The fourth book in the widely acclaimed Maiden Series by Aishing Morgan
Princess follows the (mis)fortunes of Aeisla, her compatriot Iriel, and their ad hoc band of nubile, Amazonian warrior women as they are forced to flee their native Aegmund or face bizarre and public erotic punishment, Their passages worked copiously, they arrive by ship at the kingdom of Oretea. Political scheming, slavery and perverse punishments ensue in this, the fabulously inventive final part of Aishling Morgan's Maiden saga.
‘Do you think she will fight?’
‘She is a Lady, disgraced or not. She will attempt to take it in stoic pride.’
‘Do you think they will display her burst maidenhead?’
‘Without doubt. It is part of the ritual. Now concentrate on your work.’
Iriel returned to her sewing, concentrating on making the stitches as tiny as possible. Across the room from her, beyond a long table piled with cloth at one end and neatly spread with partly finished garments at the other, Mistress Loida stooped low over a pattern, cutting shears in hand. After less than a hand breadth of stitches Iriel spoke again.
‘Should we not attend the shaming, Mistress? Would it not do good for my own sense of decency?’
‘What sense of decency is that?’ Mistress Loida demanded. ‘You have none, save what I impose on you with the flat of my hand. Now work.’
Again Iriel returned to her work, trying hard to apply herself to the delicate task of following the precise curve needed in fixing together the two cuts of silk in her hands. Again she failed, a sudden surge of noise drawing her attention to the window and the street beyond. She looked up, to see the backs and heads of the crowd outside, red hair and tawny, rough cut or plaited and tied in the male and female fashions, and beyond, the high wheels of a tumbril. Unable to push her excitement under any longer, she dashed for the window, to stare out at the scene, mouth open, her head filled with scorn and pity, amusement and shock.
In the tumbril, high above the heads of even the tallest among the crowd, stood the Lady Kaissia, a girl no older than Iriel and of similar build; tall, slim, full at the chest, but blonde where Iriel’s own hair was red. She was still dressed, in a long blue gown, soiled and torn at the hem, but she was fixed to the central post of the tumbril, her hands tied tight together behind it. Her face was a mask, mouth set hard, eyes staring out, seemingly focussed on some point in the far distance.
‘Iriel!’ Mistress Loida snapped.
‘Sorry, Mistress,’ Iriel answered quickly, turning back towards her work only to discover Mistress Loida already on her feet and in the act of rolling a sleeve purposefully up one brawny arm.
‘Time for a spanking,’ the Mistress stated.
Iriel’s emotions changed sharply, to self-pity and consternation. She gave one horrified glance to the window, outside which maybe a dozen people would only have to turn to see the inevitable exposure of her bottom, and the spanking that would follow. Cursing herself for her own stubbornness, she made a dart to one side, more than happy to earn the extra slaps she would get for resisting if it allowed her to avoid the humiliation of being done in front of the window.
Mistress Loida was ready, and snatched out as Iriel skipped past her, but still was she not fast enough. Free for at least an instant, Iriel dashed for the store room. Mistress Loida followed. Her back to a pile of cloth bales, with no means of escape, Iriel waited, determined to fight despite knowing the utter futility of her struggles. She would be spanked, bare bottom, probably until her tears came, something in which Mistress Loida took great pride. The big woman appeared in the doorway, grinning as she saw the look of determination on Iriel’s face.
‘That’s right, make a fight of it,’ Mistress Loida sneered. ‘It will improve the sport.’
Iriel set her jaw and crouched low, wondering if a sudden break might let her reach the door and so the freedom of the street. It was foolish, meaning postponement of her punishment at best and more probably a full public spanking, bare in the street, with the crowds gathered to watch the Lady Kaissia’s shaming there to enjoy the spectacle. Afterwards maybe she would the consequences of having her naked tuppenny on show in the street…
Still she tried, feinting, then darting low as Mistress Loida swept a great arm in. One fat foot extended from beneath the Mistress’ skirts, perfectly timed, to trip Iriel and sending her sprawling on the floor. The next instant a heavy hand had locked in her hair. She was pulled up, squealing and attempting to kick out with one leg, but only into a kneel position, then forward, towards the door.
