|by Van © 2016
THE SINCLAIR-HARPER Expedition into the
untamed wilds of the Isle of Caer proceeded apace.
Habitat-wise, the Isle was a mosaic of brackish wetlands,
slightly more elevated grasslands, and deciduous forest, with
the trees sheltered between a pair of parallel, rocky ridges and
sloping hills. At first flush, the trees, grasses, and
sedges seemed to be the same found on the nearby English
mainland, but Cat wouldn't be too surprised to find that a
formal ecological survey would contain fewer species. The
principles of island biogeography suggested as much. The
smaller and farther away an island was from the nearest large
landmass, the fewer the number of species. For that
reason, the Isle of Man lacked many of the plants and animal
species found on Britain and Ireland. The Isle of Caer
might be closer to Britain, relatively, but it was also much
As for birds, the usual avian suspects were seen flitting
about—godwits, curlews, and a few dunlins near the water, and
goldfinches, robins, and a flash of yellow that might have been
a greenfinch as they trekked towards the forest. They
didn't do any serious birding. Sorting out the various
species could wait until they'd found a campsite. That
said, Cat and Cecelia did pause to watch any foraging robins
they encountered. Cecelia characterized them as "serious
cuties," and they both agreed that their fascination for the
little gray and orange-breasted Old World flycatchers was
probably because they were so different from the larger, red and
black thrushes they were used to calling robins back in the
"When Brits and other Europeans visit North America," Cat
suggested at one point, "they probably stare at our 'robins'
Cecelia was skeptical. "Umm... not so sure, but I get your
point. It's a sad thing to get jaded."
Cat smiled. "Let's agree to pay special attention to our
robins when we get home," she suggested.
"Deal," Cecelia agreed. "And the same goes for the local
Cat rolled her eyes. "Let's not get carried away."
terms of mammals, the only species they encountered immediately
was a red squirrel. Apparently, the invasive gray squirrel
some idiot had transplanted to Britain from New England hadn't
yet made the crossing to the Isle of Caer. There had to be
other mammals on the island—mice, voles, shrews, foxes, stoats,
weasels, etc., maybe even red deer—but only a vociferous and
clearly quite perturbed squirrel revealed itself, and this
happened just as they found the perfect campsite.
"Poor guy," Cat chuckled as they heaved off their packs.
The squirrel continued chattering from a distant tree.
"There goes the neighborhood."
"Hey, it's not like we're a pair of foxes, or
something!" Cecelia shouted in the squirrel's direction.
"Speak for yourself," Cat chuckled.
The squirrel chattered and flicked its bushy tail for a few more
seconds, then decided to find a less human-contaminated part of
They'd found a mixed glade of oak, holly, and maple trees with a
small stream nearby. On examination they realized the site
had been used before. There was a modest shrub and
sapling-free clearing perfect for pitching a tent, as well as a
small stone fire-pit. It was little more than a ring of
stones, and the ashes in the center were very old, well on their
way to weathering into charcoal-laced soil. Once they
cleared away the fallen leaves the pit would be perfect for
their cooking needs.
"I'll gather firewood and fill the water jug," Cecelia
Cat nodded. "I'll pitch the tent."
Soon, their REI Half-Dome 2 tent (in Applemint) was pitched,
sleeping bags and pads spread, tablets were dissolving and
treating the water now filling their collapsible plastic jug,
and Cat was preparing to kindle a small fire. Meanwhile,
Cecelia had gathered their freeze-dried food into a nylon
stuff-bag, tossed a coil of paracord over a convenient oak
branch several yards from the campsite, and was hoisting the
cache into the air. This was a precaution against
rummaging bears routinely followed by North American
backpackers. Of course, the entire UK wildlife
conservation and zoological communities would be flabbergasted
and gobsmacked by a report of a brown bear visiting Cat
and Cecelia's campsite, but the tactic was equally effective
against mice, voles, and even squirrels, if the bag was properly
Squirrel complaints aside, the Expedition was off to a smashing
start (as the local humans would say).
the campers enjoyed a dinner of re-hydrated beef stew and "bug
juice" (strawberry-pomegranate flavored drink), then sat around
their small fire and enjoyed the gathering dark.
