by Van © 2004
To see the actresses I would cast in a boxing kelly motion picture,
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|OUR STORY POST-CONCLUDES|
Princess Kellan emerged from the tunnel entrance, removed her cloak and satchel, and sat on a convenient boulder. This high on the mountain the land below was spread before her like a map. It dropped in a progression of gentle valleys and steppe-like plateaus. Grassland alternated with dense stands of conifers, boulder fields, and a string of clear blue lakes Far, far below she could see a river winding through a vast forest to the shores of an inland sea. Even further, a range of mountains rose like a curtain wall, the upper two-thirds of the craggy peaks shrouded in white. The sun had been up for nearly an hour, and the mist over the distant waterways was already burning away. There were a few high clouds, but it looked to be a glorious summer day.
Kellan stretched, enjoying the warm sun on her face and bare shoulders. Her new costume was much more abbreviated than the long gowns she had worn at her father's court. Her breasts were covered by a tightly fitted chainmail brassiere of copper and adamantium alloy trimmed with rust brown leather. It had narrow shoulder straps that crossed behind her back and its bottom margin was a dangling zig-zag fringe of mail and leather. Her loins were covered by a strip of soft wool looped through a leather belt decorated with copper/adamantium studs. The cloth was a sky blue, olive, and rust brown plaid. Knee boots of soft brown leather with light gray fur trim at the tops protected her feet.
She was armed with a long, curved, single-bladed sword with a two-handed grip and minimal hilt. Its sheath and baldric matched her belt, and could be rigged for carry either slung across her back or, as now, from her left hip. Fighting daggers were tucked in her boot tops. They were similar in style to the sword, but had blade-catching hilts. A small knife with a clever forked blade was tucked in a hidden sheath under her loincloth, but it was for eating, not combat.
Her cloak was lined with the same plaid as her loincloth, but its outer layer was a subtly mottled, elaborately woven mix of earth tone yarns. Depending on the light it varied in appearance from a mix of leafy greens and browns to a jumble of grays. Kellan would almost swear it actually changed color to blend into its current surroundings; and perhaps it did. All of her costume, clothing and weapons, were gifts from Queen Mæve, and were of Færy manufacture.
Most of Kellan's long red hair fell down her back in a loose braid secured with a leather thong, but a pair of thin, tight braids dangled to either side of her face, framing a broad horizontal band of olive green paint that covered her eyes like a mask.
Kellan lifted her head and gazed at the sky. A bird of prey was circling above a nearby point. A giant eagle, she decided. Its wings were broad with long feathers fanning from the tips. Definitely an eagle... and beautiful, more beautiful than the hawks and falcons in my father's realm... in the real world. Kellan shook her head. 'The real world'... The past few days had been... remarkable... and unforgettable.
The Sorceress had made good on her threats. Kellan had found herself spread-eagled with heavy chains and stretched across the bed of a complex machine, a combination rack and wheel. Giant gears and levers somehow caused it to change shape as they turned and flexed. Not only were Kellan's limbs being slowly pulled, but her spine was being bent back as well.
The Sorceress had hovered close, naked under a billowing robe of blood-red silk, mumbling a chant in some unknown language as she ran the blade of a long, stiff quill across Kellan's naked skin. The torture chamber was stiflingly hot, especially for Kellan, for her stretched body was bathed in bright light concentrated by an array of mirrors and mounted lenses. She was "glowing" profusely, and the feather was shepherding her perspiration to a glass vial in the Sorceress' other hand. Drip by drip the helpless victim's sweat filled the vial. Kellan would have complained, but her golden brank was once again in place, caging her head, and this time its golden sphere was forcing not just itself but a large wad of silk into her stretched mouth.
The ordeal went on-and-on, for hours. The Sorceress filled vial after vial. The chains would stretch Kellan until the pain was unbearable... then slowly slacken... then stretch her again. Meanwhile, the Sorceress' feather would systematically harvest the sweat beading on her arms, armpits, shoulders, breasts, ribs, stomach, thighs, legs, and feet; then visit her sex. The tickling, teasing quill would bring her to the brink of orgasm... and hold her there... while the chains tightened, and tightened, and tightened... and then they would slacken, the feather would shift to her outstretched arms, and the ordeal would repeat.
Kellan found herself drifting in a world of pain and frustrated pleasure. She could feel her strength failing, her mind slipping away—and then it happened—an arrow suddenly pinned the Sorceress' robe to her left breast! Kellan's torturer dropped her feather and vial and stared at the pale wand and its goose feather fletching. Before the vial shattered on the floor the first shaft was joined by a second! The Sorceress flinched in surprise, then flinched again as a third arrow pierced her heart.
