Knowing one’s fate and accepting it are two very different things. Bastien let Rien drag him over to the log, and then was shoved roughly back to his knees. Raising a hand against his liege lord was no longer an option, so when Rien unfastened the manacles Bastien just clenched his fists. Rien gave him a strange look before stepping back in front of him. “Give me your wrists, Bast.”
Slowly, he brought his arms around in front of him before offering his hands to Rien. Rien quickly secured the chain between the manacles once more, then fastened the long chain to chain connecting his wrists. The other end of the chain was tossed over a tree branch. Rather than let Rien haul him to his feet, Bastien stood. His wrists were brought over his head, though not enough to bring him off his feet. The chain was fastened off, and then Rien reached out to touch his cheek. He jerked away, and Rien laughed.
He began struggling again when Rien started undoing the knot on the front of the breeches, but without the rope belt Rien had no difficulty just tugging them down. The big man unfastened the ankle cuffs and tossed the breeches aside. Instead of refastening the chain between his ankles, Rien caught it and used it to haul his left leg over before fastening off the chain. Swiftly, Rien fastened another chain to his right ankle and used it to force Bastien’s legs apart. Bastien’s heels no longer quite touched the ground.
There was no give in the chains despite how he pulled against them. Bound by metal and oath, he simply hung there, naked, as Rien walked around him. The Wilder caught his chin, tilting Bastien’s head up to look at him. Rien leaned in, and Bastien realized the man intended to kiss him. He jerked away, back as far as the chains would allow. Rien simply laughed, and unfastened the flogger from his belt. “You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d almost think you wanted me to hurt you.”
“Address me as master.”
“Master privy-licking canker.” Bastien glared.
Rien stepped behind him. The first blow from the flogger was lighter than he’d expected, just barely a sting. A glance over his shoulder resulted in Rien giving him a playful wink. “Did you enjoy that, Bast? Do you want more, or should I simply fuck you now?”
“I’ll not play your game, you corpulent imbecile.”
“Well, then…” Rien drew back his arm.
The next blow sent a wash of fire across his back.
Bast didn’t make a sound until the fourth blow, and even then it was more defiant than agonized. Rien delivered six more blows before setting the flogger aside. He walked over to Bast and brushed the man’s hair off the back of his neck before kissing the nape. Bast’s body tensed, and he pulled at the chains again. Rien stepped closer, pressing his body up against that of his captive. His fingers gently trailed down Bast’s sides.
The stripes on the smaller man’s back and his struggles against the chains were having an effect. He was harder than he had been in weeks. He kept kissing Bast’s neck, then reached a hand up to catch hold of the collar. He used it as leverage to pull Bast closer to him. With his other hand, he trailed a finger down one of the welts before coming to a stop at the beginning of the cleft between Bast’s buttocks. “How many lashes would it take, Bast, for you to beg me to have you?”
“Your arm would break first.” Bast squirmed as Rien’s finger touched his entrance. “Get your —” He began thrashing against the chains again as Rien probed inside him. His prize was tight, virginal and resisting.
“I can make it hurt, Bast…” He spoke into the man’s ear. “Or I can make it feel good.”
“You know…” Rien laughed. He drew the small vial from his pocket, coating his fingers in the contents. Then he found Bast’s passage again. “I think I’m going to make you enjoy yourself.”
More curses and invective were the response when he probed Bast again. He continued letting his fingers play gently as he caressed the body of his knight with his other hand. Bast twisted and squirmed, trying to get away from Rien’s hands. “Vile miscreant.”
Lightly, he scraped his teeth along Bast’s neck. “Stop struggling, Bast.” His lips brushed Bast’s ear. “That’s an order.”
A small, almost despairing sound escaped the knight. And then, to Rien’s surprise, he felt the man stop thrashing. Bast’s body trembled with the effort it was taking to make himself remain still. He’d had captives tremble with fear before. This was the first time he’d had one trembling with pure fury. His hand caught hold of the collar again as he positioned himself.
Most cried out when entered for the first time. Some with pain, some with pleasure. Bast, however, growled, the sound low and furious. Rien smiled. He’d waited for days to claim his prize, and he was not about to waste a single moment. He held the collar with one hand, and slid the other forward to caress Bast’s cock as he continued slowly pushing himself inside.
It hurt. He refused to give his captor the satisfaction of crying out in pain. The collar pulled against his throat, just enough that he had to tilt his head back to breath. Behind him, Rien made a satisfied grunt, like a rutting beast. Bastien tried to seek battlefield meditation, but Rien’s hand fondling him drove his concentration away. Sweat stung the welts on his back.
His captor slid all the way inside. Bastien forced himself to remain still as the man withdrew before thrusting into him again. And again. He tried willing his body to stay unresponsive, but Rien’s hand was preventing that. Pain was slowly starting to give way to pleasure. He shook his head against the sensation. Rien’s hand was sliding over his cock, and he realized that meant the man could feel Bast’s body responding to Rien’s actions.
