A Royal Sacrifice Ch. 09byDarkniciad©
Guy Dorr chuckled upon passing a safe distance away from his latest mark. The man continued to haggle with the hawker at his cart, completely unaware that he no longer had any coin to pay once the dueling pair reached an acceptable price. Guy had slit the man's purse with a razor sharp knife without even breaking stride.
Slipping the coins into his own purse, Guy thought, I should have abandoned the hinterlands long ago. So many pretty birds to pluck. Noticing a petite brunette with an eye-catching bosom, he added, In more ways than one.
Touching the brim of his hat and offering a charming smile, his eyes lit up upon seeing color rise into the young woman's cheeks. Mind the time, he chastised himself, knowing that he would find any number of occasions for dalliance in less pressing times.
Patting the vial tucked into the waistband of his breeches, Guy quickly strode to his horse. Mounting the dark brown stallion, a tap of his heels and a quiet command of "Hah, Judas," set the animal off toward the Lempe estate.
As he rode, Guy contemplated the gossip in the village. Virtually every man, woman, and child knew some story about the events of the past few days. How many of these rumors possessed a scrap of truth was suspect, but Guy knew far better than to ignore any information.
While murders and fear of a black hearted wizard could prove advantageous in covering his own work, it also presented a greater level of alertness on the part of the entire populace. The resurrection of the knighthood also required caution. For the time being, Guy felt that the knights were of little consequence – a mere villager and a stableboy – but that could very well change in a short time if the new Queen continued to knight anyone who struck her fancy.
Guy raised his eyebrows and smiled as he wondered how he might catch the Queen's eye. According to the tongue waggling in the village and surrounding estates, the woman was beautiful, untouched, and had lived in a peasant's squalor until the moment she took the throne. Status as a knight would immediately elevate him to a level granting him tremendous freedom.
Why stop there? Guy mused. She has already broken from tradition in knighting the manure shoveler and the village boy. Might not a charming man win her hand and heart to become Queen Consort?
Topping a rise, Guy saw his destination come into view. Enough of that for now, he wisely thought. He focused his mind on the task at hand as he rode up to the estate, passing off Judas to a stableboy only seconds after bringing the horse to a halt. He needed no servant to guide him, and walked with quick, confident steps toward where he knew his benefactor awaited him.
The man's head immediately turned toward the door when Guy opened it. Guy could see the anxiety in the man's eyes, and it brought a smile to his lips. "All proceeds as planned, Walter. You have the wine set aside, I trust?" He asked as he removed his riding gloves.
"I have," Walter Lempe replied. "You are sure that Simon will forgive my debt for such a small amount of wine?" He smoothed back his salt-and-pepper hair, his expression filled with concern.
Waving his hand in a dismissive gesture, Guy responded, "Wine fit for the Queen's own table, Goodman. You do your fine vintage a disservice. Simon gnaws at the bit, as a yearling eager to run. I have firmly convinced him that his path to genteel society now lies open before him. He will do anything I suggest."
"With that debt forgiven, I would have the means to attain the prosperity so long denied me," Walter declared, tamping his fist on the table to punctuate the statement. Immediately thereafter, a coughing fit wracked his body.
Giving Walter time to regain his composure, Guy then said. "And so you shall. You have the bottles for my associate? I must needs meet with him this night, and he demands his payment."
Nodding, Walter gestured to his wife. The curvy, auburn-tressed woman retrieved two wine bottles from a sideboard, bringing them to the table before Guy. She then turned to her husband, who once more fought for breath through a fit of coughing. "Husband, you should seek your bed." She gestured for a stout servant, who moved to stand next to Walter's chair. "I will have one of the servants see our guest on his way."
Weakly nodding his head, Walter allowed the servant to help him rise, and then to walk from the room toward the bedchamber. Anne looked on with concern until her husband vanished from view, the servant closing the door behind them. Now alone, she turned to Guy, who stood up from his chair with a smile. Stepping forward into his embrace, she tightly closed her arms around him. A quavering sigh bubbled from her lips as the stiff tips of her breasts pressed against his muscular chest. "Please tell me that you spoke untrue. Must you leave?"
