The League of LIGATION
The League of LIGATION   

   by Van ©2015





The Usual Suspects
Jamie Rose
Jamie Rose
Lady Jillian Foxwood
Mistress of Foxwood Keep
Jennifer O'Dell
Scarlett McAlister
Heather Carolin
Jennifer O'Dell
Scarlett McAlister
Heather Carolin
Hannah Blood-Ax
Saxon Retainer

"Baroness" Sydney
Lady Foxwood's Sister

"Princess" Alice
Lady Foxwood's Cousin

Keegan Connor Tracy
Nora Zethener
Diane Farr
Keegan Conner
Nora Zehethner
Diane Farr
Constance Clarke
"The Scholar"

Cricket Clarke
Retainer/Thrall/Wood Elf

Kayley Barbano
Seneschal & Head cook

The League of LIGATION

About three months after Hayden passed her Third Trial...

Hayden was happy.  All the denizens of Tauton House were happy—Sharon, Hayden, Chloe, and the Hobbits.  They were in Sharon's SUV and on their way to a shared vacation of two whole weeks at the Foxwood B&B!  Chloe was behind the wheel, and all the vacationers were in costume.  Specifically:

Sharon was a queen!  (Or possibly a duchess, at the very least.)  Her full length gown was a deep shade of indigo-blue, with dark purple accents, long, drooping sleeves, a laced bodice, and a square décolletage showing a somewhat generous glimpse of cleavage.  Sharon's auburn hair cascaded down her back in French braids and was covered by a gauze-thin veil.  Finally, a golden circlet graced her brow.  Clearly, Lady Tauton was a high-ranking noble.  That is, she was loaded.

Chloe's costume consisted of knee-boots, leather kilt, and a torso-hugging leather and steel armored tunic, with hammered steel breast-cups and sewn-in, horizontal steel strips over her stomach.  Leather bracers were on her wrists, a hammered gold armlet dimpled her upper-right bicep, and her long, blond hair was divided down the middle and hanging in a pair of braids to either side of her smiling face.  All the leather elements were a rich, textured brown and tooled with Scandinavian designs.  A dagger and sword, with matching sheathes and belt, were in the back of the SUV, waiting to be donned upon their arrival at Foxwood.

Chloe was a very convincing Viking shield-maiden, or possibly a Saxon from Britain's post-Roman period, or maybe a Dane from slightly later in English history.  In any case, she was a Scandinavian or Germanic invader/settler of some sort.  Granted, there was a discernible fantasy element, as if Chloe was guest starring in a Xena: Warrior Princess episode, but she was undeniably impressive.  Also, in everyone's unanimous opinion, Chloe-the-Barbarian was very sexy.

The Hobbits were in outfits appropriate for their race, with regional differences.  Actually, thanks to a suggestion from Hayden—which the Hobbits first met with open-mouthed amazement of the "Why didn't we think of that?" variety, followed by enthusiastic acceptance—the Hobbits were now officially half-Hobbit and half-Elf.  Hayden got the idea from Dorothy's Hobbit-Drow character from the Second Trial, so there was precedent.  Nonetheless, Andrea and Dorothy gave her full credit for the brainstorm.

The girls' new heritage meant they didn't have to wear their fake Hobbit boots, which would get in the way of skinny-dipping in Foxwood's duck pond or bathing in the Roman Bath (as well as other naked activities).  They experimented with gluing little tufts of fake hair to the tops of their feet, but decided the "foot-wigs" were both impractical, unconvincing, and generally lame.

In addition to their pointed ear appliances, the Halfling/Fey hybrids were wearing sandals with long laces that crisscrossed their calves and shins and tied below their knees, calf-length peasant skirts, scoop-necked off-the-shoulder blouses, and laced bodices.  Andrea's skirt was a mellow golden yellow, her blouse off-white, and her bodice hunter-green, while Dorothy's costume was a mix of different shades of tan, as befitted her supposed desert origin.  Both were wearing their hair pulled back in loose ponytails to show off their very realistic pointy ears.

Hayden was wearing her green medieval gown.  It was similar in style to Sharon's, but not nearly as grand.  Her red hair was also in French braids and was covered by a pale-green, whisper-thin veil, but instead of a gold circlet, Hayden wore an embroidered cloth headband.  Her supposed role was that of one of Sharon's noble but poor relations, serving as her lady-in-waiting, and Hayden was more than happy to fill the role.  It would let her stick close to Lady Tauton... not that she was scared, or anything.  Nothing bad ever happens at Foxwood, she reassured herself, right?

