Queen Captured – Act II: Bishop (scene iv)

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Fifth 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.

The next morning the Bishop returned. Sister Agnes awoke Isabella from a dreamless stupor with a splash of cold water. She had with her a bucket and a sponge and proceeded to wash down her captive before unshackling her. If she noticed the dried semen on the Queen’s legs or anything else amiss, she said nothing.

Too exhausted and dispirited to resist, Isabella allowed herself to be dragged to her feet and led over to the wall, where another set of shackles closed around her wrists and held her standing, back flat against the stonework, with arms outstretched. With something that might have been mistaken for tenderness, Sister Agnes unhooked the leather strap that held the wooden rod in place between Isabella’s teeth. The bit was removed, and she flexed her stiff and aching jaw.

The old nun pressed a ladle to Isabella’s lips. The water had come from the same bucket that had been used in her perfunctory sponge bath, but the Queen was in no position to argue hygiene. Her throat raw and dry, she greedily slurped at the liquid, her heart sinking when the ladle was tossed back into the bucket without the offer of further respite.

Sister Agnes stepped aside. The Bishop approached. He looked Isabella up and down while running a palm contemplatively across his bald head.

“Good morning, Lady Isabella. Are you ready to confess your sins?”

Isabella opened and closed her mouth experimentally, unsure, between the soreness of her jaw and her dehydration, if she would be capable of producing sounds. Her head was cloudy, her vision blurry. She would have rubbed her eyes if she could. Instead, she blinked hard, jerking her head to the side to shake off the haze, her black hair, still surprisingly bouncy and lustrous despite her ordeal, whipping down across half her face.

She looked up, and her one uncovered eye fell upon the two guards, standing at attention behind the Bishop. Her muscles clenched in anger, and she swallowed hard, her rising fury seeming to somehow lubricate her parched throat.

“Your men . . .” she croaked, “. . . they came to me in the night . . . like beasts . . . used me . . .”

“The witch lies!” protested Brother Duncan. At the same time, Sister Agnes announced her view of the accusation with dismissive snort, full of derision and disappointment. But the Bishop raised his hand to silence them both.

“Once again, my child, you mistake this for a conversation. The only words that can save you are ones of repentance. I ask you again: are you ready to confess your sins before God?”

“God . . .” Isabella hissed bitterly, dropping her eyes to the floor in despair, “God has forsaken this place.”

The Bishop shook his head in a show of disappointment. He turned and plucked a metal object from a nearby workbench, an elongated, pear-shaped device of polished bronze. Holding it up before the chained queen, he tested a knob at its base. As he twisted, the head of the tool slowly flared, bursting into three pieces and yawning like the mouth of some unnatural creature.

“Very well,” said the Bishop. “The interrogation continues.”

The pattern continued for days. How many days, Isabella could not be certain, for the same mental defenses that allowed her to endure what was being done to her seemed to block her from counting how many times it happened.

By day, she was tortured. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for ten. Sometimes in one long session, sometimes in shifts. Sometimes she was hounded for a confession, sometimes the Bishop and his assistants went about their work in silence. All according to her captors’ whims.

By night, the guards would come. It was just Duncan and Theodore at first, but then, growing bolder perhaps, they began to bring others, men that Isabella did not recognize, comrades from other details presumably. One night, they were accompanied by a tonsured monk, who wasted no time eagerly hiking up his habit to mount the bound noblewoman. On more than one occasion, Isabella saw coins exchanged between Brother Duncan and the visitors.

Somehow, however many days she had been locked in the tower, she remained intact. Physically intact, at any rate. She had been in peak health when she had been taken at Malburgh, and her body was remarkably resilient in the face of her tribulations. Her mind had its own battles to fight.

The torments devised for her were varied and endless. One day, she had been forced to sit for hours straddling a narrow wooden beam, set at a height just inches above where she could comfortably stand, its edges digging into her crotch whenever her muscles would no longer permit her to remain on tip toes.

