Today I am launching a new feature on my blog. I will begin an author spotlight, featuring a free story from that author. We will begin with a bang kicking it off with a serialized story from my dear friend Rue Raven. So hunker down and enjoy the first installment of Priestess.
Chapter 1: The Contest
The first slaves were led out; stripped naked for the ordeal ahead, trembling and nervous. Aliera watched, tense, from her cushioned seat above the arena, shaded by coloured silks and screened by fine gauze curtains. Her future would be decided today.
Down in the arena the women were urged into a line by the guards, then a roar went up from the crowd as the candidates strode out into the bright sunshine. Aliera leaned forward to catch a glimpse of Kevan; there he was, so handsome, his hair golden in the sunlight. Kevan who whispered sweet words to her, who kissed her hand, who promised he’d be the one chosen for her ceremony. He just had to win today.
The men lined up, stripped to the waist, flexing muscles and limbering up for the trials. Aliera counted twenty, the best of the best, every man sure he’d be the one. The huge form of a town blacksmith; a wiry miner from the mountains, one of those ageless little old men who are stronger than they look; soldiers of fortune trying for their big chance; solid burghers from the city; a few priests, hard-eyed and dedicated; half a dozen young lords, patrician and superior; two wild-eyed tribesmen from the plains. And Goran, the Commander of the Palace Guard. Aliera shivered. Goran, so arrogant, so sure of himself, always there whenever she wanted to do anything with his, ‘The Princess is mistaken, she will not be doing this today.’ ‘My lady, this is not how a Princess behaves.’ ‘I am sure His Majesty would not approve.’ His dark eyes sweeping over her without the awe and respect she received from the rest of the palace staff. Arrogant pig! He looked so huge and uncouth beside her lovely Kevan.
It began. Each of the contestants reached for a slave, then dragged her towards a line of seats. The men sat down, depositing their reluctant assistants over their knees. Twenty pale rumps pointed to the sky.
Twenty hands raised, waiting for the signal. Whimpers from the miserable slaves sounded loud in the sudden silence. The High Priestess, Tiarna, stepped forward and looked down into the arena. At her gesture a gong sounded and twenty hands descended. The spanking began.
Aliera watched, knowing that the winner of the contest would soon be spanking her the same way. She noticed several different techniques: some hit slow and hard, some fast and light, some concentrated several strokes on one spot before moving to another, some seemed to strike at random following no pattern at all. Yelps, squeals and wails rose louder as twenty bottoms reddened. Legs kicked, hands beat on the ground. The sounds of determined slapping went on. The sand ran through the timer. Aliera began to suspect that ten minutes could seem like quite a long time.
Aliera wriggled on her cushion. She had never been spanked, never felt an angry touch. As the King’s only daughter she had been destined from birth to be offered to the Goddess, to become High Priestess. The winner of the contest would initiate her and become her consort. Darling Kevan, it had to be him. He’d talked about how she’d tingle…..but the slaves in the arena seemed to be doing more than tingling. Bottoms were bright red now, they looked – more than tingly. Maybe stinging a little. The slaves were making a fuss, but then peasants lacked the control of the higher orders. She would have more dignity. Of course.
After ten minutes the gong sounded again and the spanking ceased. The contestants lifted the slaves to their feet and then stood up, stretching and laughing. The slaves were made to bend and put their hands on the seats, red bottoms high. Aliera watched the slave in front of Kevan, soon she would be bent over like that. She watched as he nudged the girls’ feet wide apart, then she gasped as he adjusted his clothing and for the first time she saw – well, she knew men were different from women. Glancing along the row she saw twenty fine examples of manhood. Interesting variety in length and girth, she hadn’t realised there were such different sizes. Kevan’s seemed a fine example. Few were larger than his, but – she gasped as she saw Goran approaching his spanking subject. He was – surely that couldn’t be real, it was much too large to fit a woman’s secret place. The slave seemed to agree, her shrill squeal echoed through the arena as he slowly thrust into her. Aliera grimaced, she almost felt sorry for the girl, even if she was a slave. Other squeals and moans were heard as each man entered his partner. They were all riding the girls now, this would be the moment when darling Kevan took her for the first time, made her a woman.
Moans and grunts echoed in the arena, most of the girls seemed to be moaning in pleasure rather than pain, how she longed to feel Kevan taking her like that. The crowd were silent (and many seemed preoccupied), long minutes passed as each man gave a final groan and stepped back. Kevan, Goran and the blacksmith were the last to finish.
The High Priestess, on her carved silver ceremonial seat, was carried down the stairs to the arena. With her attendants she slowly walked along the row, inspecting the spanked bottoms. She nodded approvingly, then spoke to her attendants and returned to her seat to be carried back to her viewing position above the action. The attendants moved along the row speaking to the contestants. Seven of them stood and walked out of the arena, looking disappointed. Aliera sighed in relief, Kevan was still there. The blacksmith, the priests, most of the young lords, the miner, she checked along the row…..Goran was still there too. A tiny shiver rippled down her spine, but she glanced at the High Priestess, seated nearby. Great-Aunt Tiarna knew, she’d make sure Kevan was the one, she had to.