‘No! Not by the window!’ she wailed, immediately realising Mistress Loida’s intention. ‘People will see!’
‘All the better,’ the Mistress answered, ‘for them, for you, and for me. And besides, it might just be your time today.’
Iriel’s response was a broken sob. She fought harder still, scratching with her hands and kicking with her feet as she was dragged, crawling, into the main room and to Mistress Loida’s work bench. Seeing the crowd beyond the window she shut up abruptly, but too late, a huge, red-haired peasant turning in curiosity at her squeals, then amusement as he saw what was about to happen. Tapping a friend on the shoulder, he drew attention to the coming spanking, the second man’s delighted, lust-filled face the last thing Iriel saw before she was upended unceremoniously across her Mistress’ knee and her long dress thrown up to cover her head.
Bitter, burning consternation rose up in her throat as she was locked into place, one huge arm tight around the narrowness of her waist. Her bottom was to the window, the bulging seat of her petticoat already on show. Up it came, her drawers were showing and the agony of her emotions grew stronger still. Then her drawers had been split and it was all showing, the tight roundness of her bottom, the red furred purse of her tuppenny with the folds of inner lips pouting from between the outer, and worst, the little brown pucker of her bottom ring. A long squeal of despair broke from her lips as her most intimate secrets came on view, and Mistress Loida spoke.
‘The fuss you make, little Iriel, anybody would think you were highborn. Now hold still, and if you kick or pinch it’ll only last the longer.’
Iriel barely heard, her overwhelming shame and fear too strong to think of anything but the position she was in and what was about to happen to her bottom, and maybe her tuppenny. There were watchers too, their voices loud with mirth and crude observations from the open window behind her, and even as the spanking begun and pain exploded across her rear cheeks their every word seemed to cut into her head.
‘Now there’s a fine sight, and a ready cunt if I’m not mistaken.’
‘Ready and ripe! She how she wriggles and kicks!’
‘Plump too, her bottom as well. Ho, Mistress, will she be for the taking once you’ve done your duty?’
All the while Iriel’s bottom bounced to the slaps. Mistress Loida did not answer, either to rebuke the man or offer the use of Iriel’s mouth. It was something Iriel had occasionally been made to do when it amused the big woman to see her apprentice sucking on a man’s cock, tear-stained cheeks bulging first with effort, then with jism. A moment of relief broke through Iriel’s pain, only to die under a flood of new and hotter shame as Mistress Loida spoke.
‘Be sure of it, big fellow. Just as soon as her bottom is rosy she’ll be in the back room, ready for cock. It’s time we broke you in, my girl.’
Iriel let out a high pitched squeal of despair as her worst fears were realised. She would be put out for fucking once she’d been spanked. It was a moment she’d known was coming, and again and again she had sworn to allow one boy or another to burst her maidenhead, but always she had resisted at the last moment. None had succeeded in ravishing her, but now, with her bottom on fire and her tuppenny already growing warm, she knew there would be no real resistance. The precious little piece of skin that guarded her tuppenny would be burst around the cockhead of some hulking soldier or evil smelling peasant, whoever was biggest or strongest among the watchers. He would not be the only one. Up would go the cocks, men she had never met, bluff artisans, burly peasants smelling of dogs and dung, coarse mannered men at arms, fucking her in her virgin blood…
At the thought, and the sudden need that came with it, her fighting redoubled. It could not happen. It was impossibly shameful, and her need for exactly that more shameful still. Her screams grew louder and angrier. Her legs began to kick up, both together, a sight that drew a gust of laughter from her watchers. Her arms were flailing too, in every direction, at one moment back in a futile effort to protect her bouncing bottom, then hammering on Mistress Loida’s tree-trunk legs, then spread wide on the floor as her whole body jammed forward to the impact of a spank.
