FOXWOOD--Bed & Breakfast

_by Van © 2008

Chapter 10

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Five Weeks Later...

The Roman Bath's dry sauna was lit by "Elven" sconces which cast a dim, reddish-orange glow throughout the hot, cedar-lined chamber.  Under such conditions, Sydney's freckles faded against her naturally pale skin, giving her flushed, shining body the look of polished, salmon-pink alabaster.  At the moment, however, just about the only thing Hannah could see was Sydney's fiery red pubic bush, as she was busy using her lips and tongue to pleasure her writhing, moaning "pretend girlfriend".  Both were naked and slick with sweat.  Sydney was sprawled on the sauna's cedar bench with her back against the built-in rest and her legs spread.  Hannah was on her knees, and her wrists were bound behind her back with a ribbon-like strip of linen cloth.

Sydney gasped, grabbed Hannah's braids, and pulled Hannah's head closer to her sex.  She continued to writhe and squirm for several seconds... then went completely rigid with her eyes wide and her mouth open in a silent scream.  Hannah continued to lick, nuzzle, and probe.  Finally, Sydney closed her eyes and took a deep, long, gasping breath, filling her lungs with the sauna's hot, dry air.  S
he smiled and pushed Hannah's head away.  "Adequate, thrall," she drawled, "quite adequate."

Hannah grinned up at Sydney's flushed, shining face.  Her thrall's collar wasn't around her throat.  Cold iron quickly became uncomfortably hot iron in the sauna, so Sydney had unlocked and removed Hannah's badge of servitude.  It was under a folded towel outside the sauna door; however, a thrall Hannah remained, bound by her oath to Lady Foxwood and by her growing infatuation with The Evil Baroness Sydney.

Sydney's breasts heaved and nostrils flared as she continued to bask in the afterglow.  "Now," she said, finally, "to continue your lesson..."  She reached for another long strip of cloth, spun Hannah around, and took a turn around her elbows.  "Let's test your flexibility."  She cinched the cloth.

Hannah gasped as her arms were pulled together, her shoulders rolled back, and her elbows touched.  "That's tight," she complained.

"Unless the elbows are tied," Sydney lectured, "or the wrists are otherwise secured, your captive can work her hands past her hips, pull her legs through her arms so her hands are in front, and attack the knot with her teeth."  She tied a square knot.  "That maneuver is especially easy if she's naked and slick as a greased pig."
"But I'm not trying to escape," Hannah objected, a wry smile curling her lips.

"Which is now an entirely moot point," Sydney purred.  "Jillian, Kayley, and I do yoga three times a week, midmorning, near the pond.  Be there."

"I know that," Hannah snorted, "but I'm not sure I want to take up yoga."

"It wasn't a suggestion, thrall," Sydney muttered, then spun Hannah back around and reached for the remaining two strips of cloth. 

Hannah watched as her captor set one strip aside and rolled the other into a thick wad.  "Uh... what are you going to do?"

"Don't be coy," Sydney chuckled and tucked the cloth stuffing into Hannah's unresisting mouth.  She then seated the remaining strip between Hannah's teeth and over the crumpled mass, took two turns around her head, cinched it tight, and tied a square knot at the nape of her neck.  "Now you can scream all you want while I demonstrate the proper way to entertain a guest in the sauna."

She stood, stretched, then pulled Hannah to her feet and plunked her down on the bench.  She then knelt on the deck-boards and grinned up into Hannah's gagged face.  "Take good mental notes," she purred, "as there will be a series of pop quizzes, later."  She placed her hands on Hannah's knees, pulled them apart, and leaned forward.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
"How long do we leave them in there?" Kayley asked.  "Their brains will be cooked."

"Oh... give it five more minutes," Jillian said, "then someone can wander over and knock on the door."

"I'll do it!" Constance volunteered.

Jillian and Kayley laughed, and Kayley ruffled the little scholar's hair.  The Mistress, Cook, and Scholar were naked and reclined on the stone benches and chairs of the lounge area.  Jillian was on her usual "throne", and Kayley and Constance were sprawled together and sharing a bench.  An iron collar was locked around the scholar's throat, as Cricket's term as kitchen thrall had recently expired and she was next in the rotation.

