The next morning when she went looking for him she brought a strap rather than the riding crop. His gaze went to the weapon in her hand before meeting her eyes. She pointed at the posts. “Put your wrists through the loops.” Without a word, Thomas obeyed. “There is no number, this time.” She narrowed her eyes. “I’m going to beat you until you beg for mercy.”
“If you wish me to beg, you need only give the order.” His voice was quiet.
“I don’t want your empty words, husband. I’ve had my fill of those. I want to hear something real from you.” She tightened the loops to prevent him from slipping free, then secured his ankles, spreading him tightly between the posts. Then she reached into her pocket, and pulled out the items she’d collected earlier. They made a slight jingling sound. She pinched one of his nipples between her fingers, then glared when he didn’t make a sound. She squeezed her fingers together, but all she got in return was a tightening around his eyes as he stared at her. Slowly, she applied the clamp and attached bell to each nipple.
Then she smirked and showed him the additional bells in her hand. He gave them a confused look, then his eyes widened just slightly in realization. “I forgot how much you liked music.” His eyes still held defiance.
“You can play for me while you sing.” She smiled as she reached between his legs. After selecting where on his balls to place the first clamp, she looked up, watching his eyes as she slowly let the clamp close. His body reacted slightly to her touch, his cock actually twitching a little when she applies three clamps to its length. “One might think you enjoy this, husband.”
“What man doesn’t enjoy special attention from his wife?” He had the nerve to smirk at her.
Playfully, she straightened to plant a kiss on his mouth. He looked startled by the action, then he bent his neck to return the kiss. For a half heartbeat, she was back at the ball, dancing in his arms. Then reality snapped back, and she shoved away from him, making the bells jangle. They stared at each other for a moment, and she lifted the strap. “Oh, you have my attention alright.”
Ileana walked behind him. Her hand touched her lips. Then she brought the strap down across his back.
His shoulders hurt from the strain of hanging in the tree. After the last few days, the pain almost seemed to strengthen him rather than drag him down. She’d beaten him into unconsciousness three times over the last four days, and yesterday she’d thrown the whip she’d wielded across the room in frustration when he’d endured the thirtieth lash without begging. It had been all he could do not to laugh.
She’d left the bells on when putting him back in the tree. The clamps bit into his sensitive flesh, jingling whenever he moved in the slightest. Her taking them off actually hurt more than when she put them on as blood rushed into the abused flesh, restoring quiescent nerve endings. The truly frustrating part is that the sensation of the bells on his cock and balls was slightly arousing. Hanging from a tree with a half-hard cock made the experience even more humiliating.
“I see you like music.” And there was the satyr, here to make that part even worse.
“Thomas.” The satyr stepped in front of him, giving him an amused look. “You…” He shook his head. “Admit it, there is a part of you enjoying this. That gets a thrill each time the lash strikes your flesh and you realize you can take it.” He looked away from the satyr, because the damn thing was right. It laughed. “Oh, Thomas.”
He blinked when the satyr held a glass of liquid to his lips, but drank the offering gratefully. The cool water tasted sweet. “Admit it. You like seeing me up here.”
It flicked the bell on his left nipple, then nodded. “Oh, just a lot. You are a rather pretty man.” Then it gave him an evil smile before running one of its fingers down his cock.
He twitched, hardening in response to the sensation, which made the clamps bite harder. And to his irritation, that just made him even harder. “I hate you.”
“I know.” Keffer winked at him.
He looked up when she entered, then gave her the bow that felt like mockery. Ileana narrowed her eyes. “I could torture you, husband. Every day. Never enough to kill you. Just a lifetime of endless agony.”
“And what would that gain you, wife?” Thomas raised an eyebrow at her.
The mild question set her aback. “Satisfaction.” She reached out and ran a finger down his cheek. “I find I like seeing you on your knees.” She blinked when he sank to his knees. “What are you…” She narrowed her eyes, and then backhanded him across the face. He staggered but didn’t fall. “You’re mocking me.”
He touched a hand to his bleeding lip. “You made the consequences of your unhappiness very clear to me, Ileana. If you want me on my knees, then I will kneel.”
She caught his hair and yanked his head back, forcing his eyes to meet hers. “And if I want you on your back?” She ran a thumb over the bloodied lip.
“My body is yours.” Despite his words, his eyes were still defiant.
“It is.” She smiled down at him. “Tonight, at dinner, you will serve the meal. Then you will go to the center of the room, and get down on your hands and knees.” She touched his cheek again. “I haven’t decided yet which one of my friends is going to get to take you.” She saw uncertainty in his eyes, a slow rise of fear. “Perhaps more than one.”
“Ileana…” His voice was quiet, a small note of pleading.
“No.” She put a finger over his lips, then her smile widened. “I will let you pick. You will choose your dance partner for tonight, or I will let all of them have a turn.” She brushed her fingers through his hair. “Your body is mine.” She let go of his hair.
Thomas stayed on his knees, taking deep breaths. “You would watch while I am raped.”
“How many watched what was done to my sister?” She glared at him.
“Well your satyr has had the wife…” He shook his head. “Let him complete the set and have the husband as well.”
