Lord MelchiorbyVarian P©
"What's wrong, Zaccheus?"
Arif crossed the room we shared and took two glasses and the decanter from the dresser and came back to where I stood, looking out our small window over the garden. He filled one crystal challis and offered it to me. I took it and drew in a taste of the warm port, turning back to the soothing vista of night sky and moonlit garden. Arif remained by my side, sipping from his glass.
"Tell me, Zaccheus, what happened on your shift tonight."
I turned from the cool breeze to face him. He was grinning with wicked curiosity. Something told me he already had a fairly clear idea of what sort of thing had transpired that night in the master's salon. Arif had been in the master's employ for more than a year, while I had only arrived the week before, on my eighteenth birthday. In the nine days since my arrival Arif had been tutoring me in my various duties, which until that night had been light. Surprisingly so. Little more than attending the master in the evenings as he took his meal at table, staying nearby when he adjourned to the library, fetching his pipe and filling his glass as he read by the fire. But this night had been very different.
Like all those employed in the mansion I had been raised on the property—schooled by the teachers in the master's employ, brought up by parents who had been taught the same lessons in the same little stone building when they had been children. I had been lessoned very thoroughly and very strictly, like all the boys and girls who had grown up with me, on matters of morality and propriety. Then, like all the other souls belonging to Lord Melchior, on my tenth birthday I had left my family and moved into the boys' boarding school to finish my education. What I had seen, what I had been made to do that night violated everything I had been taught. Everything except the one rule which was understood to be supreme above all the others: that Lord Melchior was to be obeyed in everything, without question.
I drained the last of the port from my glass and Arif quickly filled it again. As the warmth of the drink spread through me some of my anxiety abated, and as my mind roamed over the images of what I had seen and my body remembered what it had felt, my prick stirred restlessly in my snug breeches. Arif's eyes drifted from my flushed face down to my crotch and his dirty grin widened.
"Sit down, Zaccheus. I have a feeling the story you've got to tell is worth hearing in detail. We may as well be comfortable."
I was still unused to the luxuriant accommodations. The little cottage I had shared with my parents and siblings had only the barest of furnishings. My little cot had served as bed and bench. The boarding school, too, had been austere. But in the room I shared with Arif, we not only had two comfortable beds, but two armchairs, upholstered in rich fabric and very soft to sit upon. And certainly I had never eaten such rich food as we were given here, nor tasted a drop of wine. But our decanter was filled each evening and we were permitted to drink as much of it as we liked once we had finished our evening's work. Now, relaxed by the port I sank down into one chair, and Arif pulled the second just opposite and sat down.
"Come on, let's have it."
It seemed wrong to speak of it, but after all that Lord Melchior had asked of me, of all of us that night, I doubted that I knew any longer what was right and what wrong. I felt terribly confused. Perhaps if I told Arif what had happened, he could help me understand.
"Well," I began, seeing Arif's mouth spread in a smile now that I was finally relenting, "the evening started out normally enough. I was warned in advance by Jeremy that the master would have company, and though I'd never attended him before in the presence of a guest, it wasn't any more difficult than usual. As always, I merely stood at his elbow, waiting to see if he would need anything from me. The hardest thing for me was keeping my eyes straight ahead, not looking at Lord Eldrich, who was sitting just opposite our master. I could tell from his voice that old Lord Eldrich was terribly nervous, and though I don't really understand such matters, it was clear enough that our master has the old fellow over a barrel on some financial matter between the two of them. It was very strange, seeing a nobleman like the master sweating and trembling with fear, hearing his raspy old voice waver, hearing his obsequious tone each time he made a reply to some question of the master's."
"The other thing that made it strange for me was the large staff in attendance. I'm accustomed to seeing no one but Jeremy. But tonight, because of the guest, I suppose, there were four guards standing at attention along the wall behind Lord Eldrich. From the moment I entered the salon at the master's side those four gave me a fright. Such big, brutish looking fellows, standing at rigid attention, their heavy batons hanging gleaming at their sides. They paid me no mind, though, and only stared straight ahead at nothing as we've all been taught."
"Then there was the girl."
"Ah, so there was a girl, was there?"
