|by Van © 2016
Lancashire, United Kingdom
THE SHOP was somewhat difficult to
find. The village of Laytham-on-Ribble was small,
bordering on tiny, but the street plan seemed to have more in
common with a two-dimensional sketch of somebody's tangled
knitting than any sort of rational grid. Also, whoever was
in charge of the street signage either had a wicked sense of
humor or was borderline deranged. Street names seemed to
start, stop, then start again in a random fashion, with little
concession to either logic or aiding visitors in search of a
"This place is charming," Cecelia sighed. As an American
tourist, she was having a lot of fun absorbing the rural English
ambiance and watching her companion's exasperation in
the face of their navigational difficulties.
"Yeah, it's got charming out the wazoo," Cat muttered, running a
hand through her short-cropped auburn hair. Cat was the
companion in question and also an American tourist. Her
actual name was "Caitlyn," but she'd gone by Cat since she was a
Cecelia was Cat's goddaughter, and the blond youngster refused
to answer to "Cece," or "Cee," or any other nickname. She
was Cecelia, thank you very much.
Cecelia's parents died in a tragic car accident when she was
twelve and she'd become Cat's responsibility until her
eighteenth birthday. That milestone had been reached only
a week before her graduation from high school and only a little
more than a month in the past. Cat and Cecelia had always
been friends, but now they were no longer guardian and ward but
a thirty-something redhead and her blond sidekick of eighteen
enjoying a combination graduation trip for the later and
long-planned vacation in England for the former.
Lytham-on-Ribble's longest, straightest street ran along the
river Ribble, hence the name. It boasted a boatyard, a
couple of modest warehouses, and a handful of fishing and
tourist boats either tied to the ancient docks or puttering up
and down the estuary, but the village waterfront was neither
extensive nor bustling.
"Well, I like it," Cecelia continued, commenting on the
village. "Very Agatha Christie or Midsomer Murders,
with a side of hanging nets, bobbing boats, salt air—"
"And the faint aroma of rotting seaweed," Cat interrupted,
eliciting a giggle from her companion. "If we see Miss
Marple strolling in our direction," Cat continued, "we should
turn and run. As American tourists we're prime targets for
the local murderer."
"Either that," Cecelia giggled, "or we'd be red herrings and
would spend most of the story being interrogated by Detective
Cat nodded. "Even though Miss Marple would know immediately
that we're totally innocent."
"Exactly," Cecilia giggled.
"Here it is," Cat said, indicating a small shop. Above the
door hung a sign reading "Titania's
Wardrobe." From the items on display in the window, it
was a boutique specializing in fanciful clothing, especially
"My god, it's true," Cat whispered as they entered to the
tinkling of blossom-shaped hanging bells over the door.
"Be nice," Cecelia giggled, nudging Cat in the side with her
elbow. "I like it."
"You would," Cat sighed.
The ceiling was painted a deep indigo with florescent dots and indirect ultraviolet lighting
used to create a reasonably
realistic depiction of the night sky. The
exposed rafters, if they were, indeed, structural rafters and
not pure decoration, took the form of twisted tree
branches. Lighting was provided by dangling fixtures with
hand-blown glass shades in the colors and shapes of various
flowers as well as strings of countless LED fairy-lights.
The store's racks and cabinets carried forward the natural
theme, and the walls were painted in an impressionistic
depiction of a woodland glade at night.
As for the merchandise, there were dresses, skirts, cloaks,
jackets, shoes, and hats, as well as sets of fairy wings, wooden
staffs and wands, leather belts and pouches, and shoes. In
short, everything needed to outfit the fashionable elf-, fairy-,
goblin-, wizard-, or witch-about-town. The preponderance
of the garments on display were in children's sizes, but some
were clearly meant for adults.
Cat and Cecelia had been warned what to expect, but the reality
of Titania's Wardrobe was something to behold.
"Everything's... cool!" Cecelia gushed.
"Uh, yeah," Cat agreed with less enthusiasm, but she had to
admit the ambiance and items on sale were tasteful.
