large and moist smashed hard into the small of her back, disintegrating into a burst of goo and leaving a thick residue that trickled gradually down the curve of her spine and pooled in the cleft of her ass.

A dripping piece of fruit bounced off her chest, spraying her in the face with its putrid-sweet pulp as it grazed the white hilltops of her tits. A moment later, a rotting plum flew towards her at a similar angle. This time, however, instead of glancing off the buoyant surface of her naked breasts, the plum sailed straight into the cleavage between. There it stuck, coming to rest with a wet splat right inside the deep nook formed by the push of her pinioned arms squeezing her bosom upwards and outwards.

Disgusted, Isabella tried to shake the mushy plum loose, but, with her arms locked in front of her, there was not much she could do. It stayed tucked between her tits, oozing its juices down her front.

Perhaps concerned that the mob might slip out of control, or at least that he might be struck by a wayward nectarine, Sir Stewart barked orders up the line, and soon their pace increased. Isabella had to jog to keep up.

Her aching soles pounded the stone street. Her breasts bounced wildly, jumping up and down against her arms (yet somehow the jostling still failed to dislodge the plum). Her butt cheeks shimmied in a frenzied see-saw, rubbing rapidly against one another with an increasingly sticky, viscous sensation, as sour peach juice continued to ooze down into her crack. Her lungs burned from the sheer exertion. Finally, just when she thought she could go no further, resigning herself to being dragged behind the White Knight’s horse following her inevitable collapse, the procession slowed.

The deceleration was sudden enough that Isabella found herself careening forward towards Sir Stewart’s horse before catching herself and falling back to her proper position. The boy with the stick, who had also been forced to break into a run, caught up just in time to whack her across the bottom, but it was a tired, half-hearted blow, and it barely registered.

The Palace Road was widening out into the large central square. The Cathedral Square was used to host vendors’ stalls on market days and for other civic events. The spires of the capital cathedral loomed at one end of the plaza, while the squatter but no less imposing guildhall sat at the other end.

Today, the square was filled with people. They thronged up the cathedral steps and under the arches of the guildhall’s long portico. As Isabella lurched out into the square, making sure to maintain the correct distance behind Sir Stewart’s horse, she saw that the White Knight’s regiment had also taken up formation within the plaza, guarding the wagons of plunder that now sat parked beneath the shadow of the cathedral. This was the parade’s terminus, then. Isabella flicked her tongue across her dry lips, wondering what was in store for her now.

With threats and shoves, white-uniformed soldiers maintained a corridor down the middle of the crowd, through which the White Knight gallantly rode, trailing his naked captive behind him. Up ahead, Isabella noticed wooden scaffolding rising from the center of the plaza. A stage had been erected.

A sea of menacing faces walled her in on either side, but Isabella kept her gaze forward, watching the elevated platform creep closer and closer. Finally, they reached a set of stairs. Sir Stewart dismounted. Unhitching the rope from his saddle, he coiled it around his arm until there was only a short length separating him from his prisoner. He then tossed it over his shoulder and started up the wooden stairs, tugging his prisoner up after him.

As she shuffled up the creaking steps, she glanced briefly behind her. Two members of Sir Stewart’s rearguard were following. The village boy with the cane had started up the stairs as well before being pulled back down and told to stay put.

When she and the White Knight emerged onto the stage, they were announced by the sound of trumpets, and the crowd that encircled the small platform on all sides erupted in wild cheering. Sir Stewart raised his hands high above his head in a triumphant greeting.

He turned back to Isabella. Dropping the coils of rope to the ground, he grabbed her wrists and pulled her close.

“You look disgusting,” he observed, examining her with a look of faint amusement as if noticing for the first time the fruit pulp smeared across her face.

Then, shrugging, he pulled a knife from his belt and sawed through the cords around her wrists. With relief, she dropped her arms. At the same time, the moldy plum she had carried tucked between her breasts dropped to the floor, drawing hoots of laughter from those in the crowd close enough to see it happen.

Sir Stewart grabbed the remaining piece of rope looped around her neck and tugged her towards the edge of the stage. Then, with sudden violence, he put his hand on her shoulder and shoved her to the ground, kicking her legs out from under her so that she collapsed to her knees onto the wooden planks. Her palms slapped hard down upon the lip of the platform, and she found herself on all fours, facing The People.

“Good gentlefolk and honest citizens!” Sir Stewart cried out above the noise of the crowds. “I give you . . . the Black Queen!”

A deafening clamor spread across the square. It was half joy and half scorn, as the gathered masses vacillated between booing their enemy and cheering her defeat. Eventually, a discernable chant gained momentum. “Burn her! Burn her! Burn her!” the crowd repeated. Isabella looked out over them in terror.

No sooner had the “Burn her” chant found traction, however, than it abruptly died down. A chorus of shushes made its way around the plaza, and the crowd gradually quieted down. Still on her hands and knees, Isabella’s expression changed from terror to puzzlement.

Amid the growing hush, she heard the creak of the scaffold’s wooden stairs. Slowly, she turned, just in time to see a head of blonde curls rise above the edge of the platform. The yellow hair bounced with luxurious fullness and glistened in the waning afternoon sunlight. Crowning the head was an elegant French hood trimmed in white and gold, radiating out at an almost perpendicular angle, like the halo of a saint in a religious icon or like the frill of a beautiful but dangerous lizard.

The lizard’s eyes found Isabella’s, and Isabella felt her stomach drop. She felt dizzy. The arms supporting her weight grew weak and began to wobble. She had known the moment would come. But not like this.

The regal figure stepped onto the stage. Her dress was gold and white, matching her hat, and embellished with what appeared to be pearls. Sir Stewart took her hand and delivered an extravagant kiss. She smiled and nodded her acknowledgement.

“Cousin,” she said.

Then, turning to the disgraced woman kneeling, filthy and naked on all fours, at the lip of the stage, she nodded again, with a faint, haughty smile.

“Sister,” she said.

No, Isabella thought. No, not like this. She opened her mouth to speak but found she could not. Instead, she merely gaped back at her sister, Joan D’Montefort, Countess of Cartreaux. The White Queen.

Queen Joan looked vaguely disappointed at Isabella’s speechlessness, but after regarding her humiliated sister for a moment, she pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows in the tiny equivalent of a shrug.

“Mount the prisoner as discussed,” she said, addressing Sir Stewart’s men, “I will now address the People.”

The two White soldiers descended menacingly upon Isabella. Taking hold of her shoulders, they lifted her to her feet and escorted her to the middle of the stage. Joan and Sir Stewart made room for them. Two squat wooden pillars were set into the platform’s center, each about four feet tall and set about three feet apart. A knot rose in Isabella’s throat as she realized their purpose.

One of the soldiers took a knife and cut the rope collar off of Isabella’s neck. Meanwhile, the other had fetched a heavy, broad plank from where it had been piled at the opposite corner of the stage. Grunting with exertion, he lugged it back to the parallel columns, lifted it high, and slid it down between them into a slot specially carved for that purpose. The thick board caught a third of the way down, forming a stout, asymmetrical “H” with the pillars. Along the top edge of the plank, three semi-circles had been cut, a larger one flanked by two smaller ones. The pillory, Isabella thought with numb despair. They planned to place her in the pillory like a petty thief.

The other soldier pushed her forward. He placed one hand on the back of her neck and was about to grab her wrist with the other, but it was unnecessary. She knew what to do. Rather than be forced into position, Isabella leaned forward compliantly, resting her chin on the middle hole and her wrists on the outside holes. A moment later, a mirror plank was slotted into place and slid down towards her neck like an executioner’s blade.

Isabella flinched as the two wooden boards came together with a thud. When she opened her eyes, the circles surrounding her head and hands had been completed. The soldiers snapped shut a pair of latches, locking the pillory in place and locking Isabella into her humiliating position, her face mounted in the middle of this wooden frame like a hunter’s trophy, her hands pinned comically by her ears.

The position of the pillory’s head-hole was barely higher than Isabella’s bellybutton. She bent her knees at first, squatting as the boards were being locked in place. After a moment, though, she realized that her legs would not sustain this pose for long and adjusted her stance. She took a step back, straightened her legs and arched her back. It felt utterly demeaning to bend over like this, presenting her hindermost parts to the segment of the crowd gathered around the rear of the stage, but there was no other option.

She looked up to find Joan looking down at her. For a moment, her half-sister’s benevolent, queenly smile widened into something more sadistic and gleeful, and Isabella could see the face of the bratty little girl who had tormented her growing up. Then it was gone, and the sober monarch returned, looking at the pathetic prisoner with detachment, pity even.

The White Queen turned. The audience had started a chant of “Love live Queen Joan! Long live Queen Joan!” but at the slightest gesture from their sovereign, they quieted. Joan’s high, feminine voice rang out, bouncing off the wide stone walls of the guildhouse and echoing across the crowded plaza.

“My beloved countrymen and loyal subjects,” she said. “The dark days of blood that have tried our Kingdom’s resolve are nearly behind us. The gallant Sir Stewart has returned in triumph from the northlands, having destroyed our enemies’ host and laid waste to their strongholds. Sir Stewart, the Realm thanks you for your selfless service. The People owe their freedom and their very lives to you. You will be rewarded with lands and titles befitting your patriotism.”

The White Knight bowed humbly. The People cheered.

“Reginald de Cassingham, Baron of the West Midlands has repented his treason and lain down his arms. The Duke of Aardmore, who we are told even now cowers in a mountain cave with his few remaining followers, has sent emissaries to negotiate a lasting peace. And, as you yourselves have seen, the faithless pretender who once called herself the Black Queen, that woman of such scandalous repute that she has brought shame and disgrace to the name of her father, King Harold the Grey Lion, has been shown for what she is. Let it be known that God has chosen but one king and one queen to rule over you.”

“Long live Queen Joan!” the People shouted before being quieted once more.

“Look upon the deceitful harlot who once thought to threaten this Kingdom,” Queen Joan continued. “What fool would pay such a creature fealty? If you good Christian men and women did once fear her sorcery, look now and see how her dark power has been laid bare. She belongs to us, body and spirit, now and for all time, to do with her as we wish.”

“Burn her! Burn her!” the crowd cried, but Joan held up her hand.

“Your pleas have been heard and are most just. The punishment for treason can only be death. But His Majesty and I have prayed on this woman’s fate and the Lord has filled our hearts with mercy. By law, Lady Isabella’s life is forfeit. And indeed all honors and titles, all vestiges of her former royal personage are hereby stripped. But her body shall be spared as an enduring tribute to His Majesty’s magnificence and generosity and compassion for the rest of her days. Henceforth, she is the personal property of the crown and shall be kept in the palace to serve us and to use as we see fit.”

This time, the cheering was more scattered and confused, as if the crowd recognized the applause line in the Queen’s speech but was not fully committed to the sentiment. A moment later, however, something picked up their spirits. Isabella felt the stairs of the scaffolding creak, and, a moment later, there was clapping and laughter and eager pointing in her direction.

The excitement seemed to be directed at something behind her. Unable see anything beyond the stout boards surrounding her head, a feeling of intense vulnerability tingled across Isabella’s skin. She could sense someone standing just behind her shoulder, and there seemed to be a strange warmth radiating across the right side of her torso.

At a gesture from Queen Joan, a man stepped into her periphery wearing heavy gloves and a smithing apron. A straight metal implement was in his hand, and it took the rattled Isabella a moment to follow the straight, black rod from the gloved fist wrapped around its handle to the tip that flared open into an intricate pattern of intertwining metal ribbons, all glowing a pale orange.

The smith held the steaming brand in front of Isabella’s face, rotating it as if to demonstrate its exquisite craftsmanship. With eyes like quivering saucers, Isabella watched its pattern reveal itself as it turned, the twisting ribbons taking shape as the elaborate petals of the Cartreuax rose, the sigil of the White King’s vile new dynasty.

The rose flickered pink and white and back to orange, and animal fear commandeered Isabella’s will. She began a desperate, futile struggle. She bucked against the pillory, shaking its sturdy foundation to no avail. She banged her hands against the wooden holes that entrapped them.

“No! . . .” she screamed. “No! . . . No! . . . Please!”

The glowing brand disappeared from view as the smith stepped back into Isabella’s expansive blindspot.

“By law, this woman is now royal property,” Queen Joan told the crowd. “Whoever touches her without the King’s express permission shall be guilty of trespass to His Majesty’s personal chattels. We shall display our trophy here in the Cathedral Square until Vespers. Look upon her and contemplate the might and the mercy of God and your King!”

There was cheering, but it barely registered to Isabella. Her ears were ringing, and it felt like the world was moving in slow-motion. The warmth by her right side returned, centered around her upper thigh. She kicked and screamed. Several hands grabbed her, holding her still. Someone wrapped an arm around her waist. Someone else gripped her right knee tightly with two hands, holding her leg flat on the platform floor.

And then, searing pain. Her desperate pleas became an incoherent shriek. One second. Then two. Finally, the brand was taken away. The burning subsided into a dull throb as the cool early-evening air whipped across the tender patch on her upper thigh, just below the cleft of her buttocks, where the brand had marked her. Her screams petered out into sobs. With a feeling of nausea, she became aware of the faint scent of her own scorched flesh.

Trumpets sounded. Queen Joan turned and, with one last smirk towards Isabella’s teary, fruit-stained face, she took Sir Stewart’s hand and allowed herself to be escorted towards the stairs of the stage. The scaffolding creaked as the White Queen and the White Knight and their followers began their royal recession.

Isabella was left alone on the high platform. The rigid grip of the pillory forced her to face the hostile crowd while, behind her, unseen, the rest of the masses were free to file by and gawk at her exposed body and at the King’s mark which still smoldered upon her naked haunches.

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Queen Captured – Act III: Knight (scene ii)

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Eighth Chapter of W.H. Collins’s dark erotic fantasyAll 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.

The main road had been new paved since the last time Isabella had visited the lands west of the capital. It was leveler than she remembered, and a fresh coat of gravel coated its surface. The wagon train made good time, and, by the time the sun had cleared the tops of the trees that lined the southward side of the road, they were already passing by farms and through small villages that could reasonably be said to fall within the capital’s outskirts.

Their procession drew considerable attention, farmers and townsfolk coming out to stand in doorways and lean against fences to watch the flapping banners of the returning White cavalry and their long convoy. Isabella tried to keep her head down, shielding her face beneath cascades of black hair, but there was nowhere in her small crate to hide, and, like a leading circus attraction, the sight of the caged woman in the elegant black dress, prominently drawn in a wagon all her own, became an object of special interest.

Several times, she heard exclamations as she passed, sometimes questioning sometimes insistent, sometimes whispers sometimes shouts, sometimes referring to “Princess Isabella” or “the Black Queen” but more often to a nebulous “her.” Head down, she could not see them pointing, but she felt it.

They had just moved through a village, its general hubbub fading, when a particularly close voice caused her to look up.

“Then how come she ain’t movin’?” piped a small voice right beside her.

Isabella lifted her head for long enough to see a small boy—or possibly a girl, it was difficult to tell beneath the tangled hair and dirt-encrusted face—trotting alongside the wagon, breaking out into a periodic run to keep up. Matching his (or her) uneven pace were two older boys, perhaps 11 or 12 years of age to her (or his) 7 or 8. Looking around, she saw that several other village children had been drawn to her wagon and were jogging along the other side.

At Isabella’s sudden movement, some of them jumped back, falling behind the wagon temporarily before scampering to catch up.

“See? I told you she weren’t dead, dummy!” said one.

“Is it the queen? How come she inna cage?” the smaller child asked in a high, wobbly voice.

“She ain’t queen no more!” said another child. “That’s the Black Witch. Isabella of . . . of Mardmom. They catched ‘er during the fightin’ up north. I ‘erd Tawny Bill n’ ‘em talkin’ of it at the tavern yesternight.”

“Nuh-uh,” another responded. “My Pa says she weren’t queen and never was. Queen Joan’s the true queen. Lady Isabel jus’ used ‘er magic so as some folks got confuse.”

“Where they takin’ ‘er?”

Isabella closed her eyes, trying to ignore the urchins’ shrill gabbling. She had almost succeeded in shutting them out, their sing-song chatter fading into background along with the scrape of wheels on gravel and the clopping and snorting of horses, when a sharp pain in her side jolted her into abrupt alertness. Her eyes flew open with a yelp of shock, and her head jerked upright, clanging against the bars. She scrambled towards the other side of the cage, away from the source of the sudden pain.

Isabella looked behind her wild-eyed. One of the boys was holding what looked to be a tree branch. It was more than half the child’s height, its extraneous limbs crudely broken off and its end whittled into a sharp point.