The long road trip was finally at an end, the motorized gate that was Foxwood's main entrance rumbled open, and Hannah Blair, a Foxwood employee, directed them into an open parking bay inside the "Outer Mews," the timber-frame, faux-medieval parking garage that was the B&B's main link to the 21st century.

"Hannah!" the Hobbit-Elves squealed as they piled out of the SUV and converged on the grinning blonde.  A great deal of unseemly hugging and kissing ensued, but... Hobbit-Elves.  What ya gonna do?

Hannah, Lady Foxwood's resident handy-woman and Loyal Saxon Retainer, was dressed in a costume somewhat similar to Chloe's, only it was all leather, except for brass buckles and the occasional row of decorative brass studs, and she was armed with a dagger and an ax in a sheath strapped behind her back.

Hannah and Chloe greeted each other with the stoic arm-grabs appropriate for barbarian she-warriors.  Then, Hannah embraced Hayden and planted a kiss on her startled lips.  Hayden had met Hannah before, of course, during her previous "green banner" (family friendly) visits.  Finally, Hannah executed something that might be called a half-bow, half-curtsy and greeted Lady Tauton with a respectful "Milady."

Sharon would have none of it.  She laughed, pulled Hannah into a warm embrace, and they kissed.

The smile still on Hannah's tan, beautiful face, she took a step back and made a sweeping gesture.  "Welcome to Foxwood.  Her Ladyship and the others are waiting just beyond the Forest Gate."  She turned her smile to Andrea and Dorothy.  "But first, you two need to come with me."  She smiled at Chloe.  "With your assistance?"

Chloe smiled and nodded.  "Of course."

The Hobbit-Elves were somewhat confused.  "Huh?"

Hannah turned to Sharon.  "Everything you'll need is beside the back door, milady."  She bowed, again, and with Chloe's help ushered the Hobbit-Elves through a side door and into some sort of storeroom.

Hayden frowned as she watched the others depart, then— "Hey!"  Sharon had taken her firmly by the hand and was leading her towards the door Hannah had indicated.  "What's happening?  Where are they going?"

"Everything is proceeding according to plan," Sharon chuckled.

"What plan?"  Hayden's eyes popped wide.  "Oh!"  She watched as Sharon took a long coil of hemp rope from a peg beside the door, shook it out, and began the now familiar process of finding its center.  "Sharon!" Hayden complained as she was spun around and a doubled loop passed over her head and tightened around her upper-arms and chest, just above her décolletage.  She heaved a sigh as loop followed loop and Sharon bound her upper body in a tight, well-crafted box-tie harness, but she didn't resist.  "I suppose it would have been too much to ask for you to let me know you were going to drag me to Foxwood Keep as your prisoner," she huffed.

"And spoil the surprise?" Sharon purred.  She lifted Hayden's hands against her spine, crossed her wrists, and tied them together and through the nexus of box-tie ropes.  She then took a second coil of rope from another peg, looped one end around Hayden's neck, and tied a non-compacting knot, giving the pouting redhead a convenient leash.

Hayden turned to face the door through which Hannah had led the others.  She realized she'd been hearing some sort of commotion from beyond the wooden portal for some time, but had been preoccupied by the ever-tightening bondage of Sharon's expertly applied ropes.  "What's that?"

"What's what, dear?" Sharon purred.

Hayden turned back to the door.  The muffled noise had stopped.  "What now?"

"Now, we wait," Sharon chuckled.  "They won't be long."

A minute passed, a very long minute during which Hayden could think of nothing to say.  Finally, the door opened and Hannah emerged with a rope in her right hand, a rope very much like the leash in Sharon's hand, and trailing behind Hannah on the other end of that rope were first Dorothy... and then Andrea.  Chloe brought up the rear, but she was very much not on a leash and her costume was unchanged.  As for the Hobbit-Elves...

"Wow," Hayden whispered quietly.

Andrea and Dorothy's costumes had been reduced to their sandals and prosthetic ears.  That is, they were naked.  Also, they were box-tied with hemp rope in the same manner as Hayden.  In addition, a rough-spun, burlap-like cloth had been stuffed into each of their mouths and a second, narrowly folded cloth tied as a tight, cheek-bulging cleave-gag.  They glared at Sharon with sad, angry eyes.