Suddenly, the door to the sauna opened and Sydney and a bound and gagged Hannah emerged.  Both were flushed and dripping with sweat.  Sydney forced Hannah to her knees by grabbing her left braid with her right hand and giving it a firm downwards tug.  She then retrieved Hannah's collar and locked it around her throat.  With a gloating grin visible even from halfway across the room, she settled the thong holding the key over her head, pulled Hannah back to her feet, dragged her to the edge of the pool, and gave her a shove into the deep, still water.

"Nrf!" Hannah screamed, as she entered the water with a resounding splash.

"Sydney!" Jillian shouted in warning.

"Lighten up, sis!" Sydney shouted back.  "You know the Saxon swims like a trout!"  She executed an overhand dive into the pool, then began breaststroking towards the cleaning alcove.

Meanwhile, Hannah had struggled to the surface and was treading water.  She glared in Sydney's direction, muttering what was probably a curse but emerged as a gag-muffled growl, then rolled onto her back and began frog-kicking towards the shallow end.  When she reached the steps she planted her feet, turned, and emerged from the water, her body and braids dripping.  She turned to glare at Sydney, once again.  By this time the redhead was busy showering and soaping her body.  Hannah turned back and stalked to the lounge area.

"Talk about your wet cat," Jillian chuckled.

"Be nice," Kayley chided; but it was clear she was as amused as Her Ladyship.

Constance climbed to her feet, scampered to meet the wet captive, and led Hannah back to the bench.  "Poor Hannah," she sighed.

Kayley patted the bench between her splayed legs.

Hannah sat and settled her back and bound arms against Kayley's body, then dropped her chin as Kayley reached for her gag.  The knot surrendered to the cook's strong, nimble fingers, the cleaving band was pulled away, and the rolled cloth was extracted from Hannah's mouth.  "Thanks," she gasped, licking her lips and working her jaw.

Constance poured some chilled rosé from an insulated carafe into a wooden cup and held it to Hannah's lips.

Hannah drained the cup.  "Thanks," she said, again, then twisted her bound arms.  "Would someone like to untie me?" she inquired.

"Not especially," Kayley chuckled, pulled Hannah into a tight embrace, and nuzzled her neck.

"Stop!" Hannah complained; but none could doubt that she was enjoying Kayley's attention.

"Maybe we should at least untie her elbows," Constance suggested.

Jillian pointed at the carafe, and Constance poured a cup and carried it over.

"She'll be okay for a while," Jillian purred, took the cup from Constance—then grabbed the scholar's wrist and pulled her onto her lap.

"Eek!" Constance squealed, then snuggled in Jillian's arms.

"Cruel, Cymric bastards," Hannah sighed.  "Woden take you all!"  She turned her head and kissed Kayley's lips.

"Oh!" Constance smiled.  "You've been reading that book on Saxon religion I gave you—eeh—stop!"  Jillian was tickling her ribs.  The naked little scholar giggled and squirmed.  "Stop-Jillie-stop!"

"Only if you promise not to start lecturing on Anglo-Saxon paganism," Jillian chuckled, but she did relent in her tickling.  She pulled Connie even closer, and they kissed.

Across the pool, Sydney had finished her bath, dried her body, and was walking towards the dressing room door.  She made her exit without a word or glance at the lounge area.

"And a pleasant eventide to you too, Baroness," Kayley chuckled.

Jillian focused on Hannah.  "So, regarding the oubliette project... demolition is complete, the blocks are delivered, the scaffolding and other supplies are ready, and work begins first thing in the morning."

Hannah nodded.  "Assuming I still have the use of my arms," she sighed, twisting her bound elbows.

Jillian grinned.  "Let's celebrate," she suggested, then whispered in Connie's ear.

The scholar smiled, giggled, and climbed off Jillian's lap.  She scampered to a hamper and pulled out a coil of rope.

Hannah watched this development with growing apprehension (and anticipation).  "What?"

Still smiling, Jillian passed her hand across her mouth.

