tagNonConsent/ReluctanceThe Spoils of War

The Spoils of War


Prince Richard and his young beautiful bride, Antoinette enjoyed the perks of being royals and the comfort that came from not being in too close proximity to succession to the throne. Richard was third in line for the crown. His older by two years, brother Isaac was destined to rule Mauria, which suited Richard perfectly. Isaac's young son, Samuel was technically ahead of Richard in the line of succession. His father, King Otto was still a relatively healthy and vigorous man, who might live for several more decades at least. Richard knew that chances of ever ruling Mauria were slim. Not that, if pressed, Richard would have made a bad king, far from it. But attending the openings of libraries and inspecting military bases suited Richard fine. He greatly enjoyed the occasional anonymity he could disappear into from time to time.

That his brother had emerged as a hero in the recent conflict with Denovia caused Richard to vanish even further into the background. Richard had served as well, but had been kept far from the action. King Otto understood publicity and image. Setting his heir up as a hero in the public's imagination would help the crown in both its long term and short term goals. Nothing made the public more accepting of a future king better than a bit of battlefield drama. How could one disparage a king who had fought and risked his life alongside the lowest ranking men of the military? That Isaac's heroics were largely the creation of war correspondents carefully vetted by the crown, was not an issue that bothered the royal family one whit. Isaac COULD have been in danger, had he fallen off his horse!

Cadesh, the new province that Mauria had won from Denovia was prosperous and would make a fine addition to the kingdom. Isaac had been named Duke of the province he had "captured." Striving for benevolence he had lowered the local taxes. On the other hand, Mauria agents and assassins were hard at work behind the scenes ferreting out dissent and shutting down opposition newspapers. After a few years of this "velvet hand" style of rule, the subjects of Cadesh would have their rebellion and discontent entirely bled off.

Antoinette, Richard's wife of just over two years had the same attitude about the throne as her husband. She was hopelessly devoted to Richard, but the fact that he would never rule had been a huge factor in his favor. Antoinette had been the daughter of a duchess and had seen her mother take the throne upon the death of her father. Exposed to the everyday minutiae, boredom, and loss of privacy of being a ruling royal had long drained from her any desire to fill her mother's shoes. Still the idea of her marrying a commoner was laughable. Fortunately, the world was full of superfluous royalty; although few were as handsome as her Richard. Antoinette was quite smug in the fact that all that the only royal obligation expected of her was to produce a few children. But with the birth of Samuel and the current pregnancy off Antoinette's sister in-law, she could postpone that unpleasantness for at least a few more years. Antoinette knew that she was blessed as few women. No money worries, activities that were interesting and filled her time and a very handsome husband who adored her.

Richard was quite proud of Antoinette. She was slim, with dark brown hair, large brown eyes and angelic features. Although her subjects would never know these facts, Richard was acutely aware that his wife had fantastic long legs and luscious, middle sized breasts. Richard got her naked quite often. Because they could so often be away from the glare of publicity, Richard an Antoinette were apt to get frisky just about anywhere. More than one maid or butler had been startled in encountering Richard hiking up his wife's skirt in royal hallways or empty ball rooms. Of course the maids and butlers appeared non-pulsed by the royal shenanigans, but inside they seethed. Still, they were not apt to complain or tell tales out of school. Even after two seasons as man and wife, the nickname for the couple about the palace was still "the newlyweds."

Having just passed their anniversary, Richard asked his father if he could use the royal yacht to take his bride on a celebratory cruise. "After all, now that the building christening ceremonies are over the crown doesn't really NEED me for anything until next month. All the public cares about presently is young prince Samuel and his heroic father; who is going to notice that the current favorite's uncle and the hero's brother is not around?"

King Otto returned his son's smile. "Your wish is granted, your highness, although I believe in all honesty that you are spoiling that wonderful young woman you married."

"On the contrary," retorted the prince, "She is spoiling ME!"

