tagBDSMGolden Girl Ch. 03

Golden Girl Ch. 03

byCase21©

Chapter 3: The Household

Somehow, Dorée made it through her first night of service in the Duc's Chateau. The candles in her metal sconce burnt low. The wax fell more and more rarely as all the holes were filled with hard white drippings that cooled into fantastic shapes. The scenes of carnal activity that took place in the Grand Dining Hall before her became like mirages: distant, shimmering visions, plain to see but impossible to touch. Eventually, the guests vanished with their chosen conquests. The main floors of the Chateau grew still.

In the cold hour before dawn, the maids came back to gather up the metal candle-holders for cleaning. The Footman -his fine uniform now rather rumpled from the night's exertions- also returned to guide the stiff, weary youths from their niches. The wax crackled on their skin but remained stuck on, giving them the appearance of battered porcelain dolls. None of them had strength enough even to clean the mess off of themselves. Many of them had been fondled or prodded or sucked to climax in the niches where they stood, and now they were almost too exhausted to stand.

"Hurry, now!" The Footman urged them. "Back to the stables. You can rest there. You'll be sent home after the sun is up."

Dorée stepped forward briskly as always, but the Footman placed a hand on her chest, stopping her in her tracks.

"Not you. The Duc has ordered you put up for inspection."

"But...have I displeased him in any way?" Dorée stammered, unable to comprehend why she could not go with the rest. Safety in numbers had never seemed more important.

"Quite the opposite. It's an honour. May not seem that way at first, mind you."

"Well, if it is an honour, then I suppose I cannot refuse. Can I?"

"Hush, now." The Footman said distractedly, ignoring her question. He was already trying to get the attention of someone who would take her away.

"Chambermaid! I say, I need a chambermaid!"

A brunette with lovely bosoms and eyes set just a trifle too far apart came over.

"Yes, what is it?" She asked.

"This one's to be put up."

The chambermaid looked Dorée up and down disapprovingly.

"All the wax and whatnot has to come off. Dirty lamps shouldn't be on the bed-linens."

"Take it off, then, or don't, for all I care! I don't give a damn about the laundry. I've got to get this lot to the stables."

The chambermaid looked as if she were mocking him inwardly, even as she held her face perfectly still and said nothing.

"See to it!" The Footman snapped. Then he gave the tanned farm-boy a slap on the buttocks and barked at him to move out. The rest of the villagers all hurried to leave before they too got blows of encouragement.

Their ordeal was over. They had given the single night of service required of them, for which their families were well compensated. It was an experience they would recall fleetingly, with glazed eyes, before turning their hands back to their daily tasks and their hearts to each other in marriage and family. Everyone in these parts knew of the tradition and no one was shamed because of it, so it did no lasting harm to most of those who served. It was a rite of passage, a night of extremities, and a memory that faded, after a while, like a dream.

Dorée, however, could not go back to her ordinary life. Somehow, she knew that this night had changed her more than most. The Duc had seen it in her. Perhaps the Chateau staff sensed it as well, for they no longer treated her as just another piece of window-dressing.

The chambermaid was brusque but not cruelly so as she lead Dorée from the Dining Hall through a side-passage into the servant's wing. Soon they arrived at a small, tidy chamber with several washstands for the servants' use and a single window. There was a torch burning on the wall when they entered, but the chambermaid extinguished it. In the darkness, the light of the setting moon painted a pale, cross-barred square on the floor. Dorée looked longingly at the blackened stump of the torch, wondering why the maid had taken away their only source of warmth. As if reading her thoughts, the girl murmured,

"We can't have too much heat in the room. The wax would melt anew and we should have to begin all over again. This is the best way to get it off."

She held up what appeared to be a fish-knife from the dinner service: a curved, delicate blade suitable for pulling apart tender flesh.

"Stay still and we'll be done soon." The maid advised.

Slowly, almost sensuously, she ran the knife up the curve of Dorée's ass, lifting the wax that had congealed there. The rounded blade was cold and very slightly rough. Dorée shivered as the wax fell away. Her hands drew up to her breast instinctively. The chambermaid was occupied with the flecks of wax splashed across Dorée's back and did not notice where her charge's hands were roaming. As the maid scraped up Dorée's spine toward the nape of her neck, Dorée's hands -almost of their own accord- squeezed her own bosoms. Her nipples were achingly hard. Between her legs the pulse returned, hot and wet and urgent. She could not suppress the rush of in-drawn breath the sensation provoked.