"This forest is amazing," Cecelia sighed at one
point. "It must have been what Britain and Ireland were
like before the first humans arrived."
Cat disagreed. "Not really. This valley isn't big
enough for succession to a true climax forest. Add to that
the regular storms blowing in off the Irish Sea and taking down
the occasional tree and—"
"Yes, yes, Miss Biology Major," Cecelia chuckled. "Also,
it's too far south for conifer forests or... taiga?"
"If you're referring to the Scottish Highlands," Cat responded,
"Anyway," Cecelia continued, "I'm talking about transitional
deciduous forest before the first humans."
"With a prehuman stone fire-pit," Cat noted.
Cecelia's response was cogent and succinct. "Shut
up." She knew Cat was teasing, of course. Silence
stretched for several seconds. "Well..." Cecelia said,
finally, "I guess I'll turn in. Uh..." She batted
her eyes at her godmother.
"Let me guess," Cay purred. "You want to play."
Cecelia nodded. "Uh, yeah." They were referring to
their mutual competition to see who was the best escape artist.
"Even though you played last night... and the night before
"The night before last doesn't count," Cecelia countered
primly. "Mrs. Ingleby barged in while you were down the
hall in the bathroom and ruined the game."
Cat was shocked. "Say what?"
"Don't have kittens... Cat," Cecelia giggled. "Mrs.
Ingleby came in with fresh towels and found me tied up on the
This did nothing to help Cat relax. "Did she, uh,
"No," Cecelia answered. "I was embarrassed, of course, but
she acted like it was no big thing. Even checked your
"Your knots," Cecelia clarified. "Anyway, she ruined my
concentration and thereby my escape, so the night before last
"Well," Cat huffed, "that's logical. Okay, you can play."
"I don't want to be selfish," Cecelia said with a coy
smile. "If you want, I'll do you tonight, and you
can do me tomorrow night."
"I think not," Cat intoned. "Get ready for bed." On
occasion, Cat had been known to play the role of damsel, but
usually it was Cecelia.
In short order, Cecelia had made a trip to the woods to relieve
herself, brushed her teeth, and was inside the tent, reclined
full length on her sleeping bag. She'd reduced her costume
to bra and panties, her usual backpacking pajamas.
Cat crawled inside the cramped tent, knelt at Cecelia's side,
and pulled two three-foot lengths of paracord from a cargo
"That's all?" Cecelia asked with a petulant pout.
"Take it or leave it," Cat chuckled.
"I guess I'll take it," Cecelia sighed.
A wry smile curling her lips, Cat set to work. Soon,
Cecelia's ankles were tied together with the lashings cinched
and carefully knotted, twice. The little blonde's wrists
were next. Cat tied them behind her back with her hands
palm-to-palm. They usually reserved hands-in-front bondage
for situations in which Cecelia's hands and feet could be tied
to something, thus keeping the key knots safely beyond the range
of her lips and teeth. Cat tied the final knots on the
side away from Cecelia's fingers and thumbs, then sat back on
her heels. "Finished."
"Not very tight," Cecelia huffed.
"Tight enough," Cat chuckled, then kissed Cecelia's lips, helped
her squirm into her sleeping bag, then pulled up the
zipper. "The next time a strange woman finds you tied up
on your bed," she admonished her ex-ward, "tell me."
Cecelia giggled, then struck a coy smile. "When you came
back from the bathroom I was pretending to be gagged," she
explained, "so I couldn't tell you. Anyway, where
did you think the fresh towels came from?"
Cat favored the tied up youngster with another wry smile.
"We're lucky she didn't call the police."
"Oh posh!" Cecelia giggled, then grew more serious. "She
was very nice. I like Mrs. Ingleby."
"I do too," Cat agreed. "Anyway... I'm gonna stroll down
to the grasslands and see if the stars are out."
Cecelia batted her eyes, again. "You're abandoning
"I'm abandoning you," Cat confirmed. The grasslands began
less than a hundred yards from the campsite and Cat didn't
intend to stargaze for very long. "If the fairies come and
try to spirit you away, just scream. Maybe I'll hear."
Cecelia affected her best pout. "Tomorrow, when it's your
turn, I'm tying you to a tree, all night."
