What a nice place!

by Van © 2016

Chapter 4

Dramatis Personæ


CECELIA WAS having a difficult time falling asleep.  Why?  She was having the time of her life.  A real castle!  Her room was perfect, like something out of an Agatha Christie novel, or maybe Daphne du Maurier.  She couldn't decide which.  She was in the humongous canopy bed in her "sleeping chamber," dressed in a borrowed full-length nightgown (with matching panties), with the covers pulled up to her chin.  The lights were out and the only illumination came from the waxing moon shining through the diamond panes of the chamber's single window.  She'd left the drapes open so she could enjoy the resulting romantic (meaning deliciously spooky) pale white glow and deep, dark shadows.

Cecelia enjoyed camping and bird-watching, but staying in a genuine English castle?  "Wow," she sighed, and closed her eyes.

Suddenly, there was a quiet knock at the chamber door and the heavy portal opened on silent hinges.  Cecelia sat up in bed and blinked in surprise.

Standing in the open doorway was Elyse, the maid, with her left hand on the doorknob and a candelabrum with three lit candles in her right.  Her ginger hair was loose, framing her incredibly cute face (in Cecelia's humble opinion).  She was wearing a long, frilly, gauze-thin nightgown (like Cecelia), but with the addition of a matching robe.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, from Cecelia's point of view), neither the nightgown nor robe could fully disguise the curves of the petite maid's fit and thoroughly feminine body.  News flash: Elyse-the-maid has boobs! Cecelia mused, with nipples!

"Is there anything I can do for you before retiring, Miss Harper?" Elyse asked.  "Would you like some warm milk, perhaps?"

"No, no, I'm fine," Cecelia answered quickly.  She realized that if she could see the maid's boobs through her nightie and robe, Elyse could see her boobs!  She blushed and started to pull up the bedclothes to cover herself, then heaved a chagrined sigh.  It was silly.  Why should she be embarrassed?  It's just us girls, she thought, as the saying goes.  Fortunately, the room was too dark for Elyse to notice her flushed cheeks (Cecelia desperately hoped).

"Very well," Elyse said as she dropped a shallow curtsy.  "Enjoy your stay as Her Ladyship's guest, and please let me know if there's anything I can do to make your stay more pleasant."

"Thanks," Cecelia said, then cleared her throat.  "Ahem.  Wait!  Please, come in."


"I'm curious," Cecelia explained.  "Tell me about what it's like to live in the castle."

Elyse smiled, shyly.  She was relieved by the blond American's invitation.  Getting her foot in the bedroom door, literally, was the first serious challenge of Her Ladyship's plan, and she hadn't been at all sure she could carry it off, and now she had.  So far so good.  She padded on slipper-clad feet to the bedside.  "What would you like to know, Miss?"

"Please," Cecelia giggled (nervously), "call me Cecelia."  She patted the mattress.  "Take a load off.  Just tell me what it's like to be the castle maid."

Elyse suppressed a giggle of her own.  'Take a load off,' she thought.  How American.  A delicate blush touched her cheeks, matching the blush the candles had revealed on Cecelia's.  And she's so very cute!  "Lady Carwyn is wonderful," Elyse gushed as she set the candelabrum on the nightstand and sat on the edge of the bed.

"And Nora?" Cecelia purred.

Elyse paused before answering.  "Mistress Nora is... demanding but fair."

There was another pause... and the blond American and ginger Brit shared a conspiratorial giggle.

"In all fairness," Elyse continued.  "It's not like Nora drags me down to the dungeons if I spill Her Ladyship's morning tea."

"Of course," Cecelia giggled—then abruptly became quite serious.  "Wait... dungeons?  This place has dungeons?"

Elyse smiled.  "Of course."

"Of course," Cecelia agreed.  "But... real dungeons?  With bars and chains and... everything?"

"Yes, Miss," Elyse confirmed.  "Very dark.  Very frightening."