Sharon ignored the diminutive, naked captives with serene indifference.  "Are we ready?" she inquired.

Hannah opened the door, then bowed and made a sweeping gesture.  "After you, milady."

Sharon strolled out the door to the Forest Path with Hayden in tow.  Hannah and her prisoners went next, and Chloe acted as the party's rearguard.

The League of LIGATION

The Forest Path between the Outer Mews and Foxwood Keep proper is aptly named.  The trail winds through a forest of towering conifers as it slowly climbs "Mount Foxwood" (meaning Foxwood Hill), passing clumps of ferns and the occasional picturesque, monolith-like, moss-covered boulder.  They rounded a bushy clump of rhododendrons and the Forest Gate came into view, set in a low stone wall covered with more of the ubiquitous moss.  The wall was interrupted by a pair of vertical posts, and the gate itself cleverly crafted from seasoned timbers.

Hanging from a crossbeam between the posts was a lantern, a globe of blown glass inside an iron cage, and Hayden noted that today it glowed a bright amber that was clearly visible, even in broad daylight.  She now knew the lantern's color was formal notice that Jillian Foxwood's "special" rules applied, that X-rated, medieval-themed hanky-panky was not only allowed, but was the order of the day.  Of course, the bondage perpetrated in the Outer Mews had already provided what might be called a strong hint, but the lantern was official confirmation.  Also...

Waiting on the far side of the gate were the six remaining resident staff of the Foxwood B&B:  (1) Lady Jillian Foxwood, herself, (2) Jillian's kid sister, the "Evil Baroness Sydney," (3) Hayley Barbano, Foxwood Keep's majordomo, (4) Jillian's young cousin, "Princess Alice," and the Clarke cousins, (5) Constance and (6) Cricket.

Jillian was as richly attired as Sharon, only her gown was olive-green velvet with rust-brown accents, the border of her veil was embroidered with copper thread, and her headband was gold with copper accents in the shape of tiny foxes.  Under its nearly transparent veil, Jillian's long, copper-red curls were plaited in French braids.  Jillian was gorgeous.  But then, Hayden reflected, Jillian Foxwood is always gorgeous.

Sydney was wearing thigh-boots, green tights, a leather jerkin with a bodice-like laced front, and an off-white linen blouse with long, poofy sleeves.  A sheathed broadsword was belted around her waist and the hilt of one of a pair of daggers protruded from the tops of each of her boots.  All the leather elements were a rich, pebbled brown, with butternut accent darts and panels, and her copper-red hair trailed down her back in a single long, tight braid.  Sydney's attire might be scandalously male, but it did nothing to disguise her very feminine curves.  She was every bit as gorgeous as her big sister.

Kayley, Foxwood's resident gourmet chef and master herbalist, was in the skirt, blouse, and bodice of a prosperous peasant, all under a long, white, slightly food-stained apron.  Her brown hair was hidden under a loose wimple of white linen and a huge, cheek-dimpling smile lit her beautiful face and sparkled in her pale-blue eyes.

Alice had the same copper-red, ginger curls as her older cousins, as well as the same blue-green or green-blue eyes (depending on the light), as well as an abundance of freckles.  And at the moment, freckles just about summed up the beautiful, twenty-something redhead's entire costume!  That, and hemp box-tie bonds, a faux-burlap stuff- and cleave-gag, a neck-rope, and sandals, more or less identical to Andrea and Dorothy's "apparel."

Constance Clarke's usual role was that of the Keep's resident scholar (and the author of many of the scenarios that played out under Foxwood's amber lantern and orange banner).  Her usual costume was either a gown or the skirt, blouse, and bodice of a semi-prosperous peasant, depending on the social occasion, as well as a worn and shabby scholar's academic robe.  She kept her brunette hair cropped in a short, tousled bob and a pair of wire-rimmed glasses perched on her button nose; however, at the moment and except for her glasses, Connie's costume was the same as Princess Alice... except for the freckles.  Constance Clarke's skin was clear and modestly tan.

Cricket Clarke, whose usual role at Foxwood might be described as "resident scamp," was also naked, bound, and gagged, with sandals and a neck-rope.  Like her cousin, Cricket was also devoid of freckles, but realistic, prosthetic appliances gave her ears the same pointy appearance as Andrea's and Dorothy's.  Cricket sometimes role-played a Wood-Elf, and apparently she was doing so now.  She had brown hair, like her cousin, but it was cropped even shorter, in a true pixie-cut.  Also as usual, Cricket was as cute as the proverbial bug... or the proverbial naked, captive Wood Elf.

