FOXWOOD--Bed & Breakfast

_by Van © 2008

Chapter 4

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The welcoming feast was a huge success.

Hannah's new friends were dressed in the same gowns and costumes they had worn during the day
with enhancements.  Scholar Constance had changed into a new, unfaded robe, and was wearing a turret cap and a medallion necklace of her "academic honors".  Jillian, Sydney, and Alice had added sheer veils of silk organza, tiara-like silver or gold headbands, and various necklaces, brooches, and pendants.  Kayley remained a prosperous peasant, but had removed her apron and coif and had donned a white linen wimple.  Cricket's iron collar was still locked around her neck, but she was no longer nude (of course).  Her thrall's costume was of coarse linen, dyed a pleasing shade of faded mulberry, and it had a full skirt.  And finally, upon her arrival at the feast, Jillian had presented Hannah with a silk veil, a silver torc to grace her throat, and an embossed headband.  She was assured her new accessories were authentic Saxon replicas.

Kayley had outdone herself, preparing a half-dozen entrées and an array of soups, side dishes, and desserts sufficient to feed a gathering three times the size of the Foxwood "family".  The Cook had assured Hannah that none of it would go to waste.  Any leftovers would find their way to various stews, sandwiches, casseroles, and savory pies over the course of the next few days. 

"As was mentioned at lunch," Hannah said, "we're all going to get fat if every meal is this good."  The others nodded and made noises of agreement (pausing in the process of shoveling the food in question into their mouths as quickly as courtesy allowed).

"Not to worry," Jillian reassured her newly hired Resident Artisan.  "In addition to the hiking trails, we have two different jogging paths.  One loops up the hill to the summit and back, and the other drops into the valley and comes out near the Mews."

"We also have the Wench-Winch," Alice added.

Hannah laughed.  "The what-what?"

"The Wench-Winch," Alice repeated.  "Uh... that's 'Wench' as in female, and 'Winch' as in crank," she explained. "You know how most medieval machines were human or animal powered?"  Hannah nodded.  "I designed a human-powered dynamo that feeds electric power to the grid.  Why just burn calories when you can sell watts

"It's very clever," Cricket said, then reached out and popped a stuffed olive in Alice's grinning mouth.  "It's under the Mill House out by the pond, and has..."  Her dimpled smile turned rather coy.  "...motivational features."

"She means you can use it to torture people," Constance explained, before Hannah could ask.  "It is good exercise, and you can use it as just a treadmill, without the torture.  We'll show you."

"Uh... thanks," Hannah said, "...I think."  The others laughed.

Conversation turned to Hannah's employment history.  Hannah explained that her introduction to the building trades had begun at an early age, when she started helping with the family business.  Eventually, she left the security of the nest and ventured out on her own.  She acquired the required licenses and now had nearly a decade of experience in new construction, home renovation, and building management.  On the downside, she confessed she had yet to find a "normal" job that wasn't either tainted by sexual harassment or had soon turned into a crushing bore.

"Well," Jillian intoned.  "There will be no sexual harassment here."

"Sexual torture, now and then," Cricket giggled.

"Or just plain ol' harassment," Alice added.

Constance piped in.  "And the most boring part is languishing in the dungeons."  She paused to take a sip of wine.  "Hmm... 'crushing bore'...  We don't yet have a pressing apparatus in any of the torture chambers."  She smiled at Hannah and took another sip.  "Good idea!"

"I'll start designing something," Alice said, "...something mechanical and wicked!"

"That is what you do best," Cricket added, smiling at her lover.

Alice kissed Cricket's dimpled cheek, then beamed at Hannah.  "Since it's your idea, you'll get to be the first to try it out."

"That's a Foxwood tradition," Cricket explained.

"First 'Horrible Demise' always goes to the originator," Constance added.

Hannah's mildly worried gaze shifted from face to face... and the assembly laughed.

"Gotcha!" Alice and Cricket said, in unison.

Hannah decided it would be prudent to not mention her most recent employment, the renovation of Lady Lydia's basement.  She'd just as soon keep the part about Lydia testing her refurbished "bondage furniture" and "isolation cells" with Hannah as her test subject between Jillian and herself (assuming the others didn't already know, of course).  With all this talk about torture and dungeons and "Horrible Demise", good-natured as it might be, she didn't want her professional due-diligence to be misconstrued as enthusiasm for the role of the "bottom".

