(Setting: A 14th century medieval village)
The word spread quickly around the village that the men who had set out to track down the rebels who had murdered the village's constable had caught up with their prey. The previous night, the constable's naked body, wrists tied behind his back, had been hung by the neck from a scaffold in the village's main square to be found by the villagers the next morning. A band of vigilantes was quickly dispatched to catch the culprits and one had returned early with the news that two of the four escaped rebels had been captured and were being brought back to the village to face their punishment for his murder.
Expecting the arrival of the captives within an hour, several villagers quickly raised four wooden poles on an elevated platform in the village square. The poles were six feet high and set five feet apart. Chains ending in metal manacles had been attached to the top and bottom of each one so that each pair could secure one of the two captives spread-eagled, facing the crowd. The villagers had previously punished petty criminals – thieves, drunks, women who disobeyed their husbands – with lashes of the whip or hours in the stocks, but they had never had to deal with a crime like this until now. Which was why they needed to erect the wooden poles.
By the time the villagers had finished their work, a large crowd had gathered in front of the square's platform. And within moments, they could hear footsteps down the road. Soon they could see the two captives, surrounded by ten men, wrists tied behind their backs and chains around their necks, being pulled by the men walking in front of them.
As the group drew nearer, the roar of the crowd grew. But not just in anticipation of the fate of the captives who had murdered their constable. No. The roar grew as the crowd noticed something they had not at all expected. Both of the captives were women. One was blonde and as tall as her male captors, about 5'9", 140 pounds and strongly built. The other was dark-haired and smaller, perhaps no more than 5'4" and 110 pounds. Each wore a brown leather bra and shorts, as well as sandals strapped to mid-calf.
The men leading the captives forced them onto the platform until each stood between one set of the newly constructed poles. As their captors unchained their necks and wrists before shackling their limbs spread-eagled to the manacles dangling from the poles, the dead constable's assistant took a step forward.
"These two rebels are among those who murdered our beloved constable. Of that, there is no doubt. Not even they would dare deny it." He turned to face them. Both were now fully chained to the poles, their wrists high above them. The blonde was tall enough that her feet could touch the wooden platform, but the smaller woman had to struggle for her toes to relieve some of the pressure already building in her shoulders and wrists. Neither offered a word, so the assistant turned back to the crowd, his point apparently proven.
"The constabulary will take full responsibility for administering the proper punishment for the cold-blooded assassination of a village official. That punishment, of course, is death." The women knew that this would be their penalty, but both instinctively pulled on their chains in a hopeless effort to get free.
"And that is slow death by torture," added the assistant constable. The crowd roared its approval. The smaller woman's body tensed and a soft grunt escaped her lips. Both captives turned their attention – as did all in the crowd – to another man, who walked to the center of the platform and stood behind the assistant. He was large, bare-chested and hooded. In his waistband, he carried a metal studded whip, metal pincers, and other tools. Behind him, two volunteers carried a glowing brazier filled with hot coals onto the platform.
"However, this sentence does not mean that the people have no role in its execution," continued the assistant. "No. Before the actual sentence is carried out, there will be three preliminary stages, and, for each stage, I ask for four adult volunteers to assist with the retribution of each captive. I will need a total of 24 able bodied men and women.
"They will complete the three ‘S' stages that help prolong the prisoners' suffering. The first stage is the Stripping of the captives. The second stage is the Softening of the captives. And the third stage is the Shaming of the captives. Only after these stages have been completed will the final Suffering – a fourth S – begin.
The two captives had tried to appear stoic as the details of their punishment – preliminary stages followed by terminal torture – were explained to them, but the smaller woman was already writhing in obvious fear, her body bathed in sweat, her muscles tense and her toes struggling to find the wooden deck.
By now, the required number of volunteers had lined up along the sides of the platform to await the signal for their participation. The assistant constable stepped down and returned to the crowd.
The hooded torturer moved to stand next to the woman on the left and announced to the crowd, "We will conduct each stage entirely on one captive before moving on to the other. We will start with this one," he pointed at the smaller of the two women, "whom we heard the rebels refer to as Tasha."
He handed a knife to the first volunteer, a middle-aged man, and signaled for him to cut one of Tasha's shoulder straps. The man pushed the knife under the thin leather strap and cut it. The crowd roared, as it would after each volunteer's contribution to the event. The man walked back toward the torturer and handed the knife to the second volunteer, another middle age man, who walked up to Tasha and cut her other shoulder strap.
The third volunteer was an elderly woman, who took the knife and walked in front of the chained woman. The old woman spit into Tasha's face. "You deserve what you will get from us and then you deserve to rot in hell." She moved behind her and cut the back strap, sending her bra to the ground, exposing her nicely shaped, average sized breasts, and increasing the crowd's frenzy of approval, even more so because the spectators could see Tasha's chest already heaving in terror.
The fourth volunteer, a younger woman, also walked in front of Tasha. "The man you murdered was my husband." she screamed at her. "You left two small children without a father!! You are lucky that I am not the one torturing you!!" She flicked the knife through one side of Tasha's shorts, which fell away to hang around her other leg, exposing a small triangle of dark hair between her legs. The constable's widow turned toward the fifth volunteer, who signaled her to finish Tasha's stripping herself. The widow smiled and cut the other side of Tasha's shorts, which dropped to the ground, leaving her naked except for her strapped sandals.
The widow walked up to the chained woman, held the knife near the nipple of her left breast and turned to the torturer. "I trust you will cut these off before you are finished!!" she yelled at him, before storming off the platform, the knife still in her hand.
The stripping of the second captive, whom the torturer said was called Lilia, was not as dramatic, but nonetheless generated two loud cheers. The first came when her bra dropped to the ground, revealing breasts so large the crowd's women were filled with envy and the men with desire. The second cheer rose when the removal of her shorts revealed she was completely shaved between her legs, something none of them had seen before in a post-adolescent woman.
"She's a real Amazon," several men shouted, apparently unaware that the Amazon legend had nothing to do with trimmed pubic hair, but rather the removal of one breast to facilitate archery skills.
The torturer allowed the villagers several minutes to hurl insults at the two naked rebels displayed before them, before moving on to the Softening stage. Again, he started with Tasha. A young man walked up to her, stared at her for a moment, then punched her hard in the stomach, knocking the wind completely out of her. She made an effort to suck in air, but was hindered by her inability to double over. Before she could recover, a second man, and then a third also punched her hard in the stomach, leaving her wheezing and rasping as she struggled desperately to catch her breath.
The fourth volunteer was again the constable's widow. "Glad to see me again?" She smiled before delivering as hard a kick between Tasha's legs as she could. A loud grunt escaped Tasha's lips, and she started to cough and gag. The widow simply watched, leaving the platform only as her victim started to recover, just in time for the fifth volunteer to punch her hard in the face, knocking her head backward and then forward.
When the woman's head fell to her chest, she hung unconscious in her chains as her bladder released its contents. As a stream of urine splattered to the deck, the crowd unleashed a stream of vulgarities. "That small one is weak. Three to one she's dead before the other one."
Having seen the nature of the "Softening" conducted on Tasha, the volunteers working on Lilia used the same techniques, with several kicking her between her legs. She allowed several grunts to escape her lips, but she maintained consciousness. "Make that five to one," the man who had offered lesser odds now shouted.
For the Shaming stage, the torturer started with Lilia rather than the still unconscious Tasha. The first volunteer squeezed her large breasts until she grunted in pain and tried to twist out of his grasp. The second probed between her legs with his fingers as deeply as he could, pushing through her attempted resistance. The third then looked at the torturer and pointed toward his penis. The torturer gave no indication of disapproval. The man unbuttoned his pants and thrust deeply into Lilia's sex. She thrust against her chains and released a guttural moan, but the sound was unlike the grunts of pain she had emitted earlier.
The volunteer let out a bestial snort and climaxed in less than thirty seconds before stepping back from Lilia's quivering body. As the woman's genitals were completely shaven and exposed, the torturer could easily see that her labia were moist and glistening. As the fluid leaking from inside her was too thin to be her assailant's ejaculate, the torturer could only conclude the Shaming had served more to stimulate the prisoner than humiliate her as intended. This angered him.
He looked at Lilia's face, only to find her already glaring at him with wide-eyed defiance. She gave him a subtle smile, almost as if to say "thank-you", then thrust her ample bosom forward to taunt him with her sexuality. It was as if she were telling him that these "preliminary stages" were child's play – that she was impatient to proceed to her final act, in which she would be slowly tortured to death. And even that did not seem to frighten her.
"Is that the best you can do?" she said, speaking for the first time since being displayed on the platform. Her voice was clear, resolute and filled with venom. "Many men have seen me naked, and these weaklings can punch my flesh for hours without quelling my spirit. As for degrading my womanhood, you can see that I rather enjoyed the attention. It's always more fun in front of an audience."
"Curse you, rebel bitch!" The torturer's anger grew more intense. "Perhaps your wanton insolence shields you from shame and lesser punishments, but I assure you, you will be begging me to hasten your death when I carry out your ultimate sentence."
"Ha! I will never beg from a pathetic, insignificant minion like you!" Lilia shouted at him. The crowd gasped. "Torture me all you like… rip my body to pieces… but I will die proud, damning you with my final words." She pulled at her chains, rattling the metal links for emphasis.
The torturer barely managed to contain his rage. "We shall see. I will test your resolve soon enough, but first I must deal with your less persevering friend. Perhaps after you witness her penance – and yes, thanks to your obstinate behavior, I will ensure to begin her sentence before yours – your impudence will abate somewhat."
"She is no more than a comrade in arms, a fellow soldier in our fight," Lilia said impassively. "I do not care about her, nor what you do to her." It was a lie, but Lilia was determined to maintain her bravado at all costs, even if it meant betraying the woman with whom she had made passionate love the night before.
Tasha groaned and lifted her head as she gradually regained consciousness. Lilia hoped her dark haired friend had not heard what she said. Tasha would not understand that the words were spoken only to provoke their tormentor. She was too innocent and naïve to display contempt. She also was far less courageous than her blonde lover, and not nearly as strong either physically or emotionally.
Lilia tried to see Tasha's vulnerability in a positive light. At the least, it meant her journey to the grave would be comparatively short.
Noticing the smaller captive had revived, the torturer lined up the remaining volunteers as the assembled onlookers yelled, "Shame the rebel whore!" They had not forgotten that Tasha had yet to endure the last of the preliminary stages.
"Oh no… please…" Tasha whimpered. "No more…"
"Twenty to one in favor of the busty wench!" shouted the man whose odds predicting Tasha outliving Lilia were falling like a two ton boulder dropped into the sea.
The torturer nodded to the first volunteer, a man in his twenties, who charged at Tasha's delectable breasts like a wolf attacking an injured calf. The Shaming stage for Tasha needed to mirror the one imposed on Lilia, so the mauling of the woman's tits, though they were smaller than those of the blonde captive, continued for the same amount of time before the volunteer was relieved of his duty. A young woman replaced him, and repeated the rough pussy fondling which Lilia had experienced earlier.
Although Tasha's shaming unfolded in the same sequence as Lilia's, the torturer was pleased to note that the routine was proving much more effective this time. Unlike Lilia, who had merely grunted like a rutting beast throughout her violation, Tasha wailed in disgrace and struggled fiercely against her bonds. The look of revulsion on her face showed not the slightest sign of fulfillment. She showed none of the audacity of her companion.
The female volunteer stepped away, revealing a thin stream of blood trickling from Tasha's vagina and down the inner thigh of her left leg. The encounter had certainly not been a pleasant one. When the last volunteer moved into position, the torturer ensured that the final act of shaming would be worse for Tasha than it was for Lilia. This time, he was taking no chances.
The volunteer of course was male, a well muscled and well hung man approaching 40. He had already pulled his massive manhood from his pants when the torturer signaled for him to walk around his mark and approach her from behind. The man smiled broadly, understanding immediately what was expected of him.
Tasha's howl of agony could be heard across the village and beyond. With a single, energetic thrust, the volunteer had buried the full extent of his enormous shaft in her rectum. The crowd, which this time had an unobstructed frontal view of the rebel female, watched in awe as her body was launched forward with such force, it seemed her limbs would be ripped from the chains.
Momentarily arched taut, she was pulled back as the man raping her prepared for a second onslaught. As he pushed even deeper, Tasha let out another scream and was propelled forward again. She bucked to and fro as the brutal anal assault went on, her cries growing gradually weaker until she passed out. Her defilement had not lasted as long as Lilia's, but when the torturer saw more blood dripping between her spread legs, he decided she had suffered enough. After all, he did not wish to get ahead of himself.
The torturer raised his hand, and somewhat reluctantly, the last volunteer stepped down from the platform and joined the crowd of onlookers. Tasha hung limply from her chains, unconscious once again.
"You evil bastard!" Lilia cursed him. "You had no right to treat her more harshly than I."
The torturer laughed. "You are in no position to tell me my rights. Besides, it is your fault that your friend's shaming was worse than yours. Had you not so flagrantly undermined the process, I would not have had to increase its severity. You thought you could mock me by flaunting your unbridled female desires and satisfying your carnal appetite – but you have only succeeded in causing your fellow insurgent far more anguish than she would otherwise have endured."
