An Understandable Mistake
by Rachel Parsons
Table of Contents|
Part 1 appears
in this issue.
|part 2 of 4|
We were led to our rooms by a slave. She and I could have been sisters. She was almost my six feet, had my upturned nipples, and an upturned nose. She had hair as black as mine. But unlike me, she wasn’t shaven or shorn. Her hair wasn’t short, but went down to her buttocks; she had black tuffs dangling from her armpits, a jungle around her womanhood, and her legs almost looked furry. She also was allowed a girdle that carried with it various keys.
“You two make a pair,” Rosalyn observed, as we watched her take a key from the band that covered her midriff, but only from navel to groin, and unlatched the iron door to our room.
“Thank you, girl,” I said. She showed no emotion at this courtesy. See if I’m so courteous next time, I thought.
I was bone weary, beyond bone weary, as Rosalyn, Zusanna and I entered the rooms that Branwen had provided for us. In the middle of the marble box that was to be our home while in New Prydain was the most wonderful sight in the world: a bed. It had an adorable silk canopy, dyed red, with fluffy ruffles, and was facing the door. It had been specially prepared for me, as it lacked blankets or a top sheet. I was drawn to it as if it was a lodestone and I was made of metal.
But alas, I could not plop down on it.
Sighing, I went to the eitann dresser by the window and plopped down on it, instead. “Uhhhhh. Oh goddesses, I’m tired.”
“Well, then, simply cancel the audience, Rhiannon. I don’t see why you have to meet with a commoner any way.” Rosalyn began giving me a shoulder and back rub. I went limp and began moaning. “You sound like a cat purring, Rhiannon.”
She kneaded my spinal chord. My moans grew louder. My knees knocked.
I nearly wet the chair; my muscles, including the ones controlling my bladder, all had given out. It took me ten minutes before I answered her question.
“The commoner is Master Reginald Blackwaithe. He is the head of their Tribunal.”
“And I’m supposed to be impressed why?” Rosalyn stopped her massage, and peered down at me, her hair crowning her face like a hedge had besieged her. She blew me a kiss.
“Because in New Prydain, the real power rests with him. Branwen is just a figurehead.”
“All the more reason for you to get your sleep. See him on the morrow, when you are fresh.”
“No. I’m not inclined to put it off. Branwen makes him seem so dreary, that if I postpone the meeting, I may never see him. Avoidance will become a habit.”
Branwen had written me many a letter complaining about Blackwaithe, and wondering why his counterpart, the leader of what she called the loyal opposition, couldn’t always be the head of the Tribunal. She made Master Cornell sound like he was a mythical god of a man. I suspected infatuation. It made me curious about the two men.
“Well, then, why don’t you give Ryune leave to show his wares to you? You might as well be nicely perfumed for the occasion.”
“I could learn to hate you, Rosalyn. I really could.” I yawned my comment, but I knew Rosalyn could comprehend it, because she pinched me. Right on my left inner thigh.
Master Blackwaithe was a good six inches shorter than me, had a receding dark brown hairline and would have looked fat, except he clearly was not. He had a calf-length tunic, and britches underneath, all made of Sidon — so much for being common. He sported a cravat, and his tunic had sleeves. He had on leather sandals. His nose was aquiline; fit his face and his triangular cheeks well. Younger he might have been attractive, had his head not resembled a tomato that was precariously perched on his neck and shoulders.
I could not tell you exactly what it was about him, but I felt almost mummified in his presence. Branwen’s epistle had underscored his strict sense of morality, his belief in the man-god, and his belief that women were temptresses that were best avoided. It gave me an idea of how to make the audience short, should he prove to be as much of a bore as Branwen said.
We met in an audience chamber that Branwen had provided for me. It had the inevitable marble, but leather chairs and a bar that sported real coffee, one of New Prydain’s hallmarks. The beverage was much prized by the offworlders and by me too. A slave, a top heavy girl who I feared might topple over frontward, served the coffee in fine porcelain cups and then stood at attention by the bar. Like the other slaves, she had hairy arms, legs, and so forth.
Master Braithwaite seemed nonchalant around the slave, but when he saw me, little beads of moisture rolled around his ears. He had risen when I entered the room, and waited until I gave him leave to be seated. We sat in companionable silence sipping the coffee. I would, between sips, smell the aroma and both my nasal passages and my taste buds were very, very happy.
Finally, I asked, “Well, sirrah, what business do you have with me?”
“Oh, your majesty...” His voice was deafening.
“Call me Rhiannon.”
His mouth suddenly became a sphincter. “I’d rather not. Perhaps I can call you the Lady Oset.”
“The Lady Oset is my mother. Please, I am Rhiannon.”
