Bring Out the GIMP (Girls in Merciless Peril)
Stories


SAFE PASSAGE

By Eda Chang


Chapter 1

"There it is." Saveda, the sister of Duke Arrida, reined her horse to a stop, as did Carmen, her private guard riding next to her. Saveda pointed to the King's castle just visible in the distance. Both were relieved to see it for several reasons. First, because, as they had judged, the temperature on their ride up the hills to the castle's high elevation had not dropped sufficiently to make either reconsider her decision to travel in the comfort of her leather bodice, shorts and boots rather than bulkier clothing. And, second, because they could not be certain they would arrive safely at their destination, not in the turbulent times that had dominated the year 1357.

"The King kept his promise." The blond Saveda looked very much the part of the young aristocrat that she was, one who had the time to keep her slender body toned and her sharp mind tuned. The brunette Carmen presented a much rawer look – that of a muscular Amazon from another time and place. Without King Alfred's promise of safe passage to his castle, the two women would not have dared the 20-mile journey, not through lands controlled by bands of roaming ruffians supported by one side or the other, in the feud between the Duke and King over neighboring territory – a feud that had repeatedly brought them to the brink of war.

When Saveda had suggested to her brother that she visit the King to as the Duke's emissary in order to seek a peaceful compromise of their disputes, the Duke had flatly refused, citing the danger of such a journey. Upon her insistence, however, he had reluctantly agreed under the condition that the King's grant her safe passage, which he was sure the King would decline. To his surprise – and regret – the King had granted the request: "By Order of King Alfred, Saveda Arrida, sister of Duke Arrida, is given Safe Passage from the border of his Kingdom with the Duke to the gates of the King's castle. Anyone violating this Safe Passage Order shall be punished by immediate execution." Given the nature of her proposed mission, and the King's effectively affirmative reply regarding it, as well as the fact that she was far more popular in his dukedom than was the Duke himself, her brother had little choice but to grant her request and pray for her safe return.

The women dismounted upon reaching the castle's gates. "This should not take more than two hours either to succeed or fail," Saveda advised Carmen. "Wait for me here outside the gates. I will send word to you if it will take longer. I do not want to give the King or his soldiers any excuse to claim that you went inside the walls to spy." Saveda handed the reins of her horse to Carmen and walked to the gate.

"I have an appointment with the King," Saveda announced to the three soldiers standing at the Castle's gates.

"We have been expecting you," the nearest soldier responded, as the two others swung open the gate. "We trust your journey was safe."

Saveda entered the castle's courtyard. She had been there several times as a child of 10, when things between the King and her father had been amicable. She couldn't remember exactly what had changed over the intervening 15 years, but she knew that she had not before seen soldiers practicing military exercises on all sides of the courtyard. No, this was different. These soldiers, and there were hundreds, were preparing for war. And she knew against whom they would wage it if her mission failed.


Chapter 2

With Saveda between them, two of the three soldiers at the gate walked her toward the building at the far end of the courtyard. "I am Gerard and this is Dominick," the soldier on her left introduced them. "I hope you know that you are on a fool's mission."

Saveda did not respond. After reaching the building, the three walked down a narrow corridor before turning into a small room on the left. In it, two other soldiers were waiting.

"What is this? Where is the King?" Saveda looked around the room, seeing only the two soldiers.

"You didn't expect the King to be sitting here waiting for you, did you?" Fernando, the higher ranking of the two answered her. He looked at the other soldier, Humberto. "No, we couldn't have that. Not without first taking care of the preliminaries."

"What do you mean?" Saveda demanded.

"You are the sister of our enemy, the Duke. Yes, that is who he is. He is planning war against us, and we are planning to defend ourselves against him, as you could see in the courtyard."

"I come in peace. King Alfred knows that," Saveda assured him. "And I have brought no weapons except for a small knife that I have carried for my own protection during the long journey here, which you know is through dangerous territories." Saveda slowly bent down and pulled the sheathed knife from inside her left boot, turned the handle toward Gerard and handed it to him.

"How do we know that is your only weapon?" Fernando responded. "How do we know that you have not been sent here to murder our King under the guise of coming in peace? We cannot take that risk. You must of course understand that." Saveda noticed that the four soldiers had formed a circle around her, each standing about six feet away. "Now show us that you have no other weapons," Fernando demanded.

Saveda gritted her teeth, spread her legs slightly, raised her arms over her head and clasped her hands behind her neck. "Go ahead," she glared, "search me." She prepared herself for a pat down she was certain would involve more physical groping than required to assure them that she had no other weapons.

"That's not how it works," Fernando advised her. "Remove your clothing."

"What? You want me to strip right here in front of all of you?" Saveda turned her head to look at each of the four soldiers. All stared back at her, Gerard with a large grin on his face.

"Our duty is to make sure that you really do come in peace, Duchess," Fernando repeated. "But if you don't want to hold your meeting, you are free to go. The choice is yours. Assuming that you choose to stay, start with your boots."


Chapter 3

"I haven't seen you around here before, have I?" Captain Leandro led a group of six soldiers out of the gate and immediately spotted Carmen. She shifted uncomfortably as the soldiers looked her up and down, staring particularly at her large breasts skimpily covered by the tight leather bodice. "Who are you?"

"I am a personal guard of the Duchess Arrida," Carmen was forthright, knowing that she must not do anything that might interfere with Saveda's mission.

"Well, you don't seem to be guarding her at the moment, so why don't you come inside with us? I'm Captain Leandro, and I assure you that it is a lot more interesting and fun inside the castle than out here."