With that the two men exchanged nods and Richard and Antoinette began packing. The palace released the fiction that the couple was headed inland, to a romantic inn in mountainous country. Richard marveled at the abilities of the royal press corps to construct fictions. They were even set to publish his wine selections for the meals he would eat in three days' time! "We really are sort of like phantoms, my dearest." Richard boasted to his wife. "Were we not to exist, we would have been created by the pens my father hires. Sometimes I think the phantom Richard has more fun than the real one."

With that he turned and took a long lustful gaze at Antoinette. "But then again, the phantom Richard has no idea what shade of knickers you wear and how wondrous is the view when your knickers are absent."

Richard winked at Antoinette who laughed in response. The fact that they both had such active libidos was just another stroke of luck in their storybook marriage. Certainly they were happier than Prince Isaac and his wife, Princess Eugenia. Loud arguments were sometimes heard emanating from that couple's private quarters. Rumor also had it that Isaac was keeping a mistress in town. Richard had asked his brother point blank the truth of the whispers and received a vague answer. Richard knew that it WAS doable. A secret tunnel exited the palace not far from an inn. Wearing a disguise, the heir to the throne could enter and leave the establishment unrecognized and unmolested. Richard hoped that it was not true, but he and his brother, despite having shared the same upbringing, had very different attitudes towards women.

Isaac was a fervent womanizer while Richard was strictly a one man woman. The thought of cheating on Antoinette, nearly made him physically ill. King Otto did not chastise his sons often but the last time he did he railed on Isaac for being a dissipater. "Eugenia is as fine a woman as lives; you should treat her as such." Roared the king to his son.

Enraged Isaac had screamed, "Stay out of my bedroom, old man!" It took all of Richard's skill as the family diplomat to patch things up between his brother and his father. To his considerable credit, Isaac did seem remorseful and was faithful, at least for a while. Richard often found himself the fulcrum between his male relatives, trying hard to maintain his balance while each applied pressure towards the middle. Of late, Richard had tried to back away from this traditional role. Otto and Isaac had agreed to disagree and Isaac's new war hero status had given him, for the first time, an identity distinct from his father. All of this seemed to reduce considerably, the chip on Isaac's shoulder. A vacation would also give Richard's knotted insides some time to relax and heal. Making Isaac an out sized hero had been one of his father's best gifts to BOTH of his sons.

Richard and Antoinette packed light, meaning two trunks and ten suitcases. Most of the excess was Antoinette's; she simply could not be talked or cajoled into taking less. In fact Richard was just grateful that it all would fit on one carriage. That made getting away easier. Despite his claims of being phantoms, Richard and his bride were not entirely invisible. To hoodwink the public, with great fanfare an empty carriage departed for the mountains while Richard and Antoinette watched from a concealed perch in the palace. Long after nightfall, Richard, Antoinette, their baggage, and a small handful of servants departed in secret for the coast. After an uneventful drive the sleepy royal couple reached the royal docks just before dawn. Far from the prying eyes of the public, the Royal yacht, Champion slipped its moorings and began to dart across the Sea of Tyron.

The intended sail was a leisurely dart across the sea to a small coastal estate that Richard's family owned in the friendly country of Leen. As the sun neared its zenith, Richard and his bride Antoinette were relaxing on adjoining deck chairs. Both were dressed comfortably. Being away from the eyes of commoners meant that the royals, for a change, could dress as commoners. Richard wore khaki pants and a simple cotton shirt. Antoinette had a more difficult time dressing down, but tried to please her husband, She wore a simple dress, of the type popular with the housewives of Mauria. Antoinette's however was made out of much finer material and was tailored to her slim frame.

The first hint of trouble was a sudden appearance of a puff of smoke and a whiff of gunpowder. Suddenly the Champion was surrounded on all sides by Tertran pirates! More than a dozen Tertan ships appeared as from nowhere, quickly a contingent of the ships separated the Champion from its royal navy escort. Richard would have liked nothing better than to join his guards in battling the pirates who were rapidly closing in upon the royal yacht but his primary duty was to his wife.

