Waking the Dragon Ch. 02byBelle_in_south©
Dragon's Bane walked through the Forest, the warrior's mind shifting and leaving Roane's family behind. The wolf moved at the warrior's side, crunching the leaves noiselessly beneath the soft paws. Bane was as quiet as the animal as they increased the distance from the farm. They didn't see another person until after the midday meal of cold chicken that Gwen had tucked into the haversack. Anytime signs of a farm appeared, Bane and the wolf made a wide path away, avoiding all signs of civilization as long as they could.
They came upon a road cutting through the Forest. Bane knelt next to the magnificent gray animal, rubbing the wolf's sides and looking left and right from the edge of the trees. Bane reached into the sack and withdrew a biscuit. She fed a little to the wolf and finished the rest herself while she studied the road and the possible directions she could go. The wolf looked to the southwest so Bane emerged from the woods and began walking along the dusty path.
There was no hiding the warrior's presence as farms became more common along the side of the road. The Dragon squared strong shoulders, walking with confidence. The Forest gave way to a low valley and the warrior paused at the top of the road, studying the village in the distance. The quilt of farms became small buildings that lined the widening road. In the distance, sharp cliffs rose from the green plain. On a slight rise of land near the escarpment stood towers surrounded by a thick stone wall. The warrior assumed that the towers belonged to the palace, though Bane would not have called the building a palace. The Dragon had seen grand palaces. She had walked the halls of the homes of the mightiest rulers on the planet. The towers and squat buildings within the confines of the wall could barely be called a castle compared to places the warrior had been. For a moment, Bane felt a twinge of pity for Gwen, that the farm girl would never know anything grander than the small citadel at the head of the village.
Bane shifted her load and continued walking down the center of the dirt road. Farmers in their fields paused in their work as the stranger approached. They lifted their heads and shielded their eyes against the afternoon sun to see what neighbor was away from their work in the middle of the day. They looked up with the thought they would call the friend over for some cool water and a take a welcome break from their own labor. Instead, they watched the stranger in black walk by without even waving. Their eyes followed the warrior until Bane and the wolf disappeared from sight.
The closer Bane came to the village, the more people who were gathered close to the edge of the road, waiting for the Dragon to pass. They made no attempt to hide their curiosity. The villagers stared openly and silently as the warrior passed. Bane did not turn her head to look at the people. She knew the expressions she would see. She didn't want to see the hope in their eyes. She would not promise to help these people. She knew some of their face would hold wrath. A Dragon's presence rarely meant peace.
Once, the Dragons had been the most powerful fighting force in the known world, an elite group of well-trained soldiers. They were heroes to most, though that heroism came with a price. They were heroes because they fought injustice, and sometimes, removing injustice required blood. Eventually the world had become too big for the Dragons. They had spread themselves too thin. Without the support of other Dragons, they had taken off on fool's errands. Eventually, those who were evil, those known as Hydra's, had begun hunting the Dragons. The coven's numbers had faltered and the members scattered in an effort to preserve the teaching that was left.
The Dragons still had a reputation, though. Bane's silent parade through the village was evidence of their legendary status. A few of the villagers whispered to each other, but most just regarded the passing of the warrior. Some willed the Dragon to keep walking through town and disappear into the cliffs. Others hoped wistfully that the Dragon was there to free them from Matayla. Bane felt hundreds of pairs of eyes on her as she marched up the high street with the wolf at her side.
Eton, a captain of the Royal Guard, watched the Dragon's approach from his mount at the far end of the high street. He saw the villagers line the street to observe the warrior. He turned the mount and knocked his boots against the flanks of the large brown animal. He raced away from the village, thundering through the gate in the stone wall, and bursting into the palace. His boots pounded the floor as he raced to the Queen's chambers. He knocked on the heavy wooden doors that sealed Matayla from the world, taking a deep breath to steady his thoughts.
The door was opened by a young, naked girl. Eton walked into the receiving room without looking at the girl. Instead, his eager eyes found Matayla. She was reclining on a settee, sipping from a porcelain cup as she watched him approach. Her long robe was pushed above her waist. The naked girl knelt in front of the woman, bowed her head, and began licking the slick opening.