"I … I need to tend to the horses."

"Horses are allowed inside the gates. You can bring them with you."

"The Duchess instructed me to wait for her here."

"And you always obey the Duchess?" Leandro chided. "Even though, she is not around to require your services, and even though, I presume, you are a free woman?" the men were leering at Carmen. "And a very fine looking free woman at that."

"I will obey her instruction."

"But she didn't tell you that you couldn't at least look inside, did she? I mean, as long as you were still standing outside the gates. To see what you might be missing. And what you might be able to enjoy later, after she returns and relieves you of tending the horses."

"No, sir, she did not say that." Carmen wished the men would leave, but knew she must answer them truthfully.

"So come here with me and take a look at what you are missing."

"Sir, I don't …"

"I asked you nicely." Leandro's voice rose. "I mean, the Duchess is here, as I understand it, to talk peace with the King? Don't you want to do your part to keep the peace, too?"

"If you insist, sir." Carmen walked to the middle of the gate, and glanced into the courtyard.

"Look over there on the left," Leandro pointed, "that's a tavern. Things can get pretty rowdy there at night. And next to it, that's a parlor. Mostly the men start out in the tavern and the women in the parlor, but as day turns into evening, they begin to … find each other, shall we say." His face was too close to hers, invading her space and forcing her to arch the top of her body away from him. "Don't you think you might enjoy a few drinks and some game playing? I mean, you do like men, don't you? And with your looks and body, I'm sure you could have almost any man in there you wanted. Wouldn't that be fun for you later?"

"Well, sir," Carmen moved away from Leandro and back to her horses, "as I said, I am to stay out here for now. But perhaps later if there is time." She hoped this would humor him.

"Yes, I hope there will be time later. I'd like to show you what they have above the parlor." Leandro doffed his army cap toward her before signaling his men to continue their march away from the gate. "With the looming war, it is so rare these days to have visitors. And even rarer to have a visitor with your obvious charms."

The soldiers marched off. Carmen sighed in relief.


Chapter 4

Saveda knew she had no choice. It would be one thing to return to her brother after failing in her meeting with the King. After all, he did not expect her to succeed. But it would be humiliating for her to return without even meeting with the King, especially after her brother had so strongly pleaded with her not to go.

She reached down, pulled off her boots and tossed them to the side, then looked around at the four soldiers encircling her. None said a word. All just stared at her. She knew what they expected.

"You know I'm not hiding anything here," she screamed at them, cupping her bodice. "Or do you think these aren't filled with breasts!!" She saw no reaction from any of them except Gerard again, who wet his lips with his tongue in anticipation. "OK. God damn you and your infantile games!!"

Saveda grabbed the sides of her bodice with both hands and pulled it over her head, releasing her breasts to the men's view. "There!! I have breasts!! What a surprise!!" She dropped the bodice near her boots, leaving her wearing only her leather shorts.

"After you remove your shorts, step back, spread your feet to shoulder width and clasp your hands behind your neck, like you did before, so that we may examine you," Fernando told her quietly but firmly.

Saveda suddenly realized that her nudity would not be enough to satisfy the men – or at least the men would tell her that they were not satisfied -- that she was not hiding a weapon. No, they intended to do a full body cavity search, not to find weapons – they all knew that was a charade – but to humiliate her as much as they could. She took a deep breath, reached both hands to her hips and pulled her shorts down to her ankles. She stepped out of them and kicked them into the pile of her clothes on the floor. Now the men's gaze moved down from her chest to the dark triangle between her legs. "There, are you satisfied now? Or have you never seen a naked woman, you degenerates!!"

"Step back," Fernando reminded her, "spread your feet and clasp your hands behind your neck."

Saveda could feel her body trembling, mostly in hatred for these men, but she also felt a tinge of fear. She knew that their forcing her to strip was mostly for their arousal, but could there be more? She suddenly was not sure. She knew that she had no choice, so she obeyed Fernando's comma, understanding that she must hold her position no matter what they did to her.

Fernando and Humberto approached Saveda. Humberto moved his hand down between her legs and thrust his ring and middle fingers deeply into her vagina. She was grateful that her fear had moistened her enough that the violation was not painful, only humiliating. Humberto moved his fingers from side to side, staring at her face to see her reaction. Saveda tried to remain stoic.

"Anything?" Fernando asked.

"Oh, I'm sure that she has used this before as a weapon. But there is nothing else."

Humberto removed his fingers and quickly grabbed Saveda's neck to force her to bend her body at the waist until its upper half was parallel to the floor. Fernando's fingers pushed hard into her anus, and she bit her lip to stop herself from screaming in pain.

When Fernando finally withdrew his fingers, Humberto straightened her body. "Open your mouth," Fernando ordered, "and don't even think about biting my fingers." Slowly Saveda obeyed, and Fernando stuck the same fingers that had just probed her anus into her mouth, moving them from side to side in her cheeks, around the back of her teeth and under her tongue before withdrawing them. Saveda did all she could do to keep from gagging.

A messenger quietly entered the room and whispered into Fernando's ear. Fernando nodded. "Dominick and Gerard, I have an assignment for you," he directed. The two followed the messenger out of the room.


Chapter 5

"So, Duchess," Fernando continued. "You are now a step closer to your meeting."

"May I have my clothes back, then?"

"Oh, no. Of course not. We are confident that you presently have no hidden weapons, but we can't spend the time searching every inch of your clothing to make certain you have no needles or poisons hidden in them. So no, you cannot. Certainly not until after your meeting. Now maintain your position while we prepare you for transport to the meeting's location."

