tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Blood Pact Ch. 25

The Blood Pact Ch. 25


In the weeks which followed my less-than-orthodox indoctrination into the Sorority of the Knife, I got along with my life as best I was able. I was still being pulled in every direction but the ones I wanted to go, but I also became my own agent in those halls as well. Those other influences in my life, I merely tolerated so as to keep myself alive until an opportunity for freedom would eventually present itself. Until then, I had to mask my defiance so no one would grow suspicious.

One thing, however, in which I did assert myself was that I wanted nothing more to do with that damn altar of the king's. I understood the only reason I was still in any position where I might yet be able to win my freedom was because of my use as a spy in the king's bedchamber, but nothing, not even the threat of death, would be enough to send me anywhere near that Dark God again.

"I do not understand your reluctance," Lord Ruvano told me. Not having lived through what I had, how could he? Even days afterward, I was still having nightmares about it. With a sigh and shake of the head, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "However, I will admit that there were certain oversights. I've spoken to the king and informed him that if he ever wants to feel the warm embrace of your lovely ass ever again, he will have to provide me with certain assurances." As he brushed his fingers down the side of my face, I had to fight the urge to slap them away. "Among them is that you will not be made to go near his altar again."

He said it as if he was merely acceding to the unreasonable request of a spoiled child, but it didn't change the fact that the king had given in to my demand. Oh, what power my body allowed Lord Ruvano to wield over the king. I felt more like his whore than ever.

When next I was summoned to 'discuss matters of state' with the king, I did so with wary reluctance, but knowing that I had no other choice. Though his spirits never proved to be any less boisterous than the first meeting, he did seem to maintain a certain degree of barely contained civility toward me each time we met. One time he had me strip naked and then come upon him in a secluded grotto of his gardens like some wood sprite from an old legend before staining my knees in the grass as he emptied his cock into mouth. Another he took me to the grand throne room and bent me over the side of his gilded throne. Anyone who would have walked in on us like that would have been treated to quite a display: the king pumping into my ass atop the dais while his grunts filled the chamber. Fortunately, being as late at night as it was, our chances of discovery were somewhat reduced. The black altar and its Dark God were never again mentioned and he stayed true to his word that I would not have to go near it. Without having to contend with that, I could at least allow myself to get lost in the sex. In many ways he was little more than an overgrown child -- a bully and a braggart who reveled in brutish sport, but if I imagined I was with someone else, it wasn't always entirely unenjoyable.

Occasionally, either before or after having his way with me, he'd go on with boyish glee about some new discovery he'd made, sharing it with me like it were some childhood secret. From him, I learned of secret passages in the royal chambers with peepholes looking onto the rooms of the maids, lewd messages hidden in the patterns of various frescos within the palace, and even several tapestries locked in a small room depicting carnal acts between women and wild beasts. One of these discoveries that seemed to delight him more than the rest were three tiny bells hanging in his innermost chamber which had been installed by some insecure former ruler.

"Each one corresponds to one of my three thrones," he'd told me with a twinkle in his eye. "Whenever someone sits their ass upon one, like this--" He plopped me down on the grand throne over which he'd just fucked me. For such an elaborate chair, it wasn't all that comfortable. "--one of those three bells rings, letting me know that someone has overstepped his bounds and wishes to have his head removed! Here, I'll show you how it works!" With a laugh, he pulled me behind the throne and spent the next half-hour going on about the intricate series of pulleys and chains concealed within the throne that connected the panel hidden under the seat cushion to the appropriate bell.

After that encounter, the grand throne room became one of his favorite meeting places. Sometimes he'd have me sit in his lap while he sat in his throne. I could just imagine one of those little bells ringing madly with each powerful thrust of his hips. Other times he'd take me upon the railing of the minstrels' gallery or simply have me lay in the middle of the stone floor as he mounted me from behind.