Her fingers touched something as they found the floor, something hard. Even as she realised that it was Mistress Loida’s shears she was snatching for them, and an instant later had driven the point through her tormentor’s skirts and into the heavy leg beneath. The spanking stopped, the seamstress screamed and Iriel tumbled to the floor. Immediately she was up, running for the door even as Mistress Loida’s screams of pain broke to rage, and to words.
‘Viper! She-toad! Bitch goblin! Stop her! Her maiden cunt to the man who…’
She broke off in a curse. The door had been open, a heavy set peasant blocking it, dirty smock lifted to expose a thick red cock, half-stiff. He had snatched out as Iriel ran at him, but she had feinted, ducked low and rolled past, to scramble up between the legs of another man. Mistress Loida with her curses and angry demands were left behind, the sound of her voice fading as Iriel pounded down the street, her skirts still high were they had been tucked up, her red bottom cheeks wobbling behind her to draw coarse laughter and crude jokes.
Only when she was two streets away did she slow enough to adjust her dress, covering her bottom, then smoothing out her skirt as she came to a halt in the gloomy mouth of an alley. A moment later a knot of laughing men ran past the end, jostling each other and calling out obscene suggestions for what to do with her when she was caught. She stayed still, well back in the shadows, her chest heaving, her face tingling with the same prickly heat as Mistress Loida had inflicted on her buttocks.
She was free, for the moment. Yet the escape had been pointless, an ill-judged reaction to her pain and fear. She knew that the time for her maidenhead to be broken was due, in fact overdue, and that any sensible girl would have surrendered, allowing the reaction to her spanking to ready her tuppenny and thus lessen the pain. Yet she had found it impossible to surrender gracefully, or even to hold back on her resistance just enough to ensure that she was thoroughly ravished yet could retain her pride.
In her imagination it always happened after a group of men had fought among themselves to be the first with her, something that she longed. The thought alone could be guaranteed to leave her tuppenny wet and her stomach fluttering. Yet on the few times she had risked fucking among groups of men they had been far too courteous, suggesting the use of dice or the toss of a coin to decide her fate, which she found humiliating.
Now it was going to be different, and yet more humiliating. Mistress Loida would make sure of that. Instead of being fought over, or even a typical spanking and fucking, a way in which many of her friends had lost their maidenheads, she would probably be put in the town pillory, soundly birched, dunged, and left out for public fucking. The man who burst her maidenhead would probably whoever was set to guard her. Worse, after the populace had been aroused by the Lady Kaissia’s shaming. She was sure to be thoroughly used, and not necessarily just up her tuppenny.
She left the shelter of the alley, her head hung, full of trepidation and self-pity, knowing that the only sensible course was to return to the shop and try to make amends, yet quite unable to do so. Mistress Loida had only done what was expected of her, keeping discipline and ensuring normal behaviour on the part of her apprentice, yet Iriel found it impossible to feel remorse for her response, or to accept that the seamstresses’ actions had really been for her own good. So rather than turn back the way she had come she followed the narrow street to its destination, the dockside.
It was a broad space, paved with flagstones of grey granite between the edge of the quay and the tall grey storehouses and shops that faced the sea. There were stalls scattered about, each with its trade; food or drink, making nets or pots, painting or tarring, peg turners or rope sellers. There was also the great wooden scaffold on which the Lady Kaissia was to be shamed, a platform raised over a man height above the flags and large enough to accommodate a dozen.
Now feeling guilty for her earlier delight at the prospect of the young highborn woman’s ordeal, Iriel turned away, telling herself she would not watch, but buy a plate of fried fish and take it to the tumble of rocks beyond the sea-wall. There she would be safe, alone, able to sit and think in the pale sunshine, to sulk, maybe even to do something about the relentless tingling in her tuppenny.