Servants hurried in to bring refreshments to the remaining contestants – towels to wipe away the perspiration from their efforts, and cooled drinks containing, according to the whispers Aliera overheard, special herbs to help the gentlemen rise to the occasion. Aliera hadn’t understood that comment at first, but she was starting to guess what it meant.
The crowd cheered as a fresh batch of slaves was brought out, and the arena staff busied themselves preparing the equipment for the next round. The new batch of girls whimpered and clutched each others’ hands for courage, a few tried to smile, and look brave. The crowd was in a fine mood, this was prime entertainment, not seen for a generation. The king’s first daughter was always Offered to the Goddess but Aliera’s father had no sisters, so there’d been no ceremony for that generation. The current High Priestess was the king’s aunt, she’d served alone for many years. A generation had missed the Offering ceremony, and Aliera’s turn was eagerly awaited.
In the arena the contestants had finished their short rest break, and the next round was about to begin. The contestants took their new partners to a row of benches, bending the girls over them. Wrists and ankles were strapped down securely, then each contestant was handed a sturdy wooden paddle, from this distance they looked like toys. Great-Aunt Tiarna gave the signal, the gong sounded and the paddles bit down hard on the upturned buttocks. Aliera watched large red patches begin to glow on the row of quivering cheeks. Kevan had told her how he’d sting her with the paddle. It seemed to be stinging now, shrill shrieks rose in the morning heat. Slave girls had no discipline, no sense of dignity, they made so much fuss and bother about things. Aliera watched the paddles fall across the helpless bottoms. She’d behave much better as darling Kevan stung her with that – rather large – paddle.
Aliera had been groomed from birth for her role, Royal maidens must be pure and unblemished for the Offering. Not just a virgin, she had also never been spanked, barely disciplined in any way. She had been pampered and cherished, shaped for her destiny; she knew it was coming but The Offering had always seemed such a long time away. Her great-aunt watched her grow and blossom. Long white-blonde hair, green eyes, body ripening into womanhood with full pink-tipped breasts and a pert, firm bottom. She was just turned eighteen, and Great-Aunt Tiarna had persuaded the king that Aliera was ready for the ceremony. The king issued commands, and suitable slave-girls were collected at the arena for the trials. Many were nervous, and they certainly wailed and cried during their turn in the arena, but it was the custom that all slaves used in the trials would be given their freedom and a small dowry, so there was excitement and even eagerness mixed with their trepidation.
The morning sun was growing hotter, the bright red bottoms in the arena hotter still. This one was a count, not timed, so as each contestant reached one hundred they stopped. Goran was the last to finish, he spanked slowly, each stroke hard and carefully placed. Aliera could see the even crimson he had produced, he’d covered everywhere from the top of the crack to mid-thigh.
This time the slaves were untied and pushed to their knees, then those eager male members were unveiled once more as mouths opened obediently. Aliera watched the bobbing heads, well that didn’t seem too bad. Probably. Maybe.
Once again Kevan, the blacksmith and Goran were the last to finish, the old miner lasting almost as long as the other two.
The High Priestess was carried down to the arena again. She carefully inspected the red bottoms, stroking them to check the heat. As she was carried back to her viewing position, the assistants sent five contestants to the exit gates. Nine left, thank the Goddess Kevan was still there. And the blacksmith, two townsmen, one young lord, two priests, the miner and Goran.
Servants offered sweet delicacies and more cooling drinks to the men in the arena, refreshment sellers moved among the watching crowd. Aliera waved her handmaidens away, she didn’t think she could swallow anything right now.
The next slaves, a smaller group now, were quickly moved to the benches. The contestants, obviously told the plan beforehand, each placed a girl on her back on a bench, then lifted her feet and secured them to shackles near her shoulders. Aliera gasped, the position was so – so exposed. She was going to be shown like that, she blushed at the thought. Then servants brought out the next implements – thick leather straps riveted to wooden handles, allowing a good solid grip and a wide swing. The straps would fall on such an exposed area, this was worrying. Aliera strained to see, then sat back as she caught the amused glances of the servants around her.
The gong signalled the start, the straps lashed down, the slaves began to shriek and wail. This would be another count to one hundred, a long count for the slaves below. Of course she’d do better, but how could anyone maintain dignity like – that? An extra-shrill scream echoed whenever a strap found a particularly tender spot.
Aliera was fidgeting as some unwelcome thoughts began to surface. The slaves were rough peasants of course, but they were also much more accustomed to such discipline. She had spent her whole life being prepared for this. Every day she bathed in asses’ milk, then was massaged by eunuchs until her skin was soft and smooth. Her clothes were whispering silks, she sat on soft cushions, she was the perfect offering. But if the slaves were so rough and crude, and the spanking still made them wail so loudly……..and she was so soft and sensitive…….. Aliera was beginning to suspect that this might hurt more than the tingle, the teasing sting Kevan promised. The straps sounded so forceful as they fell in searing strokes across buttocks, thighs, the soft skin between the cheeks, even the shrinking pink lips of defenceless, most secret places. The slave-girls sobbed, wailed, begged, shrieked.
And these girls were only serving for one session each. She would do them all.