"Here now, none of that." The maid said sharply, reaching around to rap Dorée's hand with the flat of the blade. "If I don't get to, you don't get to. The Duc doesn't take kindly to pleasures he doesn't control."

"What of the 'liberty' and 'desires of the flesh' he trumpeted tonight?"

"That's something you'll have to ask him about yourself. See how he answers you."

The chambermaid gave a small, wicked smile, and Dorée felt once again the vast gulf of her own ignorance. Was the girl in earnest, or was it some subtle trap? The chambermaid's face gave no clues. It was mockingly blank as she circled Dorée and pried the wax and gilding off of her front side. Dorée closed her eyes and let the feeling of the cool blade occupy her entire mind. Her skin felt as soft and new as a just-hatched caterpillar. Her arms went limp and even the fire in her loins cooled to a fluttering ember as exhaustion threatened to pull her under.

"Just a bit more," the chambermaid muttered. "There! Now, follow me."

Dorée stumbled along behind her, not even noticing how far they walked or what corridors they took. It was as if she were already asleep on her feet and floating down the halls like a spirit. Finally, they arrived at an arched wooden door. The chambermaid opened it with an iron key.

"You'll stay in here until the Duc summons you. It may be some time, but you will not be forgotten. He never forgets the ones he's chosen. For now, rest. There is a chamberpot under the bed and a pitcher of water in the washstand. Suitable clothes will be sent along for you. See that you're presentable for your summons, whenever they may come."

With that, she gently pushed Dorée inside and shut the door. There Dorée beheld the most blissful sight that could possibly meet her eyes: a four-post feather-bed, complete with fine cotton sheets and a down comforter. She sank into it gratefully. Little Dorée the country girl had never experienced such a soft, inviting bed in her life. She was asleep before she could even stop to wonder whether or not this was an honour she should accept.

***

Dorée slept late. It could have gone badly for her on any other day to lay so long a-bed, but the day after the Feast of the Fall was slow to start and no one even came to check on her until after noon. By that time, Dorée had risen and washed herself. With no clothes to dress in, she had wound a cotton bed-sheet around herself as a makeshift robe. She stood by the room's clear-paned window, looking out over the gardens. She turned serenely when the chambermaid entered the room.

"Good morning," she said. "May I go home soon?"

"Home? You mean, the village?" The chambermaid was so taken aback that she didn't bother chastising Dorée for asking questions out of turn. "Not until after your audience with the Duc. He has had you put up so that he can inspect you later. Are you such a simpleton that you haven't understood that?"

"I understand. But when will he see me?"

"At his leisure. Here, who are you to ask after the Duc's schedule?"

Dorée bowed her head humbly in apology. A morning of silence, prayer, and meditation upon the gardens had steadied her nerves and clarified her spirits.

"I apologize for the trouble you've all gone to. However, I do not belong here."

"Oh, sweetmeat. Do you remember what you did last night when I was scraping the wax from your hide?"

Her hands on her own flesh...her nipples hard and her nether regions throbbing...

"I was lead into temptation by the carnal display last night, I admit. But I have prayed to God and now I know my path is not here. I wish to enter a convent."

The chambermaid stared at her for a long moment. Then a slow, genuine smile spread across her face.

"Ahh, quelle petite innocente! I see why he had put you up. You have the soul of a saint and the body of a sinner."

"I do not!" Dorée exclaimed. "I mean, of course, we are all prey to sins of the flesh, but-"

The maid gave an rueful sigh and tossed a bundle of cloth from the basket on her arm at the young villager.

"Put this on. Unless you dare to go naked before the Duc again?"

Dorée hastily unwrapped the bundle and found it to be a long chemise of white cotton with no adornment save for some simple white satin ribbons at the collar and sleeves. She would have liked an overskirt or even an apron to put on top of it, but it was enough to cover her. She pulled it on hastily. As she dressed, the chambermaid placed a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese on a small wooden table against the wall, along with a handful of fresh mint leaves in hot water and a bit of apple to sweeten her breath.