Kissing her forehead, his manhood swelling beneath his breeches, Guy let out a melancholy sigh. "I fear I spoke truth, fair Anne. I must take to horse immediately."
"Will you return this night? I ache for you, my love."
"No, dear Anne. Yet another night and day must we spend apart, even should the fates be kind."
"I do not know how I shall endure it."
Raising her face to his, Guy kissed her full lips. "Nor do I, but it is needful. I must leave."
"Go then, while I yet have the strength of will to allow it," Anne pleaded while stepping away from him.
Picking up the bottles, Guy said, "Rest well, my fair flower. Seek me in your dreams and I shall await you there."
Her lip quivering, Anne nodded and swept out of the room in a flurry of skirts.
Guy returned to his horse, stowing the bottles carefully in his saddlebags. Fed and rested, Judas responded with enthusiasm when Guy spurred his mount into motion toward the Gifford estate.
"Timing is of the essence, Simon," Guy assured the pacing lord of the Gifford estate.
"Too long have I waited for this opportunity," Simon grumbled. "So many times that fool has been on the brink of ruin, only to endure. Too long have I looked on, denied my rightful place in gentle society. I must have access to his vines. When every table holds my beer and his wine, under my control, none will be able to deny me my place."
"And so you shall," Guy said with a smile, amused because he had said the exact same words to Simon's bane, Walter, only a short ride ago. "What he will send to you will force him to provide lesser vintages to others. When foul thieves abscond with the wine before it reaches you, thus dissolving your bargain..."
"He will not have the means to pay his debt to me, and I will have what I desire," Simon finished.
Producing one of the bottles of wine, Guy sat it down and gestured toward it. "To celebrate your rightful station. I think Walter's finest vintage is appropriate for just such a joyous occasion." Reaching into a pouch, he then produced the vial he had obtained in the village. "And the other, of course."
"God be praised. I have seen each hour these last two nights. The pain grows unbearable, and I am weary beyond sense."
Bowing his head, Guy said, "The opium will surely give you both rest and relief, Simon. I sense that perhaps you may wish to partake of that blessed relief before our celebration?"
"I fear I shall take leave of my wits if I do not sleep soon," Simon answered.
"Then go, my friend. I will take the bottle to the cellar and seek my bed. We will celebrate when you awaken."
With a nod, Simon left, and Guy held true to his word. He lay back on the bed with a sigh, a smug smile spread across his face. Naturally, he had no intention of ruining Walter, nor of removing Simon's hold over his neighbor – at least not yet. Both men were so single mindedly devoted to their goals that they would never guess his duplicity in playing them both for fools for some time.
Misfortunes 'beyond his ability to control' would prevent either man from attaining what they desired in whole, while continuing to tempt them with the sweet taste of victory. Guy had no intention of surrendering the fine life he enjoyed between the two households. Uncorking the second bottle of wine, he took a sip and let out a blissful sigh.
A knock on the door and a call of, "Fresh linens," sent a rush of blood through Guy's nether regions. Rising from the bed, he crossed the room to the door and opened it, letting the buxom, raven-haired chambermaid enter the room.
The door barely closed before Isabel dropped the linens to the bed and stepped into Guy's arms. Her hands caressed his swelling manhood through his breeches, and her lips sought his with hungry passion.
Guy reached down to cup her sex in his hand as they kissed, almost able to feel the heat radiating from her loins beneath her skirts. His cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat beneath her hand. Pulling away from the kiss, he cradled her heavy breasts in his hands, leaning down to kiss the revealed cleavage with a slight growl of arousal. Her hands moved to the waist of his breeches even as he kissed her.
Guy pulled away with a sigh. "Simon has his opium."
"There is time," Isabel countered, continuing her quest to remove his breeches and reach the object of her desire.
"But what when his wife discovers me spent, unable to pleasure her?"
"How long must I wait? My loins burn for you."
"I loathe the need to wait as well, but it must be so. The time will come when she will tire of me. Until then, I must maintain my illusion of desire for her. You know the power she holds over her husband. Without the payment for my services to him, I will not be able to take you away from this place."
"How long will the opium last?" Isabel asked, backing away toward the door with a sigh.
