SCARLETTE AND THE ADVENTURE OF LADY KATHARINE
The word was a gasp in the dark. Peter Noone, “Black Peter” to his cronies and enemies alike, put a hand to his cheek; the warm trickle beneath his fingers confirmed what his eyes told him: he was facing a true swordswoman. With a strangled cry, he lunged forward, blindly hoping to get under her guard in the dim light. He felt her body shift as his blade stabbed past her, and he sprawled forward. As he scrambled to recover, he felt the woman’s arm lower, pinning his swordarm against her body, like a blacksmith’s vise. Black Peter swore; for a moment, he was pressed up against the woman, her firm breasts heaving with exertion; even in the heat of battle, her scent stirred his loins. He had a quick glimpse in the moonlight: through the holes of a black mask, eyes as green as a cat’s were regarding him over a smile that parted full, red lips wickedly. There was a throaty laugh, and a percussive pain shot up through Black Peter’s body from the knee that crushed his groin.
“Uuggghhh!” His sword clattering from his hand, Black Peter Noone sagged, and received a clip on the back of his head that completed his face-first sprawl onto the ground. The woman’s thin blade hissed through the air, and Peter felt his purse cut from his waist.
“Dishonest gamblers are not welcome in this province. I shall return these coins to their rightful owners. Do not make the mistake of being seen here again.”
The foot lifted from his neck, and Black Peter rolled to his back, moaning.
“Next time…” he gasped.
“If there should be a next time, blackguard, you will not find Scarlette in such a forgiving mood. If you are a wise man, you’ll not test me.”
The lithe body pivoted, a heavy cloak swirling around the black-clad figure. Black Peter heard the sound of his sword being hurled into the darkness, and he had one last glimpse of the woman, deep auburn tresses dancing about her shoulders like another cape, as she disappeared into the night.
For long moments, Black Peter lay on the ground, until he felt steady enough to rise again. For all the darkness of the night, his vision ran red as blood as he looked in the direction the woman had gone.
It wasn’t the money—he would soon be embarking on an enterprise that would pay him ten times what he’d managed to swindle from those yokels. But for that woman—ANY woman—to think she might get the best of Black Peter Noone, that simply could not be. He would find this “Scarlette” again… and there would be a reckoning.
"M'lady has such beautiful hair."
Lady Katherine Aragon allowed herself a thin smile as she leaned her head back, her scalp tingling as the coarse bristles groomed her rich, chestnut mane. Such praise, of course, was only her due: the waterfall of glossy tresses was but the crowning glory on beauty that drew suitors to her from far and wide.
Still, she thought, servants do not offer opinions unless I ask for them!
"And your clumsy fingers had best be more careful in their handling of it!" she snapped back.
In truth, the attention felt wonderfully delicious, but it was important that the girl not be allowed to get above herself.
"As Madam says." The girl brushed in silence for a few moments, then chirped, "Has M'Lady finished the list of guests for her wedding?"
Wedding. Leave it to this wretched girl to remind her. In less than a week, she would be permanently bound to that simpering Reginald Dumont. Her father had announced the betrothal just days before he had died, rot him, giving Kate no chance to try and wheedle the old fool into changing his mind. Marriage. Kate detested the idea. Her whole life, she had watched men slaver over her like lap dogs, and fawn over her father in the hope of receiving Kate's hand.
At least, she thought, this Reginald Dumont pup is wealthy-- obscenely so, to hear it told-- and did not appear to be the type who would make any… demands… of Kate's person.
Not that Kate couldn’t imagine such demands. Like any woman, she had her darker fantasies. She might close her eyes now and then and picture iron muscles that brooked no resistance, eyes that mocked her pretense of haughty dignity, and a strong, cruel mouth that would crush hers, savaging it with the power of man’s passion. No, the dark man she barely glimpsed in those shameful moments as she played wantonly with herself was certainly not her husband-to-be.
Kate had allowed herself to relax into the rhythm of Jane's brushing, and it took her several minutes to realize that something had changed. There was something harder, coarser, in the motions, now.
"Jane, you cursed imbecile-- what do you--?" Kate's growl stopped in her throat as she opened her eyes, to see the image in the looking glass before her vanity table. In place of the slight, golden-haired Jane, the hairbrush-- and her hair-- were in the hands of a tall, dark-eyed man! Broad shoulders hinted at the power of the hands that now toyed with her; a comma of dark hair fell across his forehead, and a thin, pale scar seemed to pull one corner of his mouth into a cruel smile. On another man, the aquiline nose would have been called "noble": on the notorious "Black Peter" Noone, every feature of the brutally handsome face suggested dissolution and excess.
For a moment, Kate scarcely breathed, in her astonishment. The last time she had seen "Black Peter", he had been cursing her father for his refusal to entertain his suit for Kate's hand. To have him here, now, in her own boudoir, was so impossible that, at first, she literally did not believe the evidence of her own eyes.
"Dear Lady Kate. So lovely to see you again." Now, too many of her senses were conspiring against her, as the rich baritone voice oozed his delight at her astonishment.
"What in--??" Kate had almost accepted the reality of the situation, when the madness resumed.
At first, she thought her mirror had crack'd in twain: there seemed to be two images of Lady Katherine Aragon in the glass. The matter became clearer when one of the images smiled and spoke.
"Hello, Kate." Eyes as slate-gray as her own were regarding her with cruel amusement.
"Who??" With a start, Kate tried to rise from her chair, but the grip on her tresses caused her to unbalance; and her chair spilled backwards, dumping her on the floor. Her hair was released; raking the silky mass back from her face, she stared up from the floor at the intruders.
“Why, my Lady Kate—art not glad to see your own cousin?”
"Cousin?" For just a moment, Katherine stared dumbly. It couldn't be… "Drusilla?"
"So you remember. How nice."
"But… how…?" Drusilla was the daughter of Katherine's late uncle. As a young woman, she had been acknowledged a "bad seed", and family gossip credited her with forms of depravity that Kate had barely even understood. The last Katherine had heard of her, Drusilla had been banished to a convent… and had somehow disappeared from it. In the ten years since then, she had grown into an astonishing likeness of Katherine herself
"How do I happen to be here? Well, naturally, I could not be expected to miss the impending wedding, could I? Especially, since I expect to be taking a very active role in this ceremony, myself."
Kate did her best to rise from the floor with some semblance of dignity; kneeling at the feet of Black Peter Noone had been a singularly disquieting experience. She drew herself up to her full height, trying not to think of the sight she must be: clad only in her flimsy dressing-gown, hair loose about her shoulders.
"Leave." Kate's voice betrayed no fear; only the blithe confidence of a pampered child who expected to be obeyed without question. "Leave here now before I send for the bailiffs." To her astonishment, neither of her uninvited guests made any move to depart. She turned to her maid. "Jane. Call for my attendants."
Instead of complying, Jane went to stand next to Black Peter.
"Jane. Did you hear me?" Where Katherine expected to see obedience, she was instead met with an insolent smirk. "Jane!!" There was a brittle fragility in Katherine's voice.
"Enough nonsense," Black Peter's voice was brisk. "It's time to deal with this slut."
"How dare you?!?" Katherine took a breath, to scream down the house; with a move like a snake striking, Black Peter drew a dagger from his belt, and held it poised, just inches from her face.
"Lovely Kate, with the prize at hand, I would dare anything." His eyes locked on hers, and for a moment, the danger of the knife was replaced in Kate's mind by a fear far more primal. Her tongue reflexively licked dry lips, but before she could respond, another voice broke in.
“We have much to do and little time. Bind the wench.” Drusilla’s voice was ice. Kate's head spun as she looked in Drusilla's direction, to see if she had mis-heard.
From a pouch on his belt, Black Peter drew a coil of thin rope, and threw it to the smirking Jane. As if in a dream, Katherine felt the maid yank her arms behind her back, deploying the coarse rope, encircling her dainty wrists, and cinching the binding cruelly tight.
Fury blazed in her-- to be handled this way! This was insupportable! But the blade that glittered before her eyes checked any move she might have made to resist.
Though the bonds at her wrists would have kept Kate quite helpless, it seemed that the servant reveled in the chance to cause her mistress discomfort, and Jane smirked as she wound more of the cord around Kate’s upper arms, yanking the loop tightly, so that air fled from the captive woman’s lungs as her elbows near met behind her back. A grunt was forced from Kate’s lips, and she felt the fabric of her blouse tighten lewdly over her breasts as they were pushed forward.
The coarseness of the rope matched Jane’s vile treatment of her, but Kate could do nothing as her waist was encircled, and her wrists then fastened tightly at the small of her back. From there, Jane ran one last length of the cord, and Kate whimpered in terror as the girl looped it around her throat, slipping it under the mass of her chestnut hair, and joining the loop to the cord at her wrists. There was enough slack in the rope that Jane might avoid choking herself… so long as she remained standing straight, her breasts thrust out as though offered for her captors’ delectation.
Finished binding her mistress, Jane now came to stand with Drusilla and Black Peter as they regarded their captive.
“You cannot—must not do this!” With her arms bound tight behind her, her breasts at brought to full attention, Lady Katherine flushed at the presentation they were making in Black Peter's direction. The dirk in his hand followed his gaze down, from her face to her bosom, and with but the tiniest flick of his wrist, the bodice of her dressing-gown was rent. The grinning blackguard tangled his fingers in the shredded silk, and ripped a fistful of it away in his hand, exposing the porcelain-like globes beneath. Even without the knife at her face, Kate would have been too astonished to do anything but gasp. Cool air played over her exposed breasts, and Black Peter sighed appreciatively as her dark buds began to harden.
"Magnificent. I almost pity that Dumont fool, having to miss a chance to do this," and he rolled one of Kate's nipples between thumb and forefinger, the other hand keeping the knife well in her view.
Kate moaned, then bit her lip. "P-P-Please…" Her protests now were no more than whispers. She feared Peter Noone's knife, of course, but his touch on her breast brought another type of fear altogether welling up inside her; fear not only of her enemies, but of herself. She bit her lip, trying not to cry out as Black Peter continued to toy with her, but was finally unable to suppress a gasp that came from a deeper, darker place than simple pain.
"We need her silent," Drusilla smirked, clearly savoring her cousin's molestation.
Abandoning his torment of Kate's nipples, Black Peter took the fabric that had been torn from Kate's nightdress, and ripped it in two, tucking one half of it in his belt.. One hand tangled in Kate's long hair, and he brutally forced her head back, his mouth covering hers. Kate struggled now, for breath, for dignity, for sanity, as Black Peter's tongue hungrily explored her mouth. Kate pulled uselessly at her bound arms, weeping at the ease with which this brute took pleasure of her. The cord at her throat tugged its dire warning every time she tried to move her head aside, leaving her no choice but to allow her captor to kiss, to lick, and taste her as he might. Her head spun, though whether for lack of breath, or from the overpowering sensation of her captor’s rapine advances, she knew not and cared less.
Black Peter pulled back from her, and Kate barely had time to gasp in a breath before he had stuffed the handful of torn silk between her teeth, and back into her mouth. As the bound woman choked and gagged on the intrusion, she felt the rest of the fabric used to force the cloth deeper into her mouth, pulled tightly around her head, and bound savagely tight beneath her hair. The material might have been of the softest silk, but it cut into her powdered cheek as though it were a band of iron.
When he finished gagging her, Peter Noone spun her around to face him, throwing her backwards so that the maid, Jane, took her mistress by the arms, holding her in place.
"Test her." Kate did not understand Drusilla's command, but her instincts told her this could not be good for her. She tried to pull free from Jane's grasp as Black Peter approached her. His cruelly handsome face split in a grin, he again reached to her breast, this time pinching it in his fingers just as hard as he might.
"NNNNggghhh!!!!" A horrifyingly animal sound exploded from Kate's stuffed mouth. In her entire life, Kate had never even dreamed such misery could exist: she was helpless now before this man who had sworn vengeance on her family, and it was all too clear just what form this retribution would take.
"I would say that our Kate will hold her tongue, now," the man laughed. "Not wholly silent, perhaps, but 'twill serve. The test is passed."
"It's time, then." Drusilla's voice was businesslike. "Take her out of here."
As Peter retrieved the trembling captive from Jane's grasp, he turned to Drusilla with a face of mock sorrow. "Oh, but surely, you'll not deny me a bit of sport?"
"Not I," sneered Drusilla. "Tame the scornful hussy as you will. Just remember, we need her alive… for some little while yet."
With that, Kate felt Peter Noone's fingers lock themselves in her silky mane again, and drag her out of the door of her bedchamber. From the corner of her eye, she cold see Jane and Drusilla, her maid and her cousin, fold into an embrace, followed by a kiss of such obvious passion that Kate would have been too astonished to speak… if she had been able to speak!
This cannot be happening!! Lady Katherine's mind was screaming to her as Black Peter marched her down the corridor, hands bound behind her, his fist in her hair. The surroundings that had once seemed so comforting, now served to mock her, the family portraits witnessing her degradation at the hands of this monster. With all her strength, she tried to pull free from his terrible grip, but it was no use: he only laughed, and twisted his fingers harder in her hair; as she stumbled in his wake. Finally, he arrived at one of the sitting rooms at the end of the hall, kicked open the door, and dragged Kate inside. Holding her before him, he slammed her back against the wall
"Now, my proud beauty," leered the dark man. "Let me introduce you to the delights we might have been sharing all this time."
Kate's eyes bulged over the gag. Her body was pinned to the wall by Black Peter's bulk; his groin, hard and insistent, was pressed up against her, and she could practically feel the blood pulsating in his swollen member. Her useless arms were crushed behind her, but it was not that pain which caused her to resume her futile attempt to push screams past the stuffing in her mouth. Her howls of protest were reduced to strangled moans, and her captor laughed as he listened.
"'Tis a lovely sound, my dear Kate. It puts me in mind of the wonderful uses a man may find for a mouth such as yours." His hand now began to probe between her legs, fingers caressing the inside of each silken thigh.
Now, came the tears. For Kate, they had always been a way to extract more concessions from her doting father; she might turn them on and off at will. Now, they leapt, unbidden, to her gray eyes, and she clamped her eyelids shut against the shame, until her jaw was seized in a grip of iron.
"None of that, pretty Kate. You will watch every second of this. I wish to see the pride dashed from those lovely eyes."
The pain was too great to ignore, and Kate opened her eyes miserably. She could practically see her degradation reflected in the bastard's eyes. She moaned again as his probing of her reached her nethermost regions.
"Not a virgin?" Black Peter's shock was only half-feigned. "Perhaps, then, it is best that I spare you the scandal of young Reginald making this discovery."
Incredibly, Kate actually reddened at this. No, she was not a virgin. Even as a young woman, she had seen the power her sex could wield over men, and had discreetly explored it with young men in her father's service. Now, though, sex was not her power, but her greatest weakness, as her captor began to use his fingers to toy with her most secret garden.
“Warmth, do I feel, pretty Kate? Aye, ‘tis good, then—a warm welcome awaits little Sir Peter upon his arrival!”
Kate was gasping, now, her breathing ragged through her nose. No red-hot poker from the fireplace could have seared her tender flesh as did the touch of this monster’s hand. Pinned to the wall, Kate had no room to squirm away from his insistent minstrations. She rained curses through the cloth filling her mouth, and wept afresh at the amusement this brought to his face.
“Uuugghhhhh!!!” Kate had nearly forgotten that Black Peter Noone was possessed of two hands; the other was now finding its way again to the rosy buds that stood hard and proud before him. This time, though, his touch was careful, nearly delicate, as he began to roll one nipple between his thumb and forefinger; slowly, the pressure increased as, like a miller grinding corn, he brought his strength to bear, and the exquisite pain threatened to drive all thought from her head, leaving her only an animal; flesh to be used. It was as though some wild forest creature was uttering the grunts and moans that now filled the room, and in some dim part of her mind, Kate knew that, even if anyone were to hear her muffled cries, no rescue could be worth the shame and humiliation of being seen like this.
"Ah, good Kate," Black Peter's breathing was becoming harder now, "did I not say you were meant for me?"
Lady Katherine moaned once more into her gag, her pride shattered at the truth in the monster’s words: beneath her genteel surface, there was indeed a Lady Katherine who had waited all her life for these savage pleasantries, and not all the shame in the world could prevent that buried part of her from responding as Black Peter began his assault, lowering his head and taking her other nipple in his teeth.
"Huuunnghhh!!!" Kate's head slammed back against the wall, as the twin peaks of pain and pleasure shot through her tortured body. As she gasped for air, she felt his hand pull away from her, and heard the sound of his trousers falling to the floor.
"Now, wench," gritted Black Peter, "no more airs; no more graces. Take this like the slut you are."
She felt his hips move against her, and though she tried to twist her bound body away from him, in the next moment, she was lost in the blaze of his passion.
Now, even Black Peter could form no words; the sounds coming from his throat were as feral as the muffled wails that escaped Kate's gagged mouth, until her vision exploded into a madness of fire and stars, and her captor gave a ragged laugh of triumph.
Kate was cold, now. A lifetime or two had passed since she had been dragged into this room, and as she sagged back against the wall, the sweat drying on her body chilled her less than the clear knowledge of her fate. Once Drusilla had accomplished whatever she had set out to do, they would kill her. Until then, though, she was to be the plaything of Black Peter Noone.
Maybe Drusilla wouldn't be able to kill her: perhaps she'd die of shame, first.
To Be Continued…one of these days, maybe…