|TALES OF THE FOXWOOD B&B
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the inner gate began a gentle climb. The mature
forest loomed on all sides, but Hannah suspected the natural
least partially landscaped—near the trail,
anyway. They passed
a large, impressive monolith—a smooth,
boulder balanced on one
end. The size of a small car, it was covered with moss and
and looked like it had
been standing its lonely vigil since before the surrounding
"It's something like 600 yards to the main compound," Jillian
"How big is Foxwood?"
asked, gazing up at the canopies of the surrounding cedars.
Jillian smiled. "This is one of the largest tracts of
owned, old-growth forest in California. My family has held
trust for more than a century. The topography makes
exploiting the timber nearly impossible, and road access on all
is blocked, so tree pirates have never been a problem."
"Private loggers who steal old-growth trees by ones and twos,"
explained. "We have several miles of hiking paths, and
them link up with Forest Service and Park Service trails;
camouflage the trail junctions. From the public side
nearly impossible to find, if
you don't know they're there."
Hannah nodded. "It wouldn't do for a group of lost
stumble onto something like—"
"—the Lady of Foxwood
newly-purchased Saxon thrall-maiden on a leash?" Jillian
coral lips curled in a teasing grin.
Hannah grinned back. "Exactly." The hike
"600 yards, you say?"
"It's good for our guests to have a chance to decompress.
We're nearly there."
Sure enough, the forest ahead was opening up to become a
meadow. The trail
crossed the meadow, then continued to rise. Over
the crest of the hill, the
top stories of a large, magnificent
It had a central tower, rising three stories above the main
was an open platform, shaded by a low-pitched roof that
well beyond the platform's handrails on all sides. A
fluttered from a pole atop the
tower. Even at this
distance, Hannah could clearly make
out the vaguely Celtic design of a fox against a predominantly
least two other, lower towers, and one was made
almost entirely of stone. There was also a windmill, but
mounted atop what was better described as a spire than as a
triangular sails, stretched on
spars, turned in the
breeze blowing up from the valley, and were dyed in a
variety of natural tones: brick red, cedar
green, sunset orange, robin's egg blue, etc.
Most of the building
was of timber frame construction, using whole,
peeled logs; however, as they continued up the trail and the
came into view, Hannah could see that the lower floor and
massive, buttress-like corner columns were entirely of mortared
complex, many-peaked, dormered roof was clad in the same red
had been used on the Outer Mews, including the roofs of the
wooden sides of the upper stories were covered in a mix of
clapboards and over-size
shingles. There were a multitude of windows, all glazed
antique glass in a diamond-pattern of divided lights. A
in large, curved bays, or arranged in series, as the
hanging balconies; but several of the windows set in the
stonework sections were
tall and narrow, and it was impossible to tell whether or not
recessed "archer slits" were glazed.
Overall, the proportions were very
structure's layered architecture might have been the result of decades of
buttress, balcony, dormer, and cantilevered wing complemented
It was one of the most beautiful buildings Hannah had ever seen.
"Wow!" Hannah gasped.
"Thank you," Jillian responded, and this time she blushed. "A
Keep as the result of a mating between Cinderella's Castle and a
Hannah laughed. "Or if Edoras, Rivendell, and Gondor were
in the act of having a threesome."
Jillian laughed, in return. "You're a Tolkien fan?"
"Even before the
films," Hannah confirmed.
"Excellent!" Jillian purred.
Near the crest of the hill, the flagstones transitioned to a
series of widely separated stone steps. As they ascended
steps, a woman came into
back was turned and her attention was
elsewhere. She was wearing a pendant-sleeved gown similar
Jillian's, but it
was olive-green in color, with antique gold trim and
Her boots were a dark, saddle-brown, and her hair was long and
Jillian's. She was addressing an audience still beyond
"I told everyone to give me their shopping
lists yesterday!" she
shouted. "If you can't be bothered, you can wait 'til its
your turn to go into
"Sydney!" a distant,
The newcomer spun on her heel, started down the steps, and
and her "thrall" for the first time. "The Cricket can be such a pain," she told
Jillian—then she focused on
widened, and her mouth formed a mildly surprised "O".
