Wicked Tales: Rumple’s Game


Hedwig shook his head in awe. "Amazing talent indeed," he said and ran his fingers from her chin up her jaw line and into her thick curly locks. "But even without such a gift, you are still a lovely woman. Will you dine with me this evening Lady Depock?"

Caitlinn shifted on her feet and licked her lips. She thought she heard a groan come from Hedwig's throat, but she dismissed the notion and found instead her lips moving and her voice reaching out to accept his invitation.

"Good," Hedwig replied and took her hand in his. He lifted it to his lips and turned her palm over. His lips pressed softly against her callused fingers. "Your father will join us," he commanded and then nodded to Guifford to make sure the order was carried out. "Lady Depock, please accompany me back to the castle. Your father will be along shortly. Chancellor Guifford, dismiss the other ladies. Give each a coin. It seems not only have you found me the perfect, most talented in the land, but also the most lovely. I have no need to see the rest, or be blanketed by their falsehoods and overly exposed attributes."

Guifford nodded and stepped away from Hedwig, his head bowed and his hands clasped in front of him. He left the tent and Caitlinn was alone with her King. She pulled her lower lip in with her teeth and then released it. "You mustn't do that, Lady Depock," Hedwig warned.

"Your Highness?"

"Your lip is too delicate for you to continue chewing on it."

She blushed and lowered her chin to her chest. Again Hedwig's fingers were on it, lifting it up so he could stare down into her soft features. "Gold huh?" he whispered and then ran his thumb across her pink lips. "I do not think the gold will be the prize I desire most from you."

Instinctively Caitlinn licked her lips and touched Hedwig's fingertip. She heard his growl again and felt her flesh burn as her body responded to his proximity. She swallowed a lump that had formed in her throat and whimpered softly as Hedwig's head began to descend toward her.

Caitlinn told herself to remain calm. Her King was going to kiss her. She felt her pulse race and her skin tingled. His tongue brushed slowly against the seam of her lips. She swayed and his hands came up to steady her. Her body leaned into his for support and her mouth parted to allow a gasp of pleasure to escape. Immediately Hedwig's tongue sought out a place to play.

Caitlinn gasped as an unexpected heat skated across her skin. She trembled and moaned as her own wet muscle moved timidly to slip along side her King's. Hedwig tilted his head, moved one hand up to cup the back of hers and held her still as he slowly plundered her succulent mouth.

A cough at the tent's entrance brought the kissing couple out of their bliss. Hedwig frowned at the soldier behind Caitlinn's trembling form. "What is it?" he demanded, his voice revealed his frustrations.

"Chancellor Guifford told us you wished to return to the castle. Your Highness, the coach is ready."

Hedwig released the hold he had on Caitlinn and stepped free of her. "Thank you, Sir Gorgian. Lady Depock, if you'll allow me." He offered his arm to her and Caitlinn smiled back at him. She placed her fingers on the edge of the silk jacket he wore and knew she still trembled from the kiss they'd shared. Hedwig covered her fingers with his other hand and led her toward the opening of the tent. They stepped out and once again Caitlinn was the cause of silence. She felt Hedwig's fingers press against hers and a sense of calm filled her. She walked past Guifford, who was staring at her with a look she could not describe. Her eyes sought out her father. She spotted him being assisted onto the back of a stallion that she knew had to have been a trained war horse. She gave a silent prayer to the Heaven's that her father survived the journey to the castle. Then she thought of the consequences when morning came and there was no gold.

They reached the coach and Caitlinn was helped up into the rich conveyance. She sat on a bench covered in velvet, stuffed with Swan feathers. She watched Hedwig take his place across from her, settle his hands on his own lap and then give the order for them to embark.

The carriage swayed back and forth. Caitlinn felt Hedwig's eyes on her the whole time and she fought to keep her blush from becoming more inflamed. She failed miserably, especially when he reached over and took one of her hands between his. His thumbs rubbed across her skin as he turned her hand over and learned its texture. "Tell me of your mother, Lady Depock."

Caitlinn licked her lips and swallowed, hoping to produce some moisture for her suddenly dry mouth. "My mother, Your Highness, passed away when I was six. I only remember a few things about her. Her scent. It was of lilies. She enjoyed that flower more than any other. My father and I have been without her for sometime. I thank you for allowing him to dine with us this evening."