Once more, the children fell back in momentary apprehension at Isabella’s stirring. Seeing no immediate fallout from their companion’s audacious actions, however, they quickly regained their confidence, scurrying to catch up with the wagon with renewed enthusiasm, giggling and chattering excitedly now that it seemed like a game was truly underway.

Up ahead, the white-uniformed horseman driving the wagon remained focused on the road, having either failed to hear his prisoner’s scream over the general clatter of the procession or else willfully ignoring her distress.

The boy with the pointed stick approached the cage once again, flaunting his audacity for the benefit of his companions. Skipping along to stay even with the wagon while dodging the gravel being kicked up by its tall wheels, he leaned in as close as he could to the moving cage in order to take aim at the far corner where the exotic captive had retreated.

He poked his stick through the bars. The pointed end waggled in front of Isabella as the boy gauged where to strike. The young hooligan’s impudence awoke a dormant ferocity in the Black Queen. With a snarl, she seized the stick, snapping off the end with a splintery crunch. Grabbing the remaining stem in both hands, she tugged, pulling the branch hand over hand towards her.

The boy, too surprised or too stupid to let go, soon found his arm yanked through the bars. Isabella snatched his forearm, sinking her nails into his skin. She twisted his arm until he cried out. His face smashed against one of the metal bars, and he lost his footing. Isabella released him, and he fell backwards into the gravel.

Far from being cowed, the rest of the children seemed invigorated by this drama. They laughed and clapped their hands, dancing around the wagon. There seemed to be more and more of them, the excitement drawing them out of the passing fields and woods like iron filings to a lodestone, or else summoned by some secret communication network for grubby-faced truants.

One of the soldiers barked half-heartedly at the rascals to go home, but the children, well-schooled in gauging the toothlessness of authority figures’ commands, ignored him.

Isabella felt a pudgy forefinger jab into her back. She whirled around, but the brat had already retreated out of arm’s reach, tittering to his comrades. While her head was turned, another tree branch slipped through the bars on the other side of the cage and jabbed her in the thigh. She snatched at it, but it slid away before she could lay her fingers on it.

There was more laughter and playful shouting. Isabella realized she was giving the little hoodlums exactly what they wanted, and, in desperation, resolved to switch back to her failed strategy of non-engagement. She scooted towards the center of the cage and pulled her limbs close. When a child reached through the bars to touch her, she pretended not to notice. When another took aim at her with a stick, she did her best to deflect and dodge it.

This passive tactic worked not at all. Within moments, the threshold for mischief had been so lowered that even the young mob’s most timid participants felt they’d been given permission to score a point or two by touching the woman in the cage. And the ringleaders, seeing their social cachet diluted, began to ratchet up the aggressiveness of their attacks.

Soon, half a dozen hands were reaching towards her from all sides, prodding and groping. Some couldn’t reach, but a few of the older boys had arms’ span to spare. One of them grabbed a fistful of her gown. Another managed to get his fingers around the thin chain that drooped between her wrists. Isabella swatted at their hands, but as soon as she convinced one to relinquish its grasp, another seized a different part of her body. She screamed in pain as one boy, a lanky, red-headed lad with a lazy eye, snatched ahold of her hair and pulled forcefully, causing her to topple over on her side.

There were a dozen or more of them now, mostly boys, some barely out of swaddling clothes, some at the cusp of manhood with wispy moustaches and burgeoning Adam’s apples beneath the grime that universally caked their faces. The littler ones danced around the cart laughing, joining one another in rhyming nursery chants and darting in opportunistically whenever the chance to pinch or prod the object of their fun presented itself. The older boys, meanwhile, seemed to take their game more seriously. Behind their leering grins, their eyes were focused, fixated on pinning down their slippery prey.

“See ‘ere, Charley, you go round thatta side ‘n grab ‘er other leg,” one boy was saying, raising his voice to be heard over the rest of the swarm, whose sing-song patter had coalesced into a single refrain:

“Ol’ Black Queen! ‘Ere she come! Wif a stick stuck up ‘er bum! Picks ‘er nose! Smells ‘er feets! Lets the farmboys milk ‘er teats!”

The tune, plagiarized from an older song, was infectious, and the children seized upon the anthem with the single-mindedness typical to their age. When Isabella had held power, the insolent little ragamuffins could have been arrested for this treasonous disrespect alone, executed perhaps. Now, it was merely the soundtrack to what was becoming an increasingly desperate battle between the chained noblewoman and the horde of tiny grasping hands and leering faces that encircled her.

Isabella landed a swift kick deep into the elbow of a boy who was reaching for her exposed calf. It was the one called “Charley” most likely. The chain between her ankles limited her maneuverability, but, whipping her leg around in a tight arc, she managed to gather an impressive amount of force behind the counterattack. Charley (or whatever the little lowlife’s name was) screamed in pain as his arm bent the wrong direction, twisted between the iron railings of the cage like a pry bar.

“Ooooooh!” hooted some of the children. Others barely acknowledged the violence, too animated by their chants—“. . . Picks ‘er nose! Smells ‘er feets! . . .”—to let the distress of their comrade, who stumbled back into their midst clutching his arm and howling, shake them from their rhythm.

But they kept coming at her. There were too many. They had her surrounded. No sooner would she repulse one encroachment than another would close in from the opposite direction. To her dismay, Isabella realized her wagon was slowing. The children no longer had to jog as hard to keep up, and they began to reach through the bars with greater confidence.

Able to launch more sustained incursions from positions of greater leverage, their grasping hands became harder and harder to fend off. One boy scored a solid handhold around her ankle. At the same time, a set of greasy fingers had slipped between her shoulder blades beneath the neck of her dress, and she heard the material rip.

She lashed out, her body flailing in tight contortions like pinned insect, but the moment she’d managed to shake off the fist clenched around her ankle, two more hands darted forward, each gathering up bundles of black fabric from the flowing hem of Isabella’s gown and tugging her towards their side of the cage with all the strength they could muster. As she struggled to pull away, Isabella heard another tear open in her lavish costume.

Suddenly, the cart ground to a full stop, sending Isabella tumbling. Her child tormentors were also thrown off balance and released their grips on the captive queen’s clothes and body, stumbling away from the tottering cart. As the dust from the gravel road rose and settled, some of the boys turned back towards the cage, eager to pick up where they’d left off, but most stepped back, craning their heads up and down the column of soldiers, waiting to see what would happen next.

Sure enough, the White horseman who’d been pulling the wagon dismounted. Too distracted or indifferent while the caravan was in motion to deal with the little mob that had gathered around his cargo, he now stomped into their midst as if scattering a swarm of flies.

“Off with you now!” he growled, cuffing one youngster on the ear and reaching menacingly for his sword.

The children dispersed as the soldier waved his arms, but Isabella noticed they didn’t go far, hanging back just a few paces off the road.

She righted herself and tried her best to regather her composure. Assessing the damage to her dress, she traced her fingers up the long tear that began at the hem and forked off in multiple jagged directions as it rose above her knee. On the other side, a ragged flap the size of a deck of cards drooped diagonally across the front of her thigh, held on by a narrow edge. Her right shoulder and arm were bare, the black material of the gown falling in saggy tatters down her back.

Several knights clopped past her. There was activity both ahead and behind her along the road. Certain wagons were being rolled off to the side, and various elements of Sir Stewart’s retinue were rearranging themselves. Isabella craned her head, ducking to evade the low wood ceiling that obstructed her sightlines.

Squinting out towards the horizon, she scanned across a forest of spindly smoke trails. Such a dense cluster of soot-bearing plumes could only arise from the hundreds of wood-burning stoves and chimneys of the Kingdom’s capital, she thought. And, indeed, through the grey-black canopy, she could just make out the royal palace, sitting atop the Hill of St. Theobald, the city’s highest point.

As she was gauging their distance—at their current pace, they could be approaching the city gates within an hour—Sir Stewart’s page jogged up beside her.

“Follow me, sir,” he said, addressing the soldier assigned to Isabella’s cart. “My master has convened a meeting to discuss arrangements for our entry into the city. You are needed.”

The soldier let out a contemptuous grunt, as if he felt the arrangements for their entry into the city had already been adequately discussed.

“And who’ll guard the sorceress then?” he asked. “The White Knight’s already reassigned half the company to take care of those damned monkeys.”

“The Whore of Aardmore isn’t going anywhere,” the page responded, jangling the set of keys around his belt for emphasis.

“Seems to me . . .” began the soldier, but the page cut him off.

“I have orders directly from Sir Stewart, appointed High Marshal by the King himself, that you are to join him at once. How he provides for the security of his prisoners is not for you to dictate, sirrah.”

The soldier shrugged and marched after the page. Seeing him turn, Isabella was seized by a sudden dread. Glancing off to the side of the road, she made eye contact with the lazy-eyed red-headed boy. He was sprawled out on a grassy slope, a length of straw drooping from his mouth.

“Wait!” she called after the departing men, her voice soft and hoarse at first but rising in volume and clarity in proportion to her panic. “Wait! Don’t! Sir! Please! Wait! This place . . . It’s not safe! Wait!”

The irony of her position, begging her captors to stay with her, gave her pleas a strained, quavering quality. She scooted all the way over to the front of the cage, clutching the bars, watching them disappear from sight around a large group of riderless horses who’d been tethered together to a stake near the side of the road up ahead of her. She opened her mouth to cry out once more, but no sound emerged. Her jaw snapped closed in futility.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the village children begin to stir. They’d been milling about the woods beside the road, watching the activity or else resting from their chase on the side of a small knoll that rose softly towards the east. Now, in ones and twos, checking to see that the soldiers were occupied at the front of the line, they inched closer. Isabella whirled around. Everywhere she looked, they were closing in.

“Stay back!” she spat at them, scrambling around her cage for some sort of weapon, something to throw at them. Finally, in wild-eyed desperation, she raised her clothed arm in front of her. “I’ll . . . I’ll cast a spell on you! I’ll curse you all!”

A few of the children stopped, alarm spreading across their small faces. Some of them, however, apparently found the performance unconvincing. Or perhaps the swarm had simply developed a will of its own, transcending the individual fears and desires of its members. In any case, they kept moving forward, coalescing into a tight ring around the cart, and soon the boldest boys had their faces pressed against the bars of cage. The young rabble’s excited chatter and laughing began to build again, and the staccato lyrics of their song were taken up in fits and starts, fortifying the confidence of the mob.

“. . . Here she come! Wif a stick stuck up ‘er bum! . . .”

One of the boys reached for her. Isabella tried deliver a kick to his face, but she was thrown off balance by someone yanking at her dress from the other side. Instead, her foot awkwardly slapped against the bars of the cage, and another boy reached through and grabbed her ankle with both hands. He pulled it through the bars, knocking Isabella unto her back.

Her head slammed against the cage floor. Immediately, several hands closed in on her hair, seizing bundles of black curls and greedily dragging them in different directions, as if each trying to tear off their own souvenir. Isabella gasped, emitting a high, girlish shriek, the register of which sounded totally unfamiliar to her.

She raised her arms up over her head and began pounding blindly with her fists. One hand after another let go as she pummeled them from knuckles to forearm. When one particularly tenacious boy wouldn’t let go, she grabbed his hand in hers, struggling to at least relieve the pressure on her scalp. It was a mistake. Someone reached through the bars and took ahold of her wrist. A moment later, someone else had snatched her other wrist.

“. . . Lets the farmboys milk ‘er teats! . . .”

The boy holding her foot dug his heels into the gravel road and leaned back, attempting to tug her leg further through the bars. Isabella resisted, straining to draw her knee up towards her chest. She bucked and floundered on the floor of the cage, grunting in exertion, trying simultaneously to fend off the attacks above and below.

Meanwhile, as the older boys attempted to pin down her hands and feet, the younger children continued darting in and out between them, jabbing the noblewoman opportunistically with sticks or snatching at whatever loose bits of clothing were swept their way by the undulations of Isabella’s struggle. The tear in her dress opened further. A few of the diminutive creeps managed to get their grubby fingers on her petticoat, and this too began to rip.

In her fight to keep her arms and legs inside the cart, she was forced to plant her other foot against the bars for leverage. Another mistake. Before she could push against the side of the cage, try to yank her right leg free, her left leg was pounced upon. From her position flat on her back, Isabella’s head jolted up in alarm.

It was the redhead. Both of his grubby hands were squeezed tight around her ankle. When he saw her look up at him, he grinned broadly. Like many of the children, he was missing half his teeth, but, unlike some of the others, it was clear from the lad’s age that in his case the gaps in his smile were never going to be filled.

“. . . Ol’ Black Queen. ‘Ere she come . . .” he sang along under his breath.

She tried to jerk away, but the boy held fast. At his twisting and nudging, her bare sole slipped off the smooth iron bars and into the space between. He yanked her foot through, adjusting his grip along her calf like a mariner taking charge of the ship’s rigging.

Isabella now found both her legs sticking out of the cage, a single metal pole between them. The two adolescent boys pulling her forward shared a look, a conspiratorial smirk that also conveyed the boys’ sheer amazement at their circumstances, the twist of fortune that had dropped these long, slender legs literally into their hands.

Isabella kicked, and the boys were bucked about, wrestling for control of the royal limbs as if subduing a pair of ferocious serpents. The boy on the right turned his back to the cage, tucking Isabella’s shin beneath his armpit for better leverage.

They continued to tug. Isabella found herself sliding on her back towards the side of the cage, her dress bunching up around the bars while, outside, the soft white skin of her legs—still smooth from the most recent grooming imposed upon her by Sir Stewart’s camp followers—emerged inch by inch into the sunlight. First her calves and then her knees and finally the beginnings of her thighs, their supple flesh pinched ever so slightly as they squeezed between the metal posts.

They would have pulled her even further outside were it not for the children on the other side of the wagon. Isabella’s arms, crossed at the wrists above her head, had been yanked through the bars. Other sets of hands had reached into the cage as well, gripping her biceps and shoulders. Her body was now stretched between the two groups as if upon a rack.

“ . . .Picks ‘er nose! Smells ‘er feets! . . .” they clapped and sang.

Isabella watched helplessly as a grimy adolescent hand appeared from somewhere behind her ear and worked its way underneath the front of her corset. Apparently straining the limits of his reach, the unseen boy stretched his greedy fingers as far as they could down Isabella’s chest, groping and fondling as he went. Isabella turned her head to try to bite his arm, but a yank to her hair made her snap her neck back with an anguished cry.

Pulling and nudging and rolling, the boy managed to coax her left tit towards him, directing it upwards until it finally spilled out over the lip of her corset, where it remained propped in an unnatural erection. Now in nearer arms’ reach, several other young hands closed in to poke or pinch her nude breast. Isabella gasped in pain as one of them snatched her nipple between thumb and forefinger and gave it a sudden wrenching twist. Peals of laughter followed.

Meanwhile, determined to win their tug-of-war, the children on the other side of the wagon had managed to pull her legs through the bars all the way to mid-thigh.

“How come her thingy got no hair?” she heard a small voice ask.

“She royalty ain’t she, dummy?” answered one of the older boys. “Whud you expect her cunt to look jus’ like your ma?”

“Don’ look like nuffin special to me!” offered another voice.

“Hey, come’n take a look!” called another.

Isabella lifted her head. A group of children had gathered close to look up her dress, beneath which she was wearing nothing. They leaned in to gawk at her bald cunny, lying exposed just a few inches from bars, as if it were a sideshow exhibit.

A pair of them reached through the bars to grab the hems of the bunched-up dress and petticoat that were partially obstructing the view. They first lifted the material up towards the top of the cage, forming a billowing tent to surround the circus attraction that was the captive queen’s naked groin. Then, with a coordinated heave-ho, they flung it backwards towards the other side of the cage.

It was an impressive toss. The flowing black skirt fell around Isabella’s face, and everything suddenly went dark. The children on the other side of the wagon grabbed the skirt and pulled it further upwards until the upper half of her body was totally engulfed, drowning in black cloth, while the lower half of her body, from her belly button down, was left completely naked.

The feeling of total exposure overwhelmed her. Unable to see what was happening, she could feel the hands on her bare legs and feel the eyes on her bare crotch. She squirmed helplessly.

Through the partial sensory deprivation of her black cocoon, she could hear the muffled sounds of laughter and the monotonous meter of their ceaseless juvenile chant:

“. . . Smells her feets! Lets the farmboys milk ‘er teats! The ol’ Black Queen! ‘Ere she come! . . .”