All the captives—Alice, Constance, and Cricket (as well as Andrea and Dorothy)—were gorgeous.  Truth be told, everyone on both sides of the gate was gorgeous, in Hayden's nonobjective opinion.  (Hayden wasn't vain, but both Hobbits had called her "gorgeous" on two different occasions and neither Sharon nor Chloe had objected, so she was willing to live with the label.)

Jillian opened the Forest Gate and welcomed her guests into the fantasy realm of the Foxwood B&B.  A great deal of hugging and kissing ensued, including the deep, wet, extended kisses characteristic of Kayley Barbano.  The bound and gagged, naked captives were unable to actively participate, of course, but they passively absorbed their shares of the exuberant greetings.

"Welcome back to Foxwood," Jillian said as she hugged and kissed Hayden.

"T-thanks," was all Haylen could manage in response.

Once the greetings were complete, Hannah and Chloe added Andrea and Dorothy to the end of the queue of naked, bound, and gagged Foxwood employees.  Each captive had her own rope leash, the end of which was tied to the back of the next captive in line at the nape of their neck.  Then, with bows to Lady Foxwood and Lady Tauton, and with the end of Alice's tether in hand, Hannah stepped off.  The entire coffle of naked, box-tied, and gagged captives had no choice but to follow.  The order was Alice, Constance, Cricket, Dorothy, and Andrea.  As during the trek from the Outer Mews to the Forest Gate, Chloe-the-Barbarian acted as rearguard.

Hayden assumed the rest of them would follow, but Jillian and Sharon seemed content to linger at the Forest Gate.  Hayden watched as Andrea and Dorothy looked back over their shoulders in naked, bound, and gagged consternation, but the distance between the two parties continued to grow... and then the coffle and their blond slave-handlers disappeared around a bend in the trail.

Jillian smiled at Sharon.  "You didn't tell them?"

"Of course not," Sharon chuckled, then nodded at Hayden.  "I didn't tell this one, either."

Hayden blinked in confusion.  "D-didn't tell me what?  Mrrrrpfh!"  Sydney had stepped behind her and thrust a rag in her mouth, and now she was tying a cleave-gag over her stuffed mouth and around her hair and veil.  "Mrrrf!"  Sydney cinched the gag's knot tight, then returned to Hayden's front and stood next to her big sister.

"Hannah and Chloe are going to march their merchandise to the slave-market at Lond Daer," Jillian explained.  "It's a hard, dangerous journey of several days, but I'm sure they'll make it—most of them, anyway."

"Actually," Kayley purred, "they'll be spending the night at Waterfall Camp.  Their share of the welcoming feast is already waiting there in coolers hidden under a canvas tarp, ready to be reheated or finished over the campfire.  They'll return in the morning and the fun will begin."

"Not that they won't all be having fun tonight," Sydney added with a chuckle.  "I'm sure Hannah and her partner will feel obliged to sample the merchandise."

"Don't you have a roasting griffon to baste, or something?" Jillian asked Kayley.

"Or something," Kayley laughed, then started after the departed coffle and blond slavers.

Jillian, Sharon, Hayden, and Sydney followed at a leisurely pace.  Hayden's leash was still in Sharon's hand.  She looked back over her shoulder at Sydney, and the Evil Baroness favored her with a somewhat predatory smile.

Well...  Hayden quickly returned her gaze to the trail ahead.  She wasn't sure what to think about this turn of affairs, other than the obvious, that their vacation was off to a roaring but unexpected start.

The League of LIGATION

The trail continued to climb.  Jillian, Sharon, Hayden, and Sydney left the trees and entered a large, sunny, flowery meadow, and as they continued up the slope and it began to flatten out into a shallow valley, Foxwood Keep came into view.  As always, Hayden couldn't help but be impressed.

The Orange BannerThe Keep was a joined cluster of timber-frame buildings and towers.  The tallest was the Paramount Tower, capped by its roof-protected "lounge" with deck furniture and a spectacular view of the surrounding forested valleys and hills, and flapping from a flagpole was the orange banner.  Next in height was the infamous Stone Tower.  Then came the spire-like Windmill Tower, with its slowly spinning wheel of long spars and triangular canvas sails dyed in a variety of earth-tone colors.  Guest rooms and suites were scattered throughout the clustered buildings, which also included the Great Hall, Kayley's kitchens, and Foxwood's delightfully decadent Roman Bath.  There was also a Mill House with its wooden wheel turned by the swift-running waters of a stream which emerged from the forest, paused to feed a large duck pond, then continued into a cluster of boulders and splashed down the hill.