"My pleasure. What of you though Lady Depock? Do you wish to wed me?"

Caitlinn blinked back in surprise. "Your Highness. It is not my choice."

Hedwig chuckled. "Caitlinn," he said, dropping the formality of a title he'd bestowed on her, "as much as Guifford believes I will force a woman to wed with me... I am just as strongly against it. If you have no desire to be my Queen, then we will simply enjoy a meal together. You will receive a coin for your troubles, just like the other ladies have, and you will be taken home. But... if you feel the same attraction that I feel, then I would like to make you my Queen as soon as possible."

Caitlinn looked into his eyes and felt her heart constrict from the amount of love that was suddenly filling it. "I would be honored to be your Queen, Your Highne..."


She smiled and nodded her head in understanding. "I would be honored to be your Queen, Hedwig."

He leaned over and cupped the back of her head again. This time his tongue massage was more forceful and Caitlinn responded with a new hunger all her own. The kiss was awkward in the beginning, but as it continued, it only became more heady and arousing. Eventually Hedwig had moved to place himself next to Caitlinn. He pulled her onto his lap and allowed one of his hands to tangle in her thick curls, while the other rested on her hip.

Caitlinn melted into Hedwig as his mouth moved across her lips, and then down her neck, over to her shoulder. She shifted against him. Her own hands moved to tug on his shirt and keep herself anchored to his body. By the time they reached the castle and the door to the carriage was being hauled open by a servant, both Caitlinn and Hedwig were breathless.

Hedwig lifted her from his lap and set her gently on the bench he'd occupied earlier. He stepped free of the coach and then helped ease his future bride out of the compartment. He held her hand as they walked through the courtyard and then into the castle itself. A woman appeared and bowed to Hedwig. He took Caitlinn's hand and pressed it into one of the woman's. "Lady Caitlinn Depock has agreed to be my wife. See to her needs and escort her to dinner," he then turned to Caitlinn, "Until we meet again." He kissed her free hand, winked and then turned on his heel to leave her once again trembling from his touch.

Caitlinn was led away. Her fingers growing cold as reality began to settle in around her. She didn't speak to the woman, not because she didn't like her, but simply because she was too full of fear as she thought of the night to come. What would happen when Hedwig learned the truth? She felt her steps falter as she pictured the anger on his face, anger put there because of her father's lie and her willingness to continue the facade.

They reached the rooms that the Queen would be entitled too. The woman, who Caitlinn learned was the housekeeper, pointed out the adjoining door that would lead into Hedwig's private chambers. Caitlinn's cheeks grew red as she thought of how close to Hedwig she would be. She was told to remain still as several maids entered and began to take measurements of her figure. "We have several gowns that we can quickly alter for you," the housekeeper explained.

Caitlinn thanked them and then was shown to the Queen's private bathing room. She was amazed by the vastness of the tub that had been filled with steamy hot water and littered with rose petals. She slipped into the almost silk-like liquid and allowed her fears to melt away. Her lids fluttered down and soon she was lost in dreams that surrounded around kingly kisses.

When she awoke it was to the gentle shake of another person's grip. Her eyes popped open and she stared at the face of an old man. Caitlinn squealed and jumped up. Water splashed everywhere as she scurried from the tub and tried to cover her naked flesh. She opened her mouth to scream and stopped when the old man spoke. "If you do that there will be no gold for you."

Caitlinn frowned. "What are you talking about?" she asked and stepped away from the stranger. Caitlinn looked around for something to cover herself as well as for some weapon.

"The gold you need to save your life and that of your father's. Do you not recognize me girl? I told you in the village you would be the chosen one. Have you forgotten already?"

She stopped moving and stared at the stranger, then dawning filled her features. "You did say that. How did you know?" she asked, relaxing somewhat and eventually reaching a closet where she plucked a robe from its depths.

The old man grinned wide, exposing crooked teeth. "I just know these things. I sensed you were the one for our King and I was right. So what are you going to do about your father's lie?" he asked.

Caitlinn sighed and shook her head. "I can do nothing. I can not confess my lie, for Hedwig will be disappointed in me and will hate me for all time. My father and I will be executed."

