tagNovels and NovellasThe Ravishing of Constance Ch. 17

The Ravishing of Constance Ch. 17

bySabledrake©

Constance passed several miserable days in her lonely room. She was permitted to roam the fortress or the village, but escape was impossible because there was no way to leave the island save by ship. And all the ships were those of the Black Falcon's fleet. They ranged from swift sloops to monstrous galleons bristling with cannons, and every man, woman, and child in Falcon Bay was loyal to the Merlions.

She had Marie for company, and took a peculiar sort of comfort in knowing that her mother had spent two years here, during Anna deGranville's time as a captive of Philippe Merlion. Not that she sensed any lingering ghost of her mother's presence.

Daily, she was plied anew with the potion that fanned the flames of her arousal, while being unable to relieve the turbulent pressure. She felt she might burst, might fly apart into a thousand pieces. Sleep eluded her at night, when she would toss and turn in her bed, unable to rest comfortably with the belt locked around her loins. She picked at her meals, and gave up seeking what empty solace she could in Marie's arms.

Oh, this could not go on, this must end. One way or another, it had to end soon or she was certain she would take leave of her sanity.

And then, five days after the Falcon had sailed away, its flag was sighted returning. Cheers rose up all over the village, and people swarmed to the docks to welcome the crew home. Constance could only see shapes, not enough detail to recognize any of them in the dusk's purple light.

She waited with dread, but nothing happened until the next morning. Then Marie, flushed with excitement, hurried into Constance's room.

"Marie, what news?"

"Success, my lady!" It dawned noticeably on Marie's face that perhaps Constance might not react gladly to such news, and she faltered. "I mean … they've come back."

"And my father?" She almost hoped that in the attack, her father had been shot and killed. He would have at least then died believing her innocence. Much as she loved him, she would rather he'd been slain than witness the show Jacqueline seemed determined to put on.

"They have him," Marie said.

Constance's heart sank. What hideous anguish for him … and a familiar one, reliving how it must have been when her mother's ship was taken. Except this would be worse, far worse, for he had always been so diligent in protecting her. He couldn't have known that her doom would come from within the very walls of the sheltered family estate.

"Time, my lady. Time to make you ready."

"I shan't," Constance said. "I'll not let her do this. It isn't fair that she should hate me so, when I've done nothing to her. Have the Merlions not harmed my family enough? Did you know, Marie, that my own mother was kidnapped by Philippe Merlion, and held by him for two years?"

It was as if she hadn't spoken. Marie was bustling about, laying out a fine dress of white linen more suitable for a bride than a prisoner. She pulled at the laces on the frock Constance was wearing, and looked puzzled when Constance batted her hands away.

"No!"

"But it's Jacqueline's orders."

"Bugger her orders!" Constance spat, startling herself. "And bugger Jacqueline as well! I will not go."

If her father saw her as Jacqueline would have him see her, arranged on a platform like a sacrifice, and taken by one man after another, it would shatter his very soul. Hers, as well. How he would look at her, never again with love in his gaze, always thereafter seeing her as the naked whore.

Bad enough if he had to observe her ravishment. But for him to see her respond … as she was cursed to do, by weeks of neglect and the heightened effects of the potion … that would be the unkindest thing of all! He might, though it was only the slimmest of chances, hold her less to blame for what happened if he thought her to be suffering, or merely enduring. Should she allow her terrible, vile passions to arise …

Marie had the insolence to give her a chiding look, as if Constance were being a difficult child who did not want to don her Sunday best for church. "Now, my lady –"

"I will not, I say!"

With a world-weary sigh, Marie went to the door and called into the hall. Moments later, Michel appeared, and gazed sternly at Constance.

"Please, Michel," she pleaded, extending her hands toward him. "You know that what your sister means to do is beyond cruel."

"We lost two men and six others were wounded taking your father's ship," he said. "I won't have that be for naught, Constance."

"Jacqueline caused that with her insistence on this abominable act," she said.

"Be that as it may, cherie, we've not gone through so much for nothing. Put on your lovely white gown, and let us to the courtyard. Your father and brother have whiled away the night in the dungeon, and –" "Brother?" She tottered, nearly swooning. "Rob is here?"