Standing in the doorway was Maid Dallas. She was naked, save the manacles and shackles around her wrists and ankles, the collar around her throat, the steel belt around her narrow waist, and the wide steel bands around her biceps. None of her former bonds were connected. A horse bow was in her left hand and a quiver dangling from her belt. As torturer and victim watched, she notched, drew, and loosed a fourth arrow in one fluid motion. It sped to join the others and went deeper, its gory tip protruding from the Sorceress' back.
The Sorceress staggered and dropped to her knees. "You... you can't... I... I will live forever." A fifth arrow pierced what was left of her heart. She pitched forward and fell heavily to the stone floor The impact drove the points of all five arrows through her body and out her back. As Dallas and Kellan watched, the Sorceress aged before their eyes. In seconds she changed from a vibrant mature woman... to a withered crone... to a shriveled corpse. They watched in horror as the thing slowly lifted itself on its thin, desiccated arms. "Forever..." it hissed in a dry, inhuman voice... then collapsed. Seconds later, it was a pile of bones... then dusty ash. The arrows rattled into a heap, tangled in the red silk robe.
Dallas strode forward and smiled down at Kellan. The Sorceress' machine was still at work, its gears turning and lever arms moving, slowly stretching the princess' helpless form. Kellan focused on her rescuer with tired eyes, then mewed through her gag, noticing for the first time the blonde youngster was generously splashed with half-dried blood, especially her arms and hands. Dallas slung her bow. "Oh," she said, realizing the cause of her princess' non-torture related distress. She lifted her hands and held them before her face, fingers extended and palms flat. "It's not my blood. It's the blood of a troll, or ogre, or... I don't know what it was; but it's dead."
The machine had passed the midpoint of its cycle, and Kellan was in increasing pain. She whined through her gag and clutched her hands into tight fists.
"Oh, sorry Your Highness," Dallas gasped, and turned her full attention to Kellan's plight. "Oh no," she whispered. The massive gears continued to slowly turn. "I'm not very good with machinery." She turned, lifted her bloody hands to either side of her mouth, and shouted towards the open door. "Mæve!"
| boxing kelly
Kellan shook her head and smiled. So... the common serving girl had rescued the high-born princess. She still wished it had been the other way around. What of noblese oblige if the nobles were the ones obliged to the less-than-noble? Well... maybe I'll get a chance to return the favor, the slightly miffed princess hoped. We aren't home yet.
Not home indeed. Kellan didn't have the full details, but Dallas' escape (and her rescue) had involved defeating a guardian demon (with Queen Mæve's help), slaying a guardian ogre (again with Queen Mæve's help), rescuing their kidnapper (the Sword Maiden Duana), and then Kellan herself (finally!); but somehow in the process... while the Sorceress' Tower crumbled around them, as the dead enchantress' magic spells warped and failed, the very fabric of creation was torn asunder and Dallas, Kellan, and Duana found themselves in a different reality!
Queen Mæve (strangely unconcerned by the current state of affairs, in Kellan's opinion) had explained that all they had to do was make their way (in this world, of course) to a city of White Magicians on the far side of the continent and ask for help. No problem! Kellan sighed and stared at the distant horizon, ticking off the perils Mæve had said stood between the "adventurers" and their goal: O'rang horse-nomads; amazon centaurs; slaver corsairs infesting the inland sea; Dark Elves in the far mountains; the occasional troll or ogre or giant... The list went on and on. Kellan heard noise from the tunnel and turned to find Dallas stepping into view.
The blonde youngster was dressed in a similar manner to her princess, only the chainmail of her brassiere was a gold and adamatium alloy; her loincloth and cloak lining were a stylized gray-blue pattern of animal forms, flowers, and leaves embroidered with silk thread; and the paint mask banding her eyes was sky blue. The outer cloak was the same non-descript mixture of earth tones as Kellan's, but Dallas' boots and leather accessories were a buff tan. The serving girl was armed with a bow and quiver, a pair of daggers, and a stout staff. A bundled bowcase and quiver in brown leather was in her left hand.
"Good Morning, Your Highness," Dallas said, executing a quick curtsey. "I found you a case and quiver to go with the bow you selected."
"Thank you, Maid Dallas," Kellan responded with a smile, and accepted the added armament. She slung the case and quiver and did a shake and hop. The bow and arrows rattled softly.
"You need to..." Dallas voice trailed off as Kellan unslung the quiver, adjusted a set of buckles, then slung it back over her shoulder. She hopped again, and this time there was no sound.
"Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs, as the saying goes," Kellan muttered, then laughed when she saw the distress on Dallas' face. "C'mere, you!" she ordered, and pulled the youngster into a warm embrace. "Thank you for the gift," she said, and planted a kiss on the serving girl's lips, "and Good Morning."
Dallas' smile had returned. "The gift is from Mæve, Your Highness," she explained.
"All gifts are from Mæve," Kellan chuckled. She donned her cloak and threw a fold off one shoulder. "I still can't get used to these outlandish costumes," she complained. "I feel half-naked."
Dallas adjusted her cloak as well, to match her princess. "Mæve says—"
"I know, I know," Kellan interrupted, her smile softening her Royal rudeness. "If we don't dress like this world's version of Sword Maidens, we'll be treated like escaped slaves or runaway wives by everyone we meet."
"Not that it matters," Dallas mumbled, a surprisingly mature glint in her young eyes. "We trust no one but each other."
Kellan gave her a solemn smile, and nodded in respectful agreement.
"But you trust me, don't you?" a high-pitched soprano voice inquired.
Kellan and Dallas scrambled to their feet, turned, and bowed.
| boxing kelly
"Your Majesty," Kellan said.
Queen Mæve was hovering in mid-air at the tunnel entrance. Her long, dark hair was elaborately braided and intertwined with the simple golden crown encircling her brow. Her red silk gown was understated elegance perfected. White silk slippers bound with shimmering silver ribbons graced her feet. Her beating wings were a blur of rainbow light. Tiny as a sparrow, she was nonetheless regal as the queen she was.
"Friend Dallas," Mæve nodded at the young blonde, then turned to the waiting princess. "Princess Kellan."
Kellan smiled and nursed her ever-so-slightly-wounded ego. She was coming to accept that as far as the Færy Folk were concerned, Dallas outranked her. The princess chided herself for the sin of pride. Dallas had earned Mæve's respect. Kellan had yet to do so.
Mæve flew to the boulder and settled to her slippered feet. "Your way is known," she announced, "provisions and treasure for commerce in your packs; you are armed and fore-warned; but your company is incomplete."
Kellan and Dallas frowned in confusion, then turned towards the tunnel. In a blur of buzzing wings a troop of færy soldiers emerged. Male and female, all wore breastplates and helms of bright adamatium. They were armed with a variety of weapons, all unmistakably functional, yet graceful and natural in design. The force of tiny warriors flew to their Queen. Some settled to either side and took up guard positions. Others remained in flight, hovering on watch. Others began an ever-widening pattern of patrols. Yet others deposited a bundled net at their sovereign's feet.
The bundle was the size of any of the færies (in a word: tiny) and unmistakably human. A færy soldier stepped forward, untied a series of elaborate knots, and gave the net a jerk. It unrolled like a carpet to reveal...
"Your third companion," Mæve explained, gesturing towards a semi-naked, elaborately bound and gagged, and obviously very angry Duana. The tiny captive was clothed in coarse, undyed linen: a bandeau across her breasts and a second cloth swaddling her loins. More of the cloth was stuffed in her grimacing mouth and tied in a tight cleave-gag. She was tied with an abundance of braided hemp; string or thin cord from Kellan and Dallas' point of view, rope to the færies. Her wrists were crossed and lashed behind her back. Her elbows were tied with a færy fist of distance between them. A harness of hemp pinned her upper arms to her sides, her forearms to her waist, and her wrists to a tight crotch rope. Her knees and ankles were lashed together, and a criss-crossing web of rope bound her from shoulders to toes. Her blonde locks were a tousled mass, half-covering her flushed face. Her tiny bare feet twisting and kicking, Duana rolled and writhed in her obviously inescapable bonds, hurling a steady stream of gagged invective at her færy guards, Queen Mæve, Maid Dallas, Princess Kellan, and the universe in general.
"Companion or burden, Your Majesty?" Kellan inquired, smiling and nodding at the squirming captive.
Mæve smiled back (and several of the guards stifled laughter). The færy queen reached into her gown and produced a tiny elongated stone on an equally tiny chain. She tossed it towards Kellan, and as it sailed through the air it grew in size. By the time Kellan caught it, the chain was on the scale of human jewelry and the stone was about an inch and a half in length. It was tourmaline, pink and black, polished smooth and in the vague shape of a human female, and the black veins running through the stone wound around the figure like... ropes. "Place the chain around your neck," Mæve instructed," your thumb and index finger on the stone, and think."
Kellan blinked in confusion. "Think? About what?" she asked, dropping the chain over her head.
