I was carried back to the room of the women, every part of my body screaming in agony. I had been repeatedly raped, both by the immense shaft of the Duc and by a variety of ingeniously wicked devices he kept for that purpose. I had been entered through every orifice in my body. He had used a fiendish collection of whips, thongs, metal probes and blades, chains, wires and his own hands to inflict pain on me. On every part of me. The drug had long worn off and I was beyond screaming. I had screamed myself hoarse. I lay in the arms of the Negro guards and I saw the look of sheer terror on the faces of the other girls when the door to the seraglio was flung open and my naked, defiled body was thrown inside. Mercifully I fainted into a deep and complete unconsciousness as my battered body hit the hard surface of the floor and my hurts wracked my nerves with another burst of shrieking torment.
I woke from my faint mere moments later. My body was in far too much pain for me to escape for any length of time. I found that Cora had dragged me to my bed and had laid me out on it, covered with a blanket. The first thing I saw was her face only centimetres from my eyes and with such a look of worry on it that I was moved to compassion, despite my own agonies. I knew that I had to escape. Another session with Le Duc would kill me, of that there was no doubt. I reached out a hand and touched her. "Cora, you must help me escape."
She nodded. "I have a plan and we must do it now."
"But Barbarann, surely you are too weak. Wait until you recover your strength."
"No, Cora, it must be now! Let me explain." Cora listened, nodding as I outlined what I hoped would free me from the Chateau.
Cora crossed to the door of the women's chamber and knocked on the ornately panelled timber. The other girls, alerted to what was to happen, went about their business, casting occasional glances towards her.
The door opened and the two Negro guards looked in.
"What is it, woman?"
Cora gestured to where I lay on my bed wrapped in the blanket.
"Your master has killed the wench. Cruel creature that he is."
"Unh! Is this true?"
"Look for yourselves."
They crossed to where my shrouded body lay. Hardly respecters of the dead, they cast aside the blanket, revealing my nude body, lying limp, eyes closed, mouth agape, as I played dead for them. My masquerade was helped by the fact that I was battered and wrecked-looking after my sexual experiences with Le Duc. I had learned to slow my body responses to almost nothing during my years of training as a child. One of the guards felt for pulses and checked for breathing, but so successfully had I slowed them, that in his impatience he found none.
"It's true. He has indeed killed her. He will be furious for he was greatly looking forward to having her again."
"Shall we tell him?" asked the second guard.
"No! he would be violently displeased and might well take it out on you and me. Let us get rid of her body and then we will deny knowledge of her." I could hear him breathing heavily. "Woman," he shouted at Cora, "no word of this is to reach Le Duc."
"As you wish."
I felt his hands grip my shoulders and jerk me upright. I flopped as though truly dead. His hands slid under my armpits and at the same time his companion grasped my ankles. They hefted me off the bed.
I thought to myself, "Be dead, Barbarann." I lay in a deathlike trance as I had been taught to do when still a child. They carried me from the room. My arms dangled limply, my hands flopped lifelessly and my body drooped as inert as any true corpse would have been. I felt the cold air as I was taken along the corridor. I hoped my body wouldn't goosepimple and betray me and deepened my trance so that physically I appeared to be really deceased. My eyes stayed closed, no flicker of my eyelids gave any hint that I was not as dead as I wished to be thought. My mouth gaped open and my hair trailed from my head which I allowed to bounce to and fro, moved only by gravity and the motion of those carrying me alone. They bore my body down stairs and into the basements of the Chateau and such was the icy cold in those stone chambers that I was soon as cold as a corpse should be. We stopped and my heels were dropped. I let them hit the stone floor hard. It hurt but it was, I hoped, convincing. I heard a door being prized open, scraping from long disuse. The guard holding me under my armpits dragged me through an opening and I stayed as limp as limp can be. My ass and the backs of my thighs and calves scraped across a stone sill but I showed no glimmer of animation despite the discomfort. My ankles were gripped again. We were outside. That I knew from the freezing temperature. The cold pooled in my umbilicus and crept uninvited into my pussy, which soon felt numb and dead. Ah well, I remembered thinking, it might as well be dead for so am I. And I'll be really dead and staying that way if I don't pull this off. They carried me several hundred metres, or so it seemed to me, still in a self induced trance and barely conscious as I was, and then I was thrown into a ditch, flopping and rolling as my body would have were I truly dead, until I came to rest in a few centimetres of freezing water. I lay as I had landed, face down, arms outflung, legs twisted. One of them kicked me in the ass and they muttered together and then I heard them going.