Hannah stared back. This second redhead was a younger
Jillian. She was about Hannah's age—and, if anything—she
was even more beautiful
were an amazing shade
maybe they were blue—it was difficult to
be sure in the dazzle of full sunlight. She shared
complexion, as well as her delicate bone structure; however,
there was nothing delicate
about her lithe,
athletic figure. She was shorter than Jillian, who was
shorter than Hannah, herself—but with Hannah
standing in flat sandals and the newcomer in boots with riding
it was difficult to judge by how much.
Hannah realized she was mirroring the redhead's
mildly astonished expression, and closed her mouth.
Jillian was clearly amused.
allow me to introduce my little sister, Sydney."
Hannah formed what she very much hoped was not a goofy and/or
Sydney also composed herself, but her features settled into a mild
frown. "The new thrall you mentioned," she said,
Jillian. "She looks strong enough." She critically
sandaled, burlap-clad, iron-collared form from her toes to the
Hannah's tan, smooth, generous
returned to her sister.
"I'll show her the
ropes when I get back. Bye." She breezed past
Jillian and Hannah and continued down the trail.
"Try to be back before sundown!" Jillian called after her
"Kayley's putting together a welcoming feast for Hannah!"
Sydney waved, but didn't turn around.
"What did I do?" Hannah asked.
Jillian was still smiling. "Do?"
"What did I do to piss her off?"
"She likes you,
Hannah watched Sydney's now distant form disappear around the
bend in the Forest Path. "She likes me? How does she treat people she
"She likes you," Jillian repeated. "She's my
sister. I can tell. C'mon."
Hannah's leash went taut, and their journey continued.
|| Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
situated in the saddle of a
shallow pocket-valley tucked into the side of the hill.
was at the very edge of a precipitous
drop to the main valley below; and other parts of the building
the forest or were surrounded by swaths of meadow. The
continued to rise, but Hannah could tell they were near the
"The view from that main tower must be something else," she
"It is," Jillian confirmed. "All of our guest suites face
valley, and have balconies and large windows—with leaded,
lights, of course."
"Of course," Hannah responded, "for historical accuracy."
There was a large greenhouse off to the side, separated from the
and one end of the stone and glass structure supported a turning
elevated aqueduct of wooden planks emerged from the trees and
wheel, and the wheel's spillway fed
pond. The pond, in turn, was drained by a narrow stream
snaked across the meadow and disappeared into the valley.
flagstone path crossed the stream by way of an elevated
"This is adapted from the classical Chinese 'rainbow bridge'
Jillian explained as they approached the bridge. It was an
of intricately interlaced logs covered by a roadbed of flat
planks. There were substantial stone footings on either
bank. "We could have gone with a flat span," Jillian said,
fact, we had to widen this part of the stream, to make the
work... but I think it was worth the effort."
"It's beautiful," Hannah said. "It's all beautiful."
Jillian smiled. They started up the bridge, then paused,
center of the span. "We get solar power from
the roof of the
Outer Mews..." Jillian explained, then pointed at the windmill
waterwheel. "... as well as wind and water
power. Most days, we sell electricity back to the
When we finish
swapping out all our incandescent bulbs for LED's and the next
generation of storage batteries becomes available, that should
to all days. A
capital investment, but our calculations prove we can do
"Impressive," Hannah murmured, but her eyes were on the
pair of naked women were swimming in the dark water—at least she
they were naked. The distance was still pretty
women climbed out of the water and onto a low stone dock, and
impression was confirmed. Both bathers were quite naked.
One was another redhead. Her long, curly
hair was darker than Jillian and Sydney's, but that was probably
because it was wet. She shared the Foxwood sisters'
Celtic complexions, and their lithe,
This third redhead's
equally wet companion
her height and physique; but she was a brunette, and her
She had a
Mediterranean, olive cast. Her brown hair was cropped
short in a
pixie-cut, and she was wearing an iron collar, like Hannah's.
The naked pair shrieked and jumped back into the pond. By
the time the splash subsided and the water stopped churning,
Jillian had arrived at the dock. The swimmers remained
water for several more seconds, then their heads bobbed to the
"Come on in!" the redhead shouted.
