FOXWOOD--Bed & Breakfast

_by Van © 2008

Chapter 12

To see the actresses I would cast in HHH:THE MOTION PICTURE,

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Completion of the oubliette required another month.  In truth, it wasn't the end of the project, but a stopping point they designated as "Oubliette 1.0".  The lower cell was complete, as was the wooden floor of the entrance level.  Also, the elevator shaft walls had been clad with blocks for an additional nine feet and a temporary ceiling of heavy planks installed to hide the unfinished remainder.  Eventually, the entire shaft would be clad and a decision would be made about the addition of either a "medieval" elevator, or a telescoping set of stairs, to provide access to the chamber below.  In any case, all agreed that this was a good stopping point.

The "temporary" solution to the access problem was a heavy joist with an attached pulley.  It was installed over the four-foot square trapdoor in the floor of the entrance chamber, and a rope with a hook ran from the pulley to a wooden windlass with a large, barrel-like drum.
  Helpless damsels, as well as those "intimidated" into cooperation, could be bundled in a net and then slowly, safely lowered into the oubliette.  One side of the net would then be released by pulling a long cord attached to the quick-release hook.  Then, the rope, cord, and net would be reeled up through the trapdoor.  The rope, windlass, and hook would also be used to lower food and water buckets and to retrieve and replace honey-buckets.  Alternatively, for fully cooperative damsels, their jailers, and any villainesses who wanted to enjoy an up-close and personal gloating session, a rope ladder could be lowered.

In addition to the trapdoor entrance, there was a second, somewhat smaller hatch in the entrance chamber floor.  It was set close to one wall, well away from the dungeon door and the windlass, and was covered by a permanent grid of heavy iron bars.  Dangling overhead was an unusual "Elven" lighting fixture.  Its two-foot globe was of smoky, bubbled glass, and the countless LEDs inside effectively mimicked the flames of a vigorous fire.  Looking up from inside the oubliette, the result was a reddish-orange shaft of flickering, wavering luminescence that cast a dramatic grid of shadow and light on the floor.  The light hatch had a solid wooden cover, of course, leaving the option of plunging the oubliette and any occupants into Stygian darkness.

Chains were attached to a few of the eye bolts set in the oubliette walls, the floor was dressed with straw, and Hannah and her convict workforce were now making their final inspection.

"There's no 'new dungeon smell'," Cricket noted, as she kicked a clump of straw against one corner.

Hannah smiled.  "The only thing we used that has any real odor is builder's adhesive, and it cures in minutes.  We only used a little, anyway."

Alice was standing directly under the light hatch and gazing up at the tiny opening, far overhead.  "This place is horrible," she sighed, then grinned at her fellow workers.  "We did a good job."

Hannah gazed at the diminutive redhead with affection.  Clothed only in boots, gloves, and a ragged, faux-burlap tunic that was little more than a crude, sleeveless shirt... her iron thrall's collar locked around her throat and her chastity belt locked around her waist and through her loins... her copper-red curls hanging in a tousled mass and her fair, freckled skin soiled from hard labor... the little pixie was an incredibly erotic sight.  Hannah heard a sigh from Cricket's direction and turned to find the little brunette gazing at her lover with an appreciative smile.

"Gloves," Cricket said, as she removed her own.  Alice removed her work gloves and tossed them to Cricket,  The little brunette tossed both pair to Hannah, then joined her partner under the light.  They embraced, then turned to face Hannah.  "Piteous pose number three?" Cricket suggested in a stage whisper.

"Agreed," Alice whispered back.  "Full intensity."

The pair affected seriously sad expressions, maintained their embrace with one arm, and reached towards the light with their free arms.

"Mercy!" Cricket whined.

"Oh, M'Lady, please don't leave us in this horrible place!" Alice added, addressing a theoretical gloating villainess gazing down through the entrance hatch.

"Fate is so cruel," Cricket noted, covering her eyes with the back of her free hand.

"Whoever will save us?" Alice inquired of an uncaring universe.

The mischievous pair dropped their arms, turned to Hannah, and heaved deep, simultaneous sighs of heartbreaking despair.

Hannah chuckled and applauded.  The pair of "actors" acknowledged the compliment with deep bows.  Hannah tossed them back their gloves, then started up the rope ladder.  "I'm going to inform Her Ladyship," she announced.  "Meanwhile, I believe there are thirty or forty leftover blocks that need to be moved down to behind the Mews, and the last of the pallets need to be re-stacked for return.  Then, the upper level needs sweeping, especially in the cell where we staged the blocks."  Alice and Cricket sighed, again.  "Drama queens," Hannah chided, as she continued to climb.  "Like I've told you a thousand times, cleanup—"

"Cleanup is part of the job," Cricket interrupted.

"A clean work site, every day," Alice added.

"Clutter and dirt make for accidents," Cricket sighed.

"Sit up straight and eat your vegetables," Alice whined.

"No, that one's Kay-bear," Cricket noted.

"So it is," Alice agreed.  "I stand corrected."