Most of the time, he took me in the ass. On rare occasions he would have me swallow his cum, but never once did I ever feel his mammoth cock inside my pussy. Maybe he actually preferred boys and simply didn't have the nerve to admit it to himself. He wouldn't have been the first ruler in that position. Or maybe it was his own twisted way of remaining faithful to his wife. I still couldn't understand how their relationship worked. In some strange way, they honestly seemed to love each other. One had only to see the way the king went to such great pains to ensure I stayed below his wife's notice, or the way she jealously protected her husband to see their feelings in practice. In the end, I decided the king's infatuation with me was probably just a way for him to play out fantasies the queen would not fulfill for him herself.

I was never even quite sure if she suspected her husband was being unfaithful or not. I avoided her whenever possible but on those few unfortunate occasions when we did accidentally pass in the halls, I would curtsy respectfully, and she would glare with tangible spite. Never once, however, did she again threaten to carry out her warning from the last time we'd spoken. Perhaps she was simply secure in the mistaken belief that her spies were still doing their jobs, unaware that Lord Ruvano had somehow convinced them to be less faithful to her than they should have been.

I left the interpretation of all these events to Lord Ruvano. Though I never seemed to have much to tell him about my clandestine meetings, the tiny pieces I did deliver always seemed adequate to his needs. I could only imagine the complexity of the tapestry his mind fashioned from the countless fragments of information he was gathering from all his myriad of sources.

The rest of the time I was not thus engaged, Lord Ruvano allowed me to do largely as I liked. The first chance I got, I searched his chambers from top to bottom looking for the transformation wand. However, the only things of interest I found were several large stashes of gold. In my old life, their discovery would have driven me into rapture, but now they were of little interest. Lord Ruvano was actually quite free with his money toward me, doling it out at the asking. And I did ask quite frequently. As far as Lord Ruvano knew, this was merely to finance my many shopping trips. However, I had ulterior motives as well.

One was that I wanted to again speak to Nikelle and make her see the futility of her mission. She was never to be found, but her presence loomed over everything I did, like a dark cloud hovering just over the horizon. I knew that eventually she would find me when I least expected it and coerce me into some other unsavory development. The old seamstress who ran the shop where I'd last seen Nikelle either didn't understand my inquires or was better at dissembling than even Lord Ruvano. She always dotted over my dresses, happy in the way they fit, but always concerned about some little detail that I'm sure no one but herself would notice.

Most of my shopping trips proved quite expensive to Lord Ruvano. Though I did order a number of garments to fill out my wardrobe -- including several divided riding dresses and even a pair of fitted trousers -- only a small fraction of the coin he gave me ever made it into the hands of the merchants. Most of it was added to my own stash, a steadily growing reserve that I would use to support myself when I eventually broke free of this life I'd been cursed to live.

I'd been finding the time to go down into the city every few days and had gotten quite comfortable with the entire ruse, but after about a week, when I was asking for my latest stipend, Lord Ruvano unexpected announced that he would come with me. My blood had run cold. Even if he hadn't discovered my true intentions, he must have at least been curious about the extravagant spending. I spent the entire morning looking over my shoulder as we went between the various shops, trying the entire time to act as if I wasn't terrified for my life. When we eventually returned to the palace without any accusations having been leveled against me, I began to realize this was just another of his games: he wanted to be seen in public with me so that no one would forget I still belonged to him.

Of far greater hindrance to my preparations was the way in which Bakoro continued to fulfill his duties as bodyguard with irritating diligence. I knew from that ever-present look in his eye that he still had designs on me, but he was not stupid enough to risk his neck for a fleeting moment of pleasure. Now that I had entered into a routine, he seemed more willing to allow me a certain degree of leeway, even occasionally relegating my guard to his underlings. However, in one form or another, he was my constant shadow, following me everywhere. Sometimes his men proved easier to shake, sometimes harder. Most knew how to ride, however, so it did require some more guile on my part if I ever wanted to get away from them.