"What? It is not to be here?"

Fernando laughed. "Of course not. Do you think we are fools. You have had an opportunity to familiarize yourself with this room, which could give you an advantage in any plot against our leader, including routes of escape. No. The meeting will be held in a place unfamiliar to you."

Humberto moved behind her and thrust a long heavy wooden pole horizontally behind her neck and in front of her elbows, quickly securing her wrists to the sides of the pole about a foot from her neck on each side. He then chained her ankles to allow her to shuffle her feet, but not to take a full stride, when she walked.

"This is craziness," Saveda complained. "I am here under a promise of safe passage. I am not your prisoner!!"

"Yes, we know. We are just making certain the location of the meeting remains secret to you, so that you cannot plan an attack of it with whatever forces may have followed you here."

"I brought no forces with me!! I came in peace!!"

"Did you come alone?"

"Yes. I came alone. Except for one private guard who traveled with me."

Humberto slipped a black cloth over Sevada's eyes and cinched it at the back of her head.

"You can't do this!! This is not how a peace treaty is negotiated!!"

"We have explained everything to you, Duchess, and I have heard enough out of you." Humberto pried Saveda's mouth open and thrust another black cloth deep into her mouth, tying its ends behind her head next to the cloth securing her blindfold. Sevada tested the gag, and realized that any protests she now made would be incomprehensible.

"Now we are ready to bring you to your meeting," Fernando assured her. She felt him place around her neck a collar that she discovered was attached to a long metal leash, as he pulled her out of the room. Trying to keep her balance without knowing how fast she would be required to move, and with her chained ankles limiting her stride, she frequently stumbled as she was pulled down a corridor, up steps and out of the building, her wrists chained to the heavy wooden pole, her body entirely naked.

At the same time that she felt the cold outside on her body, she heard a loud gasp come from many persons in the courtyard, startled to see a chained, blindfolded, gagged and naked woman. The gasps turned to jeers and murmurs that she must be a spy or a rebel disloyal to the King, who, for whatever her crime, would certainly be publicly crucified. Saveda now so wished she had listened to her brother. What had she been thinking? Why had she been so stubborn? Why had she been so trusting of her brother's rival?


Chapter 6

Dominick and Gerard reached the front gates to the castle, where the guard pointed to Carmen, still standing outside it with the two horses.

"She has been there for an hour. I don't know who she is," the guard explained. "But a little while ago she was peering intently all around the courtyard for several minutes."

"We will handle it," Dominick reassured the guard. He and Gerard walked over to Carmen.

"Who are you?" The sternness of Dominick's voice startled Carmen.

"I am the Duchess's traveling companion," she quickly recovered. "No woman travels alone these days. The Duchess is meeting with the King on a mission of peace. She told me to wait here until she returned."

"Why were you staring into the courtyard before? Did she tell you to spy on us while you were waiting?"

"I … I don't remember staring into the courtyard," Carmen responded sincerely, having put out of her mind her brief encounter earlier with Leandro and his soldiers.

"The guard says otherwise," Dominick accused. "Am I to believe him or you?"

Too late, Carmen remembered. "Wait. Wait. Yes. Now I do remember. One of your soldiers – he appeared to be a Captain or another high rank -- asked if he could show me the tavern inside the gates and, when I hesitated, he insisted that, if I was not going to go there with him, I at least see where it was, so that I might join him there later."

Gerard laughed. "This one can't keep her story straight, can she?" He grabbed one of her arms and Dominick the other. "Come with us. We know how to find out the truth."

"But … but I've done …. I've … and what about the horses?" She turned back toward the horses as she was led into the courtyard and the gates closed behind her.


Chapter 7

After what seemed to her an eternity being led across the entire length of the courtyard in front of the jeering crowd, with the weight of the wooden pole across her neck, Saveda finally heard a heavy door open and felt her foot touch a stone floor. She was marched down a long corridor and through another heavy door. After she was pulled several yards into the room, her wrists were released from the pole, only to be secured to cuffs hanging from the ceiling. The chains around her ankles were replaced by cuffs shoulder-width apart secured to hooks in the floor.

"All right," Fernando nodded to Humberto. "I think she is secure and can cause no harm." Both laughed. Saveda stomach muscles twitched uncontrollably in fear. She felt her nipples harden and her pussy moisten even more, as her body responded to her growing terror.

"You are now ready for your meeting," Fernando removed the gag and the blindfold. Saveda's eyes quickly adjusted to the dim light in the room. She looked up at her cuffed wrists and then down at her cuffed ankles to confirm what she already knew – she was chained naked and spread-eagled. Her heart quickened as she also realized what she had suspected – she was imprisoned in a dungeon. She could see a rack, an X-frame and a wheel in the area in front of her. She tried to look behind her but her stretched arms blocked her from seeing what other devices the dungeon held there. She also noticed something she had not expected – the King was not in the room. In fact, only Fernando and Humberto were in the room with her.

"Where is the King?" She was surprised that her voice was strong.

"Oh, the King," Fernando responded. "You are not going to meet with the King."

"What are you talking about? That is the only reason that I came. To talk peace with the King. That is the excuse you gave to strip and chain me – for the King's protection."

"That is not exactly right. You see, things change. You must know that," Fernando replied.

"What are you talking about?" Saveda pulled on the chains holding her wrist cuffs, but she knew they would hold firm. "You are admitting that the King enticed me to come here under false pretenses? To take me prisoner?"

"Oh, no. Not at all." Fernando sounded insulted. "No, the King agreed for you to come here to talk peace. Sincerely, he wanted peace."

