Go To Part 8
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Sanguine - Part 7
“Where in the world did you find a red horse?!” Danny asked in disbelief.
Already on the horse's back, Sanguine leaned over to pet her horse on the cheek with her palm. “Isn't he beautiful?”
He had brown hair all over his body that naturally had a tint of red running through it. A thorough brushing kept him shiny, which made him appear redder than he would have otherwise. As it dulled, he looked like he was covered in rust.
Sanguine had sent Danny back to his rented room that morning, and now waited for him to finish getting ready to go. Danny secured his saddlebag to the older work horse that had belonged to his family almost as long as he'd lived. He'd grown up riding this horse, and considered him irreplaceable. Even so, comparing his horse to the sheer beauty of her horse made him jealous for one second.
The innkeeper – along with everyone in the town – knew of Lady Desespoir and the Mistresses. On occasion, women would be hired to help the maids deep clean the castle. Men often did business with them – such as food delivery – and even a handful of them had been reformed in the dungeon. The innkeeper was one of the reformed, and he rushed to drop to his knees before Sanguine.
“What brings you to town today, Mistress? Is there anything I can do for you?” He asked.
Sanguine smiled at him, which made him shiver uncontrollably. “I'm actually about to leave to pay another visit to my family. Thank you for your kind offer, but I have everything I need.”
“Yes Mistress!” The innkeeper replied in relief.
Danny mounted his horse. “I'm all set.”
Sanguine chuckled a tiny bit. “I haven't actually had to find my way home before. I'm certain you know how to get there from here, so lead on!”
Danny nodded, then kicked-started his horse while guiding him in the right direction. They trotted out of town, careful to show consideration for local foot and cart traffic.
People noticed Sanguine's trademark blood-red dress and got out of her way. The braver ones called out, “Good day Mistress Sanguine.”
She nodded at them graciously. Meanwhile, they surreptitiously stared at Danny, wondering if he was a reformed criminal in her service. He didn't look like a criminal, but then again, sometimes people hid their true nature well.
What took about a day and a half by carriage would only take them a day by horse if they kept a steady pace. Even so, Sanguine decided to stop for the evening when they reached a nice inn about two towns and two or so hours away from their destination. Danny frowned in confusion.
“Why not just continue on until we get there?”
Sanguine smirked at him. “I can either arrive tired and hungry tonight, or I can arrive well rested and ready to do my job around mid-morning tomorrow. I'd much prefer option B.”
Danny nodded in understanding, and then shrugged to indicate that he didn't care either way. He got down from his horse, and then watched in fascination as she talked to the stablehands. She gave them precise and fairly fussy instructions about how they should treat her horse, and they could not stop staring at her claws as she idly scratched herself while she talked. They gulped as they realized that someone who had no concern for making herself bleed would probably not think twice about making them drip with blood if they disobeyed her.
“Yes, my Lady!” They agreed hastily.
“Mistress,” she corrected sweetly.
The Stablemaster – who also found it interesting the way she had just completely dominated his workers – strode over to her to help her dismount. She rested her hands on his shoulders as he used his hands on her waist to gently lift her off her horse and set her on her feet. He held onto her a bit too long, his eyes promising to utterly satisfy her. She dug her claws into him, making him gasp in surprise. He dropped his hands from her waist and stepped back a few feet.
With a smile, she thanked them for their help, and then turned to wait for Danny to finish unfastening her saddlebag so that he could carry it in for her. He hid a grin over the foolishness of the Stablemaster's actions, then followed her inside the inn.
The innkeeper's eyes swept down Sanguine's body and then back up to her eyes. “Good evening. We don't often get ladies of your caliber... What brings you here?”
“Just passing through,” Sanguine informed him with a smile. “I'll need a room and something to eat for me and my man here.”
“Yes, my Lady. I'll show you to your room, and your man can bunk with the servants and share their meal,” the innkeeper stated, mistaking Danny for a poorly dressed manservant.