"Very well. If I have offended you, then take your anger out on me," Lilia said, making sure not to sound as if she were pleading. "Make me the target of your wrath, not her. She does not deserve this."
"Quite the contrary. It is through your friend's suffering that you will ultimately submit to me. You may not beg for your own life, but I am willing to bet you will beg for hers. That is why I have chosen to deal with her first. You claim this bitch means nothing to you… that she is only another fighter for your cause, but already you ask that I alleviate her pain. Perhaps you are not the selfish mercenary you pretend to be."
Lilia realized her captor was outwitting her. If she begged him to kill Tasha quickly or even lessen her punishment, she would be submitting to him – exactly what she swore she would never do. If she pleaded for mercy, either for herself or the woman she loved, Lilia would be defeated in both body and spirit.
Her pride had betrayed her. Rather than accept her fate with silent and stoic resolve, she stupidly had roused the ire of her executioner, who would most assuredly use Tasha to exult his dominance and grind Lilia's dignity to dust. But she could not let that happen, even if it meant that both she and Tasha would be forced to endure a viciously ruthless demise more relentless than what any human, female or even male, had previously experienced.
"I told you Lilia's plan was a bad idea," said the blonde woman as she crouched down next to the stream to fill her wineskin with fresh water.
"But the constable had been told of the rebellion, and he had discovered we supported it. We had no choice… we had to kill him before he arrested us," replied her companion, a dark brunette appropriately named Sable.
The blonde woman, known as Edwina, sighed. "Like I said earlier, he would have told his assistant, and perhaps other village officials. By the time we killed him, it was already too late."
"That's why we displayed his body in the main square. To intimidate the villagers and to deter them from pursuing us…"
"Which obviously worked perfectly," Edwina said sarcastically. "As if a community with almost 200 able-bodied men would be frightened of four women. Hanging the constable's naked corpse for all to see simply enraged them, and increased their desire for revenge. If at least we had hidden the body, we may have had a longer head start, but knowing our identities and what we had done, they wasted not a second to hunt us down. It's a miracle that you and I managed to outwit the vigilantes… though I'm sure they will come after us again as soon as they have dealt with Lilia and Tasha."
Sable shuddered. "The thought of what they must be going through at this very moment… it fills me with dread."
"Their punishment will be extremely cruel, you can be sure of that," Edwina agreed. "But although Lilia is my sister, it is hard for me to pity her. She is… was our leader, and she made some very bad choices. Perhaps it is fitting that she is made to pay for her mistakes."
"And what of Tasha?" Sable was taken aback by Edwina's icy lack of empathy. "Do you feel sorry for her?"
"She should not have joined our cause. Tasha is weak and has no experience as a fighter. My sister convinced her to become one of us to satisfy her sexual desires and to have someone who would support her foolish schemes. It is unfortunate that Tasha is so naïve, but as she chose unwisely, perhaps she too deserves the grim fate that awaits her. "
"Tasha has a frail disposition. I suspect she will succumb quickly and be spared the worst pains of her ordeal." Not as callous as Edwina, Sable tried to imagine that the relatively innocent captive's destiny would be less severe, if only slightly.
"You could be right. My sister, however, will likely suffer a long time before she expires. Lilia has the strength of two women combined." Edwina stared off into the distance, imagining what was in store for her captured comrades. "But we should not waste time grieving for our companions. We must hasten our way to safety and elude those who will inevitably come after us."
Her wineskin refilled, Edwina stood up and watched Sable bend over to replenish her water supply as well. The woman's long, dark hair was tied together at the back and fell across one shoulder. Like all the rebel females, she too was attired in a leather bra, shorts and high-strapped sandals. At 5'8" and 125 pounds, she was slightly smaller than the formidable Lilia, but like her leader, she was blessed with a copious bosom which rose high and proud on her otherwise slim torso.
As Sable stooped forward, Edwina admired the deep cleavage of the woman's bountiful breasts as they pushed against the tight constraints of her scanty top. There was much about Sable to admire, but Edwina had kept her passions private, not wanting to display them as shamelessly as Lilia had.
Lilia had always been more audacious and uninhibited than her younger sister. She was stronger, fiercer and braver than Edwina, who took pride in being cautious and maintaining her modesty. Of the four women, Edwina sported the most demure outfit, her top covering most of her charms, which though larger than Tasha's, were not as generous as Lilia's or Sable's. By contrast, the latter two women, wore skimpier bras which they laced up only part-way to expose their abundant attributes.
Until now, her sister's lack of reticence and unchaste nature had annoyed Edwina, who frequently envied the resulting attention lavished on her older sibling. But as it turned out, Lilia's sexual allure and robust temperament proved to be her downfall. When cornered by the vigilantes, Lilia held her ground and chose to fight her enemies, allowing Edwina and Sable to continue their flight. As the ever-faithful Tasha cowered in fear and remained with her lover, Lilia's futile struggle against ten villagers kept them from pursuing the other two rebels.
Once the men had restrained Lilia and Tasha, the latter stupidly volunteered that the busty blonde was the group's leader, hoping that they would be spared if she cooperated. Of course, this was not to be. Instead, the vigilantes, all male and all aroused by Lilia's physical assets and combative spirit, realized they had caught the main prize. The two who had slipped away could wait till later. The men knew where they were headed, and once they had returned with their captives, a party of trackers on horseback was all it would take to capture them.
After filling her wineskin, Sable straightened up to catch Edwina absentmindedly staring at her chest. Sable had long suspected the blonde had an interest in her, but did not let on – preferring instead to play coy and tease her friend. Edwina blushed, not only because Sable returned her gaze, but also because she was ashamed at her lack of compassion for her sister. Did she really believe that Lilia deserved such savage retribution because of her wanton ways? Or was she being influenced by her own jealousy?
"It is still a long way to Dar-adith," said Sable. "We had best be on our way. If the villagers send another party after us on horseback, we are doomed."
"We are most likely doomed no matter what," Edwina replied pessimistically. "I am not certain that our fellow rebels in Dar-adith have been more successful than we have. I was told the insurgents there had overthrown the village, but it was no more than a rumor. But it is the only place we can go to find sanctuary… if we manage to get there."
"But if we walk quickly and elude any other parties sent to capture us, we can make it." Unlike Edwina, Sable was more optimistic.
"It is not the villagers I fear," said Edwina. "And despite the harsh, barren countryside, we have found this meager stream and now have enough water to make our journey if we stay to the banks. Nonetheless, there are many other perils in this land…"
"Like the nomads?" said Sable, her voice suddenly nervous.
"Like the nomads," Edwina echoed. She watched the dark haired beauty pull at her revealing top as if trying to stretch the small patches of leather to better conceal the voluptuous proof of her femininity.
"Aaaiieeeegh!!" Tasha released an ear piercing scream as the whip slashed across her back and curled around her torso just under her breasts. The assistant constable nodded in approval. He had just announced the final ‘S': Suffering – by far the longest of the four stages, and the one which would culminate with the death of the culprits.
Having overseen the punishment of numerous village miscreants, the assistant constable knew the torturer had a great deal of experience with the lash, but never had he seen the brawny brute wield this particular knout. It featured not only a gnarled leather thong, but along its length were dozens of metal studs which could tear deep into a victim's flesh.
The effectiveness of this weapon was immediately apparent as Tasha sustained the first of the 30 strokes to which she was sentenced. As the torturer pulled back the devious implement, the thong slashed across the captive's body, ripping through her skin and leaving a thin, bloody groove which extended from beneath her left breast, across her sternum, along her side and halfway across her back.
As the studs carved into her, Tasha let out a second cry, this one even louder than the first. The pain was far beyond anything she had felt before. Standing several feet behind her, the torturer could see neither the anguish etched in Tasha's face nor the damage incurred to the front of her torso, but her screams were more than enough to assure him that his efforts were effective.
The crowd watched in fascination as the dark-haired woman's splayed, naked body caromed back and forth from her chains. Her pert breasts bounced enticingly on her chest, arousing the male spectators, and more than a few of the women. This erotic dance of agony, along with Tasha's wailing and the bloody welt caused by the whip combined to create a lurid display which clearly delighted the onlookers. They had seen many female convicts stripped and punished, but never before like this. Then again, never before had the criminal been an assassin who murdered a village official.
The torturer waited almost a minute before delivering the second stroke. He was proficient at his craft, and knew well that a slow, well-paced delivery not only heightened the anticipation for the crowd, but gave the victim time to recover between blows. The 30 lashes were just the beginning of her sentence, and as there would be more to follow Tasha's whipping, it was imperative that the physical damage inflicted would not kill her or leave her unable to appreciate further torments. Also, by taking his time, the torturer could extend the woman's agony, causing her to suffer psychologically as she awaited the next crack of the thong.
When he finally released the lash a second time, it landed just as the torturer had intended, several inches below the first stroke. It cut across Tasha's slender waist and once more made short work of tearing through her flesh, drawing blood in a narrow line which almost encircled her body. Another high-pitched screech filled the air, and the captive again bucked in her chains, unwittingly performing her lascivious dance of torment.
Another minute's wait was followed by a third blow, lower still, tearing directly across Tasha's groin, hips and backside. The metal studs crossed her sex, cleaving her tender vulva and releasing a crimson spray. This was the most painful stroke yet, as attested by the woman's lusty cries. Lilia turned away. She had seen the first three lashes, but this one was so harsh, she could no longer watch her lover's suffering.
And so, the statuesque blonde did not see a fourth swing slice through the soft tissue of Tasha's bust. It landed just under the nipple of her left breast, then passed over her cleavage and along the upper slope of her right tit until it curved around her shoulder and back. Of course, another scream followed, and this chilling cry was something Lilia could not ignore. She closed her eyes and sobbed quietly.
By now, more than a dozen rivulets of blood oozed across the front of Tasha's body, meander over her breasts and midsection and along her thighs. From behind, the torturer could see several more streams run down her back and over her swelling buttocks. The assistant constable nodded again, as if to say, "Good work." The crowd of villagers watched enthralled as this exquisite creature was slowly and viciously scourged.
The torturer, proud of his work, took a moment to appreciate the acclaim of his audience. He had administered only four strokes, and already he knew his display was drawing the desired reactions – from his boss, from the spectators, and most importantly, from his victim. He smiled as he thought of the many ways he could apply the whip to increase her suffering and entertain the crowd. After all, he still had 26 lashes to administer.
Perhaps a small mercy for Tasha, she had already lost count of the punishing blows, and so had no idea that dozens of strokes still lay ahead.
Edwina remained wary of all that occurred around her as she and Sable made slow progress along the stream which both had agreed would surely lead to Dar-adith. Fortunately, they were travelling at mid-day, with the sun still high overhead. As a result the view across the deserted plain was clear and for the most part unobscured. There were a few rocky outcrops and some straggly old trees here and there, but it was unlikely that danger lurked nearby. Edwina felt confident that their travels were safe for the moment.
However, had the two women been travelling at night, she was certain that by now they would be dead. After dark, the fierce nomadic tribes roamed the countryside and preyed on foolish travelers who did not know of their existence or their barbaric practices. Two women in particular would be easy targets for the mostly male warriors, who rode on horseback and would consider young, attractive females like Edwina and Sable to be exceptionally prized quarry.
Edwina prayed that they would arrive at their neighboring village before nightfall. If they did not, she knew she would not live to see the morning. After the sun set, not only would the women be vulnerable to the nomads and other dangers lurking unseen around them, they would certainly have been tracked by men from their own village, perhaps already on their way to bring back the remaining rebels who had assassinated the constable.
Edwina did not know what would be worse. The savagery of the nomads was legendary, but perhaps the punishment for committing treason and murder would be more brutal than anything the comparatively primitive tribes could mete out. Better still, maybe the quickest death would be an encounter with one of the hungry leopards which prowled the plains, looking to devour unwary game under the cover of darkness.
Edwina put such thoughts out of her mind and tried to remain hopeful.
"Will we make it to Dar-adith in time?" Sable said, as if reading Edwina's mind. In fact, she had already asked the same question twice previously, and once again, Edwina could only answer that she did not know.
She stopped for a moment, as she did every five minutes, and scanned the horizon. She squinted in the bright sun, then let out a gasp as her gaze turned westward.
"Oh no! No… No… No…" she muttered, her voice quavering with fear. "It's too soon. We should have had at least another six hours! It's so unfair!"
Sable turned to look in the direction her blonde companion was facing. At first she saw nothing, but then, off in the distance, she noticed a cloud of dust approaching them. "Horses…" she said dejectedly.
"Quick, we must hide," said Edwina. Fortunately, there was one of the frequent rocky outcrops just ahead. It did not provide a lot of cover, but if the riders who would soon be upon them did not suspect they were there, it might be enough to conceal the two women. They scrambled ahead, shuffling their feat so as not to leave footprints, then darted behind the small granite ridge. They shuddered as they heard the sound of hooves clomping on the ground, growing ever closer.
"They seem to be heading right for us," whispered Sable. "As if they know where we are hiding…"
"Don't worry," Edwina tried to reassure her. "Most likely, they are just following the stream just as we were. If they are men from our village sent to capture us, they may have guessed we are heading to Dar-adith, in which case they will take the same route we are on. If they pass by us, it will be to our advantage, as they will not find us if they get to the village before we do."