Arif looked really pleased now, and my feeling of shame at all that had happened, all I was about to tell, rose up in me again with that little smirk of his.
"Yes. I didn't understand why, at first, but instead of Jeremy, there was a young girl waiting on the master and his guest, bringing them small plates of fruit and pastries, filling their glasses with wine. I could not help watching her, though I was careful to follow her only with my eyes, keeping my head facing forward. But I had to look. I hadn't seen a woman since I left home and went to the boarding school."
"What was she like?" Arif asked hungrily, again reminding me of my shame.
"Very young. And so nervous."
"I'll bet!" Arif blurted in a laugh.
"I pitied her. Nervous as I was, I couldn't imagine how frightened she must have been, in that room with all those men. Each time she carried a plate or filled a glass from the decanter it was plain that her hands were shaking."
"What did she look like?"
To me she had seemed incredibly pretty, but then I had only distant memories of my mother and the neighbor women to which I might have compared her. I only knew that when I saw her my insides seemed to melt a little and I was terrified that my prick would get hard and Eldrich or the master would notice.
"...her hair is a deep, glossy auburn, long and wavy. Almost curly. She has big hazel eyes that show her every emotion, and her skin is pale. It has almost no color to it at all."
"And her body?"
Oh, her body. I felt myself blush and Arif laughed at me. He seemed to be enjoying my embarrassment almost as much as the master had enjoyed poor Rasha's.
"Her body is...soft."
"Perhaps two inches shorter than me."
"Tall for a woman, then. What sort of figure? Was she a straight up and down sort of girl? Or round and curvy?"
"At first, you know, I couldn't see. She wore a long white skirt and a long white shift, and over that a tight vest."
"Of course, right. You tell me about her body later. Just go on with your story."
"Well, the master and Lord Eldrich went on eating their food, drinking their wine, and talking business for a while, the master getting increasingly annoyed with what Lord Eldrich was telling him, and Lord Eldrich getting more and more nervous. It was embarrassing hearing him making excuses and sniveling to the master. I never imagined I'd hear a nobleman talking that way. Finally the master seemed fed up with it and sent Eldrich on his way, bowing and scraping through a humiliating exit. I was feeling rather sickened by the whole thing, and poor Rasha's trembling nervousness just made the whole scene unbearable. I had to hold in a heavy sigh of relief to see Lord Eldrich go, for I was anxious to have the evening done with, to return to the comfort of our room. Rasha, too, looked relieved, as she must have imagined, or hoped, that with Eldrich's departure she would soon be free to leave. But as she stood by the sideboard, clearly hoping for a word from the master that she might make her escape, I saw her shudder with a terrible fear that was far beyond the tense embarrassment she had been displaying all evening as she served. I could not see the master, but stealing a long look at her I felt sure that he was raking his eyes over her."
"What's your name, girl?" he called across the room to her.
"Bring that decanter over here, Rasha, and fill my glass."
"Her disappointment at not being allowed to leave, and her fear of what it mean showed plainly in her face. As she took up the decanter I saw that her hand, which had trembled all through the evening, was now shaking almost violently. Slowly she came forward, toward the master, but as I was right beside him it was like she was coming toward me, so slowly it was like she was wading through the deep water of the great baths. When she was near enough the master lifted his empty glass toward her. With her hand shaking pathetically she filled his glass, the terrible concentration on her face painfully obvious as she tried desperately not to spill any of the wine on the master's trousers. When she was done, clearly relieved and almost in tears, having spilled none of the dark liquid, she turned back toward the sideboard."
"'Wait,' the master ordered.
"She halted, and with a look of miserable dread turned back to face him. I heard the master swallow a mouthful of wine, then the clank of his glass upon the wood of the table at his side."
"Hand me that decanter, girl."
"Her arm crossed in front of me and the master pulled the decanter from her grip and set it down on the table."
"Come here, girl. Stand in front of me."
"I had no idea what was coming, I truly didn't. And yet my heart was thumping furiously. And..."
"And what, Zaccheus?"
"And my...my...I was hard," I finally managed to whisper.
"Go on," Arif said coolly, but with a ravenous look.
