tagNovels and NovellasA King's Wife

A King's Wife

bymaxdname©

Chapter one

Life could be cruel in Middle England, during the Year of Our Lord 1365. Wolves still roamed the landscape and, it was rumored, wizards, and sprites. But, one fateful day, Byth found it necessary to take refuge far from the town of her birth, Gateshead on the Tyne.

When the Plague entered the port at Tynemouth the countryside was thrown into a panic. Byth was too young to remember the last visit from the Black Death, but her father and mother had managed to escape by hiding in the woods east of Durham. Her father was an excellent bowman, having served as one of the King's elite Newcastle Archers against the Scots, providing both game and security for his wife and suckling daughter through an entire winter while the plague played itself out amongst the citizens who remained.

Byth could not remember being any farther than the opposite end of the village, which took several hours to walk. Beyond the village's edge lay deep woods and dark places where men of a stout heart had disappeared without a trace. While Byth did not believe strongly in necromancy nor black spirits, those who had vanished were not mere boys.

Byth's mother and father chose to remain behind in Gateshead after they took over an inn whose owner had succumbed to the ravages of pestilence. With a return of the disease, which spread through the land at the pace of a walking man, Byth's parents thought it best to send the girl into the woods to save herself and her young child.

An innkeeper's daughter was thought to be of loose moral fabric, especially one as beautiful as Byth, but she had resisted every man's advances, even kicking one man where his manhood resided, until one winter's eve when a singularly handsome man spun her great stories of his own kingdom that had been stolen from him and of adventures far a'sea. He poured many flagons of ale but drank few, instead giving them to the much too young Byth. With her judgment impaired by the rich drink, she gave herself willingly to the dark-eyed stranger. Within three seasons she gave birth to a fine bawling girl who showed extraordinary intelligence at an early age. The child had blond hair, unlike Byth's reddish, but she had her mother's creamy fair skin and bright green eyes.

Byth's mother and father knew her nature and realized it was not that of a harlot. They accepted this child as their granddaughter and heaped praise and great love on the child. With his only child and grandchild in danger, Byth's father gave her the meat he could spare, his strong yew bow and a dagger he had stripped from the body of a Scottish knight and he bade her farewell for what, he insisted, would be their last meeting. With tears filling her eyes she trudged away from what had been her home for as long as she could remember into the dark unknown with only her father's hand-drawn map to guide her and carrying her yearling daughter.

With the dangers of travel afoot, given the Plague's wont to drive men to crime, Byth tried to move only after dark to hide her sex and that she carried a young child swaddled inside her bodice. After two nights she came to the edge of her known world and set into the inky night to see where fate, and her father's simple map, might take her. With fewer houses and farms nearby Byth felt more comfortable traveling by daylight and was able to cover a greater distance in the long summer days. Her daughter was quiet and comfortable hidden beneath her mother's clothing.

After many hours trek Byth came to an ancient oak at a crossroads and seeing it as one of her father's landmarks, checked the angle of the sun to determine the points of the compass, and headed directly between the two roads into the dark woods. Byth's path was no longer that of the marked road. Now she would have to rely on her wits beyond that point.

Her steps were easy for many hours proving the worth of her father's map, but at last even his crude drawings became fewer until she found herself at the end of the parchment. As the sun settled low in the countryside Byth huddled herself inside the hollow of a tree to wait out the blackness of night.

Byth awoke to the sounds of a canine snuffling about. Quickly, she drew her dagger and prepared to lash out at whatever beast appeared. A huge dappled wolfhound peered into the hollow of the tree to inspect Byth at length. She watched its every move waiting for an indication of attack. Its tail wagged momentarily before it set to a long loud baying that Byth knew would attract its owner. The child at her breast began to whimper with this ruckus and Byth stood herself up inside the tree's dead portion with her back braced to lash out at the dog when it was time for her escape. The dog stopped its noise and began to wag its tail furiously as it gamboled to an unseen master. Byth prepared herself to meet this new danger with her jaw set and the dagger bared.

A pleasant face peeked into the tree from several yards away. The man had flaxen hair that was tussled as if he had ridden hard for many miles and his ruddy cheeks set off his dark eyes. The wolfhound rubbed against him and whimpered for his attention as only a dog that had been spoiled by an over-affectionate master would.