"My name is Berenice. You can try to ring for me using the bell-pull on the wall if you have need of me, but I may not be able to come right away. I am often...occupied." For a moment, Berenice's eyes grew distant. Then she shook her head and continued. "In any event, I will come for you when the Duc requests it. If you're lucky, it will be within the next few days. Then you may ask him about the nunnery yourself. If you still seek your freedom after speaking with him, he will grant it. Just have patience and abide by the wishes of His Grace for now."

"Thank you, Berenice. You are very kind."

The chambermaid only shook her head, that mocking mien returning.

"Kindness is the cruellest trap here. You will learn."

With those ominous words she swept out of the room, leaving Dorée to break her fast in silence.

As it happened, she did not have as long to wait as she feared. The entire day passed without a sound from the corridor, true. She watched the shadows lengthen across her cell until darkness fell. There was a fire banked in the room's small hearth which she stirred to life when it grew too dark to see. A simple meal of cold meats and autumn root vegetables was delivered, not by Berenice, but by a kitchen-boy who barely glanced at her before hurrying away, almost as if he were afraid to break some rule by looking upon her. She ate it slowly, with great reverence and gratitude. After dinner, she pretended that she was already in the convent passing her time in solitary prayer. It was a life that she imagined would suit her very well.

The hour was late, but Dorée was still awake and kneeling by the window in her cotton chemise when she heard footsteps coming down the corridor. She recognized Berenice's light, quick tread, and along with them other steps, heavy and booted like soldiers. Dorée stood up. She brushed her single simple skirt with her hands and tried to look calm, though her heart had set to leaping like a rabbit in her breast. The footsteps stopped outside her door. There was not even a knock before it was pulled open. Berenice's wide-set eyes shone in the firelight as she peered in at Dorée.

"Ah, good, you're still attired well enough. Makes my job easier. Come along."

"The Duc, already...?" Dorée breathed.

"Yes, simpleton, the Duc, already." Berenice grinned. She pulled Dorée by the arm and practically thrust her into the waiting grasp of two guards in boots polished to a mirror-shine who stood waiting just outside the door-frame. They seized her upper arms as they might take a criminal in hand.

"I've done no wrong!" Dorée protested. "There's no need -mmph!"

Dorée struggled as a handkerchief was looped around her head and into her mouth from behind.

"You talk too much," whispered Berenice, whose kerchief it was. "Don't fight the gag. Go with the guards. And don't bother praying to your precious God for mercy. Pray to the Duc instead, for all the good it will do you. Ha!"

Dorée gazed at Berenice with stricken eyes. Where was the kind confidante from this morning?

"Kindness is the cruellest trap. But by this cruelty, I hope to spare you." Berenice said cryptically. Then she was gone into the shadows.

The guards set a swift pace and the walk up to the Duc's suite seemed to pass in an instant. Dorée's mind raced ahead, trying to compose what she might say to convince the Duc to let her go. But she simply had no way to guess what would happen.

When they arrived at the ornately-carved door to his study, one of the guards told her to scratch lightly on the frame for admittance -not to knock, but to scratch, as they did in the Royal Court. She scratched so gently she could scarce believe it would be heard, but immediately a smooth, imperious voice called out, "Enter!"

The guards had vanished from her side. Dorée stepped alone into the room. To her shock, she saw that the Duc was ensconced in a massive bed. Its posts were wrought in the likeness of tiny naked bodies stacked one on top of the other, and its sideboards like life-sized kneeling slaves who seemed to support the bed on their backs. Indeed, Dorée was not certain that she didn't see one of the life-sized carvings move just slightly, as if it lived and breathed. The bed was covered in rich red velvets and the pelts of a bear and a wolf. The Duc himself was apparelled in a burgundy silk robe edged in black sable, and reclined against embroidered cushions that looked suited for a Russian despot. He had taken off his white-powdered wig. His hair was black as night and long as a woman's. He regarded her with a penetrating gaze.

"Ahh, little Dorée, the eager lamp. Do you like my reception bed? It is all the fashion at Versailles." He commented off-handedly.

Dorée curtseyed as best she could. Not knowing what else to do, she looked down at the floor. He must have noticed that she was gagged and could not respond. But even if she could speak, she had no idea how to address a noble in his "reception bed." It seemed a very strange way of receiving a guest, even a lowly one like herself. She could barely look at him. A blush stained her cheeks scarlet. She felt like the most awkward and ungainly creature in the world.