The hands touching her legs grew more numerous and worked their way further upwards, but it took a moment for the young mob to overcome its apparent awe and explore the mysterious bits of flesh waiting inside the cage. Finally, amid a chorus of giggles, she felt someone reach through the bars and softly pinch her labia. This opened the floodgates. Suddenly, half a dozen hands were clamoring to claim a piece of the most private areas of her body, prodding her, squeezing her thighs, burrowing beneath her buttocks. With a sense of overpowering disgust, she felt one of their thumbs work its way inside her.

She moaned in humiliation, the shame of enduring such domination from mere boys bringing tears to her eyes beneath the suffocating blanket of her dress.

“’Ere! ‘Ere! Use dis!” she heard someone call out.

“Oh ho ho!” answered another, and there was the sound of general laughter.

The adolescent hands exploring her body withdrew all at once. At the same time, they pulled her legs further apart and forced them upwards, raising them so high that the boys grasping her ankles must have been holding them above their heads. Again, she tried to kick, but her range of movement was limited, and she couldn’t shake the little monsters off.

It was then that she felt an object, ribbed with soft bumps but otherwise smooth and tapering into a blunted point, press between the cheeks of her upturned bottom. The cold, mysterious object fumbled up and down the cleft of her ass until, finally feeling out a pliant slot, it attempted to twist its way inside her.

“Errrrnnnnnnnnnggggh!!” Isabella screeched from beneath the tattered encasement of her dress.

For what seemed like an eternity of discomfort, the malicious pack of boys probed her with whatever crude item they’d found, all the while laughing and chanting. They tried several times to shove the pointed object further inside her but were unable to insert it much past its tip. To Isabella’s relief, after a final rough thrust, it was removed.

“’s too dry!” she heard one of the boys shout. “’Ere! Spit on’t!”

“Yeah! Spit on’t! Spit on’t!” came a chorus of mirthful echoes.

Even under the layers of fabric, Isabella could vaguely make out the loud, theatrical noises of spitting. One after another, the children appeared to be taking turns noisily adding their saliva to whatever disgusting reservoir they were building. P’tooooo. P’tooooo. P’toooooo.

When there had been enough spitting to seemingly coat a whole arsenal of makeshift phalluses, the sounds stopped. Isabella held her breath. Then, she felt the tip of the object return, this time unmistakably slimy and slick. Her stomach churned. She thought she might vomit as she imagined the collective phlegm of these filthy urchins being smeared over and in her.

Their nauseating methods worked. The tool slid more easily, lubricated by the film of adolescent spittle.

“Ah! Ah!” Isabella cried as they twisted and shoved the object deeper and deeper, deeper than she thought it could possibly go, so deep that she could soon feel the knuckles of the boy conducting the humiliating intrusion between the cheeks of her buttocks as he continued to work with the small nub that still remained outside her.

“What in God’s name . . . ?!”

This exclamation of utter astonishment came wrapped in Sir Stewart’s unmistakable haughty tenor. At the sound of the White Knight’s voice, the activity in and around Isabella’s bottom abruptly froze. The knuckles withdrew, leaving whatever the juvenile thugs had stuffed inside her poking lewdly out.

A commotion followed, shouting and clanging of metal. The cluster of small hands entwining her wrists and pinning her shoulders and elbows above her head all abruptly released her. Like a drowning victim bursting through the surface of her translucent tomb, Isabella sprang upright, knocking her tattered dress out of her face with a fierce backhand.

All around her, the mob of children were scattering as Sir Stewart and two of his knights, swords drawn, circled the cage, boxing whatever ears and kicking whatever backsides fell within their reach. Isabella emerged just in time to see the red-headed boy, who had held tight to her shapely white leg despite the violence around him, ripped from his cherished possession as the White Knight grabbed him by his collar and flung him to the ground.

The boy scrambled away piteously, lazy eye wide with fear, gap-toothed mouth open with a half-formulated plea. In an act of almost casual whimsy, Sir Stewart snapped up a short, one-handed mace from his belt and, with an offhanded flick of his wrist, smashed in the boy’s skull. There was a sharp crack, and a slurry of brain and bone chips splurted off to the side as the lad collapsed motionless, face-down in the grass beside the road.

Sir Stewart pivoted back around towards the cage, spinning the mace absent-mindedly in his hand.

“Peasant trash,” he sniffed, though his tone carried a hint of reluctant admiration. “Leave a morsel of meat lying about, it’s remarkable how swiftly the maggots gather.”

He peered closer at Isabella, looking her ruffled, manhandled form up and down, and a smile of surprise and amusement began to build across his face that he made only the most superficial show of repressing. His knights joined his side to share in the sorrowful sight, both wearing similar expressions of restrained mirth.

Under their gaze, Isabella did her best to collect herself, head still spinning from the ordeal. She pulled her legs back inside the cage and brushed her frazzled and tangled hair out of her face. Glancing down at her left breast, still squishing out obscenely over the top of her mangled corset, she tried to stuff it back into her dress. When the hefty mound of flesh refused to cooperate, she crossed her arm across her chest before looking up to meet Sir Stewart’s eyes.

“How . . . How could you . . .” she croaked out, trying to stop her chin from trembling. “How could you let them? Have you no . . . no honor? No honor at all, Sir?”

“Deepest apologies, My Lady,” answered the White Knight, his smirk broadcasting anything but sincerity. “But, after all, mere children . . . Who could have known they would dare molest the infamous Black Queen, warrior maid, storied butcher of the Battle of the Fens?”

The two other knights exchanged a look of merriment that made Isabella furious. Battle of the Fens. Had these two been part of the White cavalry she had defeated in that savage engagement last autumn amid the marshes? She should have slaughtered every one of them.

She shifted her weight, and a sudden, wrenching discomfort made her gasp. An awareness that had somehow been compartmentalized amid the tumult of Sir Stewart’s bloody arrival now came surging back to the fore of her consciousness. Gulping down quick shallow breaths, her eyes flitted back and forth among the three men staring at her in amused curiosity.

She reached down as discreetly as she could manage and fumbled underneath her skirt until she found the blunt shaft protruding from her bottom. Unable to get a firm grip, she was forced to roll to her side and hike the dress up her naked hips. Reaching around her back, she dug her nails into the soft sides of the object and pulled.

“Uuuuunnnnnnngggggh,” she groaned as the saliva-coated shaft slid painfully out of her.

She held up the disgusting object to finally see what humiliating device her young tormentors had found to fuck her with. It was a carrot.

It was too much for the three knights. Seeing the captive noblewoman’s dumbfounded expression as she held up the slimy orange vegetable she’d just pulled from her rectum, all three burst into open guffaws. One of them planted his sword into the earth and turned away doubled over in laughter, so delighted was he by the former monarch’s distress.

Sir Stewart, however, quickly suppressed his grin beneath a mask of dutiful solemnity. He approached the cage and grasped the bars. Reaching through, he pulled a corner of Isabella’s mutilated dress towards him, shaking his head.

“What puerile imaginations these farmboys have. I worry for the morals of our Kingdom’s youth. Truly. And this dress! Imported! Impossible to replicate such needlework. Such a waste! Ah well. It wasn’t to be featured in my triumph in any event. Not according to Queen Joan’s messengers. But musn’t keep griping over Her Majesty’s micromanagement. The show must go on!”

Sir Stewart turned back to the knights. Though addressed to his men, his orders seemed more for Isabella’s benefit.

“Well, no harm done, it doesn’t seem. Proceed as discussed, sirs. Escort the lady from her carriage and bring her to the back of the procession. Secure her directly behind my horse. Per Her Majesty’s express instructions, her sister is to enter the city on foot and unrobed. Not the effect I had in mind, but it sends a message of sorts, I suppose. Strip her of her clothes immediately. I wish to leave at once. We must pass through the city gates within the hour if we wish to reach the palace steps by dusk.”

The White Knight turned to go while his men approached the wagon. Isabella watched them in trepidation, trying to process what had happened and what was in store for her. Realizing that she was still holding the carrot, she flung it through the bars in disgust. Suddenly, one of the soldiers halted and called out to his commander.

“What have we here? Sir!”

The knight disappeared beneath the wagon and came up dragging a shifty-eyed boy of twelve or thirteen by the scruff of his neck. It looked to be the boy whose arm Isabella had likely broken with her kick, the one the other urchins had called Charley. Sir Stewart turned back with a sigh.

“They really are like fleas. Crush as many as you like, you’ll never clear the infestation entirely.”

“Cut the rascal’s throat, Sir?” asked the knight.

The boy squirmed under the soldier’s grip but looked more peeved than afraid.

“We done nothing wrong! You actin’ like that’s a good Christian woman you got caged up in there and not Lady Isabella of Aardmore, inn’it? Traitor to the Realm and hagent of Satan besides, I heard. So wus the problem, Sir? Why, we were jus’ defending them innocent young’uns from ‘er magic. She tried to lay curses on us an’ everything! You can’t imagine how afeared we all were!”

Sir Stewart snorted, amused by the boy’s boldness. With the same air nonchalance with which he’d bashed in the head of the youngster’s comrade, the White Knight strolled over and sized the lad up.

“I may have a job for this one. What do you think, boy? Instead of having your throat cut, how’d you like to be in a parade?”

The boy nodded warily.

“Good,” replied Sir Stewart. “Come with me. We’ll have you fitted for something more appropriate to a royal triumph.”

Without warning, he unsheathed his sword and stabbed at the ground. Isabella and the boy both flinched. When he brought the blade back up, impaled upon its tip was the spit-covered vegetable that had been forced up Isabella’s ass.

“If we must march Queen Joan’s trophy through the streets on foot, I daresay we may need to employ the stick as well as the carrot.”

Queen Captured – Act III: Knight (scene i)

fobq_cover2

Sixth Chapter of W.H. Collins’s dark erotic fantasyAll 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.

“I’m to be given a triumph, you know.”

Isabella knew. The White Knight had not stopped talking about it since he had taken her from Evanshire Abbey, releasing her from the Bishop’s clutches and grasping her firmly in his own.

It was fleeting, the satisfaction she had felt stepping over the slain body of Brother Duncan and later walking past the similarly lifeless Brother Theodore lying in the hall outside the interrogation chamber. She was glad they were dead. She was glad to have left the Bishop’s flail behind and to no longer spend her nights chained to the floor of the Abbey’s cold tower. But there had been moments over the last two days, as the wagon train made its way towards the capital that she would almost have preferred the agony and fear that had previously gripped her to the aching despair she now felt.

“Acrobats. Moorish dancers. No expense spared. The Kingdom’ll not have seen its like in a generation, I dare say.”

Isabella knew all this as well. But it was not her that Sir Stewart was addressing. There was another man standing beside the White Knight, just outside the spacious canvas dome that surrounded her. A big man, both tall and fat. Isabella only had his silhouette to go by, projected up against the linen walls of Sir Stewart’s tent by the light of the campfire outside, but Isabella concluded that the shadow likely belonged to Baldwin d’Carrick, a local lord of the Vale of East Dentshire, where the caravan had camped for the night.

“. . . with a most exquisite saddle that’s being crafted just for the occasion. And monkeys, if you’ll believe it. Quite a collection of them, taken from Old Aardmore’s private menagerie. Say what you will about the Black Duke, he had an eye for curious beasts . . .”

As Sir Stewart continued to describe the grand celebration in his honor that awaited him in the capital, the flaps of the tent parted. The White Knight entered, followed by Lord d’Carrick, stooping to pass through the entryway.

“. . . But of course here we have the centerpiece of the whole affair. I just have to sort out where to place her. For maximum effect, you see, but without drawing undue focus . . .”

Lord d’Carrick made eye contact with Isabella. He appeared to catch his breath, hesitating at the tent’s threshold for a moment before following Sir Stewart’s lead and approaching her cage.

It was literally a cage. Stewart had ordered it constructed as soon as he and his men had ridden back into camp with their prize captive in tow, having sorted out at swordpoint the jurisdictional disagreement that had apparently arisen between the Tribunal of Heresies and the crown. The cage was rectangular, with iron bars sunk into its wooden base at intervals wide enough that Isabella could almost slip her head through. Almost but not quite. It was too short heightwise for her to stand upright, too short lengthwise for her to lay fully prone. So she sat or knelt or curled herself up into a ball on the straw bedding that lined the cage floor.

By day, the cage was mounted onto a wagon, and she was pulled like a circus animal along with the caravan’s other spoils of war, inching inexorably down the long road that led to the capital. By night, Sir Stewart had her placed in his tent, a spacious pavilion that the Knight’s servants filled with velvet rugs and other luxuries each night after the company made camp. He had arranged his wine casks and his tableware on top of the cage, as if the enclosure holding the Queen were simply furniture, an interesting conversation piece to entertain visitors.

He talked to her sometimes, particularly after he’d refilled his cup several times from the bar above Isabella’s head. To Isabella’s great relief, his banter seldom called for a response, and she was for the most part allowed to meet his japes and his self-absorbed proclamations with silent despondency.

It was a notable change from the repartee in which the two had sometimes engaged back before King Harold’s death. There had been no love lost between Princess Isabella and the young noble not yet known as the White Knight, her cousin once removed on her father’s side. She’d had no patience for his foppish excesses or his empty chivalry, and she made her disdain known at every opportunity. She’d spread rumors about him, and more than once their hostility had erupted in public verbal bouts that breached court decorum.

Though vain and frivolous, Isabella could not deny that Sir Stewart was capable of sporadic displays of wit, and before the war she might even have admitted to enjoying their spirited rivalry on some level. But that was before the Battle of St. Anthony’s Hill had established his reputation as a military commander of unquestionable brutality and, in Isabella’s opinion, a total lack of basic honor.

If Sir Stewart was disappointed by his inability to get a rise from his formerly feisty sparring partner, he didn’t show it. If anything, he seemed pleased, or fascinated perhaps, by his prisoner’s newfound servility. Even when he wasn’t lecturing her on the shortcomings of her battle tactics or discoursing on the minutia of planning his coming parade, he seemed to take satisfaction in simply putting his feet up and watching the silent Queen in her cage.

“Join me in a stoup of wine, My Lord?”

Lord d’Carrick did not answer. He leaned down to peer into Isabella’s cage, as if incredulous that the woman in the box was really King Harold’s eldest daughter. They had met on several occasions, and Isabella regarded him as a good man. He was tied to the House of Aardmore by marriage and would likely have declared for the Blacks if his estates had not been so close to the capital, surrounded by lands controlled by Queen Joan and her allies.

“Your Ma—” he began, before catching himself. “Lady Isabella. An . . . urm . . . an honor to . . .”

He trailed off. Sir Stewart thrust a cup of wine into the lord’s hand and then crouched next to him, staring alongside him at the woman in the cage. He clinked the wine bottle slowly across the bars.

Isabella adjusted her position, rising from a cross-legged squat to kneeling. Her corset squeezed her torso painfully as she did so. After so many days chained up naked in the Bishop’s interrogation chamber, it should have been a relief to at least endure this latest humiliation fully clothed.

It had, in fact, been one of Sir Stewart’s first priorities upon escorting her back to his encampment. Tsking his tongue in disapproval as she stood before him in his tent, her rough-spun penitent’s vestment hanging off her like a sack of turnips, he ordered garments brought befitting a lady of royal birth. To Isabella’s surprise, his men had immediately returned with several trunks of gowns and other elegant apparel. She could not comprehend what need a cavalry regiment in the field would have for such a wide selection of women’s finery. Only later did she learn the extent of the loot that Sir Stewart’s soldiers were escorting or whence it was plundered.

It was not the outfit she would have selected. She recognized the cut as one that had recently come into fashion, especially among young noblewomen who had spent time abroad, but the scandalous way it hugged her curves and the coquettish flashes of skin it revealed would never have passed muster at court in her father’s day. But she had no say in the matter. Sir Stewart seemed to enjoy picking out what she would wear, dressing her up to his liking as if she were some sort of doll.

Every morning, he would bring in a pair of female camp followers (prostitutes, Isabella was certain) to brush and braid her hair before placing her back in cage, ensuring that she looked appropriately regal as her mobile jail was wheeled across the countryside. Even her chains were polished and delicate, more like jewelry than like the heavy shackles which had bound her in the Abbey tower. A short strand of metal hanging between two bracelets kept her wrists close together. A similar chain ran between her ankles.

At least the dress was black.

“Queen Joan wished her sent ahead,” said Sir Stewart, tapping the neck of his bottle nonchalantly back and forth between two bars, “but I persuaded her to be patient. A cunning woman, our queen, but no sense of showmanship. Would have undermined entirely the suspense of my triumph, ruined the whole effect. It must be the city’s first look at the commander whose defeat has brought the Kingdom peace. The people will throng to see with their own eyes what’s become of the Black Queen.”$*Lord d’Carrick furrowed his brow quizzically, as if waiting for the Black Queen to respond. Isabella found herself forced to look away. Despite the fine black gown, despite the noble bearing that animated her instinctively, she did not feel much like a queen. The torture she had endured at Evanshire Abbey had broken something within her that was not easily repaired. A sense of powerlessness had permeated her, a lack of agency so foreign to her previous sense of self that she now struggled to retain a grip on who she was.