Exotic? Strange? Yes, but tasteful and, to all
appearances, practical. None of the garments or
accessories looked to be flimsy costumes for Halloween or fancy
dress parties that would fall apart after a little wear.
A woman in her twenties, obviously the clerk on duty, approached
from the back of the store. She was a few inches taller
than both Cat and Cecelia and had flaming red hair, the fair complexion
to match, and what both Cat and Cecelia had to agree were quite attractive
features. "Welcome to Titania's Wardrobe," the
redhead said with a dimpled smile. "You would be the pair
of Yanks who want to go birding on the Isle of Caer."
warned you," Cat suggested. Mrs. Ingleby was the proprietress of
Lyman-on-Riddle's only hotel.
"She did," the ginger confirmed with a warm, dimpled
smile. "Kadence Harrington,"
she introduced herself.
"Cat Sinclair," Cat said as she shook Kadence's offered hand.
"Cecelia Harper," Cecelia said when it was her turn. "I
love this place."
"Thank you," Kadence responded. "Most of our sales are
online, but we enjoy a substantial walk-in business."
"A lot of fairies in the area?" Cat inquired with a coy grin.
"Cat!" Cecelia admonished her ex-guardian and friend.
"She's not usually this rude and offensive," she said to the
smiling shop girl. Cecelia was teasing, of course, and was rewarded by the
expected eye roll from her auburn-haired godmother.
"No worries," Kadence answered with a chuckle. "And actually, there
are local legends of fey-folk, but I've never waited on a
customer with either pointed ears or wings." She turned to
Cat. "So, you're a birdwatcher?"
"Me too," Cecelia answered on Cat's behalf, "and more than
birds. We like watching all kinds of wildlife."
said you have an in," Cat said, "a way onto the island, I mean."
"The guide book says it's not open to the public," Cecelia
"It's not," Kadence confirmed, "but I've worked in the castle as
summer employment, before I took this job. Her Ladyship
won't mind. Just stay away from the castle and she won't
even know you're there."
Cecelia nodded, but Cat seemed dubious. "Are you sure we
shouldn't call and ask permission? Mrs. Ingleby said no,
but it seems polite."
"Not necessary," Kadence answered, "really. Her Ladyship
won't mind as long as you're approved by the locals, meaning
"But how will she know?" Cecelia asked. "If we run into
her, that is."
Kadence's smile broadened. "That brings us to my fee."
Cat sighed and whispered to Cecelia in an aside, "Here it
comes." Kadence had overheard, of course, but her smile didn't
change. "Your fee?" Cat asked in her normal voice.
Kadence looked Cat up and down in an assessing manner, then did
the same to Cecelia. "Hmm, I think... one hat each, and I
have just the things."
"Hats?" Cat and Cecelia said in unison, exchanging a surprised
led the way to a display of several unusual hats, then indicated a
robin's-egg blue felt cap with a curled tip. The upturned
brim was pierced by small holes and scalloped like the edge of a
leaf. The cord band was decorated with peacock-blue felt
feathers or leaves and a matching rosette, as well as black and
white actual feathers. It short, it was a pale blue Robin
Hood hat—if the
legendary outlaw had been more that a little fey.
"Oooo!" Cecelia gushed, placed the hat on her head, and posed in
front of a mirror. "It's perfect!"
Cat agreed, but did her best to hide her enthusiasm. "It's
a little... blue," she observed. The cap was, indeed,
blue, but the color went with the grinning blonde's hair and
complexion and had the special virtue of bringing out the
sparkle in her
"I like it," Cecelia sighed, turning to Cat and striking a pose.
Cat smiled—how could she not?—then took the cap from Cecelia's
head and examined it closely.
"Hey!" Cecelia objected.
Cat continued examining the cap. "Cool your jets," she
muttered. The cap looked like the real deal, meaning it
was an actual, functional hat. "Waterproof dyes?" she
"Of course," Kadence confirmed. "It will weather quite
naturally. All our hats are made for normal wear."