Sanguine sighed as if bored, opting not to correct the way he addressed her. “It would be far more convenient for me to have him on hand at my beck and call. You will bring him dinner in my room as well.” She stroked his cheek as she said this, careful to leave just one small scratch.
“As you wish,” the innkeeper replied, deciding that whatever they did was none of his business.
Sanguine handed him more than enough to pay for the room and the food. Seeing this, the innkeeper grinned. She just rented my best room!
“Right this way, my Lady,” he beckoned, then led her to the biggest room he had. It was rented infrequently, and therefore kept in pristine condition.
Sanguine nodded in satisfaction, then tossed the innkeeper another coin. “I'd like a bath...”
He nodded, a bit depressed that he'd have to lug the heavy tub up all those stairs, but grateful for the coin.
Danny laughed softly after the innkeeper rushed off to do his job. “I'm usually treated decently. The innkeepers have no problem giving me the service I pay for, but even so, I've never seen anyone jump to do a complete stranger's bidding like that!”
He pulled her into his arms, kissing along her jaw to her neck. “So what now? You've made it clear that you don't want to marry me, but you seem to have no problems bedding me. Am I just supposed to say goodbye to you tomorrow, and never see you again.”
Sanguine inhaled slowly, and then exhaled a soft sigh. “Yes... Unless one of us specifically visits the other...”
“Do you think you'll ever visit me?” He wondered.
“I don't know,” she replied with a helpless shrug.
A knock on the door announced the return of the innkeeper with the tub. Sanguine gestured an order, and Danny strode to let him in. He had a bunch of servants with him carrying buckets of hot water and one maid had a tray with a plate of food for each of them. They filled the tub about 2/3rds full, and then wished them a pleasant stay.
Danny shook his head in amusement. “You take a lot of baths! Most people have to make do with a basin of water and a washcloth. I'm told that not even the nobility bathe more than once a week!”
Sanguine shrugged. “Dried blood itches ever so annoyingly. I got into the habit of washing it off every day, and the habit stuck I guess.”
They ate while the water cooled to something less than scalding, then Sanguine had Danny help her undress. He opted not to take a bath with her, but was more than happy to help her scrub up. His hand fiddled between her legs until she gasped and bit the knuckle of her right pointer finger to keep from crying out in pleasure.
“Remove your clothes now before I remove them with my claws!” Sanguine growled in warning. Danny complied with a grin as she stepped out of the tub and dried off with a rough towel.
Danny swept her off her feet, and carried her to the bed. She giggled in anticipation as he set her down, and then kissed her from her lips to her neck on down to her breasts. A soft sigh escaped her as she surrendered to the wonderful fire spreading throughout her body.
He kissed a path down her stomach all the way to the soft hair covering her mound. Pausing for a moment, he looked up at her, and then smirked.
“Remember... if you don't want anyone to know that we've done this, you have to be very quiet...”
Sanguine gasped as she realized he was right, and then gasped again when he spread her open and plunged his tongue inside her. If she'd thought she was on fire before, he proved her wrong!
It took too much effort to remain silent. Even her breathing seemed to roar in her ears! The only thing she could think of to prevent anyone from hearing her was to smother herself with a pillow. Even so, she was certain that everyone in the inn could hear her screams of pleasure!
The moment she stopped squealing and melted into the bed, Danny shifted to enter her. He pulled her legs up over his hips, and then slid his shaft through her juices for a moment before plunging as deeply as possible.
She cried out, curling her body into his. Already she shook from the intensity. He pounded into her over and over, making her call out, “Oh Gods!” with each thrust.
Danny was amazed to discover that he had the stamina to last for over an hour, but by this time, she was biting his shoulder to muffle her squeals. His thrusts got incredibly fast right before he cried her name into her ear and flooded her with his seed.
She panted to calm her rapid heartbeat – feeling that this was the perfect way to end the day – and then drifted off to sleep.
