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The Inquisitor (chapter 11 A)
Morning found her alone again, another grand breakfast spread on the sideboard. Her stomach grumbled, and she soon appeased it with fruits and fine food. Satisfied, she returned to her bed to await her morning chimes. Her hand absently played among her dark hairs below as she waited.
The minutes ticked by, and soon her lojns began to yearn for satisfaction. Still she waited. She knew the Inquisitor would not be pleased if she was disobedient. And yet, no chimes sounded. An hour slipped by, and then two, and still she waited.
By now she was aflame with desire, but no reprieve arrived. At last, the great clock in the courtyard tolled the hour, and the princess decided to begin, if only to quell her own yearning. Suddenly her chamber door swung wide, and her maid glided in.
Beautiful as ever, she wore another soft green gown, this one sporting lively designs stitched in golden thread. Her face however, was very serious, and her eyes betrayed her anxiety. She swooped to the great wardrobe, quickly selecting a gown for the princess.
"Come, my lady," she spoke softly. "You must dress quickly. You have been summoned by the Queen."
A thousand terrors raced through the mind of the princess. At last her time had come. Surely the Queen would send her straightaway to the executioner's block. She had seen her with the men, and the Queen knew it!
She allowed the maid to dress her, resigned to her fate. Her mind concocted new torments and tortures. At last she straightened, as she had before the eyes of the court. She would meet her doom head on, and show no fear. The maid pulled the princess's dark hair back, and bound it with thick golden thread. At last, she pulled the princess close, and kissed her softly.
"No, my lady." she soothed. "Do not cry. I shall do all in my power to protect you from her. Perhaps she has other plans for you yet. She still has the matter of the newcomers to contend with, and it is my hope she will not be distracted from it by you... or I."
At last, they left her chambers, and made their way up the winding stair. The maid led her out into the courtyard. There they found the Queen seated on a low bench, surrounded by many fragrant blossoms. They bowed low as they approached.
"Good morrow, my dears." spoke the Queen, her voice nearly a song. She looked the princess up and down, her eyes hungry, but her face sweet and serene. "Please come close."
The maid led the princess to the feet of the Queen, before again bowing her head, averting her eyes.
"Ah, my dear Chrysanthemum." As she spoke this last, her words drew out into a soft hiss. She brought her close, and breathed in deeply, inhaling the soft perfume of the maid.
"You look lovely today. Your gown is exquisite."
The maid allowed herself to be drawn next to the Queen, slowly taking a seat next to her on the bench. The Queens fingers played in the maid's hair, and the Queen whispered sweet nothings into her ear. All the while, the Queen kept a close eye to the princess.
She smiled as the princess's thoughts betrayed her jealousy, Though the Queen showered compliments on the both of them, the princess got the distinct impression that the Queen did not care for her maid in the least.
In a flash, the Queen forgot her plaything, and stood. Here blonde hair showered down over her bare back and shoulders. Her gown was soft purple. The bodice cut low across the bust, so much so, the princess could spy a bit of nipple if she tried hard enough. To her own amazement, she found her eyes could not help themselves.
It curved to a low 'V' between her beautiful round breasts, before sweeping up over her shoulders, only to plunge low, exposing her smooth back. Under her bosom rose delicate boning, supporting the weight in an intricate flower design. From under the boning slipped soft silky folds of a long flowing skirt, its form hugging the Queen's shape. Though the princess feared her, her eyes could not help but drink in the Queen's beauty.
The Queen caught her eyes and smiled, knowing the princess's thoughts. Looking back towards the maid, she said, "You may leave us, my dear. We shall walk a while. Fret not, my love," said the Queen, seeing the maid's concern, "I shall send her once again to you before the moon rises."
Take the princess by the hand, the Queen glided through the courtyard, leaving the maid to gaze after them in worry. As they walked, the Queen spoke, but talked of nothing. Her sweet voice named flowers and plants as they passed.
They left the courtyard, passing through passages the princess did not know. They ascended several cases of stairs, until the princess found herself on the battlement walk, looking far out over the countryside, This was the first she had seen of the outside world in some time, and her heart leapt at the sight of it.
To the south, far off in the distance, the princess could just make out the dim purple of the great forest, where her home lay. It seemed to the princess a lifetime since she had walked in it's green. Somehow, the princess felt as though that life had belonged to another person altogether. How long since she had danced on Midsummer's eve, or heard the soft rustle of leaves?
To the north lay great snow-capped mountains. Beneath them lay lush valleys, filled with fruit and game, sweeping out into great rolling plains. To the east lay a vast, green sea, two mighty rivers running down to caress it with fingertips in a large delta. The princess could not see to the west, the great golden tower obstructing her view.
The Queen was silent as they walked, only gazing now and then at the princess. She allowed the princess to drink in the commanding view in quiet. At last she spoke.
"I come to this walk when I am troubled. From here, I can look out over my realm, and know all of its dealings, I have another walkway, much higher..." She gestured toward a high catwalk encircling the tip of the golden tower.
"From there, I can see much further. If I so choose."
These last words were much lower and more menacing. The princess remembered Tarquinne's words in the library. Her mind flashed on an image of the Queen, standing tall and bright on her dizzying perch against a darkened sky; great bolts of lightning slicing the air around her. But then it was gone.
They walked slowly, at last reaching an arched tunnel, leading through the midsection of the tower to a battlement beyond. Inside the passage, the princess noted more of the strange markings and gold-ribboned designs; like those that adorned the tower without.
As they passed through, the Queen explained.
"On certain days of the year, the setting of the sun in the west casts a single beam through this passage, striking upon..." her voice trailed off.
The Queen became very silent, and the princess felt her steps quicken until they were clear of the passage and out onto the next battlement.