"Cool!" Cecelia gushed.  "Show me.  I have got to see this."

Elyse blinked in surprise.  "Now, Miss?"

Cecelia grinned.  "Now.  And call me Cecelia."

"Very well, Cecelia," Elyse said with a dimpled smile, "but... now?"

Cecelia's lips curled in a mischievous smirk.  "Why not?  It'll be... spooky."

"Indeed," Elyse sighed.  "Very well... Cecelia."  She rose to her feet, lifted the gauze-thin robe that went with Cecelia's sleeping costume from a nearby chair, and held it for her to don.

"Perfect," Cecelia giggled as climbed off the bed and shrugged into the robe, then freed her long, loose hair.  Her form was now as thoroughly covered (meaning inadequately covered) as the ginger maid's.  "Wouldn't want to catch a cold."

"Exactly," Elyse agreed, then shared another giggle with Her Ladyship's guest.  She picked up the candelabrum, watched as Cecelia stepped into a pair of slippers, much like her own, then gestured towards the door.  "This way."

"Lead on, McDuff," Cecelia giggled.  She knew she was misquoting the line from Macbeth, but was too excited to care.
 Chapter 4
The candles cast a sphere of dim, yellow-white luminosity.  It was adequate to light their way, but did little to dispel the deep shadows looming on all sides or the near-total darkness beyond.  The only thing missing is a howling windstorm and billowing curtains, Cecelia thought, like in one of those really old horror movies.  True to Victorian fashion, the castle's windows were all covered by both thin, light-diffusing curtains and heavy, opaque drapes.  The drapes were open and tied back, but the curtains were all closed.  They glowed blue-white in the moonlight, but hung limp and still in what Cecelia considered to be a very unimaginative and disappointing manner.

Still, Castle Caerwyn by moonlight was spine-tingling, if one was inclined to such things.  "Spooky," Cecelia sighed, shivering with delight.

Elyse smiled.  She liked this American.  She liked her sense of fun.  And her smile.  I like her smile.

Elyse led Cecelia to the ground floor, down a side corridor, and past a series of closed doors and branching hallways.  By the decor (or lack thereof) they were in a less public and more staff-frequented part of the castle.  The maid paused to open a small wooden cabinet mounted on a wall and lifted an iron ring with a half-dozen or so iron keys from a hook.

Cecelia smiled.  The keys had a hand-forged look, like they could be hundreds of years old.  A thrill of deliciously sinister anticipation shivered through her body as she watched Elyse unlock and open a heavy wooden door.  They crossed the threshold and were now in a narrow corridor with natural stone walls and a vaulted ceiling.  Elyse closed and locked the door behind them, then led the way forward.

"Stay close, Miss," Elyse said quietly.  "It would be very easy to get lost in the passageways and side tunnels once we're down below."

Cecelia shivered in delight, again.  "Cecelia," she said, huddling close to the maid in the pool of candlelight.  "I told you to call me Cecelia."

Elyse smiled.  "Cecelia," she said with a nod.  "Sorry, Miss."

Cecelia rolled her eyes, but said nothing.  She strongly suspected Elyse was jerking her chain... so to speak.

After only a dozen or so steps they came to a gate of iron bars blocking their way.  Beyond was what appeared to be a landing, the start of a set of narrow stairs leading down.  Elyse unlocked and opened the gate, they passed through, she closed and locked the gate behind them, and they descended the stairs.

Cecelia noted that the steps under her slipper-clad feet were worn, the edges of the stone treads rounded with slight dips in the middle, the result of generations of use.  Another shiver rippled up her spine (and between her legs).  It was all so deliciously... sinister.

The stairs bottomed out at a three-way junction leading to the left, right, and straight ahead.  Elyse led the way forward to another iron gate—which had to be unlocked, opened, closed, and re-locked, like the first— then to a T-junction and down the right corridor to a third gate... down another set of steps to an even lower level... then through a fourth iron gate.