As shattered as her psyche had been, there were moments while riding away from the Abbey, the tower of its sinister inner sanctum receding in the distance, when she had tried to kindle the embers of hope that still flickered here and there within her. There was a time, after all—no more than a week or two ago, though it seemed a lifetime away now, before she’d been stripped naked in front of the Bishop and his men, before her body had been whipped and abused, before she’d been chained for days on end in the dark, violated repeatedly according to her captors’ whims—when this had been exactly what she had demanded: to be taken to the capital that she might negotiate a peace.

What Sir Stewart told her shortly thereafter was what had finally strangled these last fragile vestiges of hope, disposing of their mutilated husks to make room for the billowing despair that now stretched endlessly before her. From the moment Isabella had carelessly allowed herself to be captured in Malburgh Woods by the vile pair of White foot soldiers, she had been isolated. The White Knight’s boastful running commentary, as he sorted through chests of clothes and played dress-up with his new captive, was therefore the first news she’d had in days concerning the war’s progress.

The news was devastating. Shortly after her abduction, the White forces had managed to breach the walls of Malburgh Castle. Stewart had hinted that several members of the night’s garrison had been paid to open the gates. In any case, the castle had fallen. With the ancient fortress in their control, Queen Joan’s forces had quickly swept southward, burning and pillaging a path across the once-fertile lands the Duchy of Aardmore. Her uncle and his men had been forced to flee, and Aardmore Castle too had been ransacked and stripped of anything of value.

Meanwhile, the Black King had been surrounded. Cut off from his allies, his army had been cornered. Pinned against the sea and with White banners descending on his position from different directions, Isabella’s husband had surrendered. In exchange for amnesty for himself and his men, he had renounced his claim to the throne and pledged the swords at his command to the service of the White Queen and King.

In one spineless, selfish stroke, the Baron of the East Midlands, the old man that Isabella had married out of cold strategic calculation, had brought the conflict effectively to a close. The captured Queen felt her leverage evaporate. Suddenly, she was no longer a prisoner of war; she was a trophy of victory.

This news, as much as anything else, had knocked the fight out of the Grey Lion’s proud daughter. It was why she knelt silently on the floor of her cage as Lord d’Carrick stared at her incredulously through the bars, the White Knight smirking insufferably behind him.

“Between the two of us, it always seemed to me as if she might have the better claim,” offered Sir Stewart, continuing to speak about Isabella as if she wasn’t there as he rose to carve a hunk of bread from a platter of food that sat on top of the cage. “But then I’m no legal scholar. Something to soak up the wine, My Lord? This bread really is quite passable. Of course, you would know. It’s from your ovens, is it not? The crown thanks you warmly for your hospitality.”

Lord d’Carrick straightened upright, stepping back so that he could keep his eye on the caged Queen. He declined the outstretched bread with a mutter and a shake of his head. Sir Stewart shrugged and tore off a piece for himself, stuffing it into his cheek with relish. He then tore off a smaller piece and proffered it between the bars of the cage.

It was not the first time during her captivity that the knight had insisted on feeding her by hand. Isabella warily eyed the hand bobbing in front of her face in a theatrical display of enticement. She hazarded a swift sideways glance towards d’Carrick. Her impulse was to reject the humiliating offer, spit on the bread, bite the hand perhaps. But as the spongy white morsel danced before her, she realized how long it had been since she had eaten, and more primal instincts took over. She reached out for it.

Sir Stewart gently slapped her hand away, pulling the bread back. She had forgotten herself. Isabella’s anger and resentment flared for a moment but subsided with surprising speed, subdued in part by hunger. So quickly that it was one fluid movement, her hands tensed into tight fists, nails digging into her palms, and then relaxed, dropping demurely into her lap. Sir Stewart smiled and once more extended the tiny bite of bread. Isabella leaned forward and opened her mouth. The White Knight plopped his offering inside.

Glancing back at d’Carrick with a suppressed smile that might as well have been a wink, Sir Stewart tore off another small piece and fed it through the bars, straight into Isabella’s mouth. Tiny bite by tiny bite, the kneeling queen accepted the nourishment. She could only imagine how peculiar the scene must look to the knight’s guest: the notorious Lady Isabella of Aardmore, renowned throughout the Kingdom for both her beauty and her ferocity, kept like piece personal chattel in this army tent, clothed in a lavish if somewhat immodest gown while eating tamely from the cavalry commander’s hand like a baby goat.

The large nobleman touched his beard thoughtfully as, with a faintly furrowed brow, he watched the demeaning interaction.

“Shall I . . . Shall I send men to escort Lady Isabella to the banquet as well? We would be most honored to welcome her royal personage to our humble table along with the other gentlefolk among your party. Surely, this . . . this . . .”

Trailing off, he waved a meaty hand at the cramped cage, at the chains pooling around Isabella’s knees, at the small glob of bread pinched between Sir Stewart’s fingers.

“. . . all this is not necessary. In spite of all, Sir, she is the trueborn daughter of King Harold, is she not?”

“Nothing would please me more, My Lord,” answered Sir Stewart, tearing off another bite of bread. It bumped up against Isabella’s closed mouth, whose focus had shifted to the men’s conversation. After a few insistent taps against her lips, though, she opened up and accepted the food. “But it’s too dangerous I’m afraid.”

“Dangerous . . .?” scoffed Lord d’Carrick. “I assure you, my men . . .”

“I do not doubt your men’s competence, sir, nor their loyalty. But you underestimate the Black Queen’s powers. Sorcery and so on. You must have heard?”

“Rumors, surely . . .”

“I might have thought so too, My Lord. But she confessed all to the Tribunal of Heresies. I have the documents here . . .”

Sir Stewart set down the loaf of bread on top of the cage and picked up a roll of parchment. He unfurled it and handed it to his guest.

“Scandalous stuff. Fucked nearly every man at court. Satanic orgies with her serving girls. Tried to seduce her own father, apparently. But you’ll have to skip down towards the end for the truly titillating bits. Tasted the seed of the Devil himself, she says. Her and her mother both, on many occasions. It’s the source of the Aardmore women’s black magic, Satan’s gift for willingly yielding their bodies for his depraved pleasures. And those of his foul minions, whenever he chooses to favor one with the use of his finest whores.”

Lord d’Carrick blanched as he skimmed across the long list of admissions. Isabella doubted that he actually believed any of the ludicrous charges, any more than Sir Stewart did. But the signed confession had a momentum of its own. It would make it that much more dangerous for any would-be allies to defend or protect her. And it would be used to justify whatever sentence her enemies wished to pass upon her. d’Carrick stared hard at the line where Isabella had been forced to scrawl her assent and at the signatures of the witnesses who affirmed the veracity of the confession. Eventually, he rolled the parchment back up, looking down at the caged queen with a solemn expression full of impotent pity.

“Most shocking . . .” he muttered.

“Indeed,” agreed Sir Stewart, “So as you can see, the circumstances of the Black Lady’s confinement are strict but warranted. Who knows what witchcraft she might manage if we let her run loose, conjuring spirits and gathering reagents and whatnot? Summoning up one of her demonic paramours to her aid? No no, I’m afraid Lady Isabella will not be able to attend your banquet. She sends her regrets.”

Sir Stewart rapped his fist sharply against the top of Isabella’s cage for emphasis before pivoting back towards the entrance of the tent.

“But speaking of banquets, the evening grows late. Shall we ride, My Lord?”

The nobleman gave a sad silent nod before bowing respectfully towards Isabella.

“You have my prayers, My Lady.”

He turned and followed the knight out of the tent. Sir Stewart’s chatter resumed as the two men walked towards their horses.

“ . . . the bars are coated with holy water I’m told. And the frame is peachwood or some such. All quite resistant to enchantment. My scribe, Brother Joseph, supervised the particulars . . .”

Isabella listened as the voice faded, mingling with the other sounds of camp until it became indistinct. She shut her eyes and curled up on the floor of the cage. She tried to muster prayers of her own, but the words eluded her.

Sir Stewart did not return to his tent that night, having no doubt found more comfortable sleeping arrangements in Lord d’Carrick’s keep. When daybreak came, it was not the White Knight but his page who threw open the flaps of the canvas pavilion, followed by several soldiers from his regiment. Wearily, with frequent breaks to crack stiff joints and muscles, they set about dismantling the tent and gathering their commander’s things, his caged noblewoman included.

Isabella pretended to remain asleep, curled up amid her straw bedding, as the tent roof gave way to a pinkish dawn sky, the sounds and smells of camp suddenly washing over her unimpeded, smoke from breakfast fires and the shouts and clatter of men preparing for the day’s march.

She tried to think back to the last time she had passed through East Dentshire. The Vale couldn’t possibly be more than three or four hours’ ride from the capital, though the White Knight’s ponderous wagon train would obviously take longer to arrive. Even at this slower pace, however, their journey was almost certainly coming to an end. Isabella had no idea what could possibly await her thereafter, and her stomach knotted with the amorphous dread of it.

Sir Stewart’s troops were better disciplined than the pair of White peasant conscripts who had assaulted her in the woods. Aside from the lecherous stares and an occasional crude joke, they tended their prisoner with relative professionalism. Her crate had been loaded onto its wagon by the same four soldiers every morning since their journey began, and the men by now had their system down. Each knew his corner, and with no more than a gruff “hup hup hup” by way of coordination, they hefted the queen’s cage into the air and hauled it across the camp to its waiting undercarriage.

The jostling cut short Isabella’s stubborn feigned slumber. As the cage floor beneath her rocked unsteadily, she slid against the bars, rolling partly onto her back with a tinkling of chains. Before she could right herself, her enclosure was dropped suddenly into place, causing her stomach to lurch with the momentary sensation of freefall before the impact knocked her skull and the floor against one another with a resounding pop.

Isabella groaned and sat up. All around her, the camp was being struck: saddlebags packed, fires doused, horses mounted. The wagon carrying her mobile jail cell had already been hitched, and someone was already taking the reins of the speckled brown mare that would pull her down the uneven stone road that led to the capital.

As the driver whistled and the wheels beneath her creaked, Isabella grasped the bars of her cage and pulled her face between them until the iron squeezed against her cheekbones and temples, wondering if this would be the last sunrise she would see.

Queen Captured – Act I: Pawn

fobq_cover2

First 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.

Her hands were bound. As the Black Queen struggled painfully toward consciousness, the dull discomfort of the rope entwining her wrists and the unpleasant sensation of immobility penetrated her fevered dreams and hastened the onset of wakefulness.

The Black Queen? Yes, that was her. The realization was an important corner piece out from which she could reconstruct the jigsaw puzzle of her situation. Her mind still straddled  the dizzying precipice between lucidity and the unconscious. In that twilight where one’s sense of place and of time and even of self become disoriented and elusive, the words were a beacon.

The Black Queen. Yes. Even before her father’s death had thrown the realm into chaos, people had spoken in terms of the Blacks and the Whites. The enmity between the court’s two most powerful factions had a long history, but it was the succession issue that brought the divide into focus, turning what had once been merely a rough, color-coded shorthand into a more-or-less official badge of allegiance.

Black referred to the black cross of the Duchy of Aardmore, the clique’s principal base of power and where the Queen had spent many of her formative years during her mother’s brief exile from court. White might plausibly have come from Whitehold, the coastal fortress that had more than once been the site of political intrigue by the Queen’s half-sister and her supporters, or from the white rose that was a traditional symbol of royal authority. Or perhaps the label came to be used simply because it was the opposite of Black.

Whatever the origin, the symbolism was self-perpetuating. As the Old King’s health worsened and the camps coalesced, nobles and knights and churchmen across the kingdom declared their loyalties by flying their faction’s colors: black gowns and white banners; black ribbons and white cloaks; black armor and white lances. There were neutral parties, of course, counselors loyal first and foremost to the realm, who in the Old King’s final years begged him to name an heir and unite his fraying kingdom.

Sadly, the imperious and long-reigning monarch known as the Grey Lion had always preferred to keep the succession card in play, sending ambivalent signals and intentionally setting the cadet branches of his dynasty against one another as a means of exerting his will upon his unruly barons. By the time the need for an unequivocal declaration became undeniable, it was too late. The rapidly deteriorating state of the King’s mental faculties was an open secret at court, such that any proclamation could be plausibly challenged later as a product of the Grey Lion’s dementia. For this reason, his advisors ceased to press the issue, and the Blacks and the Whites positioned themselves for an inevitable civil war.

Lady Isabella of Aardmore. The Black Queen. Yes. It was her birthright.

She was well aware of the arguments to the contrary, of course. Some claimed the annulment of King Harold’s marriage to Isabella’s mother had retroactively thrown her legitimacy into question. If so, then Joan D’Montefort, the eldest surviving child of the Old King’s second marriage, the vain, cruel woman now holding herself out as the White Queen, who might seem to have a viable claim. Joan may have been younger—twenty-two years to Isabella’s twenty-six—but she had shored up her claim with a strategic marriage to her first cousin, the Earl of Carteaux, the ineffectual, porcine pretender known now as the White King.

But Lady Isabella cared little for what the lawyers said. The Blacks had their own lawyers, who had their own theories, based upon Isabella’s lineage through her maternal grandfather, the late Duke of Aardmore, and upon changes to the laws of inheritance wrought by the Treaty of Barrington, and upon other more esoteric precedents that they assured her demonstrated conclusively her legitimacy. It mattered little. The Black Queen knew that power did not spring from the law; it was the other way around.

As the sides had positioned themselves in anticipation of the Grey Lion’s death, Lady Isabella had been pressured into a strategic marriage of her own. The elderly baron now hailed as the Black King, unlike Cartreaux, brought no royal blood to bolster her claim to the throne, but he did bring 200 knights, 1,000 footmen and extensive landholdings located in key regions. It was not a match that conformed to her girlhood fantasies, but the Queen recognized its expedience. And whatever conjugal comforts were beyond the capacity of her kindly but frail Black King could be amply provided by her long-time consort, the comely Sir William Cantor.

“. . . the Black Queen.” This time, the words were not in her head. Someone was speaking of her, and not with the tone of deference to which she was accustomed. The intrusion of the voice upon her dreams made her newly aware that the force that immobilized her, pressing her thighs tightly together and wrenching her arms behind her back was not the warm embrace of her Sir William as she had begun to imagine.

Captured. That’s what had happened. She had been riding north at the head of a full mounted regiment to relieve the siege at the Black stronghold of Malburgh Castle. She knew the risks of the mission. Yet she insisted on leading the Black forces personally against the urging of her advisors.

If God had seen fit that she should fall before the stout walls of Malburgh, that would have been one thing. But the manner of her defeat was more shameful, and, as her mind struggled haltingly into the present, a deep sense of dishonor awakened, more painful than her dawning physical discomfort.

Foolishly, she had ridden out ahead of her main contingent. She had hoped to see for herself where and how the White forces were arrayed. They were said to be under the command of Sir Stewart, the cavalier young knight whose service to the White cause had been distinguished both by military acumen and by sheer brutality. If she could outmaneuver the White Knight on the battlefield, it might decisively change the war’s momentum. Instead, she was ambushed before she ever got to the ridge overlooking the castle.

Ambushed not by Sir Stewart. Nor by any other knight or castellan fit to meet a queen in battle. Instead, in her carelessness, she and her small company were set upon by a band of lowly foot soldiers. No more than armed peasants. The last thing she remembered was seeing one of her men pulled from his horse and slaughtered. Then she had suffered a blow from behind.

Her Magnificence the Black Queen laid low by a rabble of ignorant peons. As the shameful memory rose to the surface, she squirmed in discomfort. Again, the alien bite of her bindings twisted against her wrists.

The smell of campfire was in the air. A cold wind snaked its way underneath her dress and chilled her bones. Her head aching and her arms stiff from confinement, the Black Queen finally opened her eyes.

She was in a small clearing, dense woods pressing in all around. Her body was propped up against a tree trunk. It was night, and, aside from the dim moonlight creeping its way through the foliage overhead, the only illumination emanated from a fire, which cast eerie shadows over the thick layer of pine needles that covered the forest floor.

Tending the fire, which had been built in the center of the clearing a little more than ten feet from where the Queen lay, was a figure in what had once clearly been a white uniform, though the jacket was so heavily caked in soot and grime that it almost reminded the Queen of her own soldiers’ livery. As the figure leaned in to stoke the flames, the Black Queen could discern the details of his leathery face. He had the grizzled, pockmarked look that was a badge of his serfdom.