"But they may wait for us there…"
"If, as I have heard, the rebels in Dar-adith have been successful, the vigilantes looking for us will be encouraged to move on. They will not risk drawing the ire of a hostile community by overstaying what is likely to be a frosty welcome." Edwina realized this was far from certain, but added, "Don't give up hope yet."
As the sound of the horses became louder still, Edwina raised a finger to her lips, warning Sable to remain totally silent. The dust cloud raised by the horses blew over them, indicating the riders were just a few dozen yards away. And then the clomping of the hooves stopped. For a moment, Edwina could hear only the braying of the animals. The horsemen apparently had halted on the other side of the outcrop. This was not good.
When the men began talking – and judging by their voices, the riders not surprisingly were male – Edwina knew immediately that they were not from her village. They spoke in a language she could not understand. Based on those she could hear, Edwina guessed there were between five and ten of them, maybe more. Not knowing their tongue, she had no idea why they had stopped – but at least they had not come around the ridge to attack them. Despite their proximity, these men, whoever they were, did not seem to be on the hunt.
Edwina and Sable looked at each other in terror. "Nomads?" they mouthed silently, wondering the same thing. As the group clearly did not come from either their village or from Dar-adith, it was almost certain that the men were from one of the migrant tribes. Edwina closed her eyes and desperately hoped these barbarians would simply pass by.
After ten minutes, which seemed an eternity to the two fugitives, one of the riders – apparently the leader of the tribe – barked an order, and as quickly as they had arrived, the men again were on their way, apparently continuing along the stream. To be safe, Edwina and Sable crouched behind the rocks for another ten minutes to ensure the threat had passed. When they could no longer hear the hooves in the distance, they slowly emerged from their hiding place.
Once again, Edwina looked toward the horizon, this time facing East.
"That's odd," she said. "I can't see the dust cloud. How could they travel so far so fast?" Edwina clambered up the outcrop to get a better view from the top of the ridge. "I can't see a thing," she said, somewhat perplexed.
"Perhaps they changed direction?" Sable offered.
The minute she heard Sable's words, Edwina's heart jumped as adrenaline surged through her body. But it was too late.
"Uuunnnggghh!!" she cried out as she felt the sharp pain of something puncturing her back… an arrow penetrating through her right shoulder blade. The pain was instantaneous and acute. As she struggled to remain upright, Edwina realized that some of the nomads had doubled back, sneaking up behind the ridge to assess how many adversaries they faced. Finding only two unarmed females, the men had only to wait until the pair stepped into the open before seizing the advantage.
Edwina turned to look behind her. She saw five nomads on horseback, each with a crossbow aimed at her body. One had already launched his bolt into her back, and she expected the other four to fire shortly. Then she remembered the ways of the nomadic tribes. Edwina would not be fortunate enough to die where she stood.
As the men laughed at the wounded blonde, her vision blurred and she plunged forward onto the rocks. She could not break her fall, and landed awkwardly on a large boulder, her breasts cushioning her landing only slightly. The arrow projected up from her back, its impact not lethal, but excruciatingly painful nonetheless. She looked to one side and watched Sable sprint away in panic, only to be cut off by a half dozen more armed riders.
Like a startled dear trapped by hunters, Sable darted to the left, trying to evade both groups of nomads. Two crossbow bolts were shot at her, but thanks to the lithe woman's fleet footwork, she managed to dodge both.
"Run, Sable, run…" Edwina moaned softly, before her vision darkened and she drifted into unconsciousness.
"Twenty-seven!" the crowd shouted in unison as the torturer brought down his whip for the twenty-seventh time. The thong fell vertically, descending along the middle of Tasha's back before cleaving her buttocks and snapping against the bottom of her crotch. The stroke was enough to draw yet another shriek from the captive, but it was clear her strength was waning. Her cries had grown progressively less energetic and her body wobbled with far less vigor than it had when the punishment began.
As Tasha began fading around the twentieth blow, the onlookers began chanting the number of each stroke, as if cheering her on so that she would remain conscious until the scourging was complete.
"Twenty-eight!" yelled the mob after another minute had passed. For the sixth time, the lash sunk into Tasha's bosom, leaving yet another bleeding furrow across the woman's chest. By now, it was obvious that her breasts were the torturer's favorite target, and the damage incurred on both was significant. They were completely covered in blood, which poured freely over the soft curves before dripping into a growing puddle on the wooden planks below. A half dozen dark welts crisscrossed the jiggling flesh, a testament to the accuracy of the torturer's aim.
Yet the wounds defacing Tasha's delectable tits were but a fraction of those spread across the rest of her body. From her upper arms to her knees, she was covered with dozens of crimson streaks, both on her front as well as her back. Blood ran down the length of her naked figure in countless streams, eventually dripping into the pool on the platform.
It was a scene of horror, especially for Lilia, who stole an occasional glance at her ravaged comrade, only to vomit in disgust at what she witnessed. And though she desperately wanted to plead for Tasha – to beg for her life – she knew she could not. Lilia vowed never to appease her captors, and no matter how grim was Tasha's torture, she could only look on helplessly and suppress her sorrow. For the onlookers, however, it was a bravura performance, the most provocative public flogging they had seen to date.
"Twenty-nine!" they shouted as the studded whip wrapped around Tasha's mid-section, a few inches above her pudenda. This time her response was weaker than ever. She emitted more of a muted grunt than a scream, and her reflexive jerks were driven more by the blow than by her own strength. It was clear the torturer had carefully monitored his progress, bringing the rebel female to a climax of agony just when her first punishment drew to a close.
"Thirty!" For his final stroke, the torturer drew the lash upwards, between Tasha's spread legs. The tip of the thong landed against her womanhood, slicing deep into her vagina and temporarily giving the audience a glance inside her sex. The whip was drawn back, and seconds after it had ripped through the most intimate part of Tasha's anatomy, a gusher of blood spewed from between her thighs. The spectators erupted in applause, and many mocked the pretty rebel for shamelessly releasing a torrent of "vermilion piss".
Tasha, however, was far beyond humiliation. She could not hear the derision of the crowd. The thirtieth stroke of the whip had sexually destroyed her, but despite her unparalleled agony, no more than a whimper escaped her lips. Her body convulsed slightly, then hung limply from the chains suspending it from the posts. Her head fell forward on her blood-soaked chest, her mouth agape and her eyes closed. Many in the crowd feared Tasha had died, thus depriving them of the remainder of her sentence.
The torturer coiled his whip and reattached it to his utility belt next to his other tools. He walked to the hanging rebel and put two fingers against the side of her neck. He smiled and nodded at the assistant constable. Sadly for Tasha, she had survived the brutal flogging and continued to live. Once again, the crowd cheered in sadistic glee.
Edwina awoke to the sound of the nomads bellowing noisily at each other. She lay on the ground on her right side, her wrists roped together behind her back and her ankles also tightly bound. She rolled slightly in an attempt to right herself and was immediately overcome with searing pain in her shoulder. She remembered the crossbow bolt which had brought her down. Apparently her captors had left it in place to stem the bleeding – a good thing if she wanted to live, but it hurt like the devil.
Not wanting to draw attention to herself, Edwina thought it best to act as if she remained unconscious. She lay still and tried to assess her predicament. Not surprisingly, the nomads had removed her clothing – all but her sandals, whose tight straps she could still feel coiling around her feet and calves. Her body had been crudely left draped over the rocks on the outcrop where she had fallen. Edwina could feel the jagged stones painfully scraping against her naked skin. The men clearly cared little about her well being – something to be expected considering they had shot, stripped and likely raped her.
She dared to open her eyes a little. The snarling barbarians, dressed in assorted animal skins and thick leather boots, sat in the shade of an olive tree, some munching on fruit, some chewing on what appeared to be raw meat. Edwina counted eleven men in total, unless there were others out of sight. About twenty yards further back stood the nomads' horses tethered to another tree. It appeared the group had broken camp and intended to stay for a while.
Edwina remembered Sable, her friend's desperate break for freedom being the last thing she saw before passing out. Slowly twisting her head to get as broad a view as possible, Edwina could see no sign of her accomplice. Perhaps Sable had escaped. As much as Edwina wished this were true, she could not believe that a young woman on foot could outrun nearly a dozen armed warriors on horseback. More likely, one of the nomads had shot and killed her during her flight and left her body to rot where it fell.
Or… Edwina gasped as she looked at the raw meat that some of the men were eating. The nomadic tribes were known to carry cuts of uncooked beef on their raids, so she hoped that's all it was. After all, had the men already slaughtered Sable for food, her remains would be visible nearby.
Edwina did not have to wait long to learn of Sable's fate.
Once they had finished their meal, several of the nomads grunted fervidly and jumped up in excitement. They pointed to a dead branch about six feet long and two of the men lifted it. Another two pulled heavy mallets from their satchels and then all four marched away from the olive tree to the far side of the outcrop, disappearing from Edwina's view. What followed sent chills up her spine.
The sound of hammering filled the air and was followed immediately by intense female screams. The anguished cries obviously came from Sable, who was alive but had not managed to elude the fiendish nomads. Having finished their meal, the barbarians apparently decided to have some fun with their prey. Edwina could only imagine what horrors were in store for the poor woman.
Though she desperately wanted to shout out as well, to plead for mercy on behalf of her companion, Edwina knew it was wiser to remain silent, letting the nomads think she still was passed out. Always the cautious one, she knew there was nothing she could do to save Sable. It was well-known that the nomads had no word for compassion, and that using their prisoners for cruel sport was their favorite pastime, especially if the prisoners were voluptuous young females.
After several minutes the hammering stopped, and Sable's cries subsided somewhat. As the four men reappeared from behind the ridge, it was now Edwina who wanted to scream, not in pain, but in shock.
The men with the mallets, which were now spattered with blood, emerged first. Following this pair came the two who had carried the tree limb, though now they no longer hoisted the branch. Instead, each man grasped one of Sable's ankles, dragging her face down across the rocks, then over the rough ground to the olive tree.
Like Edwina, Sable was naked, though she had been divested of her sandals, leaving her totally nude. Her legs were spread wide apart by the men pulling her, and her exposed crotch took many hits from stones and other debris along the way. Her big, bare breasts offered some padding, but in no way lessened her pain as they were dragged over the harsh terrain.
But most alarming of all, Sable's arms had been spread over her head, and her wrists had been skewered to the branch with rusty spikes. Edwina instantly understood the reason for the thumping she had heard earlier. Sable's arms were stretched out as if she were crucified, causing her to wail in torment as they were drawn along the ground. The branch rode on top of them, the sharp points of the spikes emerging from the back of the wood. Two streaks of blood left a trail behind her until she at last was laid out at the base of the olive tree.
Yet this was just the beginning of her ordeal. As Sable continued to howl in protest, and as Edwina struggled not to cry out for her friend, two of the taller nomads lifted the busty rebel upside down, again using her feet to maneuver the captive into position. The men placed her ankles against the lowest branch of the tree and spread her legs wide until her hands and the branch hung almost a foot above the ground. Her hair just grazed the uneven patch of earth below her.
The two men with the mallets soon were back in action. They pulled another pair of corroded iron spikes from their belts and proceeded to whack them through Sables ankles, leaving her impaled to the tree. Once again, their victim's cries rose to a deafening crescendo, though this time Edwina could see the heinous savagery provoking the woman's screams.
Finally, the men had completed their make-shift crucifixion. With the branch extending her arms, Sable now hung spread-eagle and upside down from the tree, her naked body presenting a most tantalizing tableau for the sex-starved males. All took a turn molesting their captive, slapping her backside, punching and kicking her in the abdomen, or fondling her splayed and easily accessible sex. Sables' unusually large breasts made for a particularly enticing mark. Thanks to the woman's young, firm flesh, her tits drooped only slightly, not even to her shoulders, but their inverted position made them appear even larger than normal, thus encouraging dozens of painful blows from the rowdy nomads.
After the men had spent over a half hour abusing their victim, the largest among them, and apparently their leader, barked an order which stopped the others in their tracks. Edwina could not understand a word, but it seemed the group was preparing to begin a more formal exercise, perhaps one of the many games the tribes were known to play at the expense of their hapless prisoners. She was right of course, and Sable would soon experience the extraordinary brutality the nomads could mete out to beautiful females who fell into their clutches.
"Perhaps you speak the truth." The torturer had turned away from the unconscious body of Tasha to address Lilia, who was pulling vainly at her chains as if she meant to charge at the hooded brute. "You stood by and watched the savage scourging of your fellow conspirator without so much as a plea of intervention. Maybe you have no feelings for her. But surely you must fear being subject to such extreme punishment yourself. If you want to be spared a protracted penance, I can grant you a relatively painless death. All you need do is beg for mercy."
"Never!" Lilia spat at him in defiance. "Flog me with that damnable whip of yours until I perish, but I will take your harshest sanctions before I surrender my pride to you."
"Such brave boasting from one who has suffered nary a scratch," the torturer mocked the contemptuous blonde. "Mark my words, you will implore me to let you suck my cock before I am through with you."
Lilia laughed. "Not even in your dreams, you foul monster. Now let's get on with it… draw your lash and do your worst!"