"Maybe I should have worn my hiking boots," Cecelia muttered under her breath.

"That would depend," Elyse purred, "on whether one wanted to be in a horror movie, or play Tomb Raider."

Cecelia grinned.  This was the first time her ginger companion had spoken in a manner suggesting that she was anything other than a subservient maid.  "Point taken, but why all the locks?  And why is this place such a maze?"

"I can't speak for the architecture," Elyse answered, "but I assume the locked gates are to prevent escapes.  I'm locking them behind us for two reasons.  One: it's Mistress Nora's standing orders that all the dungeon-level doors and gates are to be kept locked at all times.  And two: if she decided to take a late night walk, I don't want her following a trail of unlocked doors and gates and finding us."

"That's probably for the best," Cecelia chuckled.

They came to yet another heavy wooden door, which was unlocked and opened.  Beyond was what at first Cecelia took to be a small jail cell with iron bars on three sides and with inky darkness beyond, then she realized she was on another landing.  The bars to her right were another gate, protecting another set of stone stairs leading down; however, unlike the previous two staircases, this one had a wall on the right-hand side, and nothing but a black void on the left.

While Elyse unlocked the gate, Cecelia stepped forward, gripped the cold, vertical iron bars with either hand, and gazed between.  The candles were doing their best to illuminate what lay below, but all Cecelia could tell was that she was above a large, vaulted chamber and there were... things down below.  She couldn't really tell what they were.  Maybe they were furniture, or maybe they were something else.  Cecelia's money was on something else.

"Come, Miss," Elyse said.  The gate had surrendered to the key, opened on oil-hungry hinges, and the way down the stairs was clear.

Cecelia started to correct her ginger-haired guide again, to remind her that she should call her "Cecelia," but instead closed her mouth and silently followed.  Her spine was tingling.  It was a deliciously ominous moment, not something to be wasted on a petulant argument.

They crept down the stairs on slipper-clad feet with Elyse in the lead and Cecelia close behind, very close behind.  They kept close to the wall, but while the stairs were just as worn and ancient as the all the rest, the descent wasn't especially treacherous.  Nonetheless, they were careful.  The black emptiness on their left was intimidating.

At the bottom of the stairs, the first thing they came to was a heavy iron stand.  Cecelia watched as Elyse lifted her candelabrum and used one of the candles to ignite what Cecelia realized was a torch.  The stand was an oil-lamp of some sort, an iron reservoir with a large wick.  It cast more light than the candelabrum alone, but not by much.

"Wait here, Miss," Elyse said, then silently padded away.

Cecelia watched as Elyse took twenty or more steps and lit a second torch-stand... and then a third... followed by a fourth.  Again, Cecelia was ready to assert her desire to be addressed by name... but what was being revealed by each additional burning flame had literally taken her breath away.  "Wow!" she finally managed to gasp as Elyse lit the eighth and final torch, completed her circuit of the room, and returned to Cecelia's side.  She unconsciously took Elyse by the arm and stared at the chamber's contents in dread (and/or open wonder).  Before them she beheld:
Cecelia turned to Elyse.  "T-this is a torture chamber," she stammered.

Elyse stooped and placed the candelabrum on the floor at the foot of the stairs, then stood erect and gave Cecelia a reassuring smile and squeezed her hand.  "It is," she confirmed, then pointed to a dark doorway blocked by another iron gate across the chamber.  "That leads to the dungeon cells, proper."

Cecelia turned back to the face the chamber, and then, in something of a daze, strolled from insidious device to insidious device.

Elyse watched, still smiling, as the blond American inspected the rack... then the pillory... the horse... the whipping posts... and finally, the gibbet-cage.  Cecelia's examination was both visual and tactile.  She ran her right hand across the bed of the rack.  Next, she lifted the top timber of the pillory a couple of inches, with difficulty, thanks to its substantial weight, then let it drop and flinched at the resulting thud.  Cecelia shivered with dread—Elyse decided it was probably dread, anyway—as she delicately slid her hand across the rounded top edge of the horse.  Her eyes glazed with fascination, Cecelia reached up and opened the manacle-cuff dangling from the top of one of the whipping posts, fingered the fleece padding, then released the cuff to let it clatter against the post.  Finally, she stood before the gibbet-cage.