Another cruel morning had seen her nipples placed into tiny vices which were closed crank by crank around the tender flesh.

She had been strapped to a table as the bottoms of her feet were beaten with a birch cane. Wet cloth had been pressed to her face to simulate the sensation of drowning. Hot wax had been dripped across every inch of her skin and into every crevice of her body. A procession of foreign objects had been shoved into her asshole, sometimes left there to protrude from her body like a flag planted deep in newly-conquered earth.

These were painful, agonizing ordeals, without question. Degrading, yes, beyond all imagining. But, based on what Isabella had knew of the interrogation techniques employed by the Tribunal of Heresies, the tortures the Bishop had selected for her seemed calculated not to inflict permanent injury, to leave no lasting scars or, indeed, marks of any kind. For a while, through the grim haze of her pain and humiliation and despair, this realization was some small hope. The Bishop needed her alive, in one piece and largely unblemished. Whatever his pronouncements about church prerogative, he must at some point still intend to turn her over to Queen Joan and her feeble White King.

Yet the unremitting nature of her torture and captivity took its toll. Though her bones remained unbroken, the cumulative trauma of such ceaseless pain and debasement was steadily breaking down her spirit. The diurnal rhythms of her existence were divided between the Bishop’s whip and his servants’ cocks, and the helplessness of her situation was wearing her down. She was losing her mind and with it her sense of self. Lady Isabella might remain bodily whole, but the Black Queen was dying.

One night, many days, weeks perhaps, after her confinement began, she lay face down in the darkness. Unusually, she had not been chained to the floor at the end of the day. Instead, she had been left strapped to the apparatus that had been the site of the day’s torture.

It was a whipping bench, and Isabella knelt on a raised plank with her legs spread at shoulder width, her thighs secured against the body of the apparatus with broad leather belts. She was bent forward over an elevated portion of the bench, the weight of her upper body resting on her stomach, her breasts hanging loose over the front. More leather bands wrapped around her elbows and wrists, tying her arms fast to the slanted legs of the bench. Her head dangled freely and would have been shrouded by the curtain of her black hair had Sister Agnes not gathered it up into a neat bun that bobbled atop her skull.

Whether it had been oversight or conscious disregard that had left her there, part of Isabella still had sufficient sense of agency to contemplate turning this carelessness to her advantage. She began to wriggle.

Very quickly, she despaired. The buckles around her arms and legs might not have the durability of the heavy iron chains that were her usual bedtime accommodations, but they would suffice to hold her. She had neither the strength nor the leverage to break or twist out of tight leather straps. Even if she could, how did she expect to get herself out of the tower, naked and alone and surrounded by the Bishop’s men and other loyalists of the White regime?

Somehow, even in her uncomfortable position, sleep eventually overcame the exhausted Isabella. At the creak of the chamber door, however, she immediately woke, her heart already racing in a learned fear response. She lifted her head but could not crane her neck around sufficiently to see the door. She listened, muscles tensing, as a single set of footsteps approached from behind her at a steady, unhurried pace. Eerie shadows arose from the darkness as the flickering glow of candlelight spilled across the chamber and then grew closer.

“Mmmmmpph . .  uuuuhhh.” Isabella mumbled into her bit, hoping pathetically to elicit some response that would at least break the tension and horrible anticipation.

The intruder’s footsteps stopped behind her. Isabella held her breath. Was it Duncan? Or Theodore? Or had they sold her off to some third person for tonight? She tucked her chin but could barely see her knees past the obstruction of her pendulous breasts, let alone make out the identity of the figure of looming over her upraised bottom.

To her surprise, Isabella heard the sound of soft, ritualistic murmuring. Someone was praying. The words came fast and only half-vocalized, such that the fettered queen could only catch snippets here and there.

“ . . . that the Lord may forgive my unclean thoughts . . . this temptress sent by the devil to test men’s weakness . . . and afterwards to purify myself in whatever manner Thou command . . . that Thy will be done . . .”