"Your manners are not refined, I see." The Duc chuckled. "There's much about you that is rough and homespun. And yet...take off your chemise, Dorée."

Unable to help herself, Dorée pushed the handkerchief out of her mouth with her tongue to protest.

"Your Grace, it is all that I have!"

The Duc arched an eyebrow.

"It certainly is not. I saw all that you have last night. Have you put that out of your mind so quickly?"

Dorée had to admit he was right. There was no point in being delicate about nudity now, when he had already seen her naked for hours the night before. Trying to be pragmatic about it, she lifted the hem of the cotton slip over her head, drew it off, and folded it neatly in her hands. When she held it modestly before her crotch, the Duc gestured for her to drop it on the floor. She did.

"Approach two steps." He commanded.

Dorée stepped forward. One, two.

"Your manners are unrefined, but you are naturally obedient in your innocence. There is a purity to you...and an impurity as well. Is it not so?"

Dorée squirmed to be seen through so easily.

"Your Grace, you see my sinful nature, which is common to all daughters of Eve. But it is my ardent hope that I will be able to cleanse myself, if only you let me leave here and join a convent, where I may dedicate my life to Godly pursuits and leave behind the carnal temptations of the flesh."

Here the Duc laughed like a mad-man, a sound so loud and wild that it made Dorée jump.

"Wouldn't that be delightful! I could have you placed the nunnery run by my good friend, the Cardinal d'Outrémont. He is a severe task-master, but you would return to me a very pure little sister indeed, all ripe for the plucking. Would you like that, Dorée? I can grant it to you."

His hand reached for a bell to summon the guards who would take her away to the convent as she asked. But Dorée shook her head. Something about his offer was like finding herself suddenly on to the edge of a slippery precipice where she had expected to find a broad, clear path.

"Your Grace, I...no, I do not understand. That is, I don't know exactly what it is you offer me, but I cannot imagine that I want it the way you say."

"That's right!" he snapped whip-sharp. "You've just arrived all unwitting at three true propositions. First: You do not understand. Second: You do not know what I offer. And third, you cannot yet imagine what it is you truly want. I am here to educate you on all three of these matters: knowledge, service, and desire."

Dorée felt a little incensed by his suppositions, and since she was forthright in her manner she said so.

"Your Grace, you presume much. I admit, you are much more worldly and learned than I am, and you know what is fashionable to think and do among the gentlemen and ladies at court. But how can you know what my desire is? What magic lets you see into the heart of a simple maiden whose life you know nothing about? I may be an ignorant peasant, but I can see what is happening around me. Your household is perverse. Your staff are corrupted. You treat people like objects. And though you claim to value education and liberty, you condemn those around you to ignorance and slavery. How can you call the abuses you have visited upon them and upon me 'just'?"

"Do you wish to debate me? Very well. Come closer."

Nervously, Dorée took two more steps forward.

"Closer, child. Just to my bedside. You won't have to get in."

She came forward, still wary.

"Close your eyes, and listen to me."

Dorée did as she was told.

"What you must realize is that everything in Nature has a purpose. The purpose of the sun is to shine and give life to the plants of the Earth, which in turn feed the beasts of the field. The purpose of the moon is to pull the tides and make the oceans fruitful. The purpose of the wildfire is the clear the land of all that is old and dead, and the purpose of the flood is to restore life to the ashes. And as it is in Nature, so it is in the human form."

Feather-light, the Duc stroked Dorée's belly.

"The purpose of pleasure in the body is to tell us of that which is good, that which we should seek in order to thrive. Our cravings for warmth, softness, sweet odors, and delicious tastes all exist to give us clues about what our bodies require and desire at the most profound level."

His hands roved further, exploring Dorée's thighs and buttocks. Ordinarily she might have flinched from his touch, but his murmurous voice, so low and persuasive, held her transfixed, and the gentle, rhythmic path of his hands on her skin soothed her like an animal.

"When your body reacts to a stimulus with pleasure, it means that something is good for you."

His fingers caressed between her legs, and Dorée shivered as her young, sensitive body reacted just as he said. She felt a warmth blossoming deep inside her, like a crocus spreading its petals wide, opening to heat and light.

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