"And in other clichés," the brunette added, "the water's fine!"
The pair giggled and dog-paddled to the dock.
Jillian frowned at the redhead. "What have I told you
sunburn," she scolded.
"I'm using sunscreen," the redhead defended herself.
"She is," the brunette confirmed. "I rubbed it on. I
was very thorough."
The swimmers giggled, again.
Jillian shook her head and turned to
Hannah. "Hannah Blair, meet Alice Foxwood and Cricket
Clarke. Alice is my cousin, and Cricket is a permanent
"Pleased," Alice said, smiling up at Hannah.
"Likewise," Cricket added.
Hannah nodded. "Pleased to meet you, as well." Both
and Cricket were young. Hannah guessed they were in their
twenties, and now that she was close, Hannah could tell they
rather short. Also, both were very cute. In fact, Cricket
Clarke was devilishly cute,
eyes and a dimpled smile. Sally
Syndrome, Hannah mused. Poor
kid. People will be calling her
'cute' when she's an old lady. Alice's even
more in line with her red-haired relatives.
In a word—beautiful!
The swimmers continued to tread water.
"Hmm," Alice purred. Her blue-green eyes were on
"Yeah," Cricket agreed, also gazing at Hannah. "Dane...
or a Hyborean Sword-maiden."
"Any kind of
Alice added, "and she's perfect
"Yeah," Cricket agreed, again. "I can't wait to see her all hot
smiled as the
shared yet another round
conspiratorial giggles. It was impossible to
be offended by these diminutive nymphs.
"Don't mind those two," Jillian said, addressing Hannah.
been perfecting their 'cheeky monkey' act for years." She
addressed the "monkeys" in question. "Isn't it about time
lunch?" she inquired.
A new voice responded, from the direction of the Keep.
"It is time for
|| Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
new pair of women were approaching the pond. Both were in
Medieval costume, both were brunettes, and they were sharing the
of a large, and apparently rather heavy, wicker hamper.
The woman grasping the hamper's right handle,
with both hands, was in an open,
faded black robe worn over a red bliaut gown. Her friendly
at Hannah through a pair of gold-framed "granny glasses".
decided she wasn't as oppressively
Cricket, but was only very cute.
her tousled hair shoulder-length and parted down the middle.
The woman on the left,
easily handling her
of the hamper with one hand,
in the costume
of a prosperous peasant: a long skirt, a loose, low-cut blouse,
a laced bodice, and a slightly-stained, white apron. Her
long and straight, with feathered
bangs. Her eyes—Hannah had
never seen such
an incredible, pale blue,
gray, and they were gorgeous.
taller than her companion, and
while she was no giantess, she was easily the
tallest of the group.
As the newcomers eased the hamper to the ground, the tall
spoke. Hannah recognized the husky, alto voice that had
announced lunch. "This would be Hannah!" she said, with a
Jillian did the honors. "Hannah, this is Kayley Barbano,
cook; and Constance Clarke, another resident."
Hannah smiled. "Pleased to meet—you!"
forward and closed her arms around Hannah in a fierce bear-hug, then
cheek. Her arms were strong,
her hair smelled of fresh herbs. Hannah guessed that
might be slightly more
but not by much.
"Welcome," the cook gushed, and kissed Hannah, again. She
released her hug and stepped back.
Constance Clarke's greeting was decidedly less ebullient.
welcome," she said, with a shy smile. She was older
than Alice and Cricket, maybe in her mid twenties. Hannah
her by a few inches—in fact, Constance
about the same height as the
"Thanks," Hannah responded. "Are you Cricket's sister?"
"Cousins," Constance explained. "We're cousins."
Meanwhile, Kayley had stepped to the end of the
dock. Her hands were on her hips and she was glowering down at Alice
Cricket. "So, this is
you've been hiding,"
she accused. "You knew I was planning a picnic by the pond
time comes to haul everything out to the willow, the kitchen
thrall is nowhere to
Alice and Cricket giggled, yet again.