The breathy mutterings were so indistinct that it took Isabella a moment to recognize that it was the Bishop himself standing behind her. No sooner had she made this realization than she felt leather-gloved hands on her buttocks, a palm pressed flat against each cheek as if sizing up her backside. Isabella squirmed. Tied down, draped over this bench, she could not have felt more exposed, with her bottom sticking up in the air above her stooped torso and her legs parted just enough to offer up both her front and rear orifices for display.

From the leisurely, silent way that the Bishop ran his hands over her bottom, squeezing her cheeks gently together and pulling them apart as if evaluating the ripeness of a large piece of fruit, he seemed to be taking in with relish the spectacle of the Queen’s exhibited parts.

One hand brushed down between her legs and ran slowly across the folds of her vagina and then up the valley floor between the mounds of her ass. The Bishop then released her bottom, and Isabella heard a soft pop that sounded like a stopper being removed from a jar. A moment later, she lurched forward in surprise as two fingers, ungloved but covered in something cold and slippery, jabbed against her anus without warning.

“Fffffmmmmmm! . . .” Isabella squealed, wiggling her bottom reflexively in a futile attempt to evade the Bishop’s touch, but the leather straps held her in place.

Helplessly, she stared down at the stone floor, feeling the invasive fingers circle round and round her asshole, smearing it thoroughly with lubricant. Isabella didn’t know what was in the slimy tincture, but she had grown familiar with the cold, oily feeling of having it rubbed on her and in her. It was the same concoction Sister Agnes used when preparing her to have one of her holes plugged by some new instrument of torture or humiliation, be it the Flemish Pear or the Beaded Confessor.

Sure enough, the unseen hands at her backside wasted no time in pushing their way inside her. First one slick finger burrowed into her ass, then another. Rhythmically, they slid in and out. Isabella moaned at the indignity.

The fingers molesting her bottom slowed and then withdrew. Isabella felt a fleeting sense of relief, but a moment later she wished the Bishop had been more thorough in applying the ointment. A burst of pain coursed through her as she felt her interrogator’s stiff and dismayingly thick penis press against her asshole and then roughly shove its way in.

In silence, save for Isabella’s muffled grunts of pain, the White Bishop fucked the Black Queen’s ass. The ordeal didn’t take long, and after a final stoic thrust, the Bishop wordlessly removed himself from Isabella’s aching hole. The Queen felt several globs of hot semen splatter against her right butt cheek. She choked back a sob while, behind her, the sadistic clergyman muttered another hurried prayer, presumably stuffing his wet cock back inside his holy vestments.

The footsteps and the candlelight receded, and the door creaked and closed. Isabella was left once more in the darkness, naked and bound, waiting for what new torments the dawn would bring, wondering wretchedly how much more abuse she could compartmentalize before the woman she had been was strangled and drowned.

The heavy chamber door and its visceral engravings of damnation swung slowly open again, its shrill creak once again triggering an immediate anxiety reflex in the captive queen. It seemed like only a moment ago the Bishop had left, but perhaps she had dropped out of consciousness at some point, through sleep or simply her mind shutting down to help dull the trauma.

Sister Agnes came first, walking across the chamber and into Isabella’s field of vision, carrying the bucket of water for her prisoner’s morning bath. Though she could not see them, Isabella knew that Brother Duncan and Brother Theodore would no doubt be taking their stations flanking the entryway, settling in to enjoy another session watching their master torment and humiliate the Old King’s fallen daughter.

Sister Agnes loosened the straps around Isabella’s arms and legs but did not release her from the whipping bench. Isabella gingerly adjusted her stiff appendages but moved slowly and deliberately lest the nun think she was trying to struggle or fight. The old woman circled around her, sponging down her body. As usual, she gave no indication that she noticed the remnants of the night’s visitations sticking in crusty splotches to the fettered woman’s bottom and thighs.