Apparently, Kayley understood this as a signal to restore Hannah's gag, because she did just that.

"Mrrf!" Hannah complained as the cleaving band was cinched.

"Quiet," Kayley purred, as she leaned Hannah forward and checked her wrist bonds.  She then began untying her elbows.  Hannah sighed with relief as the cloth band came free—then mewled in complaint, again, as Kayley used the cloth to reinforce her gag.

Constance had returned with the rope, and acted as Kayley's assistant while the cook looped several bands around Hannah's arms and torso.  "Sorry, Hannah," the little brunette sighed, "but a thrall has to follow orders."

Hannah rolled her eyes in mock disgust as she was eased to the floor.  More rope tightened around her knees and ankles, then was looped through her wrist bonds and tightened, pulling her into a stringent hogtie.  She lay on her side and watched as Constance went to another hamper and returned with a small velvet bag, which she handed to Jillian.

The Mistress of the Keep sat cross-legged on the floor, opened the bag, and shook out five six-sided dice and a small wooden cup.  "Tripps or hazard?" she asked.

"Tripps," Kayley responded.

"Tripps," Constance agreed.  "Hazard's a stupid game.  It's
far too complicated.  What are we playing for?"

"What do you think?" Jillian purred, and all eyes focused on Hannah.  "She's already gift wrapped, but being a kind and generous Mistress, I've decided to share the wealth with my devoted subjects."

Kayley and Constance smiled and rolled their eyes, then joined Her Ladyship on the floor, matching her cross-legged pose.

Hannah watched as Jillian dropped the dice into the cup and gave it a vigorous shake.  "The winner has to have our Saxon prize in bed before midnight," she announced, as the dice rattled.

"In somebody's bed," Kayley amended, winking at Hannah, "but I assume you mean the winner should make sure our Resident Artisan gets enough sleep for tomorrow's labor."

Jillian nodded.  "Best of three rounds," she said, and slammed the cup to the floor.

Helpless in her inescapable bonds, Hannah rested her gagged head on the cool stone flags and watched her "Cymric Captors" gamble for the privilege of using her naked body for their pleasure.  A thrill shivered through her sex as the dice rattled and rolled.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
To work―to work!

Everyone helped when they could, even Jillian.  The concrete blocks had to be moved from their delivery pallets to the empty torture chamber cell they were using to stage the materials.  They then had to be sorted into their different sizes and shapes, ready to be lowered to the bottom of the now empty elevator shaft.  Jillian had decided to go with stone flags for the floor, and lowering the heavy, flat slabs, laying the mortar bed, and setting the stones had taken two very strenuous days.

block patternThe blocks Hannah ordered to face the shaft walls interlocked in a pseudo-random pattern, and she'd also specified the specialized blocks that allowed them to give the final space rounded corners.  They ran the foil-covered, flexible tubes of the Keep's rammed-air heating system through the four resulting corner spaces, two supply, and two exhaust.  Hannah would make certain to leave many blade-thin cracks between the corner blocks of the first dozen courses, so there would be more than enough space for air infiltration.  Any potential languishing prisoners would be toasty warm.

An existing six-inch drain at the bottom of the elevator shaft was fitted with a heavy iron grill of the appropriate hand-forged, medieval appearance.  Hannah insisted on adding a basket-trap under the grill and she verified there was a cleanout in the nearest plumbing space.  When the oubliette was finished and the floor dressed with straw, they'd be able to deal with any clogs in the drain.

The first course of blocks was set in a bed of mortar, flush against the shaft wall.  Subsequent courses relied on the keyways molded into each block, as well as periodic globs of builder's adhesive and steel anchors bolted into the side of the shaft.  The required holes were drilled with a large hammer-drill.

As work progressed, heavy iron eye-bolts were driven into each of the four walls.  They awaited the attachment of chains at the floor, four-foot, and eight-foot levels.  Once overtaken by the ever-climbing shell of concrete blocks, only their terminal rings were visible.

