CROWN Affair

by Van © 2003
Chapter 11
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Sally was naked (of course).  Around her neck was her new "gift" from Andrea: a narrow steel choker collar.  It was light, strong, and comfortable; thin and smooth enough to be fine jewelry; thick and solid enough to be a functional restraint.  It closed in the front with a clever clasp incorporating a two inch steel ring dangling on a swivel mount and secured with a tiny padlock.  Sally had been allowed an opportunity to admire the collar (and herself) in a mirror.  On the front of the disc-shaped lock her name was engraved in Greek letters: sigma, alpha, lambda, lambda, psi.  On the reverse was a single letter "A" (alpha), for Andrea, of course, surrounded by a Celtic knot.

Her wrists were bound behind her back with soft, thick rope.  More precisely, her left wrist was tied to her right upper arm just above the elbow, and her right wrist to her left.  More rope lashed her forearms together.  Everything was tight, but not too tight, and was relatively comfortable.  Sally had the nagging feeling she ought to be able to wiggle out of her bonds, but wasn't so sure that was what she wanted... for the moment, anyway.  After all, the knots were Andrea's.  The diminutive blonde squirmed in her lover's ropes.   I'll wait 'til she leaves me alone, then I'll try and escape.

Andrea was a couple of paces in front, leading her prisoner down a narrow, dark, stone-walled corridor.  The redhead was in a short chiton of sheer, undyed linen and a narrow loincloth.  A narrow sash of moss green bound the tunic-like garment against the curves of her body.  A matching hair ribbon restrained her red curls.  Like Sally, her feet were bare.

"Andy," Sally complained, "where are we—"

Andrea spun on her heel and put her finger to her lips, then stepped to Sally's side and whispered in her ear.  "No talking!  Trust me... you don't want to get caught down here."


"We're in the Dark Priestess' private domain," Andrea explained.


Andrea sighed.  "If we're discovered down here, Helena gets to do anything she wants to us... until Thomasina notices we're missing.  And seeing as how Tommy's preoccupied entertaining your partner 'til morning, that could be a while."

Sally took a step back.  "Oh...  Then let's not go.  We could go swimmin' again.  Wha'cha say?"

Andrea smiled, crooked her right index finger through Sally's collar ring, and pulled her close.  "It's not your choice to make, Blondie.  If you like, I can gag you... maybe lace a nice leather hood over your noisy head?  I know where Helena keeps one with the cutest little slanted eye holes.  The nose holes are a little small, but breathing isn't impossible."

"Hearty har har," Sally muttered with a sullen pout.  "No gag.  I'll be good—eep!"  

Andrea left arm was around her prisoner's shoulders, and her right hand between Sally's thighs.  "If what Eleni told me is true, there's something very interesting up ahead, much more interesting than another swim, anyway."

"So now we're letting the cook send us off chasing wild gooses."  Andrea continued stroking Sally's sex.  "And speaking of gooses," Sally muttered, "if you don't stop that, you're gonna have to gag me."

"Oh, sorry darling," Andrea whispered, kissed Sally's cheek and started back down the corridor.  When Sally didn't follow immediately, she turned and crooked her finger.

Sally sighed and pattered after her lover.  The corridor was sloping downwards and getting ever darker.  They came to an iron grate set in the floor.  Andrea heaved on the grate and in opened on a squealing hinge.  The redhead cringed at the sound, then motioned Sally forward.  A narrow set of stone steps descended from the opening, down to a passage even more cramped and claustrophobic than their current surroundings.

Andrea led the way down the steps and Sally followed.  The passage below was perhaps a half meter wide and barely tall enough for Sally and Andrea to stand.  The floor was damp and slightly slimy and the air smelled of saltwater and old seaweed.

Sally stepped off the last tread and cringed.  "Yuk!" she whispered, her toes squishing in a patch of marine growth of some sort.

Instantly Andrea was at her side and had the blonde in a tight hand-gag.  "I'm not kidding!" she whispered in Sally's ear.  "If you don't shut up, I'm going to gag you, hog-tie you, and leave you down here 'til morning, understand?"