Eton bent on one knee, ignoring the girl. He took the Queen's hand and pressed his forehead to it. "Your Highness," he greeted.
"Captain," she returned with a bored tone.
"Mistress, there is a Dragon walking toward the palace!" he exclaimed in a rush of breath. He kept his head bowed, bracing himself for her reaction.
Matayla turned to him sharply, her fiery eyes ablaze. She sat up without a word, knocking the girl away, and walked out of her chamber onto the balcony overlooking the village. Eton followed. Matayla was staring at the road. They could see the tiny speck of the lone figure emerging from behind the last building of the village. The street closed with Matayla's subjects watching the warrior depart. "Did the people cheer?" the Queen demanded.
"No, Mistress," Eton replied. "They were silent but watchful."
Matayla stood on the tower balcony, watching the lone figure draw closer. Eton studied the Queen, waiting to read her reaction and follow her directions. The Queen's long blonde hair billowed about her in the wind that whistled off the cliffs. Her ice blue eyes were intensely focused on the Dragon. "Invite the Dragon in," Matayla finally decreed. "An enemy is best kept close."
Matayla spun on her heels and stormed back into the chamber. The girl stood nearby. Matayla stopped and slapped the girl as hard as she could. The girl cried out in surprise, her head snapping back. She stumbled but did not fall. She immediately returned to her position, her back straight and her head bowed. Matayla slapped the girl's other cheek, marking it with an identical red hand print. The girl did not cry out this time. The sound of the slap echoed in the room, but the girl's lack of reaction seemed to anger Matayla even more. She slapped the girl three times, and then dug her fingers into the girl's brown hair. Matayla used her strength to throw the girl over the settee. The girl landed face first on the velvet-covered sofa.
Before the girl could return to a standing position, Matayla jerked a coil of leather from the wall. She gripped the handle in her powerful hand and raised her arm to swing the whip. It snapped loudly and landed across the girl's backside. This time the girl did respond. She cried out as the sharp pain ripped through her. The sound satisfied the Queen so she cracked the whip again. Eton even flinched each time the Queen raised her arm to snap the leather against the girl's bottom and lower back. Red welts appeared on the girl, blood rushing to surface but not bursting.
Eton lost track of the number of times the Queen wielded the whip. The girl had stopped crying out though her body still reacted to every thrash. He was almost relieved when Matayla tossed the whip to the side. The girl lay over the low couch, her body trembling. "Get up, bitch," Matayla snarled her words as harsh as the whip. The girl hesitatingly placed her hands under her body, attempting to push into a standing position. She faltered, but caught herself and returned to her standing position before the Queen. "The Captain deserves a reward for bringing me this news so quickly."
Matayla waltzed out of the chamber without another word. Eton looked at the naked girl. He rarely gave her body a look. Matayla never allowed the girl to wear clothing. She wore a solid silver collar about her neck. She was in her early twenties, though they had all forgotten how old she actually was. Her skin was fair because she was rarely allowed to be outside. Her breasts were supple, though not overly large. Her nipples were a light brown. Her waist was slender. Eton's eyes continued traveling down the girl's small body. Between her legs was a trimmed brown mat of curls.
Eton felt his manhood pressing forward and looked down to see the fly of his uniform tented. The girl's brown eyes were also focused on the rising staff. He watched as she sank to her knees in front of him. Her fingers opened the buttons of the fly and parted the coarse material. When she spread the fabric, his rod sprang free. She gripped it around the base without enthusiasm and began licking the head. He closed his eyes as her tongue lapped up and down the tip, lifting the hood as she teased. He groaned, feeling her warm mouth close over the swollen end. Her tongue continued to roll around the head. He sighed and placed his hands in her hair, pushing her mouth farther down his straining manhood.
She continued using her tongue to swirl around him as her head bobbed quickly. He grunted, his hips thrusting forward. He forced himself in and out of her soft lips. He could feel her mouth pulling on him, milking him with the power of her tongue. He groaned, pushing even deeper into her throat. She did not gag as he forced himself into her passage. The ease he slid into the cavern sent him over the top and he began squirting thick streams into her throat.
She pulled off the second the last hot squirt was released. She wiped her mouth with the back her hand. "Will there be anything else?" she questioned emotionlessly.