"I kidnapped her," Alice explained, "so I could use her as bait
"It's true," Cricket confirmed. "She made me strip and
the water first, in case there were nixies or trolls waiting
"Better they get a worthless thrall," Alice added, "than a
"That's logical," Constance snorted, rolling her eyes in
"except we don't have a
beautiful, red-haired princess."
Alice gasped in mock outrage, and directed a wet raspberry and
equally wet hand-splash in the direction of her
detractor. Unfortunately, her aim was off, and most of the
landed on Kayley's apron.
"Oops!" Alice gasped, in a tiny voice. "Sorry."
Kayley pointed to the large willow shading the far bank.
your scrawny asses out of the water and lug this hamper into the
shade," she ordered,
"or I'll bake you both in
Constance shuddered with delicate revulsion. "But who'd
Everyone laughed, including the swimmers, who did haul their "scrawny
from the water, and did grab
hamper's handles and begin to carry it away—but the dripping
enough to flick water on Constance and stick out their
Hannah's estimate of their heights was correct. Alice,
Cricket, and Constance
were all in the
neighborhood of five-two or five-three.
"Kitchen thrall duty is rotated on a regular schedule," Jillian
to Hannah. "That way there's always a thrall in the cast
one gets stuck with it all the time."
"I generally don't need much help with the cooking," Kayley
added, "except with
"And then we all help," Constance added. "Thrall duty is
cleaning and laundry."
Jillian gestured towards the willow, and the group followed the
naked "thrall" and "princess" around the pond.
|| Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
large blanket was spread on the grass and the hamper was
Lunch was several different kinds of finger sandwiches, all on
fresh-baked bread; as well as stuffed olives, several varieties
and grilled vegetables, and sliced fruit; all washed down with
bottles of white wine. The messiest dish was Caprese
Mozzarella interlaced with tomato slices and sprinkled with
basil, then drizzled with olive oil—but messiness wasn't
Hannah's concern. Her hands
were still bound behind her back, and she was hand-fed by
Alice and Cricket, comfortably seated between the naked pair as
they funneled choice
tidbits and cool sips of wine to her smiling mouth.
Somehow... it didn't seem at all strange. Hannah was
herself, immensely. Her new co-workers—prospective co-workers—were
group. She very much hoped the rest of the tour wouldn't
unpleasant surprises, and that she was making as good an
them as they were on her. So far, she thought she was...
possible exception of the absent Sydney Foxwood. It was
pleasant under the shade of the
willow—with the cool
breeze rippling the sparkling pond—watching the
water and rest on the cattails—and with a pair of
giggling, naked nymphs
waiting on her hand and foot.
In the course of conversation, Hannah learned that Alice and
had been friends since college. Alice had an engineering
was responsible, among other things, for the integration and
energy systems. Cricket was an artist and
photographer, and had handled the design and/or
execution of Foxwood's more recent decorative art. She
also ran the B&B's
was also abundantly obvious
that the perky, diminutive redhead and the equally perky and
brunette were very much in love.)
Constance was a writer of fantasy novels. She had
handful of short stories and one novel, and more novels were on
way. Jillian relied on her to help flesh-out the B&B's
role-playing scenarios. Her default role was
resident Scholar, Scribe, and Sage-in-training, hence the dark
robe. Her shy
manner fit the part, but Hannah suspected it was natural, and
of her act.
Kayley Barbano was more than a cook, she was a Master
was also a Master Herbalist and
She could have
run the kitchen of any five-star restaurant, but that would have
consumed all of even Kayley's considerable energy. Foxwood
her indulge all her
interests. Mistress of the Keep Kitchen was only one of her
role-playing personas, but Hannah didn't learn more about her
The only thing Hannah learned about Sydney was that
she was a talented musician. CDs of her work were for sale
Foxwood website, and they were also available to guests—but only
at the conclusion of
visits. A rack of jewel-cased, plastic-wrapped CDs in the
common room would have been a little too anachronistic
for the Foxwood B&B.