"Pray, m'lady. Step forth." Still brandishing shining steel at chest level Byth shuffled forward ready to attack. The dog growled as Byth came nearer. The man hissed loudly at the dog, quieting the beast.

"Why have you made this tree your home, young miss?" The man's voice was melodic and familiar. Suddenly, Byth saw him for the man who had brought her with child and she darted forward to stab him. The dog began to bark viciously at Byth's thrust but the man danced away easily. He hissed at the dog again and the barking ceased but the dog's eye's followed Byth's movements carefully now. With the quiet, the man heard the whimpers of Byth's child.

"What have you under your cloak, angry woman?" The man asked mockingly.

Byth measured the distance to the dog and knew she couldn't reach the man without being attacked.

She knew her best chance for survival was to present the man with the spawn of his loins so she tugged back her bodice to reveal the young girl's sweet blond head.

The man smiled broadly, obviously taken by the beauty of the youngster.

"And who's child is this?" he asked with genuine pleasure.

"Do you not recognize your own flesh, m'lord?" Byth's tone was insolent. The man's smile faded quickly when he peered more closely into Byth's face.

"The Innkeeper's daughter..." The man stepped forward quickly and snatched the blade from her hand prompting the dog to bark again. The man raised his hand towards the dog and it shied away just out of reach. Tossing the blade aside he pushed Byth against the tree holding her neck firmly while he held her hand so she could not cover the child again. Byth struggled but his grip was strong and she felt dizzy as he cut off her air. He examined them both closely before he released her. He tore the young girl from Byth's grasp as she panted to regain her breath. The man spun away from the mother while the dog snarled savagely at her. He measured the bundled child's heft and looked deep into her clear eyes before he turned back and smiled broadly at Byth.

"You have given me a fine daughter."

"She is mine!" Byth snapped causing the dog to snarl again as Byth pressed forward. The man eyed Byth again before he spoke.

"You may ride my horse. I wish walk with my new-found child to learn more of her nature." Byth glared at the man with her jaw set, but her child had ceased to whimper and Byth thought she heard the child actually coo.

Byth climbed into the saddle and threw her knee over the horn like a proper lady. She had ridden a horse before but never a magnificent creature like this. Her mind wasn't on the fine mount she rode but watching this man holding her baby.

They walked for several hours and through the entire journey the man whispered to the child and chucked her under her chin until at length the little girl seemed quite smitten with the handsome man, smiling often, and squealing with delight when he held her high above his head. Byth watched him closely, and his dog, who never strayed from his side for long. Without her blade, against a stronger man, Byth knew she had little at her disposal to snatch back her daughter.

At last, the dog dashed in long loping strides towards a clearing. A lone woman stood on its edge and clapped her hands causing the dog to sprint towards her. Kneeling she rubbed the dog's head. The woman glanced at Byth, astride the horse, and then at the man as he chatted to the bundle of cloth in his arms. As the horse trotted the several yards into the clearing, its obvious home, Byth held her head low to the woman who she assumed must have been the man's most recent victim of sexual conquest.

Though this woman did not show signs of child Byth thought this man must have plied other women with stories and ale. The slender woman stepped forward and stoked the neck of the horse as it neared her. Looking directly into Byth's face she spoke.

"I am Marielle..." The woman was pretty and her voice rang clearly.

Head held low, Byth responded quietly, "I am called Byth, m'lady."

The woman dipped her face to move into Byth's eyesight and smiled.

"Call me Marielle, please." Byth was embarrassed by this woman's niceties and wondered if she would continue this pleasant behavior when she discovered that this man had taken Byth to bed and bore him a daughter at a tender age.

Turning, the pleasant woman spoke to the defiler of young women.

"And what have you caught this day?"

"A child. A girl." Smiling and holding the girl above his head, to her obvious delight, he proclaimed loudly, "My child!"

"And her mother?" The woman asked.

"Yes. This is she," he nodded towards the rider on the horse.

"The Innkeeper's daughter?" Byth nodded as Marielle extended her hand and bowed her head. "M'lady."

Confused, Byth slid from the saddle. She glanced towards the top of Marielle's bowed head and back towards the man who now nuzzling the baby to his cheek.