Once Isabella had been wiped down, her surfaces and crevices dutifully polished like a well-kept piece of furniture or machinery, Sister Agnes removed the bit from between her teeth and gave her a ladle of water, which Isabella slurped at gratefully while the nun held a hand beneath her chin to support her dangling head. Then came the creak of the door and the steady, methodical footsteps that could only by the Bishop’s.

Isabella cringed with each footfall. There was a rustle of objects at a nearby table, and she imagined the grim-faced churchman musing over the day’s favored tools. Eventually, a flourish of white linen swooped past her face, and Isabella lifted her head, straining upwards to meet the eyes of the figure looming above and before her.

When she saw his expression, though, as cold and imperious as always, not the slightest flicker acknowledging what he had done to her during the night, she found that she could not hold his gaze. She allowed her head to sag back to its resting place between her stooped shoulders. Eyes fixed on the Bishop’s boots, she waited.

“Lady Isabella of Aardmore, you know well the charges against you. By the mercy of Almighty God, you are given this day a further opportunity to confess your sins and repent your wickedness. Will you take His proffered succor? What say you?”

Isabella’s head swam. She could no longer remember her stratagem, what she was holding out for, her reasons for defiance. She tried to focus, but the sober, calculating parts of her mind kept being disrupted by crazy thoughts. Perhaps she was a witch after all. Perhaps if she admitted her witchcraft, they would burn her. Burn her, yes, and the flames would caress her, soothe her, take her away from all this.

She shook her head, trying to brush off the wild imaginings. She opened her mouth, wincing at the stiffness in her jaw from days of being muzzled.

“Aahh . . .” she began, addressing the Bishop’s shins before swallowing, running her tongue across the dry roof of her mouth and trying again. “I . . . I . . .”

What had she been about to say? She didn’t know how to continue. All she could think about was leaving this awful tower, moving freely again, seeing the sun again. She moistened her lips once more as best she could. As she did so, her eyes were drawn to the braided cords that dangled beside the Bishop’s boot heel.

There were three of them, tightly woven and each ending in thick, uneven knots. She followed the cords up past the hem of the Bishop’s robes, all the way to where they came together, snaking out from an ivory handle clutched firmly in the Bishop’s gloved fist. Isabella hadn’t seen this particular flail before, but she’d learned enough of the varying qualities of such instruments during her prolonged interrogation to recognize pain when she saw it.

“I . . .” she stammered, as much to the flail as to the Bishop, “I . . .”

“Speak,” grumbled the Bishop impatiently.

But Isabella found she couldn’t bring her tongue under her command. She stared into the Bishop’s knees, mouth agape, breathing heavily.

“Her soul gasps for reconciliation with God, Your Purity and Grace,” Sister Agnes announced. “But the Devil stifles her. You must drive him out.”

“Sister Agnes speaks true,” replied the Bishop. “I can see you are close. We will help you break free of the final chains binding you to sin. Submit to God, Lady Isabella. You will see. Submission is conquest. Set down your defiance, your pride. Surrender yourself fully and be free. Sister, ready the cloth.”

The Bishop snapped his flail, which cracked the air with a horrifying pop. His boots marched past Isabella and out of her field of vision.

“No . . . Wait . . .” she cried, her voice quavering wildly in volume and pitch. “Wait no . . .”

She strained her head up to find Sister Agnes coming towards her fast, a dripping wet cloth in her hand.

“No . . . I . . . I . . . Mmmmmmmppphh”

The nun smashed the wet cloth into Isabella’s face and wrapped it around her head, pulling it taut with both hands clenched tight against the back of the noblewoman’s neck. Isabella sucked desperately against the damp fabric. What little air made it through was worse than none at all. She was suffocating slowly, a faithful recreation of the experience of drowning. She struggled frantically against her restraints, shaking the bench.

Suddenly, even through the deadening barrier of the cloth wrapped round her head, she heard the flail crack. A white hot line of pain erupted across her buttocks. She screamed, the sound largely absorbed by the wet fabric plastered across her mouth and nose.