From this vantage, the princess could see lush rolling hills stretching off to the west, to meet high mountains, far distant. The morning sun shone warm on their backs as they walked. Its full light lay across a small encampment in the distance. There were many tents; their flags and banners curling in the morning breeze. Just as Tarquinne had said, it was a large band, but clearly not an army.
Coming to a stop along the outer wall the Queen gazed out at the small encampment, the princess beside her. "Are those...?" she began.
"The outlanders, yes." finished the Queen. "They are indeed a puzzlement. They are armed and horsed, but not arrayed for battle. They breach not our borders, but have sent no emissaries. They merely wait there, camped within my sight. My scouts have spied the land all around, and have found no greater force lying in wait. But still, they have sent no messengers,"
It was this last that seemed to vex the Queen most. As the princess stood with the Queen, she noticed the Queen's knuckles had turned nearly white as she gripped the battlement wall.
"I've a mind to destroy them where they sleep." hissed the Queen, low, almost in whisper.
The princess heard a small gasp escape her lips in spite of herself. She knew in her heart the Queen had heard it.
"Ah, my child." soothed the Queen. "Fret not for them. We have nothing to fear from such a small band. I am a benevolent queen, and will wait to hear their cause. It would be unwise to act rashly."
"But make no mistake, I shall know their purpose."
The Queen continued to gaze out over the battlements, away towards the small encampment far off in the distance. The princess heard a low roll of thunder, and the air seemed to grow colder.
All at once the Queen turned to face the princess, her eyes dark and hard.
"I know you beheld me last night. I felt your eyes upon me, as I tasted those men." she hissed, "Tell me, did it excite you? Frighten you?"
"I suppose I could have asked you then..." the Queen's voice trailed off for a moment, "but I was... vexed."
"It was better I adjourn for a time, so I could better decide what to do with you. I tell you now, I enjoyed your eyes upon me... it increased my lust to know you beheld me tasting them."
As the Queen spoke, she drew quite close to the princess, so that her bodice pressed hard against her. As these last words brushed the princess's ear, the Queen laid soft kissed upon her cheeks and face.
Though she tried hard to resist, the princess found her heart beating faster, and discovered she had become terribly aroused. As the moment stretched out, her excitement grew to near the point of swooning. The very air round them seemed to hum and vibrate.
"Ah..." smiled the Queen. "It did excite you, I see. That pleases me greatly."
And with that, the Queen softened, and the princess felt the spell subside. The Queen took the princess by the hand, and led her to a low bench against the rear battlement, where they reclined together. The Queen enfolded the princess into her arms, and pulled her close against her.
Though the princess had been told to fear this Queen, she became aware of a great desire within herself to know her... even to please her. She allowed herself to lay soft against the Queen, the milky skin of her bust cool against her cheek.
"I am pleased you beheld me..." continued the Queen after a time. "It has been ages since a worthy daughter has shown herself."
"A daughter, my Queen?" asked the princess.
"Yes, my love..." she cooed, lightly brushing the white gem hung round the neck of the princess. "I am certain you have seen other ladies of the court wearing a 'lace similar to yours?"
"Y-yes, my Queen." The princess hesitated, not knowing whether the presence of the Inquisitor's stone would once again anger the Queen. As all remained serene, she continued. "But all other's I have seen are gems of a beautiful deep red."
The Queen made a soft sigh and said, "Yes, dear one. They are each my daughter, or perhaps student, or learner, is a more fitting word. Or property. They each belong to me."
"The stone they bear shows all who meet them, that they are mine." With this last, the Queen flashed a dazzling but somewhat menacing smile. The Queen shifted so she could look directly into the eyes of the princess.
"Each have I tried to teach, and love. All of them, however, have proven unworthy."
"They hound me at every turn now, desperate for my touches, but they shall have none! Only at the time of the High Moon, shall I let them taste of me now. They scr*pe and bow, and all the while, I feel their desire for me... but I deny them all now, though I grow hungrier by the day...."
With these words, the Queen stopped abruptly, again as if she'd spoken too much. They remained quiet for a time, the princess still resting against the bosom of the Queen, gazing up toward the Queen. The Queen however, looked far off.
At last, the princess broke the silence. "Not one of your ladies in waiting have pleased you, my Queen?" she asked softly.
"Not in an age, my dear." From far away sounded the Queen's voice. But she turned again to face the princess, gently smiling.
"Oh, they have all loved me greatly, and I have enjoyed each of their touches; their tastes. But only one has..."
"...And now she only vexes me greatly." With his, her voice took on an edge, but she did not grow angry.
"There was once one who loved me above all, and who I shared the strongest bond. She alone knew my deepest desires, and could unlock my passions with only mere touches. But now, she gives not her heart to me.... only her body... leaving me breathless; but not sated. Her sweet milk will not flow for me."
The air crackled for a moment, but was gone just as quickly. The Queen once more touched the white stone hung at the princess's neck.
"Know this, my dear..." she said softly. "Though my judge may have claimed you, and bound you with his trinket, know that I can take you if I choose."
"His peasant magick cannot withstand against my own. Should I desire, I could claim you... all in this realm belong to me! But..." she softened, "I shall leave you in his care."
"But you shall also serve me, me dear. And should you vex me, as your lovely maid has done..." The Queen said no more, only let the words hang there like a blade.
"So, my love, I shall call upon you when I desire, and you Will please me!"
"Dream not that you can deny me," she hissed, very close to her ear. "Know this. My other daughters, my ladies in waiting; they shall know you have become my chosen. Though your stone be not of crimson, they shall know it still."
"You should be wary of them. Though they shall not harm you, they shall know my taste is upon you, and they will be jealous and hungry for it. Their touches may be more that you can withstand. You.... should be wary of them."
End of Story