Saveda's muscles tightened. "Wanted? He no longer does?"

"Well, that's really a hard question to answer, Duchess. I think …. I think he would still want peace …."

"Tell me what's going on? Stop playing games!!" Saveda screamed at Fernando.

"The King … had … an accident yesterday."


Chapter 8

Gerard and Dominick dragged Carmen through the courtyard, past the building on the far side, and into a smaller courtyard behind it. Leandro and his soldiers were performing drills there, but immediately stopped when they saw Carmen.

"This woman is believed to be a spy for the Duke," Dominick announced.

"That's not true," Carmen shouted back at him. "And these men know it is not true!!"

"Well, it is true that we know her, yes," Leandro confirmed. He walked up to Carmen and pinched her mouth and chin in between his thumb and forefinger. "Don't we?" Carmen stared at him with hatred in her eyes. "I guess ‘perhaps later' came sooner than you expected, didn't it? Well, I explained to you that a lot of interesting and exciting things happen inside the gates, didn't I? He looked at Dominick. "I can take over from here." Dominick hid his disappointment, but could not challenge Leandro, the higher ranking officer.

Dominick threw Carmen onto the ground, where she was immediately encircled by Leandro's men. Within seconds, they had torn off her bodice and shorts, leaving her wearing only her boots. As the men stepped aside to await Leandro's further instructions, Carmen tried vainly to cover her body with her hands while lying on the ground in a fetal position.

"You know, men, I think you have earned some relaxation." An evil smile filled Leandro's face. Knowing exactly what he meant, two of his soldiers grabbed Carmen's hands and dragged her to a vertical hitching post about three feet off the ground. They bent her body face down, her stomach pressed into the post as the other soldiers pounded four stakes into the ground, two on each side of the post, and tied one end of their ropes to the stakes and the other ends to her wrists and ankles, stretching her enough to allow her no movement. Gerard jammed a white cloth deep into her mouth and secured it with a rope around her head. "We can't have your screams ruin our … relaxation now, can we?" "Mmmfffff," Carmen protested.

"All right, men. We go in order of seniority," Leandro ordered. "Which means," he smiled, "that I go first."


Chapter 9

"What do you mean an accident?"

"Well," Fernando smiled insidiously, "it seems that yesterday King Alfred accidentally walked into a group of soldiers carrying small daggers that seemed to slip from their fingers all at the same time. Such an unfortunate coincidence. All efforts to save him failed."

"He was murdered?" Saveda was stunned.

"Murder is such a …. negative word. Let's instead say that the Kingdom was … liberated from his foolish decision to talk peace with you when our strength is so much greater than your brother's. Of course, our new leader is most happy to honor the King's invitation and talk peace with you, although his terms will be … stricter than King Alfred's would have been."

"I will talk with the new King to fulfill my promise to my brother. But then I expect safe passage back to his castle."

"Yes, you received safe passage on your way out here just as you were promised, and you shall receive safe passage back just as you were promised. But there is no new King. No. We now are led by a military general."

"I will speak to the general then, even if he is not really interested in peace. Just to fulfill my mission."

"That is acceptable," Fernando's grin widened. "Would you like to tell me the peace terms that you propose? And then I can tell you mine?" Fernando enjoyed the confused look on Saveda's face as she processed what he had just said. "That's right, Duchess. I am the military general. Your talks are to be with me."


Chapter 10

Carmen knew the number of soldiers who had brutally violated her naked, stretched and spread-eagled body must be close to the total number of men who had been in the back courtyard when she was brought there – Leandro's six man platoon, plus Dominick and Gerard. But she had lost count.

Leandro grabbed Carmen's hair to raise her face to stare into her glazed, tear-stained eyes while one of Leandro's soldiers continued to pounded into her swollen pussy. "This is the fourth there, I believe," he told her. "And counting the two in your ass and one in your mouth – who was kind enough to remove your gag to let us hear you scream – the only one left is Dominick. So your initiation is almost complete and soon we will start your questioning."

"Fuck you. Just fuck you. Fuck all of you!!" Carmen's effort to shout her vulgarities at Dominick produced little more than a painful scratchy whisper, her throat long ago having given out from her constant screams.

"Yes. Yes. We are in agreement, then and you have fucked nearly all of us. But I am sorry that Dominick is going to disappoint you, as he has decided to wait to take his turn until after your first state of questioning, since he recognizes that we cannot delay your questioning further." Dominick looked startled – he could feel his penis bulging in anticipation of taking this beautiful helpless woman next and had been trying to decide exactly how he would do it. Damn that, Leandro. He couldn't wait 10 more minutes to start her interrogation? Shit, probably only five, Dominick felt so excited. But even as the seventh man grunted hard and held himself inside Carmen as long as he could, squeezing her breasts painfully tight, as most of the soldiers had done, Leandro began: "My first question to you is simple: For how long did you and the Duchess plot your scheme to spy on us under the guise of seeking peace?"


Chapter 11

"And you couldn't have just told me that right away? I could already be on my way back to my brother, since obviously this is nothing more than a charade." Saveda berated the newly-promoted General Fernando.

"Well, I had to protect myself from you just as I would have protected the King," Fernando responded coolly. "So are you interested in a discussion or not? If you are, what terms do you propose?" He took several steps toward her, his hands well within reach of her naked breasts.