"No. The whip is too tame for you. As you have already seen the devastation it can cause by watching it applied to your accomplice, it will not have the same degree of force when employed on your hide. Instead, I have some more appropriate methods to administer as part of your sentence… some of which will exploit your more notable attributes."
The torturer ran his gnarled, dirty fingers across Lilia's ample, almost perfectly round breasts. She cringed and pulled back, but could do nothing to evade his touch. One look at the horrified expression on the woman's face, and he knew he had found her weak spot – in fact, he had found two of them.
"Bring me the wet rawhide," the torturer ordered. A young man assisting with the execution climbed on the platform carrying two straps of leather, each about a half inch wide and several feet long. They could have been used as whips, but that was not the torturer's intent. Far from it, in fact.
He held the strips up for Lilia to see. Both were dripping water after having soaked for hours in a vat behind the wooden dais. Lilia shook her head. She had no idea what was to come, but no doubt it would not be pleasant for her.
"They look harmless, don't they?" the torturer said in a derisive tone. "But I assure you, they can be used to drive a woman insane with agony. It's really quite simple…"
Letting his words trail off, the torturer calmly wrapped one of the straps around the base of Lilia's left breast, fully encircling the large bulb of flesh where it joined her ribcage. He looped the thin belt and pulled with all his might to tighten the snare.
"Uuuunnggghh!!" Lilia grunted through clenched teeth, trying to suppress the incredible pain. Her breast rose up and swelled considerably. Her nipple also bulged outward, growing hard and tender in the process. Once the torturer was satisfied that he had constricted the cord as much as possible, he knotted it in place, leaving Lilia's bloated gland hovering in front of her chest as if it were about to float away.
"By God's bones!" exclaimed one of the men in the crowd, gaping in awe. "Her orb looks twice as big as it was…"
"And to think she was already blessed with such impressive boulders to begin with," added the man standing next to him.
Of course the torturer was not done yet. He coiled the second leather strip around Lilia's right breast and made sure it distended to the same size as its mate before tying off the cord. Lilia let out another muffled groan as she fought against the paroxysms of pain. With both her tits girdled by the straps, the captive's already voluptuous body appeared inhuman, almost comical. Many in the audience laughed openly, figuring the bizarre degradation was meant to humiliate the victim. Even Lilia, despite her misery, tried not to take her peril seriously.
"You… you idiot," she goaded the torturer. "You think squashing my tits will make me beg? I've had them treated worse by the pirates of Arsam. Your flimsy leather straps make my nerves tingle in a way that is actually quite delightful." She feigned an orgasmic sigh. "In fact, I do believe they will again bring me to climax."
The torturer laughed. "You stupid cunt. You are too ignorant to understand. The strips mashing that soft tit-meat of yours are saturated rawhide – wet leather which will slowly shrink as the moisture evaporates. The sun is high, and the day is hot, so I figure it will be no more than a few hours before those "flimsy" straps of leather will have shortened to half their original length. Do you think your nerves will still be "tingling" when your tits are being sheared from your chest?"
Lilia's eyes widened, but she did not reveal the terror which overwhelmed her as she heard the torturer speak. His words were aimed at her, but he spoke loud enough for most in the crowd to hear. There was a collective gasp, followed by some excited titters as the spectators realized what was in store for the busty blonde. The rawhide straps were already looped so tightly around the rebel's bosom; what would happen when the heat caused them to compress further?
The thought of her prized superstructure being destroyed quickly cut short Lilia's insolent attitude. The torturer grinned. He had guessed correctly that the threat of losing the most significant feature of her femininity would silence the impudent bitch. But the effects of the constricting straps would unfold slowly, so he would have to administer additional torments to keep the crowd, and the assistant constable entertained.
The torturer pulled a pair of thick fire-proof gloves over his hands and walked to the glowing brazier which had been placed at one side of the platform. From it, he pulled one of several hot irons, a straight pole with a one-foot tip which was glowing white hot. He hoisted it for all to see, then walked toward Lilia.
The blonde prisoner, still quivering from the shock of having her luscious breasts throttled by wet rawhide, took one look at the torturer carrying the blazing iron bar and for the first time, she screamed in terror.
Kathunk! It was the sickening sound of a crossbow bolt thudding into soft human flesh. The slender, twenty inch shaft had pierced Sable's left thigh with enough force to emerge from the back of her flank, the metal tip dripping blood. Almost immediately, the woman wailed in agony as her inverted body swayed reflexively from the olive tree.
The leader of the nomads bellowed a single word and the assembled barbarians cheered. Four of them were lined up side by side, facing Sable's splayed body from about ten yards away. The rest stood safely off to the side, eagerly watching the actions of their peers. The archers were down on one knee, their crossbows drawn and aimed at their alluring target. The man who had just fired was busy reloading his weapon with a second arrow pulled from his quiver.
A tear ran down Edwina's face as she watched the pitiless degradation of her beautiful companion. The foursome were using Sable for target practice, shooting at her to improve their aim. As she lay tied and helpless on the rocks, Edwina was grateful the cruel savages had not yet chosen to "play" with her, at least not yet, but the sight of them torturing her friend was no less distressing than her own imminent fate.
Kathunk! A second nomad had shot his bolt into Sable's other thigh, drawing another high-pitched cry from the victim and the same one-word yawp from the leader. Another whoop went up from the onlookers. The third archer fired and hit Sable in the shoulder, and the fourth lodged his arrow in her hip, missing her exposed sex by mere inches. Each time the leader acknowledged the impact with his now familiar, though unrecognizable proclamation.
The man who had taken the first shot fired again. This time, instead of the kathunk made by the bolt striking Sable's flesh, there was only a whiz as it sailed harmlessly between the brunette's widespread legs. The leader grunted a different word and the small group of spectators reacted with obvious derision, jeering their comrade for his lackluster effort.
The second archer had more success. He fired directly into Sable's right breast. As the bolt struck home, the sound was more squishy than the other hits, but it clearly penetrated deep into the woman's generous gland, drilling easily into the spongy tissue. Though Sable's scream was as loud as ever, the nomads gasped, clearly wondering if this would be the final shot.
The leader held up his hand and walked up to Sable's swinging body to examine the damage. The shaft had punctured her breast an inch below her nipple, or, given her upended position, above it – precisely where the abundant mammary offered the most padding. Checking both the wound and the woman's pulse, the leader nodded before proclaiming it was a successful shot. The nomads shouted happily and, it seemed, the depraved sport would continue.
As the third archer launched an arrow into Sable's leg, Edwina realized in horror that the objective of the game was not to fire the bolt that would kill the captive, but rather to hit her with non-fatal shots. A complete miss would count against a contestant, but whoever discharged the final, lethal bolt would be declared the loser. The goal was to make the victim suffer as long as possible. The better the marksmanship of the archers, the more pain and agony Sable would be forced to endure.
"It's diabolical," Edwina said under her breath. "Why can't they just execute her quickly like civilized people would do?"
But there were few civilized people in the world. Edwina thought of what Lilia and Tasha would be going through at that very moment. Perhaps it was better that she and Sable had fallen into the hands of the nomads. Perhaps their ordeals would be less brutal than the punishments which would befall them in their own village. Still, as she watched Sable's slow and relentless massacre by the barbarians, it was hard to imagine anything worse.
Kathunk! The fourth archer had just fired a bolt into Sable's crotch, easily spearing the narrow ridge of flesh. The bolt entered just to the right of her labia and exited next to her anus. It was a vicious, painful hit, but hardly fatal. Blood spurted from the woman's genitalia, as did a fountain of urine which erupted uncontrollably from between her legs. The men gave their most enthusiastic cheer yet, laughing at their captive's anguish.
After taking seven arrows to her body, Sable was overwhelmed with pain. She quivered and gasped, her screams gradually subsiding as her strength began to fade. Runnels of blood streamed across her tanned skin, meandering along her lush curves, flowing over her burgeoning breasts and through her deep cleavage before dripping into a puddle below her head.
"Oh please let her die…" Edwina whispered, hoping that perhaps the next archer would show some mercy and fire a bolt directly into Sable's heart. But that, of course, was not to be. All four of the archers wanted to win the contest.
Kathunk! The first archer had launched an arrow directly into Sable's midsection, hardly the death shot Edwina was hoping for. The second hit the woman's left breast, a potentially lethal mark, but not so when the bolt is fired at an angle, impaling her proud tit so as to burst from the lower left and splattering the bobbing mass of flesh with more blood.
And so it continued. Shot after shot. Bolt after bolt. And all but a few perforating Sable's naked, spread-eagled body. After almost a half hour, the female rebel's legs, arms and torso were skewered by over thirty shafts, none of them able to put her out of her misery. Although three had plunged into the soft triangle between her thighs, and another four into her abdomen and a half dozen into her breasts, Sable still breathed, albeit in muffled, gurgling gasps. Her body glistened with blood and she had lost the energy to scream, but she was still alive.
Edwina had turned away from the scene, unable to watch the gruesome display any longer. She sobbed quietly and continued to beg for Sable's death. But then she would hear another kathunk as an arrow punctured the woman's body yet again. The torture was inexorable, seemingly without end. How much more could the young beauty endure?
As it turned out, quite a bit. Edwina heard at least another dozen bolts thud into Sable's flesh. Then she heard the leader call out a new phrase, one she had not heard before. Turning her head back, she saw him standing next to the woman's blood-soaked body, once again checking for vital signs. A total of ten shafts now protruded from her breasts and many more had penetrated her lower torso. But most telling of all, a single bolt had been shot into Sable's neck. A torrent of blood gushed from her open mouth.
The leader nodded. Remarkably, Sable still clung to life, but he signaled to the archers that the game was over. Whoever had fired the neck-shot had lost, as clearly it would kill her within minutes. The leader decided it was pointless to continue.
Instead, he drew a three foot sword from his scabbard and raised it high overhead, the blade facing forward. He stood directly in front of Sable and with incredible power, he brought the sword down between the doomed woman's wide-spread legs.
Of the many sounds the torturer drew from his victims, none thrilled him as much as a searing hot iron incinerating supple female flesh. The sudden, intense hiss as the blazing metal charred a woman's skin was music to his ears. The much louder, piercing shrieks which usually followed added a satisfying coda to each application of the unyielding rod. As did the pungent smell of roasted tissue and the tendrils of smoke which wafted through the air.
The torturer savored all these delights as he carefully placed the glowing tip of the iron bar across Lilia's stomach. He held it there for almost half a minute, ensuring the crowd would enjoy the experience as much as he did. Well, almost. The bystanders were not close enough to smell the sweet aroma of scorched meat, nor could they appreciate the look of absolute terror in the eyes of the rebel bitch.
Lilia fought to control her urge to scream, determined to deny her tormentor the satisfaction of hearing her cry out. She bit her tongue to curb her impulse, but only managed to draw blood, which dribbled tellingly from between her lips. This simply encouraged the torturer to continue applying the burning rod until the busty blonde could take no more. Lilia released a vigorous howl of agony, as well as a stream of urine when her bladder gave way under the unbearable pain.
The crowd applauded and the torturer stepped back so all could see the deep, dark furrow which ran horizontally across the woman's lower abdomen, an inch below her navel. It would be the first of many.
"Beg me to stop, rebel cunt!" shouted the torturer, once again offering Lilia an opportunity to end her suffering expeditiously. But as he expected, she did not reply. Instead, she braced herself for another encounter with the hot iron. She did not have to wait long. The man applied the still flaring rod again, this time lower, crossing her hips so as to brand the top of her pubic mound, missing her womanhood by a hair. Again, the man held the metal bar in place until Lilia was forced to scream.
"The next time, I will apply the iron vertically, between your thighs so that the evil depths of your femininity will never again be able to tempt unwary men." The torturer laughed wickedly and rubbed his dirty fingers over Lilia's vulva. "Plead for mercy, or you will never again enjoy a man's cock thrust inside you!"
"I do not care for male lovers," Lilia announced defiantly as the crowd gasped on hearing such impiety. She writhed against the touch of her captor and looked down to see what he was doing – but she could not see beyond the swollen orbs of her bulging breasts which projected perversely because of the shrinking bonds at their base.
"So you lay down with women, do you?" The torturer laughed again, louder this time. "Perhaps with that one?" He pointed at the unconscious Tasha. "Even she will shirk your affections when I am through with you if you do not submit."
"Why should I care?" It was a rhetorical question. "You intend to kill me, so my sexual desires no longer make any difference. Do what you wish, but I will never surrender to you."
"Very well," said the torturer, shrugging his shoulders in resignation. He signaled one of his assistants to bring him a fresh iron as the one he was using was beginning to dim. A brightly glowing rod was removed from the brazier and placed into his gloved hands. He held it up to Lilia's face. Although it was almost a foot away, she could feel the extreme heat.
The torturer lowered the bar, letting the white hot end pass mere inches from her bloated breasts. Though Lilia tugged at her bonds, attempting to pull away from the searing metal, her skin reddened as the iron hovered over her tits. The torturer continued to move the bar along the woman's body, letting it slowly drift over her midsection until at last it lingered next to her groin. The heat was incredible, causing Lilia to squirm and gasp even though the glowing tip still was inches away from making contact. Had she had pubic hair, she was sure it would have gone up in flames.