Suddenly, the soldier looked over at her. The Queen tried to shut her eyes, but it was too late.

“Hey, Nollie!” she heard him hiss, “Her majesty’s up from ‘er nap!”

Opening her eyes once again, she saw a second soldier, equally dirty and disreputable, emerge from the darkness carrying an armload of firewood. He dumped it unceremoniously by the fire and joined his comrade staring in the Queen’s direction.

“Wha’? Are you sure she’s up, Red? I can’t see er eyes…”

“Sure sure. I jus saw er move,” replied Red, “Hey, yer majesty! So nice ‘o you ta join us!”

It was time to confront her fate, and the Black Queen gathered her courage. With a small groan, she did her best to pull herself up into a sitting position. Using the tree to take most of her weight, she raised her chin and fixed her captors with her most regal look.

“You there! What lord do you serve?” she demanded.

The two soldiers looked at each other. Red took off his dingy white cap to reveal a gray and patchy mat of hair that left no clue as to the origins of his name. Nollie, several decades his junior and some two feet his superior, scratched his facial scruff nervously.

“What lord you reckon we serve, Nol?” Red said. “I meself grew up on the estates of Lord Gascon, but that was before the Old King stripped ‘im of ‘is lands an’ granted ‘em to the Earl of Tallybrook. Now Tallybrook married ‘is daughter to some nephew of ‘Ouse of Cartreaux as best I understan’ . . .”

“You will unbind me at once,” the Queen interrupted in exasperation. “You will bring me at once to your commanding officer that we may discuss terms.”

“Oh,” Red responded, knitting his brow and nodding slowly in showy consideration of the Queen’s words, “So that’s what we will do. You get all that, Nollie?”

Nollie simply looked nervously back and forth between Red and the Queen.

“I’m sure glad you woke up, Yer Majesty, to tell we aimless pawns what we will do. Why, I was jus’ wondering what I will do. Wasn’ I, Nol?”

Red cautiously sauntered closer to the Queen, making an awkward snuffling noise that might have been some sort of a chuckle. He stopped just short of where she lay, propped up in her uncomfortable half-sitting position, and examined her. His eyes glazed over, transfixed in wonder. The Queen squirmed, causing the ropes wrapped round her legs to dig painfully into her thighs.

She looked up, and, for a brief instant, the Queen saw herself reflected in the peasant’s yellowing, sunken eyes. It was said she was a beautiful woman, the most beautiful in the realm if her flatterers were given any credence at all. But even her detractors could not deny her striking, delicate features nor the way her intense green eyes were set off by stunning cascades of dark black hair, creating a face that had inspired a hundred poems.

And her body. Her body had captured the attention of every man at court. Her corsets could barely contain her ample chest, and many a male courtier and ambassador had longed to glimpse the long legs and shapely bottom that were no doubt contained underneath the flowing black gowns she always favored.

At the moment, however, that flowing black gown was covered in pine needles, and that near-to-bursting corset was threatening to suffocate her. As the Black Queen looked up at the rough face of her captor, she felt herself recoil. Her shame and anger were joined by the first hints of an emergent panic.

“Well? Release me, footman. I am the trueborn daughter of King Harold the Grey Lion and his rightful heir. Do you understand?  I wish to speak to your superiors. You marched on Malburgh with the butcher Sir Stewart, yes? I would treat with the White Knight at once. Take me to him. I will not wait on the morrow.”

Red let out a low whistle.

“We’d ‘eard that the Black Queen was a pretty one, but the stories don’t do it no justice. Ain’t that right, Nollie?”

“She’s pretty all right, Red,” Nollie agreed.

Red crouched down and brought his haggard face within inches of the Queen’s. The smell of onions and roasted forest animal clung to his breath.

“How about a liddle kiss for ol’ Red, Yer Majesty? It gets awful lonely out ‘ere on patrol, it does.”

The Queen felt as she might vomit, but, instead, she spit. Gathering what little moisture she could from her parched mouth, she managed to land a modest gob of saliva just below Red’s eye.

“You will release me at once! I shall report the disrespect you have shown me to your commander!” she said, her tone of command undercut by a faint note of hysteria. “I shall . . .! You will . . . !”

“Nasty nasty. Wut kinda manners is they teachin’ at the palace nowdays?”

“Even I knows better than tuh spit on people, Red,” contributed Nollie, still standing several feet away, fiddling nervously with his coat buttons.

The impertinence of these common soldiers was now beyond all belief. She itched with the urge to land a blow across this arrogant peon’s cheek with the back of her hand, a move she had honed to stinging perfection over the years on her own servants, and reflexively she attempted to rise. Immediately, her ropes squeezed, and she rocked back against the tree with a thud.

As she lay there, her muscles quaking with fury, Red placed his hand on her knee and bent forward to place a wet kiss on her collarbone, which protruded ever so slightly from the ruffled neckline of her gown. Queen Isabella’s eyes went wide in complete disbelief.

“You-… I’ll have you-… you’ll be lashed for this!… Lashed, do you hear?!” she sputtered, struggling to squirm away from the defiling touch of this upstart Pawn.

“Lashed? Oh yes, I’ve been lashed before,” responded Red with a toothy grin.

“Yeah, me too, Red!” contributed Nollie, “Yuh don’t serve wif Sir Stewart’s men too long without takin’ a lashing or two.”

Red grabbed one of the Queen’s ankles and gave it a sharp tug, pulling her roughly away from the tree. Her head hit the soft dirt with a gentle bump and a crackle of leaves. Her pinioned arms twisted beneath her, eliciting from her a yelp of pain. Red stood over the Black Queen with a foot on either side of her torso, preventing her from wriggling away.

“You see? We’re lashing hexperts, you might say. Why, once, when I was a boy, the old Duke of Aardmore, your grandfather if I know me noble fammy trees, he n’ his house was guests of Lord Gascon. To shorten what’s a might lengthy story, I got caught peepin’ on the Lady Aardmore when she was at her bath. The Duke had me lashed like I never been before and since. Lashed me Ma and Pa and me old Nana too for me wicked upbringing while he was at it. And me Pa never was the same from that day. Oh I been lashed no denying.”

The pockmarked old footman sluffed off his coat and tossed it over by the fire. He untucked his shirt from his trousers and raised it to demonstrate. Indeed, his skin was marked by a latticework of long, beveled scars. He let his shirt drop and leaned down towards the bound noblewoman at his feet.

“Question is: Have you ever been lashed, Yer Majesty?”

The Queen was so stunned she stopped struggling for a moment.

“Have I-. . . Lashed? I most certainly have not, you filthy cur! You- You shall release me if you wish to keep your heads!”

“Never had to take a bit of the lash, eh? Well no wonder yer manners hain’t fittin’ a proper young lady. Yer daddy good King Harold hadn’t time to take you cross ‘is knee give that arrogant royal bottom a lesson, that it? Nor your granddad the Duke, may the son of a whore get buggered in ‘ell, ‘e too captivated by ‘is pretty Black Princess to take a rod to ‘er backside when she needed it?”

Rage was convulsing her, and, as her breathing escalated, she feared she might suffocate in her tight corset.

“How-…” she panted, “How-… How dare you!”

Before she could continue, however, Red grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her violently to her feet. Nollie joined him, and, between the two of them, they lifted her and pinned her face-first against the tree trunk. With Nollie holding her securely, Red undid the rope around her wrists, only to retie them on the other side of the tree as Nollie pressed against her back, holding her helpless and immobile.

Then, Red undid the knots by her thighs and unwound the rope that held her legs together. The Queen tried to kick, but between the two soldiers they were able to neutralize her while Red tied both her ankles tightly to the tree, fixing them on opposite sides of the trunk and spreading her legs slightly apart. Another stretch of rope was wound around her torso, just above her hips and knotted tightly on the other side of the tree.

The Black Queen was in agony, her arms pulled taught around the tree and her face and body squished forcibly against the bark. She began to scream, hurling incoherent curses.

“Nollie, do something about that noise, huh? Nobody around to hear it, but I don’ wanna go deef…”

Nollie found a strip of filthy cloth, a greasy rag that was probably used to clean the cooking gear. Red took it and forced it into the Queen’s mouth. With difficulty, he managed to wedge it in between her teeth and tie it around her head, muffling her cries of outrage.

“Spittin’ on good honest folks,” said Red. “Callin’ ‘em all sorts of nasty names. Where I was raised, that’d be more’nuff to earn Yer Majesty ‘er first taste o’ the lash. Yer lucky you ran into us, M’lady. You should hear the stories that’re spreadin’ bout your bo-have-i-or. A firm punishment, like yer daddy outta given you long time ago. I’d say that’s jus’ what you needa turn yer life round. Why, yer gonna thank us when this is done. . .”

The Queen’s head swam. What was this vile peasant suggesting? He wouldn’t dare raise his filthy hand to someone of her birth. She was a prisoner, perhaps, but a royal prisoner. White or Black, any lord who found out what this lowborn thug had threatened would surely see him hanged, drawn and quartered. She strained her neck to look behind her and tried to shout these same observations back at her deluded captors, but the angry words were muffled by the rag in her mouth.

“Hey, Red. I broke off a piece of this here birch. Think this’ll do?”

Nollie handed Red a branch, from which he’d stripped most of leaves. It was two feet long and about half an inch in diameter at its fattest part. Red stripped off a few more leaves and imperfections before whipping it around experimentally. The Queen flinched at the whizzing noise she heard it make.

“Ooooh… I’m gonna injoy this, Yer Majesty,” Red said, wheezing with excitement, “me n’ Nollie here are gonna teach you some manners. We’ll see how high n’ mighty you act after you’re through with your liddle punishment…”

Even now, the Queen’s mind refused to process her predicament. Did they really mean to strike her with that crude branch? Never in her life had someone dared lay hands on her royal person in such a fashion. And to have such brutality justified as “punishment” was an affront too humiliating to bear. These White thugs could not possibly follow through with what they were implying: the rightful queen of the realm tied down and whipped like a servant or a schoolchild? It was unthinkable.

“Well… I’d say this is a rod fit for a royal behind.”

“Oh! Can we pull up her dress, Red?” asked Nollie, practically sputtering in excitement. “We can pull up her dress can’t we? When they whip the serving girls at the manor, they pull up theirs dresses. I seen it! Make them take off their dainties too! Yes I seen it plenty times! Bottoms just shaking out in the wind, naked as God made em. I seen em, Red!”

“You must think I’m a village idiot, Nollie. Wouldn’t be no proper punishment otherwise, now would it? You go ‘elp ‘er Majesty’s naughty liddle arse get ready to taste this ‘ere birch.”

The Queen gasped into her gag at hearing this exchange. The taller, younger soldier eagerly bounded over to the tree and bent down to grab the hem of the Queen’s skirt. Her eyes grew wide and she began to struggle, bucking and tugging against her bonds. Some of the dress was wedged in between her calves and the rope, but Nollie soon freed the material and began to shimmy it upwards, exposing the gauzy chemise that she wore underneath. He took a moment to feel the soft, thin fabric, rolling it reverently between thumb and forefinger, before tugging it upwards after the dress, bringing the Queen’s bare legs into view inch by inch. Isabella collapsed against the tree in helplessness, fighting against the tears of frustration welling up in her eyes.

As the footman pulled her dress up higher, he encountered the silk undergarments that Isabella wore for horseback riding. They were exuisitely tailored, their frilled edges circling tightly around her hips and thighs. The men paused in curiosity at the sight.

“Well, would you look at them fancy little bloomers,” laughed Red, “tuck that dress up so’s it don’t fall down, Nollie, then let’s ‘ave a look’t what Er Majesty hides beneef dem drawers…”

No instruction was necessary. Nollie had already bunched the skirt up and secured it well above the Queen’s waistline and was reaching eagerly for the string that tied her underwear. Though she struggled mightily against her restraints, the proud monarch was unable to prevent the gangly footman from loosening the knot and then, to her utter dismay, yanking them down to her knees.

The Black Queen moaned in shame through the rag between her teeth. Even in the royal bedroom, her body was seldom so exposed. She felt the cold night air whip across her naked skin, its violating caress circling the firm round orbs of her buttocks, down to the backs of her knees and then up the inside of her thigh to stroke her womanhood with its chilly touch. Never had her body been put on display in this fashion, its private curves mounted in the open air for the pleasure of strangers.

The two White soldiers stepped back to admire. Before them was an object of beauty to which nothing in their miserable lives could compare. The drooping, birthmarked asses of the whores down at the Hart’s Head Tavern could not possibly have prepared them for the long aristocratic legs or the perky royal bottom tied helplessly to the tree in front of them.

Red gave a whistle of appreciation.

“Anyone ever tell you you’ve got a damn pretty rump, Yer Ighness? Seems a shame we’ve gotta mark it up like this, but then how else you gonna learn your lesson and come out of this a good little princess, eh?”

As Isabella struggled against her bindings, she felt the rough bark of the tree rub against her naked crotch. It was a completely alien sensation and reinforced the abject humiliation of her situation.

Red stepped up to her and whipped his wooden rod through the air. With a flourish, he brought the stripped birch squarely down in the middle of the Black Queen’s captive ass.

Whizzzz. CRACK!

The Queen let out a gagged shriek. She had not been prepared for this sudden assault. The sting that the supple wood rod left in its wake overwhelmed her.

“Now, thas one, Yer Maj. Yer gonna take five more jus’ like that so’s you’ll learn better behavior. Then, I promise, me n’ Nollie will show that royal arse some better treatment…”

Whizzzzz. CRACK!

Another shriek. Nollie giggled and clapped.

Whizzzzz. CRACK!

The shock of the impact made the Queen jump, almost rising off her feet. Her naked thighs and cunt scraped against the cold tree. Pain, fear and humiliation pushed her breath from her in violent sobs, choked by the rag crumpled inside her mouth.

Whizzzzz. CRACK! CRACK!

Red gave her two swift lashes as she squirmed left and right trying to avoid the blows.  Deep red lines began to emerge across the Queen’s pale ass cheeks.

Whizzzzz. CRACK!

A tear rolled down Isabella’s face. Her posterior in agony, her arms aching from her restraints, the Black Queen felt she would gladly accept any death rather than endure this torment any further. To think that she, the rightful sovereign of the entire Kingdom, should find herself tied to a tree, her silk underwear pulled down around her knees, having her naked buttocks beaten by a pair of filthy foot soldiers. It was insupportable.

“There now, Yer ‘Ighness. Don’t cry. It’s all over. But I ‘ope you learnt your lesson. Sumptimes even queens get a bit naughty and gotta be punished. Ain’t tha’ right, Nollie?”

“Can I touch ‘er bottom now, Red?”

The Black Queen did not hear an answer, but she did feel one. With a noisy crunching of leaves, Nollie scurried up behind her and placed his palms over her sore and throbbing cheeks. With a moan of pleasure, he began to trace the circumference of the two luscious globes, rubbing her ass down with his outspread hands in large, circular motions.

Overcome by shame and indignation, the Queen could only shut her eyes as Nollie continued his frantic exploration of her naked bottom. He began to knead and squeeze her cheeks, pushing them up and down, back and forth, playing with the Queen’s buttocks like a hyperactive child playing with a new toy.

Nollie gave his plaything a few light slaps before resuming his eager manipulation. He squeezed her ass cheeks together, then pulled them apart, exposing her more fully to the cold night air. The Queen shivered from the shock.

“Ohhhhh…” breathed Nollie, peering down at the pucker of her asshole. “Red! Red! Can I?” The Queen froze. Behind her, Nollie was making eager slurping sounds as, in near-ecstasy, he began to lick his index finger up and down.

In a moment of sheer horror, the Queen felt a single, slimy finger graze its way down her crack and come to rest just outside her anus. Her eyes opened wide as it began to twist, pushing its way inside her with a slow insistence. She wanted to scream and kick, but the best she could manage were muffled cries and a frantic bucking of her lower body that only pushed the finger in deeper.

“Ohhhh-ho…”

As Nollie’s right hand invaded her asshole, his left hand continued to knead the fleshy cheeks that surrounded it. He gave her a few playful slaps and worked his finger in deeper. A few feet behind them, Red was laughing.

“Oh, if only yer ladies’n-waiting could see you now, Yer Majesty. Tied to a tree with a finger up yer bum! How’s she treatin’ you, Nollie?”

Nollie was grinning from ear to ear.

“Jus’ fine, Red. Oh, she’s a pretty one. Real pretty.”

“You’d bes’ loosen up and let ol’ Nollie in, Yer Maj, or you’ll be gettin’ another taste of the switch…”

To illustrate his point, Red walked up beside her and began to deliver a series of stinging blows with the palm of his hand to her already-tender ass. The Queen bit down hard on the dish rag between her teeth. Meanwhile, Nollie had worked his finger in almost up to the knuckle.