Sally nodded and Andrea removed her hand.  The captive grinned, turned her head, and whispered in her captor's pale, freckled ear.  "I love it when you get all butch like that!"  She then thrust her tongue into Andrea's ear.

Andrea pushed her prisoner's head away and wagged a warning finger before the little blonde's smiling, impudent, dimpled face.  "This is your final warning," she whispered, then kissed Sally's lips and led her away.  Andrea had produced a tiny key chain flashlight from under her sash and its weak red light was doing a barely adequate job of lighting their passage.

The corridor branched, then branched again, then ran in a curving arc for what had to be a hundred yards.  Finally, Sally and Andrea beheld a flickering amber glow ahead.  They crept forward, and a barred window was revealed; little more than a horizontal slot set high in the inside curve of the left wall.  It was perhaps a foot high and four or five feet wide.  The wall it pierced was very thick at this point, at least three feet, and the window's closely spaced bars were thick and solidly set in holes drilled in the stone blocks.

Beyond was a large chamber, lit by torches and a brazier of glowing coals.  Andrea beckoned Sally forward.  She stepped beside her captor and stood tall, slowly easing her head above the window's sill.  Her eyes popped wide when she saw what was beyond.  She opened her mouth—and instantly Andrea had her in a tight hand-gag.
Chapter 11
Kimber and Helena were in the chamber beyond... the torture chamber beyond.  Sally and Andrea's window was at the level of the chamber's floor.  The chamber itself was large... quite large, and had a vaulted ceiling.  There was a rack; a wheel; a bondage table of heavy timbers; several sets of stocks and pillories in various (obviously unpleasant) configurations; a chair with several dangling straps that was part of a complicated timber machine with large wooden gears and taut chains (and Sally did not want to learn whatever it was that thing did to whoever was unfortunate enough to be strapped in its embrace), and in the center of the chamber...  Sally and Andrea stared through the bars, their faces side-by-side, both pair of eyes wide with awe (and Andrea's pale hand still over Sally's lips).

Kimber was stretched over a stone slab that was inclined several degrees from the vertical.  The blonde was totally nude, of course.  Her legs were splayed and her ankles closely shackled to heavy iron rings in the slab's base.  Her wrists were manacled to rings set near the slab's upper edge, but the connecting chains were longer, long enough for her to reach an iron bar suspended several inches above her hands.  The bar was tightly gripped in her hands and she was pulling her body up and off the slab, her only contact the heels of her bare, shackled feet.  The muscles of her arms, chest, abdomen, and legs were corded and defined and her buttocks clenched, and sweat glistened on her toned, tan body.  She was gagged (of course), a cloth stuffed in her mouth and another tightly cleaving her lips.  The angle of the slab was not extreme, so the effort required to maintain her position should not have been that great; therefore, the watchers surmised, she must have been making the effort of holding herself off the smooth stone for some time.

And why was she making that effort?  Taut, fine chains glistened in the torchlight.  They stretched from a large metal framework of gears and cogs suspended high overhead and down to elaborate clamps on Kimber's nipples.  The clamps were tight and stretched Kimber's breasts slightly, making them slightly more conical than usual.

Andrea whispered in Sally's right ear.  "Those clamps are spring loaded, and have ring posts that will pierce her nipples if they release!"  Sally shuddered and Andrea gave her a reassuring hug.  "She showed them to me once... while I was stretched on that rack over there.  The mechanism releases at a preset tension, and—"  Andrea went silent and her hand was back over Sally's lips.

Helena was walking towards their window.  Resplendent in her black leather sandal boots, short skirt of studded leather strips, and strapless bodice/breastplate, the pale-skinned, raven-haired beauty stopped at an amphora resting in an iron stand, and dipped a cup of water.  She drank, refilled the cup, and walked towards Kimber's straining form.  "Why do you even bother, Kim?" Helena asked, drinking the cool, clear water before her straining, sweating victim.  "Why put yourself through this... torture?  The end will be the same: you collapse in exhaustion, the clips spring, and your nipples are pierced."

Kimber blinked sweat from her eyes, shook her head, and forced a negative sound past her gag.