They stopped for a moment at the fork in the road. One way led into town, and the other way led to several of the surrounding farmers' properties – including Sanguine's parents... and Danny's house. At almost 20, he was old enough to marry, move out, and built a house of his own, but doing so made no sense!
It was a pretty wide-spread tradition in the Kingdom that the oldest son inherited the property and all daughters were married to men that could take care of them. Since Danny had no younger brothers, he was both expected and obligated to take over the farm when his parents were old enough that they wanted to retire.
Moving away would just complicate things unnecessarily...
Danny stared at the only women he had ever considered marrying. She looked deep in thought, her gaze staring vaguely in the direction of the town.
“I know my way from here, thank you,” she murmured, effectively dismissing him.
He looked down the road to his home, and then back at her. “Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?”
She was as cold as ice at the moment. All business once more. Her indifference made Danny want to cry.
“No, I can handle this myself. Besides, everyone for miles around is going to be summoned to town, so you will see me again,” she assured him, and then her expression turned from mostly blank to dark and dangerous. “Do not act overly familiar with me while I'm delivering the King's verdict! I don't want any distractions!”
Feeling like she had just slammed a door in his face, Danny nodded in understanding. “Do you plan to stay for a while after that?”
Her expression softened to sympathy, but she shook her head. “No. I'll probably leave as soon as I deliver the verdict.”
“So... this is goodbye...” He mumbled, wanting nothing more than to kiss her; hopefully a kiss she would never forget. He sensed that she would not welcome anything from him out here in the open where someone might happen upon them.
Confirming his theory, she waved once. “Goodbye Danny,” she stated, and then kicked her horse so that he would canter towards town.
“Goodbye Sandra!” He called after her, praying that doing so would make her mad enough to turn around and come back to him, even if it was to punish him for being overly familiar with her.
With a heavy heart, he nudged his horse to bring him home. On the way, he passed Sanguine's family property. Her father spotted him, and rushed to see if he had good news.
“Danny! Glad to see you've returned! How's Sandra doing?”
Danny pulled on the reins to signal a stop, and then forced himself to respond the way he knew she wanted him to. His voice was dull, reflecting his emotional numbness.
“Mistress Sanguine is well. She asks that I give you her love, and also wants me to let you know that she will be in town tomorrow at noon to read a missive from the King.”
Amos frowned, deeply concerned. “Danny... Are you well?”
“I'm fine,” Danny lied. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to return home.”
Amos nodded, utterly stunned by the change in the ever optimistic young man. He seemed almost... broken... Amos gasped softly in sudden realization. “Oh no!”
Danny was quiet when he got home, and went straight to his room. His mother bit her lip in worry, but left him alone.
A handful of messengers were sent out to everyone under Lord Wolf's jurisdiction calling them to be in town at noon the next day. An official communication from the King was nigh unheard of around here, and everyone was brimming with excitement... and fear.
Around mid-morning, Danny, his parents, and his sister set out in order to arrive in town a bit early. They met Amos, Mareth, and the rest of their children on the way.
“Any idea what the verdict is?” Amos asked Danny curiously, still concerned.
Danny shrugged. “All I know is that Lord Wolf was no longer in Lady Desespoir's dungeon, and that their Majesties specifically requested that Mistress Sanguine read their missive in person.”
Amos stopped his horse short, blocking Danny from going any farther either. “What did she do to you?!”
Danny closed his eyes, shook his head, and refused to answer. All he would say was one vague statement. “Just do me a favor and never insist that she marries anyone. She flat out told me that if you force a groom on her, the poor man will find himself thrown in the dungeon for an extended stay...”
Danny guided his horse around Amos, and continued on their way.
His mother gasped as the implication hit her. “Please tell me that she didn't... torture you...”
More to reassure his mother than anything, Danny decided to actually reply. “No...”