"The poor girl seemed barely able to move, she was so scared. And without really knowing why, I was scared for her. White as her the blouse under her vest she drifted past me, and stood before the master. There was a long, terrible silence, and I knew he must be just sitting there, torturing that poor girl with his eyes. Her own lovely hazel eyes were soon veiled with tears, though she did not let a single one fall. Then the master spoke."
I was so absorbed in my fear, in the girl's fear, in the strange things going on in my body I didn't understand that he was talking to me.
"Zaccheus!' His voice was impatient now and I started, and my body, stiff with anxiety, began to tremble."
"'Look at me, Zaccheus.' His voice had returned to its usual soft tone."
"Standing at his side, I turned my head and looked down at him where he sat in his great chair. I had always been vaguely afraid of him, knowing he has the power of life and death over me, over all of us. But I had never feared him as I feared him in that moment. I half expected him to hand me a knife and tell me to stab that poor frightened girl through the heart.
"Even though he was sitting and I was standing, I felt as though he were looking down at me from a great height. Even then I felt his size, his strength. Everything about him—his thick, black, wavy hair, his sharp eyes nearly that same black, his angular features, his large hands resting relaxed over the ornately carved wood of the arms of his chair—made me feel small and soft. Then he smiled the strangest smile. It was...intimate. When he smiled at me like that I felt my face flush hot and I wanted to tear my gaze away from his penetrating eyes, but I knew I mustn't."
"When was the last time you saw a woman, Zaccheus?"
"I? Not since they took me to the boarding school, sir."
"You find this girl very pretty, don't you, Zaccheus?"
"I didn't know what he wanted me to say. I didn't even know what I was feeling. My insides felt all...soft. And...flippy. I couldn't help how that girl made me feel, but I knew it was wrong. Whatever it was I was feeling, I knew I wasn't supposed to feel that way. The master smiled that strange, startling smile again, then he reached over and put his hand on my...he pressed his palm on my groin. It was only for a moment, and satisfied with what he felt there he rested his hand on the arm of his chair once more.
"Yes, she is a pretty thing. I'll tell you what, Zaccheus. Since this is a special evening, I give you permission to let your eyes roam where they will. You may look upon me, or little Rasha there, or whatever you've a mind to look at. Understood?"
"It was easier to understand the suspension of the rule than to act on it. I forced my eyes to go on meeting his until he looked away. Then my gaze went along with his, over to the frightened girl standing before him.
"Rasha, is it?"
"Yes, sir." She was obviously trying not to cry. Maybe she knew better than I what was in store for her.
"Today is your first day in the house? Away from the school?"
"It must be strange for you, to be here among so many men."
She didn't answer him. Her chest was heaving violently. There was a long silence and, growing used to my freedom, I chanced a glance down at the master. His arms were stilly resting easily on the supports of the chair, his eyes were locked on the pale face of the girl in front of him, and he wore a smile of perhaps the purest enjoyment I've ever seen.
The master had not taken his eyes from the girl, nor had he raised his voice above its usual soft, caressing tone. One of the guards stepped forward from the shadowy perimeter of the salon and came to a stop just behind the girl. She stiffened noticeably as she heard his steps draw near.
"Remove her vest."
I was awestruck. How could he have his soldier remove her vest? It is forbidden. Even after marriage, a woman is not to allow any man but her husband see her unvested.
"But sir!" she cried before she caught herself and caught her lips between her teeth. The guard, Neron, had taken hold of the back of her garment and was setting to work on the heavy clasps. The master raised his palm and Neron dropped his hands to his sides.
"That's alright, Rasha," the master said, pardoning her insolence at speaking uninvited and daring, even for a forgetful moment, to defy his will. "Finish what you were going to say."
Her chest heaved and her soft, full lips trembled as she seemed to glimpse a tiny hope in the master's indulgence.
"S-sir." The tears that had risen in her expressive eyes finally spilled onto her cheeks. "Sir, I—I am just a maid. A servant. I—I am not supposed to—They told me I mustn't—that only the concubines were made to..."
She could not finish her sentence, though the master looked as though he could delight in her torment for an eternity as she sought the words she had been schooled all her life to never use. He smiled indulgently.