"Good luck with that," Cat chuckled. She had no intention
of standing passively with her back against a tree and letting
Cecelia lash her in place.
Cat turned off the tiny lantern dangling from the peak of the
tent, made her exit, zipped up the mosquito net, and left the
campsite. The fire had gone to coals and it was dark under
the forest canopy, but Cat knew that once her eyes were fully
dark-adapted she'd have no difficulty negotiating her way among
the trees and finding her way back to camp. She had a
small flashlight in one of her pockets in case the clouds closed
in and the darkness became total.
Back in the tent, Cecelia tested her bonds and squirmed in her
bag. They'd started playing the "Damsel Game" when Cecelia
was thirteen, about a year after she became Cat's ward. It
began when a female guest star on a TV cop drama was bound and
gagged by kidnappers. Cecelia stated that she could easily
escape if Cat tied her up like the onscreen victim. Cat
not only accepted the challenge, but proposed a round robin
tournament. So far, after hundreds of iterations, it was
unclear who was winning the bet, although they both knew it was
probably Cat. They'd each escaped from the other's ropes
on only five separate occasions, each, but at her own insistence
Cecelia was the designated damsel much more often than Cat, so
Cat's escape average was markedly higher.
Were Cecelia's bonds inescapable? Probably not, but they
were good enough. She wasn't sure why, but the little
blonde got a charge out of being helpless... in a safe
and secure environment, of course.
In terms of
construction, Lytham-on-Ribble's only hotel—"The Blood Rose & Trumpet" (Mrs. Eunice Ingleby,
proprietor)—was typical of the village. A mix of timber,
plaster, and red brick, some parts of the structure dated back
to before the Civil War (meaning Roundheads vs. Cavaliers, not
Blue vs. Gray). It had been expanded and renovated many
times, and it would take extensive research by an architectural
historian to ferret out the details, including the taking of
core samples from the accessible timbers to establish their
dendrochronology. The slate roof was in good repair and
the window casings foam-sealed and weather tight. Even
when a winter storm blew in off the Irish Sea, the guest rooms
were neither drafty nor chilly. Quaint, charming, and
dated? Of course, but that was just what the tourists
The hotel's cellar was also typical: dark, rough hewed vertical
timber support columns and overhead beams, brick foundation
walls, stone flags underfoot, a clutter of discarded furniture,
timber shelves crammed with cardboard boxes of seasonal
decorations and cartons of dishes and glasses to replace
breakage in the Public Room upstairs, and a modest accumulation
of dust and cobwebs. However, the cellar had one feature
that was rather atypical. Opposite the wooden stairs to
the ground floor and way in the back was a very solidly built
timber door reinforced with iron straps and set in a hefty
timber frame. It had heavy iron hinges, a large iron bolt
and hasp, and was secured by a modern high-security
padlock. Mrs. Ingleby jokingly referred to it as her
"Treasure Vault," the place where she kept her most precious and
valuable objects safe and secure.
On the far side of the door was a small room, roughly twenty
feet on a side. At some point in the recent past, meaning
within the last hundred years, someone had run electrical power
through the wall and a single dimly glowing fixture dangled from
the rafters, providing the only light. As for heat, a
small electric heater was nestled in one corner, its
grid-protected coils giving off an orange glow. The room
was dark (spooky dark, actually), but toasty warm.
There was also a wooden chair of quite solid construction in the
center, directly under the light and facing the door, and it was
bolted to the floor. Someone had gone to a great deal of
trouble to make sure the chair remained exactly where it had
been placed, and the same went for the chair's occupant.
The occupant in question was Kadence Harrington.
Kadence was naked and tied to the chair by neat, tight,
well-cinched coils of soft, white, braided cotton rope.
Her wrists were bound behind her back and the chair's back, her
elbows lashed a couple of inches apart, her thighs together,
just above the knees, and her ankles together with her bare feet
resting on the floor. In addition, horizontal and lateral
bands of the same white rope lashed her to the chair from ankles
to shoulders, passing across her shoulders, around her torso and
arms, above and below her naked breasts, her waist, and her
thighs and the chair's seat. Finally, her bound ankles
were held in place by taut ropes passing between the front chair
Kadence's long, straight, ginger hair was loose about her
shoulders. A white cloth was stuffed in her mouth and a
long, narrow, bandage-like white cloth had been wrapped around
and around her head and under her hair, multiple times, acting
as a cleave-gag and keeping the stuffing in place.