Even though he told the truth, his voice was hollow, as if he was lying. This was because he felt that witnessing the events in the dungeon was as good as experiencing them himself. He silently thanked every God he knew that he hadn't done anything to earn such horrible treatment.
In fact, had she not pushed him out of her life and slammed the door, he would probably look back on the whole experience rather fondly. Instead, he felt wounded by her casual disregard.
They reached town about an hour before the verdict was announced. As time passed, the crowd grew larger than anyone could ever remember seeing in town at one time. Not even the yearly mid-summer dance was this well attended!
The clock in the tower in the center of town started gonging the noon hour, and everyone fell silent in anticipation. Sanguine stepped out onto a permanent platform intended for use by any messenger delivering a proclamation.
She looked absolutely stunning in red velvet and black lace. Even her hair had been styled by someone that new how to make a woman look her best. Her face looked almost angelic with her lightly applied make-up. Only her nails did not match the image of a properly bred Lady.
Holding up the missive, Sanguine waved it back and forth so that everyone could see that it bore the King's seal and hadn't been opened by anyone since the King himself had pressed his crest into the wax. No one dared to breathe lest they miss a word she had to say, though nervous glances proved that many people recognized her from the incident with Lord Wolf.
“I am Mistress Sanguine, and I am an official representative of the King and Queen. Their Majesties have asked that I personally come to deliver their verdict concerning the incident involving Lord Wolf earlier this year.”
Taking a moment to break the seal, Sanguine fell silent as she unfolded the thick paper and straightened it out so that she could read it. The first paragraph was written by a scribe and exalted their Majesties. Then it came directly to the point.
“After receiving a complaint against Lord Wolf by one of Our representatives, and then a report from an official investigator, We have come to the decision that Lord Wolf was treating his subjects unfairly. His actions were in direct violation of several royal laws, and We have stripped him of his title and property.”
Sanguine paused to reread that in case she had gotten it wrong somehow. A small frown creased her brow because she knew that Lord Wolf had actually died at Lady Desespoir's hands before they'd even returned home. He was literally so weak that his heart gave out before she'd had a chance to torture him decently!
Deciding that she had read that correctly, she continued. “Finding Ourselves with a vacancy that needed to be filled, We pondered at great length who would be the best person to govern Lord Wolf's land, and finally decided on...”
Sanguine faltered, paling slightly. Her hands shook ever so slightly, but Danny was certain that almost no one noticed except him. She took a few deep breaths, as if she were a fish suddenly flung onto the shore.
“Decided on M... Mistress Sanguine, longtime representative of the Crown and now a Lady of the Realm.”
She turned to the town Elder and handed the letter to him so that he could confirm that she was telling the truth and reading it correctly. He studied it gravely for a moment, and then nodded.
“Congratulations Lady Sanguine,” the Elder stated, his voice gravelly with age.
“NO!” A man shouted from the crowd. “We will not be governed by that demon!”
Several men roared in agreement.
“She murdered Lord Wolf!”
“She wounded at least half the town with those unholy claws of hers!”
“She should be burned at the stake and sent back to the Underworld!”
Danny longed to rush to her aid, but there really wasn't anything he could do. He was literally trapped in the crowd.
Amos roared for attention. “She did not murder Lord Wolf! He was very much alive when he was brought to justice!”
No one wanted to listen.
Sanguine tried to calm them. “I promise to do my best to govern with compassion and mercy!”
Lord Wolf's son – who had just learned that he was no longer in charge around here – pointed at her emphatically. “Take her into custody! We'll burn her at sundown!”
Sanguine sighed. “BUT if you refuse to settle down, I'll have to make you listen to reason!”
Three men ran up the platform. The Elder had already abandoned her, so she was alone. Even so, she wasn't afraid. She slashed the first man with her claws sharply enough to send him flying off the side of the platform, and then kicked the second man into the third man so that the both tumbled back down the stairs.
“You there, pup!” She growled at Lord Wolf's son. “Come here!”