"Marielle is my half-sister. Not an heir to the throne but a treasured member of the royal family. A family now larger by the addition of my sweet daughter. She is a pure treasure. What do you call her?" the man asked as he kissed the infant's fingers one after the other to the child's delighted giggle.

Still muddled, Byth looked back to Marielle who remained bowed towards her.

"We... I haven't settled on..." Byth stammered in her confusion.

The man broke in. "Marielle. We've no need for formalities is this wood."

Marielle lifted her face to peer into Byth's before spoke to her brother. "You were right, m'lord. She is quite fair. The same bright green eyes of our father." Byth smiled at what she thought to be a compliment but didn't speak.

"Innkeeper's daughter, our child..." The man was interrupted by his sister.

"M'lord, she has a name."

"Yes, yes... Her name is Byth... 'a sweeter mead I shall not taste,'" he continued impatiently. Then he stopped and an impish grim crossed his face. "But pray tell me, Byth, do you remember mine?"

Anger rose in her voice as she spoke, "Nay m'lord. I was plied with much drink that eve and the memories are few, to my great relief." Marielle turned her head to hide a snicker.

The young man set his jaw before he spoke in a booming voice that he must have practiced to laud over some unseen court.

"I am Aubert of Greenleaf, master and king of this forest and the lands that adjoin it. Named for the Cardinal Etienne Aubert who became Pope Innocent the sixth, our last true Roman Catholic pope and..."

"Innocent in name only," Marielle offered as an aside to Byth.

Aubert furrowed his brow and glared at his sister. "Sister," he boomed. "Take this child, and heir to the throne, to your shelter and try not to upset it." Fighting a smile, Marielle curtsied and took Byth's child from her brother's arms.

"Do not make her cry. I have done so much to make her happy," he added sardonically.

"Yes m'lord." Marielle turned to Byth and asked, "So, she is yet unnamed?"

Byth nodded. "None seemed fitting such a beautiful and sweet child."

Aubert boomed, "Edweena! The name of my mother! So be it!"

Marielle poked her finger at the newly-named Edweena's chin and took her away with the dog following closely. Byth's heart sank as the three disappeared into a small shelter made of logs and covered in moss to render it almost invisible.

Now, Aubert tugged on Byth's arm.

"Let us renew our knowledge of one another, fair Byth. Since your memory is lacking," Aubert blurted mockingly.

He dragged Byth toward another shelter several yards from Marielle's.

"M'lord, what about your mount?"

Not breaking stride Aubert answered, "He will return to my whistle." Dragging her feet, Byth tried to think of another excuse.

"Shouldn't we wait until dark? There are many hours left to hunt."

Aubert yanked Byth close to his chest wrapping his arms around her slim waist.

"We will renew our vows, Byth." He discovered her father's bow and jerked it out of the wrap that was cinched around her waist and stood it next to the entrance of the shelter.

"What vows, m'lord?" Byth began to struggle in earnest against the man.

"On that night you promised to be mine, alone. And I yours. I have kept my promise and we shall renew those vows here and now."

"No, m'lord. Please, do not take me by force."

"What force? You are promised to me. How can that be 'by force?'" With that he pulled her inside the shelter. It was warm inside, though dimly lit, by a small fire. Aubert spun her around in the small room before he fell in a crude chair near the bed.

"Now, it would be my pleasure to see you unclad." Byth stood with her fists balled in front of her breasts. "Hurry!" he barked as he stomped his foot.

Slowly, Byth took off a layer of clothing while the 'king of these woods' smirked and watched her movements closely. As she stripped, she put together a plot to get her child and leave this place far behind. Now her moves became more sinuous and Byth ran her hands down the sides of her ribs and over her thighs while she plucked at her last layers of clothing.

Byth began to sway to some music that only she could hear but as her dance became more erotic Aubert may have hear it too. He licked his lips when she lifted the layer that covered her firm pale breasts, exposing them to the dim light.

Byth's hands wandered over her nipples where she twisted them gently so that they stood out begging for the hand of a man to tease them. Her hips rocked as she wandered forward and slipped her fingers beneath the last piece of her clothing. She slid it slowly over her slim hips. It fell in a heap at her feet and she stepped out of it completely unfettered by cloth now.