Hannah was the site manager, of course, and for the most part she worked in boots, kilt, and bra-top.  The others wore thrall or peasant costumes suitable for labor, and all wore heavy work-gloves.  Their medieval appearance was more from habit than for any real reason.  Modern electrical cords, work lights, power tools, and scaffolding were necessary "evils" to expedite progress.  There was no way one could mistake the area for an "authentic" medieval building site—but this was moot, as no guests were allowed within sight or sound of the torture chamber level while work was in progress.

Course after course, the work progressed, slowed only by the periodic requirement to extend the scaffolding, or when Hannah's helpers were called away to entertain guests or perform other tasks.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
The day dawned which marked the one quarter point on Hannah's project chart, and the Resident Artisan arrived at breakfast to find Jillian and Sydney already present.

Her Ladyship was in one of her velvet gowns, rather than work clothes.  She had a backlog of B&B paperwork, telephoning, and other business awaiting her attention and would be unavailable for the laying of blocks.  Sydney, on the other hand, was dressed in medieval work boots, tights, and a linen jerkin.  Workgloves were tucked in her leather belt. 

"Good morrow, M'ladies," Hannah said with a bow.

"Good morrow, Master Artisan," Jillian responded.

Sydney mumbled a greeting as she poured Hannah a mug of coffee.

"The Scholar got off as planned," Hannah announced.  Constance had a series of meetings with her agent and publisher and would be gone for the next three days.  Hannah had waved as she departed in the pre-dawn gloom in her blue-gray Prius.

"Up at the crack of dawn and on her way to San Francisco," Jillian confirmed.  "Since there are no guests, I let her change into her going-into-town clothes in her room, rather than waste time in the Mews."

"Connie's really cute in a business suit and heels," Hannah chuckled.

Sydney rolled her eyes and said nothing.

"No sign of the Twins?" Hannah inquired.  Alice and Cricket usually beat Hannah to the Common Room in the morning.

"Indulging in an early boink, no doubt," Sydney purred, and Hannah laughed.

"Be nice," Jillian scolded, but a tolerant smile curled her lips.

The door to the kitchen opened and Kayley entered, burdened by a large tray of covered dishes.  "Don't everyone rush to help at once," she huffed.

Hannah and Sydney scrambled to their feet.  Sydney headed for the kitchen and Hannah took the tray from the cook.

"Sorry, Kay-bear," Hannah chuckled.

Kayley pulled out a chair, collapsed in an exaggerated, exhausted sprawl, and glared at Jillian.  "You freed my thrall and sent her off on holiday to 'Frisco," she accused, "leaving me to do all the work."

"Oh, you poor thing," Jillian drawled, shaking her head.  It was clear that Kayley was teasing.

Sydney returned with a second tray.  Covers were removed, revealing scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, and stacks of pancakes.

"Yum!" Hannah said, leaned over and kissed Kayley's cheek.  "Good morrow, Mistress Cook."

"And a good morrow to you," Kayley responded, then grabbed one of Hannah's braids and returned the kiss in her usual enthusiastic manner.  "Where are Alice and Cricket?" she asked as Hannah took her seat.

"Boinking," Hannah and Sydney answered in unison.

"Possibly," Jillian chuckled.  "I'm sure they'll come through the door at any second."

They all glanced at the door in question... but the lovers failed to appear.

"Well..." Kayley huffed, as they loaded their plates, "I hope they like cold eggs, 'cause I'm not cooking any more and I'm not throwing anything away."

"Whatever they're doing," Sydney said, "I hope it's worth it."
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
Hannah and Sydney filled an hour double-checking the plans, verifying that the proper mix of blocks was staged for the day's work, etc.  Eventually, they had no excuse but to either start work without the Bobbsey Twins, or to go looking for them.

"Hell no!" Sydney growled, when Hannah suggested they start the next course.  "I'm sick and tired of that lazy pair getting away with this kind of stuff."

"Cricket isn't so bad," Hannah objected.

"She goes along with every wild-ass excuse for an idea that pops into Alice's tiny little mind," Sydney responded.  "Being cute is no excuse."

Hannah smiled.  "It works for you," she purred, and kissed Sydney's lips.

Sydney blushed.  "Stop it, you flirt," she muttered.  "There's no one watching, so we don't have to pretend."