"Normal?" Cat inquired, then tossed the fey cap back to Cecelia,
who giggled and returned it to her head.
day-to-day wear," Kadence confirmed, then indicated another hat
with a graceful gesture. It was olive green with a
pointed, drooping point in the back, felt ivy leaf decorations,
and a folded-back brown brim in the front, scalloped and rustic,
like Cecelia's fairy cap. It had ear-flaps and was more of
a hood than a cap, but there were strings so they could be tied
up in warm weather. It also had a pair of very short,
ivory-colored, felt horns sprouting from either side.
Kadence lifted it off its branch display stand and handed it to
Cat was intrigued. The hat was utterly ridiculous, of
course, but she liked the forest colors. She placed it on
her head and joined Cecelia in admiring herself in the mirror.
"A goblin hat," Cecelia giggled. "It suits you."
"It's not a goblin hat," Cat objected, then turned to
Kadence for support. "It's not a goblin hat, is it?"
"Well, yes," Kadence said with a smile, "but the horns are
removable. Under felt flaps on the inside you'll find the
ends of the clutch-pins holding them in place. They can be
replaced with a pair of ivy leaves similar to the other
"Keep the horns," Cecelia giggled. "They suit you."
Cat rolled her eyes, removed the "goblin-hat," folded up the
ear-flaps and tied their dangling strings together across the
crown, then returned the hat to her head. "Okay, I can
live with it, the hat and the horns... for now."
Truth be told, Cat loved the hat. It was absurd,
ridiculous, and far too fanciful for wear on the street.
She loved it. She turned to Kadence. "And if we buy
these things, you'll arrange to get us onto the island?"
"I'll drop you off myself," Kadence confirmed. "Bob
Dootson let's me borrow one of his boats whenever I ask.
I'll meet you at the quayside tomorrow morning at nine.
Will that be convenient?"
Cat looked at the small price tag hanging from her hat, the
similar tag dangling from Cecelia's cap, then smiled.
"It's a sale and an appointment," she said, shaking
Payment was made, goodbyes were said, and the Americans left the
shop wearing their new hats. Kadence was proud of herself,
both of her ability to match the merchandise of Titania's
Wardrobe to customers and her ability to help interesting
situations develop. She picked up the handset of the
rather antique telephone next to the shop's rather antique cash
register and dialed a number. She waited while the
connection was made... then a familiar voice answered.
"Good day, Your Ladyship," Kadence responded. "Have you
spoken with Mrs. Ingleby?"
"I have," Lady Jocelyn Caerwyn confirmed. "Am I to have
"You shall, Your Ladyship," Kadence responded, "with your
permission, of course."
"And you personally vouch for their behavior?"
"Oh no, Your Ladyship," Kadence chuckled, "but I'm sure
you'll find then entertaining."
"Very well," Lady Caerwyn answered. "Tomorrow?"
"Yes, Your Ladyship."
"Goodbye, Miss Harrington."
"Goodbye, Your Ladyship. Best wishes to Elyse and
Nora." Kadence hung up the phone, then smiled as the door
opened, bells tinkled, and two women and five small children
entered the shop. The children, three girls and two boys,
all probably between the ages of six and eight, shrieked with
delight and dispersed among the racks of clothing. The
women, no doubt their long suffering mothers, were doing their
best to keep the youngsters together in a manageable herd, but
were having limited success.
It was business as usual at Titania's Wardrobe.
The Isle of Caer, United Kingdom
Jocelyn Caerwyn replaced the handset of the telephone on the
side table beside her very comfortable easy chair. The
chair in question was close to both a massive fireplace (unlit,
at this time of year) and a bank of windows affording a
picturesque view of the distant Lancashire coast, specifically,
the wide mouth of the river Riddle's estuary. On a clear
night, the lights of Blackpool and Lytham St. Ann's could be
seen twinkling on the horizon, but clear nights were few on the
Isle of Caer. The main virtue of the vista was the ever
changing Irish Sea.
The venue was referred to as the "Mainland Parlor." The
large space might more accurately be described as a medieval
hall, but it had been labeled a "parlor" during Victoria's
reign, and the designation had stuck. The furnishings were
Edwardian, but the plastered stone walls were hung with
tapestries, medieval shields and weaponry, and hunting trophies;
however, a striking Turner landscape of the island's central
valley hung opposite the fireplace.