"Sydney," Jillian said, when most of the food was consumed, "how 'bout some music?"

All eyes turned to Jillian's little sister, who was seated at the far end of the table.  "I'll get my guitar," she said, and left the Common Room.

"Syd's been quiet all evening," Kayley noted.

"That's 'cause she's been busy leering at Hannah," Alice laughed.

"Shuddup!" Cricket and Constance hissed, leaning close and jabbing the "princess" in her ribs.

"What?" Alice protested, innocently.  "It's true, isn't it?"  She noticed Jillian's and Kayley's mildly disapproving frowns, and her smile faded.  "Sorry," she whispered, and gulped her wine.

Hannah decided her best course of action was to ignore the entire exchange, which the others seemed more than willing to let happen.  Hannah had noticed Sydney's surreptitious glances, but had taken it for shyness... a shyness that didn't seem to otherwise fit her impression of the younger Foxwood sister's personality.  I guess she's just wary of strangers, Hannah decided.  She's an odd one... as gorgeous as they come, but odd.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 4 ---
Sydney's guitar turned out to be a harp guitar, which she played with consummate skill.  Her clear, strong, soprano voice was a perfect complement to the instrument's warm, liquid tones.  She entertained the party-goers from the stage with traditional airs, a couple of numbers from the Loreena McKennitt songbook, and several of her own original compositions.  The acoustics of the Common Hall couldn't have been more perfect.

At one point Sydney began an elaborate Welsh jig—and Cricket jumped to her feet and began to dance.  The diminutive brunette's full skirt lifted as she twirled, kicked, and pointed her feet, showcasing her bare legs and providing provocative glimpses of her white linen loincloth.   The company clapped and cheered encouragement as the dancing pixie flashed her flirting, dimpled smile and capered and pranced around the table.  Finally, the song was over and Cricket collapsed into Alice's arms to claim her rewards: thunderous applause, a vigorous kiss from her grinning lover, and a full goblet of red wine.

The final song of the evening was Greensleeves, a tradition of the Hall, Hannah was told.
Harp GuitarAlas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

All present joined in the choruses.

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

There was a final round of sincere and enthusiastic applause for Sydney, then the feast began to break up.

The others kissed and hugged Hannah, one by one, welcoming her to Foxwood a final time, then Hannah went to the stage to thank Sydney.  The red-haired troubadour was packing away her harp guitar.  Hannah noted that the case was as exquisite as the instrument itself.  The leather shell had thong-laced seams and the strap and reinforcing bands were tooled in a Celtic knot pattern.  Instrument and case were "authentically" medieval in style, another example of Foxwood attention to detail.

"That was beautiful," Hannah said.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Sydney answered, her eyes on the case as she buckled the lid's straps.  Finally, she lifted her gaze to Hannah.  "Do you play?" she asked.

Hannah blinked in surprise.  "Uh... you mean an instrument?"

A ghost of a smile curled Sydney's lips (finally).  "Yes, an instrument."

Hannah blushed.  She was mildly peeved at her discomfiture in the beautiful (gorgeous) redhead's presence, and reasserted her self-control.  "Drums... in High School."

"School band?"

"Garage band," Hannah clarified.

"The Bodhran Player" by Barrie MaquireSydney regarded Hannah in an openly appraising manner.  "Hmm...  We have an ensemble that entertains at Foxwood feasts and festivals—public feasts and festivals.  Alice plays the upright bass, Constance the recorder and penny-whistle, and Cricket dances and plays the tambourine.  We could use some real percussion.  Ever play the bohdran?"

Hannah shook her head.  "The Irish drum?"

Sydney nodded.  "Five minutes to learn—a lifetime to master.  I'll give you an audition.  I'm sure you'll be fine, but don't expect a drum solo anytime soon."

Hannah suspected Sydney's semi-gruff manner was an attempt to assert some sort of dominance.  It was mildly annoying, but something she could live with.  They'd work things out... eventually.

"Jillian's asked me to show you the Stone Tower and lower levels, tomorrow," Sydney said as she shouldered the guitar case.

"What time?" Hannah asked.

Sydney smiled.  "Apparently, you haven't noticed the lack of precision timepieces around here.  We keep 'medieval time'.  Some of our guests have a hard time adjusting, at first, but they get the hang of it.  "Breakfast is after dawn.  If you're late, you get cold fare.  Of course, in Kayley's kitchen that usually means a fine pastry, a slice of cold meat pie, and some fruit—so don't worry."