Hannah pulled her into a tight embrace and kissed her again.  "Practice makes perfect."

"Flirt," Sydney reiterated, then initiated a third kiss—and this time it was very much a full-force, lip-slurping, tongue-wrapping humdinger, worthy of Kay-bear.

Several seconds later... the kiss ended and the blonde and redhead pulled apart.

"Enough practice," Sydney huffed.

"For now," Hannah agreed.  "Let's go corral some help."
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
High Crimes & Seditious Acts!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~{ & }~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hannah and Sydney made their way to the Residents' Wing and Hannah knocked on Alice and Cricket's door.  They waited several seconds... then Hannah knocked again.

"Enough," Sydney growled, and tried to open the door.  "Locked.  Use your pass key."

"Should I?" Hannah pondered.

"Use it or give it to me," Sydney responded, holding out her hand.

"Okay, okay," Hannah chuckled, pulled her key ring from her belt, and inserted the appropriate key in the lock.  "Coming in!" she warned, and opened the door.

Hannah and Sydney stared at the tableau revealed... then broke into gales of laughter.

"I knew it!" Sydney crowed as she stomped into the bedroom.

Hannah was right behind her.

Cricket was spreadeagled on the bed, naked and on her back.  Heavy iron manacles and shackles, padded on the inside with bands of fleece, were locked around her wrists and ankles.  Chains stretched from the tight cuffs to the bedposts, enforcing a taut stretch.  Her head was caged with a tight harness-gag, but one with a curved, glistening, black leather phallus jutting from the mouthpiece.

Alice, also naked, in chains, and on the bed, was
on her knees between Cricket's splayed legs.  An iron collar was locked around the little redhead's throat, with a long chain attached and linked to a ring hammered in the ceiling joist directly over the bed.  The chain was long enough to give her full rein of the bed (including Cricket's body) and a few feet to either side, but it was nowhere near long enough for her to reach the door.  Her ankles were in padded shackles separated by a half-dozen iron links.  Her wrists were behind her back, locked in padded manacles which were also separated by only a few links.  A few feet of chain linked the wrist and ankle chains and the back of her collar, enforcing a very loose hogtie.  Like Cricket, she wore a harness/dildo gag.

Both captives were a sorry sight.  Where free of her gag harness, Cricket's brown mop was a tousled, damp mess.  Alice's long red curls hung in a tangled mass down her back and over her shoulders, with a number of strands plastered to her flushed, sweaty face.

Hannah frowned.  "Who―?"

"Ah!" Sydney interrupted, and pointed to a key dangling from a thin chain hanging over the foot of the bed.  A wooden bowl with a quarter-inch of water was on the floor directly under the key.  The chain looked like it was probably long enough to reach the floor; but it was trapped in a snarl of tangled links up near the ceiling.  A simple shake would free the chain and let the key drop; but restricted by her chains, Alice was in no position to deliver such a shake.  "Self-bondage," Sydney explained.  "Freeze the chain in a big ice cube, make chained whoopie 'til the ice melts and the key drops into reach, then unlock your chains."  She smiled at Hannah.  "What could possibly go wrong?"

Hannah grinned.  "Hmm... the chain could get all tangled up?"

Sydney grinned back.  "It might only happen something like one-in-a-hundred times, but if it does..."

They turned and smiled at the helpless captives.  Alice gazed back with a pathetic, gagged pout; and Cricket's doe eyes were piteously sad.

"Writhing on the bed all night," Sydney chuckled, shaking her head.  "No doubt using those gags to run through the entire Bobbsey Twin Kama Sutra."

"I wonder how long it took them to notice their timer had failed?" Hannah chuckled.

"Who knows?" Sydney shrugged.  "Anyway... busted!"

"Green calendar page, green lantern, and green flag," Hannah noted.

"No bondage allowed," Sydney nodded, "self, or otherwise."

Hannah looked up at the snarled chain.  "You know, if you replaced that thing with a dozen lengths of stiff wire, linked end-to-end with single rings, you could fold the whole thing into a bundle, stick one end in whatever you're using to hold the water to make the ice cube, and I don't think this would ever happen."