Calmly, so as not to panic Antoinette, Richard led his bride to the strong room below decks. Only after they were behind the thick oaken doors did Richard inform his wife of the seriousness of their situation. So intense was the expected battles that not even a single guard or maid could be spared to tend to the prince and princess. Every member of the crew from the royal elite guards to the butlers, maids, cooks and deck hands armed themselves with any available weapon. When the regular arms ran out, the royal protectors utilized oars, rolling pins and cooking spits. Even as the soldiers and civilians took up their positions they realized the hopelessness of their task.

While half a dozen of the larger pirate vessels attacked the royal escort ship, a second half dozen surrounded the much smaller yacht. The battle, such as it was, did not last long, Scores of pirates tumbled over the gunwales of the neat and trim yacht from all sides at once. Not even the highly trained elite guards could defend themselves from such a coordinated attack. In short order the guards were all either killed or disarmed.

Richard waited in the strong room, his ear pressed up against the door. Despite the thickness of the wood, Richard was just able to discern the sound of the battle. There seemed to be far fewer gunshots than he would have expected. The din seemed to be one long crescendo before an ominous silence fell. Richard tried to calm Antoinette. His bride feared rape or slavery.

"We are too valuable for such a fate." stated Richard confidently. "Once they figure out who we are they will offer a ransom to my father. They may already know who we are and are planning just such an eventuality."

"But those pirates..." began Antoinette.

"Have nothing to gain and everything to lose by harming us." replied Richard, cutting off his wife's thoughts. "If they so much as muss our hair, my father the king, will see to it that they are eviscerated.."

"I wish I shared your confidence, darling." stated Antoinette softly.

For the longest time, the deafening silence and the gentle roll of the ship occupied their thoughts. That changed once Richard noted that the Champion was once more under sail and at full speed. Richard and Antoinette did not have long to ponder what this new information might portend because all almost that same moment noxious smoke began pouring into the small room containing the royals. The pirates who had captured the vessel understood that the safe room needed air vents. From those same vents putrid smoke now streamed. The choice was obvious to Richard, surrender or suffocate.

Had Richard been alone, he would have chosen a hero's death, dying rather than yield. But his life was not the only one at risk of forfeit. The coughing and discomfort of Antoinette was too much for Richard to bear, realizing that it was his only option, Richard removed the heavy beam affixed across the door and threw open the portal.

Out of the acrid smoke loomed the face of a hideous pirate. Following Richard's lead, Antoinette fell to her knees and raised her hands in supplication.

"Ah the man of the hour and his missus." said the pirate contemptuously. Antoinette wanted to shrink away and will herself into invisibility but within a nonce, both she and Richard had their hands bound behind their backs and were being led topside.

The fresh sea air soothed the couple's aching lungs, and it was nice to see the sun once more. Richard took a look about the deck of the Champion. In scattered places pools of blood were congealing. Other pirates were policing up the cast off weapons and swords of the late crew. Richard was puzzled as to where the crewmen of the Champion could be. He saw no bodies on the deck, nor were there any visible floating in the Sea of Tycron.

As if reading the prince's thoughts the commanding pirate stated, "Your men and women put up a valiant fight. Those that survived will soon be on their way to the slave markets of Krown. Those that did not survive will find other uses such as bait or packages for the bone merchant. This vessel will make a fine flagship for the pirate fleet. As for the two of you..."

Richard followed the gaze of the chief pirate to spy a rapidly approaching black ship with black masts and black sails.

The pirate captain continued, "If I had my druthers I would ransom you but I honor my agreements. The information he provided was accurate in every detail. We put the torch to your naval escort, and I shall be proud to call this ship my own. All in all, a wondrous day. I figure those successes are easily worth the two of you."

For the first time, Richard had an inkling why, he and Antoinette had been left unmolested. The fact that Antoinette still wore her strand of expensive pearls, and jewels upon her fingers and earlobes made no rational sense unless all of the effort to capture them served a larger purpose. Richard felt that the current drama he and Antoinette were living might end very badly.

The black ship pulled along the Champion and a plank was stretched from one vessel to the next. Richard's heart fell and Antoinette cried out in fear at the sight of the crew of this strange vessel. The crew was clad all in black, complete with face disguising hoods. It was obviously calculated to maximize fear. In that are it succeeded in spades. Richard's blood froze in his veins. He wanted nothing to do with this forbidding looking craft.