The Keep was constructed of both stone and timber, with the first floor of all the towers and buildings entirely of stone and the upper stories a mix of interlocking timbers and stone buttresses.  The exception, of course, was the Stone Tower, which was almost entirely of stone.  Oddly, given the proximity of Lady Foxwood's warlike and well-armed neighbors, as well as the occasional invading barbarian horde or tribe of goblins that might transit the area, there was no moat, palisade, or curtain wall, not even a proper fence.  To the medieval military mind, Foxwood was wide open and ripe for the plundering, but such was not the case.

Foxwood Keep was under the protection of the Green Witch of the Wood (Kayley Barnabo), and she had cast many powerful charms and curses on the Keep and its surrounds that would transform any invading army into so many rodents and amphibians.  This was a boon to the local hawk and heron populations and a periodic boost to the secondhand armor and weapons trades in the closest market towns.  This information (warning) was a prominent part of Foxwood's entry in all the popular guidebooks and travel guides, including Took and Bracegirdle's Travels Through Middle-earth, Percy's The Grand Tour of Nowhere, Thorvard's So You Want To Go Viking, and Slobberhole's Kill The Filthy Humans! Kill Them All!

As Hayden and the others crossed the Rainbow Bridge arching over the stream, Kayley was disappearing into her kitchen via one of the Keep's side doors and Hannah, the coffle of naked captives, and Chloe were reentering the forest on the far side of the duck pond, taking the long, looping trail for Waterfall Camp and points beyond.

Sydney hurried forward to open and hold a door for Jillian, Sharon, and Hayden to enter the Keep.  Being on the first floor, their surroundings were now hardwood floors, whitewashed stone walls with painted Celtic decorations in vegetable-dye colors, and heavy timber rafters overhead.  The walls of the upper floors were mostly wooden paneling and wainscoting, with the occasional hanging tapestry or trophy shield.  Not for the first time, Hayden reflected that inside and out, Jillian's domain resembled an estate designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Alfred the Great.  Foxwood Keep was magnificent.

Hayden was led down the hallway and deep into the Keep.  They passed side-corridors that led to the Great Hall, Roman Bath, and stairs leading up to various guest rooms.  Directly ahead was a heavy wooden door secured by a primitive (medieval) lock.  Hayden's heart began beating faster and she shivered in her bonds.  She knew where that door led!  Beyond was a stone, spiral staircase that climbed up to the Princess Cells and down to the Torture Chambers and Oubliette of the Stone Tower!

Hayden swallowed behind her gag as Sydney produced a large warded key and turned the lock.  Hayden had toured the Princess Cells with Jillian as her guide, but the horrors below were only rumors.

Was Hayden's Foxwood fantasy about to come true?  Was she going to languish in one of the Princess Cells?  Or would she be dragged below to an unknown and terrifying fate?

The League of LIGATION

Hayden was relieved (and not at all disappointed, not even a little) when they began climbing the stone stairs, rather than descending.

Unlike the more public stone-walled areas of the Keep, the interior of the Stone Tower was not whitewashed.  Nor were there Celtic decorations.  Also, most of Foxwood was illuminated by iron-caged glass globes glowing with the eldritch fire of Elvish magic.  In the Stone Tower, however, the hanging lanterns evoked iron spider webs and sinister, thorny vines.  The eldritch fire was the same, but it was Drowish magic.  Actually, the globes were electric fixtures with flickering LED bulbs and had been crafted by Archer Metals, but the fiction of the lanterns' fey origin allowed Jillian to use modern lighting while preserving for her guests' the illusion of medieval fantasy.

As they trudged up the stone stairs, daylight came from widely separated, heavily-barred, vertical arrow-slit windows.  Hayden reflected that bound or unbound, a damsel couldn't possibly wiggle and squirm her way through any of the narrow windows, so she could think of no practical reason for the bars, other than to add to a prisoner's feeling of being inescapably trapped.  The areas between windows were lit by flickering Drowish globes.  They climbed higher and higher, passing two landings with locked doors that Hayden assumed led to suites of individual cells.  Then, finally, they paused at a third landing while Sydney unlocked the door.  The stairs continued upwards, but Hayden would have to discover what waited above on another occasion.