Helena smiled, poured her remaining water in a slow stream between Kimber's breasts, and watched it roll down her hard abdomen, pool in her navel, trickle through her blond pubic bush, and drip from her sex onto the slab.  "It's going to happen.  Why not just relax?  It will only hurt for an instant... not counting the throbbing ache and itching as the holes heal."  She reached out and caressed the underside of one of Kimber's firm, tan, slightly stretched breasts.  "And just think of the fun we'll have after they do heal.  I have a set or rings ready and waiting with permanently locking closures.  I can see you now... bound in thin cord from head to toe, gagged with my finest harness and hood, dancing on your toes as the wet rawhide thongs linking your rings to the ceiling sloooowly dry and contract...  I can hardly wait."

A click sounded from the mechanism overhead.  Kimber and Helena (and Sally and Andrea) watched as a steel ball bearing was released from a hopper, rolled down a slightly inclined spiral track, and dropped into another hopper.  Several gears moved and the chains attached to the nipple clamps shortened slightly.  Kimber moaned through her gag and pulled herself further off the slab to compensate.

"It's going to happen," Helena said again, then strolled back to the amphora.  (Andrea and Sally stopped breathing.)  Helena hooked the cup's handle through the amphora's stand, then turned to face her victim (which put her back to Sally and Andrea's window).  "In exactly one minute I'm going to open the tide gates and flood the main drain channels," she announced to the world in general.  "Any Vixens or Weasels trapped therein will be drowned like rats."

Sally and Andrea's heads swiveled and their eyes locked.  "Run!" they whispered in unison, and pattered away the way they had come.

Helena smiled and strolled back towards her straining prisoner.  "There," she purred, a gloating smile on her angelic (demonic) beautiful face.  "It's better to suffer with some degree of privacy, isn't it Kim?"  She reached out and gave Kimber's glistening abdomen a slow caress, then crooked her fingers and scratched the blonde's pubic bush.  "Of course, I know you don't mind if I watch."
Chapter 11
Katherine struggled and strained, seeking a weakness in the ribbon-like silk bands binding her wrists to the small of her back and pinning her arms to her sides.  She rolled about on Thomasina's bed, nude and angry, her ankles bound with more silk, her neck collared and chained to the luxurious apartment's ceiling by a long, dangling chain.  I hate being tied up! she fumed.

Katherine was angry with Thomasina, of course, the author of her condition; but she was also angry with herself.  She glared at the statue of Aphrodite on the far side of the roughly circular chamber.   Why? Katherine demanded.  She's kidnapped me, she keeps me tied up, she lets her servants do terrible things to me... so why do I start quivering like a schoolgirl with a crush whenever she's around?  No answer from the goddess of love was forthcoming.

Katherine ignored the statue of Athena.  The goddess of wisdom and war was Thomasina's patron.  Katherine writhed in her helplessness, growling in frustration.  Her bonds had been expertly applied, but they weren't that complicated.  The narrow silk sashes Thomasina had used weren't that long, so the hitches and redundant knots she would have used if Katherine's bonds were rope were largely absent.   If only I could pull some tension!  I could transfer the resulting slack and eventually get free... but I can't reach anything important!

She glanced at the statue of Artemis—then froze in her bonds.  The hair on the back of her neck stood erect and a she felt a thrill of awe.  Just for an instant, as one of the gossamer drapes blew across the statue in the afternoon breeze, Katherine could have sworn the marble statue had turned its head, ever so slightly, and smiled at her.  Katherine shivered in her bonds—then her gaze settled on Artemis left hand.  It was cupped at her side with the fingers gracefully curved inwards... and if I hop over there and use it to hook just the right part of my bonds...

Katherine squirmed towards the statue, eased her bound ankles off the bed, carefully stood, and started hopping.  The weight of the neck chain almost got her.  She hopped forward three steps, the chain pulled her back two, she compensated, and hopped forward to the statue's base.  She knelt at the goddess' feet (like a supplicant), wiggled forward, and looped the goddess' marble hand under the silk band below her right breast.  In the process, the cool marble dimpled the firm flesh of her breast and the nipple popped erect.  Feeling a little foolish (and blushing slightly), Katherine leaned back.  The band below loosened and the band above tightened.  Clinching her arms against her sides to hold the tightness and the slack, she eased the statue's hand free, and slowly, carefully, maneuvered the loop of narrow silk cinching the lower band between her arm and torso into the statue's open grasp, then leaned to the right and away from the statue.  Now both bands around her arms were tight, but the cinching band was very loose.  She extricated the goddess hand, and shuffled on her knees until her back was to the statue.  She used her left hand to transfer the slack from the front to the back, then rolled her shoulders and twisted her arms.  Next, she hooked the statue's hand under the lower band pinning her arm, and slowly stood.  She tugged and strained as she came erect, and the band slipped under her crooked elbow.