"But not very tall," Hannah laughed, as she clambered through the hatch.

"Hey!  No shortness jokes!" Alice shouted.

"Sorry," Hannah chuckled, and headed for the chamber door.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 12
Jillian was in her bedroom/office, writing in her journal.  Hannah paused in the threshold, poised to knock on the open door.  Her Ladyship was dressed in another of her seemingly endless collection of medieval gowns with long, drooping sleeves and generous décolletage.  This one was a dark, mossy shade of green, with blue-green embroidered trim.  Her long, red curls were loosely plaited with a blue-green ribbon in a French braid, and shone like burnished copper in the afternoon light.  A thrill shivered through Hannah's body.  Her boss (and Mistress) was an incredible sight, the living image of one of those turn-of-the-last-century English paintings of a medieval damsel.

"What have I told you about staring?" Jillian inquired, without looking up from the page.

"Nothing," Hannah responded.  "I think you like it when I leer at you."

Jillian laughed, set down her pen and smiled at her Master Artisan.  "Flirt," she accused.  "What can I do for you?"

Hannah bowed.  "The oubliette is finished, M'Lady," she intoned.  "The Twins are completing the cleanup as we speak."

"Excellent."  Jillian closed her journal and stood.  "Kayley tells me the miscreants have been working hard, with respect to their kitchen, laundry, and maid duties.  What is your final assessment of their performance?"

"My father taught me never to get overly enthusiastic with praise," Hannah responded.  "Competence and hard work are expected of everybody on a job site, and if you tell people they're good, they start asking for raises."

Jillian smiled.  "And yet, his people knew when he was proud of them, correct?"

Hannah nodded.  " Alice and Cricket have earned my father's ultimate compliment.  I'd hire them again, for the next job."

Jillian laughed, opened a desk drawer and pulled out a six-foot length of rope, then stepped forward and kissed Hannah's lips.  "I've decided to let them serve the final month of their sentences as normal thrall duty," she said, "as if it was simply their turn in the monthly rotation."

"Kayley gets two thrall-helpers at once?" Hannah inquired.  "No way she can complain about that."

"No," Jillian chuckled.  "They'll serve their months one at a time.  Alice will go first, since she's the top."

"I'm not so sure about that, anymore," Hannah said.  "I think that topping-from-the-bottom lecture you gave Cricket may have taken."

"One can only hope."  Jillian handed the rope to Hannah.  "Come with me," she said, and led the way down the hall to Constance's bedroom.  She knocked, then opened the door without waiting.

Constance was seated at her desk with her thighs tucked against her chest, her arms around her legs, and her dimpled chin resting on her knees.  She was dressed only in a linen chemise, as was her habit when writing in the privacy of her room, but her gown and robe were draped over her neatly made bed, ready to be donned when needed.  Her desk was unfolded, and the computer monitor and keyboard were in full sight.  "Sorry," she said, setting her bare feet on the floor and reaching out to close the desktop.  She then pushed her glasses up her nose and frowned.  "You could wait 'til I say the coast is clear," she admonished.

"Not a problem," Jillian laughed.  "Still blocked?"

Constance heaved a deep, bosom-heaving sigh.  "Yeah... can't make my mind up on how to structure the next part.  It'll pass."

"I know just what you need," Jillian purred, and turned to Hannah.  "Saxon, bind this outlaw."

"Huh?" Hannah and Constance responded, simultaneously.

"Meditation," Jillian whispered to Hannah, then fixed Constance with a stony stare.  "Did you think you could conspire with your friends in the Green Wood behind my back forever?"

"Oh, I get it," Hannah chuckled, and started forward.

"Goody!" Constance squealed.  She favored the Lady of the Keep with a happy smile
... then dropped into character.  "Your Ladyship!" she whined in complaint.  "Hannah!" she added, as the "Saxon man-at-arms" hauled her from the chair, forced her face down over her desk, and began binding her wrists behind her back.

"Hold still, you little traitor," Hannah said, then added an evil laugh worthy of Snidley Whiplash.

"Dial it back," Jillian chided.  "Let the situation set the tone."

"It can be a delicate balance, at times," Constance added.  "Ow!"

Hannah had cinched and tied the final knot.  "I didn't hurt you," she chuckled, as she hauled Constance to her feet.  "Buck up and take it like a damsel."

"If I lose my train of thought and this ruins my third novel," Constance pouted, "I'll never forgive either of you."

Jillian laughed.  "And if this gets your train off the siding and barreling down the track at full speed, I assume we'll both get a dedication?"  She focused on Hannah and put her hand over her mouth.

Constance sighed and stomped her left foot.  "Jilli—nrmf!"  Hannah had her in a tight hand-gag.

Jillian strolled to Constance's chest of drawers and opened them one-by-one, until she found her collection of scarves.  She selected a long, narrow, linen kerchief, and a smaller, soft linen square.  She folded the former into a narrow bandage, crumpled the latter into a loose wad, and strolled towards the wide-eyed Scholar and grinning Saxon.  Hannah released her hand-gag and Jillian stuffed the wad in Connie's mouth.  Then, Jillian thrust the center of the kerchief between the captive's teeth and handed off the ends to her Loyal Minion.  Hannah cinched the gag at the nape of the whining prisoner's neck, and tied a square knot.