"It's... small," Cecelia said, gazing at the closely spaced, curved bands of dark iron.

"People in medieval times were generally shorter than they are today," Elyse noted.

Cecelia nodded.  "Childhood nutrition," she muttered, then frowned.  There was something odd about the shape of the cage... something about the position of the arms of the would-be occupant.  "It's designed for the victim's hands to be behind her back."

"I believe so, Miss," Elyse agreed.

"Cecelia," Cecelia corrected the smiling maid, her eyes never leaving the cage.  "I suppose it makes sense," she said.  "It would be easier to force somebody inside if they were tied up."  She reached out and touched the iron cage, then withdrew her hand.  "It would be harder for them to resist."  She stepped behind the cage and noted the dozen or more open, horizontal, hinged bands that would swing closed from either side and lock, completing the cage and the close incarceration of the hypothetical damsel within.

Another delicate shudder rippled between Cecelia's legs and up her spine... and she made a decision.

Elyse watched as Cecelia scampered to the rack of whips near the twin posts, removed her robe and draped it across the top, removed her slippers, then lifted a coil of what could be called either thin rope or thick cord from a peg.  She hurried to Elyse and tossed her the rope/cord, spun on her bare feet, and crossed her wrists behind her back.  "Do me!" she gushed.




"I want to try it," Cecelia explained.  She looked back at the stunned maid over her left shoulder, her lips curled in a wry smile.  "You do have the key, don't you?"

"Yes, I have the key," Elyse admitted, holding up the key-ring.

"I want to try it," Cecelia reiterated, then turned to face the waiting cage.  "Tie my hands."


"Didn't you say you wanted to make my stay more pleasant?" Cecelia giggled.  "Tie my hands."

"Locking you in Her Ladyship's cage was hardly what I had in mind," Elyse sighed.

"What did you have in mind?" Cecelia giggled.  Her wrists still crossed, she wiggled her fingers.  "Tie my hands."

Elyse's smile broadened.  As she was behind Cecelia's back, her reaction went unseen.  The plan, sketchy as it might be, was succeeding far better than any of her fellow conspirators had ever hoped.  The tour of the dungeons was so Elyse could gauge the American's reactions and report to Nora and Her Ladyship.  That Cecelia would demand to actually try something in the torture chamber hadn't even entered the discussion.  The most optimistic scenario was that she might venture inside one of the dungeon cells to see what it was like, once they continued the tour; but, that she would ask to be locked in the gibbet-cage?  Never.  Elyse stepped forward and began binding Cecelia's wrists.

Another shiver shook Cecelia's frame as the cord tightened, was wrapped and cinched, then wrapped and cinched, again.  She knows what she's doing, Cecelia realized.  Elyse knows how to tie somebody up.

"Why did you remove your robe and slippers?" Elyse inquired quietly as she tied a final knot and tucked the very short free ends into the other bindings.

"It seemed like the right thing to do," Cecelia answered with a shrug.

Elyse responded with a dimpled grin.  "Indeed," she purred, then took Cecelia by the arm and led her towards the cage.  "You aren't going to struggle, are you, Miss?"

"Only if you keep calling me 'Miss,'" Cecelia giggled.

Elyse heaved an exasperated sigh (which Cecelia found very attractive).  "Very well, Cecelia.  But you have to understand, it goes against all of Mistress Nora's many long months of training to address a guest in such a personal manner... but I'll do my best."

Cecelia giggled, again, then stopped.  They'd arrived at the back of the cage and the moment of truth had arrived.  She carefully stepped up and into the cage, placing her feet side-by-side atop the thick wooden disk resting on the cage floor, then shivered as Elyse closed and locked the hinged bands, one by one, starting behind her ankles and working her way up.