He nearly fainted. “You stay away from me, demon!”
“Don't make me come after you, or it'll be 100 times worse than you can possibly imagine!” Sanguine warned.
People in the crowd started bemoaning how impossible it was to capture a demon. The Lord's son tried to slip towards the back of the crowd, but they wouldn't let him.
“I am your rightful Lord!” He screeched. “You should all be willing to give your lives to protect me!”
“I haven't killed anyone, and I don't plan to!” Sanguine pointed out. “Now, come here!”
The disloyal crowd pushed him forward until he was at the bottom of the platform. Sanguine walked down the stairs, her heels clicking ominously. She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and then glared around at the crowd.
“Anyone else want to challenge me?”
“I do!” An absolutely huge man called out from the back of the crowd. People shifted to make way for Big Mike. “As bad as I thought Lord Wolf was, you seem worse!”
Sanguine roughly pushed the pup to the ground, and then elbowed him in the back of the head to render him unconscious. She remembered Big Mike from her childhood. It was hard not to, he towered over everyone even then!
“I'm really not,” Sanguine informed him. “You'll see. I can be so very gracious.”
“I don't believe you,” Big Mike stated. “And besides, only a noble born Lord can truly govern his lands. You would impoverish us all before you even figured out what it means to be a Lady of the Realm!”
By this time, he was standing only a few feet away from her, in the middle of a suddenly clear circle.
“I know I can do better than the Wolf Clan!” Sanguine insisted.
Big Mike shook his head, positive that even the sniveling coward passed out at her feet was better than a woman fumbling to govern them. He was also confident that all he needed to do was defeat her, and she'd go back to the King and refuse the position.
Sanguine ducked the punch he threw. He was so slow that it felt like he wasn't even trying to fight! Considering that he had never hit a woman before in his life, he really wasn't giving her his all.
The next two punches were just as easy to evade, and she cast him a look of confusion. “Are you even trying to hit me?”
He squared his shoulders and focused on doing a better job. He was actually a good fighter, and often earned extra money by sparring with men around town. The consensus was that Big Mike was unbeatable!
Both Amos and Danny wanted to intervene, but they knew well that Big Mike was a good man and wouldn't seriously hurt her. It was just gut-wrenching to watch!
Sanguine danced around evading every punch he threw until he roared in frustration. “Hold still!”
Sanguine laughed. “So you can bash my skull in with your abnormally large fist? No thank you!”
“I wouldn't do such a thing!” Big Mike insisted.
“Really?” Sanguine asked, incredulous that he would admit that during an important fight. “Well then, let me tell you something.”
She jumped to the side to avoid yet another punch. He was obviously beginning to tire. His panting told her more than anything that he was used to winning his fights quickly; probably with a single punch.
“I perform a very important service for their Majesties. I reform criminals. Terrible criminals! Men who would kill their father, force their mother, and then beat up their little sister just for fun! You think I'm a demon?!” She scoffed.
Big Mike faltered, curious. “What's your point? What does any of that have to do with governing this land?”
“My point,” Sanguine stated emphatically, “is that there's a reason the King and Queen chose me! I can handle the job, and I can protect myself from anyone who thinks otherwise!”
Big Mike decided to use the element of surprise and lunge at her while she was talking to him and didn't expect it. She rolled to the side, and then kicked his feet out from under him.
“My point is that I deal with men bigger and stronger than you every day!” Sanguine informed him, pressing her heel into his neck.
“Then I guess I don't need to play nice with you!” Big Mike decided. Grabbing her foot, he flung her to the ground. She rolled and got to her feet before he had a chance to fully stand up.
It took some effort, but she managed to kick the side of his head with her boot without stabbing him with her heel. So far, she had made it a point of pride not to actually hurt him, but he was starting to get on her nerves!
“Surrender peacefully!” Sanguine commanded.
“I never lose a fight!” Big Mike shouted. He now felt that it would be worse than anything to lose to a woman half his size!