"Both sides lay down their arms and stop their military buildup." Saveda had rehearsed on the ride to the castle what she would propose. "Each side will select three persons to meet with three chosen by the other side to negotiate fair boundaries for the disputed territories. And then the two sides will sign a pact that each will assist the other should it be attacked by any outside force." But Saveda knew that, while the King might have listened objectively to her proposal, and realized its merit, there was no chance that Fernando would. Hadn't he made clear that the King was murdered because the military felt he was too liberal in his desire for peace with the Duke? And hadn't he also told her that his terms would be stricter than the King's?

Fernando's reply to Saveda was as well rehearsed as hers had been. "Those terms might be reasonable to your side, or to any side that did not have such military superiority over the other, as we do over yours. Your brother must recognize that in any peace negotiations."

"So what terms do you propose?" The strain of her spread-eagled position, with Fernando, so close to her, adding to her feeling of total vulnerability, caused Saveda's arms and leg muscles to spasm and her stomach muscles twitch. She could feel the sweat glazing her body from her knees to her shoulders.

"Your brother must lay down his arms and accept the annexation of his dukedom into the new empire. If he agrees, we promise to show mercy to him and his people, despite their previous treachery. And to provide him and them with protection in the future as an important part of our empire."


Chapter 12

"That is a false accusation and you know it!!" Carmen tried to free her limbs from the men's grips. She could not have done so even with all of her strength, but, after her ordeal at the hands of seven men, her efforts were barely noticeably and totally futile.

"Do I?" Leandro nodded to two of his men, who released her limbs from the stakes and stood her upright, holding her by her elbows to keep her from falling as her knees buckled. They quickly pulled her wrists behind her back. "You were standing just outside the gate for more than hour. During some of that time you were staring inside the gate. You don't deny that. In fact, you have admitted it."

"I explained that to him!!" She nodded at Dominick. "And I don't have to explain it to you. You and your men know that what I said is true!! You all were there. You told me what I had to do to show my support for peace and I did what you asked. All I did was obey what you ordered me to do!!"

"Hmmm. I and my men remember it differently. And who do you think a court will believe? Six reputable soldiers in our army, or an outsider, an intruder, whose true purpose in coming to us we cannot know?"

"You know our true purpose was to seek peace. The King knows that. That is why he granted us safe passage. To talk peace!!"

"I am afraid you are mistaken, my dear," Leandro smiled wryly, as he cupped Saveda's breasts in his hands before signaling the two men holding her to back her against a tall wooden pole, where they tied her hands over her head behind the pole and her ankles together also behind the pole, forcing her body to arch forward.

Leandro stood in front of Carmen and nodded approval of his men's work. "The King's order granted safe passage … only to your Duchess. Did you read it? Can you read? Did your Duchess tell you that it covered you as well when she asked you to accompany her? Or did she take advantage of the fact that you can't read? Or maybe she just never showed it to you."

Carmen's body began to sweat profusely as she realized that the men had denied her the one protection that she thought assured her safe return to the Duke.

"So it is time, I think," Leandro stepped back, "for us to encourage you finally to tell us the truth about your mission."

As Leandro moved away, Carmen saw Dominick and one of Leandro's soldiers holding between them a strip of leather long enough to wrap around her body at the chest and wide enough to cover her breasts. And, in the middle of the side of the strip facing her were six sharp metal spikes, each an inch long. Their ultimate target – or, rather, targets – were obvious to all.

"NNNoooo!!" Carmen screamed. "You can't do that!! You wouldn't do that!!" But she and everyone else in the room knew that they could and they would.


Chapter 13

"That is not a peace proposal," Saveda shook her head at Fernando. "What you are asking for is complete capitulation."

"Not at all. We are offering mercy to your brother, his family and the residents of his territory, which he will not otherwise receive if he forces us to war. I am offering to make him and his followers, deluded as they are, equal members of our empire. That is hardly capitulation. If he does not accept these terms, then we will demand unconditional surrender, death to your brother and slavery to his subjects. So you are quite wrong. What we are offering is a substantial compromise."

"My brother will never consider surrender. There is no point continuing our sham of a meeting. I demand my release and safe passage back to my brother's castle, exactly as I was promised by the King. And you swore to me that you would keep that promise."

"And I shall. To the letter." Fernando's smile sent chills through Saveda.

"Now !! Our meeting is over. My assistant and I are entitled to safe return."

"Actually, Duchess, that is not quite true."


Chapter 14

The two men holding the spike-studded leather strip approached the shaking Carmen, wrapping it around her body loosely, so that its spikes did not yet press into her chest. They cinched it behind her with straps on the top and bottom of both ends, so that the straps could easily be tightened to any degree desired.

"Your time to tell us the truth about your mission," Leandro warned Carmen, "and still have the beautiful breasts you – and I am sure many others -- have come to love is drawing short."

Carmen shook her head violently back and forth, over and over, and closed her eyes, trying to wake herself from this nightmare. But when she again opened her eyes, nothing had changed. The nightmare was real. Leandro still stood in front of her, and Dominick and one of Leandro's men behind, prepared to tighten the leather to whatever degree Leandro ordered.

Leandro waited a minute to allow Carmen's terror to build. "Yes or no?"

"I've told you the truth!!" Carmen screamed at him.

"I take that as a no," Leandro nodded to the two men standing behind her, who pulled the leather straps several inched tighter. All of its six spikes dug into Carmen's breasts. Leandro was surprised that she could scream so loudly, especially since she quickly realized that taking a deep breath, or anything more than a very shallow one, would cause the spikes to dig in even deeper. Carmen looked down at her breasts as they pressed against the leather strap. Trickles of blood oozes from the punctures they had suffered.