Each time, the band closed with a snap, then Elyse inserted a small key and gave it a turn, sliding a bolt and securing the lock.  Cecelia could see none of this, of course, but she could hear and feel the vibrations of each turning mechanism as band followed band until she was confined in the cage from head to toes, with no more than an inch of room to spare in any given direction, and in some places, significantly less.  Yet another shiver shook Cecelia's nightie-clad, bound form.  Lady Caerwyn's Cage wasn't quite a body-harness of rigid iron, but it was close enough.

The key still in her hand, Elyse stepped to the front of the cage and smiled at her prisoner.  "Would Miss... I mean Cecelia... like me to return at dawn and release her from the cage?  Or will she be breakfasting in the torture chamber?"

"Very funny," Cecelia huffed.  Her heart was hammering, butterflies were fluttering in her tummy, and her pussy was... purring?  It was tingling, anyway.  Her increased pulse and jittery stomach were explained by the experience of being bound and locked in a close-fitting cage in a medieval torture chamber.  On the other hand, the tingling between her legs was explained by the experience of being bound and locked in a close-fitting cage in a medieval torture chamber.  This was the fantasy of being a helpless damsel-in-distress made real in a manner Cecelia had never thought possible, not even in her wildest (and wettest) dreams.

Cecelia twisted her wrists.  Elyse's bondage remained inescapable.  The key knot or knots were nowhere near her fluttering, groping fingers.  Not that it mattered.  Bound or unbound, she knew she wouldn't be getting out of the cage until Elyse released her.

Elyse smiled and pointed to Cecelia's feet.  "The underside of the disk is covered with fifty or more tiny spikes.  If I'd flipped it over before placing you in the cage, you would be standing on them."

"Spikes?" Cecelia gasped.

"Don't be alarmed," Elyse giggled.  "They're tiny, and not really sharp.  Initially, it's little more than a form of foot massage, but after a few hours..."

Cecelia shuddered.  "It's like one of those chairs," she said in a near whisper, "the ones with the spikes all over.  The seat, back, armrests, footrests... all over."

"Her Ladyship has one of those as well," Elyse said, "in the other torture chamber."

Cecelia's blue eyes popped wide.  "The other torture chamber?"

"Just joking," Elyse giggled.

Cecelia favored her new friend with a withering stare (and suppressed smile) and was about to followup with a scathing and frightfully clever remark, when suddenly—

"What's all this, then?" an angry voice demanded from the top of the stairs.

Cecelia and Elyse looked up (or looked up as best she could, in the case of the prisoner-of-the-cage) and beheld Nora standing at the open gate of the barred landing at the top of the stairs!  The Staff Mistress was wearing a white nightgown, robe, and slippers, like Elyse, but the Staff Mistress' sleeping costume was opaque cotton.  The distance was great and the light from the torch-stands somewhat limited, but the blonde and ginger could easily make out the older brunette's disapproving frown.  Mistress Nora was not happy.

"Oh, no!" Cecelia and Elyse gasped, more or less in unison.
 Chapter 4
Cat decided she'd drunk too much of Lady Caerwyn's excellent wine with the excellent dinner.  She hadn't become intoxicated, not even tipsy, and she certainly wasn't now, but she'd drunk too much.  It was a matter of fluid intake before bed.  That was her bladder's opinion, anyway, and she had no choice but to agree... and to act.

Cat had no idea what time it was as she climbed out of bed.  She considered using the slippers and robe that had come with the borrowed nightie and panties, but decided they weren't necessary.  The air was cool but not cold, and the same went for the carpet under her bare feet.