Though I never lost sight of the fact that everything Bakoro did with me was simply so he would be close enough to snatch me up for himself the very moment I outlived my usefulness to Lord Ruvano, he did occasionally prove to be quite personable, even engaging me in nearly civil conversation from time to time. It was from him that I learned of the reasons behind Lord Ruvano's interest in the Marquis of Galifria. Apparently, he was one of the few people in the entire kingdom who might have been able to match the spymaster move-for-move in the game of secrets they played. It was that skill which had allowed him and his wife to survive as many upheavals as they had. Though his network of contacts was not nearly as extensive as Lord Ruvano's, the Marquis was the closest thing he had to a rival.

By far, the greatest portion of my free time was spent fulfilling my obligations to Delphina. Being pulled in so many different directions while constantly having to be cautious of my surroundings sometimes made me feel as if I was walking on eggshells. However, when I was with Delphina and her handmaidens, I found myself speaking and laughing with them just as easily as they apparently did with me. I knew there were still secrets between us, but that no longer seemed to matter.

Most mornings we would go down and socialize with the other ladies of the royal court. Rumors ran rampant through that strange shadow society but seldom found their way out of those sealed chambers. If it had not been for Delphina to guide me, I would have been lost in all the intricacies of court politics.

King Rosenthall's rise to power, for instance, was an issue I never could have imagined was so complicated. But then, as a mere stable hand, I'd never had much interest in court politics before. Even as a servant living in the palace, I'd only ever seen the former king a handful of times in my entire life. Apart from some nebulous idea it was his presence on the throne that provided me with a job, he'd never done anything for me as far I could tell.

Suddenly, I learned that he had not been much liked by any of the nobles. He was seen as an ineffectual ruler who quibbled over tiny issues while letting others do his dirty work for him. He was a stingy and cantankerous old man who had lost more territory and privileges to our neighboring kingdoms than any past ruler ever had. Duke Rosenthall, as the next in line for the throne, was actually seen by many as the preferable alternative. Judgment was still out on whether or not this was still the case, but most were willing to wait and see.

His duchy was a semi-autonomous region which had lead several sweepingly successful campaigns in recent years for the former king. As such, he had not only a large veteran army of his own, but also the popular support of the larger kingdom's military as well. Those few who might have wished to oppose the coup would have been quickly overwhelmed. Detractors had either grudgingly accepted the transition of power or were quietly disappeared. Those who died in the fighting were mostly the former king's personal guard who manned the palace garrison. They had sworn an oath to lay down their lives in his defense, and in a strange occurrence these days, they actually had.

In the afternoons, Delphina and I would occasionally retire to her chambers to study history or literature. I had never been the strongest reader, and some of those texts she expected me to assault were more than I thought I could handle, but she never tolerated anything less than my full effort. She always pressed until she was confident I understood, not only the words but also the importance of what I was reading. Traemene and Wilona were apt tutors in that regard. After that night we'd spent in drunken revelry, they had become like sisters to me, the three of us sometimes bantering on and on while hardly covering any of the passages we were supposed to.

Still, I much preferred the afternoons we went riding instead of staying indoors. Being on the back of a horse and racing through the forest once again allowed me to forget about my troubles. Delphina's riding had improved considerably as well. Though she attributed it primarily to my assistance, I knew I could take little credit. Her confidence alone would have allowed her to master anything she set her mind to.

My knife training in the cabin continued at a similar pace to my scholarly instruction. With Delphina overseeing, I tried my best to learn all I could. But even once I mastered one technique, the next was always waiting for me, ever more difficult. Many times, after having been pushed to the breaking point for hours on end by Traemene and Wilona, the three of us would collapse, soaked with sweat and laughing at nothing in particular as we gulped down mouthfuls of water from a shared canteen.

On one of those mornings I was to accompany Delphina to the royal court, I arrived at her chambers earlier than usual. I had been walking fast, likely startling servants at my passing, but I had little care for what they thought.

The Marquis usually left before my arrival, no doubt because he still didn't trust me. Delphina had told me in confidence that my continued association with her had become a matter of contention within their otherwise happy marriage. Most of the time, I was content to avoid the Marquis, but this morning, I needed to speak to him.