"Okay," Hannah nodded.

"You can wear that to breakfast," Sydney continued, nodding at Hannah's gown, "without the veil and jewelry.  I'll bring you something suitable for the tour, itself."  She smiled, spun on her heel, and walked away.  "Sweet dreams!" she called back, over her shoulder.

"Uh... the same," Hannah called after the departing redhead.  She turned and found Jillian waiting.

"Can you find your room?" the Mistress of the Keep inquired.

Hannah nodded, then turned to watch Sydney disappear through the doorway.  She noted that Sydney was actually rather short, no taller than her cousin Alice—possibly even a tiny bit shorter, in fact.  Somehow, she doesn't seem short, Hannah mused, and she's certainly no pixie.

"I'll show you the way, just to be sure," Jillian said with a smile.  "And don't mind Syd.  She's just feeling you out... so to speak."

Hannah's lips curled in a wry grin.  "Feeling me out?"

"So to speak," Jillian repeated.  "Like I told you before, she likes you."

"Okay... if you say so."

"C'mon," Jillian chuckled, and led Hannah towards the doorway.  She paused to lift the wooden cover of a small niche set in the wall and tap each of a row of glass tiles.  As she did so, the Elvish globes winked out, one-by-one, and their former brilliance was replaced by a soft, greenish glow.

Hannah smiled.  One would have thought the effect would be rather cold and eerie—but, in night-light-mode the globes were somehow warm and comforting, despite their verdant hue.  It's the way they glimmer off the wood... and the proportions of the space, Hannah decided.  This place is a treasure.  She turned and followed Jillian down the hallway.
- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 4
The Next Morning...

Hannah made her way to the Common Room, and was pleased to find she was not late for breakfast.  In fact, only Jillian and Constance were present, although sufficient tableware, plates, and mugs were deployed to serve all the Foxwood residents.

"Morning," Hannah said, and the others answered in kind.  As she sat down, Cricket entered from the kitchen, lugging a tray with a covered platter.  Alice was in her wake, with a second laden tray.  Hannah was wearing her kingfisher-blue gown, as Sydney had suggested, and the others were dressed in clothing similar to what they had worn the previous day, without the added headgear and finery.  The exception was Cricket.  She was wearing a ragged, faux-burlap version of the thrall's costume (and her iron collar, of course).

Kayley followed.  "Eggs, toasted bread, pan-fried potatoes, and bacon," she announced.  Cricket removed the platters' covers, revealing the food.  The eggs were in a scrambled heap surrounded by a ring of fried eggs, steaming hot and garnished with sprigs of fresh herbs.  The bread was sliced from round loafs, the potatoes were diced and sautéed to crispy brown perfection, and the bacon was thick-sliced and peppered.  The food immediately began making its way to various plates.

"Are you a tea drinker?" Kayley asked, addressing Hannah.

"No," Hannah answered.  "Uh... coffee?"

"Yet another way we diverge from historical correctness," Jillian said, and poured hot, steaming coffee into Hannah's mug from an insulated carafe disguised as a rustic, ceramic pitcher.  "In our version of world events, the kahve bean found its way out of Africa several centuries early."

"We had a long argument about corn," Kayley said.

"Meaning maize, of course," Constance interjected.

"Thank you, Scholar," Kayley smiled.  "Anyway... reason prevailed."

"Actually," Jillian said, pausing to sip her coffee, "Kayley's corn chowder and corn fritters prevailed."

"Yeah!" Alice agreed, and turned to Kayley.  "Ya gotta do that again, real soon, okay?"

"Which?" Kayley asked.

"Both!" Alice, Cricket, and Constance responded in unison.

All laughed, then turned to the hallway door as Sydney made her entrance.

Hannah noted that the redhead's costume was different from the day before... very different.

She struck a rather swashbuckling figure, starting with thigh boots and a pair of tight-fitting pants of gleaming, dark brown leather.  Her torso was clad in a combination corset, strapless bustier, and breastplate.  It was mostly of brown leather, matching her boots and trousers, but it had hammered steel strips sewn along the ribs and across the stomach and three-quarter-moon steel cups supporting and protecting her breasts—the lower halves, anyway.  Under this "armor", she wore a loose blouse of coarse linen dyed a faded shade of olive—the perfect complement to her Celtic complexion.  It had a scoop neckline that exposed most of her shoulders and the tops of her freckled breasts and its sleeves were rolled up and tied with linen ribbons.  Leather bracers were laced around her wrists and forearms.  Finally, a belt was cinched around her waist, with a sheathed dagger on her right hip and a long-sword on her left.  The overall effect was definitely medieval, more "Sheriff of Nottingham" than "Crimson Pirate", and it was also decidedly not masculine.