I lay in the wet ditch.
Naked, near frozen solid and "dead."
I don't know how long I lay there unmoving.
Finally I judged it to be safe to resurrect and I cracked one eyelid. All I could see was muddy water at very close range. I swivelled my eyeball and saw nothing but the night. I mustered my courage and, drawing my arms in, pushed myself up. No sound greeted this remarkable return from the dead and I peered around. There was nothing in sight. Just empty fields and the Chateau in the distance and darkness. Out of my trance-like state, I suddenly realised I was wet and very cold. I was shivering uncontrollably and what I could see of myself that wasn't coated in muddy filth was blue. I rose to a crouching position and looked around. I was alone. I scraped at the muddy gunk that covered my body and tried to scratch it out of my matted pubic hair. All I succeeded in was smearing it about. I stood and ran my hands, palms flat, down my body and made even more mess. I scrambled out of the ditch, slipped and landed on my front and re-coated my pussy and tits in a mud pack. I scrabbled up the slippery slope and ran for some trees. Once in this cover I stopped and tearing some leaves off used them to wipe myself. Not very successful.
Covered in filth and otherwise naked, I set off through the trees. So preoccupied with my misery was I that I almost missed it. Alerted by some sixth sense I stopped and listened. A horse. Shod. Mounted. Moving carefully through the forest. I shrank behind a big oak and waited. I saw the muffled rider coming straight at me. I pressed my body into the deepest shade. The moonlight was quite bright enough that I could see the horseman.
I shuddered in relief and started shivering again. As he passed I hissed, "Knobarius!"
He reined in and turned in the saddle peering into the shadows. "Barbarann! Is it you." Then he laughed and said, "Oh Barbarann, rarely have you looked so beautiful. My lady, the naked sprite of the mud hole." He laughed again and I started weeping and shivering and he quickly dismounted and wrapped his cloak around me.
"My god you're a mess...........and you stink!"
I howled unchecked and he hugged me and lifted me onto the horse.
He rode off with me slumped against him, snivelling, bawling and clattering my teeth.
Knobarius took me back to the inn.
As we rode along I had blubbered out my story in fits and starts and he had grown increasingly quieter and quieter as I related my tale of wickedness, debauchery and torture. We agreed that I would be in little danger at the inn for a night as the Chateau would not become generally aware of my escape for some time yet.
When we arrived he left the horse with a stable boy for rubbing down and stabling and he carried me upstairs to the room from which I had been abducted. A chambermaid was summoned to fill a bath tub with hot water and when that was done, he unwrapped me and, giving the maid his filthy cloak with instructions for it to be cleaned, he deposited me in the water and started cleaning the muck and filth of my travails from me. I tried to help, but after all that I had been through, I was in a semi- stupour and mostly just lay back while Knobarius's hands washed away dirt and grime. I came too long enough to scrub the dirt from my pubics and felt enormously relieved when I saw them returned to their normal silkiness and my pussy, pink, freshly washed and glowing beneath them.
Finally I had been washed clean and I staggered upright and Knobarius wrapped me in a huge towel and rubbed me dry. The chambermaid came and removed the bath and, pink and moist, I stood by the bed while Knobarius carefully went over my body, noting the welts, abrasions, cuts and scars of my encounter with Le Duc. He clucked a lot and I smiled with pleasure at his concern, but I was so sleepy that I kept slumping against him. Taking pity on me, he helped me, quite naked, into the bed and between the blankets. Warm and safe, I drew myself into a ball and was gone by the time my head reached horizontal.