“Awright, Nol. The Queen’s had her punishment. You’ve had yer fun. I think it’s time she showed us some royal treatment, doncha think?”

“Oh, sure, Red. Sure.”

Nollie pulled his finger out of her ass and walked around to the front of the tree, where he began untying the Queen’s wrists. As soon as her arms were free, she began to fight, but the footman was too strong for her. He managed to grab both wrists and pull them both behind her, where Red was waiting to retie them. Once her flailing arms were secure, Nollie pinned her legs against the tree as Red carefully released her lower half. Then, between the two of them, the men lowered her down to the forest floor.

Red climbed on top of her as Nollie tore away her silk undergarments with a long rip that seemed to echo across the forest clearing. He grabbed her legs to keep her from kicking. Breathing heavily, sweating excitement through his pores, Red violently pushed her dress up past her waist. He paused for a moment, staring down at the elegantly trimmed patch of black pubic hair. Still pinning her shoulder down with one hand, he reached down with the other to feel the soft folds of her pussy.

As he did so, the Queen realized with horror how moist she was. It was a response her body had always had to danger. She often found herself growing damp as she rode into battle, never aroused exactly but certainly stimulated in some sense. She was mortified that this physiological response might now look like a sign of pleasure to her captors.

“Well, what have we here? It looks like we won’t be needing to use that bacon grease after all, Nollie. Her Majesty’s been gettin’ all hot and bothered.”

She struggled with all her might, trying to knock the old peasant off her, but the two footmen held her firm.

“I’d lie a liddle more still if I was you, Yer Ighness…” hissed Red, and from behind his back, he produced a large hunting knife.

The Black Queen was terrified, and, for a few moments, did indeed lie still. Red grabbed the collar of her beautiful black gown and began to saw at it with the knife. Immediately, it began to tear, and Red continued to slice his way down the dress’s front, mutilating the expensive vestment beyond recognition. Eventually, her corset was exposed. Red began to slice away at the strings that held it tight, finally tearing it asunder and allowing the Queen’s bountiful breasts to pop free.

The Black Queen screamed into her cloth muzzle. She was completely helpless and exposed. Tatters of her dress hung here and there, but her body was largely laid bare, exposed to the cold wind and the cruel whims of this leathery goblin.

Red, for his part, was dumbfounded by the huge, gorgeous bosom that the Queen’s corset had concealed. He reached down and grabbed one of the immaculate white mounds, squeezing and caressing it. He took hold of one of her nipples and began to pinch it, rolling it between his thumb and forefinger.

“Jeeeezuz… Will ya look at that, Nollie? I hain’t never seen a whore wif ninnies that big. Has you?”

“They’re big awright, Red,” replied Nollie, putting more pressure on the Queen’s legs to prevent a new fit of kicking.

Red let go of her breasts and reached for his crotch. He unsnapped the white trouser flap, and, with some careful pushing and tugging, released his throbbing erection into the chilly night air. When the Queen saw this, she began to struggle all the more, and Red was forced to pin her shoulders down once again.

Nollie backed off a little, and Red maneuvered himself between the Queen’s legs. Using his right hand to guide, he slowly eased the head of his penis inside her. Shrieking and sobbing beneath her gag, the helpless monarch tried her best to pull away, but Red, with his superior leverage, was able to force his stiff cock deeper and deeper into her.

“Ohhh, Lordy,” he groaned, “if me ol’ Pa could see me now. I may notta had the luck to be born a gentleman, but, by God, at least He’s given me the chance to fuck a proper lady.”

As he humped her squirming body, the Queen’s legs began to lash out, landing a series of ineffective kicks on Red’s back. Ignoring this futile resistance, he grabbed her breasts, using this fleshy handhold for support as he pounded away at her.

In no time at all, however, the aging soldier came to the end of his stamina. With an appreciative moan, he thrust one last time into the Queen and stopped. With a wave terrible nausea, she imagined she could feel his penis pulsate and expel its grotesque load inside her body.

“Ahhhhh…” sighed Red, pulling out and rising to his feet, “Yer Ighness is a damn fine fuck, I must say. I hain’t tasted a tart that juicy in years.”

“My turn, Red? Huh?” asked Nollie, clapping his hands together absent-mindedly and bouncing around the Queen’s prostrate body in anticipation.

“Sure sure. She’s all yers, Nol’. Jus’ be quick. It’s almost dawn, and we gotta meet up with ‘Is ‘Oliness.”

Using what little energy she had left, the Black Queen rolled over onto her stomach and attempted to rise to her feet, the tatters of her dress and corset still hanging off her shoulders. She did not manage a single step, however, before Nollie grabbed her around the waist and held her tight.

“Red! Red! Help me get ‘er dress off!”

Red rebuttoned his trousers and picked up his knife. With Nollie holding her steady, he went to work on the remainder of the Queen’s clothing. With a few well placed slashes and rips, the black dress fell loosely to the pine needles below. The Black Queen was completely naked, shivering against the cold and struggling in Nollie’s arms.

Nollie dragged her over to a small boulder stump near the campfire and roughly forced her down on her knees and over the rock. Red came over to assist by pinning down her torso, smashing her breasts down against the cool stone and forcing her ass up into the air.

“You ever been fucked like a dog, Yer Majesty?” asked Red, smirking insufferably, “Cuz I think thas’ what ol’ Nollie here has in mind for you…”

The Black Queen shut her eyes, trying desperately to pretend that this nightmare wasn’t happening. She tried to imagine she was somewhere else: The beautiful gardens in the courtyard of the palace library where she loved to spend her afternoons reading. The woods near Aardmore Castle where she used to secretly rendezvous with Sir William. Anywhere. She wanted desperately to escape, but she was jerked forcibly back to reality by the second White footman’s penis forcing its way from behind into her cunny.

Nollie’s cock was much larger than Red’s, and it took some insistence to get it inside, all the more so due to Queen’s intermittent and feeble struggles. Nollie had to grab her hips firmly and gradually guide his prick in between her pink lips. His thrusts started out slow, but gained momentum as he grew more confident.

“Ohhhh… Ohh yeah…” Nollie sighed as he started ramming himself ever more rapidly against the Queen’s ass, his belly making an almost comical slapping sound as it collided over and over again with her whip-marked cheeks.

With one hand, the younger soldier held tight to the rope that bound the Queen’s wrists behind her back, forcing her shoulders back and her head up as her naked body rocked back and forth against the rock over which she’d been draped. Nollie’s other hand gripped the Queen’s hip tightly, yanking her ass violently back into his prick as he fucked her.

The Queen’s second ordeal lasted much longer than the first, and, as the tall, gangly foot soldier continued to thrust his penis in and out of her, his fingers digging into her hip,  Isabella felt the merciful caress of unconsciousness arrive to relieve her of the pain in her arms and her chest and between her legs.

Just before she passed out, Queen Isabella dimly heard Nollie cry out in ecstasy as he released his disgusting juices into her defenseless cunt.

When she awoke—moments or hours later, it was impossible to tell—her naked body was lying next to the fire and covered by a dirty blanket. Staring down at her were, not two, but three faces.

“You…” she croaked. “You will hang for this . . . I swear it.”

The middle face bent down, and it was only then that she noticed the white miter billowing up from his skull like a misshapen toadstool. She knew this man. Thomas Trolwick, Archbishop of Evanshire. What was a man of his rank doing among these brigands?

The Bishop eyed her bare shoulders, sticking out from the blanket. He frowned a disapproving frown and crossed himself.

“Like we was sayin’, Yer ‘Oliness . . .”

The Black Queen cringed at the voice of the ugly old foot soldier who had beaten and defiled her.

“ . . . a powerful spell indeed. I swear on me father’s grave. She’s a witch jus’ like they all say, sure as the nose on me face. Soon as we capture her, she starts openin’ ‘er legs up to us, tryinta’ seduce us. Me n’ Nollie we resist as best two mortal men can, but what chance do we ‘ave gainst black magic like wut this witch queen ‘as. Before we can do a thing, she’s takin’ off ‘er clothes an’ drawin’ us into ‘er and sayin’- . . .”

“Enough!” The Bishop held up a hand with two raised fingers to silence the footman. “The tales of the Lady Isabella’s lasciviousness are well known. That she attempted to use her body to gain her freedom I have no doubt.”

“That’s just what she did!” exclaimed Nollie. “Lassivied the pants right off me. Right, Red?”

“Thaas jus’ wut ‘appened, Nol,” said Red. “Now, Yer ‘Oliness. ‘Ere’s yer traitor queen. All in one piece. Jus’ like we found ‘er. Or near as. She’s all yers. Now such service to God and the realm . . . why, I ‘spect that earns some reward, if ya beg me pardon?”

The Bishop nodded gravely and gestured behind him. From out of the darkness emerged two soldiers in White uniforms, crisper and more professional than those of the Queen’s two grubby assailants. Wordlessly, one grabbed Nollie and one grabbed Red. In one fluid motion, each pulled a dagger and drew it briskly across his victim’s throat. Nollie and Red both dropped to their knees in unison, blood gushing from their wounds.

As the death gurgles of the two footmen slowed and faded, the Bishop knelt beside the Black Queen. He fixed her with a pair of pale, empty eyes which flickered with reflected firelight. She drew her blanket tighter around her nude body and shrank away.

“You shall come with me, Lady Isabella. And we shall cure you of your wickedness.”

 

The Initiation: Chapter 12 – The Wal-Mart

The hours passed more quickly than Jessica expected, and much more quickly than she could have wished. She had barely had time to settle herself, to stop her tears and to wash the makeup off her face, before Nick was knocking on the door: “Time to head out, Jess!”

Jessica’s jeans still had a wet spot in the seat from where the Vaseline had seeped through. Her only other option was a pair of cut-off shorts she’d stuffed into her suitcase at the last minute. These showed off her long, shapely legs more than she might have desired, but it was better than going out in public looking like she’d wet herself.

She completed the ensemble with a bra and t-shirt, gathered her belongings into her bag, and walked out to the motel parking lot to meet whatever new cruelty fate had in store for her.

***

On Nick’s instruction, Jessica threw her bag into the trunk and got into the back seat between Dylan and Nick. Shannon had finally emerged from her room, wearing a thick pair of dark sunglasses and cradling her head as she slumped into the passenger’s seat. Matt took the wheel, and they pulled onto the highway once again.

Jessica tried to keep her eyes locked firmly on the road ahead of her, ignoring the fixated way Dylan kept staring at her bare legs. After they had been on the road fifteen minutes or so, Nick leaned forward to speak to Matt.

“Next exit. There oughtta be a shopping center on your left. The place is only like two miles up the road from there. After you meet up with our guy, one of you just head back and pick us up. Shan, you’re with us, right?”

A huge blue Wal-Mart signed loomed ahead.

“Yeah. Whatever,” Shannon sighed.

“See? What did I tell you, Jess?” Nick said, slapping Jessica on her thigh, “Girls love shopping.”

***

“Blow the old guy a kiss, Jess,” Nick whispered to her as they passed the Wal-Mart greeter.

Embarrassed to make eye contact, Jessica self-consciously blew a half-hearted kiss in the greeter’s direction.

“Why thanks, little lady,” she heard blue-aproned senior say, “I’ll keep that someplace special.”

Shannon had pulled an energy drink from someplace which she was guzzling as she walked. At one point, she turned to give Jessica a glower over the rims of her shades.

“Nick told me the nasty shit you got up to at the pool this morning, Rushie,” she said. “Jesus, what a little slut. I really hope you wash out this weekend so I can tell everybody at school what a horny skank you are.”

Jessica said nothing and continued following Nick and Shannon, eyes fixed downwards. Eventually, the three of them reached the lingerie department. Jessica shifted her weight nervously as Nick perused the racks of sensual undergarments nonchalantly.

“Jess, you’re… what? A 36 D?” Nick asked

Jessica blushed. Did he have to talk so loud?

“Hey, he asked you for your fucking bra size, Rushie.” Shannon joined in.

“Your tits,” Nick persisted. “You’re rocking like a 36-D, right?”

A woman at an adjacent rack turned her head.

“Four,” Jessica mumbled, looking down at the floor.

“What’s that?”

“Th-thirty four. Thirty four D.”

“Okay. Let’s see here…”

Nick began hunting around the racks. Jessica looked around her nervously. The store did not seem terribly crowded, but there were still customers strolling by at a steady rate. Suddenly, Shannon pulled something off the rack.

“Here we go,” Shannon said. “What about this hot little number?”

“Ahhh . . .” said Nick. “Good pull, Shan. I think that will work.”

Jessica looked in dismay at the red, lacey atrocity that Shannon held up to her. It was a matching set, bra and panties, both clipped together on a single hanger with a trashy flair fitting of the Wal-Mart lingerie department. She couldn’t imagine herself wearing something like that.

“Go ahead and try ‘em on.” said Nick.

Jessica gulped but knew better than to argue. She took the hanger from Nick and started off towards the changing room.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” Shannon demanded. “You think we’ve got all day? Just throw it on right here.”

Jessica stopped in her tracks.

“You mean… o… over my clothes?”

“Are you fucking stupid?” Shannon said. “No, not fucking over your clothes. You know better than that. Come on, there’s no one around. Just be quick.”

“B-but somebody could. . . Please. I mean… We’ll get kicked out of the store…”

“Then you better hurry, Jess,” Nick said. “Are you forgetting your lessons already? Just think how much attention a bare-bottom spanking is going to draw to us. I’m sure Wal-Mart would not approve.”

Terrified, Jessica arranged herself so that a rack of discount panties was between herself and the aisle. Frantically, she sprang into action. Just like she did changing for gym class in middle school, Jessica tried to minimize the amount of time she was nude while finishing the job as quickly as possible.

She unhooked her bra underneath her shirt and then pulled both shirt and bra off in one gesture. However, this still left her in the middle of a public shopping area with her big naked tits on display for several agonizing moments while she tried to figure out how to put on her bra’s sexier replacement.

At last, she managed to get it on. This did not make her feel any less self-conscious, however, since the loud color of the bra drew all attention straight to her chest. Furthermore, it pushed her breasts up so that they stuck out straight in front of her, and the delicate lacey cups barely concealed her nipples.

“Can I- Can I take it off, now?”

Nick strolled up to her. Desperately, she looked around her. Someone was going to come, she knew it.

“Hands at your sides, Jess.”

She complied. Nick reached a hand out and gave one of her breasts a squeeze. Then, he snapped a covert picture and quickly concealed the camera.

“Yeah, this is real sexy, don’t you think? We’ll buy it. A little present for you after all your hard work. Put the panties on, too.”

“Oh god…”

Jessica hurried to pull off her shorts and white panties, not even bothering to take off her tennis shoes. She hunched over, completely nude from her tits down before finally slipping on the skimpy red panties and pulling them up to cover up her shaved crotch. It was a thong, and Jessica shuffled awkwardly as it lodged its way between her ass cheeks.

“Oh god… Can I please get dressed now? Someone’s gonna come…”

“Just put your shorts on over. We’ll wear them out of the store.”

How was that going to work? Were they planning to shoplift this underwear? What if they got caught? Yet, Jessica, desperate to cover herself, made no argument. She simply put her shorts back on as quickly as she could possibly manage. As she reached for her shirt, however, Nick stopped her.

“I think you could use a new top, too, Jessica. Stay right there.”

Nick disappeared around a corner, and she was forced to stand there, still wearing nothing over her torso but that gaudy and revealing brassiere, as Shannon regarded her with a haughty sneer, taking one last swig from the energy drink in her hand.

“You ever been fucked in the ass, Rushie?”

Jessica didn’t know what to say. She just stood there, her stomach reeling, avoiding Shannon’s smirking gaze.

“No? Well, first time for everything. Maybe a second and a third too? Who knows what the night’s got in store . . .”

Before Shannon could go on, the sound of someone coming around the corner made Jessica jump. Jessica did her best to crouch behind the panty rack, folding her arms across her chest.

It was Nick. In his hands, he was carrying a sheer white blouse. He tossed it to Jessica.

“See if this top fits. It was on sale.”

Jessica gratefully grabbed the blouse, eager to cover herself. Before she could slip her arms through the holes, however, a large woman in a blue apron rounded the corner with a stack of merchandise. When she saw Jessica, standing in the middle of the store wearing nothing but a gaudy red bra over her enormous tits, the flustered employee nearly toppled over backwards.

“Oh! Oh my, I do apologize, Miss,” she stammered, trying her best to look away, “I didn’t mean—Excuse me. I’ll- uh- I’ll find someone to let you into the fitting rooms.”