The landing door led to an anteroom with three additional doors, all with small, covered hatches at viewing height.  Dungeon doors!  Sydney unlocked and opened the portal to Hayden's immediate left, then led her across the threshold.  The cell was vaguely the shape of a generous, triangular slice of pie, defined by the curved outer wall of the Stone Tower and two straight interior walls converging on the door.  The walls were gray stone, of course, and the ceiling heavy timber joists and wooden planks something like ten or twelve feet overhead.  As for furniture, there was a crude wooden bed with what appeared to be a straw-filled mattress, a straw-stuffed pillow, and a ratty wool blanket.  There was also a stool and a rickety-looking table supporting a clay jug Hayden suspected was her immediate water supply, and in one corner was a wooden bucket with a tight-fitting wooden lid, her toilet.  There was also a long iron chain with one end attached to an iron ring embedded in the outer wall and the other end attached to an iron collar.

This may or may not have been one of the Princess Cells Jillian showed Hayden during her last visit.  She wasn't sure, but it was similar, if not identical.  "Mrrrpfh!"  She struggled, but couldn't prevent Sydney from dragging her fully inside the cell, removing her rope leash, and replacing it with the iron collar.

Jillian and Sharon stood just inside the cell, watching Hayden's wide-eyed distress with serene smiles.

"Do you intend to untie her?" Sharon asked.

"Not until Sydney brings her a lunch tray," Jillian purred.  "Tonight, while the blond barbarians are dining with the others at Waterfall Camp, you'll both be my guests in the Great Hall to enjoy Kayley's welcoming feast.  Afterwards, Sydney will return Princess Hayden to her cell, stripped to her chemise, of course."

"Princess Hayden?" Sharon inquired.

"You thought I didn't know?" Jillian responded.  "You thought I wouldn't find out you'd kidnapped the third in line for the throne and intend to hold her for ransom?  I have my own friends at court."

"Friends, or spies?" Sharon purred.

Jillian shrugged.  "Whatever."

Hayden turned her gagged face from Jillian to Sharon, and back.  Both were still smiling, and they were obviously playing out one of Constance Clarke's scenarios.  Nobody ever tells me anything, Hayden thought with a gagged sigh.

"I suppose I could cut you in for a modest share," Sharon purred, then her smile was replaced by wide-eyed alarm!  "No!  How dare you!"  Sydney had stepped behind her and was using Hayden's former leash to bind Sharon's wrists together behind her back!  "Jillian!"

"Calm down, Sharon," Jillian chuckled.  "You thought it would be a good idea for us to surprise the others, so I decided we might as well surprise you, as well."

"Is Chloe in on this?" Sharon demanded, then added the phrase "Mrrrf!" when Sydney stuffed another wadded cloth into her indignant mouth and began tying yet another tight cleave-gag.  And unlike her treatment of Hayden, she was taking the time and trouble to tie the gag under Sharon's veil and hair.

"No," Jillian responded, "Chloe is not in on this, other than the capture of the youngsters and Hayden."

Hayden frowned behind her gag.  I'm not that old, she silently objected.  Thirty-something isn't old.

"But don't worry about Chloe," Jillian chuckled.  "Tomorrow, when the blond barbarians get back to the Keep with their naked merchandise in tow, thanks to a remarkable and highly unlikely series of events, the tables will turn and Chloe and Hannah will become the bound, gagged, and naked prisoners."

"Connie, Cricket, and the Princess have quite a series of entertainments planned for their former captors," Sydney purred with an evil smile.  "And I made a few suggestions myself."

"It'll be a surprise for Hannah, as well," Jillian added.  "But don't worry, she's always a good sport."

"Yes," Sydney agreed as she cinched Sharon's gag tight and tied the final knot, "and after Hannah spends a night or three tied face-to-face and boob-to-boob to Chloe, I'm sure that afterwards they'll both be even better friends."

Hayden blinked in amazement, imagining the two tan, athletic, beautiful blondes tied in the manner described and locked in a dungeon cell, passing the long, dark hours of the night sucking face.  Wow!