"That is just the beginning, my dear," Dominick leaned over from behind her to whisper in her ear. "By the time we really tighten the leather, you will hear the spikes meet each other in the center of your breasts. Some parts may remain attached to your body, but probably not all. Talk now, though, and they still might recover."

"You … you … you are barbaric. This is …. Insane……" Carmen struggled to take short shallow breaths while not moving her chest more than absolutely necessary.

"Enough of your cooings," Leandro interrupted. "What was your true mission?"


Chapter 15

"What do you mean not quite true?" Saveda demanded to know.

"Well, for one thing," Fernando's excitement seemed to grow, knowing the power that he had over her, "your assistant, what is her name?"

"Carmen."

"Carmen, yes, Carmen. The King's Safe Passage Order does not apply to her, does it?"

Saveda was incredulous. "What do you mean? Of course it covers her!! The King knew I would not be traveling alone."

"I have read the Safe Passage Order. I have read it carefully. I saw nothing in it that mentioned a safe passage for anyone but you."

"It was understood!! The King doesn't travel alone. My brother doesn't. I don't. Certainly not these days. It was understood that the Safe Passage Order covered my traveling companion!!"

"Oh? And was it understood that it covered all of your traveling companions had you brought your entire army? I can't say what the King understood. And, sadly, he is not here to tell us. But I do know one thing," Fernando walked over to the door in the back of the room and opened it. Immediately the room was filled with the screams of a woman from not far outside the door. Saveda instantly knew the source of the screams. "I do know," Fernando continued, "that you are apparently the only one who believes that the Order covers her."

"What are you doing to her?"

"Just trying to learn the truth about your mission. About your spy mission."

"You are crazy!! What are you talking about?" Saveda pulled on her bonds, which only reminded her even more clearly of her helpless situation, chained naked in the King's – now the General's – dungeon.

"She was caught spying into the courtyard and buildings. And then denied it. So now she is being … questioned."

The screams from outside the door continued. Saveda started to sob. She knew there was nothing she could do to stop whatever hideous torture was being inflicted on the helpless -- and innocent -- Carmen.


Chapter 16

Carmen's screams filled the courtyard as Dominick tightened the leather strap another inch. She could feel the metal push into each breast in three places – one straight into it and two at angles. She again closed her eyes, this time not with any hope that she would open them to find it had been a horrible nightmare – she quite knew that it was real -- but to stop herself from looking at the blood now oozing more rapidly from her breasts and dripping on the ground.

"With the next inch," Dominick again leaned over from behind her, "the spikes will nearly meet in the middle. That is not going to be a pretty site. So I think you should tell the Captain why you really came to the castle?"

Carmen's instincts were to try to pull her breasts free of the leather strap, but she knew that would destroy them even more, so she forced herself to remain as still as she could. This was not as still as she wanted as the pain forced her to squirm no matter how much she fought against it. So all she could do was continue to scream until her throat grew hoarse and her lungs exhausted.

Dominick noticed that the back door of the building – where he knew the dungeon was – had opened, and he walked over to it. Fernando could see his outline in the doorway, but Saveda was facing away from the door and could not.

"Has yours talked yet?" Fernando shouted toward the figure whom he knew was Dominick.

"She has, General!!" Dominick lied. "After being required to service all of Leandro's soldiers with every part of her body, and then subjected to additional incentives, she provided a full confession of her own guilt and that of the Duchess. The two of them wanted to learn the degree of our military strength and steal our military plans from the King's study, which is where they were hoping their meeting would be held."

"Good work," Fernando smiled his approval, knowing that the charade was only for Saveda's benefit. "In return for her cooperation, I will include that one – her name is Carmen, by the way – in the Safe Passage Order, even though her name is not mentioned in it. Just to show my appreciation and compassion for her honesty."

"Yes, General, you are most generous. Long may you rule," Dominick made sure all the soldiers heard him.

"But first make very sure that she has not withheld anything from her confession. We must not be too trusting in that regard."

"Most definitely, General." Dominick turned and walked back toward Leandro's soldiers. A few seconds later Saveda heard the most hideous grunt of pain she had ever heard, as Leandro tightened the leather strap another inch.


Chapter 17

"Stop!! Enough!! You have had your hideous fun!! You promised she would be included in the Safe Passage Order. Now honor it. You must let us both leave!!"

"Oh, good Duchess, I did agree to include your Carmen in the Safe Passage Order. And yes, she will be included to the full extent that you are included in it. But first I need you to answer my question, and, just like your dear Carmen, I am going to offer you some strong incentives to do so."

Fernando nodded toward Humberto, who moved behind Saveda and then returned to stand in front of her.

"Oh, my God!! You can't!! You wouldn't!! I have a right to Safe Passage!! I don't have to answer your questions!!" Saveda screamed as she saw the glowing branding iron that Humberto held, its end shaped in two concentric circles, the larger a full two inches in diameter, with both circles glowing red.

"He is going to apply this incentive first to a less tender part of your body, just so you can feel the pain it will cause and imagine it next being applied to more … sensitive areas." Humberto walked back behind the chained Saveda, who pulled as hard as she could on the bonds holding her limbs, twisting her body desperately in a hopeless struggle to free herself.

"I have safe passage!! You can't do …!!"

Humberto plunged the iron into the middle of Saveda's back before she could finish her protest. Her body leapt forward as far as her bonds allowed and her scream rivaled the one she had heard from Carmen's lips a minute earlier. Humberto held the hot metal against her skin for a full five seconds. When he withdrew it, Saveda's body held its over-stretched position for a second and then fell back as her head slumped to her chest.