"He was aboard the ship with your father. It amused Jacqueline mightily to bring them both. Lord William has been ranting, foaming at the mouth like a dog, damning us to hell and back, demanding to see you. Do not disappoint him."

"I will not do this. Have you no heart, no decency?"

"You are a prisoner, Constance," Michel said. "Ours to do with as we will. We could have used you as we did Beatrice, we could have flayed you for our amusement, we could have sold you to some sultan … you are not a guest here. This is what Jacqueline wants done, and so it shall be done."

"She is a madwoman!"

"She is a great captain. If she has ill will toward your family, well, she has her reasons."

"What reasons? Why should she hate us so? None of your other captives have been mistreated this way."

"We haven't time for this. Permit Marie to dress you, or I'll hold you down and strip you by force."

There was no compromise in his tone. She saw that he meant what he said. It broke something within her, some fragile dream she hadn't even realized she'd had. There might have been a time when she felt fondly toward this emerald-eyed rogue of her dreams, and fancied that he found her special as well. But he would not take her side against Jacqueline's. He would not rescue her. Indeed, he would take part in her public shame, if that was Jacqueline's bidding. He would fuck her in front of her father, and fuck her so well that she could not possibly fail to spend.

Constance quit resisting and stood motionless as Marie slipped off one dress and replaced it with another. She had been bathed only the night before, so her skin was satiny and powder-smooth, her hair a rippling golden curtain.

It was going to happen, she knew. Nothing could stop it. The British fleet was not going to arrive in the very nick of time to save her, nor was Michel going to defy Jacqueline. She would be placed on display, made a spectacle, and her poor dear father would have to see all.

She could not let him think that she enjoyed in any way what would be done to her. She must not. She must show no signs of pleasure, no matter what acts were performed upon her body.

When she was ready, Michel and Marie escorted her downstairs and out into the balmy sun of the courtyard. A crowd was already gathered, sailors and townspeople jostling for position.

At the bottom of the steps, in an enclosure momentarily shielding them from the gaze of the spectators, Marie hiked Constance's skirt and Michel produced a tiny key. He used this to open the locks at her hips, and her skin sobbed with relief as the constricting metal of the chastity belt was finally lifted away.

Marie brought out a bucket of warm water and a rag, and sponged the regions that had been concealed. Red, chafed spots marked her body here and there, but the water coursing over her was purest bliss. She let her head fall back, and sighed, as Marie tenderly washed her.

"It'll be better soon, my lady," Marie said, rubbing the rag in slow circles on Constance's mound. "Soon you'll have a nice cock seeing to you."

"I cannot go up there like this. Please, Michel," she said, turning tearful eyes on him. "Do not make me spend in front of my father."

His reply was to kiss her, and nudge Marie's hand aside to probe with a long, strong finger into her. She shuddered and pressed against him, hating herself even as she nearly screamed with delight.

"The state you're in, cherie," he murmured against her mouth, "I don't think that's possible. Now, up you go."

He slapped her on the bottom, making her squeal. Her skirt fell around her shins, the cloth caressing her buttocks. As Constance climbed the steps, feeling like a condemned woman on her way to the gallows, or the stake, or the executioner's block, she was vividly aware of the way her legs rubbed together. No metal was in the way, and when she squeezed her thighs together, she felt the wonderful friction on her cunny lips, and clitoris.

She climbed onto the platform, and the crowd whistled and cheered as she came into view. Most of the crew stood around the wooden bed-like construction. She saw that Jacqueline's familiar leather chair had been brought from the captain's cabin and set up at the edge of the bed. The blonde pirate woman was lounging in it, in her customary pose, but her relaxed posture was belied by the wild merriment in her eyes, and the white knuckles where her hands gripped the armrests.

"Tie her," she said.

"Jacqueline, please, no, do not do this," Constance said, although she knew it was useless.

Michel picked her up and placed her on the wooden structure. Its surface had been covered with a padded cushion, a consideration that seemed absurd in light of the rest of it. Some of the men stepped forth to help him as they brought Constance's arms over her head, and bound her wrists to the rail. Her ankles were spread apart, one tied to the rail, the other to the short post. The skirt of her gown draped her curves, rising in peaks over her breasts, falling into the long valley of her parted thighs. "Now send for the prisoners," Jacqueline said. She grinned at Constance. "Your devoted brother is here with us, as well."