There was another decoration gracing the parlor: Elyse
Harrington, Kadence Harrington's cousin and Lady Jocelyn's
Her Ladyship was dressed in her usual at home attire for this
time of year: sandals, designer jeans, and a fashionable cotton
blouse. Of course, if one or more of her peers were to pay
a formal visit, Jocelyn possessed the appropriate clothing by
the closet full, but she liked to "putter about the castle" in
comfort. Elyse-the-maid's attire, however, was neither
comfortable nor designed for puttering about.
A variant of the traditional black and white domestic
In point of fact, Elyse was completely naked, except for the
several yards of tight, neatly hitched, and carefully positioned
coils and strands of conditioned jute rope. Elyse was a
redhead, like her slightly older cousin, and while she had the
years to vote and order alcohol in a public house, you couldn't
tell by looking at her. The diminutive ginger's features
were both attractive and decidedly girlish. At the moment,
the features in question were hidden behind a tousled curtain of
copper-red hair as she squirmed and fought to escape her
bonds. The ginger veil also hid the thick, tight
cleave-gag of neatly folded white linen encouraging her to keep
any thoughts or comments to herself.
Lady Jocelyn was the author of Elyse' predicament, of
course. It was a game they played on a regular
basis. When the maid's duties and Her Ladyship's schedule
allowed, Elyse and Jocelyn practiced their respective hobbies,
which were escaping from tight ropes and tying tight ropes,
respectively. Elyse's lack of clothing was to help her
concentrate on developing her skills as an escape artiste and
certainly not so Her Ladyship could better appreciate the sight
of her maid's fit, young, nude body as she writhed and
struggled. Anyway, that was their story and they were
sticking to it.
As for the current exercise, Elyse's wrists were bound behind
her back with her hands palm-to-palm, her elbows were tied a few
inches apart, and lateral and horizontal bands of well-hitched
rope bound her upper arms against her sides, her forearms to her
waist, and her legs together at the thighs, above and below her
knees, her calves and shins, and her ankles. It was a
veritable web of rope bondage, and nothing the twisting,
rolling, squirming redhead tried caused any of Her Ladyship's
ropes to loosen or shift, and the key knots remained far from
the reach of her fluttering, groping fingers. She'd been
attempting to find a means of escape for nearly an hour, and her
smooth, peach-pink skin had taken on a slight glow. That
is, Elyse was working up an entirely understandable but
nonetheless socially unacceptable sweat.
Lady Jocelyn toyed with a strand of her long, loose blond (with
grey highlights) hair and smiled. She'd done her job
well. Elyse would not be escaping today. In point of
fact, in the two years since Elyse had taken her cousin's place
at the castle, Elyse had never escaped Jocelyn's ropes, just as
Kadence had never escaped during her tenure as maid.
Just then, Nora Rigby, Castle Caerwyn's Mistress of the Staff,
entered the parlor carrying a tray with a complete tea
service. Since the "Staff" in question consisted of only
Elyse and herself, Nora considered the title to be a tad
pompous, but Her Ladyship insisted. Tradition. The
thirty-something brunette placed the tray at Jocelyn's elbow,
then took a step back and indicated the squirming, struggling
Elyse with a nod of her smiling head. "Harriet Houdini she
Jocelyn chuckled as she poured tea into the single cup on the
tray. Nora would never be so forward as to drink tea with
Her Ladyship, and the same went for Elyse, who, at the moment,
wasn't in any condition to drink tea with anyone. "I'm
thinking she might do better with motivation."
Nora crossed her arms and continued gazing down at the wiggling
Elyse paused in her struggles, shook the hair from her gagged
face as best she could, and gazed up at her smiling supervisor.
"Perhaps if she fails to escape by sundown," Nora suggested, "I
should give her a spanking, then put her to bed without any
"I think not," Her Lady ship chuckled. "Elyse missed
lunch, and starving one's maid is such bad form."