"Did I miss the Sword-Maiden memo?" Alice quipped, then indulged in a conspiratorial giggle with Cricket.

"Oh no!" Cricket added, in mock horror.  "It's Baroness Sydney of Foxwood!"

Sydney glared at the "Bobbsey Twins", then took a seat.  "Morning, all," she muttered, and began loading a plate.

Hannah realized she was staring at the "Sword-Maiden" in question—with her bulging, lightly freckled décolletage—her graceful, swan-like neck—her long, copper-red curls—her gorgeous, blue-green eyes... which, at the moment, were staring back at her!  Hannah took a gulp of coffee and turned her attention to finishing her breakfast. There was more smalltalk as the others also finished eating, then they started drifting away, one-by-one.  Eventually, only Hannah, Sydney, and Jillian were left at the table.

Jillian sipped her coffee and watched Sydney eat the last of her eggs.  "Be sure and show Hannah the oubliette under the Stone Tower," she told her sister, then smiled at Hannah.  "I'd like your advice on how to make improvements."

Hannah nodded.  "Okay."

Jillian rose from her chair.  "Play nice," she warned Sydney, and left the Common Room.

"What did she mean by that?" Hannah wondered aloud.

Sydney's answer was to gulp her remaining coffee and climb to her feet.  "Have you seen the Bath, yet?" she demanded.

Hannah shook her head.  "The Roman Bath?  No, but Jillian mentioned it."

"Follow me," Sydney ordered, and strode through the door with her hand on her sword hilt.

"Whatever you say," Hannah muttered under her breath.  Bossy little thing, she mused, with a wry smile; and followed her "Sword-Maiden" guide from the Common Room.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 4
The Capture of the Saxon Maiden
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~{ & }~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Access to the Roman Bath was through a large changing room, with benches and wooden lockers.  On the far wall was a door with a large, multi-light window of thick, wavy glass.

"That's actually a pair of doors," Sydney explained, pointing to the portal.  "Alice insisted we have them installed.  They act as an airlock and help control the humidity.  The little twerp redesigned the Keep's heating and cooling system, after she graduated from college and Jillian decided to take her on as Resident Engineer and General Pest.  The bath's main pool acts as the the heat-sink for the new system, with hammered-air ducts that distribute conditioned air from a new set of machines installed in a shed against the outside wall of the Keep.  It's supposed to be more energy efficient, and I gotta admit the place is more comfortable.  Some of the new work to hide the installation was a little slipshod, and that's part of why Jillian has hired you, to fix it."  She pointed to the nearest changing alcove.  "Strip," she ordered.

"Excuse me?" Hannah demanded.

Sydney crossed her arms under her breasts and favored Hannah with an ever-so-slightly-exasperated sigh.  "I know Jillian explained about the role-playing and special scenarios?" she asked, and Hannah nodded.  "We have some special guests booked for a week-long visit in twelve days, and Jillian wants you to get up to speed as soon as possible.  We won't bother with any dialog and histrionics, but I'm going to walk you through one of our classics: 'Captured in the Bath'."

"Captured?"  Hannah noted that Sydney's smile now had a slightly sinister twist.

"Think about it."  Sydney continued.  "Naked, wet, unarmed...?  Could you be more vulnerable?"

She's baiting me, Hannah realized.  She's thinks I'll woosie-out and run crying to Jillian.  Hannah had learned there were two ways to handle hazing like this: refuse to play altogether, and risk being labeled a 'hothead' or a 'spoilsport'; or play along until it was clear to everyone that things were getting out of hand, and then assert her rights.  Option two was usually the best course.  Her face a neutral mask (she hoped), Hannah walked to the alcove and began undoing the buttons of her gown.  In short order, the velvet garment was hanging in the locker and her chemise and loincloth were neatly folded and stacked on its top shelf.  She then removed her slippers, placed them on the floor of the locker, and closed the door.  She turned to find Sydney gazing at her with her an openly leering grin.  Hannah placed her hands on her hips and struck a defiant pose.  "Care to take a picture?"