"You've been taught that you must never let a man see your body?"
"And what, Rasha, have you been taught is your very highest duty?"
"To obey you, sir."
"And so, if I wish to see your body? What then, Rasha?"
"Then I must...I must...let you."
"Very good, Rasha. Now Neron is going to remove your vest."
With that Neron stepped near her again and I saw the vest falling loose from her chest as he undid the clasps at her back that had held the garment tight. Rasha stood there, shaking, seemingly trying to staunch her tears as the last clasp was undone and Neron raised his hands to her shoulders and slid the vest down her arms and over the fists clenched at her sides. My prick lurched and stiffened again at the sight of the two round mounds of flesh lifting her blouse away from her body.
"Now, Rasha, remove your blouse."
Rasha's hands fluttered up the to top button of her loose garment, and she shakily began working the tiny circles of shell through the little button holes. When the blouse was open all down the front she looked to the master and he gave her a nod. She pulled the garment from her shoulders and slipped it down her arms, and stood before us now only in a tiny, sheer article which clung to her body and through which the dark tips of those full mounds of flesh were perfectly apparent. My prick was throbbing painfully and I wished I could go somewhere for a few moments and dispel the ache. I glanced at the master and saw his gratified smile.
"Now, Rasha, tell me. Did the head maid see to it that you were shaved between your thighs?"
Poor Rasha, already pink and trembling and struggling not to let her tears get the better of her again went a fresh and deeper red.
"Yes, sir," she whispered. Her eyes repeatedly tried to evade his, and over and over she had to force her gaze back to its proper place.
"Lift your skirt and show me."
I feared for a moment that she would faint. She seemed unsteady as she clutched a handful of white fabric in her hand and inched it up, then caught another handful in her other hand, and in pathetic little clawing motions dragged the hem of her skirt higher and higher up her legs. Oh, they were beautiful, her legs! Their shape so different from the shape of men's legs, and so smooth, I could hardly detect the fine hair on them, and they seemed to gleam in the dim light of the salon. And then what a wondrous shock to see the that mysterious part of her that was so completely different from men—I don't even have a word for it. Her little place that looked so soft made me terribly hard. I was nearly in pain.
"What a sweet little cunt you've got, Rasha. Neron, kindly check and see how carefully she's been shaved."
Neron stepped in front of her, then dropped to his knees. She started and gasped aloud, but did not jump back, though clearly she wanted to. Kneeling at her feet Neron ran his hands up the backs of her thighs until they disappeared under the gathers of white fabric behind, and pressed his face to that strange, soft, pale place. She let out an odd little cry, and for a moment I thought he had hurt her, but when I looked closely, leaning a bit to the left so I could see around the back of Neron's head, I saw that he was licking her. His mouth open, he thrust his long pink tongue into the shadows where her thighs pressed together, and drew it slowly out until I saw the pointed tip of it, and he ran it up her delicate little crease.
"Well, Neron?" the Master inquired.
"Smooth as a peach, sir."
"Good. Get up Neron. Fetch that little stool there and bring it here, to the foot of my chair."
Neron did the master's bidding, and set the little foot stool down against the front of the great arm chair, right between the master's feet.
"Now have a seat, Neron."
The guard sat, the master's knees parted wide to accommodate those vast shoulders.
Two other guards came forward, flanking the stunned girl.
"Rasha, my darling, let them hold your skirt up for you, and put your arms around their shoulders."
Each man on either side of her grabbed a handful of white cotton, and poor Rasha did as she had been told, and draped her arms over their shoulders. In unison they bent forward and scooped her up, sweeping her knees forward and lifting her in their thickly muscled arms. They had done this before, or it had all been choreographed in advance, for they moved smoothly in concert, bringing her forward toward the master and Neron.
"Put your feet here, Rasha," the master said, tapping the knobby ends of the arm rests with his two index fingers.
She was breathing fast and hard as she obeyed his command, perching her pretty pale feet on the carved mahogany, though she kept her knees pressed close together. The hem of her skirt had slipped down, covering her legs, and Neron now took hold of the garment and pushed it back up, tucking the loose gathers up at her waist so her long thighs and even her hips were exposed.