Castle Tydwell
by Van

Chapter 9



Over the course of the next several days everything stayed the same—and everything changed.

 Chapter 9

Morena only spent one night with the Horrible Steel Mask covering her face.

The next morning two maids appeared with a breakfast tray, unlocked and removed the mask, then watched as Morena dragged her chastity-belt chain to the loo alcove and performed her morning toilette.  Thankfully, the added encumbrance of the bondage mitts still cuffed to the back of her chastity-belt was less of a problem than she'd feared it would be.  This was a good thing, as the maids were the very picture of detached professionalism.  They leered as they watched her successfully empty her bladder and endure the cold, wet cleansing of her steel-clad nether regions by the commode's bidet function, but did nothing to help.  Afterwards, they hand fed Morena her breakfast and left, but returned in an hour to take her to her daily exercise.  Today, this consisted of running on a treadmill at various speeds for more than an hour.  Then, they took her to the castle courtyard for her daily tanning session.  The mitts were finally unlocked and removed, as was the steel "chastity-bra" that had covered her breasts.  Chained to the wall as before, with only the chastity-belt between herself and the hot summer sun, slathered with a generous coating of oil, Morena dozed on the courtyard's lounging bed.

A half-hour into her "ordeal," about the time she expected the maids to appear and return her to her dark (and blessedly cool) dungeon, Morena had a visitor, and that visitor was Lady Jane, herself.  Dressed in one of her hideously expensive and beautiful designer sundresses (with matching/complementary, broad-brimmed hat), Her Ladyship smiled down at her guest/prisoner.  "The program for my party?" she inquired without preamble.

Shielding her eyes with one hand, Morena gazed up at her hostess/captor.  "Either Khatchaturian's violin concerto or Wienkawski's number two.  Both are in D-minor."

"You are prepared to perform either?"

Morena shrugged.  "Given a couple of days' practice."

Lady Jane pursed her lips in thought, then her smile returned.  "You have four days.  Khatchaturian."  With that, she turned and strolled towards the courtyard's southernmost door.

"Wait!" Morena called after her.  "Tell me more about the party!"  Her Ladyship made her exit without answering.  Morena heaved a sigh, lay back, and closed her eyes.  Almost immediately the maids appeared and returned her to her cell.

Morena began practicing the Khatchaturian concerto that very afternoon.  That night she was bathed by several maids, but other than scrubbing and rinsing her body they did nothing to relieve her sexual tension, which had settled into a chronic "ache" she found she could ignore.  And ignore it she did, not having much choice in the matter.

The mitts and steel bra were locked on her hands and over her breasts when she wasn't sunbathing, practicing, or being bathed.  And the chastity belt was removed only for bathing and for infuriatingly chaste full-body massages at the well-oiled hands of the maids.  At night she was chained to her bed on her back, in a loose spread-eagle.  She always had plenty of wiggle room, but her leather-encased hands couldn't possibly reach her steel-clad breasts or pussy—not that she could have done much to help herself "relax," even if the spread-eagle chains had been absent.  Only her mind was free... and try as she might, Morena found she couldn't will herself to orgasm.

Her dreams were very wet, but her waking hours were not—not counting the bath, the sweat of exercise, or the sweat of sunbathing, of course.  Her Ladyship's plan was evident.  Morena was being "tortured" with an insidious itch she couldn't scratch.  And now the maids weren't helping, not even a little.  There were no more orgies—not in the sunlit courtyard, the candlelit bath, or anywhere else.

Morena's only release was her music, and she put everything she had into practicing for the party.

The Salamandras Musica artificial intelligence and the castle's state-of-the-art sound system which it controlled would be her accompaniment.  The music stand and iPad in her dungeon cell had been replaced by a large flat-screen monitor and a photo-realistic animation of a female human conductor now appeared above the endlessly scrolling sheet music of her part.  Specifically, she/it was a fully interactive computer simulation of Sigourney Weaver dressed in the male costume of white tie and tails!  The simulation spoke with the famous actress' voice, as well, and they—Morena and the simulation—ironed out the details of the various passages of the concerto's three movements as she practiced.  However, all of Morena's efforts to engage "Sigourney" in conversation about topics other then her performance were met with silence—and a polite, amused smile.