The prisoner-of-the-chair gave every indication of being
resigned to her fate. The tight, flesh-dimpling ropes
lashing her in place, she sat in the chair without moving, other
than the rise and fall of her rope-framed breasts as she
breathed. Kadence glowed. That is, a patina of sweat
glistened on her smooth, peach-pink skin in the dim light.
The Treasure Vault was, indeed toasty warm, bordering on too
hot, in the opinion of the naked, bound, and gagged treasure in
the chair; however, she supposed, that was better than catching
Just then, Kadence detected the sound of the padlock being
unlocked, followed by the hasp being released and the bolt
drawn. This was followed by the squeal of oil-hungry
hinges as the heavy, solid door opened. Framed in
silhouette against the dim but relatively brighter lights of the
basement proper was the author of Kadence's predicament: Mrs.
Mrs. Ingleby smiled the warm, friendly smile so familiar to all
the residents of Lytham-on-Ribble, the same smile with which she
greeted her hotel guests.
Kadence lifted her head and shook the hair from her gagged
face. A few wispy strands remained behind, captured by the
sweat glistening on her smooth, fair skin.
Mrs. Ingleby stepped forward and used her fingers to gently comb
the trapped hair to either side and tuck them behind the
captive's ears. "Closing time is still an hour away,"
Eunice explained, "but I wanted to make sure you hadn't
Kadence rolled her brown eyes and heaved a gagged sigh.
She had two reasons. (1) Not even a rat could escape from
the Treasure Vault. Not even a mouse. Not even a pygmy
mouse. The door was not only massive but tight in its
frame. Granted, there was a tiny opening in the
wall for purposes of ventilation, but even it was protected by
iron bars and a heavy wire mesh grid. (2) Mrs.
Eunice Ingleby had been practicing her rope skills since she was
a girl. It had started when she was a junior maid at
Caerwyn Castle (at a time when Lady Jocelyn Caerwyn was the Honorable
Jocelyn Caerwyn and even younger than the new maid).
Eunice had received an apprenticeship in the art of binding
nubile young ladies (and being bound by nubile young ladies) and
had perfected her skills over a lifetime of practice.
Eunice used her right hand to cup Kadence's left breast, then
gave it a gentle squeeze. Kadence shivered in her bonds in
"Her Ladyship tells me she has managed to catch a glimpse of the
young Americans as they were gazing at the shorebirds on the
eastern marshes... without being seen, herself, of
course," She squeezed Kadence's breast, again, then began
toying with her nipple.
Kadence shivered, again.
"She agrees that the pair are very pleasing to the
eyes," Eunice continued. "I have every confidence she'll also
find them to be quite charming... once they formally meet."
Kadence locked eyes with her captor and mentor. Eunice
Ingleby was also her employer, as she owned both the Blood Rose & Trumpet and Titania's
Wardrobe, the shop where Kadence
had sold the Americans in question their fey hats. But
all that meant was that Kadence had every reason to believe
the Wicked Witch of Lytham-on-Ribble (meaning the Good
Witch of Lytham-on-Ribble) wouldn't leave her tied to the
chair for more than a few minutes after closing time.
Kadence had to be sufficiently rested to provide customer
service to shoppers for Fairy clothing and accessories and
to be ready to work tomorrow's late shift in the Public Room
"Well," Eunice purred, still smiling her dimpled smile.
"I just wanted to reassure myself that my bedwarmer was
ready. The next few days should be...
interesting." She leaned close and planted a kiss on
Kandence's glistening forehead, then left the vault, closing
and locking the door behind her.
Kadence gazed at the back of the closed door, then closed her
eyes, settling in to wait for Mistress Ingleby's return.