The woman tripped over herself backing away and out of sight. Jessica watched her go, mortified at the scene she had just made. Meanwhile, Nick began helping her with the blouse.

“You two better hurry up and finish our shopping before you have to talk to a manager, Rushie,” Shannon laughed.

Jessica began to frantically help Nick button the blouse all the way up. She dreaded having to explain to Wal-Mart management why she had chosen to disrobe in the middle of the store. Couldn’t she be arrested for something like that? Public indecency? Wasn’t that a law? Nervously, she glanced overhead and saw an abundance of security cameras, many of which would have picked up perfect footage of her nudity. What had she done?

Finally, she managed to close the blouse, several sizes too small, around her chest and to button the final button.

“Come on. Just one last thing to complete the ensemble, then we can check out. Shan, grab Jessica’s panties, will you?”

With Nick’s hand pressing her back, Jessica scurried briskly away from the lingerie section, stealing a brief look behind her to see Shannon picking up her shirt and underwear as Nick instructed.

As they walked, the other customers they passed stared at Jessica. Some flashed her looks of disgust, some curiosity. Most of the men, however, gazed at her with hunger and transparent lust. Jessica blushed deep red and avoided all these eyes.

Before leaving Wal-Mart’s vast clothing wing, Jessica caught a brief glimpse of herself in a full-length mirror. Immediately, she understood the way people were looking at her. Her appearance was ridiculous, although tormentingly sexual. The blouse was completely inappropriate for her shorts and tennis shoes, and, while it was too tight, it nevertheless hung down low enough to make it look like she was wearing no pants at all. Worse, though, it was nearly see-through. The red brassiere displayed itself underneath the white material in full glory, available to even the most casual observer.

Blushing worse than ever, Jessica concentrated on the linoleum floor as she continued to let Nick parade her through the store. Finally, they turned down an aisle. Jessica looked up to see where they were and was puzzled to find that the sign overhead read “Pet Supplies.” Nick began to browse.

“Hmmmm… Let’s see,” pondered Nick, “This looks like a good one.”

From off the shelf, Nick selected a red, plastic dog collar and detachable leash.

“Let’s see if this works. Hold still, Jess.”

Jessica tensed but did not move. Nick adjusted the collar and then slipped it around Jessica’s neck. The front fastened with a snap. He attached the leash.

Nick stepped back to admire the effect, the leash trailing from Jessica’s collarbone to his right hand. Over Nick’s shoulder, Shannon gave her a tiny smirk.

“Is she trained?” Shannon said.

Nick grinned and tugged on the leash.

“Sit,” he commanded.

Jessica looked down the aisle, desperately. No one was around. But for how long?

“Sit,” said Nick again.

Knowing she had no choice, Jessica did her best to do as she hoped Nick wanted. Trembling, she lowered herself to the ground, attempting to sit Indian-style on the shiny plastic floor.

“No, Jessica. All fours. Like a doggy”

Jessica gulped and adjusted herself. She knelt down facing Nick and put her hands down on the floor in front of her, causing her ass to stick out and her breasts to dangle beneath her.

“Good puppy. Now, walk towards me.”

Nick tugged the leash again, and Jessica hesitatingly began to crawl towards him on all fours. The effect was humiliating. Please, don’t let anyone see me doing this, she thought. Please—

“What the HELL is going on here?” a voice boomed from behind her.

Jessica looked behind her to see a man in a security guard uniform.

“You kids needa quit screwing around and get the hell outta this store. This issa place of business!”

The guard seemed to be mostly addressing Nick, but Jessica saw his eyes drifting down frequently towards her bottom, which was still sticking up into the air.

“Jeez, we’re really sorry, sir,” Nick said cheerfully as he strolled over to shake hands with the guard, “See, my girlfriend here, she sometimes likes…”

Jessica got up from the ground and tried to listen to their conversation, but she was distracted when Shannon leaned over to whisper in her ear.

“Don’t say a goddamn word, or you’ll be sorry,” she hissed.

“Man, I don’t want to know nothing ‘bout none of that!” the guard was bellowing, “You three just gotta get outta this here store NOW, before I call the cops!”

“Alright. Alright. We’re going,” Nick said. “C’mon, Jess. I told you your little games would get us kicked out. Let’s pay for our purchases and go.”

Nick detached the leash but kept the collar around her neck. As he led her out of the Pet Supplies aisle, she heard the security guard muttering half to himself.

“Man, gettin’ all nekkid in the middle of the store then lettin’ yourself get drug around like a dog? What the hell’s wrong with you, Girl?”

Nick ignored him as he marched Jessica up to the front of the store, Shannon skulking close behind. There were few people checking out, and Jessica found herself pushed immediately in front of a cashier, a bewildered-looking teenager with a mop of shaggy dark hair. The boy looked at Jessica’s dog collar with puzzlement, then his eyes drifted downward towards her chest, and his puzzlement turned to fascination.

“Um…” he muttered, unsure of how to proceed. Luckily, Nick was there to remind him of his duties.

“Hi. Sorry. We’re kind of wearing all our merchandise. Sorry about that. Jessica here just couldn’t wait to try it all on.”

“Oh. Ah… What would you… um… what should I… that is… ring up?”

“It’s just the dog leash. The collar. That blouse that Jessica’s wearing. Oh, and also the little red number she’s got on underneath.”

The checker gulped and nodded. Nick found the tag sticking out from Jessica’s blouse and told her to lean in.

She complied, raising herself to her tiptoes and leaning over the register so that the cashier could swipe the tag with his barcode reader.

“Thanks… um… your… uh… collar, too.”

Jessica winced and leaned further over, craning her neck out so that the young attendant could read the barcode sticker. As she did, she felt her breasts pushing up against the register painfully. The machine beeped, acknowledging the dog collar.

“Right. And for the… um… the other items? You want me to… uh… you want me to call in a… like, a price check or what?” the cashier asked, shifting his weight with uncertainty.

“That won’t be necessary,” replied Nick. “There’s a barcode on the bra. Show him, Jessica.”

Jessica took a deep breath before replying simply: “Where?”

“Try under the left cup. Open up your shirt and let’s get out of here.”

Jessica looked around. The store was by no means empty. The man at the adjacent checkout line was helping a customer, but every so often he looked over his shoulder to observe the scene at his coworker’s register. People continued to walk by, both in front and behind, and many of them were looking right at her. Jessica bit her lip, trying to steady her nerves, as she reached up to undo the buttons of her blouse.

She worked quickly, and her chest soon popped free of its confine. Many people were now watching her, she was sure. She opened the blouse wide open and thrust her breasts up to cashier.

“Please do it quickly,” she pleaded softly.

However, between the cashier’s nervousness and Jessica’s, it was difficult to steady the shaking barcode reader long enough to scan the tag on the underside of Jessica’s also-shaking tits.

“Um… uh…” the young man fumbled, “uh… Here. May I?”

The cashier finally grabbed Jessica’s breast and, lifting it up, held it steady long enough to perform the scan. The machine beeped, and he was just about to reluctantly relinquish the enticing globe of flesh when a shout from behind made them both stop and turn.

“Hey! What the hell did I tell you? This ain’t that kinda store!”

The security guard was advancing on them. Jessica tore herself away from the cashier and tried to cover herself. Nick took a fifty dollar bill from his pocket and set it on the counter.

“Keep the change. Let’s move, Jessica.”

They began to run, Shannon sauntering close behind, Jessica trying desperately to button up the blouse.

“Hey! Hey, you! Stop! I’m callin’ the cops!”

Jessica ran furiously. It seemed that dozens of faces were watching her. She imagined the scene that these customers must have witnessed: her running her own breasts through the WalMart checkout. She couldn’t imagine anything more cheap and trashy, and her eyes welled up with tears. They ran past the old greeter and out through the automatic doors.

Despite the guard’s apparent anger, once outside it did not appear as though they were in danger of further pursuit, and they stopped to catch their breath. Nick let out a laugh, as Shannon caught up with them.

“Wasn’t that fun, Jessica?” Nick asked.

Jessica sniffed back her tears and said nothing. In response to a gesture from Nick, she looked up to see the silver Volvo pulling into the other end of the parking lot.

“Let’s go, Jessica,” Nick said, beckoning her to follow. “We’ve got one more stop to make.”

The Initiation: Chapter 9 – The Motel

Jessica’s butt cheeks slipped frictionlessly against one another as she climbed out of the back seat of the Volvo. The slick sensation on her backside, caused by the handfuls of petroleum jelly that an hour earlier she had let a stranger smear all around and inside her ass, caused Jessica to adopt an awkward, bow-legged gait as she followed her kidnappers (for this was how she was beginning to think of Shannon and the three frat boys who had driven her out to the middle of nowhere and subjected her to repeated degradations) towards the run-down reception building of the seedy motel.

Jessica was still reeling from the revelation that Nick and his pals were not driving her to the cabin owned by the Theta Theta Psi sorority, that she was instead trapped with them all weekend, subject to who-knew-what further torments.

So far that day, Jessica had been forced to submit to three public spankings. She had allowed two strange men at a gas station to fondle her naked breasts. She had taken off all her clothes in front of a roomful war veterans and entertained them by simulating oral sex on an empty beer bottle. What would tomorrow bring? How far would Shannon let these boys take this supposed initiation?

The reception desk was manned by a crusty-looking old man with thick glasses and a thin grey moustache. He looked startled when the five of them crowded in and quickly folded away a magazine that he had been pursuing. Nick approached the desk. He had apparently called ahead, and the hotel manager—O’Reilly Nick was calling him—found their reservation and was shuffling through some paperwork when Jessica noticed that Nick was gesturing towards her.

“ . . . kind of a sorority initiation trip,” Nick was telling the manager. “I just wanted to make sure we could use some of the common areas in case we need to perform some, you know, rituals . . .”

Jessica had gotten so used to the sight of the wooden Theta paddle in Nick’s hand that she had barely noticed that he’d taken it with him to check into the motel. But Mr. O’Reilly noticed, and his eyes wandered from the wooden implement across to where Jessica’s voluptuous figure shuffled nervously by the door. The manager cleared his throat awkwardly.

“Urm, now just what . . . what kind of ‘rituals’ that’d be?” he asked.

“Well, Jessica loves to show off, so we’ve been mainly doing some photo shoots. Couple of live performances. Tell Mr. O’Reilly about the show you put on in Millard, Jess.”

Jessica glanced around the room. Everyone looked at her expectantly. Her first instinct was to shrug silently and look away, but she was terrified that Nick was going to turn this into another scene. What did he want her to say?

“I. . . I danced . . .” she choked out finally.

“What kind of dance, Jess?” Nick coaxed.

“S-strip dance?” Jessica squeaked, hoping this was the answer Nick was fishing for.

Nick laughed.

“Alright. Yeah. A ‘strip dance.’ As you can probably tell, Jessica has some killer tits. Just incredible. You should have seen this roomful of guys go crazy when she took off her shirt and started wiggling them around. Sometimes, though, Jessica gets a little bratty and needs some punishment. Isn’t that right, Jess?”

Jessica looked at the floor. She nodded hesitantly.

“I said ‘isn’t that right, Jess?’”

“Yes . . . sir,” she whispered, hoping not to give Nick any excuse to say she was being uncooperative.

“And how did you get punished after your strip tease?”

“A spanking, sir,” she muttered, her cheeks burning in humiliation.

“Where did you receive this spanking?”

“On the pool table . . .”

Dylan chuckled. Nick grinned too, but then said “no” in a firm voice. Jessica hurriedly corrected herself.

“I mean, on my . . . on my b-bottom, my bare b-bottom?”

“That’s right. Jessica’s naked ass took quite a paddling about an hour ago. You want to see how it’s healing up, Mr. O’Reilly?”

The hotel manager appeared flustered.

“Well, I . . . you know . . .”

“Jessica turn around and pull down your pants and panties,” Nick instructed.

Jessica looked up into the hotel manager’s eyes, pleadingly, hoping for some sign of sympathy, some hint of rescue. But Mr. O’Reilly was busily running his eyes down the contours of the beautiful co-ed’s body, his jaw hanging open.

Not finding any avenue of escape and desperate not to endure another of Nick’s chastisements, Jessica slowly turned around. She looked out the window nervously, but the darkened parking lot appeared to be empty. Choking back a sob, she reached down and unbuttoned her jeans. She slid the zipper down, and, taking a deep breath, she hooked her thumbs inside the waistband of her panties and pulled both her jeans and underwear over her ass and down to mid-thigh. Her panties made a soft slurping sound as they were peeled away from the Vaseline that had glued them firmly to Jessica’s skin.

“Hoo . . . hoo, that’s nice . . .” Jessica heard the hotel manager say under his breath.

“Hold your shirt up,” Nick ordered her. “It’s covering some of your behind.”

Wincing, Jessica complied, tugging her blouse up to her belly button and holding it there, letting the old man behind the counter and the rest of the room drink in a long look at her naked bottom. With the faint pink marks that were still visible from her paddling at the VFW and the shiny film of the Vaseline that still coated her cheeks, Jessica’s full, round ass appeared to glow in the motel’s fluorescent light.

“Still looks like you might be a little tender back there, Jess,” Nick said, walking up behind her and, to her dismay, placing a hand on one of her nude butt cheeks and giving it a squeeze.

“Urm, yes . . .” Mr. O’Reilly said, clearing his throat, “I think we can find a place for you folks to do your, urm, rituals . . . shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Thanks, Mr. O’Reilly,” said Nick. “I’d love to do a photo shoot out by the pool tomorrow. That’ll be fun, right, Jess? Say, before you pull your pants back up, I wanted to ask this gentleman’s opinion on something. Keep your hands where they are, and I want you to turn around.”

Jessica shuddered, but after a momentary hesitation, she began to shuffle her feet, her jeans, bunched around her knees, restricting the movement of her legs. She shuffled in in a clumsy semi-circle until she was facing the reception desk. Her hands continued to hold the bottom of her blouse around her mid-torso in a white-knuckle grip, making it seem as if she was showing off her naked crotch to the room.

“Now, don’t get me wrong,” said Nick, “I’ve seen thicker jungles around a chick’s pubic area. I think this blonde bush of Jessica’s is actually kind of cute . . .”

Then, to Jessica’s horror, Nick reached a hand out towards her exposed vagina. She recoiled, shuffling backwards a step, but at the last moment she fought off the instinct to drop her blouse, to slap his hand away and cover herself. Instead, she steadied herself and froze stock still, unable to process the humiliating invasion that was about to occur.

Nick made no comment about Jessica’s aborted attempt to dodge his touch. He reached out and gave her pubic hair an exploratory brush with his hand, as if testing its softness, before grabbing ahold of a tuft of hair and giving it a light, demonstrative tug.

“. . . But this isn’t the 1970’s, you know what I mean? I think Jessica ought to trim down before we do her modeling shots. What do you think, Mr. O’Reilly? Brazilian? Landing strip? Or maybe just totally shaved?”

“Well, urm . . . that’s a, uh . . . I think- Well, I think she’d look awful sexy just bare, I guess.”

“I like the way you think, sir,” said Nick. “Bare pussy it is, Jess. We’ll pick you up some shaving stuff first thing tomorrow.”

With that, he relinquished his grip on Jessica’s pubes and allowed her to pull her pants back up. Grabbing the room keys from the stunned hotel manager, Nick took Jessica by the elbow and led her out the door.

***

Nick pointed out the rooms. He and Shannon would take 104. Dylan and Matt in 105. Jessica in 106.

Jessica was surprised, grateful even. Since she’d learned the group would be stopping for the night, she’d been speculating with acute trepidation about the sleeping arrangements. That she’d be getting her own room was a relief. Perhaps Nick felt that he couldn’t guarantee her safety for an entire night in a room with the other guys? Her insides convulsed at the thought: was Nick—her tormentor-in-chief—the only thing keeping her from being raped by one of the other two frat boys?

Shannon, looking increasingly unsteady on her feet, retired immediately to her room. The boys walked Jessica over to Room 106, Matt chivalrously carrying her suitcase.

After they’d escorted her into her room and Matt had set her suitcase down, Jessica regarded the three young men awkwardly, desperately hoping that they would now leave her alone for the night, allowing her some time to think over her situation. Instead, Matt and Dylan hung around expectantly in the doorway while Nick strolled around the hotel room, flipping on lights and generally taking in the space as if evaluating the quality of the establishment.

“Not the Ritz, but it’ll do for the night, right Jess?” he said.

“Y-yes, sir,” Jessica said, fixing her eyes on the shag carpeting at her feet.

“Well, we’ll let you get some rest. We want you looking your best for your modeling shots tomorrow,” Nick said.