“Then I suppose I am Reginald. This seems hardly seemly.” He started squirming, as if he were a little boy forced to dress up for the occasion.
I thought I got it. I’m never sure of my reading of men, but I thought I got it. He was feeling guilty about meeting with a naked noblewoman, (as opposed to naked slaves which he seemed utterly indifferent towards) and he hoped to cloak her with the invisible robes of titles and ultra high manners. I felt like scratching myself vulgarly in his presence.
“Seemly or not, I would prefer it.” I settled for this. “Now, what business do you wish to discuss?”
“The lifting of the embargo against the Terrans, your majesty.”
I frowned. “We let the offworlders trade with us and they came to dominate us instead.”
He clasped his hands together, learned forward, and had a very earnest expression on his lips and eyes.
“Your majesty I am hardly one to teach you, only being a humble commoner.” The earnest expression deepened; his face filled with furrows. “But these matters are in the past. We can benefit from renewed contact; their world is in dire need of our resources, I beseech you—” He stopped when I peered at him through the roots of my eyes. He pontificated some more; I mean a lot more. “I mean, Rhiannon. Surely, someone as wise and noble as you—”
My eyes felt like stone tablets were attached to them. This harangue was calling for drastic action. It was time to put my plan into effect.
“Wise and noble but with an absolutely flat stomach.” I caressed my stomach muscles.
He did not splutter. I placed my hand, fingers spread, around my womanhood, calling his eyes to it. His coffee cup began to shake in his hand. He set it down, causing some of its remaining brown liquid to spill unto the saucer.
“As I was saying, someone with your talents—”
He did stop as I sucked on my fingers, one at a time. He clutched his sides when I circled my nipples with an index finger. He coughed. “As I was saying—”
“Yes, as you were saying—” I leaned toward him, with my chin resting on my right hand. He didn’t bolt. I was going to have to change my tactics, or make them more intense. I wasn’t sure I could do that and keep even a shred of dignity.
I was thinking about getting down on all fours, and rubbing my face against his thigh like a cat’s.
“As I was saying, surely, you must realize that the offworlders would support you as high queen, as they, um, supported your predecessor—” He stopped again, which was just as well.
I had squeezed my coffee cup so hard at the mention of King Farrell, former High King, and my ex who had humiliated me, and whom I had rewarded for that with a death sword through the heart, that I had broken it.
“Perhaps, we should discuss this delicate matter when your highness is more rested from her journey.”
How like a man. Assuming that my reaction must be because of fatigue, or emotion, or anything other than his being an utter bore that was making asinine speeches. But the chance to end this audience and go take that rest was one I seized.
“Perhaps you are right, sirrah. We will continue this discussion on the morrow.” He rose and gave me a flourish as I walked out.
I was quaking so much with relief that I failed to look where I was going and ran right into a lanky blond man, with a handsomely coiffed beard, a understated Sidon tunic with silk pantaloons and hard muscles in all the right places. I gulped.
“The princess Rhiannon?”
“Uh, huh.” Something had happened to my tongue. I pinched it between my right thumb and forefinger to see if it was still there. He smiled.
“You have just come from an audience with Master Blackwaithe, have you not?”
“Uh, huh,” I left my index finger dangling on my lip. Do not be such an imbecile, Rhiannon. Say something to this fetching creature. Say anything. Say you would get down on your knees if he would just say the word. Anything.
He laughed. “He has the same effect on me. I am James Cornell, of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.”
“Oh, you’re the other one.” Tee Hee. Good, Rhiannon. That was very articulate. I’m sure he just loved to be called the ‘other one’. Men just love hearing about other men you’ve just come from. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.
“You look bone weary. I will not take up much of your time, then. I just want you to know that not everyone is opposed to your stand on the Embargo. Many men were in the war against the offworlders and many of us are too proud to ever again have our faces stomped on by the Terran heel.”
“That’s just so sweet.” That’s just so sweet? Aargh. Rhiannon, get a grip on yourself.
“Hmmm. Yes. I thought it was.” He took my hand and kissed it. “You rest well, dear princess, and we will talk again at length. I may be the Lady Branwen’s loyal opposition, but I am your obedient servant. No, do not speak. Go and get your rest.”
I watched him as I padded down to my quarters, and noticed that he was watching me watching him. I giggled each time he smiled, and he smiled each time I giggled. Oh, I was going to have to get a grip on myself if I was to navigate the political waters here. That was for sure.
By the time I entered my quarters, I was stumbling from exhaustion. Rosalyn was lying on our bed, prone and naked, her feet hooking and unhooking in the air above her rump. Her head propped on her elbows, she was reading, which pleased me, as I had taught her that skill myself.
“Whatcha reading, little one?” I said, as I fell, face first and curled up beside her.
“The Blind Assassin.”