Katherine now had considerable slack in the back.  She shuffled around to face the statue and remained kneeling at its feet.  Flushed with hope, Katherine groped with her right hand and felt the side of the main knot securing her wrists.  Now this I can work with.  She raised her chin, shook her tousled locks out of her face, gazed up at Artemis, and smiled.  Thank you, huntress!
Chapter 11
By the time Andrea and Sally reached the steps leading to the upper corridor, sea water was gurgling around their ankles.  Andrea scampered up the steps with Sally on her heels, then closed the grate over the opening in the floor.  Below, the flow doubled... then doubled again.  Soon water was pouring down the channel, deep and fast.

Sally flopped down on the stone floor and leaned back against the wall.  "That sadistic bitch would have drowned us!" she gasped, her eyes wide with horror and surprise.

Andrea sat beside her and gave her a quick kiss.  "No... It's just more melodrama," the slightly out of breath redhead panted.  "We'd have been flushed into the settling chamber, not drowned."

"Settling chamber?"

"The island's 'gray water' is flushed into the sea, but they route it through a big circular chamber so any trash or kitchen waste from the grinders has a chance to settle out," Andrea explained.  "The sea floor around the island stays more natural that way.  It still would've been bad."

Sally squirmed in her bonds.  "Bad?"

"The inflow is too steep and slimy to climb up," Andrea explained, "the outflow is barred, and the chamber itself is about forty feet deep with these little concentric ledges around the sides.  Everything is covered with gunky slime, but that's not the worst part."  Andrea shuddered and held her arms as if she were cold.

Sally waited several seconds.  "Well?"

"Crabs," Andrea whispered.


Andrea shuddered again.  "Big ones, little ones, tiny ones, and they'll crawl all over you if you let them.  You can't rest for fear they'll decide you're a big kitchen scrap."

"You sound like... you've been there," Sally whispered.

"You can't get out," Andrea said, her eyes focused on the far wall, "even if she hasn't chained you to the wall, and the high tide comes up to your chin, and the low tide gurgles and churns the mass of old bones and crabs in the bottom of the sump... and the crabs won't leave you alone.  I still dream about it sometimes."

"Jesus!" Sally whispered, shivering in her bonds.  "What kind of a place is this?"

Andrea smiled.  "Helena only left me in there for two turns of the tide, Silly," she explained.  "'What does not kill us, makes us stronger,'" she quoted.

"I'm plenty strong enough, thank you," Sally muttered.  "Helena can keep her damn crabs."

Andrea laughed and hugged her bound captive close.  Her hands wandered over the blonde's tan body and she nibbled the squirming pixie's left ear.  "So... what you want to do now?  You hungry?"  Sally shook her head.  "Want to take a nap?"

"I'm not tired," Sally answered, savoring the scent of her captor's copper-red curls as they brushed across her face.

Andrea kissed Sally full on the lips.  "Who said anything about sleeping," she purred, and kissed her again.
Chapter 11
Katherine squirmed out of the last loop of silk binding her wrists, then shrugged off the bands still draped around her arms and torso.  She attacked the knot of the sash binding her ankles, and soon all her bonds were a tangle of deep-red silk pooled at Artemis' marble feet.  Katherine's only remaining bond was her collar and chain... and if the ring I hid in the mattress isn't the key, she thought, it'll be more than enough to nip this escape in the bud.

Katherine ran her hand over her collar.  She could feel the shallow, crown-shaped inset where her captors had used magnetic keys to lock and unlock the various chains that had held her prisoner.  Katherine smiled at the statue of Artemis and nodded.  "I could use a little more help, huntress," she whispered, then walked to the bed.  She groped for the ring between the mattress and marble platform... and found it.  She then dragged her chain towards the bathroom.