The four days passed, equal parts Cruel Captivity and hard practice.  Finally, the day of the party dawned.

 Chapter 9

Spending the night spreadeagled face down on the soft, comfortable bed of her "immurement cell" turned out to be less of a hardship than Cressida had feared.  The two crashing orgasms her Personal Handmaiden had extracted from her helpless, naked body before leaving her alone probably had something to do with the ease with which she had drifted off to sleep.  In any case, Cressida opened her eyes to find morning light flooding her cell.  "Flooding" was an exaggeration, but it was morning, and the Honorable Cressida Tydwell made the decision to sleep in.  The steel, custom-fitted cuffs chaining her to the bed by the wrists and ankles had something to do with that, of course.  The breather-ball-gag strapped in her mouth was a bit of a downer, but one was required to take the good with the bad—especially when one found oneself naked, gagged, chained face down on ones bed, and had no choice in the matter.

Corky appeared only a few minutes after Cressida awoke.  The diminutive redhead was dressed in her maid's uniform, of course, and was carrying a wooden breakfast tray.

"Good morning, Mistress," Corky chirped in an irritatingly cheerful manner.  "Rise and shine."

'Rise and shine,' Cressida mused.  Hilarious.  She watched as Corky first set down the tray, then walked around the bed, unlocking the chains binding her in place one by one.  Cressida was soon "free," not counting the steel cuffs still locked on her wrists and ankles, the steel belt still locked around her waist, and the chain attached to her steel collar.  She climbed to a sitting position, unbuckled the strap of her gag, and eased the ball from her mouth.  Why not?  If "Mistress Corky" wished her to remain gagged, she'd have said something... or would have padlocked the buckle.

"Eat and take a tinkle," Corky ordered as she headed for the door, "and be quick about it."

Cressida smiled as the iron gate and door beyond closed and locked.  Corky was so cute in the role of jailer.  Cressida dragged her collar chain to the loo alcove, emptied her bladder and splashed water on her face, then trudged back to the bed.  Breakfast was scrambled eggs, bacon, toast with butter and jam, and coffee.  Cressida ate with deliberate speed, motivated more by hunger than obedience.

She needn't have bothered hurrying through the meal so as not to invoke the wrath of Dread Dominatrix Corky.  It was something like an hour before Corky returned, and this time she was carrying a rather heavy wooden chair.  The chair was portable, but only just for a petite little thing like Corky.  She set the chair midway between the bed and the barred window.  On its seat rested several coils of microfiber rope.

Cressida eyed the chair... then Corky... then the chair.  "What?" she said, finally.

Corky's answer was to smile, pick up the coils of rope, and nod at the now empty seat.

Cressida heaved a long-suffering sigh, then strolled to the chair and delicately planted her naked rump on the hard wood.  She noted it was sculpted to receive her, and while it wasn't padded, it was, nonetheless, comfortable.  In point of fact, the chair was perfectly sized for her body.  She suspected it had been commissioned as part of mother's immurement preparations.

"Arms behind the back of the chair," Corky ordered.

Cressida complied.  Click, click.  Some sort of clamps were built into the back of the seat, and Corky had used them to bind Cressida's wrist cuffs together and to the chair.  Her armpits rested on the well-rounded top edge of the chair back—Click, click—and now her steel belt was clamped in place, as well.  Next—Click, click—her ankle cuffs were clamped together and to the cross-brace of the chair's front legs.  Her toes and the balls of her feet were on the stone floor, but her heels were not.  She watched as Corky released one of the coils of rope, found the center, and formed a doubled loop.

Over the next several minutes, Corky bound her already helpless Mistress to the chair.  The ropes were totally unnecessary, but the result was aesthetically pleasing.  Corky tied the final knot, then took a step back, rested her hands on her hips, cocked her head to the side, and smiled.

Neat horizontal bands of rope bound Cressida to the chair above and below her breasts, cinched her elbows together behind the chair back, lashed her thighs to the seat, and bound her knees together.  Lateral bands yoked her shoulders and crisscrossed her upper body and legs, reinforcing the other bonds.