I slept for hours.
Deep, dreamless sleep. The sleep of one who is beyond pain. I would have slept through another day, but just when I was surfacing into that pre-waking dozing state of thorough relaxation, I felt Knobarius shaking me awake.
I came too grudgingly.
"Food" he said.
I could smell the aroma of thick, rich country cooking and, despite myself, my tummy rumbled and emitted embarrassing noises.
I sat up and devoured a plate of broth, a rich stew floating in thick gravy, and several slices of hot, doughy bread. Naked throughout the meal I munched on. Knobarius sat on the side of the bed partaking of food and after a while he cleared his throat and muttered, "Have you any idea, Barbarann, how hard it is to digest this food, excellent as it may be, while I am forced to watch your titties dancing in front of my eyes."
"Tough luck," I said through a mouth stuffed with bread.
When we were finished and the maid had removed the dishes with a loud sniff as she looked at my nudity, I lay back, replete and feeling somewhat human once more. Knobarius came over and slowly circled my nipples with his finger while talking to me.
"Our ship leaves in three days."
"That leaves us time."
"To return to the Chateau and right some wrongs. To secure the release of you fellow maidens and time for revenge."
"Oh Knobarius, can we?"
"I don't see why not."
"Yay!" I punched the air.
Dressed once more in my green velvet gown and stiff and sore in every joint, I walked with considerable difficulty to the main door of the Chateau. Between my legs was so chafed and sore that I could avoid waddling only with difficulty.
I rang the bell.
A man opened the door.
"I am the Lady Anne of Germanius," I announced, "to see Le Duc."
"Lady Anne!" He bowed, "No-one told us of your visit."
He showed me into a hall and went off. I darted back to the door and let Knobarius in. He secreted himself behind the furniture and I stood there.
"This way Mam'selle." The man reappeared. I came over to him.
"Help me with this brooch." I indicated a silver brooch floating in the lace near my bosom. As the man came forward I pulled the brooch down, taking the bustline of my dress with it until my breast was fully revealed with just a hint of dark brown areola visible. The man came forward, eyes fixed on the task as I had hoped he would. Knobarius hit him hard and he dropped. Knobarius quickly stripped him and within moments was dressed in his clothes. With him leading and me following, we walked down the corridor where the other had gone. At a door at the end of the corridor the two Negro guards appeared. I turned my head and buried my face in my hanky.
"The Lady Anne of Germanius." Knobarius announced.
The guards looked closely at me and I busied myself with my hanky. One of them pushed a door open and ushered us into a large well appointed salon. The Duc was there.
"My Lady, I don't believe we have met." He made a leg at me and taking my proffered hand kissed it.
"Oh I believe you are mistaken, Milord. I feel sure you remember me."
He looked puzzled and then recognition dawned.
"Yes, me, you bastard."
My dirk appeared from the folds of my dress and I plunged it into his waistcoat.
"Aaaargghhh!" he cried, and doubled over. I jerked the dirk free and as his chin came down I drove it deep into his soft neck and upward.
"Errrrggghhhhh............" He made a dreadful noise and fell to his knees. I plunged the dirk into his unprotected back and he fell face down.
The door opened and the guards appeared. They saw their fallen master and rushed forward. Knobarius split one Negro’s head with a downward slash of his sword. The second guard sprang around to face Knobarius, leaving his back to me and, jumping on tip toe, I slashed open his jugular. It was over in seconds.
With Le Duc and his two guards dead, resistance collapsed in the Chateau and we made our way to the women's chamber where I fell into the arms of Cora.
Le Duc's staff had lived more in fear of their master than in respect and we freed all of the women without any trouble from anyone of the servants. Staggered and confused by the rapidly changing events, the girls took time to get organised and collect together their possessions and ready themselves to leave. I spent some of the time with Cora, without whose help I would, I felt certain, have been dead by now. I hugged her and we kissed and she told me of her history, the good home she had come from and the loving family to whom she would return. She extended an invitation for me to join her there. I was touched and quite moved by this evidence of our friendship, which had blossomed in adversity, and had grown incredibly strong in a brief period. I was of necessity, somewhat vague as to my own history, but as we embraced and hugged one last time, she kissed my lips and whispered, "Barbarann, I know of you and I know of your reputation and I now know that a lot of it is ill deserved and I shall welcome you as my sister at any time."