"The others are right," Sydney said.  "You are the perfect Saxon Maiden.  Athletic build and good muscle tone—but very feminine—no tan lines, natural blonde...  When your hair grows a little, we'll keep you in braids.  Ever wield an ax?"

"I've chopped a few cords of wood," Hannah drawled.

Sydney shook her head.  "Not what I mean.  Another of my hats is Resident Swordmaster.  I'll teach you to swing a blade."

"As long as nothing important gets lobbed-off in the process,"  Hannah muttered.

Sydney laughed.  "I'm talking theatrical combat, not actual combat.  Anyway, I'll get you a nice Saxon battle-ax and a couple of throwing axes.  How 'bout archery?"

Hannah shook her head.  Sydney seemed to be warming to her, at last.

"No problem," the red-haired Sword-Maiden responded.  "I can teach you to draw a bow in a day.  Getting good at it will be up to you."  She turned and walked to the door leading to the Bath, itself.  "C'mon," she said, holding the first door open.

Hannah preceeded Sydney into the "airlock" vestibule, through the second door, and into a large, vaulted space.  A bank of windows, set high in one stone wall, allowed shafts of morning sun to illuminate a surprisingly large, rectangular pool.  The air was warm and humid.

Off to the right was a semi-circular area with several throne-like stone seats and wide benches built right into the wall.  Centered in this alcove was what appeared to be a circular stone tub.  It was ten or twelve feet across and was surrounded by a low parapet of smooth, well-rounded stone blocks.  Tendrils of steam drifted above its still, dark waters.

"That's the hot-tub," Sydney explained.  She turned and pointed to a second large alcove off the left end of the pool.  "That's where you get yourself clean, then take a final rinse in the pool."  Her hand shifted to a wooden door on the opposite side of the pool.  "That's the dry sauna..."  Her hand swept back to the right alcove.  "...or, you can use the tub.  It has jets and bubbles, but we like to pretend it's a natural hot spring, of course."

"Of course," Hannah agreed.  The style of the vaulting was more Gothic than Roman; but a decorative frieze, running in a band around the entire circumference of the space, was definitely Roman.  Its stone blocks were appropriately weathered and "ancient", suggesting they had been salvaged from a ruin and reused by the bath's "medieval" builders.

"Well, what are you waiting for?"  Sydney was pointing to the cleaning alcove, again.

"Just taking in the view," Hannah answered, then turned and padded towards the alcove.

"Make it quick," Sydney ordered.  "I'll be in the lounging area."

Well, so much for warm-and-friendly-Sydney, Hannah mused.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 4
The cleaning alcove had several wooden buckets and ladles inverted over the pegs of a drying rack.  There were also natural sponges—thick, milky bars of hand-made soap—and a row of "hand-forged" showerheads clustered over a deck of drainboards.  Hannah stepped under one of the showers, pulled its dangling chain, and a deluge of blood-warm water drenched her from head to toe.  She then fetched a bar of soap and a sponge and scrubbed herself clean, raising a layer of lavender-scented suds.

As she ran the soapy sponge over her body, Hannah stole a surreptitious glance at the "lounging area", and discovered Sydney reclined on one of the throne-like seats, her legs extended, and her boots resting atop what appeared to be a leather satchel.  The distance was too great for her to absorb the fine details of body-language and expression, but Hannah was sure the redhead was "enjoying the show".

Let her ogle me all she wants, Hannah decided.  Next time she's in the bath, I'll return the favor.  She pulled the shower chain for a final rinse, squeezed out her sponge and returned it and the soap to the drying rack, then turned to face the pool.  Might as well give her a real show.  Carefully ignoring her audience-of-one, Hannah stretched, going up on her toes and reaching for the ceiling with her outstretched fingers.  She combed her fingers through her hair, then lifted her chin and shook her head, causing her wet, blond locks to shake and drape down her back.  Still ignoring Sydney, she took the half-dozen rapid paces required to reach the pool—and executed a graceful overhead dive into its warm, dark depths.  She glided underwater, until the water shallowed-out and she could plant her feet, then slowly walked up the broad, shallow steps leading to the hot-tub and lounge.

"Aphrodite, emerging from the sea," Sydney said, in an ever-so-slightly mocking manner.