And Jillian Foxwood? Her background and history remained
unknown, and Hannah wasn't stupid enough to pump the others for
information in the middle of what was, after all, an extended
Jillian's presence. However, two things were quite
obvious. First, Jillian was very
charge, as she'd
said. The others treated her with respect and
And second... Alice, Cricket,
Constance, and Kayley loved Jillian very much. The Foxwood
family was a family,
relationships not withstanding—and Hannah was
beginning to hope it was a family she could join.
Finally, the meal was over. "Ready to see more of the
Jillian asked Hannah.
"Yes," Hannah answered, and smiled at Kayley. "Thank you
for a delicious lunch."
Kayley beamed. "Finally, someone who appreciates my
"We all love your
Kay-bear," Alice responded, "but we hate running on the
off the calories even more."
"It's true," Cricket agreed, patting her trim, flat tummy for
Constance nodded. "Last night... grilled pork loin
with blackberry wine sauce? Are you trying to make us all
Kayley batted her pale blue eyes. "No one complained at
Jillian smiled, shook her head, and climbed to her feet.
and Cricket helped Hannah stand, and Cricket handed Jillian the
her rope leash.
Suddenly, Jillian frowned at Cricket with a stony stare.
will not coddle a thrall that shirks her duties," she
"Princess Alice, punish this
Without another word, the Mistress of Foxwood spun on her heel
departed for the Keep, with her Saxon thrall-maiden in tow.
Hannah's leash went taut—and she had no choice but to
looked back, and was mildly surprised to find that neither
Constance, Alice, nor even Cricket seemed particularly upset by
unexpected turn of events. She focused on Jillian.
"Uh, what—I mean how...?"
"How is Alice going to 'punish' Cricket?" Jillian
looked back over her shoulder and smiled. "That's their business,
thrall-maiden," she purred. "Just don't let me
catch you goofing
off on the
job." She winked, then faced front and the journey
Hannah could tell that Jillian was teasing... probably.
looked back at
the pond, again. Those left behind were packing up the
picnic, and there was still
It's gonna take some time to
this place out, Hannah mused, but
still think I could like it here.
|| Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
the Lazy Thrall
grabbed a handle of the hamper. "I
want her back in time to help with dinner," she warned Alice.
"Of course," Alice responded, smiling at Cricket.
"And I get to lug this thing back
kitchen," Constance griped, hefting her half of the now largely
empty hamper, "while the Bobbsey Twins get the afternoon
This is so unfair."
"Don't be a drama queen, Connie," Cricket laughed.
She waved at the Cook and Scholar as they followed the Mistress
new thrall towards the Keep.
Alice waited until Kayley and Constance were around the pond and
earshot, then rounded on
companion. "It is unfair,
are a 'lazy
slacker', as M'Lady
said." She grabbed the ring on the front of Cricket's
pulled her close. "Hands on your head!" she ordered, a
(theatrical) scowl on her freckled, pixie face.
Cricket obeyed, but couldn't quite hide the smile curling her
dimpling her cheeks. "I'm sorry, Princess Alice," she
"Oh, I'm going to
you," Alice promised. She pulled her charge even closer,
until their breasts pressed together and their lips almost
touched. She put her left arm around Cricket's tiny waist,
used her right hand to grab a
hand-full of Cricket's short, dark hair and capture the
thumbs of her interlocked hands—and they kissed.
There was nothing casual about the kiss. Their tongues
their lips smacked, and the kiss went on and on.
Finally, the kiss ended. Maintaining her grip on Cricket's
and hair, Alice spun her around and marched her to the far side
willow, away from the pond and screened from the Keep by dense
cattails and a swath of flowering shrubs.
Their respective costumes were hanging from the willow's
branches. Alice's linen chemise, stockings, and sage-green
gown were to the left, and Cricket's coarse tunic and loincloth
right. Alice's tan, suede boots were inverted and wedged
branches, and Cricket's sandals dangled by their straps.
was also a tan leather satchel, hanging by its shoulder-strap.
Alice flipped open the satchel's flap and extracted several
coiled hanks of hemp rope. It wasn't actual hemp, but rather
microfiber dyed to resemble hemp. It was soft as
cotton clothesline, and held a knot just as well; but it was much kinder to the skin—if properly applied.