Jillian lifted Constance's chin and smiled into her sad, tightly gagged face.  "I know the perfect place for you, rebellious subject," she purred, then lifted her gaze to Hannah.  Bring her," she ordered, spun on her heel in a swirl of green velvet, and headed for the door.

Hannah leaned close, kissed Constance's neck, then whispered in her ear.  "Squirm a little, if you want, but if you give me any real trouble..."  She lifted the diminutive brunette and hefted her over her left shoulder in a fireman's carry, then gave her butt cheeks a sharp smack.

Constance giggled and flutter-kicked her bare feet and legs.

"Connie," Jillian observed, "your piteous appeals and/or brave resistance would carry more weight if you weren't so obviously enjoying yourself."

Constance giggled through her gag, again, then shifted to Whining Moans of Despair and began kicking in a less openly playful manner.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 12
The oubliette, a short time later...

Constance was "comfortably" seated on a modest pile of straw with her back against the wall and her arms raised over her head.  Her wrists were locked in heavy manacles and her ankles in matching shackles.  The chain linking the manacles was attached to an eye bolt and the shackles to a similar bolt sunk in the floor.  The front closure of her chemise was gaping, nearly exposing her breasts, and its hem was hiked up, exposing the captive's legs to mid-thigh.  The gag was still stuffed in her mouth and cleaving her lips, and her glasses were still perched on her nose.  She gazed up at Jillian and Hannah, who were smiling down at her through the open trapdoor, nearly twenty feet overhead.

"In the morning," Jillian said to Hannah, in a loud voice, "we'll torture her until she tells us where to find her outlaw friends.  If she refuses, I want you to put her back down there... and wall up the entrance.  Close the door."

Hannah's last glimpse of Constance was her wide-eyed, upturned face as she tugged on her chains, kicked her feet, and forced a piteous, whining moan through her gag—then the trapdoor slammed shut.  She slid its heavy bolt home and secured the fist-sized padlock.  "You don't want me to close the light hatch, right?" she asked, quietly.  Constance probably wouldn't have been able to hear her if she had shouted, but she didn't want to take any chances.

Jillian shook her head, and replied in an equally subdued voice.  "I let her keep her glasses so she could soak in the full ambiance."

"And she needs light for that."

"Of course," Jillian chuckled.  "Who knows, she might even come up with some minor improvements."

"And you're not leaving her like that all night."

Jillian affected a hurt expression.  "Please, Hannah.  Give me some credit.  I want you to tell Kayley what's happened and would she please release the scholar before supper.  Will you do that for me?"  Hannah nodded.  "Good," Jillian smiled. "Now, I know you need to supervise your charges during the final cleanup."  She leaned forward and kissed Hannah's lips.  "Don't tell Cricket she's about to get a month's reprieve from her collar."

Hannah grinned.  "You want to be the one who gets to tell Alice she'll be continuing as Kayley's serving wench, while Cricket gets to prance around scot-free."

Jillian laughed, and kissed Hannah, again.  "Rank hath its privileges."

"So, did I earn another check on my qualification card?" Hannah inquired, nodding at the trapdoor.  "Perhaps under 'mindlessly follows the orders of her Mistress, no matter how arbitrary and cruel'?"

Jillian laughed, again.  "Something like that.  I've already checked off 'plays well with others', thanks to your sterling performance at Cody's, last month."

"Yeah, that was really demanding," Hannah huffed.  "It took everything I had to act like a helpless damsel, while naked, bound and gagged, and locked in a coffin-sized cage all afternoon."

Jillian smiled and kissed Hannah, a third time.  "You handled the unexpected quite well, Saxon Princess.  Would you like some coffee?  We can tell Kay-bear about the scholar's fate, together."

"Sounds good," Hannah answered.  "Uh... I think I figured it out," she continued.  "You're letting Connie inaugurate the oubliette 'cause she stuck to her guns during the naming controversy.  Am I right?"

Jillian nodded.  "Words do have meanings," she confirmed, evoking the scholar's main argument against designating the Stone Tower's patio foundations as the Keep's official oubliette.  "If she hadn't been so stubborn... and so correct... we wouldn't have such a perfect addition to our special accommodations.  And I'm sure we'll think of something to do with the foundations."  Jillian led the way out of the Oubliette Entrance Chamber, Hannah locked the door behind them, and they continued towards the Kitchen.  "Don't worry, Hannah," Jillian purred.  "You'll get your chance to languish in 'The Pit of Despair'.  After all, Connie was the one with the objection, but you came up with the solution."

"That's what I was afraid of," Hannah muttered.
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 12
That evening...