Hannah combed her hair back, again, leaving it plastered to her skull and dripping down her back; then strolled around the tub to stand before her guide, hands on hips.  "Towel?" she inquired.

"Not required," Sydney answered.  There was a brief pause... then she jumped to her feet and drew her sword in one fluid, well-practiced maneuver.

Hannah's eyes popped wide in surprise, then she regained at least some of her composure.  The sword's sharp point was hovering less than an inch from the tan, wet skin of her sternum.  She looked down the shimmering blade and locked eyes with Sydney, noting the evil (beautiful) smile curling the redhead's coral lips.  "Uh... this would be the 'Captured' part?" she inquired, with forced nonchalance.  It was difficult to keep one's cool while being held at swordpoint, even if it was only a game.

"What will it be, Saxon?" Sydney sneered, "surrender, or a quick death?"

"I thought we were going to dispense with dialog?" Hannah asked, still trying to appear indifferent to the situation (with limited success).

Sydney's evil smile was replaced by one of genuine humor—then, just as quickly, the evil twist returned.  "Turn around, kneel, cross your ankles, and put your hands on top of your head with your fingers interlaced."

Hannah sighed, and followed her captor's orders.  She looked back over her shoulder to find Sydney pulling a coil of hemp rope from the satchel.

"Eyes front!" Sydney barked.

Hannah complied.  She heard the sword being re-sheathed, then Sydney took hold of her wrists, pulled her arms down, and folded them behind her back until her fingers were touching their opposite elbows.

"Don't even squirm," Sydney ordered, her mouth less than an inch from Hannah's right ear.

Well, if I'm going to play along with this nonsense, Hannah decided, I might as well really play along.  "English dog!" she snapped.  "Just wait 'til my father's war band gets here!"

Sydney laughed.  "Okay, I suppose we have time for a little melodrama."  She doubled the rope, forming a loop in the center, and dropped it over Hannah's body, snugging it tight to pin her arms to her torso.  "I'm not English, you Saxon cur.  I'm Cymric, Welsh, or British—anything but English, and don't you forget it.  Now, wag your tongue again and I'll slit it down the middle!"

Sydney couldn't think of a snappy comeback, so she decided to follow orders.  She set her jaw and glared straight ahead, to maintain the proper "Air of Brave Defiance".

Meanwhile, the first doubled loop was followed by three more, until there was a neat, flat band of four horizontal strands passing above Hannah's breasts and four more below.  Each time, Sydney pulled the doubled rope through the loop between her shoulder-blades and reversed direction.  The lower bands were cinched between her elbows and torso, and a doubled loop was passed through her armpits and behind her head, to yoke her shoulders  The remaining free rope was cinched between her shoulder-blades, then was passed under the loop at the nape of her neck—and Sydney heaved.

Hannah gasped and bit her lower lip.  The final maneuver had tightened everything up, significantly.  She felt a series of hitches and a final knot being tied, somewhere above the complex of knots pressing against her upper spine.  It was tight, but she had to admit it wasn't that tight—certainly not punishingly tight—but it was inescapably tight.  "You're good at this," she observed, in a low, husky voice."

Sydney was pulling a second coil from the satchel.  "Bard, Sword Master, and Rope Mistress," Sydney responded.  "Those are my principle roles around here.  Some of our special clients like the feel of cold iron, but others appreciate the caress of hemp—microfiber synthetic hemp, of course.  The real stuff abrades the skin.  This technique is called a box-tie harness, by the way.  Now, keep silent!"

"British bitch!" Hannah whispered, then gasped as rope bands tightened around her wrists and forearms.  She counted something like a dozen doubled loops being wrapped, cinched, and tied, then the rope was looped up and through the knots securing her chest bondage, and another series of cinches and wraps were taken.  The final knot was well out of the reach of either hand—like all the various knots, hitches and everything else even remotely resembling something that could be untied.

Again, the ropes were tight, without being too tight.  The neat, symmetrical pattern pinned her arms, locked her elbows, and trapped her now utterly useless hands behind her back.  Hannah was still more-or-less comfortable... and truly "Captured".

Sydney pulled out a third coil of rope and set about making her Saxon captive helpless and immobile.  She eased Hannah off her knees and over onto her side, rolled her onto her back, then stretched out her legs and crossed her ankles.

Hannah watched as several horizontal rope bands tightened around her ankles.  A lark's head was tied to keep things tight, then a vertical cinch was added between her legs, making the ankle bonds tight, indeed.  Finally, three loops were taken around the insteps of her feet, cinched, and tied to her ankle bonds.