Tears squeezed from my eyes and I stifled a sob and held her tighter and kissed her more fervently and muttered, "Thank you, Cora."
The wind drove the waves into a turmoil of peaks and troughs and the 'Fleur de Avalon' pitched and tossed as the crew lowered the small boat in which Knobarius and I, together with our meagre possessions, sat. We were soaked within minutes and I marvelled at the skills of the hardy Frenchmen who steered the small craft through the breakers to land us safely on the small beach below.
Home of the Beanna.
The fortress castle loomed black and sinister above the cliffs, overshadowing the beach on which we stood. The pale blue light of the moon cast the whole scene in a malevolent light and only small pinpricks of yellow revealed the existence of occupants in the dark and forbidding building. We set off, scrambling and stumbling up the winding, narrow and steep path which wound amongst the tussocks of grass in the sandy dunes of the beach front. I turned and saw the 'Fleur de Avalon' standing out to sea and watched with a small knot in my tummy as our last connection with the wider world sailed away.
Finally we stood in the doorway of the castle while the sounds of the bell, rung by Knobarius, died away inside. I was wearing a simple long shift of green velvet with a hip hugging belt and long sleeves. Knobarius looked like the gentleman adventurer he was.
The door cracked open and dim light spilled out.
A warrior woman dressed in leather breast plate and short leather skirt, sandals and shin guards and armed with a stabbing sword and knife, looked out at us.
"Travellers. We ask shelter within the fortress of Cwymru."
She looked at us and after a long time said, "Come."
She led us into dim corridors lit by wall-mounted candelabra and through to a room which proved to be commodious enough and equipped with two beds. Here she left us and, without further comment, left. I tossed my stuff on one bed and said to Knobarius, "Well?"
"We'll wait a while and then see what we can find."
"Hmmmnnnn.....hope its not something we don't want to see."
I lay out on the bed and closed my eyes.
We waited two full hours and then rising, tried the door. It opened reluctantly and we eased out into the passageway. I led Knobarius away from the direction in which we had come and we came upon a set of stairs leading downwards. A glow of light illuminated the floor at the foot of the stairs. We crept down the staircase, pressing against the wall. At the bottom we found ourselves in another passage. This one was dusty and cobwebs clung to the upper corners between walls and ceiling. We passed along this long, tunnel like way until we saw light spilling from an open door. I signalled to Knobarius to hold back while I crept ever closer and eased myself up to the door and peered around the edge of the solid timber frame. Suddenly it jerked open and light flooded out, temporarily blinding me, and a woman's voice said, "Come in. Come in, Barbarann."
I stumbled inside and the same voice said, "You also, Knobarius."
I was in a large chamber lined with stone walls and a low stone barrel vaulted ceiling. In the centre of the room stood a long table and arraigned around it where the witches of Cwymru, or so I presumed. Some thirty women of all ages from their teens until late middle age were there represented. All were dark haired, their long, straight hair reaching below their waists. Their skin was dead white and without exception all were both comely and beautiful to look at. One, she was say thirty years of age, rose and beckoned me forward. I stepped closer, Knobarius at my shoulder. All of the women were naked from the waist up and their single garment was a filmy long skirt which enclosed but did not conceal their legs and hips, nor did it hide their clearly apparent sex.
"Barbarann," said the woman who had first addressed me, "you have come for the secret of the skull of The Dagda. We have expected you. And you may have it but first, from you we wish something. Are you prepared to accept our conditions?"
"What may I ask are they?"
"Only that you do as I ask."
"No buts. Do you accept or not. To not accept is to die at the hands of my warriors."
"Then your task begins now."