“I am curious, Bast…” Rien’s voice was quiet. “Will you beg me to stop?” The man’s hand slid over Bast’s cock again. “If you beg now, I will. Beg and plead and I will stop.”
Meaning either way, the man would be victorious. Bast took a deep breath. “One day, I am going to shit on your grave.”
Rien smiled. One thing he was certain his knight would never do is surrender. He focused his efforts on Bast’s member. Bast’s breath was starting to come in pants. For a moment, he considered denying release, of making it a privilege that must be earned. No. If he was going to tame this man, it was best he demonstrate that Bast’s body was no longer Bast’s to control. And the man had come to his aid, earlier. That deserved something.
The feel of his knight shuddering when Rien finally overcame the young man’s will was enough to take Rien himself over the edge. He could feel Bast trembling with suppressed rage. “Tomorrow morning…” Rien smiled, then kissed Bast’s ear. “I’m going to order you to your hands and knees, and take you like a dog.”
“I suppose I can expect no more from a rutting beast.” Bast’s voice was thick with anger.
Perhaps unchaining the man right now wasn’t the brightest idea. Rien did it anyway, unfastening Bast’s ankles before freeing the manacles from the chain that held them over Bast’s head. He expected the young man to collapse. Bast remained solidly upright. He let his wrists fall, but other than they didn’t move. “Bast —” Rien reached a hand up to the man’s cheek.
“Will that be all?” Bast stared at him, his face somehow composed despite the anger in his eyes.
He blinked. “I suppose —”
“Then if you don’t mind…” Bast stalked past him toward where the bedrolls had been tossed. “I’m going to bed.”
That was… Rien gave a small shake of his head before glancing after the knight in confusion.
It took some effort, but he was able to keep his breathing calm and steady. His captor was still not taking chances, and had secured his wrists behind his back again before fastening the chain back to the collar, effectively leashing Bastien to a tree. Rien’s intentions had been clear, and as much as he’d been hoping to avoid that threat, it had manifested. Bastien lay still, pretending to sleep. He’d a better idea now, of what the man was going to expect from him. And he knew it could be endured.
This was the least of the things he’d dreaded upon making his bargain. At least the other had not come to pass. If Rien was, in fact, taking him past the Vale, then it was possible it never would. Falling upon his blade might yet be unnecessary. There was some relief to that thought. Suicide was a mortal sin. For all others, there was a chance to atone.
Still, he did not actually relax until he was certain Rien was asleep. The welts stung, but they too could be endured. By now, there were forces marching. Phillip would be brought to justice. The realm was safe, and Duke Harald’s people would be avenged.
His father would have already reached the king. Little Nadja and her pup would be safe. Would his father remain at her side? He found himself hoping that Aurel would. The girl would need him, and it was possible he’d need her as well. No. Aurel would never walk away from the last surviving member of the house he’d served all his life. Nadja would have a fierce and devoted guardian, and his father would… His father wouldn’t be alone. Bast had given Nadja a flower at the last tourney, a daisy to make a child smile, and the grinning girl had tied one of her hair ribbons to his lance to serve as a favor. Then she’d shamelessly abused the fact her favored knight had won to get enough lemon cakes to make herself sick.
Bastien swallowed. Somehow, despite everything, it had taken this long to realize he was never going to see them again. He took a ragged breath before seeking the battlefield meditation once more.
“Tell me, Bast…” He offered the knight a morsel of breakfast. “What would it take to get your obedience? Not just the fealty thing, but submission.”
“Nothing you can offer.” Bast shook his head.
“See…” Rien shrugged. “That’s where I’m pretty sure you’re wrong. Let me test a theory.” He tilted his head and stared at the shackled, kneeling man. “If I gave you the choice of bending over for me or riding back to the beacon and killing all those…” Bast went utterly still. And for the first time, Rien saw fear in his eyes. “Ah.”
“Burn in hell, you wagtailed skainsmate.”
“That’s a demand of fealty, isn’t it?” Rien slowly nodded. “My knight. You kill at my command.”
Bast closed his eyes, but slowly nodded. “Yes.” The word sounded as though it were being forced out of him.
“No.” Rien shook his head. “No, that…” He exhaled. “I won’t ask that of you. I’ll expect you to come to my defense, but I won’t set you on your own people. On that, Bast, you have my word.”
“That’s your offer then…” Bast lifted his head. “I let you…” He shook his head. “Have your way and you don’t…”
“You’re going to let me have my way because you’re my slave, Bast.” Rien shook his head. “And I am perfectly willing to chain you down each time. In fact, I actually rather enjoy that idea.” He offered Bast another morsel. “I won’t set you on your people because…” He shrugged. “Because that would be unworthy, and a being such as yourself deserves a worthy master.”
A few heartbeats passed before Bast leaned forward to take the morsel from his hand. “Thank you, master.”