This time the færy guards did laugh. "Quiet, my impolite friends," Mæve scolded (stifling laughter herself). "She's only human."
Dallas came to her princess' rescue (again), leaning close and whispering in her ear. "It's a controlling stone," she explained. "Think freedom or bondage for our tiny 'companion', and it shall be so."
"Oh, I see," Kellan mumbled (blushing furiously). She clutched the stone as she'd been told. Let the Sword Maiden Duana be free, she thought.
Instantly, Duana's restraints became elements of her costume. Her wrist and elbow bonds became wide cuffs and torques of woven hemp gracing her wrists and biceps. The ropes binding her upper body remained a harness, still crossing her shoulders, breasts, torso, waist, and passing between her legs, but no longer binding her arms or cleaving her sex. Her bandeau and loincloth passed under the harness, as they had before. The ropes binding her legs became braided cuffs around each ankle and criss-cross strands wrapping her calves. They were like the bindings of Saxon leggings or some styles of sandals Kellan had seen, but Duana's feet were still bare. Her gag had changed to a headband pulling the tiny blonde's locks back into a controlled fall down her back.
Duana scrambled to her feet. "I'll kill you all!" she ranted, her voice a squealing soprano. "I'll..." The færy guards hefted their weapons, and the tiny human calmed herself with a visible effort.
Queen Mæve took a step closer to the hemp and linen clad human. "We've talked about your lack of manners, Duana," she chided.
Still flushed and glowering, Duana dropped to one knee and bowed her head. "Begging your pardon, Majesty," she mumbled (if such a high-pitched whine could be called a mumble). "I... I hate being a captive."
"But you don't mind making others captive," Kellan demanded, "do you?"
Dallas leaned close and whispered in Kellan's ear. "Please, Your Highness, you don't know her history. You don't know what she's been through." Kellan turned and raised an eyebrow in question. "I'll tell you all I know later," Dallas whispered, then continued in a normal voice. "Duana slew the queen ant's guard warriors, then the queen herself," she explained. "She helped."
Helped herself, Kellan thought, remembering the liberties the Sword Maiden had taken with her helpless body during their journey to the Rose Tower. "She slew ants," Kellan said with a mocking smile.
"Uh... they were big as well-fed rats, Your Highness," Dallas explained. "And she was as she is... little."
"Oh..." Kellan's smile faded. "Those ants." Kellan directed herself to Queen Mæve. "Nothing can be done for her?"
Mæve shook her head, lifted Duana's chin, and indicated the tiny blonde should rise. "It's like a knot in reality, like the spell that sent you here, to this world. As the Rose Tower's spells and wards failed, as the Sorceress' magic collapsed upon itself... forces found new points of balance. In this world Duana is 'small' and you are 'normal'. My power cannot make such a fundamental change in a living being's stature... other than for a limited time, as a form of illusion." She lifted Duana's chin again, and lightly kissed the frowning blonde's pale, thin lips. "I have your oath," she purred, "now give it to the princess."
Duana sighed, turned to face the red-haired giantess looming before her, and again dropped to one knee. "I pledge allegiance to Princess Kellan, daughter of Brom. I pledge obedience to her orders, protection of her person and cause, and service in whatever manner she may deem fit. Freely and without reservation, on pain of dishonor and death, I so swear."
Kellan gazed down at the tiny, doll-sized maiden kneeling on the boulder before her. I'm probably going to regret this, she mused, or it will be the one thing that gets us home. Time will tell. "I accept your oath. Rise, Duana, Maid-of-the-Court." Duana rose to her bare feet, but still seemed anything but happy. "You understand I am still very angry with you, Kidnapper," Kellan continued, "don't you?" Duana nodded. "Well then..." Kellan thumbed the control stone—and instantly Duana's "hemp accessories" became tight bonds; however, her headband remained a headband.
The tiny captive tottered on her bare feet and found her balance. "I understand, Your Highness," she muttered, "but..."
"You may speak," Kellan said, a smile curling her lips.
"I don't like being tied up!" Duana complained. "I can't help you if I'm tied up. I can't do anything if—M'mmpfh! MMMFF!!!"
Kellan had caused her diminutive vassal's gag to reappear. "Temper, Little One," Kellan cautioned. "I'm sure you'll earn my trust... eventually. But in the meanwhile, a little revenge is understandable... don't you think?" Duana glared and mewed through her gag. "I'm so glad you agree," Kellan purred, deliberately misconstruing Duana's obvious disagreement.
"Let's call her 'Dinky'," Dallas suggested (causing Duana to hop on her bound feet and squeal a high-pitched, gagged tirade at the second looming giantess).