Pushing through the crowds, she began to walk along the quay, trying hard not to look back. A dozen ships were in, eight low black hulled craft both fishing vessels and raiders, a larger vessel of the same sleek design and three traders, each flying the black and gold pennons indicative of the High-Prince’s guarantee of safe passage. Two of the traders were Dwarven, broad, heavy vessels bound with iron and with no obvious means of motive power. The third was strange, a big carrack, brilliantly painted in emerald green and gold, the sterncastle high and set with numerous diamond-paned windows, her name, the “Gull of Cintes” painted in tall curling script. From one of the windows a small man peered out, his skin yellow-brown, an elaborate beard extending stiffly from his chin. He was watching the scaffold.
His face was set in a particularly horrid blend of lust and amusement, without the slightest sympathy. Behind her, in the direction of his gaze, Iriel could hear the slaps of flesh on flesh and the cries of pain above the murmur of the crowd and the everyday sounds of the harbour. Kaissia was being given her initial spanking. As Iriel knew, Kaissia would have been stripped naked, a hideous shame for a highborn lady, and the spanking would be on the bare bottom and by hand, an indignity usually only given to lowborn girls and shameful then.
Suddenly it was impossible not to look. Iriel turned, to find the scaffold in plain view, not two hundred paces away across the crowd. Kaissia was there, stark naked, her beautiful clothes scattered on the wooden boards of the scaffold, held tight down across the knee of a big, red-haired woman, just as Iriel had been held across Mistress Loida’s knee. Only it was worse, far worse. Kaissia’s naked white body stood out like a flame, long legs waving to the smacks, arms tied hard behind her back. Her golden hair was tossing high, her red bottom cheeks bouncing, her well furred tuppenny blatantly exposed, the little pink star of her bottom ring too, all of it in full view of perhaps half the population of Aegerion.
Iriel could only stare, mesmerised by the sight of a highborn girl naked and punished. Her sense of pity grew stronger, realising that her own emotions under punishment would be weak compared to what Kaissia was suffering, and that even what was to be done to her when she went back was nothing to the ordeal about to be inflicted on the young highborn woman. The naked spanking was just the start.
Others stood in the area cleared by High-Prince Nerangarian’s guards, those artisans whose trades were needed to complete Kaissia’s shaming. Nearest the scaffold was a burly woman Iriel knew only by site, her wands, inks and the stained skin of her brawny forearms and powerful hands revealing her as the tattooist who would cover Kaissia’s breasts in patterns to ensure that the shaming was permanent.
A little to one side was the town dung-gatherer, Fo, a huge, hideously ugly man with both hair and skin brown as if stained by the substances of his trade. A girl stood beside him, his daughter Yi, also dressed in little more than rags and with the same deep brown hair, yet lithe and pretty despite the streaks and smears on her flesh. Both had the marks of run sweat on their dirty skin, the result of having trundled a huge and steaming barrel of mixed dungs from their compound at the edge of the city.
Beyond Fo were two men Iriel did not know, but who had the look of the country about their clothes. They were manhandling a covered cage which shook to the motion of something within. As an angered bellow reached her, Iriel realised that what was in the cage was some great man-beast and an instant later the implications of its presence. Kaissia, once stripped, spanked, tattooed and smeared with dung, would be put in to be ravished by whatever man-beast they had caught. Still the spanking continued, slap after merciless slap delivered to Kaissia’s writhing buttocks.
Iriel’s feelings had grown abruptly sharper, deep sympathy, yet once more a touch of anticipation, which she struggled to hold down. It did not stop her watching, her eyes riveted to the scene even as her stomach twitched in response to the thoughts in her head. It was just, she knew, correct, a fair and usual punishment for Kaissia’s crime, which was to have given herself to a bull-nymph, not once, but several times. Only the fucking was not normal, yet she knew that the High-Prince was generally considered merciful, weak even, in not adding further details to Kaissia’s ordeal.