It was well after dark when Hannah entered her apartment in the Outer Mews.  She double-checked the alarm panel in the bedroom, as was her nightly habit, then began filling the wooden, Japanese-style tub in the bathroom.  While it filled, she stripped off her Thrall's costume and pulled back the covers of her bed.  Scarlet, the second novel of Stephen R. Lawhead's Robin Hood series, was waiting on the nightstand.  She had borrowed it from Constance's library, and was looking forward to starting the first chapter... after a long, relaxing soak.  She returned to the tub and settled into the hot, steaming water.

Hannah smiled as she remembered the scene at dinner.

The entire Foxwood family had been present.  Constance, in her gown and scholar's robe, was grinning like a fool (after her afternoon of "meditation" in the new oubliette).  Jillian and Sydney were resplendent in their usual gowns.  Kayley, when the meal was ready and she could join the table, had replaced her apron with a girdle-like "stomacher" with silk tassels that dressed up her peasant costume.  Hannah was still in her Sexy-Saxon costume, of course.  The Miscreant Twins, in their serving chains and chastity belts (and nothing else) served the food.

Midway through the meal, Jillian made a show of congratulating Hannah on the successful completion of the oubliette.  Then, she ordered Hannah to release Cricket from her chastity belt, chains, and collar, then made The Big Announcement... that for the next month, Cricket's freedom was restored, but that Princess Alice would continue to "suffer" in thralldom.

Kayley had a cute little linen dress ready for Cricket.  It was something like a sleeveless sun dress with a belting sash that cinched the waist, and it was a pleasing, deep shade of burgundy.  She dropped it over Cricket's raised arms and body, then cinched the sash and tied a bow at the small of her back.

The grinning little brunette turned in a graceful, hem-lifting pirouette, then executed a deep curtsy to Her Ladyship.  She then raced to Alice's side, and whispered in her ear.

It was clear to all present that the Princess was at least a little conflicted.  She was disappointed she wasn't also getting a temporary reprieve; but, she was very happy for Cricket.  Whatever her lover was whispering, it caused the little redhead to blush.

The diminutive pair kissed while the assembled diners applauded, then Cricket scampered to the table and took a seat.

Jillian then directed Hannah to remove Alice's chastity belt and chains (but not her collar) and ordered her cousin to go to the laundry and find the appropriate attire.  Alice bowed, pattered away, and returned dressed in the traditional Foxwood serving-thrall costume of faux-burlap tunic and rope belt.  She took a seat next to Cricket and joined the meal.

Sydney made the usual teasing complaints about her big sister's leniency, but Hannah could tell she was as pleased as the rest of the family that things were more or less back to "normal".

Eager to start the new novel, Hannah had declined all offers to join the others in the Roman Bath (for once), and had retired to the Mews... and now she was enjoying a long... relaxing... soak.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the apartment door, followed by a familiar voice.

"Hello?  Hannah?"

It was Cricket.  "In the bath!" Hannah replied.

Seconds later, Cricket appeared at the bathroom threshold—and Hannah's frown of mild irritation at being disturbed was replaced by an appreciative smile.

Cricket was dressed in a costume unlike anything Hannah had yet seen at Foxwood.

Her top was a sleeveless, midriff-baring, vest-like jerkin.  It left a vertical gap in the front, between her breasts, but was held closed by a criss-crossing thong.  The chamois leather tightly hugged Cricket's torso, and its unusual cut provided provocative glimpses of the tops and sides of her bulging breasts.  A corset-belt was cinched around her waist, serving as a sword belt for the sheathed, Katana-like blade riding her left hip.  However, the belt had a cut-out in the front that provided a clear view of the jeweled trinket dangling from her pierced navel.  A linen loincloth clad her loins and draped nearly to her dimpled knees.  Knee-boots hugged her legs, but from the ankle down they were like open sandals, exposing her toes.  Finally, her arms were covered to above the elbows by long, unattached linen sleeves that incorporated leather wrist-bracers.

All elements, leather and linen, were dyed in various earth tones; however, to Hannah's eye, all the colors were just a little... off.  The ensemble would serve as good forest camouflage, but the traditional woodland colors had been replaced by shades of spruce, willow, cinnabar, a sort of grayish-eggplant, and colors Hannah couldn't even give a name.

There was one additional detail that pulled everything together.  Cricket was wearing very realistic pointed attachments on her ears.  Even from across the bathroom, Hannah was impressed by the way the appliances matched the little pixie's skin tone and the natural translucency of her lobes.

"Just so I understand," Hannah purred, "are you an Elf, or a Vulcan?"

Cricket giggled.  "Have you noticed a lot of Star Fleet technology in the Keep?"

"Okay," Hannah chuckled, "you're an Elf... a very cute Elf."

"Thank you, Saxon," Cricket giggled, flashing her brightest dimpled smile.

"I was wondering exactly what Sydney was talking about when she said you like to play an 'Elf-maiden'," Hannah said.  "I always thought Elves are supposed to be tall, with long, straight hair, and big ol' sticks up their butts."