Fernando walked up to Saveda and gripped her hair to force her to look up at him. "It gets worse. Much worse. Why don't you confess and save yourself so much more pain?"

"I … have … safe …."

"I know," Fernando said softly. "You have reminded us many times. And we will honor your safe passage, as I have promised you many times."

"You call this …. honoring it?"

"But, of course. Yes." Fernando's voice remained even. "We both know that you were wrong to think that the Order included your Carmen. And I am afraid that you are also wrong to think that we are violating it by demanding the truth from you." He continued to hold Saveda's hair, his eyes now close to hers. He looked down her sweat-soaked body and then back into her face.

"The King's Safe Passage Order granted you safe passage from the border of the King's land to the gates of the King's castle, did it not?" He did not wait for her reply. "That is the safe passage that you were promised. You were not promised anything once you were inside the gates."


Chapter 18

"And," Fernando continued, "I assure you, as I have promised, that you will be given safe passage for your return from the gates of the castle until you reach your brother's territory."

The look on Saveda's face slowly turned to one of horror.

"That is crazy!! No one would ever agree to that!!"

"I think you are correct that no one should ever agree to that," Fernando raised his voice in victory. "But your brother – and you – did. Now that we understand each other, and what we can and cannot do to obtain the truth from you, do you care to cooperate?"

Saveda saw Humberto walk in front of her, the iron's circles still glowing red.

"NNNNNoooooooo!!!" Saveda's shoulders shook as she screamed at Fernando. She meant only to express disbelief at her situation, but Fernando took it as her response to his question.

"A foolish choice, Duchess." Fernando moved to the side. Humberto stepped forward and jammed the iron up into the underside of Saveda's right breast. "GGGGaaaaaaa," Saveda threw her head back and screamed as she felt the burning heat from the iron against her soft flesh. Again, Leandro held the iron in place for a full five seconds before moving backward.

Saveda's screams continued even after Leandro had withdrawn the iron, joined quickly by a sudden stream of urine that poured out from between her legs and sprayed across the floor as she lost control of her bladder.

"You didn't think that we would treat you less harshly than your servant, did you? In fact, you bear far more guilt for your spy plans than she does, so your pain should be greater than hers."

Saveda straightened her head in time to see Humberto jam the hot iron directly into her left breast just below her nipple. This time the pain was too great, and her head slumped to her burned chest just as Humberto withdrew the iron.

Fernando raised Saveda's head once more by her hair and could see that she was unconscious. He saw Dominick again standing at the back door. "Her friend has passed out, too," Dominick told Fernando as soon as he had his attention. "What do you want us to do next?"

"It matters not whether they actually confess," Fernando advised. "We know they are guilty. But we do have our order to return them to her brother's territory. Get their horses and two carts. We will honor our word." Fernando laughed. "Well, at least we will honor the letter of our order."

"But first for you, dear Duchess," Fernando turned to his unconscious captive and lowered his pants. "You have so far escaped the fate suffered by your companion, whom I believe Dominick said was ravaged by at least six soldiers." He put his hands on her shoulders to give him more power to thrust his penis deeply into her fear-soaked pussy. "You," he thrust hard, "are lucky." He pushed deeper into her with a loud grunt of pleasure. "Since you," he plunged in as deeply as he could, his arms wrapping around her neck, her head still slumped, "get to have me." And then he continued to plunge into and out of her again …. and again … and again …, her breasts bouncing and her chained limbs stretching with each thrust.


Chapter 19

Several of Leandro's soldiers released Carmen from the pole and dragged her into the courtyard, where a small cart had been attached to her horse. They left the leather strap pulled tight around her chest, knowing that the spikes filling her wounds were stemming the flow of her blood. If they were removed, she would die from loss of blood before reaching the Duke's territory. They tied her wrists behind her back and her ankles together, then securing a cloth gag deep in her mouth before putting a black hood over her head. They tossed her, face up, into the cart.

Once Fernando finished his rape of Saveda, Leandro's men released her limbs from the dungeon chains and dragged her to a cart behind her horse, next to the one holding Carmen's body. They tied, gagged and hooded her in the same manner as they had Carmen and tossed her body into the cart, also face up.

"Twin conspirators," Fernando nodded his approval to Leandro. "Now remember, from the time that you leave the gates until you enter the Duke's territory, they are to receive safe passage. We keep our word."


Chapter 20

It took Leandro and his men three hours to reach the border between the rivals' territories, marked by a shallow stream. Carmen and Saveda both had begun to stir an hour into the trip, but, tied, gagged and hooded, the soldiers ignored them except for an occasional glance at their naked bodies. Carmen's breasts, they all knew, were damaged beyond repair, but Saveda's branded breasts, though unsightly, would not have stopped any of them from enjoying her pleasures if Leandro allowed it. For that matter, with the leather strap still covering her deformed breasts, they all would also have enjoyed Carmen's remaining charms if given the opportunity.

The men startled for a second, and prepared for battle, when they saw a small band of ruffians in the distance ride toward them. After a few seconds, though, Leandro recognized them as men loyal to the King who could not yet know of his demise.

"Caleb, you are awfully close to the border," Leandro chided the ruffians' leader with a smile.

"We have no choice, friend, but to carry our raids across the border, since no one from the Duke's castle ever enters the King's territory anymore." He noticed the two carts and rode closer to examine their contents. "Except two women passed by this morning. But we could see that several King's guards were protecting them from a distance. In fact, an advance scout told us they were traveling to see the King and we were not to approach them for any reason. Are these the two?"

"They are," Leandro confirmed.