Aliera began to worry.
One hundred seemed to take a long time.
After the final strokes fell the men dropped the straps. Each man stepped to the end of his table, near the blazing bottom he’d just roasted. The girls weren’t untied this time, and Aliera watched as the men prepared to enter their partners again. Then she paled as she realised their targets. Surely they couldn’t – that hole was much too small to accommodate the erect members – but the men advanced purposefully. Aliera could see the arena servants scurrying around them offering what looked like ointments – something to smooth the way, hopefully. Aliera was pale now, the slaves squealed as the men entered them. Several shrieked loudly, Goran’s partner the loudest of all. Aliera felt cold despite the bright sun. Surely the Goddess would not demand that a Princess made such a sacrifice.
In the arena the movements seemed to go on for a long time, the men pounding into the well-punished slaves. Squeals changed to moans, and gasps – almost sounding like sighs of pleasure, although Aliera couldn’t believe that anyone could feel pleasure from… that. It seemed to be an eternity before the last men – Goran and the miner – stepped away from the benches.
Great-Aunt Tiarna inspected each subject carefully, feeling the welts, tapping swollen buttocks as if she was buying melons at the market. By the time she was back beside Aliera, five more contestants were leaving. Now there was only the miner, the blacksmith, darling Kevan and Goran.
Aliera turned worried eyes on her great-aunt, who smiled reassuringly. Tiarna remembered her own Offering ceremony. Serving the Goddess wasn’t always easy, but it had its rewards.
The contestants relaxed for a few moments, taking another refreshment break. The spectators were also helping themselves to refreshments, and in a few cases to each other. Rules were relaxed for this special event, and many of the spectators seemed to find it all very inspiring.
The new slaves were brought out, reluctant and tremulous. This time they were taken to a device that looked like a thin rail, supported at about hip height by a pair of legs at each end. Aliera swallowed, her mouth dry. No doubt they’d put a cushion on it for her. You wouldn’t want a princess to be uncomfortable while she was having her bottom roasted.
Each slave was bent right over a rail, wrists and ankles secured to the base. Four bottoms rose like pale moons, their owners trying to wriggle, begging for release. Aliera looked to see what the attendants were distributing to the remaining contestants. She saw the blacksmith smile as he swished something through the air. The cane was over three feet long, and seemed very flexible.
Aliera shuddered despite herself. Kevan hadn’t mentioned this. No-one would tell her the details of the ceremony, Kevan was the first one to talk to her about it at all. He was kind and funny and sweet, and it wasn’t his fault his family lost all their money. Of course, as her consort, he’d never need to worry about money again. It was so lucky that he’d seen her and fallen in love instantly – it was true love for both of them. He told her what to say to Great-Aunt Tiarna, to persuade her to choose him for the Ceremony. Aliera glanced at her aunt. She had to choose Kevan, anyone else was unthinkable.
The gong sounded, the canes swished down, four screams rose, four welts burned. Each man took his time, placing the strokes carefully. Kevan was meticulous, his strokes making parallel welts an inch apart down bottom and thighs. The blacksmith concentrated on the lower cheeks, the welts merging to form a wide purple band. The miner didn’t work to a plan, his strokes seemed to fall at random. And Goran placed parallel strokes down cheeks and thighs, but his were angled down rather than straight across like Kevan’s. Then after the first dozen he moved to the other side of his subject, now the strokes were angled the other way so that they crossed the first set. His subject responded with vigorous shrieks and wails. Aliera shuddered again and glanced pleadingly at the High Priestess. After the second dozen each man stepped back and laid the twenty-fifth, and thankfully last, stroke with even greater force. Each one aimed for the crease between bottom and thighs. Four agonised wails mingled with the cheers of the crowd.
The weeping girls were untied and laid down on their backs the hot sand, each one yelped and wriggled as her sore bottom made contact. Servants held wrists and ankles so that the girls were spread-eagled on the sand. Each man stripped naked and slowly knelt between the spread legs of his partner, then moved forward and took her slowly. Aliera could barely breathe, she watched the sweat-glistened muscles moving as the men pumped in and out of the gasping women, heard the moans of pain turn to screams of pleasure. All around the arena the watching crowd laughed, cheered, and in many cases acted out a ceremony of their own. Soon that would be her. She could hear one of the girls begging for more, for her partner to thrust harder, deeper. Aliera wanted to run to the arena and beg Kevan to take her now, and she wanted to run far away and never see another man again. She could barely breathe and felt hot and cold at the same time. And all the time she had to keep calm and expressionless, looking as if the ceremony was no challenge, no worry, nothing to cause any stress. She kept her face still and calm, but her hands were clenched so tightly that her nails dug into her palms.
Finally Great-Aunt Tiarna was carried down to the arena yet again. She studied each patterned rump carefully, lost in sweet memories of a day long ago, and a man who gave her a truly memorable ceremony, and forty good spanking years after. It was no coincidence that most rituals to the Goddess were conducted standing up. She stroked the welts gently, almost envious.
When she returned to her seat she looked at her anxious niece. Aliera was going to be a very lucky girl. All eyes turned to the High Priestess as she stepped forward to announce her decision.