Cressida heaved another sigh, then squirmed and struggled.  This imparted a slight oscillation on her rope-framed breasts and a sway to the collar-chain still linking her to the handling machine overhead.  That was about it, not counting the thrill Cressida's futile struggles sent through Corky's pussy.  Courtesy struggle complete, Cressida gazed up at her handmaiden, her lips curled in a pouting smile.  "I assume you're doing this on mother's orders," she muttered.

Before answering Corky sauntered forward and sat on Cressida's lap, her skirt hiked up, her stocking-clad legs to either side, and face to face with her Mistress/Prisoner.  "Her Ladyship has an entire week's worth of entertainments scheduled for Mistress," she purred, then cupped Cressida's breasts in her freckled hands and gently squeezed.

"A week?" Cressida asked.

"A week," Corky confirmed, toying with Cressida's erect nipples.  "I've been assured other entertainments and diversions will follow, but detailed instructions will be issued one week at a time."

"Detailed instructions?"

Corky's smile widened.  "I've been granted some degree of discretion."  She gave Cressida's nipples a playful tug.  "But only a little."

"I see."  Cressida was trying not to squirm.  Corky's weight on her lap was negligible, but what the little vixen was doing to her breasts was less easily ignored.

"Thank you for being such a well-mannered distressed damsel," Corky whispered, leaned close, and kissed her Mistress' smiling lips.  Her hands continued kneading the firm flesh of Cressida's breasts and teasing her pointing nipples.

Cressida returned the kiss, then smiled when Corky came up for air.  "Your safe word is 'tallyho,' Little Fox."

"My safe word?" Corky giggled.  "You're the one that needs a safe word... not that I'm going to give you one, of course."

Cressida's response was to lean forward to resume the kiss and Corky met her halfway.  In fact, she took her Mistress' head in both hands and the kiss was deep and wet, with tongue.

"Your safe word," Cressida confirmed, once given the chance.  "If ever you need my cooperation and I seem disinclined, simply say tallyho and you shall have it."

"That's very kind of you," Corky purred, and the kiss continued.  Finally, their lips parted and she cupped Cressida's breasts, once again.

"So..." Cressida said, "mother's instructions were to tie me to a chair and snog?"

"The snogging is my idea," Corky giggled, then covered her mouth with one hand, suppressing a yawn.  "Sorry."

Cressida smiled.  "Up late receiving instructions from mother?"

Corky blushed.  "Uh, Mistress Edna, actually.  And yes, instructions."  She climbed off Cressida's lap, strolled to the bed, and retrieved the ball-gag.  She then turned, smiled, and sauntered back to Cressida and the chair.

Cressida sighed, one last time, then opened her mouth and received the hollow, multiply vented rubber sphere.  Corky buckled the strap tight enough to make her cheeks bulge, in proper Castle Tydwell fashion, then strolled back to the bed.  Cressida squirmed in her tight ropes and inescapable steel bonds, then frowned.  Corky had began to undress.  This was unexpected.

Corky removed her apron, uniform dress, uniform cap, and shoes.  Her costume reduced to stockings, garters, knickers, and bra, all in white, she stretched and smiled at her charge.  "If you rattle your chain and wake me up," she warned, "I'll be very cross."  She then slid between the sheets, rolled over so her freckled back and ginger curls were to Cressida, and squirmed for comfort.

She's taking a nap? Cressida wondered.  Seriously?  A nap?

Corky did, indeed, take a nap, and over the course of the next four days she subjected her Mistress to several different bondage "ordeals."  None were especially harrowing, nor could they be formally classified as predicaments.  There was more snogging, as well as "tension relief" for Poor Cressida—and for Personal Handmaiden/Handler Corky O'Brien.

Finally, the day of Lady Jane's party arrived...

 Chapter 9

...and that day dawned like any other.

Since "Dread Dominatrix" Corky had "Mistress" Cressida's parole (or tacit cooperation so as not to get the little redhead in trouble with Edna and/or mother) Cressida had only spent the night of her first full day as a prisoner chained to the bed.  Mother's custom-made cuffs and belt remained locked on her wrists, ankles, and waist, as did the rounded collar with its attached chain, but she was otherwise free.  Cressida knew it was all part of mother's Evil Plot, of course.  She (mother) was reinforcing and complicating her (Cressida's) feelings for Corky by making her inclined to obey the adorable little Yank and...