A woman's body of such beauty is rarely seen by mortal men, especially a woman that has given birth, but Byth possessed the long slow curves of a river before it reaches the ocean. Aubert was visibly consumed by her beauty. The sway of her hips and the light patch of auburn hair that guided a man's flesh to her womb began to hypnotize the man. Eyes closed, Byth dug a finger through the small patch of humid hair and buried her digit in the wet warmth that lie within. A moan slipped past her lips before she licked a finger on her other hand and let it also disappear into the folds of her body.

Aubert sat forward eagerly in his chair. "Where did an innkeeper's daughter learn such dancing?" he queried in a strangled voice.

With her eyes mere slits she whispered, "Come find out what else I learnt, m'lord."

As he rose she reached to the wall behind the man and snatched up a heavy pan into her hand. She swung it wildly at Aubert but he dodged her at every swipe. At last, he spun her around and yanked the pan from her grasp. She stomped on his foot in the struggle and Aubert slapped her hard across the face.

"That hurt, Innkeeper's daughter."

Stunned, Byth fell to her hands and knees while trying to regain her senses. Then she felt him pull her to her feet by her red hair. He grabbed one of her hands and twisted it behind her back where upon he whispered into her ear hoarsely, "We will renew our carnal knowledge whether you consent or not."

She felt a leather strap being wrapped around her wrists and then, in dismay, watched Aubert throw a rope over a rafter in the makeshift shelter. With the rope, he pulled her tied wrists high above her back and lashed the rope to a knot in the wood that protruded from the wall of the shelter. Byth, now bent over, had to stand on tiptoes to keep the straps from dislocating her shoulders. She struggled completely exposed before this man's gaze.

"Now then..." He was interrupted by Byth kicking her foot at the man as she struggled to keep her balance on one foot.

"Fine, then." He busied himself briefly gathering more leather straps and picking through several limbs near the fire. He grabbed one of Byth's legs so she could not kick him without falling and putting all her weight on the straps that dug into her wrists. He tied the strap around her ankle and to the limb and then nudged the back of her knee with his shoulder causing her leg to give way and the straps on her wrists held all her weight briefly. She struggled to get both feet on the floor to stop the pain. Aubert quickly tied her other ankle to the limb now and she was completely helpless and open to his sexual whim.

SLAP

Byth felt a sting on her bum as the man slapped her hard. Twisting against her restraints she could only try to keep from falling down with her ankles lashed apart some two feet and her wrists held high behind her back.

SLAP

Her body arched away from his open palm on her buttocks as he delivered a second blow.

"I wanted this to be a happy reunion."

SLAP

She strained against the leather straps and twirled slightly while she tiptoed to regain her balance, yet she could see nothing before her but the dirt floor as she bent forward.

SLAP

"Ahh! Please, m'lord my concern was only for my baby!" Byth cried out breathlessly.

SLAP

"Our baby," he corrected. Byth sucked in deep breath of air.

"Yes! Yes, m'lord! Whatever you say!"

SLAP

"Ahhh! Please, please! M'lord, no more!" she begged.

SLAP

"Aih!" She bucked forward as his hand connected with her ass cheeks again.

He rested his hand on her ass now massaging it gently.

"Will you have me inside you, then?"

"Yes, yes, m'lord! I will," she replied panting.

"Say you want me inside you," he continued. Byth hesitated briefly bringing on another blow to her already stinging bum.

SLAP

She twisted but the leather straps held firmly.

"Yes!" she cried out. "Yes, m'lord I beg you, take me!" She screamed with tears rolling down her face, falling onto the dirt floor. But her tears were no longer from the pain but because her body had betrayed her. A wetness now filled her sex and each slap brought her closer to some unfamiliar tension in her gut: an itch that was growing in her womb that begged for something to scratch it. She wanted to feel this man who called himself the king inside her loins. She wanted to take his firm flesh in that damp place between her legs and milk it dry of the same fluids that had created her daughter.

She shivered as Aubert ran his finger between her thighs tracing a line where they met. A finger dipped inside her pink flesh and her entire body shuddered with delight and her nipples grew as hard as when she first suckled her daughter.

"Why, Innkeeper's daughter, I do believe you are enjoying yourself already."

"Please, m'lord. My nips need attention, desperately," she gasped.

He stepped to the front of her and released her hands from the rafter. He grabbed her hair and stood her up, looking down at her pink nubbins.

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