"Very good, thrall," Sydney said with a respectful nod.  "Noted for future reference, but they're still busted."

Hannah sighed.  "Uh... should we tell Jillian, or should we just let them go?"

Sydney snorted in disgust.  "Well... I don't like being a rat―"

"Ahem!" a familiar voice sounded from the direction of the door.

"―but this is a gross violation of Her Ladyship's rules," Sydney continued, earnestly, and without looking back.

"I agree completely," Hannah said, with exaggerated sincerity.  "We have no choice but to tell our kind and benevolent Mistress."

"Not to mention beautiful," Sydney added.

"Oh, stunningly beautiful," Hannah agreed.

Hannah and Sydney exchanged a wink, then turned to face the doorway.

"Oh, hello, Mistress," Hannah said, and executed a deep, servile bow.

Sydney bowed as well, then pointed at the bed.  "Look, Your Wonderfulness!  Wicked miscreants!"

Jillian was standing in the threshold (of course), a sad frown on her freckled face.  "Oh, Alice," she sighed, and strode onto the room, stopping between Hannah and Sydney.  She gazed at the helpless captives for several seconds, then sighed.  "One hour," she intoned.  "The Common Room.  Court baron."  She spun on her heel in a flurry of swishing green velvet, and stomped from the room.

Hannah frowned.  "Huh?"

"Manorial court," Sydney explained.  "Like I said..."  She indicated the captives with a sweeping gesture.  "Busted!"

Hannah was still confused.  "'Court baron'?  I thought you were the baron around here."

Sydney shrugged.  "Her Ladyship holds the actual pretend title, but I fill the 'Baroness' role in the scholar's scenarios."  She grinned.  "Miss Know-it-all said my title should be nothing, or maybe 'The Honorable Sydney of Foxwood'; but that sounded stupid, so I dragged her down to the dungeons and tortured her 'til she saw the light."

Hannah rolled her eyes.  "Sure you did."  She nodded at the naked captives.  "Let's get them ready.  They probably need to visit the Little Miscreants' Room, like, right now."

The "miscreants" in question mewled and nodded in vigorous, gagged agreement.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 10
One hour later, as ordered, court baron convened in the Common Room.

Jillian was in a throne-like chair on the center of the stage.  She was wearing the same emerald gown, but had added a white silk veil and her badges of feudal office: a light, rust-red cape trimmed with white fake-fur draped over her shoulders, and a wide golden circlet gracing her brow.

Kayley stood at her side.  She had changed into a gown of indigo velvet with long, drooping sleeves.  A white silk veil, narrow silver circlet, and heavy gold seneschal's chain completed her court costume.  An oak staff was in her right hand.

Hannah and Sydney were still wearing their work outfits, but both had added rust-red tabards emblazoned with the Foxwood fox.  Hannah had a hand ax tucked in her belt, and a sheathed broadsword rode Sydney's left hip.

Side-by-side, naked, bound, and gagged, Alice and Cricket stood before the Mistress of the Keep.  Hannah's hand was on Alice's shoulder, and Sydney had charge of Cricket.  No effort had been made to clean the prisoners or dress their tangled hair; but their bondage had been changed.  Shackles separated by a foot of heavy chain were locked around their ankles.  Their arms were folded behind their backs and faux-hemp rope bound their arms, shoulders, and torsos in tight, elaborate box-ties.  Large rags were stuffed in their mouths and held in place by tight cleave-gags.

Kayley lifted her staff and brought the butt down with a loud crash.  "Oyez, oyez, oyez!" she intoned.  "Draw nigh, those summoned and required to appear before the Right Honorable The Lady Foxwood, Magister Temporal."

Sydney forced Cricket to her knees, and Hannah quickly did the same with Alice.

Jillian stared at the kneeling captives for several seconds, then heaved a sad, world-weary sigh.  "Alice Foxwood and Cricket Clarke, I sentence you to―"

"Wait!" Hannah interrupted.  "I thought this was a trial?"

"Are you channeling the Scholar?" Sydney muttered.  "She's usually the one who gets all fastidious about this stuff."