Jessica nodded, her heart racing at the thought that the solitude she craved might be within sight. Nick turned and appeared to be heading for the door. He picked up the TV remote as he passed it, and casually turned on the television sitting on the dresser. The speakers kicked in at a jarring volume, but. Nick set the remote down without adjusting the sound.

“Before you go to bed, though, I wanted to give you one more test of obedience. Just to see what you’ve learned today. Don’t worry. It’ll be quick.”

Jessica gulped, keeping her eyes on the floor. What was he going to make her do? Pull out her tits again for the private viewing pleasure of his horny friends? Bend over so he could spank her again? Whatever it was, she prayed it really would be over quickly.

“All I want you to do is put your blindfold back on and just kneel down on the floor right where you are,” Nick told her, raising his voice slightly to be heard over the blaring television.

From out of his pocket, Nick pulled the cloth blindfold that Jessica had been forced to wear when they first set out on this terrible road trip. Jessica just stood frozen in place as Nick walked up behind her and placed the blindfold over her eyes, tying it firmly behind her head. She heard the door creak and slam shut, and she knew that she was alone, completely blind and helpless, in this tiny hotel room with three men.

“Ok, kneel down right there.”

Nick pressed down on Jessica’s shoulders, guiding her gently to the floor. Trembling, she kneeled down on the carpet, her butt coming to rest on her calves. Nick placed a hand under her chin and guided her face upwards so that she was looking blindly up towards the ceiling.

“There you go. Now that’s all you have to do. Just hold that position for a minute or two. Don’t move. I’ll tell you when you can stand up.”

She could feel someone step up next to her, and she heard some rustling around, though it was tough to figure out what was going on against the noise of the television. Jessica braced herself for something awful to happen, for someone to grab her or tear at her clothes. But nothing happened.

Jessica’s fear started to give way to confusion. What seemed like a minute or two passed, while Jessica simply knelt on the floor expectantly, staring into the blackness of the blindfold and listening to the sounds from the television. Her legs began to fall asleep, but she forced herself to maintain the position that Nick had instructed.

Then, suddenly, something wet struck Jessica’s cheek. One drop, then two, then a third hitting her on the side of her nose. She heard someone let out a short grunt.

“Don’t move, Jessica,” Nick was telling her, “Don’t move an inch out of that position if you don’t want to be punished.”

Jessica felt something ooze its way off of her nose and roll down her face towards the side of her mouth. Her stomach dropped. What had just happened? Then a sickening thought occurred to her. Was this substance . . . was it semen? Had she just let one of these boys cum on her face?

Even if she hadn’t been afraid to disobey Nick’s instructions, Jessica would have been too shocked to move. She maintained her kneeling position on the floor, looking upwards, nauseatingly aware of the sticky substance clinging to the side of her pretty face.

Jessica’s ears honed in on a faint, rhythmic sound of which she’d only been dimly conscious before, and she was suddenly certain that one of the other boys had begun masturbating next to her, his naked penis probably hovering right next to her face. A moment later removed all doubt, as suddenly a new glob of wetness, this one much more voluminous than the last, struck Jessica on her forehead. Another drop hit her just below the blindfold and began to run down her cheek, only to be joined by yet another massive splotch splattering goo across her upper lip.

The scent of the ejaculate assaulted Jessica’s nostrils, making her stomach heave. She worried she might simply vomit right there, but, aside from some mild trembling, she maintained her position, knowing that there was still one more unseen man who expected to relieve himself across her face.

It seemed like a lifetime that Jessica knelt there, feeling the semen congeal on her cheeks, staring upwards as if waiting eagerly for her innocent visage to be despoiled once more. Finally, though, the third wave of cum rained down on her, this time hitting her square in the mouth. Jessica squeezed her lips tight, desperate to keep any of the noxious fluid from seeping inside. Another glob struck her mouth. Then another on the chin. Then a long, sticky string that hit the corner of her mouth and stretched down to her jaw.

There was a moment of terrible stillness. Jessica maintained her subservient position, her blindfolded, cum-splattered face staring mutely upwards, her jaw trembling beneath her fiercely pinched lips. Jessica imagined the boys zipping themselves up, perhaps smirking to one another and pointing at her shameful, semen-stained appearance, perhaps . . . oh god . . . perhaps taking pictures of her, preserving her humiliation on film.

Finally, the television was switched off, plunging the room into silence.  The door creaked open.

“Hope you enjoyed your nightcap, Jess,” she heard Nick say from the doorway, “Get some sleep. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

The door slammed shut. Jessica sat frozen in place, unable to process, as the cum crawled down her cheeks.

The Initiation: Chapter 7 – The Restaurant

As the countryside flew by the Volvo’s rear windows, Jessica kept her gaze locked mutely on her hands clutching one another tensely in her lap, unable to think of anything beyond the horror of what had happened at the truck stop.

She played it over and over in her mind, wondering whether she should or could have done something differently. She had tried to enter this initiation weekend with an open attitude, prepared to do things she wouldn’t normally do, to suffer some embarrassment or discomfort as part of the Theta hazing ritual. But not this. Being forced to let strange men touch her naked boobs? Having her sorority sister’s boyfriend forcibly yank her across his knee, pull down her pants and underwear, and spank her bare ass while everyone watched and took pictures? No. This was too much.

Could it conceivably be that this was part of the Theta hazing? That all the girls went through this as Shannon and Nick insisted? It seemed impossible. Yet, as wrong as all this felt, as persistent as the voice in Jessica’s head had become, telling her that she needed to escape, abandon her ambitions of becoming a Theta, just get home, maybe even report what had happened to her, she couldn’t bring herself to contemplate that possibility.

Part of it was probably that she couldn’t let go of her mother’s dream of having her join the sorority, it was too deeply ingrained in her. If she stopped cooperating or demanded that they turn the car around immediately, then if nothing else her hopes of joining Theta Theta Psi were over, and despite everything, being part of that exclusive club still meant something to Jessica.

Part of it was also what Shannon had hissed to her just before shoving her back into the Volvo: “You wash out if you want to, Rushie, but if you ever tell anyone about any of this, I swear to god, no one will ever speak to you again. You will be a complete social outcast for the rest of your University career. And not only that but I will personally claw those pretty blue eyes out. Bet your worthless life on it, Rushie.”

Jessica looked up from her lap to sneak a look at the back of Shannon’s head. After the burst of manic energy at the beginning of the road trip, Shannon had become a relatively silent presence, deferring almost entirely to Nick. The whispered warning was practically the first thing she had directed towards Jessica in hours. She had also become increasingly nervous and twitchy, constantly rolling down the window to light up another cigarette.

This passivity did nothing to lessen Jessica’s fear of the black-haired girl, her silence no more an indication of harmlessness than a coiled snake. Yet Shannon’s threats were still only part of what kept Jessica frozen in her place, locked helplessly in the back seat of this moving vehicle between two sweaty  frat boys.

Part of it was also that she felt a strange sense of guilt at what had happened. Why didn’t she just say no when Nick asked her to open her shirt? Why didn’t she slap that creepy man’s hand away when he began to caress her breasts? Why didn’t she physically fight, scream for help, when Nick dragged her over to the bench for her spanking?

Is that what people would say if they found out? If Jessica told? Would they say she cooperated, that she must have been stupid to let things go as far as they did? Or maybe they would say that she liked it. That she welcomed the attention. Jessica shuddered.

And then there were the pictures. Thankfully, Nick had turned down Randal’s request for copies. Even when Randal offered to pay, Nick had just laughed and told him the photos weren’t for sale, giving Jessica some hope that he might keep his promise not to share them with the outside world. If she ran away or stopped cooperating, though, everyone at school would see them, not just photos of her flashing her tits, but video of her bent over the hood of Nick’s car getting her ass paddled, video of her sprawled across Nick’s lap bare-bottomed. How could she look anyone in the eye again, knowing they had all seen her in these humiliating positions?

Her only hope, she told herself, was to stick the weekend out and pray that these boys kept those videos to themselves, just as they had apparently kept secret the incriminating evidence of the other Theta girls’ hazings.

“Here, next exit.”

Jessica was pulled from her brooding by the realization that Shannon was apparently preparing to pull off the highway at Nick’s direction. They had turned off the Interstate several miles back and had been cruising up a two lane state highway approaching a town called Millard. Not for the first time on this trip, Jessica found herself wishing she had a better grasp of local geography. She had no idea where they were or how far they might be from the Theta’s cabin in Mount Greenwood.

“If you take Main up a few blocks, there’s this steakhouse kind of place,” Nick was telling Shannon as the Volvo paused momentarily at the stop sign at the end of the highway offramp, “we’ll grab some grub and I’m gonna give Jeff a call.”

What were they doing pulling off in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere?, Jessica thought. Who was Jeff? Had the others all discussed this beforehand without her? Nick turned around as if sensing her confusion.

“We’re gonna pull off for an early dinner, Jess,” he told her, “my cousin lives around here, so I figured I’d stop by and see him as long as we’re driving right by. Used to visit Millard almost every summer growing up. Real shit town. Colton’s up here on Main and 3rd cooks a decent steak, though. You’ll like it.”

***

Colton’s could easily have been mistaken for a renovated Sizzler or an Olive Garden. With its maroon, vinyl-upholstered booths and wood-paneled walls, the restaurant had a slightly old-fashioned but otherwise completely non-descript feel.  Jessica sat across from Dylan and Matt, waiting anxiously for Shannon to return from the bathroom.

After they had pulled up to the restaurant and piled out of the car, stretching out their trip stiffness, Nick had counted out a handful of twenties (the same ones, Jessica assumed, that he had collected from the men at the truck stop in exchange for letting them touch her breasts) and thrust them over to Shannon for the meal. Then, as an apparent afterthought, he had reached back into the car and handed Shannon Jessica’s pledge paddle.

“Just so we’re clear,” he had said to Jessica, “Shannon’s in charge of you until I get back. Do what she says or you know what will happens, right?”

“Yes sir,” Jessica had finally responded when it became clear that the question was not rhetorical.

To Jessica’s embarrassment, therefore, Shannon had taken the paddle with her when they had entered the restaurant, leaving Nick in the parking lot on his phone. The entrance had turned out to be a false start, since the hostess had refused to seat them. While she had given Shannon’s wooden implement merely a half-curious, half-disapproving look, she had been unable to abide the provocative condition of Jessica’s braless cleavage.

“I’m sorry, Honey,” she had said with a critical cock of her eyebrows, “ I know that’s probably how you college girls dress these days, but this is a family restaurant, and we got a dress code.”

Of course, Shannon had played it off like the fashion choice had been Jessica’s and had sent Jessica back to the car in shame to put on her bra. This, of course, had necessitated asking for her underwear back from Nick, who, to her surprise, put up no argument, apparently too engrossed in his phone conversation to bother to humiliate her further.

Jessica had grabbed her bra off the dashboard, and, as discreetly as she could, ducked down in the passenger’s seat to quickly change her top.

Breasts newly resecured, she had braved the hostess’s judgmental looks and reached the table where Dylan and Matt were waiting for her, Shannon apparently having slipped off to the ladies’ room.

When Shannon returned, she appeared reenergized and immediately flagged the waitress down, demanding a vodka tonic. When the drink arrived, Shannon immediately pushed them to order. Shannon ordered a steak, medium-rare for herself, but, when the waitress turned to Jessica, Shannon cut her off.

“She’ll be sharing with me. Don’t want you porking out, Rushie. Not when you’ve still got so much modeling to do.”

Jessica hadn’t eaten since that morning, and, though she had been too distracted to take much note until now, she suddenly realized how hungry she was. She hoped that Shannon was serious about letting her eat some of her meal and wouldn’t simply starve her.

The food arrived surprisingly quickly, just enough time for Shannon to knock back her cocktail and order another. The waitress set down a plate in front of Shannon with a large juicy-looking cut of steak surrounded by green beans and mashed potatoes. Jessica stared enviously as everyone else began digging in while she could only stare at the empty space in front of her.

Finally, after Shannon had apparently eaten her fill, she turned to Jessica.

“Aw, is little Jessica hungy?” she cooed in a baby-talk voice, “Ok, open wide for num nums”

Shannon cut off a small piece of meat, speared it with her fork, and thrust it towards Jessica’s face. Jessica stared at it for a moment, considering reaching for the fork, but Shannon’s game was clear. She wanted to humiliate Jessica by feeding her like a baby. Unsure what else to do and enticed by the greasy morsel hovering in front of her nose, Jessica finally opened her mouth, wrapped her lips around Shannon’s fork and pulled the meat off. Dylan snickered and pulled out the camcorder.

“Well? All done?” said Shannon.

The tiny bite of steak had only increased the rumbling in Jessica’s stomach. She gave the food on Shannon’s plate a desperate, sideways look and shook her head.

“Well, ask the right way and you might get a little more.”

Jessica cleared her throat.

“May I have some more?” she asked under her breath, “Please? Ma’am?”

Shannon smiled and began cutting another piece. Piece by piece, she inserted bites of steak directly into Jessica’s mouth while Jessica’s hands rested helplessly on the seat beside her. Dylan kept the camera trained diligently on Jessica’s face as she chewed and swallowed and pliantly accepted another offering.

As Jessica’s feeding continued, Shannon began toying with her, pulling the fork away at the last minute so that Jessica’s mouth closed around empty air, moving the meat suddenly so as to dab the sides of Jessica’s lips with grease. Eventually, the area around Jessica’s mouth became spotted all around with meat juice, some of it running in drips down to her chin. It was at this point that Shannon, running low on steak, moved on to the mashed potatoes

Dipping a spoon into the white mush, Shannon measured out a heaping scoop and sent it careening towards Jessica’s face. It was a huge mouthful, and Jessica, no longer famished, was reluctant to open her mouth. Yet, she knew that refusing would surely make the situation worse. Unenthusiastically, she parted her lips and allowed the spoon inside, trying her best to suck off the entire helping of potatoes.

Before Jessica had had a chance to process that bite, Shannon had scooped up another load and was shoving it in her face. Jessica tried her best to chew and swallow quickly, but Shannon was pushing the spoon insistently against her lips. Jessica tried to take a bite, despite her mouth still being partially full. It was a messy bite, and globs of potato clung to her lips.

Jessica began to reach for a napkin but Shannon told her harshly to keep her hands where they were. Suddenly, another spoonful was knocking against her lips. Jessica tried desperately to clear her mouth to make way, but Shannon, appearing to grow impatient, kept jabbing the spoon towards Jessica’s lips, smearing mashed potato all around in the process.

When Shannon scooped up yet another mound, there was no pretense at all. She simply began wiping the spoon on Jessica’s cheeks and chin, sticking dollops of white goop to wherever they would stick on the coed’s pretty young face. For good measure, Shannon smeared some potato on Jessica’s nose and dabbed some on her eyebrow, then leaned back giggling to admire her artwork. It was probably the most happy Jessica had seen her since the trip began. Meanwhile, of course, Dylan continued to film and Matt watched with a nervous grin on his face.

Jessica’s head dipped in indignity, and, as it did, a large chunk of mashed potato dropped from her cheek and fell unceremoniously directly into her cleavage, which, due to the missing blouse button, remained exposed.

Suddenly, just as Jessica was considering whether to ask Shannon for permission to wipe her face off, Nick arrived. He was accompanied by two men, both around Nick’s age or perhaps slightly older, both with crew cuts, both noticeably muscled. Nick stopped in surprise when he saw Jessica’s face, then smiled broadly. Jessica looked up helplessly and Nick and the two strange men, conscious of the comical image she must cut, with her face caked in beef grease and mashed potatoes .

“What happened here, Jess?” asked Nick.

“Dumb bitch is the sloppiest eater I’ve ever seen,” cackled Shannon, and, for good measure, flicked a spoonful of potatoes towards Jessica, which splattered on her neck and rolled down to join the rest of the mush that had oozed into her cleavage.

“Well, sorry she’s such a mess, guys, but this is Jessica, the chick I was telling you about. Jess, this is my cousin Jeff and this is his pal Alberto.”

Jessica swallowed hard and managed a meek “hi.”

“Jeff and Alberto served in Afghanistan together,” Nick continued. “Alberto here actually just got back a couple weeks ago from . . . Faro?”

“Farah,” said Alberto.

“Farah,” Nick corrected. “Wild, huh? Anyway, there’s a VFW hall here in Millard they hang out at sometimes, and they’ve invited us to stop by for a couple of drinks before we hit the road again. How’s that sound?”

Before anyone could answer, the waitress stepped up beside the three men to check on the table. Seeing Jessica’s food-splattered face, she stopped short.

“Why don’t I just get you kids the check? . . .”