He fastened his trousers and did not bother to give her an answer. The Dragon would be closer to the front gate and he wanted to be at Matayla's side when the warrior arrived. He left the girl on her knees in the Queen's chamber and went in search of the blonde goddess. He had followed Matayla out of the barren desert and helped her cement her power in this beautiful paradise. She had rewarded him with her body on a number of occasions and he hoped one day to be given the reward of ruling at her side.
He found Matayla in the great hall dressed in her regal red and black robes. She was barking orders left and right. She regarded Eton with a skeptical expression. "That was fast, Captain. You usually have much more stamina. Did you not enjoy your reward?" she demanded in a disinterested, mocking tone.
"Actually, Mistress, no, I did not. The girl has become a bit of a machine, a bored mechanism that receives neither pleasure nor pain during its task. Her mouth is talented and fast, but there is no satisfaction, only gratification," he remarked casually.
Matayla's expression changed from one of mocking to thinly veiled anger. She spoke through clenched teeth. "Then you make her feel pain until you feel pleasure." She allowed the words to settle into his brain in the silence of the great hall. The only sound was the echo of boots shuffling in the tasks that the Queen had appointed. Certain that the captain understood her words, the Queen relaxed and spoke in normal tones, "Nevertheless, I will address the girl about her behavior. You can be assured she will be less mechanical next time." Matayla turned away from the captain, looking about the great hall. "We will welcome the Dragon with open arms, Captain. We will have a feast in the warrior's honor. I want to know why the Dragon is here. Why has this warrior traveled to our region and what is the intent? When we have the answers we need, we will kill the Dragon." She crossed to the window overlooking the road approaching the palace. The Dragon was very near. The warrior's steps never faltered. The stranger's features were becoming clear. A chilling smile touched Matayla's face. "Captain, I believe I will need your help in obtaining the information that I need. Can I call upon you for that service?"
"Of course, Mistress," Eton replied, his chest expanding in an effort to impress the Queen. She did not look at him though. Instead, her eyes continued to follow the journey of the Dragon. Her jaw was set and her blue eyes iced over. Eton could feel her anger brewing. He was almost relieved when she walked away with a spinning billow of her wide red robes.
Matayla marched through the corridors to her chambers, knowing she would find the girl there. She flung open the door, the heavy wood slamming against the wall hard enough to make the girl jump. She turned to face the Queen, immediately bowing her head when she realized it was not an intruder but the Mistress of the palace. Matayla's eyes swept over the girl's pale skin. Matayla circled the girl, admiring with a smile the crisscrossed red welts on her legs, bottom, and back. She smacked the girl on the bottom and was pleased to hear a light whimper escape the girl's throat. Matayla raked her nails down the girl's spin, digging into the already sensitive flesh. The girl arched, lifting her head. Matayla leaned over to whisper in the girl's ear. "Captain Eton was unhappy with his reward, bitch."
The girl said nothing. She bowed her head. Her breathing was slightly ragged and her body tense as she awaited her punishment.
"He said you were like a machine. Broken machines need to be fixed. Are you a broken machine, bitch?" The girl still did not answer. Matayla did not expect her to. The girl knew if she tried to defend herself that Matayla's wrath would be even greater. Matayla slapped the girl's bottom again, thrilled at the tremors that raced through the girl's body. Matayla pressed herself against the girl's back, sliding her hand up the flat stomach, over the firm breasts, and then gripped tightly around the girl's throat. She squeezed the girl's neck, jerking her head back. The girl's hands came up in a panic, grabbing Matayla's hand in an effort to pull it away. A snap and a sting immediately followed her movement. Matayla had a thin crop in her hand. She used it on the girl's knuckles until she gave up fighting. Fighting would only prolong the amount of time that Matayla would deny the girl air.
"Machines are lifeless. They don't need air. They don't need food and water." Matayla drug the girl across the room, keeping the grip on the girl's windpipe. Starbursts began forming in front of the girl's eyes as her body struggled to find excess oxygen. Because her head was jerked back, her mouth was open. Something slid between her lips and lay against her tongue. It hit the back of her throat and stopped. The girl felt leather slip around her cheeks. The straps tightened until they bit into her skin. Her lips were stretched around the thick gag. Confident the gag would stay in place, Matayla suddenly released the girl with a shove. The girl fell to her hands and knees, struggling to replenish her oxygen. She could breathe through her nose but could not pull in air through her mouth. Her body hitched in its effort to survive.