Having wasted precious breath on her wail of agony, her lungs burned. She bucked hard. The leather straps around her arms and legs dug into her skin, but it barely registered. Then, there was another loud crack from behind her and the pain across her backside was overwhelming. She screamed again, but the reaction was weaker this time. Her struggles slowed. She felt like she was about to black out.

Just as she was readying herself to embrace unconsciousness, the cloth was whipped off her face. Isabella gasped and gasped. The streaks where the lash had fallen across her upturned ass sizzled, bringing tears to her eyes. Her body shuddered with a series of half-coughs, half-sobs. The Bishop stepped in front of her and slapped the side of her face to get her attention.

“Confess, Lady Isabella. Confess and taste God’s mercy.”

“I . . .” Isabella sputtered, not sure what she was saying. “I . . . Yes, I confess . . . I . . . Mercy . . . Please . . . no more . . . I surrender submit confess . . . I confess . . .”

“My heart gladdens,” said the Bishop in a cold, even tone. “God will grant you the mercy you seek, My Child. Sister, ink and parchment. Prepare to transcribe the declaration. What is it you confess, Lady Isabella?”

“All . . .” Isabella panted as Sister Agnes dragged a stool up beside the whipping bench and smoothed a piece of parchment, “I confess it all . . . Everything . . . Just no more . . .”

The Bishop cocked a skeptical eyebrow towards his assistant.

“I warn you that the Tribunal does not tolerate insincerity, My Child. Only open repentance, full and frank and genuine, can bring forgiveness. You must detail your sins.”

Isabella tried to remember the full litany of ridiculous charges that had been brought against her, searching for something to offer up. It was a list that had been repeatedly thrown at her, smeared across her, over the course of her torture and was by now etched firmly into her memory. It should have been easy for her to simply regurgitate the demeaning accusations, but at the moment Isabella wasn’t thinking straight.

When she tried to summon one of the disgraceful lies about her, to repeat and confirm the vile slander, she fumbled for the phrasing. Her words failed her. She could do nothing but gape dumbly at the Bishop’s knees. Was she too traumatized to form sentences? Or was there yet some defiant part of her holding her back?

“Her mendacity is palpable, Your Purity and Grace,” spat Sister Agnes in disgust, setting down her parchment, “She will not repent until her sins are dragged from her, bit by bit.”

The Bishop sighed and gave the nun a nod. With astonishing deftness for a woman her age, Sister Agnes snatched up the cloth from where she had deposited it in the water bucket and turned towards Isabella.

“No! . . . Wait! . . .” cried Isabella hoarsely. “I confess! . . . I confess!”

But it was too late. The wet cloth was wrapped around her face, stifling her pleas. Once more, Isabella felt herself suffocating, drowning. And then came the crack of the flail across her exposed bottom. Once. Twice. And just when she thought she might pass out from the pain and lack of air, the shroud was abruptly removed.

“Confess,” barked the Bishop, circling back in front of her and raising his flail threateningly. “Set forth your sins.”

“I . . . buuuuh . . b-books!” Isabella sputtered. “B-books of . . . of spells and potions! I . . . aaah . . . I had them! T-t-to practice witchcraft! I confess! I made the potions . . . the potions from the books! Dark ones! And spells! Dark spells! I cast them all! I . . . I confess! . . . Mercy . . .”

At a nod from the Bishop, Sister Agnes set down her cloth and picked up the parchment. Isabella stared down at the floor to hide the tears that had welled up in her eyes. Giving the braided cords of his instrument and satisfied flick, the Bishop paced before her.

“And to what ends did you employ these dark arts?” he prompted.

“To g-g-gain power at court? . . .” Isabella stammered, trying to recall the details of the accusations. “I . . . cast spells on men of influence . . . forced them to . . . forced them to lay with me . . .”

“And how many men did you fuck in this way?”

Isabella answered with a sob of humiliation before mustering control of her voice and continuing.