“Well, it might help if you actually fought!” Sanguine yelled at him, actually enjoying the chance to use her skills on someone who wasn't chained to the wall.
Try as he might, he simply wasn't fast enough to catch her. He also didn't have to use his fighting skills for longer than a couple minutes at a time, whereas stamina was half her job.
A couple of minutes passed, and then he got smart enough to feint one way and actually manage to catch her by surprise enough to knock her back to the ground.
She grinned at him as he lumbered over to her. “I guess I'd better get serious now too, huh?”
Flipping to her feet, she waited for him to get into range, caught the punch he was so sure would hit her, and then twisted to jab her elbow into his stomach and stomp on his foot with her heel. He howled in pain, completely distracted.
This gave her an opening to face him and rapidly stab him up and down his chest with her claws. She didn't puncture him too deeply, so the wounds weren't fatal, but they were painful. He staggered away from her.
She kicked him in the gut, which caused him to land on his back, and then straddled him with her claws pressed into his throat. “Do you yield?”
He was panting from the effort of the fight, which made his wounds sting each time his chest moved. Considering that he hadn't really hit her, he was smart enough to concede defeat.
“Yes,” he admitted. “I yield.”
“Good,” Sanguine smirked, getting to her feet.
She helped him to his knees – which meant that his eyes were almost level with her breasts – and then pushed on his shoulder to make it clear that he was to remain exactly as he was. He tilted his head to stare at her in confusion.
“Now, shout out for everyone to hear that I am the new Lady in charge around here!”
He frowned, reluctant to comply. Sanguine scratched one claw gently along his cheek. He twitched in annoyance, but didn't move away.
“You are the new Lady in charge around here,” Big Mike muttered.
She tsked, scratching him a bit deeper with four of her claws. “You can do much better than that. I want to hear you shout. Who is the new Lady in charge around here?”
“You are!” He yelled, but not very loudly.
She dug a nail into his neck, right over his pulse point. “I'm sorry, who?”
“L...Lady Sanguine?” He replied uncertainly.
“Good boy!” She praised sweetly, petting his head. “Now really shout it out for everyone to hear. You wouldn't want to visit my new dungeon, would you?”
He gulped as he suddenly realized that she had been utterly serious about reforming criminals for their Majesties.
“Lady Sanguine is the new Lady in charge around here!” He roared as loudly as he could.
“Thank you!” Sanguine smiled at him, then turned her back to walk up the steps onto the platform once more. “Now... does anyone else have any objections?”
Most of the crowd instantly realized that if she could take down Big Mike, they had absolutely no chance of defeating her. As one, they shook their heads.
“No Lady Sanguine!”
“Excellent!” Sanguine nearly sang with happiness. She pointed to the still unconscious pup. “Big Mike, will you please carry him for me?”
He nodded and stood to do as asked. Sanguine looked around, then pointed at the town Elder after she found him. “Will you please bring me to my new castle?”
“Yes, my Lady!” He answered with a tiny smile, grateful that someone had finally taken over for Clan Wolf.
Smiling at the crowd, she waited for their soft murmuring to die down again. “That's all for today. You can return to your homes now. I'm sure there's plenty of work to be done.”
“Yes, my lady,” they murmured softly.
“Oh, and you folks over here... could you please clear a path?” She gestured to indicate the people standing between her and the stable where her horse was. Provided the stableboy tending to him had followed orders, her horse would be ready and waiting for her since she'd thought she was going to leave right away.
A path was formed as people shifted and moved out of the way. Sanguine let out an ear-splitting whistle, and almost instantly the ground thundered. Her horse ran up to her, and she used the platform stairs to mount him.
The crowd watched in silence as the town elder led her to her new home and Big Mike followed with their old Lord's son slung over his shoulder.
No one knew what to think, and slowly dispersed to talk about the day's events.
Go To Part 8
Go To Part 8