I arrived in good time and was shown into the antechamber, as had become routine, but when I was made to wait while my arrival was announced, I began pacing fretfully. After coming this far, I began to fear the pause might destroy my nerve and leave me unable to continue any farther. So engrossed in my thoughts, I didn't even notice Wilona's approach until she touched me on the arm.

"Stephanie, are you well?" she said. "Is something wrong."

"Oh! Yes, yes, I'm fine," I said, doing a poor job of suppressing my shock. Traemene was nowhere to be seen, likely out on one of her frequent errands. "No, actually, not really...It's Lord Ruvano. This morning he -- oh, bloody hell, I just need to go in there and be done with this."

"Stephanie, what's going on?" Wilona said, taking my hands to keep me from wringing them.

Could I really trust her? After I spoke to the Marquis this morning, it was entirely possible that this entire fake amity I'd fostered with their household would come to an end. The moment Delphina told Wilona to cease her association with me, both she and Traemene would have no choice but to obey.

Oh, damn it all!

Until then, she was still my friend -- or at least she was obligated to play the part. I threw my arms around her and held her close. Burying my face in her shoulder, I could smell the sweet familiar smell of her perfume. I could have kept her at a distance so as to lessen the shock of separation that could very well come with my revelation to the Marquis, but I wouldn't let our last moments be anything other than kindness. For a moment she stood stiff, unsure of what I was doing, but then hugged me back.

"Oh Wilona, I'm so scared," I said. This ease of sharing emotions was one of the advantages to being a woman I just might end up missing if I ever regained my true form. "There's something I have to do, but I'm afraid if I do, it will be a terrible mistake."

"How could anything possibly be that bad?" she said, warmly patting my back. "No matter what it is, I'm sure it will work out in the end."

I hoped it would. I prayed it would. If this went badly, I'd be all alone again. I might have begun learning how to navigate noble society but I was still a novice, fumbling about like a blind man. I couldn't go back to the way things were before. I just couldn't.

I looked up at a gruff clearing of the throat from the doorway. The doorman was standing there, frowning -- no doubt mirroring the expression of his master upon hearing my desire for an audience. With a simple nod, he motioned me into the inner chamber. I pushed myself away from Wilona, suppressing a sniffle.

"You and Traemene were always my friends," I said. "There was never any deception in that. I just want you to know, regardless of what happens."

"I...I'm not sure what you're going on about, but you'll always be my friend, Stephanie." She then leaned in and kissed me tenderly. "Nothing will ever change that."

"Thank you," I said, squeezing her hands. She didn't know it, but that possibly one of the timeliest things anyone had ever said to me. "Thank you, Thank you."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

"No, this is something I need to do myself." I stopped and stared at the doorway though which I still needed to go. Once I stepped through, I could very well lose everything I'd found with these fine people. "Well, a bit of a push might not go amiss at the moment..."

"Oh, I'm always more than happy to push around a baroness!"

The slap she delivered squarely to my ass stung worse than my mother's harshest spankings ever had. Knowing her as I did, I should not have been surprised that she took my request so literally. As I stumbled through the doorway with a yelp, three faces looked up in surprise. If I had hoped to maintain some degree of dignity when going before the Marquis, this was certainly not a good way to do so. I quickly regained my footing and straightened myself, speaking in a rush before the last of my courage left me entirely.

"Forgive the intrusion, but I must speak with the both of you on a matter of the...utmost urgency..."

Much as I had been expecting, Delphina was sitting placidly in her favorite chair, smiling furtively at my abrupt entrance while her husband sat across from her wearing a scowl. It was the sight of the third individual standing before them, however, that gave me pause.

He was young, not much older than myself; lean and trim with an unruly head of sandy blonde hair that helped to emphasize the impish smile on his lips. His clothes were fine, the color of dark chocolate with black trim. At his side hung a narrow-bladed sword with a gold hilt.

Report Story

bykimtheelf© 0 comments/ 8629 views/ 3 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

2 Pages:12

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar: