The Wicked Tower Pt. 15
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All characters in sexual situations are 18 or older. Thanks for reading!
The cockerel greeted the day somewhere in the distance while blackness still hung outside Cassia’s window. She stretched under the covers. Her body was quite sore from the last two days’ activities with Vel. Sore, but good. She yawned and blinked into the darkness of her room. So much to do! She somehow had to host a magnificent wedding for her eldest daughter, navigate the sycophants that had already begun to arrive, and find some time to give her son a vent for his curse. She shivered. He had vented so much inside her the last two days.
“You’re awake.” A deep voice rose from the far dark corner of her room.
Cassia sat up in a fright, and clutched her covers to her naked breast. “Who’s there?”
With a bright spark, an oil lamp sprung to life in the darkness. It bathed the room in a warm glow. “Do you not recognize your husband?”
“Gallio?” Cassia blinked her eyes. Her stomach twisted in knots. She’d just been thinking about the great joys Vel had given her with his cock, and now her stern, faithful husband sat feet away. She cast her eyes down. “By what magic are you here?”
“By no magic but the knowledge a man has of his own house.” Gallio sat stiffly in the chair, a black cloak wrapped around him. He carefully scrutinized his wife. “Or have you forgotten that I am the duke of Ostia Novus?”
“Vel is the duke of –” Cassia was cut off by her husband’s sharp, barking laugh.
“Have you replaced me with my fool of a son?”
Cassia’s heart froze. Did he know? Would he murder her on the spot? She risked a look up into the man’s face. His face was harder than she remembered, but he had no malice there. He didn’t know. “Of course, not. And Vel is no fool. He’s –“
“Soft. Our son is soft. When I return to my fiefdom, I will not let things slide so.” Gallio could see his wife hid something from him. Perhaps she was just trying to be brave in the face of all that had beset them. If only she knew how their lives all hung on the edge of a blade.
“So, you are not returning for the wedding?” Cassia’s brow wrinkled in confusion. Why was he here if not to reclaim his seat? “The queens?”
“The queens still seek to do me harm. I am here now because you wrote that Vel was sick and you needed me. I came at great risk.” Gallio leaned forward in the chair. “Was it the sorceress? I have come to believe my father was duped by her.”
The conversation ahead was a path overgrown with thorns. How was Cassia to answer such a thing? As her mind spun, she became aware of Gallio’s familiar stare. She couldn’t take too long, or he would know she spoke lies. “He was quite sick and confined to his room. But he took a turn for the better and has resumed his duties. Your children are well.”
“Not Fortinbras,” he said with a sour frown. “You could not send word of Vel’s recovery before I raced home? Foolish woman. If they catch me…” He shook his head.
“I am sorry. But it is wonderful to see you.” Cassia forced a smile. She was still holding the covers over her breasts. How odd that she should be so demure around her husband. “I love you, Gallio, and I am eager to have your help now that you are here.”
“Prepare yourself for disappointment.” Gallio stood. “If all is well with Vel, I will be away. I will watch the castle from a safe distance. If you find yourself in trouble, send a signal from the east tower.” He reached for the lamp and extinguished the flame. The room fell into darkness again. “Watch the sorceress, and do not let your guard down at the wedding. I know not why the queens changed the date, but it arrives on a foul breeze. They seek to lure me here. I should not have come.”
“Wait! What do you know, Gallio? What did they do to Fortinbras? Is he still alive? Gallio?” Cassia fumbled in the dark for her own lamp. She sparked it and looked around the room. There was no trace of her husband. The windows and the door remained closed. He must have some hidden passage connected to their room. She shivered. How could she meet with Vel again when her husband could be spying from the walls? Her mind spun. There were too many moving pieces to the puzzle of her life.
After several minutes, a soft knock sounded at the door.
“Cassia? I mean, Your Grace? It is Norbana. Come break your fast with me.” The girlish voice had some urgency to it.
Curse that interfering woman. Cassia climbed out of bed and slowly dressed. “Good morning to you, Lady Norbana.” Faint bits of violet hit the horizon outside. It was time to rise. She moved to the door to greet her friend.
“We can’t today, Vel.” Cassia pushed her son away. He’d found her alone in one of the guest rooms as she reviewed the readiness of their accommodations. The heat of his touch tugged at the foundations of her will, but she managed to push him away.
“And why is that, Mother? I’ll be quick.” He kissed her rosy, round cheek.
“Shh. No more of that talk.” She looked around the room wildly, her eyes darting back and forth.
“What’s çankaya escort wrong?” He scrunched up his mouth in confusion. “Is Bantia your duchess now? She can wait for you a few more minutes.”
“Enough, Vel.” Cassia’s voice rose in exasperation. She backed into a corner. “Do not touch me or speak of such things. It is not your sister. It is your father.”
“What of my father?” Vel took a step back and lifted his eyebrows. His cock was still hard as steel, but his mind tried to grasp back the reigns of thought from his baser inclinations.
“He was here this morning,” she hissed. “And while he does not suspect… that… particular thing, he suspects something. And he moves in the castle in a way I did not know. He’s almost certainly gone now, but still.”
“My father was here?” Vel tried to sort through her words. “Am I still the duke? Wait, how does he move?”
“He came to check on you. I wrote him when you were… sick.” Cassia looked around the room again. “He moved through secret passages. Which I would try to discover today if not for the world falling down around me. He is still in hiding. I am to signal him from the east tower if…” Cassia went very still. She heard a faint tap on the door. Not a knock. Something far less than that.
“What?” Vel watched her, perplexed. “Secret passages? I –” he stopped talking when she narrowed her eyes at him and held her finger over her lips.
“I’m missing a servant today, Vel. And the poulter says the goose shipment is delayed. We’ll have to change the pie courses if those geese do not arrive.” She said this all loudly and nodded to him that someone was at the door. She hoped he understood.
“Lamprey and goose, those are Bantia’s favorites. How dreadful.” Vel took her cue and moved toward the door. “After all what’s good for the goose…” He was now just saying nonsense as he moved lightly across the room. He wished very much Dellia was by his side. “… is good for the poulter.” He opened the door quickly.
Clearly caught off balance at the sudden loss of door, Norbana Uticensis stumbled into the room. She wore a sensible stola, as if she were applying herself to practical matters. And she held something in her hand. It was a glass cup attached to a long tube. A listening device.
“Shit. Come in.” Vel pulled her into the room, and checked the corridor. She was alone. He closed the door and turned to face her. “You were eavesdropping.”
“I… I…” Norbana was normally a pretty woman, but her blanched, frightened expression made her appear a specter before them.
“Spying is the better word for it.” Cassia looked the woman up and down. “You better search her for weapons, Vel, before we question her.”
“Before we what?” Vel couldn’t quite keep pace with the day.
“She must be Vulpes. Sent by the queens to spy on us. And as her luck would have it, she got an earful I’ll wager.” Cassia’s face darkened. “And to think I thought you an old friend.”
Vel patted the woman down. She was quite curvy, so he had to check the hidden areas under her breasts. Giving the circumstances, it was less alluring than one would expect.
“How dare you touch a lady like that.” She slapped at his shoulders, but he shrugged her off.
“I am your duke, lady.” He found a dagger strapped to her thigh. He lifted her stola and removed the weapon, letting his fingers linger on her olive skin.
Norbana shivered at the duke’s hideously pale touch. These northerners were so ugly. She couldn’t believe Cassia had married one. “Oh.” She let out a little exclamation of surprise. A warmth moved up her leg into her core as the duke’s fingers lingered on her thigh. The feeling hit her out of the blue, and temporally made her forget her predicament.
“That’s all there is.” Vel stood straight and placed the knife on a side table. He exchanged a glance with his mother. “What should we do?”
“I will step out and find Lord Lars.” Her eyes trailed down to where his robes concealed that great leviathan. “You may begin questioning her as you see fit.”
“I have little training in interrogation. Perhaps the guard should –” Vel took a step back from the trembling woman.
“I’m not sure who to trust, Vel. And you’ve developed new skills. Use them.” She arched her eyebrow meaningfully. It was not ideal, but she had experienced his curse firsthand. It should work. Desperate times, desperate measures.
“You mean…” His eyes went round.
Cassia nodded. “But go slow and perhaps Lord Lars should be here for this. It might spur his cooperation to see this.” She paused at the door, thinking. “Do you trust cousin Dellia?”
“I do.” Vel nodded.
“Will your new skills shock her? I mean, we need someone to keep Lord Lars in place while you question Lady Norbana. We can’t have him running away when…” Cassia shrugged.
“Wait… I heard nothing. I was only curious. I am not Vulpes.” Norbana looked back and forth between them, her eyes very wide. She should never have taken the queens’ escort çankaya commission. But it was too much coin to turn down. It was clear the duchy of Ostia Novus meant to torture her and have her husband watch. “Please don’t.”
“Dellia will not be shocked.” Vel ignored Norbana and answered his mother.
Cassia cocked her head at her son. Had he taken Dellia, too? Of course, he had. “I will not be here for this.” Cassia gave her ex-friend a cool stare. “I’ll send Dellia and Naevia with Lord Lars. You can handle this, Vel. You must.” She had little faith her gentle Vel could actually torture the spies. But after the past few days, she had supreme confidence in his curse.
“What do we need to know?” Vel’s face was a little more pale than usual. He swallowed hard.
“Find out what they know of your father and of us. And what they have reported. That is most important.” Cassia put her hand on the door handle. “If we’re lucky, they haven’t yet signaled that Gallio was here.”
“Gallio was here? Will he be at the wedding?” Norbana steepled her hands in front of her chest. “Please, I was only being a bit nosey. I don’t know anything, I swear.”
“While you do this, I will have the sorceress ferret out any other spies. These can’t be the only ones,” Cassia said to Vel. “I won’t let them catch your father.”
“Not the sorceress. We sent her to Minerva’s Library.” Vel sat down on the edge of the guest bed, eyeing their prisoner. As he thought about what his mother asked, his confidence rose, and so did his cock. He could do this.
“Well, then, I’ll alert the seneschal. And do some digging myself. Bantia will have to plan on her own this day.” Cassia turned the handle and strode out. “Expect the others soon.” She closed the door and disappeared.
Silence filled the room. Dust motes hung in the air, almost like fireflies where they floated by the window’s morning light. They were high in the south tower, and Vel could see far out to the horizon on a sea doted by sails. “So, Lady Norbana, what are we going to talk about?” His blue-eyed gaze drifted over to the trembling woman.
The library ceiling arched several stories over Brynhild’s head. The walls around her were covered with a mottled façade of books. Their spines were mostly in browns and reds. A few glittered here and there. But Brynhild cared little for the aesthetics of the place. She sat hunched in a chair built for smaller people, at a table too low for her legs. A ball of light floated in the air above the book on Hekate she had open. “Pluto’s light indeed,” she muttered as she turned a page.
“Excuse me, Mistress.” A servile voice came from across the table.
“Yes?” Brynhild looked up. It was the footman with a friend in the palace. “Good news, I hope?”
The servant bowed. “I had drinks as you asked and it is ready.” She had asked them not to speak plainly of their plans to rescue Merope. The man hoped he’d followed her orders well.
“That is good news.” Brynhild cocked her head. “Return to the others and tell them that all is set. Tomorrow as the sun hits its zenith?”
“It will be open.”
“Very good.” She held out her hand. “The coin you didn’t use, please.”
The footman retrieved a pouch about half as light as it once was and placed it in her palm. “Thank you so much for your help, Mistress. We cannot wait to rescue Prin –“
Brynhild snapped with her left hand, and the man instantly went mute. “Let’s be more careful, shall we? Run along now. You’ll be able to speak again by the time you reach the castle.” She watched him turn and scurry away. Things were shaping up. She turned her head back to the book and continued reading about the goddess of old magic.
“I’m new to this. Are you?” Vel still sat on the edge of the bed.
Norbana still stood on the other side of the room watching him like he was a snake about to strike. “I have never been t… t… tortured,” she stuttered.
“You’re a spy. A Vulpes. You’ve never been questioned? Interrogated?” Vel was actually quite curious. He wasn’t sure exactly how the whole thing worked. “How did you and your lord come to work for the queens?” He stood and slowly ambled toward her.
“I don’t work for them. But… but… I am loyal to the crown.” She backed as far into the corner as she could go. He was so tall and pale. So ungainly. He walked in an odd way, like his billowing robes were too tight for him. Her husband could take this man in a fight. It was good Cassia was sending Lars to them. And in the company of two women? Surely, Lars could handle the lot. Norbana was a refined woman, without any martial training. But her husband was a man of the hunt, and he had fought in several skirmishes. She had to stall until Lars arrived.
“You’re loyal to Princess Minicia then?” Vel closed to within a few feet of her and stopped. What an odd day he was having.
“Yes, yes, Princess Minicia and the queens that serve her.”
“I’m starting to suspect that they don’t serve the çankaya escort bayan princess at all. I mean, has anyone seen her lately? It’s just a theory, but they may have her under lock and key.” Vel reached out to touch her cheek with his fingertips and she flinched away from him.
“Blasphemy. Those are traitorous words,” she spat at him.
“Will you report me then?” Vel closed the gap between them, reached down, and took hold of the back of her neck. He used just enough force to keep his grip as she wriggled.
“I will not. Just let me… go.” Norbana’s skin crawled under the touch of this nineteen-year-old man. She struggled. But then her body slowed. Heat crept up her neck and moved over her skull. Her urge for flight faded. The warmth seeped into her and felt… almost… alluring. “I’m not… a… spy.” Her chest rose and fell as she gasped for breath. Her body responded like she’d just run a race. It was her fear, she reasoned. She put a hand up on his arm, but didn’t push or pull as she’d intended. She simply held him firmly, as he held her like a bitch might hold a puppy, by the scruff. She was as helpless as a puppy, too.
“You do know that the queens would torture and murder my father, if they found him, right?” Vel leaned back and picked the knife up off the end table. He held it up.
“Don’t hurt me. I mean your father no harm.” She wriggled again at the sight of her own dagger. “I am not a Vulpes. But I know of them. I can tell you –” She sucked in her breath as he moved the dagger toward her chest. He carefully cut one shoulder strap, and then the other. Just as he’d seen Dellia do to the sorceress. Her stola fell down, exposing her chest band. Despite the pleasant heat that moved through her body, her fear surged again. But she dared not struggle with the dagger so close.
“Tell me what you reported to the queens. What do the Vulpes know of my father, my mother, and me?” He pulled the blade away from her skin. He did not want to accidentally hurt her. He was trying to appear as tough as Dellia, but his own fear moved through him with the blade out in the open. He realized he would be hard pressed to kill a person, even one that had tried to sell out his family. “Tell me now.”
“I don’t know anything. I — aaahhhhh.” She screamed as he pulled on and then sliced her chest band. It took a second for her to realize she had shed no blood, but that her breasts now hung free. She had every urge to cover them up, but his grip kept her motionless. “Okay, okay, I have heard rumors. Rumors about you and your sister. That the northern sorceress has her hooks into you. That you are marionettes.”
“What?” Of all the things for her to say, Vel hadn’t expected this. “Okay, that’s a start.”
“Will you put the knife away?”
“Hmmmm…” Vel was still playacting at the hardened torturer when he wanted the dagger away from them as much as she. He eyed her boobs. They were quite large, and sloped down her chest in a way similar to his mother’s. Her areola were wide, dark, and low. Her chest rose and fell with her ragged, heavy breaths. Should he feel bad to be so hard on this woman? No, she would have murdered his father for money. Or, he thought, if she learned and reported what he’d been doing with his mother, sister, and cousin, she might have them all executed. His cock was his real weapon. He tossed the dagger onto the bed. “No more knife.” His hand now free, he trailed his fingers along the blue veins just under the skin of her breast.
“What… what are you doing… to me?” Norbana leaned back into the wall, her body going rigid with pleasure. The heat spread from her right boob to her left. “You’re a filthy… pasty… northerner. Get your hands… off me.” But even without a weapon in his hands, she didn’t push him away.
“I am a man of the Surround. And your duke.” Vel slowly ran his fingertip around her nipple, and then rolled it between his fingers. He hadn’t really taken the time to tease a woman like this before. He wasn’t sure he was doing it right.
“Once the queens… hear of this… you will no longer… rule,” she said though clenched teeth. Despite herself, she stuck her chest out at him. Offering the breast that had fed her children to this vile, ugly teenager.
“So, you have the queens’ ears, do you?” Vel was careful to keep his right hand on the base of her neck as his left toyed with her. He sensed that was what kept her still. He tugged gently at the nipple. “I’m new to this. Am I doing it right?”
“This… is… torture.” She looked up at him with pleading eyes. He no longer looked so hideous to her. Even with his snow-white skin, she could see he was a handsome young man. And so very tall. He had… a strong male presence.
“Well, I guess I’m on the right track.” Vel heard the door open on the far side of the room. He turned his head to see his sister and Dellia march in with Lord Lars Uticensis between them. Dellia drew her sword as she saw what was happening. She placed it to the lord’s throat before he could reach for a weapon himself.
“Unhand her, northern filth.” Without turning his head, Lars eyed the naked blade resting on his shoulder. “What is the meaning of this?” When Vel stepped away from his wife, he saw that she was topless. His face reddened, his hands clenched into fists, and he trembled with rage. “You will die for what you’ve done to her.”
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