"Get up, bitch," Matayla hissed. When the girl did not obey immediately, the Queen kicked the girl with the pointed toe of her boot. The girl fell over, gripping her side, her breasts still heaving with the effort it took to breath. Matayla bent and gripped the girl's hair, yanking until the girl was standing. She stood on shaky legs, holding her side. Matayla threw a black cloth into the girl's hands. "Cover your face," Matayla ordered. The girl drew a leather hood over her head. It hid most of her upper face. There were two round holes for her eyes. The leather folded around her nose. The hood was laced along the back. The girl tightened it without question. She knew from experience that the Queen would check it. There would be punishment if it wasn't tied the way Matayla expected it to be. The hood was tight around all parts of her head, but her unruly, curly brown hair spilled down her back. Even people who were in the palace every day would not have recognized the girl's face.
Matayla checked the hood and the straps securing the deep gag, then stepped back to admire her work. The girl's lips were stretched around the gag, her jaw forced to drop wide. Bruises were already forming along the girl's throat. Matayla touched the bruise with her fingertip and smirked. She tilted the girl's face so she could see beyond the eye holes and look into the brown orbs. She made certain the girl could see the chilling smile on her face.
A tap on the door interrupted anything Matayla may have said or done. "Enter," Matayla ordered without breaking the girl's gaze. The girl returned the stare, her expression emotionless. Eton, standing at the door, cleared his throat before speaking, giving Matayla an opportunity to look his direction. "Speak, Captain," she ordered without moving her head or eyes.
"The Dragon his passed the wall, Your Highness."
"Captain Eton, you said that the girl behaved like a machine. If she wants to be a machine, we will allow her to be. Tonight, she will be a machine for your men's pleasure. After the feast, you will take her to the barracks and strap her to a table. Your men have permission to do as they please." Matayla finally broke away from the girl, turning to face the captain. "Make certain your men have a barrel of ale tonight. We want them in fine spirits for this machine. Furthermore, I want a record of how many times she cries out in pleasure during the night. Testimony from your men will be sufficient for that."
"Yes, Mistress," Eton responded. He saw the girl drop her head and shoulders as Matayla walked away and for a moment, he admired the girl's strength in the face of such a cruel mistress. Without waiting for an order, the girl followed Matayla from the room. Eton fell into step beside Matayla, the girl following them down the long corridor.
"Everything is set for our visitor, Captain?" Matayla asked as they walked toward the heavy doors sealing the palace. "The feast is prepared and you informed the officers that they were to be in attendance?"
"Yes, Mistress," Eton assured, his voice echoing through the palace as they drew near the entrance. "Gryph has prepared a room."
The Queen stopped in the vestibule, looking at the young man waiting near the door. He was dressed in a soldier's uniform but it bore no insignia or markings. He wore a simple leather collar around his neck. "You will attend to all of the Dragon's needs, Gryph. Anything the warrior requests, you provide. When the candle goes out, you will report to me."
The young man nodded without speaking, acknowledging his understanding of the order. She turned to face the door, burying her hands in the sleeves of her long robe. She squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. Captain Eton checked the sword dangling at his side before placing one hand over the other at his waist in a non-defensive, non-threatening stance. The girl remained to the left and behind Matayla, her head bowed. Matayla nodded toward Gryph, giving the boy a silent command. He stepped around them and opened the heavy doors. The Dragon stood just outside.
Bane did not show surprise when the door opened. She knew it would have been impossible for word not to reach the Queen of her approach. No one had confronted her at the gate in the stone wall. She had marched up the long path leading to the palace door unmolested. However, she had not expected the Queen to be waiting in the entranceway. Bane narrowed her eyes to adjust to the dim light. Her hand rested on the knife hidden against her thigh until she was certain there was no immediate danger. She took in the young boy, the regal Queen, and the stoic guard. She saw the pale shadow behind the Queen. Certain there was no threat in the foyer, the Dragon dropped her hand from the comfortable wooden handle of the blade. "Your Majesty," Bane greeted in a firm voice. She bowed at the waist without lowering her eyes.