"Some people see them that way," Cricket laughed, "those who like to role-play Tolkeinesque High Elves.  But I'm more of the Wood Elf school.  We're less 'cultured' and a lot more... playful."

Hannah raised a skeptical eyebrow.  "I told everyone I didn't want to play, tonight."

Cricket's smile turned rather evil, and she drew her sword.

"Captured in the bath?" Hannah sighed.

"Get dried off and let's find some rope," Cricket suggested.

Hannah sighed, again, then pulled the knob that opened the drain.  The water had cooled and her fingers were getting pruney, anyway.  She then stood, placed her hands on her hips, and favored her "captor" with a disgusted frown.  "Remind me to say something to Jillian about working hours," she muttered, "and to put a bolt on that door."  She reached for a towel.  "You realize that if you weren't such a cute little Wood Elf, I'd clean your clock," she continued, "sword or no sword."

Cricket giggled, and flipped the sword in her hand.  The blade whistled as it spun, then snapped back into her grip.  "You think you're the only one around here who gets weapons training from Her Bitchiness the Sword Master?  Now... hurry up!"
--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 12
Naked, but for her collar, a pair of sandals, the rope binding her wrists behind her back, and the tight band of soft linen cleaving her mouth, Hannah followed her Wood Elf captor up the Forest Path.  It was a new moon, and Cricket was lighting their way with a small "Elven globe" affixed to the top of a wooden staff.  A coil of rope in her left hand trailed back to the front ring of Hannah's collar.

"Kinda cool tonight," Cricket noted.  "Wish I'd worn a cloak."

Very funny, Hannah thought, shivering as she walked.  It wasn't actually cold, but a rather stiff breeze was rattling the foliage, and she very much hoped the little she-Elf would maintain their current, business-like pace.  They came to the Forest Gate, and Hannah noted its swinging lantern was glowing amber.  It had been green when she'd retired for the evening.  So, my capture is legal, Hannah mused.  Good.  Wouldn't want Her Ladyship to decide I need punishment.

They continued up the path and climbed the hill, then paused as Foxwood came into view.

"I've always loved the Keep at night," Cricket sighed.  Foxwood's many LED "torches" flickered in realistic simulation of open flame, and several windows were alight with a warm, yellow glow.  "Wait 'til you see it with the Yule Festival fairy-lights we drape from the eaves."  She noted Hannah's erect nipples and the goose flesh covering her breasts, shoulders, arms, and thighs.  "Guess we better hurry," she purred, and led the way forward.

Hmm... I wonder if Jillian would let me tie up this little sadist and repeatedly dunk her in a barrel of ice water, Hannah pondered.

They entered through the Kitchen, where Kayley and Alice were waiting.

"Get the blanket," Kayley ordered, and Alice scampered towards the Laundry.  Meanwhile, Kayley rubbed Hannah's arms with her hands for several seconds, then pulled her into a welcoming, warm embrace.  "Poor Saxon," she cooed.

"Being a rampaging barbarian from Northern Germania, and all," Cricket said, "you'd think she'd be at home in the cold."

"Shut up and remove her sandals," Kayley huffed. Cricket did just that, and now Hannah was completely nude, but for her bonds and collar.  Alice returned with a folded blanket, which Kayley unfurled and draped over the shivering thrall's shoulders.  "There, nice and toasty," Kayley said as she tucked the folds together.

Hannah sighed.  Apparently, the blanket had just come from the dryer.  It was a little scratchy, but its "toasty" embrace was much better than waiting for the Keep's heating system to warm her skin.

Kayley took the free end of Hannah's rope leash and led her away, towards the Keep's interior.

"Kay-bear?" Alice asked.  "Can we come along and—"

"No," Kayley laughed, "like I've already told you.  Finish getting everything ready for breakfast, then you can hit the Bath, or the sack, or whatever; but don't let me catch you two snooping around the Stone Tower."

"Big meanie!" Alice muttered, and Cricket giggled—then Kayley and Hannah were through the door.

Kayley led her bound, gagged, and blanket-clad prisoner through the Common Room to the Stone Tower, then down the stairs to the Torture Chamber level.

Hannah couldn't decide whether to be flattered or miffed by all the "attention".  The idea that no one in the Keep could think of a way to fill a pleasant evening without doing something to the Resident Artisan was something of a compliment, but she had wanted to take an evening off and start the new book.  Oh well, you don't always get what you want... especially when you're tied up and gagged and being dragged to some 'horrific' fate by a gorgeous villainess.  Could be worse.  Could be not bound and gagged and being dragged to a 'horrific' fate by a gorgeous villainess.  Still, she'd wanted to start reading Scarlet.  The first novel, Hood, had been really good.

Kayley paused to unlock one of the dungeon doors.

A worried butterfly fluttered, ever so briefly, in Hannah's tummy.  The chamber beyond was home to the Keep's "Spanish Rack"!  She knew Kayley wouldn't really torture her on the thing, of course... would she?  A frisson of anticipation rippled through her sex, then the butterfly was back.  This had the feel of something... memorable.