"This has nothing to do with judicial correctness," Kayley laughed.  "Her Ladyship, the Cruel Tyrant," she said, nodding at the throne, "has things to do, and so do I."

Hannah was amused but unmoved.  "In all fairness..." she muttered.

"Oh, very well," Jillian sighed, with a tolerant smile.  "Remove the prisoners' gags."

Sydney favored her fellow man-at-arms with a very dirty look as she began untying Cricket's gag.  "If The Princess Brat gets off because of this..." she growled.

"Don't be silly," Kayley chuckled.  "Her Ladyship isn't going to go to all this trouble without somebody getting cruel and unusual punishment."

"Ahem!" Jillian cleared her throat, struggling to suppress a smile.  "Maintain the gravity of the moment, or I'll hire new minions and put you all in chains."

Hannah untied Alice's gag and pulled the wadding from her mouth.

"This is unfair!" Alice complained immediately, frowning at Jillian.  "We didn't―"

"You didn't violate the green banner?" Jillian inquired.  "You didn't openly flaunt one of my most important rules?"

"Not openly," Alice objected.  "The bedroom door was locked, and..."  Her voice trailed off in the face of Her Ladyship's disapproving expression.

 "You didn't indulge in unsafe self-bondage?" Jillian added.

"The chain has never tangled like that before," Alice sighed.

"Oh, well, never mind then," Jillian said, with a dismissive wave.

Alice's eyes widened in surprise.  "Really?"

"No," Jillian glared, "not really."  She focused on Cricket.  "What do you have to say for yourself, Wen Elf?"

Hannah frowned and turned to Sydney.  "Wen Elf?" she whispered.

"Later," Sydney whispered back.

"Mercy!" Cricket pleaded.  "Mercy, Great Lady!"

"I know you know better than this," Jillian said with a sad frown.

"I..."  Cricket sighed.  "We didn't mean any harm."

Jillian shook her head.  "Are you familiar with the term 'topping from the bottom'?" she asked.

Cricket frowned.  "How does that apply?  I didn't

"No, you didn't," Jillian interrupted.  "That's the problem.  I expect you to be the responsible adult in these situations, as I don't seem to be able to rely on Alice to control herself."

"Jillian!" Alice complained.

Jillian ignored her young cousin.  Her eyes remained on Cricket.  "I indulge you two far too much, but that's changing, beginning right now.   The next time your mistress tries something like this, remember your other mistress, and don't let it happen."

"Yes, Mistress," Cricket mumbled.

"Wait!" Alice wailed.  "It's my fault.  I had her chained to the bed before she could

Jillian shook her head.  "Don't even try."  She shifted her gaze to Hannah.  "Master Artisan, there's good reason for the edict of the green banner.  It's impossible to be precise, but my best guess is that a quarter to a third of our regular guests would be very put off if they stumbled upon an open display of 'special' activity.  That's easily the difference between this business turning a profit and going under.  Also, while it hasn't happened since your arrival, we do book families with children."

"And there are entire herds of ankle-biters and young slackers running around the Keep during Yule Festival," Kayley added.

"I understand," Hannah nodded.

Jillian focused back on the kneeling captives.  "And so should they.  Foxwood's reputation is its most important asset, and I won't have it damaged by this kind of thoughtless, unnecessary indulgence."

"But there's nobody here!" Alice objected.

"Nobody but us hedonistic morons," Sydney muttered under her breath.

"And if we had a last minute booking?" Jillian responded, "or a surprise visitor?  What would I do, run up the green banner twice?"

Alice opened her mouth to answer... then sighed in defeat.

Jillian shifted her gaze to her "men-at-arms" and passed her hand over her mouth.

Alice and Cricket offered no resistance as their gags were restored.

"Whipping," Sydney said to Hannah as she tightened Cricket's gag.  "My money's on whipping."

"What's wrong with a good racking?" Kayley inquired.