Cressida heaved a sigh and shook her head.  She was over-thinking the situation—mother's plan, Corky's role in mother's plan, everything.  But what else did she have to do?  What else but worry about what Corky (on orders from mother) was going to do to her today?  She'd finished her morning toilette and breakfast and was sitting on the bed, waiting for her handmaiden/handler to return.  What would it be?  Hogtie?  Ball-tie?  Full suspension in a flying spread-eagle?  Cressida shook her head, again.  No, she wouldn't do that... not all day.

Finally, the wait was over.  The door was unlocked and opened... then the inner gate.  It was Corky, of course, but rather than entering the cell, the little redhead stepped back.  Seconds passed.  Cressida considered leaving the bed to try and investigate.  The collar chain wouldn't let her exit the cell, but she could drag it over and look down the corridor or into the adjoining chamber and discover whatever lay beyond the gate and door.  It occurred to her that this intelligence alone would be worth the trip—but then it was too late.

To the accompaniment of the quiet squeal of metal-on-metal, Corky wheeled a tall, upright metal frame into the cell.  It barely fit through the twin thresholds, and suspended by taut chains inside the frame was—

"A gibbet-cage!" Cressida gasped.

It was stainless steel, like Cressida's wrist, ankle, and waist bonds, a grid of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal bands.  All were narrow, no more than a half-inch in width, and there were a lot of them, at least a hundred.  The shape of the cage was that of a female standing on her toes with her arms folded behind her back in the box-tie position—and there was no mistaking the intended gender of the hypothetical occupant.  The flare of the hip region, the wasp-thin waist, the bra-like cups waiting for the occupant's breasts...  The cage was for a woman.  For me, Cressida realized.  It's for me!

Meanwhile, Corky had been busy with a small barrel-key, unlocking the bands on the back half of the cage.  Some opened to the right and some to the left.  Most came away as single bands, but some were interlocking groups of two or three.  The final band unlocked and opened, Corky took a step back and smiled.

Cressida realized she'd been watching the process with wide-eyed amazement.  "Uh... it looks too small."

Corky's smile widened.  "Mistress Edna assured me it will be a perfect fit.  After all, every design house in London, Paris, and Milan has your exact measurements.  It was easy to provide the required information."

Cressida was still staring.  "Who made it?"

Corky shrugged.  "Someone named Kilborn.  She signed it with an etching pen, somewhere near the feet."

"Maggie Kilborn, the sculptor?"

Corky shrugged again, then nodded towards the open cage.  "This isn't going to be our first 'tallyho' moment, is it?"

Cressida managed a grim smile.  "I'm thinking about it."  Seconds passed with Corky waiting patiently.  Then, Cressida heaved a smile and stepped behind the frame.  She gingerly planted a foot inside the cage, then grabbed the sides of the supporting frame with both hands.  She stepped inside, planted her other foot, and leaned forward.  The base was like a pair of open-toed sandals—stainless steel open-toed sandals.  She felt Corky close a pair of bands across the back of her ankles—Click, click—and she was committed.  There would be no stepping back out of the cage now.  "This is a very close fit." she muttered.  Click.  "Oh!"  A set of three bands had closed against the small of her back.

Corky continued closing the bands.  Each time there was an accompanying click, and band-by-band the cage engulfed Cressida's naked form.  Slots and pins in the bands closest to Cressida's existing steel bonds integrated them into the "sculpture," interlocking with the rings of her ankle cuffs and waist belt and making them part of the rigid structure.  Cressida was still holding the sides of the wheeled frame suspending the cage with her face turned to the side and trying, without much success, to look back over her shoulder and watch Corky secure the lower bands.  The envelopment process had reached the closed bands at the small of her back.  Any further and Cressida would have to surrender to the inevitable—the already inevitable.  "You might as well test the fit of the rest of this thing," Corky suggested

"Might as well," Cressida agreed, turned her head to the front, and pressed her forehead against the band waiting in the front.  Click.  Corky had closed an assembly of several bands in the back and her head was in to stay.  She felt her arms being folded into the expected box-tie, then a series of clicks and tightening bands closed, pinning her upper arms against her sides, her lower arms against her back, bracing her elbows, and locking her wrist cuffs to the cage.  A few more lateral bands clicked closed, then Corky strolled to the front and smiled.