Caleb gave a hearty laugh. "I see that they did not fare well at all on their visit."

"They turned out to be spies."

"So why are they still alive?" Caleb dismounted and touched Saveda's right breast – she shrunk at his unexpected touch. "And why return them in this condition to the Duke? It seems like a lot of trouble just to show him what happens to his captured spies."

"It is a long and unimportant story. We are bringing them to the Duke or to his castle, but only to his territory just across the stream. Then we will return to the King's castle to prepare for war with the Duke."

"Ah, excellent," Caleb re-mounted his horse, liking very much what he had just heard. "May we join you in your war in return for half the booty that we capture?"

"Of course. That is the usual arrangement." Leandro signaled his men to cross the shallow stream into the Duke's territory. Caleb's men crossed with them.


Chapter 21

A hundred yards past the stream Leandro signaled his men to stop. Without a word, they dismounted and began to pound stakes into the ground. Four stakes that formed a rectangle with two of the sides twice as long as the other two. And another four stakes in the same configuration ten feet away.

The purpose was obvious to Caleb and his men. "You are leaving them here?" he asked Leandro, wanting to confirm what was now apparent. "And then you are going back to the castle?"

"Yes," Leandro responded. "Just as I told you before."

After finishing pounding the eight stakes into the ground, Leandro's men pulled the two women out of the carts. Each had regained sufficient strength to protest loudly through their gags as they were carried over to the stakes. Their limbs were untied and then re-tied to the stakes, leaving them each tied face upward and spread-eagled. The men left the gags deep in their throats and their hoods over their heads.

"This is not the King's land," Leandro turned to Caleb, "so my men are not in control of what happens here. I ask only that you leave that one" – he pointed toward Saveda's stretched body – "right where she is. The other one" – he nodded toward Carmen – "you can do with what you want. But if you take off the leather strap around her chest, I am quite certain she will bleed to death. We will be back tomorrow with the rest of the King's army to attack the Duke. You should be prepared to join us then if you wish to share in the booty."

"Oh, my friend," Caleb smiled as Leandro turned to lead his men back to the King's castle, "I think we are going to share in the booty right now."


Chapter 22

Leandro was disappointed the next day when Fernando ordered him and his men to guard the rear flank of his attacking army, which put Leandro at least an hour behind the main assault on the Duke's castle. He wondered how much booty there would be left for him and his men when they finally arrived, as he figured that Fernando's forces were far superior to the Duke's, and that their battering rams would make short work of the Duke's main gate and walls. But he could not defy the new General's order.

Until he was crossing the stream into the Duke's territory, Leandro had forgotten about the two women that he had left for Caleb and his men. He was surprised to find both staked out exactly where his men had left them the previous day. He signaled his men to continue toward the Duke's castle, while he rode closer for a better view.

He dismounted between the two spread-eagled women and could see that the wrists of each remained tied to the stakes to which they had been secured, but their ankles had been untied. He surmised that, after several of Caleb's men had raped each woman, the others had untied and lifted their ankles to sodomize them. He had no guess as to how many of Fernando's soldiers had also violated the women throughout the day on their journey to the Duke's castle. The semen, some dried and some still wet, between their legs, and on their stomachs and thighs, made it clear to him that it had been more than a few.

Leandro turned to Carmen, and saw that Caleb's men – or perhaps Fernando's soldiers -- had removed the leather strap around her chest. He winced as he stared at what he envisioned had been her large and beautiful breasts, having never seen them in their full glory. Now, had he not looked below her waist, he would not have been sure whether the victim had been a man or a woman. He knew, however, that he had been right about one thing – she had not survived long after the deep spikes attached to the leather strap had been pulled out of her chest. The vast loss of blood covered her chest and the ground around her, some of it still wet all these hours later.

Leandro next turned to Saveda. Added to the burns she had suffered from the branding iron were deep whip marks across her chest, stomach and legs. Perhaps, he thought, one of the men was so disgusted that he could not enjoy her in her present condition that he had taken out his frustration on her. Or perhaps he just got pleasure from whipping a helpless woman.

Leandro looked closely at Saveda's body and was startled to realize that … she was still alive. He watched her chest rise and fall ever so slightly. He put his ear to her mouth and heard faint gurgling sounds escaping the gag. He removed the hood and saw that her eyes were open and staring. He removed the gag. She apparently did not have the strength to close her mouth or add any sound to the murmur of her escaping breath.

He thought about what he should do. He could quickly put her out of her misery – after all, she had been suffering for a full 24 hours; wasn't that enough, given that she was entirely innocent, no matter what he or the others claimed? He could just leave her there for the Duke to discover. Still, if he did that, he doubted that the Duke would ever learn what happened to his sister. No, he likely would be killed in the battle or executed immediately following it. But perhaps he would find a way to flee in this direction and come across her. He would deserve to see her fate. Or maybe he would be captured and dragged to see the fate that she suffered because he had not stopped her from making her journey for peace.

Or, Leandro thought, he could untie her and bring her to the Duke's castle to make sure, if it was not yet too late, that the Duke not only learned of her fate, but saw the suffering she had been made to endure.

Or he could find Caleb, and give him the permission that he had previously denied him to move her and take her. Or he could move her himself.

Or he could just leave her there, where Fernando's men might have a chance to enjoy her some more, whether she was barely alive or newly dead. Although he wondered how much enjoyment she could still provide.

Leandro wasn't immediately sure what should be Saveda's ultimate fate. But, with all of the other soldiers already far ahead of him, he knew what should be her immediate fate. He pulled his penis out of his pants.

END




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