Monday, December 14, 2015

Unmasked: Part 10: Education

So much for that experiment.

She sat up, finding herself once again naked in a bed that smelled of him, her heart racing. She didn't know what had her chest pounding last night. This time it was fear. She looked down at her belt lying on the bed. The loud slap of it in her ear had made her stomach drop. She had waited to feel the sting of it, regretting her rudeness as he shredded her gown, but it never came. Some part of her was oddly disappointed by this. She had been baiting him, after all. Then again, he held true to his word. Fair warning, he'd said after her first taste of his wrath yesterday.

A rather intense warning, at that.

Dragging a small blanket from the bed, Conna tied it around herself. She was alone, but she still didn't feel comfortable with being nude in someone else's room. Well, she couldn't say she was comfortable being nude in any circumstance, but certainly not in a strange man's room. The bed was similar to the one in the cavern barracks. It was more of a stack of stuffed pallets than a bed. The linens were impossibly soft, the blankets plush and silky to the touch. It was also piled with furs. From the black bear, it looked like.

She rose from the bed to wander around the room. It was more lushly appointed than she might have expected, given the sparseness of the outpost and the barracks. A massive desk sat near a large window to the right of the door he'd left through. Made of rich mahogany, it was carved with wolf heads and knot work. Piles of books and parchment lined the top, a jar of quills jutting out from the center. She recognized the trappings of government. Her father was one of the administrators for the Geo clans. His desk had been of similar disarray.

The walls were lined with weapons and unusual artwork. Wreaths made of branches, bits of bone, and glass beads. Images constructed of colored pebbles and dried moss. All of it looked to have come from bits of the forest.

In her perusal, she came across an armoire resting not terribly far from the bed. That must be where he kept his clothes. Feeling nosy, she pulled the doors open, and quickly realized her mistake. Hanging along the back was a series of whips. The sides held a number of things, from straps to crops used for horses, as well as a few thin, stripy canes. The insides of the doors held what looked like metal bracelets with silvery chains hanging from nearby pegs. A torture closet. Great.

She looked down to find a wooden chest sitting in the bottom of the armoire, She knew shouldn't open it, but she might as well know what she was in for. Popping the latch, she pushed open the lid. Inside were a dozen glass bulbs of varying shapes, colors, and sizes resting in beds of velvet. They were strangely pretty, almost like little translucent roots with flared bases. She wondered what they could possibly be for.

"I had hoped to save this closet for later, but I suppose this is for the best."

She jumped when his voice came from right behind her ear. How did he sneak up on her so easily? "You're going to torture me," she said softly.

He frowned. " I think I have demonstrated that I have no desire to truly harm you." He reached over and took one of the crops from the armoire. "Any instrument of pain can be an instrument of pleasure." He drew the tongue of the crop lightly up to the top of her spine. She shivered.

He smacked her sharply on the rump with the crop. It bit easily through the blanket, burning intensely.

"Ow! Fuck!"

"They can also be used for punishment." He tugged the knot on the blanket loose, causing it to fall away. "I'm sure we'll get to explore both functions."

He reached around her again to take the metal bracelets and snap them onto her wrists. "Come, I've brought dinner."

Rodrick led her back to the bed. A platter sat in the center, piled with trenchers of food. A small mound of venison steaks, potatoes simmered in some sort of cream sauce, and garlic-roasted cherry tomatoes. He waited for her to take a seat before he took one opposite her. He cut the meat himself, not bothering to offer her the knife. When finished, he handed her a fork.

"Take what you like," he said, reclining near the tray. He popped a chunk of meat into his mouth.

She picked up another blanket and wrapped it around her.

He laughed. "That's not what I meant."

"I know."

He ate a tomato. "I would prefer that you honor the spirit of the law rather than the letter."

She glared. "I would prefer a lot of things. Chiefly, I would prefer to not be naked in a beasts bedroom waiting for gods know what to happen to me. But, well, want in one hand, sh--"

"Do not finish that statement."

It was a command, but he left it to her to decide whether to obey rather than compelling her silence. She desperately wanted to finish her crass remark, but she was very conscious of the fact that her belt lay mere inches from his hand. He took a drink from a cup on the tray, watching her intently. She stabbed a tomato with her fork and bit into it. If he said "good girl," she was going to be kissing that belt anyway.

He continued eating without comment.

She took a few bites of each offering before taking a sip of the cup, which contained a honeyed mead. "So, I am living under constant threat?"

His head tilted. "The Kin are rather formal creatures. I know you know how to behave. It's just a matter of when you decide that it's in your best interest to do so, until you learn our ways. You will settle in. Accept your fate. If a firmer persuasion is needed, I am more than happy to provide it." He took another bite.  "To tell the truth, I didn't expect so much resistance so quickly. You are more resilient than I thought. You are well-suited to your name. That strength will serve you well among my people, but it would serve you better to remember to whom you answer."

"I'm not sure that answers my question."

He pondered for a moment. "In time, I suspect that the threat will be less necessary. My rules will still stand. There will still be consequences for breaking them, but you will likely be more comfortable with them by then."

"What is my place here?"

"You are mine. That is sufficient for now."

1 comment:

  1. I so look forward to the next part, to see if she will challenge him :)

    Rebel xox