There was a hinged plate that would close over her mouth, but for the moment it was open.  "So," Cressida sighed, "I'm to spend the day locked in this thing?  I can barely move."  It was true.  There was only the merest fraction of an inch between her body and each and every band, as far as she could tell.

"Hold that thought," Corky said, then reached under her uniform skirt and pulled down her knickers.  She stepped free of the frilly, white undergarment, then wadded it up and gave it a delicate sniff.  A coy smile on her coral lips, she sniffed the wad, again.  "I wore these all day yesterday," she announced, "and last night."  She took a third sniff.  "And I masturbated in them, as well.  Once in the afternoon, and once just after lights out."

Cressida knew what was coming.  "Mistress Edna would hardly approve of such slovenliness.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to report you."

Corky stepped forward and pressed the silky wad against Cressida's closed lips.  "In that case, I guess I'll have to keep you gagged when or if she decides to visit.  Open."  Cressida stared daggers at her handmaiden/handler and stubbornly kept her mouth closed.  "Must I invoke the tallyho promise," Corky purred, "or would you rather I give you a titty-twister and make you howl?"

Cressida could smell Corky's musk on the knickers.  After all, they were just below her flaring nostrils.  She opened her mouth—"Mrrrf!"—and the wad was inside.  Corky swung the mouth-panel closed, the lock clicked, and the cool steel was pressed against her lips.  The panel incorporated a curved flange then pressed against and under her chin.  Opening her mouth was now impossible, to say the least.

"So?" Corky inquired.  "What's the verdict?  Too much salt?  I did sweat a lot yesterday.  Being your handler takes up most of my time, but I'm still assigned dusting and sweeping chores."

The crumpled mass filling her mouth and pressing against her tongue did have a flavor, but it wasn't especially strong.  Cressida was disgusted, repulsed, and aroused.  Being topped by her favorite devilishly cute and mischievous ginger munchkin was a hoot, although she realized her opinion might change later in the day.

"Oh by the way," Corky said, "Her Ladyship is hosting one of her Victorian parties tonight, and you're invited."

A party? Cressida wondered.  Corky stepped out of sight behind the cage, there was a click, and the collar chain swung around the cage framework and hung, perfectly vertical, a few feet in front.  Obviously, it had been unlocked from the back of her collar.  A seemingly endless series of clicks followed, and with each click a band or group of bands tightened.  "Mrrrf?"  The cage had been a close fit before, but as the clicks continued Cressida found she wasn't as much inside the cage as she was wearing the thing.

"The bands all lock on their own," Corky explained as she continued tightening the bands, "but a turn of the key recesses the locking pins an additional quarter-inch."

Now, the steel bands seemed to press against every part of Cressida's helpless body.  They dimpled her flesh, ever so slightly, including her breasts.  The cage's chest cups were very much a steel bra, as perfectly sized to Cressida's boobs as the cage was to the rest of her body.

Corky stepped back to the front and smiled at her utterly helpless Mistress.  "Courtesy struggle?" she suggested.  "Or are you already trying and can't move at all?"

Cressida tried to move, and found she could, in fact squirm inside the steel encasement.  It was more trying to move than actually moving, but her muscles were straining and she could feel minor changes in her confinement.

Corky shook her head.  "Tsk, tsk, Mistress.  You call that struggling?"  She heaved a decidedly theatrical sigh of disappointment.  "Well, we don't have any more time to waste.  I have to get you situated for the party and the rest of the staff are already in Victorian drag."

Cressida watched as Corky stepped behind the frame, again.  Then, she was wheeled towards the open gate and wooden door, cage and all.