Suddenly, Kayley slammed Hannah against the door and pressed her body close.

Hannah tugged on her wrist bonds and mewled through her gag, but could do nothing to prevent Kayley from nuzzling her neck and reaching under the blanket to maul her breasts.  She tried lifting a knee, to push her amorous "attacker" away, but Kayley placed a hand on her thigh, pushed her leg aside, and leaned even closer, pinning Hannah against the rough wood so tightly she could barely move.

"Stop that," Kayley whispered in Hannah's ear.  "Stop your struggling."

Hannah's eyes popped wide as Kayley's left hand continued kneading her right breast and her right hand slid between her legs and began caressing her labia.  "M'rmfh!"

"None of your moaning, either," Kayley chuckled, and began a slow, skillful massage of Hannah's sex.  "Just stand there, while I prime the pump."

This is so unfair, Hannah thought.  They think they can just tie me up whenever they want, and...  So unfair... So... good!

"Jillian's got a test for you," Kayley whispered.

Okay...  I can start the book tomorrow!  Wait!  What did she say... a test?  Hannah was getting close... very close.  "Mmff?"

Suddenly, Kayley stopped her "massage", jerked the blanket from Hannah's body, and took a step back.

Nostrils flaring and breasts heaving as she panted, Hannah glared at her captor in frustration.

Kayley gazed back, a rather sly smile curling her lips.  "I know I don't have to tell you this," Kayley purred, "but play nice, or Kay-bear will punish.  I'll be back in the morning."  She opened the door, thrust Hannah inside, then quickly pulled the door closed.

Hannah frowned at the back of the door as she heard the key turn in the lock.  What the hell was that about?  She turned to face the chamber—and her eyes popped wide in astonishment.

--- Tales of the Foxwood B&B: HHH Chapter 12
Foxwood's "Spanish Rack" wasn't a copy of any one historical device, and wasn't even especially "Spanish".  It combined different rack and wheel features of various designs in one well-crafted (to Hannah's artisan's eye) engine of unspeakable torture.

Its bed of rough timbers—actually, they were sanded and sealed and only looked rough—was about three-by-nine.  There was a set of heavy stocks at the foot, to secure the victim's feet, and at the other end, a windlass with a large drum to do the actual stretching.  The openings in the stocks were deep, well-padded with fleece, and designed to grip the ankles firmly, but without causing damage.  A pair of stout chains were wound around the drum of the windlass, and attached to each was a heavy leather suspension-cuff designed to grip the wrist and half the forearm.  Their interiors were also padded with fleece.

The rack could be tightened in two ways:

(1)  By directly turning the windlass, using the main handle or a side lever about the size and shape of an ax handle.  The main handle turned the drum, and the lever provided the mechanical advantage required for "fine adjustments", to tighten the chains one link at a time.  A heavy ratchet and pawl mechanism maintained the tension and provided the satisfying clicks and clanks so necessary for a fully functional rack.

(2)  Automatically, by means of a system of chains and counterweights governed by a water clock.  If this mechanism was engaged, a reservoir would slooowly empty into a large, suspended bucket—drop... by echoing drop... by echoing drop—and every hundred or so drops, the mechanism would click, a weight would fall about an inch, and the windlass would tighten by one chain link.

The rack was a theatrical horror; but, like all the "torture devices" at Foxwood, it was perfectly safe.  There was a spring release built into the windlass that would cause the ratchet and pawl to slip when it reached a certain tension, well before any damage could be done to the rack's "victim".  There were also locking pins that could be set to limit the turn of the drum.  As a prop for Damsel-in-Distress Melodramas, the device was an absolute triumph, but it was not dangerous.

The sight of the rack was not the cause of Hannah's surprise.  She'd seen it before.  In fact, she'd conducted inspection and maintenance on the "horrible" thing, oiling the chains, bearings, and gears, and verifying the function of the safetys.  No, it was the occupant of the rack that had caused her eyebrows to raise—and that occupant was—Sydney Foxwood!!

The Evil Baroness was naked as the day she was born, and was spreadeagled on her back.  Her ankles were in the stocks, of course, and her wrists in the cuffs, and she was gagged with a bit-gag that was more-or-less a thick leather sausage secured by a leather strap.  In a departure from the norm, the unforgiving, hard surface of the rack was cushioned by a thick pallet of faux-burlap filled with straw ticking; however, in her tautly stretched condition, Sydney could hardly be comfortable, and she certainly wasn't happy.  Her copper-red mane was a tousled (sexy) mess, her freckled body was shining with sweat, and her blue-green eyes flashed with anger.

Hannah's surprise turned to amusement... then to leering appreciation.  She strolled to the rack and gazed down at her "pretend girlfriend".  This was the first time she'd seen Sydney either restrained or gagged.  She'd seen her naked countless times, of course, in the Bath or by the pond (and had done a lot more than look), but Sydney had always been the Sexy Villainess... never the Helpless Damsel.  Her skin was firm and smooth, and her muscles well-defined by the taut stretch.  Her breasts were flattened, but her nipples were flushed and hard.