Ever so slowly, the torturer turned the thin metal bar until it was vertical, the fiery point positioned directly along the center of her sex. The man moved it closer until it was less than an inch away from the most intimate part of her anatomy. This time, he did not have to wait long to hear his victim scream. Even before the iron touched Lilia's skin, it radiated enough heat to draw a lusty cry from her throat.
He let her suffer like this for almost a minute, allowing her to anticipate the terrible moment when at last he pushed the scorching brand against her. It was only when he feared that the iron was again beginning to cool, that the torturer thrust it against the prisoner's genitals. He plunged the rod between Lilia's vaginal lips, splitting her labia as he forced it as deep into her as possible. Her flesh was moist with piss and other bodily fluids and sizzled noisily as a large cloud of steam and smoke rose from between her legs.
The assembled villagers watched in awe and covered their ears as the female rebel's scream rose by what seemed to be at least two octaves. She pulled at her chains like a madwoman, her naked, splayed body jerking in all directions as the torturer struggled to keep the burning shaft sheathed in her vaginal cleft. The spectacle was more entertaining than any the spectators had seen, and several remarked that the sight of the bitch's tethered, distended breasts dancing about was alone worth coming to the square that day.
But the show was not over yet. As the torturer pulled away the hot iron, the crowd could see that the damage caused was not insignificant. Most of Lilia's vagina, undoubtedly including her tiny clitoris, had been burnt to a blackened crevice which, as promised, would never serve a sexual partner of either gender again.
By now, the noxious scent had travelled further afield, causing those in the front rows to cough and cover their faces with kerchiefs and scarves. Lilia remained conscious, her eyes half closed and her body quivering as the shock of the assault subsided. Unable to see her injuries, she was spared the display of her obliterated womanhood, but no doubt it would have done little to diminish her disdain.
"You… you will… never… break me…" she sputtered while panting for breath.
The torturer had hoped that by administering such a potent punishment so soon, the treacherous wench would succumb more quickly, eliminating the pressure of forcing her submission. But she was proving to be a strong one, and it appeared he would have to apply more sanctions to force her to admit defeat. Though this meant he had to increase his efforts, the villagers in the crowd could not have been more pleased with Lilia's obstinacy.
Once again, the torturer demanded a fresh hot iron from the brazier. He began to work more deliberately. Instead of waiting for up to two minutes between applications of the searing metal, he decided to pick up the pace, branding the woman twice a minute and giving her less time to recover after charring her flesh.
For Lilia, this proved to be pure hell. The intolerable pain of her incinerated genitalia soon paled as she felt the repeated caress of the white hot metal against her sensitive skin. The torturer pressed the blazing shaft into almost every part of her body: her back, her abdomen, her buttocks, her thighs, her arms and calves… even her already destroyed pudenda, which received another half dozen assaults from the implacable iron until the once enticing V between her legs was no more than a carbonized lump of dead tissue.
Only Lilia's breasts were spared the torturer's handiwork. This was deliberate. He had carefully prepared them to suffer a different form of torture, and he did not want to mar the woman's tits more than necessary before their intended comeuppance.
Since he first looped the rawhide strips around their base, both breasts had swollen noticeably – to the point where they looked absurd perched on Lilia's otherwise slender body. He admired the effect, especially how the nipples seemed to grow larger and harden by the minute.
Eventually, Lilia was covered by dozens of gaping, black fissures, and there were few unmarked regions on her body, save for her aforementioned bosom. The ordeal had weakened her and her once spirited screaming had lessened to wails and sobbing, punctuated by breathless gasps whenever the hot iron made contact. It was clear the blonde captive could not take much more. Unfortunately for Lilia, the crowd was not yet satisfied.
"Why don't you brand her breasts!?" someone shouted. This quickly led others to join in.
"Yeah… roast the cunt's tits!!" another onlooker yelled as loud as he could. This soon led to a chant of "Burn her tits!!" which the torturer realized he could not ignore. He looked at the assistant constable, who nodded, in effect ordering him to proceed.
"No…" Lilia said quietly, careful not to let the torturer hear her. "Please, no more…" More than ever, she wanted to beg him to stop, but somehow she found the strength to remain silent. She watched the torturer receive yet another glowing iron from the brazier, then braced herself for the inevitable mutilation of her most prized assets.
Lilia's anguished cries, though perhaps not as loud as her earlier screams, were filled with a pathetic dolefulness, as if she were mourning the loss of a beloved friend or relative. The torturer pressed the white hot bar across the top of her artificially tumescent chest, leaving it in place until her skin began to blister and turn to a blackened crisp. When he removed the shaft, it left yet another smoldering chasm, this one deeper than the others, running through both her overinflated tits.
Lilia sobbed, then looked at the cheering crowd. She could see the expressions of hatred on their faces, the bloodlust in their eyes. The torturer moved the iron underneath her proud beauties and lifted it upwards. Lilia screamed again.
This time, she could not see the damage inflicted, but she could easily imagine how the undersides of her breasts had been maimed. The crowd, obviously pleased, continued to roar encouragement to her tormentor. Stoically, she closed her eyes and prepared for the next assault, this one undoubtedly coming from the front to lay waste to her bulging nipples.
But it did not come. Lilia opened her eyes and saw that the torturer had been distracted by Tasha, who was slowly regaining consciousness.
"It looks like you will have to wait, my big busted temptress," he said, almost apologetically. "It would seem I have some unfinished business to deal with first." He walked over to the smaller woman and examined her body. The whip had done its work well, almost killing the dark-haired beauty. But she was still alive, which gave the torturer an edge in achieving his main objective: the unqualified submission of the haughty blonde bitch.
He had watched the rebel leader as he whipped her accomplice, and after she admitted to loving only women, he suspected these two were lovers. In fact he was sure of it. If he could inflict enough pain on the weaker of the pair, he knew the stronger would beg for him to stop. Perhaps the blonde was willing to die in agony, but how long could she pretend that she did not care for her beloved?
Lilia shook her head. Already she was showing signs of compassion. She swallowed hard and watched in dread as the torturer prepared to continue punishing Tasha. He pulled another tool from his belt – this time, the metal pincers. The device was almost two feet long, the serrated, metal jaws at one end opening almost four inches wide. The torturer held up his weapon for all to see. As the crowd applauded, apparently bored with the branding of Lilia's breasts, he smiled at his blonde prisoner.
"Can you imagine what I can do to your lovely companion using these?" he asked, not expecting an answer of course. "Once again, perhaps you are strong enough to die slowly and painfully to maintain your dignity and your pride, but are you so heartless to commit your friend… your lover… to the same gruesome fate so you can expire without submitting to my supremacy?"
Oh God, no, Lilia thought to herself. She had prayed that Tasha was dead, that she would be spared any further suffering, but now she would have to endure even further torment at the hands of their psychotic captor. The torturer had uncovered her secret and had guessed that she and Tasha were lovers, so Lilia could no longer pretend that her partner meant nothing to her. On the other hand, succumbing to the enemy was unthinkable, even if it meant Tasha would be tortured to death.
"She too is strong," Lilia lied. "If you think her suffering will make me beg at your feet, you are wrong. Unlike me, she deserves to die quickly, but I know you and these cowardly villagers will show neither of us mercy… so once again, I expect you to inflict your most brutal penance."
"As you wish, rebel whore." The torturer smiled. "I will."
Edwina stared at the suspended, naked corpse of Sable as it swayed slowly from the tree to which its feet had been spiked. Still hanging upside-down, the once flawlessly curvaceous woman now resembled a blood-soaked, giant pin-cushion sprouting dozens of crossbow bolts from her feet to her outstretched arms. The nomad leader's sword had sliced cleanly into the cleft of her crotch, the blade bisecting her reproductive system and continuing on till it lodged in the poor victim's breastbone. The barbarian had then pulled it free, releasing a crimson gusher and leaving her viscera to slither from her slashed abdomen across her dangling breasts and into the bloody pool beneath her.
Sable's dead eyes, open wide in unmitigated terror, seemed to glare back accusingly at Edwina, as if blaming her for this nightmarish ordeal from beyond the grave. Edwina threw up in disgust. Never had she seen a man – let alone a woman – slaughtered in such a brutal manner. She wept for Sable, and prayed that her own demise would be less savage… less cruel. She knew it was her turn to be exterminated and watched as two of the nomads turned and walked towards her.
But to Edwina's surprise, she was attacked from behind. A coarse rope was pulled over her head and tightened in a loop around her neck. Suddenly, she could not breathe. Someone was strangling her. Edwina could turn neither her body nor her head, and so she could not see her assailant. She could not scream out, and the two men approaching her seemed unaware of her plight. Her vision became cloudy.
Behind her, on the other side of the rocky outcrop, Edwina heard a sudden clamor – men shouting amidst the thundering of a myriad of hooves. As she felt the cord encircling her neck tighten, she began to lose consciousness, still unable to identify who was attacking her. As the world around her began to turn dark, the last thing Edwina saw was the two advancing nomads being simultaneously speared by two long arrows. But these were not crossbow bolts; they were much larger and fired from more powerful and sophisticated weapons… like those used by the warriors of her village."
"Liliaaaaa!!" Tasha cried in alarm as the torturer clamped the oversized, rusty jaws of the pincers around her left nipple. "Please… please help me! Don't let him do this to me!!"
The saw-toothed clamp was large enough to ensnare not only Tasha's nipple, but also her entire areola and some of the flesh around it. The torturer used both hands to press the pincer handles together, he effortlessly squeezed a plum-sized portion on the very tip of Tasha's breast between the metal jaws. He continued to crush the sensitive tissue until the serrated edges broke through the woman's skin, drawing blood. At this point, the torturer stopped exerting pressure and held the menacing tool in place.
"Nooooo!! Liliaaaaaa!!" Now in considerable pain, Tasha screamed even louder. Lilia looked away and did not respond. There was nothing she could do but surrender, and as always she refused to give in. Both she and Tasha had endured too much for her to submit now.
Nonetheless, as she listened to her lover wail helplessly, the stoic blonde wondered how long it would be before she could take no more. Lilia could only hope that the torturer would slip up and accidentally kill Tasha prematurely. But this was unlikely. Tasha's body was bleeding freely from countless gaping welts inflicted by her prolonged whipping. By rights, she should already have died, but the torturer was far too experienced to grant her such a kindness. He knew how to make a woman suffer – for hours, even days – and Tasha would only expire at a time of his choosing.
"It seems your Sapphic sweetheart is wrong," the torturer told Tasha with a chuckle. "You are not so strong after all." He pulled on the pincers, stretching Tasha's breast and tearing deeper into her flesh. She yelped in pain.
"Submit to me, rebel bitch!" the torturer shouted. "Admit that you assassinated the village constable!"
"Yes! Yes!! I submit!" Tasha screamed. "I helped kill him… I helped kill the constable!" She could barely get the words out fast enough as her tormentor tugged harder on the pincers.
"You see how easy it is?" the torturer said to Lilia, who continued to turn away. "All you have to do is repeat your comrade's statement, and I will bring her punishment to a merciful end."
"I admit to being a rebel," Lilia said with her customary defiance, "but I will never concede to you!"
"No! Lilia!" Tasha was stunned by the blonde's brazenness. "Please… you must surrender! We have lost. We have lost everything, including our lives… what is the harm in admitting our defeat?"
"We have not yet lost our dignity." Lilia spoke with pride. "If we endure, at least we will die with respect."
"My God… what dignity do we have left?" Tasha was aghast. "We are bound naked, being tortured publicly for the amusement of the villagers. We will perish in agony and humiliation. Where is the dignity in that?"
Lilia said nothing. She realized her desire to defy her enemy was a result of her own selfish pride, and that she was willing to let Tasha suffer the perils of the damned to refuse the torturer's bidding.
"Please… Lilia…" Tasha begged. "He will destroy me if you do not relent."
"It seems your so-called lover cares less for you than you may have thought," the torturer told Tasha, gleefully watching her expression turn from sorrow to dread as he squeezed the jaws together so tightly the bulb of flesh trapped within them ballooned markedly. "Too bad for you," he added and began to rotate the pincers.
"Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh!!" Tasha thought nothing could surpass the abominable pain of being lashed with the studded knout. But she was wrong. As the torturer used the tongs to twist her breast, a new, unrivaled flood of torment encompassed her. The clamp turned slowly… 20 degrees… 45 degrees… 90 degrees… carrying on until Tasha's skin was ripped apart by the jagged jaws. Blood spurted from the resulting lesions, but the torturer did not stop.
Not until he had rotated the pincers a full 180 degrees did he finally pause, letting the audience admire the sight of Tasha's grotesquely contorted breast as she howled in anguish. He waited for some time, then still grasping the handles with both hands, he yanked the tool away from the woman with all his strength. At least a third of Tasha's breast was severed from her bosom, the gory lump remaining snagged in the pincers' maw.
"Noooo!!" screamed Lilia, who had looked back just in time to watch the destruction of her lover's breast. "Stop… do not hurt her any more…"
"Do you surrender and accept my domination?"
Lilia hesitated, but as always, she remained defiant.
The torturer's anger grew more apparent. "Your insolence will consign this bitch's remaining mound to the same cruel fate as its mate." He spread the tongs and let the dismembered chunk of flesh drop to the platform, then tightened the jaws around Tasha's right breast. The greedy vice again trapped a generous portion of her gland, including her copious nipple.