"Nothing," Sydney answered, "but nothing compares to the slap of the cat against taut, sweaty skin... or bastinado!  I love el bastinado!"  She smiled at Hannah.  "I do this version I call 'el bastinado con pluma', where I veeery lightly tap the feet with a switch 'til they're nice and sensitive, then tickle them with a feather.  I'll show it to you sometime."

"Or not," Hannah muttered.

"Enough," Jillian chuckled, then
reasserted her judicial frown and focused on the prisoners.  "Alice Foxwood and Cricket Clarke, for willful disregard of the edicts of your Sovereign Lady, I sentence you to thralldom, for a period not to exceed that time required to complete, entire, the building of the oubliette; plus a term of one month.  You are in the charge of my Master Artisan and my Master Cook, and shall perform all tasks and duties required, on pain of chastisement."

Jillian focused on Hannah.  "Share their labor.  The oubliette is to be completed with all deliberate speed."  She shifted her gaze to Kayley.  "But I expect the normal operation of the Keep to continue, unabated."

She smiled at Sydney.  "Lock the prisoners in belts of chastity, and give the keys to my seneschal.  They are to be immured in the Stone Tower... separate cells in the Stone Tower."

Alice forced a piteous whine past her gag, but was ignored.

"The belts are not to be removed for five days and five nights," Jillian continued, "except for purposes of sanitation.  After that, the belts may be removed at night, but only if they are diligent in their labor."  She nodded at Hannah and Kayley.  "Also, after five days, they may be immured together, but again, only if they are hardworking and true."

"Can I whip them a little, please?" Sydney begged.  "Just to stay in practice?"

Jillian smiled at her sister.  "Don't be cute," she muttered.  "I declare today a day of rest and reflection.  Only necessary work shall be performed."  She focused back on Alice and Cricket like a laser beam.  "I take my 'special' rules very seriously.  I trust that is finally beginning to sink in?"

Cricket sighed, nodded, and dropped her gaze to the floor.  There was a pause... and Alice did the same.

Jillian rose from her chair.  "A lesson for you all," she intoned, then strode from the stage and left the Common Room.

"I'd say 'all rise', or something," Kayley chuckled, "but we're already standing... except for the new thralls."

"A five-day nookie famine," Sydney laughed.  "That is cruel and unusual."  She took a handful of each prisoner's hair and hauled them to their feet.

Both made gagged complaints.  Hannah could see that Alice was not happy.  Also, The Cricket wasn't her usual bubbly self.  The little brown-haired pixie was much more subdued than she'd been under similar circumstances in the past.  However, neither of the "new thralls" appeared to be actually devastated by Her Ladyship's verdict.

"I'll handle the collars and belts," Sydney told Hannah.  "I'll also handle getting them 'immured' in the Princess Suites.  If they cooperate, I might even untie their arms before locking them in for the night."  She favored her fellow man-at-arms with a broad smile.  "Enjoy your day off," she suggested.  "Take a run."

Before Hannah could answer, Sydney started dragging the prisoners towards the door to the main Keep.  "Uh... okay," she said with a weak smile, then turned to Kayley.  "She certainly enjoys her work, doesn't she?"

Kayley laughed as she removed her circlet and veil and shook out her hair.  "Don't worry, " she said.  "Like everything else that happens around here, it's only half real.  Alice and The Cricket are going to have to forgo the usual boinking for the next five days, and we will be putting them to work, but it's no more than that."

"More medieval melodrama," Hannah muttered.

"Exactly," Kayley agreed.  "Ever run the trail to Rattlesnake Creek?"

Hannah shook her head.  Her eyes were on Sydney and the captives as they disappeared through the door.

"Beautiful little waterfall," Kayley continued.  "Three-point-four miles, one way, with some good hill work.  We can run down and hike back.  I'll pack a light lunch in a couple of haversacks and meet you at the North Trailhead in one hour.  I've gotta change out of this stupid gown and sort out the rest of the day's meals."  She stepped off the stage, kissed Hannah's cheek, then headed for the Residents' Wing.

Hannah watched the cook depart, then headed for the Armory to put away her ax.

"I swear," Hannah muttered under her breath, "this place is a madhouse.  I love it!"

Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
Chapter 10

Chapter 9
Chapter 11