"No more than three days. Then we will have the respite to share our love, while she is unable to leave her wakeful husband's side."
"What if she does not come?"
Guy sighed, and said, "She will come." Many times, he silently added, letting none of his amusement creep into his features. "Now go. Seek me in your dreams, my love."
Biting her lower lip for a moment, Isabel mastered her emotions enough to say, "I will," before quickly exiting the room.
Though his erection throbbed in frustration as he lay back on the bed, Guy knew it would not last long. After taking another sip of the finest wine in the land, he began to remove his clothing. It would not do to keep the lady waiting when she arrived.
Nearly asleep as he dozed awaiting her arrival, Guy opened his eyes upon hearing the door close to see Rachel allowing her dressing gown to fall to the floor.
"I feared he would never succumb," she said as she crossed the room toward the bed. Her firm breasts held the shift she wore away from her upper body, while her motion caused the fabric to cling to her below. Still erect from thoughts of her, Guy's cock bounced upward from his body in anticipation.
As the honey-blonde wife of his benefactor shrugged off her shift at the edge of the bed, Guy admired her curvaceous body and stood. The sight of her slightly rounded abdomen sent another twitch through his manhood. Already swollen with her husband's seed, he need not pull from her hot depths to find his release.
Cupping her breasts in her hands, Rachel sighed and whispered, "Already they ache, as with my first child."
Running his fingers through her long, artfully disheveled hair, Guy leaned forward and kissed her passionately. When their lips parted, he whispered into her ear, "Perhaps I might soothe them for a time."
Rachel gasped as he leaned down to suckle one of her pebble-hard nipples. His lips caressed the erect bud for a moment, and then he shifted to her other breast to engulf its twin in his mouth.
One hand rested on Guy's head, while the other crept between his legs to caress him. "Too long have I waited already. I can wait no more," she said in a needy whisper.
Guy answered not with words, but with action. Releasing her nipple from his lips, he reached down to grasp her rounded bottom, easily lifting her into his arms. He spun on his heels, the musky scent of her arousal already tickling his nose, and lay her down upon the bed.
Even as her back touched the mattress, Guy swung one knee onto the bed between her legs. Raising her knees and spreading them apart, she granted him access to kneel between them. As he moved forward, she parted the thick blonde curls surrounding her sex, revealing the wet heat hidden beneath.
Guy pressed the tip of his needy organ against her folds, slipping into her with a grateful sigh. Her back arched away from the bed as he penetrated her, the action accompanied by a high-pitched gasp.
He wasted no time, thrusting into her clinging depths with quick measured thrusts. Rachel moderated her sounds of passion, though she knew that only trusted servants remained within earshot. Color rose into her face, chest, and breasts as she felt days of need sated by his thick shaft stroking her with hot friction. After days of anticipation, her fires quickly rose to an inferno.
Guy let out a groan of ecstasy as her walls caressed him, her labia clinging to his member with every withdrawal. Her fingers curled into claws, bunching up the bedclothes between them, and he groaned again as the rate of her breathing increased. Well knowing the signs of impending climax in her beautiful features, he gripped her thighs harder to add power to his thrusts.
Sweat beaded over both of their bodies as Rachel soared upward to her peak. She reached her heights and tumbled over with a choked off scream long before Guy felt the tightening of his loins that signaled his release. Her legs closed around him even as her intimate muscles entrapped him, holding him buried in her depths as she gasped and panted for breath from the depth and power of ecstasy flooding her every pore.
She still fought for breath when Guy forced her legs apart, allowing him to withdraw his throbbing organ for another thrust. Her eyes opened wide as his tip pressed against the entrance of her womb and the power of his thrust moved her toward the headboard of the bed.
Guy deviated from his chosen course, his own needs just as strong as those of the rapidly breathing woman beneath him. Though he'd planned to take her to her peak at least twice more, his body demanded release without delay. Allowing that beast free rein, he slammed his manhood home with the full strength of his desire.
Enraptured with the power of his thrusting organ and the sight of his muscular body working above her, Rachel soon soared toward another peak. As his face tightened and growls rumbled from his throat, she felt the tightness in her loins reach almost painful intensity. When he slammed into her with a final growl, she followed him into ecstasy.