"Fair pirate captain, if you take charge of us and return my wife, myself and the Champion to Mauria, I will make you wealthier than you can imagine."

"Shut it royal peacock! I shall be paid very well. I made a fair deal and it was not with you!"

For emphasis, the pirate chief and his men made intimidating motions with their swords forcing the royal couple across the gangplank and onto the black ship. As soon as Richard and Antoinette were aboard the sinister vessel, a large trunk laden with gold was transported to the deck of the Champion. A rather tall, black clad figure wordlessly steered Antoinette and Richard to a nicely appointed cabin with no portholes. Loosed their bonds, and sealed the door behind them. Richard held Antoinette as she burst into tears.

Hours later, Antoinette was entirely cried out. Richard released his embrace and the two set about to explore their small cell. The first thing the royals noticed was how lavishly appointed was their prison; gold plating, fine china, silver fixtures. Richard realized that this room would not look out of place in his palace. Antoinette cooed with delight when she opened a wardrobe to discover several fine dresses and suits of clothes. Like the furniture and the fittings the clothing was of the first rank. Surprisingly, everything was Antoinette's and Richard's size

"Whoever has taken us prisoner, obviously wants us to be comfortable, Sweetheart." said Richard. "I

don't know if that is good news or bad news."

Antoinette sat, hard at work finishing eating the sumptuous meal that had been delivered a half hour before. Both husband and wife were famished. Richard was leery of eating the meal but Antoinette convinced him that whoever held them obviously wanted them alive, as such they were not likely to be poisoned. Richard yielded to his wife's wisdom and found the meal delicious and worthy of his personal chef.

Ensconced in luxury, the prince and princess sailed the night through. In the large comfortable bed, Richard was surprised to find himself in need of his wife's flesh. "Are you daft?" asked Antoinette.

"No, Pet, I'm just feeling that wonderful, most satisfying desire for you. We have had a difficult day. We BOTH need this!"

Antoinette sighed heavily but caved into her husband's carnal wishes. To her surprise and delight the session in the strange bed in their luxurious cell in the forbidding alien ship turned out to be one of their best times together ever. Despite their presence in the hands of an unknown foe, both Antoinette and Richard slept the sleep of the dead.

An insistent pounding at the door of their room woke the royal couple the next morning. Antoinette hid herself in the bedclothes while Richard slid on a pair of satin drawers. After Richard opened the door a crack, a hooded face forced its way in.

"Your Excellencies are instructed to perform their morning absolution and dress for the day; we are very close to our initial destination."

Richard thanked the veiled person and closed the door. He heard it lock from the outside. Antoinette allowed the bedclothes to tumble away from her body. Richard never tired of viewing his wife's assets. Her breasts were such perfect hillocks of desirability with enticing pink nipples. She met Richard's gaze. The two of them recalled the night before and exchanged smiles.

After making use of the chamber pots, Antoinette and Richard washed themselves at thoroughly as possible in the basins and urns provided. Antoinette selected one of the beautiful dresses in the wardrobe to don. Everything was first class, from the lace stockings to the jeweled hair ribbons. Antoinette only felt totally feminine when dressed to the nines. She selected a complimentary suit of clothing for her husband.

"We may be prisoners, Darling," she told Richard, "but that does not mean that we are no longer civilized."

About an hour later, another knock on the door revealed itself to be two large hooded men.

"Now, Prince Richard and Princess Antoinette. You must be blindfolded for the next stage of your journey. Your arms will also be bound, but not in a harsh way. I trust that we will have your full cooperation."

"I suppose that I have no say in the matter?" Asked Richard, quizzing the hooded figure who had spoken.

"That is correct, your highness."

A short time later, Richard and Antoinette were being led from the black ship and into a stage coach. Antoinette was grateful for small favors such as the fact that the pillowcase slid over her head and the cords used to bind her wrists were silk. Husband and wife were seated next to each other as the coach began rolling. Antoinette and Richard wanted to engage in conversation but were ordered to maintain silence. The drive took several hours.

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