 Chapter 9

As Corky wheeled Cressida down the hallway, she confirmed that the "immurement cell" was, indeed, in the same tower as mother's private study.  They passed the closed door of the study in question, then continued to an elevator which took them to the courtyard level.  Cressida, her cage, and its frame were then wheeled towards the Main Keep, the largest structure in the castle.  The ballroom and formal dining room comprised most of the ground floor.  They crossed a small side court, entered a hall adjacent to the ballroom, and Corky opened the door of a small closet, one of the hundreds of small rooms in the castle put to various purposes.

Against the closet's back wall was a wardrobe, a tall wooden cabinet with double doors.  Cressida watched as Corky reached behind the wardrobe.  There was a click and the wardrobe swung open from the right like a hinged door.  In point of fact, it was a hinged door, and a thick, substantial door at that.  Beyond was a small alcove.  Corky stepped out of Cressida's rather limited field of vision and behind the frame.  Then, she rolled Cressida into the alcove, cage, framework, and all.  It was a close fit, as close a fit as Cressida had found her cage to be for her body.  The sides of the framework slid into channels mounted on either side and locked with a solid click.

She isn't going to just leave me in here, is she? Cressida wondered.  She heard a dry, slithering sound, a curtain opened, and she found herself looking out on the ballroom.  The entire back wall of the alcove was a window, and she surmised it was one-way glass, mirrored on the ballroom side but transparent from inside the alcove.  With the exception of the row of windows opposite Cressida's staring eyes, the entire ballroom was mirrored from floor to ceiling, and had been since the 18th century.  I wonder if there are other secret vantage points in the castle, she mused, other secret rooms for spying.

"Later, darling," Corky said cheerily from somewhere behind Cressida's back. Then, the wardrobe closed with a solid thunk and Cressida was sealed inside the alcove.

The ballroom was bustling with activity.  Male workers from the estate were positioning tables against the walls and erecting a low platform in the center of the vast space.  Maids were bustling about, spreading tablecloths as quickly as the tables were in place, then arranging rows of glasses, champagne fountains, empty chaffing dishes, and stacks of china and tableware.  They were preparing for an informal buffet, and soon the only things missing would be the actual food and drink.  Whenever the party was scheduled to start, Cressida would have an unobstructed view.

The maids were in their Victorian uniforms: high-button, high-heel ankle-boots—long sleeved and long skirted black dresses with wasp-thin waists and high collars—frilly white aprons and caps—and underneath, the appropriate knickers, camisoles, and corsets.  Finally, those with long hair had it up and coiled in tight buns.  The workmen were in their usual denim and wool work clothes, and soon they were gone, leaving only the maids.

Cressida could hear nothing from inside the ballroom.  She suspected the glass was very thick and in at least two layers, with a gap in between.  Two of the maids were standing and chatting, more-or-less right in front of her.  She could see their lips moving, but there was no sound, none at all.  Suddenly, the maids' faces snapped to the right, then hurried apart and began straightening forks, repositioning stacks of plates, and generally making a show of working just as hard as the rest of the staff.

The House Mistress had arrived.

Edna strolled from table to table, inspecting the continuing preparations.  Then, she walked to the center of the ballroom and gazed at the platform.  It was circular, about five feet across, two feet in height, and was carpeted in a deep, antique gold, slightly darker than the ballroom's parquet floor.  Projecting from the base of the platform was a large flat-screen monitor canted at a shallow angle.  Anyone standing on the platform would be able to glance down at the monitor while still having an unobstructed view of their surroundings.

Suddenly, Corky scampered into the ballroom, apparently to report to Mistress Edna—and yes, she scampered.  Cressida smiled, despite her tight encasement and the the cloying knickers stuffed in her steel-covered mouth.  When Corky was in a hurry to get someplace, she was adorable.  Of course, she was always adorable, but especially when "scampering."

Corky's lips moved as she made her report.  Cressida noted that Corky wasn't nodding or pointing in her direction, and Edna didn't glance her way, either.  Also, none of the maids had taken special notice to her particular section of the mirrored wall.  Cressida was helpless—totally helpless—and trapped—and probably only Corky and Edna knew she was there.  A wave of mild panic passed through her immobilized body.  Her predicament was truly horrible!  She was impressed.