She silently opened the bedroom door.  The moon had set, but her eyes were fully dark-adapted and she had no difficulty making her way to the bathroom by means of what little starlight managed to leak through the softly glowing curtains of the hallway's windows.  Once in the bathroom she found there was a nightlight, so she didn't have to turn on the overhead lights or use the facilities by touch.  Mission accomplished (and her bladder most grateful) Cat washed and dried her hands, then made her exit.  She had no difficulty retracing her steps.  Cat padded to her bedroom door, placed her hand on the doorknob... and paused.

There was something odd at the end of the hall, a regular pattern in the shadows that didn't belong.  Curious, she carefully made her way forward... and was confronted by
a series of vertical bars, no, a wall of vertical bars.  Now that she remembered, there had been a pair of iron gates at the beginning of the hallway, hinged panels of bars on either side and folded back against the stone wall.  Obviously, someone had closed the gates.  Cat gripped the inch-thick, closely spaced bars in both hands, gave them a tentative tug, then pulled with greater strength.  The impenetrable barrier didn't even rattle.

Locked, Cat realized.  She remembered a similar pair of gates at the opposite end of the hall, turned, and padded in that direction.  Sure enough, the second set of gates were also closed.  She tested the iron barrier.  Closed and locked.  What the hell?  Was it a safety precaution, so Her Ladyship's guests wouldn't trip on the stairs in the dark?  That seemed to be the only reasonable explanation.  She assumed she'd emerge from her room in the morning to find the gates unlocked and open.

Cat shook her head and returned to her bedroom, which, she now realized, for all practical purposes was now her luxurious prison cell.  Maybe she'd mention this to Cecelia in the morning.  A smile curled her lips as she climbed back into bed and pulled up the covers.  No, she'd definitely mention it to Cecelia in the morning.  The little scamp would be thrilled to learn she'd spent the night as a prisoner in Lady Caerwyn's castle, disappointed that she hadn't known about it at the time, but thrilled.
 Chapter 4
If Cecelia's pulse had been pounding and her stomach fluttering before, now, with Mistress Nora descending the stairs into the torture chamber, her heart was doing a drum solo and the tummy-butterflies were in an absolute panic!  As for her pussy, it was no longer tingling.  She suspected it was lying low, waiting to see if it had an excuse to add horniness back into the flight-or-fight mix... so to speak.

Cecelia had only known the approaching Staff Mistress for a few hours, but it didn't take any personal experience to tell that Nora was furious (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

"Well?" Nora demanded as she completed her descent and confronted the cowering Elyse.

Her eyes on the floor, Elyse was the very picture of a naughty toddler caught with her hand in the cookie jar.  Despite her nervousness, Cecelia found the ginger's contrite embarrassment absolutely adorable, as well as completely understandable.

Elyse cleared her throat.  "Ahem.  Cecel-, I mean Miss Cecelia, asked to see the dungeons, so I—"

"Tied her up, dragged her to the torture chamber, and locked her in Her Ladyship's cage?" Nora demanded.

"It's true!" Cecelia said, coming to the terrified (adorable) maid's defense.

Nora turned her withering gaze to Cecelia.  "She tied you up, dragged you to the torture chamber, and locked you in Her Ladyship's cage?"

"No!" Cecelia gasped, "I mean, yes, she tied me up and locked me in the cage... but I asked her to."

"You asked her to," Nora muttered, and Cecelia nodded.  "I'll deal with you in a moment," she growled, then turned back to Elyse.

Deal with me? Cecelia thought.  Her heart was still pounding, but her tummy butterflies were now frozen in terror.  Well, not actual terror, per se, but... she wasn't sure exactly what she was feeling, but it wasn't terror.

"I've tried my best to train you as an adequate maid," Nora said, "and now this."

"It's my fault!" Cecelia interjected, tugging on her bound wrists.  As she struggled, the cage shook and and swayed, just a little.

Nora heaved a disappointed sigh, snatched the key-ring from the wayward maid's right hand and dropped it in her robe pocket, then dragged Elyse to the whipping posts.  She lifted the redhead's right arm and clamped her right wrist in the dangling cuff, then her left wrist in the left cuff attached to the left post.  Elyse was now between the wooden columns with her arms raised and outstretched to either side.  Her gaze remained submissively on the floor, mostly, but she did steal occasional furtive glances at Cecelia.