"I can help you," the old man said and took a seat on a stool.

"How?" she asked, eying him with curiosity.

"I will spin your straw tonight," he told her.


"Yes, tonight I will come to you and help you. Have the Chancellor take you to the highest tower. Tell him you need a spinning wheel and complete silence. Tell him no one is to come or go into the tower room until the sun rises," the old man demanded.

Caitlinn stared down at her feet and thought a moment. She wanted answers to the questions plaguing her mind. Questions like how the old man would get to the tower if no one was allowed in? How would he spin the straw into gold? But most of all she wanted to know what was in it for him? Just as she was about to ask that question she heard the door to her bathing chambers being pushed open. Her gaze flew from the door to the stool and she squeaked when she saw the place where the old man had been, was now empty.

A maid entered and Caitlinn knew it was time to ready herself for the meal she was to have with Hedwig and her father. She wondered if Guifford would also be there. She hoped not. His gaze spoke of greed as well as punishment and she didn't like the idea of either. When she left the chambers, it was with a heavy heart as well as a touch of fear. What would this man ask of her in exchange for gold? The thoughts of the old man vanished though when she stepped into the dining hall and her eyes met those of Hedwig's. Immediately, she was full of love and dismissed all worries until later that night when she was alone in the tower and Guifford was staring down at her.

"You've charmed the King, my Lady." Guifford sneered the title. "I've been thinking about this since I met you... well after I spoke more to your father really. If you can spin straw into gold, why do you look so thin and weak? Why does your father eat like he's not eaten in days? Why are you poor, girl?"

Caitlinn chewed on the inside of her lip. "It is a gift that I don't abuse. . ."

Guifford laughed. "I don't believe you have this gift. I believe your father has lied and you have deceived our King to gain entrance into his bed." Caitlinn's gaze flew up to Guifford's, but she said nothing in her defense. "Silence is admission," he told her and stepped toward the tower door. "The King would have taken you to bed this night if it had not been for my council. I told him that your father insisted on providing a dowry and his honor would be at stake if it were refused."

"Hedwig is a noble man, unlike some people in his council."

Guifford chuckled back. "I'm noble. . .when it suits me. Right now, it doesn't. Produce the gold, wench. You're in your tower, like you wished. Guards are at the doors, no one will enter and of course you will not leave. In the morning I will come and see the straw still sitting there. The question is will you cast yourself out the window or will you stand proud as you are run through by the sword?"

Caitlinn shuddered violently at the snickering that followed him out the door. She sat on the wooden stool that had been brought up to the tower. The air around her smelled of straw and she breathed it in. A spinning wheel had been placed in front of her and she reached out to spin the fly wheel. "Don't touch it!" a voice whispered behind her.

Caitlinn jumped up from the stool and spun around. "How did you get in!?" she exclaimed. "The door is locked, the guards ready to assault anyone that enters and the tower too high for anyone to scale!" She ran over to the small window and stared down. There was no sign of how the stranger could have gained access. No ladder. No stepping rungs. Nothing. Laughter echoed around her, bouncing off the stone structure. She turned back to stare at the old man, now sitting at the wheel.

"How I came to be is not important. The fact that I am here, is. Now sit down and keep me company. This will take time," the stranger said. Caitlinn did as she was told, not quite sure if this man was serious or not. He seemed to be and so she watched and waited to see what would happen.

The old man's fingers were gnarled with age. He reached out and touched the wheel, smiled at the hum it made when he spun it. "A fine machine, but it isn't exactly what I need." He swept his hand over the fly wheel and whispered words that were foreign to Caitlinn. She tried to comprehend them, but gave up. Instead she studied the wheel and gasped as it seemed to morph in front of her eyes. The once smooth surface now had a grove running down its center. She rose from the floor and walked over to him. He winked up at her, but continued to rub his hands over the polished wood. His mouth continued to work words that she couldn't understand and the wheel continued to change. The middle bar became a shoot, instead of a flat plank of wood. The bobbin was no longer round but had become oval shaped and a small circular hole appeared to be embedded in the center.

"You're a wizard!" Caitlinn exclaimed and stepped back in fear.