Sydney sat back on her haunches and watched as Hannah twisted her bound ankles, testing the ropes.  "I like the crossed position," she explained.  "It has the drawback of not letting you bind the big toes, but it makes it nearly impossible for the prisoner to hop around—especially if you bind the feet, themselves."

Hannah tested all her bonds.  She looked down her body at her neatly bound ankles and feet and the bands of rope passing below and above her breasts.  She noted the firm, tan globes were slightly compressed by Sydney's ropes, and were covered by a sprinkling of goosebumps.  Also, her nipples were embarrassingly erect.  It must be the water evaporating off my skin, she decided... but she knew that wasn't the entire reason.  A thrill was quivering in her sex... and she could tell more than her skin was wet... at least a little.  "You're good," she said, locking eyes with her captor.

Sydney's smile broadened.  "Thank you, Saxon," she purred, then reached into a side pocket of the satchel and pulled out a handful of cloth.  "But, that's twice I've told you to keep silent."  She dropped all but a single large cloth, which she formed into a large wad.  "Third time's the charm, as they say."

Hannah shook her head as Sydney pulled her bound body around until her head and shoulders were in her leather-clad lap.  "No!  No gag!  M'rmf!"

Smiling in an infuriatingly wicked, gloating manner, Sydney forced the soft mass past Hannah's lips and into her mouth, then held it in place with one hand while she folded a second cloth into a narrow bandage with the other.  This was tied between Hannah's teeth and over the stuffing to form a tight cleave-gag.  The thick band was long enough to pass around Hannah's head and through her lips, twice.  Sydney cinched the cloth—pulled the captive's wet, tousled hair from under the gag—cinched the cloth again—and tied a tight square knot.

Hannah struggled and writhed in her bonds, but the gag was in to stay.  Gone was her complacent defiance, and in its place was active defiance (and a touch of fear).  She forced mewling complaints through her depressingly effective gag, glared up at her captor, and continued to squirm against the ropes.

Meanwhile, Sydney had produced a third cloth and was folding it into a much broader bandage.  "I sense a natural aptitude for this sort of role-playing," she said, still wearing the same infuriatingly smug expression, "Jillian will be very pleased.  Now, it's important for a newly captured thrall to come to terms with your situation, so here's what I'm going to do."  She wrapped the bandage over Hannah's eyes and tied it behind her head.

Hannah continued to struggle and complain—then went still when Sydney reached out and gently cupped her left breast.

"Shh—settle down," Sydney whispered.  "I've got you, and you're not getting away."

Hannah remained still (but continued testing her bonds with her groping fingers and slow, squirming movements).  She does have me, she admitted.  Hannah knew she wasn't going to get out of the ropes or the gag.  The blindfold?  Maybe, but it won't be easy without scratching up my face.

"I'll give you one hour to convince yourself your days as a free maiden are truly over," Sydney continued, easing Hannah off her lap and onto the wet stones, "then, I'll be back with your collar, and we'll continue the tour."

Hannah heard noises she interpreted as Sydney standing and shouldering the satchel.

"Roll around a little, if you like," Sydney said, "but I wouldn't get too carried away, or you might roll into the pool."

Hannah heard the echoing, slowly fading tap of Sydney's boots on the stone floor, and forced what she hoped would be a brave, defiant shout past her gag.  Unfortunately, it came out as a strangled, pathetic whine (at least in Hannah's ears).  Seconds later, she heard the airlock door open... and close.  She relaxed in her bonds and let her gagged, blindfolded head rest on the wet floor.

Well... either I played that very wrong, the captive mused, or I am a 'closet subbie' after all, like Lady Lydia said.  Of course, once she'd decided to let Sydney bind her to the point of helplessness... it hadn't mattered how she'd decided to play things.  The actual result would have been the same.  She was well and truly captured, and no acting was required.

Hannah bucked and twisted, fighting her bonds with all her strength—with predictable results.  Finally, after a couple of minutes of strenuous but pointless struggling, she let herself rest, again.  The naked, wet, bound, gagged, and blindfolded prisoner lay on her side, her nostrils flaring and breasts heaving as she panted for breath.

What now?  Hannah wondered.  They're not going to really keep me as a thrall... are they?
Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
Chapter 4

Chapter 3
Chapter 5