“Scores of men . . .” she answered, her voice quavering, “I . . . fuh . . . fucked countless men using my witchcraft . . . my . . . my father’s closest advisors . . . important barons . . . ambassadors from abroad . . . archbishops of the Church. . . I fucked them all. I confess!”

“Blasphemy . . .” whispered Sister Agnes to herself as she transcribed Isabella’s admissions.

Isabella hung her head in silence, hoping that she had given them enough for now, but the Bishop paced behind her and, when further confessions were not forthcoming, delivered a slap with his flail. It was a comparatively light blow, designed to grab her attention, but it still delivered a painful shock to her already-sore buttocks. Isabella yelped.

“Continue,” commanded the Bishop.

“I . . . my servingwomen! I made them . . . made them t-touch one another. I confess it! I made them . . . perform pagan rites! We would . . . would kiss and lick one another’s bodies and achieve unnatural ecstasies in mockery of God . . . I made them . . . Daily I made them pleasure me . . . their heads between my legs . . . caressing my breasts day and night . . . I confess!”

“Continue,” repeated the Bishop, prompting Isabella with another slap of the flail across her bottom.

“Aaaaaaah! . . . I . . . My mother and I . . . we worshipped the Devil . . . She initiated me among his followers . . . taught me witchcraft . . . She watched me . . . watched me pledge myself . . .” At this point, Isabella choked up, barely able to get the words out. “. . . g-give myself to the Devil. . . before my mother and . . . and all our . . . our f-fellow witches and . . . and . . .”

Isabella trailed off, and the Bishop hit her again.

“This ritual. What did it involve?”

“A d-demon! . . . A huge demon with claws and the face of a goat! . . . And I . . . I knelt before him . . . And I wrapped my mouth around his . . . his penis . . . And I pleasured him . . . for hours . . . for hours and hours . . . running my lips up and down its giant . . . giant p-penis . . And then . . . and then . . . I let it fuck me . . . I let the demon fuck me . . .”

“And you enjoyed these depraved, unholy acts?” demanded the Bishop.

“Yes!” Isabella sobbed. “I . . . I loved it . . . I confess . . . I confess it all! I’ve lain with men and women and animals and demons! I practice witchcraft and sorcery! I murdered my father! My mother . . . my mother is Satan’s whore! I confess!”

The Bishop continued to press her, making her repeat certain admissions and delve into greater, often graphic, detail for others. But eventually he seemed satisfied. Isabella was released from the whipping bench, and she was given a fresh penitent’s cassock before being shackled to the wall. As before, the vestments were roughly woven and ill-fitting, but after uncounted days lying naked in the tower, they felt positively dignified.

Her mouth was left ungagged. Yet the Queen remained passive and silent while her leather bindings were being loosened, while the simple brown frock was being fetched and pulled down over her head, while the iron cuffs closed around her wrists. She had no wish to provoke any renewed aggression from her captors. Besides, what was there to say? They left her hanging there, chained to the wall, the humiliation of her utter submission pulling down upon her like a deadweight.

Later, she was brought food and water. It was delivered by young Sister Geneveive, whom Isabella had not seen since the ordeal in the bathhouse, a disgrace that now seemed a world away. The Queen could see the change in herself reflected in the youthful nun’s shocked reaction, the look of fascination that could not decide between delight and horror. The gruel, lifted to Isabella’s lips spoonful by spoonful, tasted thicker than the stuff she’d been given to sustain her during her interrogation; the water, less corrupted.

Eventually, Sister Agnes returned. She had with her the transcript of the confession. Isabella was temporarily unchained, a quill thrust into her hand. Staring down at the document with bleary, unfocused eyes, she noted that it already bore the signatures of the Bishop, Sister Agnes, Brother Duncan and Brother Theodore, attesting as witnesses to the accuracy of the shameful declaration she’d been forced to give. Otherwise, she could not bear to read it. Swallowing her feelings of debasement, she swiftly made her mark at the bottom of the page.