I yawned furiously, wondering at how good an assassin could be, if he were deprived of his sight. It would certainly have a dampening effect on our favorite punishment of spies in New Fairy — which was to take a red hot poker and jab the culprit’s eyes with it — if it lacked deterrence.
I yawned again.
“Oh, you’ve read it?” Rosalyn asked.
But I was beyond replying. I was beyond anything. I fell over, my face hitting the mattress. I immediately began choking.
Gasping, I reached out for Rosalyn, who had been hit by it too. She pulled me around, so I was facing her. “Sorry, ack, I was so tired I forgot.”
“Forgiven, ack.” She rubbed her neck. “When we are together, I sometimes forget too.”
The spellminder had reacted to my face plop as an attempt to cover my nakedness, and had sent shock waves of apnea to all I held dear. I could not sleep on my stomach any more than I could wear the latest New Prydain fashions. I reached out and patted Rosalyn as she kissed me and held me, and I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
I choked awake. Something had awakened me, I was sure of it. It was then I saw the little flashes of light. A dark figure, feminine and unclad, but otherwise indistinguishable in the dark of the room, was bending over our chest of drawers. Little flashes kept on popping by her face. It took me a moment to realize what was going on.
Naked, she had to be a slave. And the little pops were from an offworlder device. The same kind of device that captured images of me in my whore days. Images that had been circulated throughout the five kingdoms by my enemies.
“Who are you?” I cried, which sent the figure scuttling to the door. I rushed out, saw her behind disappear around a corner.
“What’s going on?” Rosalyn had followed me out; in her haste she hadn’t bothered to dress, or comb her hair. I didn’t answer her, but rushed to follow the intruder.
“She must have gone out this window,” I said to no one in particular. There was no place to hide, no rooms for her to go through and this had been the way she had gone. It was in two sections and they had been pulled open. New Prydain doors, they arrogantly called them.
I climbed out, dropped to the ground. Rosalyn did likewise.
“Halt!” A booming voice made me involuntarily come to attention. A guardsman, with a staff, came up to us. “Two escapees, eh?” He caned me right above the back of my knees, making me fall.
“That is the princess Rhiannon, you clod,” Rosalyn yelled, and she was caned for her efforts. She fell, hitting her chin on the lawn and yelling.
“Now, I’ve heard some ridiculous things, but for two escapees to claim to be royalty, now, that’s rich. On your feet, wenches.” Several other guards came running up.
“What goes forth, Sergey?” A squat one with a mustache that licked his upper lip asked.
“I found these two obviously trying to escape.”
“Well, you know what to do. Take them for disposition,” he ordered. Sergey and another pulled me up and someone pressed a knife to my throat. I held unto the knife, danced in a circle to get release, broke his hand and then kicked him in the balls. I picked up the knife, and was about to spring up to plunge it in him when I was attacked from behind. Several guardsmen jumped me, pinning me down.
“God, there’s nowhere to grab,” one complained.
“Use the two finger hold,” Sergey bellowed.
The two finger hold. Oh, goddesses. I found out what it was and screamed. One of the guards pulled at my hair, as two yanked my hands behind my back and bound them. They bound my feet as well. Then two of them carried me off, still screaming, until they dropped me unceremoniously into a jail cell. I was followed by Rosalyn, who was tossed in like a bowling ball. She emitted an ‘oof’ as she hit the wall.
“Think its wise putting the two of them in the same cell?” a guard asked.
Sergey rubbed his nose. “Maybe they’ll give us a show.”
“In your dreams, you bastard,” I yelled.
“Now, now, missy, behave yourself in front of your betters. God, I think she bit me.” He noticed the tear on his jerkin and the teeth marks. “You little bitch; I hope they sell you to a breeder farm.” He stalked off.
The jail was stone and there were many cells, with many women. Some were snoring, others weeping. “Well, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Rhiannon,” Rosalyn said, rubbing her wrists.
“Me? It’s you who came after me without dressing. If you had been clothed, we could have straightened this out. And where was Zusanna in all of this?”
“She was growling and kicking her feet in her sleep when I left.”
“Some watch dog she is.”
“She’s a werewolf, Rhiannon. A werewolf. Not a dog. How many times must that be explained to you?”
“Will you two shut up in there,” a woman yelled from across the dungeon. “Some of us want to sleep.” This was met with cheers.
“Sounds like a good idea to me, Rhiannon. Let’s get some sleep.” Rosalyn lowered herself down on the dirty floor. “Just like old times, eh?”
I said something in response which made her question my breeding and upbringing.
I was awakened to the clanging of the iron door, to a guard yanking me up. “What time is it?”
“Time for you to get yours.”
To be continued...
Copyright © 2005 by Rachel Parsons