"R'rrfh!"  Sydney shook her head, trying to free the strands of hair plastered to her grimacing face.  She heaved a piteous sigh, while clenching and unclenching the fingers of her tightly cuffed hands, then redoubled her angry, gagged scowl.

Hannah took several steps back, then knelt on the hard flags.

Sydney lifted her head and watched, as best she could, as Hannah wiggled and worked her bound wrists past her hips and butt, lay back, tucked her legs and lifted them through her arms, then stood.  Her hands now in front, Hannah pulled the gag from her mouth, locked eyes with the prisoner on the rack, then attacked the ropes binding her wrists with her lips and teeth.  The knot surrendered, she pulled her hands free, and tossed the rope away.  She then untied the gag-cloth and discarded it, as well.  Nude, but for her thrall's collar, Hannah strolled back to the rack, and smiled down at its helpless prisoner.

"My, my," she purred. "What a pleasant surprise."  She went to the head of the rack and inspected the mechanism.  A pin had been inserted and locked in a position than prevented the windlass from exceeding the current state of tension.  A second pin was locked at a setting that would allow the windlass to be slackened, but only by about a dozen links of chain.  Hannah had already noted that the stocks and cuffs were also locked.  So, without a key, and there was none in sight, Hannah could relax Sydney's position, but she could not set her free.

Hannah returned to the side of the rack and leaned close, turned Sydney's head to the side, and lifted her hair.  There was no lock on the gag's strap.  She released the buckle, then pulled the thick, padded bit from the prisoner's mouth.

"Get me off this thing!" Sydney growled.

"Sorry, Mistress," Hannah responded, stressing the redhead's suddenly ironic title, "but I'm afraid everything is locked."

"Just you wait!" Sydney ranted.  "When I do get free I'm going to—Mrrf!"

Smiling sweetly, Hannah had her hand tightly pressed against Sydney's mouth.  She dangled the bit-gag from her other hand, before the captive's glowering eyes.  "Let's keep a civil tongue in our heads, shall we?  Otherwise..."  She gave the gag a buckle-rattling shake, then removed her hand-gag.  Sydney continued to glare, as Hannah gently pulled the loose strands of hair away from her face, but she didn't speak.  "Good," Hannah purred.  "Now, tell me what happened."

"Kayley happened," Sydney muttered, "with an assist from Alice, Cricket, and Connie.  I was captured in the Bath—"

"A lot of that going around," Hannah interrupted, then cleared her throat.  "Ahem.  Sorry, pray continue."

"Anyway," Sydney muttered, "they had me tied up and gagged before I knew what was happening, then Jillie told me I'd been 'volunteered' to help you with your topping exam."

"Topping?"  Hannah's smile broadened,  "Oh, I get it!  I'm the one in charge, for a change.  I assume Her Ladyship wants to see whether I'll lose control and do unspeakable things to any helpless victim that happens to be in my power.  And since you're only her little sister, you're expendable."

"Very funny," Sydney huffed, then lifted her chin and gazed at the windlass mechanism.  "Kayley really locked me in like this?  What a bitch!"

Hannah smiled.  "Not a total bitch."  She returned to the head of the rack, released the pawl, and turned the main handle until the drum was stopped by the second pin.

Sydney sighed as her chains slackened.  She was still spreadeagled, but not nearly as tightly stretched.  "That's better.  Hey!"

Hannah had returned, and was running her hand over Sydney's stomach.  "You're all sweaty," she observed.

"You know Jillian likes to keep the heat cranked up down here," Sydney huffed.

"Yes..." Hannah's hand was still in motion.  "Better that a languishing damsel be too hot... than she catch a cold."

"Stop that!" Sydney ordered.  "Ahh—stop!"

Hannah's hand was now sliding between Sydney's inner thighs.  "I'm supposed to be the one on top, remember?  Now, quit complaining, or the gag goes back in."

"Just you wait," Sydney warned.  "Ahh!"

Now Hannah was delicately brushing the side of her palm against Sydney's labia.  "What do you suppose is the real reason Jillian chose you to be my 'training aid' for this test?" she inquired.  "Any of the others would have served just as well, and all but Kay-bear would have volunteered... would have really volunteered, I mean."

"Ahh!"  Sydney was trying her best to ignore what Hannah's hand was doing to her, but with limited success.  "Don't underestimate Kayley's bottom half, so to speak.  Arrr—please, Hannah!"

"I think Her Ladyship did it as a favor to me," Hannah said, "'cause you're my girlfriend."  Her hand continued its slow, gliding pressure.

"Pretend girlfriend," Sydney gasped.  "Stop!"

"I think we can dispense with that game," Hannah chuckled.  "You really are my girlfriend, admit it."

"Just you wait—eeeyah!  Bitch!"

Hannah made a final, teasing, tickling pass across her "victim's" now flushed sex, then took a step back and folded her arms across her chest.  "You are a stubborn one, aren't you?"  She strolled to the windlass and gave the side lever a pull.  The rack tightened one chain link with a loud click.  "Do it.  Admit I'm your girlfriend."