"Why, Jacqueline? At least tell me that! What has our family ever done that you should hate us so? Have not the Merlions done enough to the deGranvilles already? My own mother was –"

Jacqueline's grin vanished. She fixed Constance with her cold blue gaze. "You still do not understand why I have such good reason to hate you, and your family?"

"Would that I did, for then this heartless business might make sense to me!"

"When your mother set sail from Veradoga all those years ago, she was with child. She had only suspected it and had not yet told her husband. Her ship was taken by Merlion and she knew that even if she were ransomed to safety, her husband would never believe that she'd been pregnant before. He would think the babe to be the rape-gotten bastard of a pirate. And so, your mother beseeched Merlion to keep her until the child had been born and weaned. She left that child with Merlion and his wife, to be raised as a sister to their sons. That child, Constance, is me. I am your sister."

"My … sister?"

"The second child of William and Anna deGranville."

"Oh, dear Lord!"

"And she left me. Left me with pirates, to return to her comfortable, privileged life. You were born to replace me, and all that you have, everything that is yours, should have by rights been mine!"

"Jacqueline –"

"But what did I have? I grew up believing Philippe Merlion to be my father, until the night he raped me in my bed. Only then did he tell me the truth, as if the fact that we were not blood kin should make it all right. I vowed, on learning this, that I would never rest until I'd had my revenge against the deGranvilles. Fortune was with me indeed that you should have fallen into my hands. Now, at last, my hour of vengeance has come."

Stunned, Constance did not know what to say, or even if she could speak.

Jacqueline leaned close. Looking at her, Constance was amazed that she'd missed the fact of their resemblance. The blond hair, when Michel and Jean-Pierre were both dark. The blue eyes, that same cerulean shade as in a portrait of Anna deGranville that Constance had once stumbled over in the attic of the villa.

"Now you know," she whispered, lips curved in a cold smile. "But if you breathe even a word of it to our father, I'll have him shot dead without a second thought. Do you believe me?"

"Yes," Constance said tremulously.

"Then our brother, rapacious lecher that he is. And then, while their life's blood pours out onto the stones, I'll draw my dagger and cut your throat."

With that, and a final icy stare to assure Constance that Jacqueline entirely meant what she'd said, the captain turned away to face the disturbance in the crowd as the prisoners were brought forth. Michel, standing nearby, offered Constance a small, sympathetic smile.

"It is true, you know," he said in a low, conversational tone. "I remember your mother. I was only a little boy, but I remember. Golden-haired, she was, with eyes like the sea. She was very kind, sad, but kind."

"Michel, please … help me. I beg of you."

He somberly shook his head. "The last thing she told me before sailing away was that Jacqueline was to be my sister now, and that I should always care for her. After my father hurt her so, I swore I'd always be loyal."

The crowd laughed and called as Salvador, Adam, and a few other sailors dragged the figures of William and Robert deGranville to the platform. Their hands were bound before them, ankles hobbled on short lengths of rope, and both were disheveled. A bandage stained with dried blood was around Rob's arm, and William's face was bruised. But it was them, unmistakably them. Constance yanked at her bonds, burning with humiliation that she should be bound here like this, but she succeeded only in causing the cords to dig into her wrists.

"You've had your fun, you devil's witch!" her father shouted at Jacqueline as he was pulled up the steps. "And you have your gold, your ransom. Now, damn you, where is my daughter?"

He saw Constance then, and the world seemed to momentarily stop in its tracks. The anger drained from him, replaced by fear, and in that instant he looked old. Not fifty, his true age, but ancient. The sun hit his fair hair at just the right slant to turn it silvery, and sunken hollows ringed his devastated grey eyes.

"Constance," he choked.

Rob saw her as well, and a turmoil of expressions battled for dominion. Fury and envy, spite and lust … he was not her brother but a monster. Perhaps their father held to the hope that she was untouched; Rob seemed to pierce her very mind and know the most intricate details of everything she'd done since fleeing him.

Jacqueline's warning had not been needed. Constance couldn't have spoken a single word. Her throat closed with grief-stricken shame, and tears overflowed her eyes.

"Release her!" William raged, lunging against those who held him with such sudden force that he nearly tore free.