Her eyes were also on the helpless little ginger on the carpet.
Elyse shifted her sad, blue-eyed gaze from Nora... to Her
Ladyship... back to Nora, then heaved a tragically pathetic (and
highly melodramatic) sigh through her thick, tight gag.
"Well then," Nora purred, "that leaves only the spanking."
She turned to the mistress of the castle. "Will there be
anything else, Your Ladyship?"
"I'm sorry to announce that the island may soon be infested with
Americans," Jocelyn said with a dimpled smile.
"The two Yanks?" Nora responded. "That hardly constitutes
Jocelyn paused for a sip of tea before continuing.
"According to Mrs. Ingleby and our former maid,
Harrington-the-Elder, both are quite attractive."
"I'll make sure all is in readiness, Your Ladyship," Nora
intoned, sketched her usual shallow (insolent) bow, then made
Elyse watched Nora depart... then shifted her sad gaze back to
"Well," Jocelyn purred, "get on with it... or I'll spank you
Elyse heaved another sigh, then resumed her pointless but highly
enjoyed the boat trip immensely. As for Cecelia, not so
much. She'd managed to retain her breakfast, but had
turned a little green around the gills, as the saying
goes. Anyway, they were now safely ashore on the rocks of
the western shore of the Isle of Caer.
Cat realized the weathered stones under her booted feet actually
constituted a modest, man-made pier, but the waters were
sheltered only by a line of jumbled boulders several yards
offshore. At the moment the Irish Sea was relatively calm,
but in any sort of rough weather a boat tied to the "dock" would
eventually be smashed to pieces. Kadence had mentioned
that there was a small, well-sheltered harbor below the castle
on the island's eastern end, but that was certainly not the case
"I'll see you at about this time in three days!" Kadence shouted
as she turned the wheel of the borrowed boat and gunned the
"Don't forget about us!" Cat shouted back.
"Bye!" Cecelia added.
Cat and Cecelia waved as Kadence skillfully maneuvered the boat
away from the rocks and turned towards the mainland. Soon,
she was out of sight around the shore.
Her "goblin hat" atop her head, Cat was dressed for the field in
hiking boots, wool socks, cargo shorts, a tank-top, and a cotton
shirt with its long sleeves rolled up. Everything was a
mix of earth tones: dark-brown, coyote-brown, dark-tan,
olive-green, gray-green, etc. The same went for her
backpack and the hooded rain jacket, fleece sweater, and change
of clothing within. Her trusty Vortex Viper (HD) 8 x 42
binoculars were attached to a chest harness of elastic straps
and dangled just below the bulge of her modest breasts, ready
for instant use.
Cecelia's kit was similar in style and function, but favored the
blue end of the spectrum. That said, none of the shades of
navy, denim, gray, or gray-blue chosen would prevent her from
fading into the landscape nearly as well as Cat. The
robin's-egg "fairy cap" atop Cecelia's smiling head was the
brightest thing she was wearing, but even it would be relatively
unobtrusive in the dappled shade under the distant trees.
The young blonde was also wearing a chest harness (adjusted to
compensate for her relatively less modest bosom), and
attached were the Nikon Monarch Five 8 x 42 binoculars she'd
inherited when Cat upgraded to the Vipers.
"Well," Cat said as they shouldered their packs. "Let's
find ourselves a campsite."
"After you, O fearless leader," Cecelia giggled.
Cat rolled her eyes (as expected), and they trudged towards the
The weather forecast was good and they had five days of
freeze-dried food in their packs, just to be safe. Kadence
had assured them there was fresh water on the island, and they
had the required tablets to make it safe for drinking. In
case of emergency, they had their iPhones and a solar charger,
and the phones were loaded with apps to help them identify
British birds, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals,
as well as wildflowers, mushrooms, trees, and other
plants. Both were experienced backpackers and they had an
entire island of wetlands, grassy moors, and a forest valley
sheltered between a pair of rocky ridges to explore.
What could possibly go wrong?