Ileana chuckled. “Tis only fair, I agree. You watched him have me, only fair I get to watch him have you.” She shrugged. “I will inform him.”
Thomas watched her leave the room, and collapsed in on himself. He’d feared the eventuality of what was about to happen, but hadn’t realized until this point just how much hope he’d still had that she wouldn’t demand it of him. Keffer, at least, was something more of a known element. He did not think the satyr would seek to make what was to come even worse. His stomach rolled, and he fought the urge to vomit.
Slowly, he stood, taking deep breaths. There were hours yet before the evening meal. Somehow, that made it even worse. Time to anticipate and dread what was to come. That was likely part of her game as well.
He was staring at a bookshelf, trying to figure out if anything on it would take his mind of his situation when he sensed someone else had entered the room. Thomas turned to find the satyr staring at him. He swallowed. “Keffer.”
“I told her no.” Keffer narrowed its eyes at Thomas.
“I…” Thomas blinked. “What?”
“I told her no…” Keffer folded its arms. “And she said that was fine, she’d have the red cap take you instead. Since I am ill inclined to put you at the ‘mercy’ of that fellow, it appears I will be taking your virginity tonight.” Keffer rolled its eyes. “You look like a flummoxed ox.”
“You…” Thomas took a deep breath. “Refused?” The creature had several times made it clear that it wanted to… “I don’t understand.”
Keffer laughed. “Should I flatter myself and think that you picked me because you actually want me to fuck you?” Thomas’s flinch just made the satyr laugh again. “No. You picked me because you believe I will show you more kindness than any of the others will. And on that front, at least, you’re right.” It shook its head. “Which is why Ileana will not be satisfied with what happens tonight.”
His eyes closed for a moment before reopening. “Then what would?”
“Breaking you.” Keffer shrugged, then reached out and touched the collar. “To the point she no longer needs this to compel your fealty.”
“She doesn’t.” Thomas shook his head. “I break my word, my family dies.”
“Do not lie to me, boy.” Keffer smirked. “If that collar was not around your neck, you would kill her the first opportunity you had.”
“You’re right.” Thomas met Keffer’s eyes. “I would.”
“Which puts me in a complicated situation.” Keffer slowly nodded. “You see, boy, we have something in common.” It twitched a shoulder. “You love the girl she was. I love the woman she is.” It took a deep breath. “And I do not think either of us care for what she is becoming. Our Ileana has a mortal soul, and for all the tales of we fair folk it is only mortal souls that can turn black.”
“Can we save her?” His voice was quiet.
The satyr went still for a long moment. “I do not know.” It patted Thomas’s shoulder. “But because you actually meant that question…” It shrugged. “Perhaps we will have the chance to try.”
“That’s not…” Thomas started shaking his head, a motion cut off by the satyr catching him and pressing its lips to his. The surge of magic made his body shake, and he groaned at the pleasurable sensation that swept through him. The fucking thing still tasted like cherries.
He staggered a little when the satyr released him. Keffer chuckled. “I do like you, human.”
She didn’t miss that his hands shook when he poured the wine. Ileana gave Thomas a knowing smile, and saw him flinch. Keffer’s earlier reluctance had surprised her, as had his disapproval of her recent actions. Her father had been Keffer’s friend. Surely the satyr wanted him avenged? Then again, it could just be some aspect of the satyr’s otherworldly nature coming into play. Only a fool ever thought they fully understood the fair folk.
The first course was served. She didn’t miss the look Thomas sent her. The slight bit of hope that she wouldn’t actually make him go through with her demand. She narrowed her eyes at him, then nodded to the small dais set in the center of the tables. He had to steel himself, taking a few deep breaths, before he walked to it. Then he got down on his hands and knees, facing her. He flinched as a couple of her companions made cheering sounds at the action. Seeing his face burning with humiliation made it so much better. He’d shamed her before the world.
Keffer took his wine glass with him when he got up and walked toward Thomas. The satyr’s face was hard to read as he ran a hand down Thomas’s back, making the man shiver. It was clear Thomas was having to force himself to stay still. She could almost feel him wanting to get to his feet, and wondered what he desired more – to flee what was about to happen or to turn and fight. Keffer finished his wine and set the goblet next to Thomas before moving behind him.
Thomas made a small whimpering sound as Keffer’s hand touched his ass. She expected to see Keffer begin preparing Thomas, and noted that Keffer was clearly preparing to take him raw. That was odd, but considering how far she’d pressed the satyr of late, she held her silence. Thomas shook his head, flinching as Keffer traced fingertips down his hip before reaching forward to flick one of the bells on Thomas’s cock. Rather than blush, he’d gone pale. Her guests were twittering as they dined, watching the show before them. She didn’t hear what Keffer whispered to Thomas, but the man gave a jerky nod in response. There were tears already coming from his eyes. His body was taut, a cord stretched so tightly it risked breaking at a touch.
Her belly quivered just a little when she realized that may well be what was about to happen. The man who could take pain would break at pleasure and humiliation. It would destroy him, and he knew it. Her head tilted just slightly. And yet, she was not having to expend any of her power to keep him on his hands and knees. The collar around his neck was completely dormant. He was going to allow this because he’d given her his word.
Which meant he’d been telling the truth.