After that, she was alone again, hanging there in the dark chamber, left to contemplate her fate. She had no illusions about the sort of “mercy” she could expect. Her understanding of the legal procedures followed by the Tribunal of Heresies was spotty, but she knew that confessions of the magnitude that she had just signed only led one place. She only hoped that she would have the chance to see the daylight sky again before the flames consumed her flesh.

A great commotion from the antechamber suddenly caused Isabella to lift her head and set aside some of her morbid reflections. Just outside the entrance to the interrogation room, there was shouting and then what sounded like the clanging of steel. Something heavy was thrown against the tall carved doors, and they shook. More shouting. Cries of pain.

Finally, the ruckus stopped. Then, after a momentary silence, the familiar sound of keys rattling in the chamber door, followed by the terrible creak that had awoken Isabella to so many nights and days of horror. When the door had opened a crack, it stopped. A figure stood motionless in the narrow opening. Though backlit, Isabella knew from his build that it was Brother Duncan, leaning forward with his mail-clad shoulder against the door frame, seemingly frozen at the room’s threshold.

Torchlight from the wall sconces fell upon the White Guardsman’s face, and as Isabella’s eyes adjusted she could make out his features. His eyes were wide in consternation, his lips parted in a comical little “o.” Suddenly, his shoulder began to slide down the doorway and he collapsed onto his stomach like a rag doll, his chin slamming down hard against the stone floor. From behind the door, a heavy boot appeared and clamped its heel down upon the limp Duncan’s head as if to steady it. Then, from the same direction, a sword blade flashed into view, glinting against the torchlight as it jabbed straight downward and into Brother Duncan’s neck.

Fluid splurted upwards like a wine skin squeezed too forcefully. Duncan emitted a pathetic gurgle that slowed and then faded away. Meanwhile, his killer pulled the sword free and stepped over the body. It was a soldier, dressed in the uniform of the Whites. A second soldier followed him, carefully avoiding the puddle of blood pooling around Duncan’s neck as he entered the interrogation chamber.

When they saw Isabella chained to the wall, both men stopped. The one who had finished off Brother Duncan sheathed his sword and approached her slowly, looking her up and down in apparent uncertainty and puzzlement.

“Is that . . .” he asked.

His comrade grunted in affirmation and called out towards the antechamber.

“She’s here!”

The first soldier brought a torch closer to better illuminate the shackled queen, barefoot and clad in coarse brown penitent’s garb. As he did so, they were joined by two more men. The first was the Bishop, who stepped over the crumpled body of his slaughtered goon with a look of loathing and trepidation. At his shoulder, nudging the cowed clergyman forward, swaggered a figure whose armor was polished to such a dazzling sheen that Isabella had to momentarily close her eyes against the reflected glare.

When she opened them, the shiny newcomer had left the Bishop glowering off to the side and was pacing casually in front of Isabella, regarding the captured queen with a smirk that seemed to animate his entire body. Contemplatively, he ran his fingers across the length of his long, curling moustache, the same light brown color and just as carefully groomed as the mane of hair of that fell in a neat arc around his shoulders. Isabella’s eyes narrowed and her heartbeat quickened.

“Well . . . Well well well . . .” hummed the dapper warrior.

“Sir Stewart,” hissed the Queen.

Sir Stewart, the White Knight himself, sauntered closer, eyeing Isabella’s ill-fitting cassock and uncovered calves with smug, pursed lips. He then gave her an elaborate courtly bow.

“Your Majesty . . .”

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Queen Captured – Act II: Bishop (scene ii)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bishop Trolwick. . .” she began.

SLAP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isabella could not help a snort of derision.

“Who said such- . . .?”

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

“I do not!” Isabella responded in exasperation.

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

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

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

“This is—” Isabella began.

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

“Denied!” Isabella blurted in frustration.

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

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

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

“Ridiculous!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Denied,” she managed to growl, finally.

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

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

“Denied.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SLAP!

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

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

SLAP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you wish to confess?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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