"Get on your knees," Alice ordered, and Cricket complied, her
still atop her head. "If you
give me any trouble," the princess growled, "I'll summon the
have you put
"I'll be good," Cricket whined. "Please don't hurt me."
"I make no promises," Alice muttered, uncoiled the first hank of
|| Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
One Hour Later
Alice and Cricket lay
on their backs on the mossy ground and gazed up at the waving
of the willow. They could see the clear, blue, afternoon
filtered through the
screen of long, pale-green leaves fluttering and
twisting in the gentle breeze. Both naked nymphs were
with sweat, and both had their arms
raised and their hands cradling the back of their heads—but only
of them was maintaining this pose by choice.
Cricket's upper arms and wrists were bound together, with the
neatly cinched bands of rope passing
behind her smiling head, and the wrist ropes
anchored to the back of her collar. Her ankles
were lashed to their
respective thighs, leaving her knees bent and the soles of her
resting flat on the soft ground.
"That was incredible," Cricket whispered.
"Thank you," Alice answered, "but you're
the one that invented that little tongue-twister thingie."
"And you're the one
perfecting it," Cricket sighed, flexing her spine and stretching
upper body as far as her bonds would allow.
Alice rolled onto her side, propped herself up on one elbow and
her head in her hand. "Ready to go again?" she inquired,
"Hell no!" Cricket
snorted. "Three times in a row is
enough!" She closed her eyes and opened her mouth in a
kittenish yawn. "Let's take a nap."
"You are a lazy
Alice chuckled. "But you haven't done me
Cricket batted her eyes. "Done you? I'm the one being
Still smiling, Alice climbed to her feet—reached for the sky
full-length, back-arching, and spine-popping stretch—then
their clothing. She reached into a pocket on the side of
satchel and palmed an object, then snatched Cricket's loincloth
its perch and ambled back to Cricket's helpless form. She
straddled the bound brunette's narrow waist, then sank to her
knees. Whatever she had retrieved from the satchel was
behind her back.
Only a little of Alice's slight weight rested on Cricket's tummy
hips, but that didn't mean the captive couldn't
complain. "Ow! Get off me, you horse!"
"Lazy and disrespectful,"
purred, and tossed the crumpled loincloth beside Cricket's
head. Then, she
leaned close and revealed what was hidden in her hand.
Cricket's big brown eyes popped wide. Her captor was
called a "tickle-wand". It was a hardwood dowel, about
inches long and as thick as a pencil. Fletched to one end
was a modest bundle of short, stiff feathers, and bound in the
was a short, pointed sliver of polished horn.
"No!" Cricket whispered (but her eyes were twinkling).
"Silly thrall!" Alice whispered back. "You thought
'punishment' meant the princess would tie you up and make
you cum like a bunny all afternoon? Oh,
no! I'm going to tickle your armpits..." She brushed
pale, tender flesh in question with the feather end of the wand,
eliciting a delicate shudder
prisoner. "...and your throat..." She brushed the
Cricket's neck, under her chin. Cricket bit her lower lip,
and suppressed an anguished moan. "...and these tiny little
brushed Cricket's already erect, left nipple. (Cricket's
weren't really "tiny".
was what you could call "buxom", but Alice was the better-endowed
of the two.)
Both lovers liked a little spice with
their sugar, and Cricket knew her beloved Alice wouldn't really tickle-torture
she could tickle-tease
unmercifully. She'd done it enough times herself to the
"princess", when it was Cricket's
be the one on top.
Alice's smile was deliciously
"Oh, yes... and then
going to reverse position and sit on your pretty face, and
going to make me cum
tickle your honeypot."
Cricket's expression settled into a piteous pout.
"I like 'Beloved-of-the-People Princess' much better than
"I think both roles
fun," Alice chuckled, then retrieved Cricket's loincloth, wadded
into a ball, and stuffed it in the "lazy thrall's" mouth.
that for me, so you can scream without disturbing the peace of
realm. If you spit it out, I'll get my dirty stockings and
really gag you."
the wand in her fingers, leaned even closer, and slowly extended
of feathers towards Cricket's smooth, exposed, left armpit.
Cricket whined through her voluntary gag and clenched her eyes tightly closed.
Tales of the