They grappled him into submission, and bodily hauled him nearer to Jacqueline, nearer to Constance. His chest was heaving, his face ashen but for scarlet blotches of ire. He was unkempt, having been indifferent to shaving while so consumed by worry for his daughter, and barely looked like himself at all. Yet it was him, her beloved if distant father.

She wanted to convey the truth somehow to her father. By the very transmission of thought, perhaps. That here was another child of his, her and Rob's blood sister. If Jacqueline were somehow welcomed, accepted into the family, loved, given the status and comforts she felt she had been denied, perhaps there was a chance at healing this enmity. But her father only saw her mute appeal, and mistook it for a helpless plea.

"Fiend!" he spat at Jacqueline. "What have you done to her?"

"She has been well-treated. Haven't you, Constance? Very well-treated indeed."

"If you've let these villains of yours lay a single hand on my sister –" Rob began.

Jacqueline's laugh cut through his words. "Such concern for your sister's virtue, Robert deGranville! How noble!"

"You have your money," William said, fighting to calm himself enough to speak reasonably. "If it's blood as well that you want, let my children go, and spill mine."

"Why, my lord, you must think we're bad-tempered indeed." Jacqueline studied him, perhaps searching his face and comparing it to her own, this first glimpse of her true father. "You, and your son, and your darling little girl, may all leave once my demands are met."

"What demands are these? If it is more gold –"

"No. Look at your daughter."

"Father –" It was the tiniest of gasps, the word so fragmented by silent, shaking sobs, that only those closest to the tableau might have heard, if not understood.

He turned his attention back to Constance. "Spare her. Free her."

"I will free her only when she has been well and thoroughly fucked," Jacqueline said harshly. She indicated the men of her crew. "Choose whom it shall be, Lord deGranville, and we'll have it over with."

William gaped at her. So, too, did Constance, and Rob with fire in his eyes.

"You cannot expect me to … to …"

"To pick the man who'll defile your daughter. While you watch."

"I will do no such thing!"

"You will," Jacqueline said, "or none of you shall leave this island alive."

All around them, pistols and cutlasses were drawn. Adam pushed the barrel of his gun to Rob's temple.

"Ye'd better do as the cap'n says," he snarled. "Or I'll blow yer boy's brains out the side o' his head."

"To save her life, your son's, and your own," Jacqueline said, with the air of one who was enjoying herself beyond even her expectations, "you will do this."

"Father, please," Rob cried, the pistol against his head. "They'll murder us."

"You'd have me surrender your sister?" William rounded on him. "Surrender her honor?"

"They'll do what they want with her anyway, whether we're alive or dead," Rob said. "And probably already have, since she was no virgin." He winced as if he wanted to call the words back, but it was too late.

William went very still. "What?"

"Virgin," Jacqueline repeated clearly. "So you needn't concern yourself with protecting her maidenhead. She'd already been divested of that, long before she fell into our hands."

"Constance, is this true? This cannot be true." Every line of his face implored her to deny it.

Again, she could muster only that tiniest of voices, and each word punched into her father like a blade. "I never wanted to. He … he made me. Oh, Father … I am so … sorry!"

"No, I will not believe it." William perhaps meant to shout, but the utterance was hollow and strengthless.

"Perhaps," said Jacqueline, "you should ask your son."

"Robert?" It was a groan. "Surely you would not …"

"Yes, I did," Rob said. He drew himself up, trying to edge away from the gun. "I fucked her before, and I'd do so now if it's the price we must pay to get out of this with our lives."

The dead look in her father's eyes, and the way his shoulders slumped in defeat, tore at Constance's heart like a thorn. He turned away from Rob as if the very sight of his son disgusted him, only to find Jacqueline standing before him, hands on her hips, teeth gleaming in a cruel smile.

"There you have it, deGranville," she said triumphantly. "Your own son. It's quite a tale. You should have him tell you all of it sometime, how he raped her and made her like it, and so selfishly wanted her cunny for his own that he fought his closest friend over her. For all the good it did, eh, Rob, because he got into her too, didn't he?"

"Witch," William groaned. "Lying witch … I will not believe it."

In a movement swift as lightning, she had out her dagger and the edge of it was against his neck. "And now," she said, "returning to my demand?"

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