"Don't hurt her!" Cecelia demanded as she watched Nora use one of the keys on the ring to lock the cuffs.  "Or I'll—"  Cecelia's mouth snapped shut.  Nora had spun on her heels and the full fury of her anger was focused on the prisoner-of-the-cage.

"If you're threatening to inform Her Ladyship that you've abused her hospitality," Nora said evenly, "you needn't bother.  I fully intend to inform Lady Caerwyn of your actions..."  She turned back to Elyse, "as well as the deplorable behavior of her maid."

Cecelia and Elyse watched as Nora walked to the stairs and began the climb to the landing.

"Wait!" Cecelia shouted.  "You can't just..."  Nora was on the landing and was closing the gate.  "I mean, you can, we can't stop you, but..."  Nora had closed and locked the gate and was exiting through the heavy wooden door.  "Wait!"  The door slammed with a resounding thud.  "Please?"  Cecelia's last remark might best be described as a plaintive squeak.

Cecelia turned her gaze from the stairs and the locked gate and door to her fellow prisoner.  Elyse had a little slack in her chains.  She wasn't up on her toes or hanging from the cuffs, but she certainly wasn't going anywhere.  Arguably, the ginger maid wasn't as totally restrained as Cecelia in her close-fitting cage...  But at some point, the blond captive reflected, helpless is helpless, and we're both helpless.

Cecelia realized her pulse had returned to normal, more or less, and the butterflies in her stomach were fluttering only a little, nowhere near the level of their former hysteria.  As for her pussy... the sight of Elyse chained between the posts in her whisper-thin robe and nightie, her head bowed and her long, ginger hair a tousled mass was certainly erotic, but...  Maybe later, Cecelia thought.  Now isn't the time or place to think about smokin' hot British redheads chained in torture chambers.  Well, it is, but...  Cecelia heaved a sad sigh.  "I haven't gotten you fired," she asked Elyse, "have I?"

Elyse lifted her head and shook her ginger locks from her face.  A shy (adorable) smile curled her lips.  "No, Cecelia, and it's very kind of you to be concerned about my employment... given our current circumstances."

Cecelia smiled back.  "No problem," she sighed, then tugged on her bonds.  She realized she was just nervous, not really trying to free herself.  "Well, it's not like Lady Caerwyn is gonna have Nora torture us, or anything."

"Of course not, Cecelia," Elyse giggled.

She heaved another sigh.  She didn't feel like giggling.  She was confused.  And she still wasn't terrified.  Not even scared, really.  Well... a little scared.  Go figure.

Cecelia had other thoughts:  Why didn't Nora just open the cage, untie my wrists, and lead me upstairs... like a normal pissed off Staff Mistress?  Why is Elyse in chains?  And what is Cat gonna do to me in the morning, when she finds out I went skulking in the dungeons with Elyse?  "She's gonna be so mad," Cecelia whispered under her breath.

"Excuse me?" Elyse inquired.

"Cat," Ceclia answered.  "Cat is gonna kill me."

Elyse wasn't giggling, but she was smiling.  "I doubt if Her Ladyship will allow that,"

Cecelia had the courage to smile back.  "So... I guess we'll have to put off the rest of the tour until morning?"

"At least until morning," Elyse agreed.

Cecelia sighed, again, and settled in to wait.  She had no other choice.  They had no other choice.  Cat isn't gonna kill me, she admitted to herself.  She's gonna make me wish she'd killed me.  Her gaze settled on Elyse, still standing between the two posts with her arms raised, still dressed in her smoke-thin, revealing sleeping costume, and her ginger hair still a semi-tangled riot.  Cecelia couldn't help but smile.  At least the place has a nice view.
 Chapter 4
The End

Chapter 3
Chapter 5