It reached, as Thomasina had promised.  The room was small but completely equipped: commode, bidet, shower, and wash basin, all with hands-free controls.  There was also a mirror, of course.  Katherine gazed at her reflection, took a deep breath, and fit the ring to the inset she had felt being used before.  She turned the ring, and the staple-like ring set in the collar snapped open!  Thank you goddess!  She turned the collar around her throat.  Just as she'd suspected, there was a second crown engraved on the back, next to a hairline seam in the gleaming steel.  She fit the ring, gave it a turn, and the collar opened!  "Hail Artemis," Katherine whispered, gazing at her naked but completely unrestrained body in the mirror, "Hail huntress!  Hail protectress of Nature, unmarried women... and overconfident insurance investigators."

Katherine closed and locked the collar, reattached the chain, and carried it back to the bed.  She then did a quick exploration of the suite.  The open doorway led to the elevator and a descending staircase.  The windows all led to small balconies.  The washroom had a linen closet stocked with fluffy towels and guest soaps, but nothing useful to an escaping fugitive.  She walked to a door opposite the dangling chain, one she would have been unable to reach if the collar was still around her neck.  "Jackpot!"

It was a walk-in closet.  Several chitons hung from modern hangers, as did evening gowns, business suits, casual outfits, and sporting apparel.  A row of drawers revealed neatly stacked loincloths, panties, bras, stockings, and pantyhose.  There was a large rack of footwear, including sandals, boots, heels, and several styles of athletic shoes.  In the back of the closet was a large steel locker.  It had a handle, but it wouldn't turn.  Then Katherine noticed the crown engraved on its surface.  She smiled, fit the ring, and gave it a turn.   Now the handle clicked.  She opened the steel door, and... "Double jackpot!"

The locker contained catsuits and bush clothing in black, khaki, and several camouflage schemes: desert, forest, jungle, and urban terrain.  There were also equipment belts and harnesses, climbing rope, bundles of flexi-cuffs, rolls of tape, and coils of thin cord.  Several firearms were on display behind an armored glass panel: pistols, machine pistols, assault rifles, even an exotic sniper's rifle, as well as clips, cleaning kits, and boxes of ammunition; however, the panel was secured by a very hefty lock with a numeric keypad.

Katherine sighed and continued her inspection.  She opened a drawer and discovered several knives.  There were many different designs, and all were functional; nothing flashy but useless.  She opened another drawer and found several small spray canisters.  A careful sniff confirmed her suspicion: "Soma," the kidnapper's friend, a cocktail of drugs that were absorbed via skin contact and rendered a target unconscious for several minutes with no aftereffects.

Katherine turned in a circle, her eyes roaming over the contents of the main closet and the locker.  "So... What to wear... What to wear..."
Chapter 11
Katherine settled on a one piece swimsuit of thin neoprene rubber.  It was matte black and very French cut, with a low décolletage and a zipper that closed in the front with a large ring.  Black diving tabbies were on her feet and a well balanced dive knife with a drop point and serrated edge was sheathed and strapped to her right leg, below the knee.  Her long brown hair was bobbing in a tight ponytail, restrained by a black ribbon.  A light climbing harness of black nylon webbing was strapped around her waist, through her thighs, and over her shoulders.  It held several flexi-cuffs, coils of black cord, and a flat roll of tape, all snapped and velcroed in pouches at convenient points.

Katherine stood and admired herself in the washroom mirror.  "Lara Croft, eat your heart out," she purred, then splashed her face and patted it dry.  She returned to the bedroom.  A Katherine-shaped bundle of hideously expensive designer clothing was "reclined" under the bed's light covers, the collar and chain around its "neck."  A brown scarf very close to Katherine's hair color peeked out from under the top sheet.  Katherine stepped to a small alcove near the apartment's main door, put her back to the cool marble, and settled to the floor, a canister of Soma in her right hand.

The sun was low in the Mediterranean sky.  Katherine guessed sunset was less than two hours away.  She smiled at the statue of Artemis...  Hail the huntress!  ...and waited for Thomasina to saunter into her trap.
Chapter 11

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