"Double bitch!" Sydney growled.  "It'll be a cold day in hell—"  {Click!}  "—before I—"  {Click!}  "—admit—"  {Click-click!}  "—before I—"  {Click-click-click!}  "Okay, okay, I'm your girlfriend!"

"I knew you'd come around," Hannah chuckled as she released the pawl and spun back the windlass.

Sydney sighed as her chains slackened, again, then lifted her head and scowled at Hannah as she returned to the side of the rack.  "My triple-bitch girlfriend, that is."

"I can live with that," Hannah laughed, then climbed up onto the bed of the rack, lifted a leg over Sydney's body, and settled her weight on the squirming redhead's wasp-thin waist.  The underlying pallet was actually quite soft.  She decided it probably had a foam core sandwiched between just enough straw to provide camouflage.

"Ow!  Get off me, you horse!" Sydney complained.

Hannah smiled, placed her hands on either side of Sydney's raised arms, and leaned forward, taking some of her weight with her thighs.  "Is this better?" she purred.

"You're still a horse," Sydney muttered.

Her words were gruff, but Hannah could tell the Evil Baroness was struggling to suppress a smile.  "And you're such a cute little damsel," she sighed.

"Don't call me little," Sydney huffed.

"But you are little," Hannah noted, leaning even closer, until her smiling lips were less than an inch from Sydney's frowning face.  "Side-by-side, you're the same height as the Princess, the Scholar, or the Elf-maiden, within an inch."

"I'm not little."

"You're cute when you pout, too," Hannah whispered, and kissed her girlfriend.

The kiss lasted several very long seconds, and involved a great deal of well-lubricated lip-smacking and tongue-wrapping.  It was a very good kiss, for Hannah and Sydney had had a lot of practice.

Eventually, Hannah pulled back.  "So..." she whispered.  "What else you want to do, seeing as we've got all night."

"Kay-bear left a cooler with some champagne and snacks," Sydney said, nodding towards the locked door.

Hannah turned her head and noted the wicker basket against the wall.  It was one the "medievalized" ice chests they used for picnics.  Next to it was a wooden chest, about the size of a small suitcase.  "What's in the chest?" she asked.  "Kayley wouldn't have packed that much food."

"Uh... nothing," Sydney responded.

Hannah's inquisitive smile turned somewhat sinister, and she climbed off Sydney and the rack.  She sauntered to the chest and opened its lid.  "Oh... there's a lot more than nothing," she announced, then named the chest's contents, one at a time, for Sydney's benefit.

"Let's see now," the grinning blonde said, "there's one of those little floggers... a riding crop... a bundle of feathers... a set of nipple clamps... some coils of thin cord, suitable for tying up tits... one of those things with a wheel of needle-sharp pins spinning on the end of a handle—oh!" She picked up an object roughly the size and shape of a flashlight, then returned to the rack and held it for Sydney's inspection.  "Look, girlfriend... one of those horrible Dark Elf vibrators!  I hope it has fresh batteries."

"Call it by its proper name," Sydney muttered.  "It's a Drowish torture wand, and it's 'I hope the magic is fully charged', not 'I hope it has fresh batteries'."

"I stand corrected," Hannah purred.  She triggered the "torture wand's" switch.  Its egg-shaped knob of milky glass began to glow with a dim, flickering light, and it vibrated with a quiet hum.  Hannah made a show of inspecting the insect-like carvings covering the wand's dark body.  "Cody certainly does a bang-up job with all the Drowish detail, doesn't she?"

Sydney's eyes were on the flickering, vibrating egg, and she didn't answer.

Hannah climbed back on the rack, straddled Sydney's body as before, then turned off the wand and set it aside.  "We can play with that later," she purred, then leaned close... 'til their nipples just touched and her braids dangled to either side of Sydney's face... then she planted a delicate kiss on her lover's lips.  "A couple of quickies," she said, "then some champagne, and then we'll try for the record."

Sydney smiled.  "The record.  Most reasons for unspeakably cruel revenge ever racked up by a blond bimbo drunk with temporary power?"

Hannah smiled back.  "Something like that."  She took Sydney's face in her hands and they kissed again, and this time it was not delicate.

After a while, Hannah lifted away from Sydney's still smiling face and struck a thoughtful pose.  "After careful consideration," she announced, "I've decided I like this job, and I'm probably going to stay."

"Oh, when I get hold of you," Sydney growled, still smiling, "you'll be staying, all right.  Count on it."

Hannah laughed.  "Quiet, Baroness," she ordered.  "I'm on top, tonight..."  She wiggled her thighs and crotch against Sydney's tummy and waist.  "In every sense."

"Stop that, you horse!" Sydney complained.  "Anyway... to coin a phrase... tomorrow is another day."

"So it is," Hannah agreed, tightened her grip on Sydney's red curls, and the kiss resumed.

Tales of the Foxwood B&B:
Chapter 12

Chapter 11