Jillian stepped close to Sharon and straightened her noble guest's (prisoner's) veil.  "I know you've been looking forward to being a spectator to the fun all the others will be having."  She included Hayden with a nod.  "Especially that one."  Continuing her gloating smile, she cupped Sharon's chin.  "But don't worry, you'll still get to watch... tied to a chair, chained to a torture chamber wall, or otherwise restrained, as circumstances require."  She leaned close and kissed Sharon's gagged lips.  "And why should the kids have all the fun?  I have plans for you, duchess.  Her Majesty will pay handsomely for the return of Princess Hayden, but just imagine the bounty she'll pay to have her daughter's kidnapper delivered into her hands, as well; however, nothing says you can't be marched to your eventual cruel and unusual execution after being repeatedly diddled silly."

Sharon stared at her captor with proud, angry eyes.

'Diddled silly?' Hayden thought.  Sharon?  Apparently, she decided, this turn of events might be a surprise, but Mistress is game.  Her love and admiration for Sharon only continued to grow.

"Lock her in the adjoining cell," Lady Jillian ordered, and Baroness Sydney led Sharon from Hayden's cell.

"Mrrrk?" Hayden watched Sharon and Sydney depart, then turned to find Jillian strolling in her direction.

Smiling the same sinister smile, Jillian reached out and cupped Hayden's chin, just as she had with Sharon.  "And as for you, young lady, I know you're relatively new to all this," Jillian purred, "and I'll take that into account.  But don't worry, I have lots of things to show you.  You know what a rack is, of course.  How 'bout the horse?"

Hayden's eyes popped wide.  "Nrrrf!"  Yes, she did know what a horse was!

"Don't worry, Hayden," Jillian chuckled.  "You'll find your pussy is a lot tougher and more resilient than you think."  She kissed Hayden's gagged lips.  "And I know you're curious about our oubliette."

Hayden continued staring at Lady Jillian in horror (and arousal).

"We also have a very nice gibbet-cage," Jillian purred, "made by Cody Archer herself, Chloe and Dorothy's boss.  Imagine... naked and in chains, including an iron scold's bridle, locked in the gibbet-cage and dangling from the Stone Tower, several stories above the ground below."

Hayden whined through her gag and shivered.  "Mrrrpfh."  She couldn't help herself.

"Not to worry," Jillian chuckled.  "It will only be one day, from sunrise to sunset.  And at some point in the next two weeks, well after the former slaves have had their revenge on the two blondes, Hannah and Sydney will take you for a nice, long hike.  Probably more than one, and with at least one overnight camping trip.  You'll be naked and tied up in some manner, of course.  After all, I have to make sure my guests get their exercise, don't I?"

With that, Jillian kissed Hayden a second time, then turned, strolled to the cell door... and paused in the threshold.  "I don't know if Sharon told you, but during the final two days of all orange-banner visits, I reimpose my green-banner rules.  I want all my 'special' guests to have time to, shall we say, decompress before going home.  Pleasant languishing, Princess."  She blew Hayden a kiss, then crossed the threshold and closed the door behind her.

Hayden stared at the closed door as she heard its lock turn.  Then... nothing.  Her heart was hammering.  That is, it was still hammering.  Just to confirm her estimate, she shuffled towards the cell door until her collar-chain lifted off the floor and went more-or-less taut.  She was still five or six feet from the portal.  Even unbound, the collar and chain wouldn't allow her to even touch the inside of the door.

Hayden sighed, again, then dragged her chain to the narrow, barred window.  The vertical slit allowed a severely limited view of the sunny lawn below and the forest beyond.  There was no sign of Prince Charming, Robin Hood, or Xena.

Well... I wondered what it would be like, she thought with a sigh, then strolled to the bed and sat.  The mattress was softer than she assumed it would be, and the stuffing seemed to be synthetic, not actual stiff, pokey straw.  I have a new and fun 'hobby,' she mused.  Before coming to Tauton House, Hayden's interest in the damsel-in-distress milieu had been somewhat casual and intellectual, only occasionally resulting in actual fantasies that evoked finger-fiddling in bed and/or wet-dreams.  Anyway, her feet were now solidly on a new path, and she couldn't be happier... terrified, but happy.

Hayden reclined full-length on the bed, got as comfortable as her box-tie bonds and iron collar would allow, and closed her eyes.  There was nothing in the time-honored tradition of languishing damsels that precluded indulging in the occasional catnap; however, Hayden had a lot to process and sleep didn't come easily.  Finally, however, she managed to drift off.  Her last coherent thought was a plaintive plea:

Oh, who will save me?


The League of LIGATION

Chapter 9

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