"Lilia! You must give in!" Tasha's pleading was more frantic than ever. "I cannot take such torture again…"
Her plaintive cries for mercy did not stop, even as the torturer once more twirled her breast until its epidermis was torn asunder. This time, Lilia turned away – and the torturer did not bother to demand her surrender. Instead, he simply jerked away the tongs amidst a bloody spray, leaving both of Tasha's breasts capped by shredded, gaping craters from which red-tinged fluids spurted with each beat of her heart.
The villagers clapped excitedly as they watching Tasha's lovely tits obliterated. Surely the duplicitous bitch deserved such punishment, if not worse, for her nefarious crime. The assistant constable seemed to agree, again nodding in approval after witnessing the torturer's latest routine. But he too wished to see the buxom blonde break, bereft of pride and groveling at the feet of her captors. He looked at Lilia's face and could tell by her expression that she would not last much longer. If not the paroxysms of pain building in her bloating breasts, the slow, deliberate extermination of her comrade would be her undoing.
The torturer maintained his focus on Tasha. He briefly considered using the pincers to rip out her tongue, but he did not want to leave her speechless and unable to beg her partner to submit. After all, that was the essence of his strategy – to play on the blonde's feelings for her friend. Instead, he decided to use the tongs elsewhere, to destroy her femininity once and for all. He bent down and positioned the open jaws against Tasha's already scourged genitals.
He carefully snagged the woman's labia between the indented edges of the claw, then tightened the clamp until once again he broke the skin and drew blood. As expected, Tasha released another bestial shriek of anguish. Lilia could not help but gawk at this latest scene of torment.
The expression on her face was one of unabated horror. The torturer pulled the pincers outward, and even from several yards away, Lilia could tell that almost all of Tasha's sex was caught within the vice-like grip of the heinous apparatus. She could not believe that any man, even a vicious executioner like this hooded monster, would disfigure a woman in such a depraved manner. But as she saw Tasha's bleeding pubic mound begin to separate from between her legs, she realized the torturer would finish his gruesome task without a second thought.
In Lilia's mind, something snapped. She could hold out no more. The unceremonious butchery of her lover – the ghastly decimation of what had given her so much pleasure… not even Lilia's honor and self-respect were more important than this, at least not if she had to witness the hideous punishment unfold before her own eyes.
"No! Stop!" Lilia screamed. "I submit! I surrender! I beg for you to stop tormenting this poor woman. Do to me what you wish, but spare my friend. "
"So you admit to my superiority… that your treachery was an indefensible criminal act?"
"Yes, yes, yes…" Lilia sobbed. "I am no more than a worm to be squashed under your boots. Just do not hurt her anymore."
Despite the relatively swift capture of Lilia and Tasha, the villagers were eager to see the remaining two rebel females apprehended as well. To appease the people's need for vengeance, the assistant constable sent out a second group of vigilantes to track down Edwina and Sable before their fellow traitors' punishment had begun. He knew the fugitives would seek refuge in one of the neighboring villages, most likely Urn'rak or Dar-adith, so he expected they would be on or close to the routes leading these sites.
As there was quite some distance to cover, this time the men would pursue their prey on horseback. Furthermore, the assistant constable would increase the detachment to two dozen skilled soldiers. He hardly required this many men to seize a pair of feeble females, but he was not taking any chances in case the party encountered one of the savage migrant tribes which roamed the barrens between the villages.
As it turned out, the assistant constable had decided wisely. Although the men first travelled to Urn'rak, encountering neither the fleeing rebels nor barbarians along the way, it was while heading to Dar-adith that they came across a small band of nomads. The villagers took the tribe by surprise, and as they outnumbered the savages by over two to one, they dispatched the entire lot in minutes. Only one of the tracking party was killed in the skirmish.
It was only after they had wiped out the nomads that the villagers discovered the two women they were seeking among the corpses. The one they spotted first was hanging upside down from an olive tree, her body punctured by dozens of crossbow bolts, and her torso slashed open from her groin to her sternum.
"It looks like these cretins have already dealt with her," said one of the villagers, "though I don't think they knew she deserved it. By the looks of her, I doubt our local executioner could have done a better job. I guess this saves him some effort."
"Come here!" shouted one of the other men. He had ventured to the outcrop and noticed Edwina lying unconscious on the rocks. "I think this one is still alive."
Some of the others joined him. "We must have interrupted the bastards before they could get to work on her," another member of the group speculated.
"At least we'll be able to return with one of them," said the man who discovered her, "even if she is slightly damaged." He pointed to the shaft projecting from Edwina's shoulder.
"Pffft… It is no more than a flesh wound. She will be able to suffer a great deal more when we get back to the village."
By now, the entire party had gathered and formed a circle around Edwina's motionless form. The men eyed the bound, naked woman greedily, some of the more unmindful ones moving their hands to their crotches to massage their stiffening members.
"It would be a shame to let the torture master lay waste to such a beauty before she has one last chance to savor the sensation of a warm, rigid cock deep inside her." The bravest of the group said what all the others were thinking. They chose to ignore the fact that rape would likely be an integral part of Edwina's public execution.
"It also would be a shame if she did not have a final opportunity to be penetrated by a variety of men… perhaps 23 in total," added another soldier. The group snickered self-consciously, but no one objected. "And don't we deserve a reward for our accomplishments? After all, by undertaking this mission we are missing out on the execution of the other two rebel bitches, so at the very least, we are entitled to amuse ourselves with this one."
"Agreed," said someone else, and the rest of the men nodded.
Wordlessly, the soldier who had discovered Edwina used his knife to cut the ropes binding her hands and feet. Four others stepped forward, each one grabbing one of her limbs. Together, they carried her to one of the larger rocks and positioned her face up on top of it so she was sprawled across the cold granite. The crossbow bolt in her shoulder snagged against the rough stone and as her back was pushed against it, the exposed portion of the shaft snapped off, leaving the rest embedded in her flesh.
Two of the villagers pounded four wooden spikes into the ground and tied Edwina's wrists and sandal-clad feet to them, stretching her across the rock and leaving her naked body spread-eagled in a tightly drawn arc. She remained dead to the world, but this mattered little to her lascivious captors. For a moment they admired her lush curves and exposed sex, then they moved in to ravage her.
The soldiers agreed that the man who had found Edwina among the rocks should be allowed to go first. Grinning broadly, he stepped between her splayed legs and pulled down his britches. His penis was on the large side, and already erect in anticipation of what was to come. He knelt down, then pulled his body on top of Edwina's.
Instinctively, the man grabbed at his victims firm, high thrust breasts, using them as handles to steady himself. He moved forward slightly and slipped the length of his manhood into Edwina's vagina. She mewled softly, but did not wake up. Her assailant began rocking back and forth, sliding on top of her and grunting with delight. Edwina's head lolled from side to side, her eyes closed and her mouth open.
In her mind, she dreamed it was Sable who was massaging her breasts and slowly bringing her to a delirious climax.
The torturer turned to the cheering audience and gloated over his victory. He had broken the busty blonde harlot and made her beg for leniency. Lilia hung limply from her chains, her head slumped forward on her bloated breasts, her disgrace and defeat apparent to all. She sobbed quietly, unheard by the torturer, but he was nonetheless aware that he had successfully crushed the murderous rebel bitch.
Acknowledging the torturer's success, the assistant constable climbed onto the platform and took the stage.
"Our village stands strong and triumphant against this pathetic band of female insurgents," he bellowed. "These two have admitted their crimes and demonstrated their impotence by throwing themselves at our mercy. We will be rid of them soon. And mark my words, the pair who escaped also will be brought to justice and suffer likewise."
More applauding from the crowd followed, and the assistant constable stepped down to let the execution of the prisoners continue.
The torturer returned his attentions to Tasha. Releasing the pincers, he withdrew them a few inches away from the woman's groin and brought the jaws together. He then moved the weapon back, using the now closed clamp to penetrate her, parting her vulva and pushing it several inches into her vagina.
The torturer glared menacingly at his victim. "And now it is time for you to die!"
"No… please don't," Tasha pleaded. "I have confessed… I do not deserve this punishment. Lilia… help me…"
On hearing her lover's pitiful cries, Lilia lifted her head and looked in horror at this latest scene of unbridled depravity. "What are you doing?" she shouted. "You promised not to hurt her if I submitted to you…"
"I agreed to no such thing," he said. "I vowed only to end her torture and execute the bitch quickly. More or less, that is what I will do."
Grabbing the grips with both hands, the torturer used all his might to ram the pincers deep inside the screaming prisoner. Almost the entire length of the implement disappeared from view, with well over a foot of the clamp buried in Tasha's abdomen. Despite the woman's desperate gyrations as she jerked against her restraints, the torturer retained a firm grasp on the handles which projected from her sex. With considerable effort, he began to pull them apart, opening the unseen jaws and ripping apart his victim's vagina.
A repulsive squelch accompanied the forced widening of Tasha's reproductive canal. A torrent of blood and other fluids cascaded from the opening and poured into the puddle which had formed during her earlier tribulations. When the natural elasticity of Tasha's sex reached its limits, her vaginal lips ruptured, causing the orifice to split open obscenely in a gory explosion. What had once been the lithe, delicate entrance to the woman's maidenhood was instantly transformed into a gaping maw of bloody, tattered flesh.
With a sufficiently expanded chasm between Tasha's thighs, the torturer once again tightened the pincers, closing the jaws around whatever entrails were in the vicinity of the serrated vice. As luck would have it, the edges hooked both the woman's stomach and small intestine. Tasha let out a hideous gurgle and coughed up blood as her abdominal organs were gruesomely crushed. Satisfied that he had snared something in the pincers' jaws, the torturer pulled the implement downward, gradually removing it from Tasha's torso.
When at last the clamp emerged from the shredded remains of the captive's sex, it dragged with it a tangled mass of the woman's viscera. Her stomach, intestines, and other unidentifiable guts squeezed through the ghastly cavity and dropped between her splayed legs to splash onto the platform in a steaming heap.
The torturer stepped back to give the onlookers a clear view of his handiwork. They let out a collective gasp of awe and amazement. Never before had they seen anything like this. For a moment they stood in stunned silence, then they applauded louder than ever.
Tasha hung naked and motionless, her body soaked in blood. Her head had pitched backwards, so the last things she saw were the ugly carrion birds as they circled overhead against the clear, azure sky. Bloody bits of flesh continued to drop from her obliterated womanhood and her body spasmed reflexively for almost a minute. At the end of that minute, the beguiling, would-be rebel expired, a final death rattle confirming her demise.
The assistant constable returned to the platform to examine the prisoner's remains. He nodded with satisfaction, congratulated the torturer, then turned to address the crowd. "It seems fitting that a villainous rebel cunt should meet her end by way of her cunt," he announced to much laughter. "I hope you have enjoyed the execution, but of course, there is one more to come." He pointed at Lilia, who though she wished otherwise, was still very much alive.
"Oh God… you monsters… have you no pity at all?" Lilia's voice was weak. Her own punishments and the atrocious slaughter of Tasha had taken their toll on her. She regretted bowing to the torturer's demands, but that hardly mattered now. The sight of Tasha being disemboweled had stripped her of whatever dignity and self respect she still had. Not only had she publicly conceded to the enemy, but on realizing that she had consigned an innocent woman to such a grisly fate to satisfy her own desires, she knew she was no more than the deplorable worm she had confessed to being. In her heart, she felt she deserved whatever atrocities awaited her.
The rabid soldiers took Edwina in turn, each one waiting impatiently for the men preceding him to finish. Some were done in less than a minute while others drew out their encounters to over a quarter hour. They had no pity for their captive – in fact, they despised her for slaying the village constable – so their treatment of the ill-fated blonde was expectedly rough and remorseless. Not only did they plunge their filthy, engorged pricks inside her until they discharged their seed, most also took the time to physically assault their victim, repeatedly pummeling her tits, face and stomach.
Yet despite being subjected to such callous abuse, Edwina was oblivious to being violated by the first seven men. She remained unconscious, or more accurately semi-conscious, as she did respond to the recurrent penetrations – not by crying out in humiliation or protest, but by moaning blissfully and slowly rolling her head from side to side. More than once, her muscles tightened, apparently convulsing in orgasm as her mind envisioned a far more pleasant carnal experience.
Edwina's entranced writhing, her subliminal reactions to what in fact was a violent gang rape, was both stimulating and somewhat frustrating for her assailants. As it appeared the woman was giving herself to the men willingly, the fornication was undeniably erotic, but at the same time, her captors had hoped she would suffer the pain of her defilement to a greater extent.
They soon got their wish. When the eighth soldier in line, a particularly massive brute with a penis to match, threw himself on Edwina, her imaginary tryst with Sable was instantly shattered. She felt the 300 pound ruffian crush her against the rock and thrust his manhood into her throbbing vagina. She was quickly and brazenly jerked back to reality.
But the men attacking Edwina were not the nomads who had captured her earlier. They were dressed like the soldiers who guarded her village. In fact, she recognized a few of them, so she quickly surmised that she had been snatched from one deadly dilemma and thrown into another. She remembered the two barbarians being downed just before she blacked out, and guessed that the larger band of villagers had likely dispatched all the nomads. Edwina twisted her head to look toward the olive tree, and sure enough, nomad cadavers lay scattered about with long arrows projecting from their bodies. Sable remained as before, suspended upside-down from the tree, her bloody corpse resembling a bisected porcupine.