Guy groaned as his organ pulsed, sending streams of his seed to coat her walls. She trembled and cried out in release, unable to contain the sounds this time. The tight squeeze of her climax proved unbearable, and he pulled from her with a gasp, trailing milky strands of their mingled juices from her sex to his slowly softening member.
Laying a hand over her loins, Rachel languidly mused, "How I long for the day when we may share this each day without secrecy."
"As do I," Guy agreed, collapsing to the bed with a sigh. In a short while, she left him to return to her bed, leaving him to change the linens and take his rest for the next play in his game.
He pitted the heads of the two households against each other, while he played upon the affections of their wives to his advantage. Neither woman took her husband out of love. Both sought the wealth and influence that marriage to the far older men provided. The two men were in ill health, and had already provided their wives with the means to maintain that wealth in the event of their husband's passing – sons.
Guy promised to aid the men in attaining a place within gentle society, which would thus offer the same to their wives. Once ensconced, the two women possessed the guile to maintain those positions. In exchange, he received all the information he needed from them.
In the meantime, he culled the servants for the gullible to attain even more useful information to maintain all his ruses. Eventually, he would have to choose between the two households. For now, he simply reveled in the game.
Knowing he had important work to do on the morrow, Guy pulled up the fresh linens and drifted off to sleep.
"Earl Warren, your choices are quite limited," Guy warned from his shadowy observation post near two convenient exits, both watched by town boys eager to please in hopes of more shiny coins for their palms. With all of the doors closed, the interior of the well-built barn held far more of shadow than of light.
Thomas Warren stared into the darkness, attempting to discern the identity of the man who had drawn him here with a few simple words passed through a servant. "Why should I accept the word of a man who hides amongst the shadows? A man of black heart and even blacker deeds?"
"Ah, but who are you to speak of black deeds? You who would defile the sacred bonds of marriage for a few moments of bliss in the arms of a girl only just become a woman? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not bear false witness. In a single night of passion did you break three of the Lord's commandments."
With a growl born of both anger and shame, Earl Warren asked, "What do you want?"
"You may consider me as your guide back to the path of salvation. I offer the opportunity to grant a kindness to the less fortunate, in exchange for my silence in this most delicate matter."
Guy greeted that accusation with a chuckle. "My sins and soul are my own to care for. It is for your own that you should be concerned. The price of my silence costs you nothing, in truth. As I said, you will simply do a kindness for those who do not share the great fortune of your birth."
"Enough of your riddles and your blasphemy. Name your price, Blackheart."
"In the fullness of time, I will reveal to you the full nature of your atonement. My price is but a few invitations and a single purchase. Both are well within your means, and cost you little. Your wife is fond of dancing and revelry, is she not? In paying my price, you warm the heart of your wife. In this, my price may even prove a boon to you, Earl."
"Very well, you will have whatever you desire. How am I to know that you will maintain your silence?"
"You do not. You do understand, however, that I will certainly reveal your indiscretion to your wife and your identity to your young lover if you fail to pay my price. You will receive further instruction in time, Earl." With those words, Guy spun in a flurry of his dark cloak. The action revealed his location to the Earl for the first time, but lasted only a second before Guy vanished out the nearby door.
Passing by one of the two village boys, Guy tossed the child a pair of coins as he sprinted by with his hood pulled low. Having received their initial coin from another, much shorter man, both boys started as the dark cloaked figure swept by them. The coins quickly overcame their surprise and fear, erasing even the slightest memory of Guy's appearance.
A swift run along a hedgerow brought him to his horse, and a short ride placed Guy back on the road, moving at a leisurely pace toward the home of the man he'd just blackmailed. Seeing no sign of activity, Guy knew that the Earl remained within the barn licking his wounds, and would play his part in the game perfectly.
Kicking his horse into a canter, Guy continued on to his final destination of the day, before returning for another night of luxury and bliss. As he rode, he contemplated the new rumors circulating amongst the servants of the nobility. If the whispers were true, the Queen had once more broken with tradition and asserted her authority over her father's court.