"Dinky it shall be," Kellan laughed, "but only as a jesting name of affection between friends and companions. Agreed, 'Red-Handed Dallas'?"
"Agreed," Dallas answered, then her smile turned somewhat impudent, "...'Your Helplessness'."
"Cheeky girl!" Kellan whispered, and gave the young blonde a goodnatured tap on the arm.
Dallas giggled, then continued. "I'm sure she shall be a fine companion... once she has earned Your Highness' trust."
"If we can put levity aside," Queen Mæve suggested, "there is another property of the stone of which you should be aware."
"Yes, Your Majesty?" Kellan responded with a polite bow.
"Should you wish to reward Duana for good conduct," Mæve said, "simply place your thumb over the center of the stone... and wish it so."
"Reward?" Kellan mumbled, and clutched the stone. She watched as Duana's eyes rolled up in her head, she jerked in her bonds, dropped to her bound knees, whined through her gag, rolled onto her side, and began shivering and wiggling. "What have I done to her?" Kellan demanded.
"The rapture of intimacy," Mæve answered.
"Sex," Dallas clarified, then winked at Kellan. "Begging your pardon, Your Highness."
Kellan blushed (ever so slightly) and watched Duana roll in bound ecstasy. "Oh... I see." Mæve caught her eye and indicated the stone still clutched in her hand. Kellan's blush deepened, and she released her thumb. Duana stopped struggling and lay limply in her bonds, her breasts heaving, panting through her gag, her scantily clad body shining with sweat. "Quite effective," Kellan whispered.
Mæve gestured to her guards. One stepped forward and unfurled a leather sack. It was a body sheath. Duana weakly resisted as she was tucked into the narrow tube. Only the prisoner's head remained exposed, poking through a hole in the stiff brown leather. Kellan noted that the web of laces criss-crossing the sheath were human scale, rather than færy. A half-dozen færies lifted the encased Duana and flew towards Kellan. As the princess stood perfectly still, the queen's soldiers threaded thongs through holes in the sling of Kellan's quiver and bowcase, through matching holes in the side of the body sheath, pulled the thongs taut, and tied elegant knots. They returned to their former positions on the boulder, and Kellan found she had gained a convenient pouch on the front of the strap for carrying her tiny captive companion. There was even a convenient folding hood-flap for protecting Duana's head from the weather.
"If I may?" Dallas inquired, leaned forward, and tugged the laces on the front of the pouch and it tightened to conform to Duana's bound body. She tied an elegant bow in the thongs and stepped back. "There."
Kellan tapped the stone still in her hand and Duana's gag disappeared.
"Please..." the prisoner pleaded in her tiny soprano voice, "I'll be good... I promise. Don't 'reward' me again... Please..." Duana smiled weakly. "Not for a while, anyway."
"Quiet, Dinky," Kellan whispered, turned to Queen Mæve, and bowed. "You are most generous, Your Majesty. When I return to my father's realm, please tell me how I may return your kindness."
"Careful, Your Highness," Mæve purred. "Light promises should never be made to a færy."
"Sincerely and deeply, but never lightly," Kellan responded, settling and adjusting her arms and satchel of supplies. "I am in your debt, Your Majesty."
Mæve smiled and made a shooing motion with her hands. "Off with you, princess," she laughed, "before I make you small and take your oath as my maid servant. Before I collect your debt. Go... and good fortune!"
Kellan bowed, backed several paces, turned with a swirl of her cape, and strode away down the trail. Dallas held her place. Tears were beading on the paint masking her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. "Will I... will..."
"We shall meet again, Friend Dallas," Mæve reassured the weeping blonde, "many times."
"I... Good Bye 'til then, Your Majesty," Dallas sobbed, bowed, and hurried after her princess.
As the blonde caught her up Kellan reached out and took her free hand. "Are you all right, Maid Dallas?" she whispered.
"Yes, Your Highness," Dallas sighed.
"Such a pair of soft-willed, soft-headed, weak women," Duana scoffed in her squeaky voice.
"Quiet, Dinky," Kellan purred, "or would you rather wear your gag? As I recall, that's how you treated your captives."
Duana sighed, but held her tongue.
"She's so cute," Dallas giggled, drying her tears. "Can I play with her later, after we camp?"
Kellan smiled (noting the poorly concealed dread on Duana's tiny face). "We'll see. For now, keep an eye out for hostile nomads or an ambush of centaurs."
"Use both eyes," Duana muttered, "both of you, if you expect us to get home."
"As Maid-of-the-Court Dinky suggests," Kellan agreed. "We have a long way to go."