"Of course I am girl. How else would you get your gold?" He picked up several stalks of straw from the nearest bundle and muttered more words that were lost on Caitlinn.

She watched as the coarse stalks were turned into hard thread which was placed on the wheel. His foot pumped the pedal up and down, while his fingers kept the straw thread in place. It rolled down the wheel, and onto the bobbin. There it seemed to swell and grow. In less than a blink of an eye Caitlinn watched a coin roll from the bobbin and slide down the wooden shoot. Her eyes grew wide. She reached for the coin and timidly touched it's surface. Another fell from the shoot and landed against the back of her hand, then bounced to the floor. This one was quickly followed by another and then another. She scooped them up and scurried back to her sitting spot. Her fingers toyed with the smooth surface of the gold.

"Amazing," she whispered. "You even have the King's face engraved on it!"

The old man cackled with laughter as he continued to spin the straw into gold for Caitlinn. She watched the pile of glittering metal increase one coin after another. "A kiss and a story," the man suddenly said, breaking the silence of the tower room.

Caitlinn frowned. "A kiss and a story?" she asked.

"It's my payment for tonight," he said.

Caitlinn's brow shot up. She was supposed to kiss him and tell him a tale? If a story was all it would take to get the gold, then she was more than willing to entertain the old man, but a kiss? She thought for a moment and then smiled. "Just a kiss?"

"Just one," he answered back. Caitlinn moved to his side and knelt down on the tower room floor. The old man turned to her and grinned; she blanched as he revealed crooked and rotted teeth. He cackled and licked his wrinkled lips. Caitlinn took a deep breath and leaned into the man. Soon her lips were mashed to his. His gnarled hands were in her hair and he was holding her head still as his tongue plundered her soft lips. She squeaked at the strength he used on her. The old man took that opportunity to thrust his tongue into her mouth. Caitlinn tried to pull away, but was held firmly in his tight grasp.

He pushed his wet muscle against hers and swept the tip of it across the back of her teeth, then against her slippery cheeks. When he released her, he grinned and licked the taste of their dueling from his wrinkled features. "Now a story," he demanded.

Caitlinn scurried back and wiped at her wet mouth. "That was not what I agreed to!" she shouted and spit out the taste that still occupied her tongue. The old man laughed hard and shrugged his shoulders. "I said a kiss. I did not say what type. Now, a story!"

She visibly shuddered, curled her legs up under her and kept her distance. Caitlinn took a deep breath to calm herself and then began to speak with a wavering voice. "You know the forest that borders our village, is enchanted," she whispered.

"Is it?" the old man asked. He glanced at Caitlinn and smiled. "Tell me of this forest."

She pushed the gold coins that were collecting around her away. "My father told me stories about the woods. He said at one time there was a witch that lived there. She lured boys and girls, men and women, even wolves into her traps and devoured them."

"A witch... that's just a woman who wishes she were a man. There are no such thing as good witches. The best magic comes from a Wizard."

Caitlinn chuckled nervously at the rantings of the stranger. "Well, this witch was defeated by the bravery of a boy and a girl. A brother and sister. Their step-mother didn't like them and ordered their father to have them killed. He loved his children though and instead sent them into the woods. They wandered the forest and eventually came across the witch's candy house."

"Candy house! Her house was never made of candy! The things you people screw up to coddle the minds of children," the old man muttered. He gathered another bundle of straw toward him and resumed spinning.

Caitlinn frowned, but continued her story. "Well, the witch wanted to eat the boy and girl for supper."

"Oh bother," the stranger huffed.

Caitlinn growled in annoyance for being interrupted. She was about to continue her story when the man lifted a wrinkled palm and begged her to stop. "Another child; that one is so jumbled that it pains me to hear it."

She took a deep breath and thought again. "Well, there was once a young girl who liked the color red. She went into the woods to visit her grandmother and came across a wolf. He was a talking wolf and he showed her where to pick flowers."

"Stop!" the man shouted. "He was not a wolf, but a Lycan, or a wolf-man. And it wasn't that she liked the color red, it was a gift from her grandmother or something like that. Just pick another story. . .do you know the one about the boy and the magic beans?"

Caitlinn frowned and thought a moment. "The one with the magic harp and the duck that lays golden eggs?"

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