Edwina gasped and yelped as the giant villager stabbed into her again and again. She did not know how many others had already used her, but judging by the laughs and shouts of the men surrounding her, she assumed it was more than a few. She tried to move her arms and legs, but of course, she was no match for the foursome pinning her to the rock. At last her current ravisher climaxed and rolled off her body. She felt a warm, slimy fluid leak out of her and flow along her perineum.
"Look," shouted one of the soldiers, the first to notice Edwina's eyes had opened, "she's come around."
"All the better," said one of the others. "Now she will feel what we are doing to her." To demonstrate, he lifted his boot and stomped it down on Edwina's right breast. A nasty snap followed, and the blonde screamed as she felt one of her ribs break.
"Careful Arthur, we need to bring her back alive… and relatively intact."
"Wh… Why… Why are you doing this?" Edwina sputtered. "Were you not sent to capture me so I can be tried and punished?"
"You have already been tried, bitch. And yes, we will return you so you can be executed for your crime. But no one told us we could not enjoy ourselves first. Your two confederates – the ones caught earlier – are most likely dead by now, and as you can see, your dark haired companion has also met a rather ignominious end. So you are all that is left on the menu. And we intend to dine well."
"Nooo… Please don't. I can pay you if you stop… if you let me go free…"
The men laughed. They all could recognize a desperate bluff when they heard it, and so they ignored her. The ninth soldier in line moved forward and kicked Edwina between the legs, grinding the sole of his boot against her groin to remove the glob of semen oozing out of her. He knelt down, lowered his britches and soon his turgid member was nestled in her warm vagina.
Edwina wished she could return to a blissful state of unconsciousness. She craved the imaginary embrace of Sable, so she could continue her illusory tryst to escape the harsh onslaught of her ruthless captors. But her earlier dreams had dissolved forever, replaced by a grim reality in which she would suffer relentlessly until death claimed her at last. Like a sentinel of doom, Sable's mutilated carcass hung like a reminder of the horrors that lay ahead.
And so Edwina's ordeal went on until every last one of the soldiers had violated her, beaten her and shamed her. Even the unlucky villager who was slain in the skirmish had his cold corpse stripped and draped over Edwina's body for several minutes to honor his sacrifice.
And then, at last, they were finished. The villagers were drained, but satisfied, and Edwina, her body bruised, cut, filled with cum and covered with urine, was released and dragged to the tree which secured the nomads' horses. These animals were an unexpected prize and would be returned to the village along with the captured fugitive. In fact, one of the beasts conveniently would be used to bear the woman on the return journey.
Edwina's feet were again bound together, as were her hands, this time in front of her torso. Her body was thrown face-down across the back of one of the stronger stallions and her dangling limbs were brought together as her ankles were tied to her wrists under the horse's abdomen. It was a supremely uncomfortable position, but practical.
"What about her?" said one of the men, pointing at Sable. "Even though the bitch has perished, should we not bring back her body to prove we did not let her escape?"
The others agreed, so the dead woman was unceremoniously pulled free of the spikes and carried to the horses. Sable was hoisted onto a second stallion. Because of the numerous crossbow bolts imbedded in the front of her body, she was positioned face-up and lengthwise on the beast's back. Her legs were drawn along the animal's flanks and tied together under its midsection. The same was done with her arms.
It would be a long journey back to the village, the riders slowed by the seized horses and cargo. This left Edwina far too much time to stare at Sable's carcass as it rode limp and lifeless on the horse beside her. The blonde woman, still alive for now, mourned for her departed friend, regretting that she had never confessed her love before the young beauty had been so brutally massacred.
Lilia had been spread eagled between the poles for over six hours. As the leader of the rebel band, she apparently deserved the most severe penalty. She had already suffered twice as long as Tasha, who in hindsight, had been executed in a relatively expeditious manner. Lilia envied her, and repeatedly cursed the torturer for not providing a similarly swift deathblow to end her own ordeal. Instead, the man took delight in extended the blonde's agony as long as possible.
Lilia could not believe a woman, not even one as strong as she was, could survive as much pain as she had endured. The preliminary three ‘S' stages were of course no more than a harmless amuse bouche to humiliate her in front of the villagers and provide some prurient entertainment for the crowd. But the prolonged branding of her body which followed should have ended her ordeal – sexually destroyed by the hot irons and burned again and again, how could she take such punishment and live?
But the torturer knew his trade well, and Lilia would not die before he so desired. As it turned out, the hot irons were only the beginning. After Tasha expired, Lilia was introduced to the torturer's knife, an eight inch blade which he used to carve into her flesh wherever she had not already been branded. Her captor was careful not to cut too deeply to ensure blood loss was kept to a minimum. The slicing of Lilia's body was followed by a half hour beating with a rubber truncheon, leaving the prisoner's formerly pale complexion livid with dozens of dark, ugly bruises and her nervous system inundated with pain.
And throughout it all, the rawhide straps drawn around the base of her breasts slowly tightened, causing surges of torment which often eclipsed the effects of her other tortures. After hours drying in the searing, midday sun, the wet leather had contracted to less than half its original length, causing Lilia's already abundant bosom to balloon outrageously, the swollen breasts taut and seemingly ready to burst. If the rawhide shrunk any further, Lilia was sure her once perfect tits would fall from her body.
But the torturer had other plans. Growing impatient with the slowly constricting coils, he decided to hasten the process by inflicting additional abuse on the blonde's bountiful breasts. Lilia's tits had already been scorched, slashed and battered with a truncheon – but somehow, they still perched proudly on her chest despite the imminent threat of the ever contracting rawhide nooses.
As his victim looked on in horror, barely able to see over her inflated bust, the torturer poured a syrupy, amber liquid from a small pitcher, covering the tops of Lilia's bulging glands. The fluid was thick enough to stream ever so slowly across the voluptuous mounds, tracing rivulets along their spherical surface. Once the liquid began dripping from the bottom of the woman's bosom, the torturer set down the pitcher and massaged Lilia's breasts until they glistened all over in the bright sunlight. Despite her wounds, the feeling was not entirely unpleasant, which confused Lilia, who was expecting the liquid to be some kind of acid or corrosive solution. She moaned involuntarily as the man rubbed her flesh.
"So you are enjoying my caress?" the torturer laughed. "As I'm sure you can guess, it will not be for long. I am coating those obscene gourds with plant nectar taken from sycamore trees. It is sticky and sweet, and it attracts a variety of insects, most of them harmless, but some… well some are as dangerous and deadly as a rabid wolf."
Lilia gasped, suddenly understanding what the torturer had in store for her. He lifted a square wooden box about a foot long on each side and held it next to her head, pressing it up to her ear. Lilia heard buzzing. Lots and lots of buzzing. Once again she pulled at her chains in an instinctive and futile effort to break free.
"No… no… just kill me," she begged. "I have suffered enough. I have confessed to my sins… my crimes… and I have yielded to your domination. What more do you want?"
"I want to watch you die in agony. Not with a single thrust of my sword or by decapitation, but slowly, so you have time to regret your treachery and your deadly transgressions. And like your lover, your death will be caused by the destruction of the seductive treasures you used to tempt your victim… to lure him to his death."
Lilia looked surprised. "There… there was a witness?"
"Of course," the torturer said. "How else would the village officials know that you enticed the constable with your heaving globes of flesh, then stabbed him as he lay with your accomplice."
"No… it can't be." Lilia shook her head. "The constable raped Tasha and I killed him to save her. The witness is lying." But in fact, it was Lilia who was being untruthful. She had planned it all, and her sloppiness and unwillingness to listen to her sister had caused Tasha's death. And now, she too would pay the consequences.
If Lilia had not insisted on hanging the constable in the village square, instead leaving him where he fell as Edwina had suggested, perhaps the rebels' story of rape and self defence may have been believed. But given the circumstances, the torturer was not convinced for an instant. He gingerly unlocked the box and pulled back the lid. As soon as the container was open, he stepped briskly to the far edge of the platform, a safe distance from the doomed captive.
From the box emerged a wasp, then another, then several more. They were much larger than those seen frequently around the village, and as they took flight, the sound of their beating wings menacingly filled the air.
"They have been imported from Africa," the torturer announced to the crowd, though Lilia heard him quite clearly as well. "These wasps are very aggressive, and their venom is lethal if a person is stung often enough. One or two pricks are unlikely to harm you, but a few dozen will kill you within hours." The spectators closest to where Lilia was suspended murmured and moved back, despite the torturer's reassurances.
"Do not worry," he continued. "They will fly only to the nectar coating the bitch's breasts – it is like ambrosia to these insects. But I have treated the substance with a poison which is toxic to the wasps, so after having their fill, they will die before they can spread any further. In the meantime, they will alight on the prisoner's bosom and sting her again and again and again!"
"God… please don't do this…" Lilia screamed as the first brave wasp landed on her right breast. She yelped as seconds later it stung her. "I don't want to die… not like this…"
By now over a hundred wasps had escaped from the box, and as the torturer had promised, all flew straight toward Lilia's nectar covered chest. With no provocation other than the scent of the liquid and the blonde's sweat, almost all pierced her flesh with the quarter inch skewers protruding from the rear of their abdomens. With each new sting, Lilia cried out and jerked her naked body. Her corseted breasts bounced provocatively on her chest, but did little to dislodge the ever increasing swarm which attacked them.
Soon there were so many wasps covering the woman's tits that neither nectar nor flesh could be seen, only two large balls of insects which fought furiously for the depleting supply of sustenance on her soft skin.
"AAiiieeeaagh!!" Lilia howled in anguish as she felt hundreds of stingers puncture her breasts simultaneously every second. Unlike bees, the wasps could sting their victim repeatedly, allowing many of the insects to jab her over and over, until their venom had been exhausted.
With over five hundred of the creatures initially in the box – which was now empty – the torturer calculated that Lilia had likely been stung over 2000 times. This was far more than what was required to kill her, but death by venom was not how her tormentor expected her to die. His plan was far more nefarious… far more gruesome.
The extent of the damage the wasps had inflicted on Lilia's breasts became apparent after about ten minutes, as the toxin in the nectar began to take effect. At first one by one, and eventually in increasing clusters, the insects died and began to drop from the blonde's bosom. They fell in two large piles on the platform beneath her until Lilia's tits were fully exposed again. The nectar which had coated them was gone.
Already bloated by the shrinking rawhide, her breasts had swollen even further due to the massive quantity of venom the wasps had injected into the woman's glands. The bulging appendages were larger than ever, covered in countless red blisters, many of which leaked trickles of blood across her decimated flesh.
Lilia moaned in agony, barely able to hold her head up and too weak to scream. Already she felt the tingling of the venom as it was absorbed into her blood and fatty tissue. But this pain was nothing compared to the now overwhelming agony caused by the leather strips. A woman's breasts may be among the most pliant parts of her anatomy, but even they have their limits.
"Aaaiiieeaaaagh!!" Lilia shrieked as she felt the first physical effects of the fiendish torture. The tip of her right nipple expanded and ruptured, releasing a geyser of blood, pus and wasp venom, spraying the vile mixture far enough to spatter some revolted bystanders. A few seconds later, her other nipple erupted the same way, discharging the trapped fluids inside her compressed breast.
As Lilia struggled as much as her bonds and fading strength allowed, the ghastly obliteration of her bosom continued. With her nipples replaced by geyser spewing clefts, the delicate skin of her breasts also split, unable to contain their burgeoning contents. Like overfilled wineskins, the two glands burst open, allowing the bloody tissue they contained to squeeze out of Lilia's chest and fall to the platform in a series of wet thuds.
More fluids continued to gush from the tattered remnants of Lilia's breasts, but much to the torturer's satisfaction, and that of the assembled villagers, the once busty prisoner had been transformed into a flat-chested monstrosity which barely resembled anything human, let alone a once stunningly beautiful female.
Unfortunately for Lilia, the eruption of her breasts had not been enough to kill her. As her hooded tormentor had hoped, she had survived all her tortures, and could now be left to expire slowly as she contemplated her evil ways. The captured rebel was left splayed between the posts, her naked, almost unrecognizable body clinging to life as she gradually bled to death.
The crowd rewarded the torturer with one last ovation, then leisurely strolled back to their homes. Few had the patience to stay the hours it would take for the insurgent bitch to perish.
Although Edwina dreaded what would happen to her when she arrived at her village, she yearned for the return journey to end. Uncomfortably thrown over the back of the stallion, her body ached as it was jostled about with each step the horse took. In the mid afternoon heat, Sable's corpse began to fester and decompose. The stench was overpowering, causing Edwina to vomit repeatedly. The soldiers, for their own amusement and to add to their captive's misery, would frequently whack her buttocks and back with their riding crops, raising an array of blistering red welts.
Moving at their slow pace, the men took over three hours to reach the village. Edwina moaned as she passed through the main gates. She knew she was entering hell. By this time tomorrow, most probably she would be dead – but only if fortune smiled on her. Yet it was not her imminent demise which frightened her… it was the events which would lead up to it. Undoubtedly, she would be subjected to the cruelest of tortures for her part in the constable's assassination.