Meanwhile, based on Edna's frown and pointed gestures, the silent conversation—silent to Cressida, that is—seemed to have turned to the topic of Corky's attire.  She was the only maid present not wearing Victorian garb.  Even Mistress Edna was in an appropriately wasp-waisted, long-sleeved, and long-skirted version of her usual Staff Mistress outfit and her hair was up.  She was the very picture of Late Victorian fashion.  Edna barked an order, Corky's eyes popped wide, and she began undressing.  Edna barked another order and one of the maids curtsied and hurried from the ballroom.  A second maid hurried over and took each article of Corky's uniform from the nervous redhead's trembling hands as quickly as it was removed.

The other maids paused in their labors to watch this unexpected development: the disciplining of cute, adorable little Corky O'Brien.  There was a great deal of giggling when it was revealed that Corky's wasn't wearing any knickers—giggling that abruptly ended when Edna barked yet another order.  The maids returned to work, but were still smiling and stealing glances at the unfolding drama.

Soon, Corky was nude (with a blush coloring her freckled cheeks), the maid with her uniform departed, and the first maid had returned with a generous coil of thin rope.  She proceeded to bind Corky in a stringently tight reverse-prayer box-tie that included a crotch rope and cinched horizontal bands that lashed her legs together at the thighs and just above her knees.  More orders were given, and a crumpled handkerchief was stuffed in Corky's mouth and a narrowly folded second handkerchief tied as a cleave-gag to keep it there.  Then, Corky's hair was quickly and rather sloppily gathered atop her head, secured with a thin black ribbon, and she was lifted onto the center platform.

Corky sighed through her gag and watched as a third maid approached Edna with a tablet computer.  The maid and House Mistress exchanged words, and the maid began tapping and sliding her index finger across the tablet's screen.

Abruptly, apparently in mid sentence, Edna's voice sounded inside Cressida's tiny prison.  "—ighting test," she was saying, "and leave the concert spotlights on afterwards.  She's a short little thing and her complexion differs from Her Ladyship's guest, but Miss O'Brien has 'volunteered,' so we might as well take advantage of it."  Cressida had flinched inside her cage, but only from surprise.  The volume wasn't excessively loud.

Edna's eyes were on Corky as the maid tapped the screen and groups of lights set in the ballroom's high, arched ceiling flashed on and off.  She tapped a final time, and only the lights directly over the platform remained.  They were bright enough to compete with the sunlight shining through the ballroom windows and from Cressida's perspective, her handmaiden's nude, bound and gagged form was both brightly lit and in silhouette.

Corky's bonds were tight, and while each strand was doubled, they were not redundant.  It was a mildly punishing tie, and even at this distance Cressida could see how the thin ropes dimpled her freckled skin.  Poor little Corky, Cressida thought, then wiggled in her steel encasement.  And poor Cressida.

Edna's eyes were still on Corky, and the little prisoner's sad green eyes were on her.  "She's to stand there until just before Her Ladyship's guests are scheduled to arrive," Edna ordered, "then bring her to the side pantry office.  I'll have further instructions at that time."

"Yes, Mistress."  The maid curtsied and returned to her work.

Edna focused her frown on Corky.  "You were well aware of the uniform of the day, Miss O'Brien," she said.  "Your new duties do not give you carte blanche to flaunt staff rules and instructions."  With that, she spun on her high-button, booted heels and stalked away.

Cressida watched as Corky heaved a pitifully tragic gagged sigh—"Mrrrrf"—which the sound system delivered to Cressida's alcove prison.  Then, Corky shuffled a few degrees on her bare feet, and gazed at Cressida—or rather, she gazed at the section of mirrored wall behind which Cressida was hidden—and sighed, again.  "Mrrrf."

Poor little Corky, Cressida thought, again, then settled in to wait for the party... which wouldn't start until after dark.  Mother's parties are always after dark, she thought, except her garden parties, of course.  She wasn't at all sure who had things worse; herself, encased in a very nearly skintight steel cage and hidden in a tiny cell; or Corky, cruelly bound and forced to stand on the raised platform for hours while her gloating and giggling fellow maids scurried about completing their assigned tasks.

Tomorrow, Cressida thought.  We'll have to compare notes tomorrow.


 Chapter 9

Chapter 8
Chapter 10