Tonight would be far from the first time she'd be sharing
Edith's bed; however, it would be the first time in more than
a week. She suspected her "captor" was in a randy
mood. Edith usually was when something "interesting" was
happening on the Isle of Caer, like one of the prospective
maids she'd handpicked from the area maidens was undergoing a
"job interview," or a pair of American tourists with a
discovered proclivity for rope games were wandering the
The only thing to do is try and take another nap,
Kadence decided. Edith will be considerate, knowing
I need my sleep, but it would be rude not to deliver at
least one crashing orgasm before we both drift off
Dawn of what
was planned to be Cat and Cecelia's final full day on the Isle
of Caer dawned clear and bright.
"We've been lucky with the weather," Cat said as the campers
cleaned up after breakfast.
"I suppose," Cecelia agreed.
Thus far there had been only one brief interval of rain when a
squall blew in off the Irish Sea, but it was over quickly and
had left behind a very pretty rainbow. At the time they'd
happened to be at the edge of the forest and the start of a
stretch of bleak moor, with Castle Caer in the distance.
The semi-authorized tourists remained among the trees, of
course, so as not to be seen from the windows and ramparts of
the ancient fortress, but they certainly enjoyed the view.
To be ecologically correct, the couple of hundred yards of
treeless land separating the island's central woodlands from the
Castle's rocky peninsula was temperate grassland, but Cecelia
insisted that "bleak moor" was a much more romantic description.
Both birders had added several new avian species to their "Life
Lists," the rosters of bird sightings maintained by all serious
amateur ornithologists. Cat and Cecelia were bona-fide
birders, but neither was obsessive about their lists. Some
birders could be obnoxiously competitive, but Cat and Cecelia
were in it for the birds, not bragging rights.
They'd confirmed that the island did have a deer population,
first by their tracks, and then by the actual sighting of a
small herd browsing in the eastern grasslands. They
identified them as roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), rather
than the larger red deer (Cervus elaphus).
As for other mammals, all they encountered were more red
squirrels—most of which, like the first squirrel they'd
encountered, were vociferous to the point of hysteria when they
noticed the human intruders—but no other mammalian
species. This wasn't surprising. Theirs had been a
short visit and they knew they would have had to be lucky,
indeed, to encounter foxes, weasels, or other predators without
themselves being seen first. It was a given that the local
mammals knew they were on the island, and while they were
watching the birds, beady little eyes were almost certainly
watching them; but other than the chattering squirrels and
grazing deer, none of the furry locals showed themselves.
A little before noon they returned to camp to prepare lunch—and
found a surprise waiting for them.
Someone, obviously a person, had visited the campsite and left
something behind. Propped up on the edge of the largest
stone of the fire pit was an envelope in a clear, plastic,
Cat and Cecelia looked around, nervously, but their tents and
gear were undisturbed, as best they could tell, and no one else
was present in the clearing or lurking in the trees.
Cat picked up the envelope and removed it from its protective
bag. "Expensive paper," she noted.
"Yeah," Cecelia agreed.
Cat opened the envelope, pulled out and unfolded an enclosed
note, and held it so they both could read the elegant
calligraphy of its contents.
"Well," Cat said, "it looks like we're busted."
"Very formally and politely busted," Cecelia agreed with a
giggling smile. It was clear she was as much nervous as
"Afternoon tea at the castle," Cat sighed. "I knew I
should have packed my formal garden party dress and matching
silly, absurd hat."
"I've got mine," Cecelia giggled, "but it would be improper for
one of us to be properly attired and the other dressed like a
"A smelly, dirty hobo," Cat sighed. They were both wearing
the only change of clothes they'd packed for the trip.
Their original shorts, shirts, and undies had been laundered
(meaning rinsed in the stream with a tiny dab of environmentally
friendly, phosphate-free soap) and were drying on a paracord
clothesline rigged between two trees on the edge of camp.
Their current shorts and shirts were decidedly rumpled and
"Well..." Cat sighed as she refolded the invitation and returned
it to its envelope, "I guess we'll have to make do."
"At least we got the silly hats," Cecelia giggled, doffing her
"There is that," Cat said evenly. "Let's fix lunch, then
you can go first."
"Huh?" Cecelia responded (profoundly).
"Bathing in the stream," Cat clarified. The stream in
question was little more than a tiny brook, so bathing would
take the form of a sponge bath.