At the usual
hour, Lady Carewyn had enjoyed a light supper of Shepard's Pie
and salad, accompanied by a delightful rosé. She was
currently in bed, having changed into her usual sleeping costume
of frilly, whisper-thin nightie and knickers. The long,
matching robe was draped over a bedside chair. Reclined
against a pile of pillows, wearing her reading glasses, and a
with an open book in her lap, Jocelyn was reading Startide
Rising by David Brin—rereading it, actually.
Science Fiction was her lifelong passion, frowned upon by her
parents and teachers, but her favorite literary genre,
Just then the bedroom door opened and Nora entered, pushing a
serving cart. She positioned the cart near the bed, then
removed a plate cover, revealing a roast beef sandwich with
leafy green lettuce, sliced pickles, onions, and tomatoes.
Next to the plate was a pint of nut-brown ale. "I thought
I'd bring Her Ladyship a bedtime snack," the smiling Staff
Jocelyn favored her senior servant with a dubious smile but made
no comment. They both knew this was an absurd
assertion. Jocelyn exercised on a daily basis and watched
her waistline with meticulous care. The sandwich was not
for Her Ladyship. Jocelyn watched as Nora departed the
bedroom... there was a pause of several seconds... then the
Staff Mistress returned with the still naked and stringently
bound Elyse over her right shoulder.
Nora carefully deposited the captive maid on the bed, against
Her Ladyship's right side, bowed, and made her final departure,
closing the bedroom door behind her.
Jocelyn smiled at her junior servant. Nora had left
Elyse's cleave-gag and leg-bonds intact, but she'd modified the
maid's upper-body-bonds into a box-tie of the "sadistic"
variety, with her crossed wrists raised and lashed against her
spine, just below her shoulder blades. It would appear the
change had been to provide better access to the maid's firm,
dimpled buttocks, as Elyse's cheeks and blue eyes were wet with
tears and the firm, dimpled buttocks in question were flushed a
rosy-pink. Obviously, Nora had carried through with the
"You poor thing," Jocelyn purred as she slid her bookmark
between the pages and placed the book on the nightstand.
Next, she pulled Elyse into a tight embrace and gave her a
squeeze, then untied and removed her gag.
Elyse blinked, licked her lips, and worked her jaw before
speaking. "S-she spanked me," the naked and bound
little ginger declaimed in a trembling voice.
Jocelyn smiled, but succeeded in stifling an unladylike
laugh. She was sure Nora had, indeed, delivered a spanking
to the failed escape artiste, but it wouldn't have been anything
Elyse couldn't handle, nor something she hadn't experienced many
times before. Elyse's pathetic display was all part of of
"Poor thing," Jocelyn reiterated as she hugged Elyse's helpless
form, again, planted a kiss on her trembling lips, then turned
to the serving tray.
Stomach growling and mouth watering, Elyse watched as Her
Ladyship lifted half of the roast beef sandwich, held it for her
to take a bite... and she did so. "Ummm!" Elyse mumbled as
she chewed. It was delicious. Mistress Nora might be
a cruel tyrant, but she knew how to throw together a good
Lady Jocelyn continued feeding her helpless maid, alternating
bites of sandwich with sips of ale. No further words were
exchanged. At one point a tiny dollop of mayonnaise
dripped from the sandwich and onto Elyse's pale-pink left breast
and Her Ladyship used a cloth napkin to wipe it away. She
noticed that both of her maid's nipples were erect.
Jocelyn's nipples were also erect, a fact quite imperfectly
disguised by the sheer, gauze-like fabric of her nightie.
It was one of the maid's duties, when so ordered, to help Her
Ladyship "relax" before slumber, and being a firm believer in
noblesse oblige, it was Jocelyn's habit to return the
favor. Elyse was quite sure that tonight would be one of
those nights. Once the meal was over, she'd snuggle her
naked, helplessly bound body against Joselyn's side until Her
Ladyship decided she'd had enough of her book for the evening,
then she'd wiggle and squirm her way between Jocelyn's splayed
legs and do her duty.
It was a dirty, rotten job, licking Her Ladyship's pussy and
having her own pussy licked in return, but it came with the