Once in the village, the detachment made its way to the constabulary building, where the assistant constable awaited the soldiers. Edwina's bonds were cut and she was brusquely pushed off the horse and left to fall face first in the dirt. She pulled herself to her knees and begged the men to provide her with some clothing.
"At least let me cover myself until I am sentenced to my fate," she whimpered.
"Insurgent cunts do not deserve clothes," one of the soldiers replied. "Let the world look at you as the lewd, shameless slut you are. Besides, you will most certainly be executed in the nude, so leaving you naked will save us the trouble of stripping you later." Edwina sobbed quietly and bowed her head. At least the men had let her keep her sandals on her feet.
Two of the soldiers led Edwina into the building and down a flight of stairs to the basement. By the light of a few dim torches, she could tell the cellar was one large room. On one side, there was a row of iron barred cells, used to impound prisoners. Currently the cells were empty. On the other side was a torture chamber, complete with a rack, various restraints, and a wide selection of menacing implements used to interrogate or punish unfortunate victims as painfully as possible. Edwina shivered. Would she be made to suffer so soon?
She breathed a sigh of relief when she was taken to the cells and locked into one of them. At least for now, the men would not torture her. Instead, the pair laughed and left Edwina alone in the cold, dark cellar.
After a half hour, she heard footsteps. Someone was walking down the stairs. Edwina squinted and watched a tall, handsome man in uniform approach her cell. When she could see his face, she realized he was strangely familiar – someone she had seen before, though she struggled to remember where.
"My name is Assistant Constable Ward," he said, introducing himself. "You are one of the four rebel females responsible for the death of my former chief, Constable Baker, am I correct?"
"No," pleaded Edwina. "I was only a lookout. It was my sister Lilia who murdered him. She stabbed him while he was… um… involved with another woman who…"
"I don't care who thrust the blade," Ward interrupted her. "The fact remains that the four of you conspired to assassinate the constable, and so you are all equally culpable. As such, for the cold blooded killing of a public official, I sentence you to death by slow torture."
Edwina trembled in horror. Her eyes darted about the room, looking fearfully at the many tools of terror in the torture chamber.
"Do not worry, my dear," Ward said snidely. "The torture chamber does not await you. Like your sister and her lover, you will be executed in public. You will be taken to the village square tomorrow at dawn where your punishment will begin. All adult villagers will be invited to witness the spectacle of your slow obliteration."
"No… you can't…" Edwina sobbed. "I have killed no one."
"Neither did the dark haired beauty who so expertly seduced the constable into letting down his guard. But that did not prevent her from being eviscerated during today's performance, though I must admit the executioner was much more lenient to her than he was to your sister, who we know was the woman who wielded the knife."
Edwina's heart sank. Both Lilia and Tasha were already dead, apparently after enduring the brutal tortures which she now faced as well. But how did this assistant constable know that Tasha had been the decoy, and that it was Lilia who committed the murder. Had they confessed? Or was it…
"It was you!" Edwina said, perhaps revealing her secret too quickly.
"I beg your pardon…"
"You were the man I saw while standing guard." She suddenly realized why Ward looked so familiar. "You stood in the dark for several minutes, but you did not act and eventually you just walked away, so I assumed you did not see anything. But you did… you watched the entire killing and stood by while Lilia stabbed your chief."
Ward gulped. He thought the woman had not seen him, but like Edwina, he too was wrong. For a moment he said nothing. Then, after collecting himself, he admitted his prisoner was at least partially right.
"Yes, I was the witness to your crime. After I saw what happened, I called for additional men to capture you and your confederates, as I could not do so alone. By the time we returned, you had already strung up Constable Baker and fled the village."
"But… but you could have intervened before Lilia killed the constable," Edwina said, confused and shocked. "Instead, you waited for a long time – until the man was dead – before you slowly walked away to get help. It seemed like you wished for the constable to die."
Again, Ward was lost for words. His eyes narrowed, and clearly angry, he tried to explain his actions.
"At first I did not see what was going on. I had to wait to make certain, and when I realized it was too late, I thought it prudent not to tip you off to my presence…"
"That's a lie," Edwina shouted. "You wanted your commander dead… perhaps you saw an opportunity to be promoted into his position… was that why you did nothing?"
Assistant Constable Ward did not reply.
Edwina saw a glimmer of hope… a chance for freedom.
"I demand that you release me now," she said fervently, "or I will tell the entire village tomorrow of your actions… that you too are responsible for the constable's death."
"That's ridiculous. They will not believe you."
"Perhaps. But do you want to take the risk that they will? At the very least, there will be an investigation. My life may be spared temporarily so I can testify, and who knows what evidence may turn up."
Ward flew into a rage. He fumbled through his keys until he found the one which opened the door. He pushed Edwina back and used one hand to pin her into a corner of the cell. With his other hand, he took a pair of iron handcuffs from his belt and locked her wrists to the bars.
With Edwina secured, he briefly left the cell. He returned carrying two items: a pair of metal pincers similar to those which had been used to butcher Tasha, and one of the torches used to light the room. Before Edwina had time to scream, he was upon her. He hoisted the pincers, and after dropping the torch, he used his free hand to force open the woman's mouth. In seconds the sharp edged jaws of the pincers had closed around Edwina's tongue.
As his victim struggled furiously, Ward yanked the pincers as hard as he could. Almost three inches of dark pink flesh was extracted from the blonde's mouth, the crudely severed, bloody hunk of meat dangling from the clamp. A torrent of blood poured from between Edwina's lips and spilled over her chin and chest. She was in shock, and could not cry out. The only sound was a gurgling in her throat as more blood poured down her gullet and threatened to choke her to death.
Ward reacted quickly. He opened the vice and let the dismembered chunk of Edwina's tongue drop to the floor. He then used the pincers to pull a glowing ember from the still burning torch, making sure the red hot cinder was small enough to pass into his victim's mouth. Still using one hand to pry apart Edwina's jaws, he carefully moved the sulfur-soaked fragment past her lips and pushed it against the gushing stump of her tongue. There was a loud sizzle as the bleeding tissue was cauterized, followed by a small cloud of steam which rose from the woman's maw.
Edwina's body convulsed in pain, her eyes wide and filled with terror. She was in agony, but had survived her ordeal. Ward had managed to stop the rampant bleeding, and though he was no surgeon, he had successfully amputated most of the prisoner's tongue without killing her. He did not want her dead. Not yet anyway. But she was no longer able to speak… no longer able to reveal Ward's role in the constable's murder.
"Now you will not betray me," he laughed. "You will go to your grave with your absurd accusations and theories untold."
"Ghhyaaaa…" Edwina tried to respond, but with no tongue, she could only utter meaningless gibberish. Ward's approach to ensuring her silence may have been heavy-handed and brutal, but clearly it was effective.
He used some grubby cloths to clean up the blood which had splattered over Edwina's body and on the floor. The assistant constable removed Edwina's cuffs and locked her alone in her cell, leaving the woman bereft of her tongue, but otherwise as he had found her. As Ward had hoped, it was impossible to detect that Edwina was now tongueless without a scrupulous inspection, and he would ensure that this would not happen.
Ward ascended the stairs, bolted the cellar door, and told the nightshift guards that no one was to enter the basement under any circumstances. Ward whistled while he walked home and slept peacefully throughout the night.
The following morning, just after the sun broke over the horizon, Ward returned to the constabulary building and the basement cells. He found Edwina lying on the flagstones, shivering in the damp cold. Unlike her captor, she had not slept well. In fact, she had not slept at all.
"I hope you enjoyed your last night alive," said Ward, taunting her. "For now the time has come for you to meet your maker."
"Ghhhyeea…" Edwina blabbered. Ward was pleased that she was just as incoherent as she was when he left her.
"I expect preparations are being made for your departure as we speak. I'm sure you are eager to find out what awaits you." He opened the cell door and reached out to her. "Come. You will pleased to know that I will accompany you to the village square… the site of your execution." Ward pulled the prisoner's hands behind her back and cuffed them with the iron manacles. He grabbed one arm tightly and led her outside.
Ward was careful to keep a distance between his captive and any curious onlookers along the way. Although he was confident that she could not shout out anything which would incriminate him, he was not taking any chances that Edwina might somehow try to signal her allegations or otherwise cause a disturbance. The fact that she was naked surprised no one. It simply meant that one of the ‘S' stages of her execution would not be required.
To Ward's great relief, Edwina stumbled passively along the short distance to the square. She cried softly, which was to be expected, but she did not even look at those who watched her march to her doom, perhaps too ashamed to make eye contact.
Once they had reached their destination, Ward led the woman onto the platform. She ascended the steps passively and stood before the hooded, bare-chested executioner – the same master of torture who had conducted the previous day's performance.
Edwina looked up for the first time and saw that the mutilated bodies of Lilia and Tasha still hung splayed between their posts, their corpses testament to the ordeals they had endured the day before. The blonde screamed – not a typical scream of female anguish, but a strange, guttural banshee-like wail. Without a tongue, she could not speak, but she still could express her suffering like a mortally wounded animal.
Edwina saw that two more posts had been erected between the pairs which suspended her dead comrades. Once again, she let out a bizarre, bestial howl. As two of the executioner's assistants began to string up the condemned rebel, the assistant constable took aside the torturer to brief him.
"For reasons I cannot reveal, this bitch has been rendered mute," he explained. "So do not attempt to make her confess. She cannot reply, even if she wanted to. And it is important that the villagers do not know this… so any attempt she makes to gesture to the crowd must be interrupted at once… if you understand my meaning."
"Indeed I do," said the torturer. "It is an odd request, but I will do as you ask. And her punishment… how much should I…"
"Even without a confession, do not hold back. She must suffer a great deal… at least as much as that one." Ward pointed at Lilia. "But feel free to go further if you like," he added with a grin. "I sense the crowd's appetite for blood is all but insatiable."
Soon Edwina had been chained and spread out like Lilia and Tasha, although unlike them, she was alive. The assistant constable stepped in front of the day's victim and shouted to the crowd, introducing the proceedings for the benefit of the few villagers who did not already know who Edwina was or why she was being punished.
"You all will be pleased to know that we have found and returned the two remaining insurgents responsible for the village constable's assassination on Thursday," Ward began. "Unfortunately, one of the pair was captured and killed by a tribe of nomads, so we have been deprived of seeing her publicly executed here. But it is with pleasure that I announce that she died in a suitably barbaric manner, and that this treasonous wench…" he pointed at Edwina, "…remains alive so we can enjoy a second day of watching the slow torture and execution of the last of these rebel pests."
The crowd cheered, their sadistic cravings not yet sated by the savagery demonstrated the previous day.
"And now, let us begin!" announced Ward, generating more applause. "For the first of the three ‘S' stages required today, I ask for four adult volunteers to assist with the retribution of the captive…"
The day following Edwina's public execution, Constable Ward took a leisurely walk from his new office in the constabulary building to the village square. The mayor had promoted him that morning, which came as no surprise as Ward was in line for the position and had long made it known that he was eager to accept it should Constable Baker choose to retire. Along with the larger office, he also had been granted considerably more power and a 50% increase in remuneration. He had waited a long time for this and was delighted to have finally achieved his goal, even if it had required a risky and devious act on his part.
But now that the sole witness to his crime was dead, there was nothing to fear. In fact, his quick and efficient capture, punishment and dispatch of the four female rebels was praised by the mayor and likely made the case for his promotion that much stronger. The fact that he – and the rest of the village population – was able to witness the ruthless annihilation of three of the lovely conspirators was a bonus he had not anticipated, but he could not deny that the demise of these treacherous bitches was more than satisfying.
As promised, the torturer had ensured that Edwina suffered even more than Lilia. Remarkably, the modestly endowed blonde sustained considerably more abuse than her sister, and much to her misfortune, had proven herself for once to be the stronger of the two.
The crowd was eager for a repeat performance, but there just wasn't enough meat on Edwina's chest to make the feat feasible. In the end, the torturer used his blade to slowly flay Edwina alive, leaving her skinned and spread-eagled to endure the wasp attack over her entire body. It took her three hours longer than Lilia to die.
As Constable Ward walked into the square, he smiled as he admired the fruits of his labors. The platform and the six posts had been removed, but the scaffold from which the four rebels had suspended Constable Baker's naked body was still there. Fittingly, in his place, the gibbet now supported his assassins. Dangling by their necks were the moldering corpses of Tasha, Sable, Edwina and Lilia. Like their victim, they too were naked, their copious and grotesque wounds exposed for all to see. One cadaver was disemboweled, one was punctured by countless arrows , one was debreasted and another was flayed from the neck down. And these violations were only the most apparent of the many tortures the women had endured.
Ward stared at his victims for a long time, feeling a sense of contentment. And despite the foursome's deteriorating bodies, he also savored an odd rush of sexual arousal. The vultures had already begun to feast on the putrefying meat of the corpses, making the scene all the more hideous. But as far as the constable was concerned, the destruction of these young beauties was not only warranted, but proof of his superiority – his ability to strike fear into those who dared question him, and his power to crush those who rebelled.
After some time, he walked away from the gibbet, leaving the bodies to sway in the breeze. He had ordered them left exposed until one by one their necks rotted away, leaving their grisly remains to drop to the platform. Till then, they would serve as a warning to others.