"That's gonna be cold," Cecelia noted, shivering in delicate
"Oh, buck up," Cat teased, "ya big baby."
"Don't be mean," Cecelia giggled, then stuck out her tongue.
Cat chuckled, rolled her eyes, and went to retrieve their food
"At least tea at the castle will mean something other than
freeze-dried food," Cecelia noted as she began building a fire.
"One can only hope," Cat agreed.
Carewyn's library was extensive. Not as vast as the
largely unread collections of some of the Great Houses, but it
did contain more than a thousand volumes. Almost all were
bound in leather, some were quite old, and a few were very rare
and would fetch hefty prices if they ever came to auction, but
such an eventuality was astronomically unlikely. The
castle's tomes had the added virtue of all having been read at
least once by a member of the Caerwyn family (and their staffs)
over the generations, usually more than once.
Her Ladyship, dressed in her usual sandals, jeans, and
comfortable blouse, was seated in one of the comfortable wing
chairs in the reading alcove attached to the library
proper. Its windows admitted abundant light, especially
when all three layers of the progressively more opaque curtains
and drapes were pulled open and tied back, as they were
now. This allowed both easy reading of the book open in
Jocelyn's lap and illuminated the fair, peachy-pink skin of
Elise-the-maid as she went about the task of dusting the shelves
of the main library, removing the tomes one-by-one and wiping
them down with a tack cloth.
Elyse's ginger hair was coiled in a tight bun with a lacy white
maid's cap pinned atop her head, and she was "wearing" a variant
of the castle's summer uniform for junior staff. To wit,
Elyse was naked, except for the set of "slave-chains" locked
around her wrists, ankles, and neck. A series of
connecting chains linked the cuffs and collar, and as an added
refinement, a steel chastity belt was locked around the naked
maid's tiny waist and through her crotch.
Why? Tradition. Elyse had done nothing wrong and was
not being punished; however, at Castle Caerwyn no excuse was
required to lock the maid in chains. The Caerwyn clan had
been connoisseurs of restrained feminine pulchritude for time
out of mind.
Elyse did not whistle while she worked. In fact,
hovering above the petite ginger was a veritable cloud
of Tragic Sorrow precipitating a light shower of Pathetic
Ennui. The assigned task was being accomplished in a
workmanlike fashion, of course. Otherwise, Elyse might
earn herself a true punishment. But clearly, Elyse
Chains aside... why? Again, tradition.
It was the maid's job to "suffer" in courageous, stoic silence,
just as it was Her Ladyship's job to carefully ignore the kinky
and undeniably erotic spectacle that was Elyse-in-chains.
Just then, Nora entered the library. She was dressed in a
highly unusual manner for a Staff Mistress: hiking boots, pants,
blouse and a floppy hat in woodland camouflage. It was the
old "disruptive" pattern used by the British Army until their
recent adoption of "multi-cam," but was obviously a quite
effective means of blending into the natural world, especially
the island's central forest.
"Our heroic commando returns," Jocelyn chuckled.
Elyse carefully hid a giggling fit behind a delicate cough, not
wanting to invite the wrath of the Staff Mistress.
"Invitation delivered," Nora reported, tossing Her Ladyship a
snappy salute. She turned to Elyse. "You, snap to it
and finish your dusting. We need to get you out of your
playthings and into a uniform fit for receiving visitors, then
prepare the parlor for Afternoon Tea."
"Yes, Drill Sergeant," Elyse answered. Respectful
subservience aside, some degree of snappy banter was
expected. It was a careful balancing act.
Her Ladyship smiled and returned her gaze to her book.
"Carry on, Drill Sergeant," she purred.
Nora snapped another salute. "Sir!" She did an about
face, as best she could, then did a quick-step march from the
library, arms swinging. "One, two, one, two, one,
two..." Her voice faded into the distance.
Lady Jocelyn and her maid exchanged a smile, then Her Ladyship
returned to her reading and Elyse to her dusting, albeit at an
accelerated pace. Her chains swayed and rattled as she
Jocelyn knew she would also have to change before greeting her
American guests, but she had plenty of time to finish the
current chapter... and to watch Elyse with periodic, carefully
timed, surreptitious glances.