Priestess – Chapter 12: The Cane
The cane whipped through the air, adding one more stripe to the parallel welts that marched down Aliera’s cheeks.
“Five!” from the crowd, making the most of this last opportunity. Already the welts striped her bottom, from the top of her crack to the underside of her cheeks.
“Six!” thirty seconds later was even more agonising, right in the crease where cheeks and thighs met. Aliera’s screams were shrill, but to Goran’s pride she didn’t beg him to stop.
The next six striped her thighs. To Aliera the world was a red blur of pain now. She tried to ride each wave as the terrible cane bit into her thighs, but couldn’t keep back the wails.
Now he hesitated. There was nowhere left that wasn’t already welted by the cane. After all the punishment she’d had, thirteen more strokes was surely unnecessary. He looked towards Tiarna who sat still and silent, waiting. And in that moment Goran understood that this wasn’t just Aliera’s Offering, it was his too. She gave up her pride, she suffered and was humbled to prove her worth. And the Consort had to love her enough to give her the strength she needed to endure. But he also needed the resolve to do what was necessary. She’d need his strength, and his firm hand, in the long years to come.
Goran knew now that this was the hardest thing he’d ever done.
He raised the cane and started over the same areas again, giving one stroke every thirty seconds, no lighter or harder than before. He tried not to strike right on previous welts, but it was impossible to find new territory. Aliera was barely making a sound, she had no breath left to scream or cry.
The crowd were in a frenzy now, the ceremony was nearing its climax. As were many spectators. When stroke twenty-five had seared Aliera’s tortured cheeks Goran dropped the cane and stepped back, his body glistening with sweat, his face wet with tears.
The attendants hurried onto the stage and fitted poles through the sides of the hurdle to carry Aliera for her last display. Goran stepped back, sick at heart to see what he’d inflicted on the woman he loved. As she was carried from the stage Aliera made a small sound of distress, almost like the cry of a kitten. She turned her head as far as she could, trying to catch sight of Goran. After each punishment he’d soothed her, he touched her and gave her some pleasure to combat the terrible pain. But this time she hadn’t felt his hands on her, she was afraid now that he was disgusted with her, she should have been stronger, she was a failure. The thin wail rose again, a thread of desolation.
Goran shuddered, breaking the spell, and hurried to her side. He gently stroked her back and her face, trailing his fingers softly over her skin. He kissed her fingertips, stroked the hair from her face, he gave wordless murmurs of love and encouragement. Gradually Aliera was soothed, reluctantly Goran nodded to the attendants to carry her on her way.
Aliera made her final progress to the sounds of cheering. She was their High Priestess, she’d made her Offering and pleased the Goddess. To Aliera it was a blur of sound, she didn’t even try to untangle the individual voices. And then at last she was back on the stage.
More attendants hurried onstage, bringing salve to ease Aliera’s pain. Goran took the ointment and waved them away. Slowly he eased the salve over her cheeks, desperate to ease her as much as he could. Nothing could take the pain away, but the salve blunted the edge of it. When Goran had covered her raw, throbbing bottom and thighs he loosed the restraints and slowly eased Aliera to her feet. The movement set her gasping, but Goran held her close and rubbed her back until she had control again.
When Aliera was ready Goran took her towards the low, padded bed that the attendants had set up on the stage. As he lay her down four attendants took up stations around the bed ready to take hold of her wrists and ankles. Goran waved them away, murmuring quiet comfort to Aliera as she drew up her knees, trying to raise her burning rear off the bed.
The incense rolled heavily across the square, the crowd fell silent. Goran’s fingertips ran down Aliera’s face, her throat, circled one breast. He feathered kisses across her eyelids, he nibbled her lips, his warm breath fanned across her throat. His mouth moved lower and he found one rosy nipple. Gently he licked it, then blew cool air across it as it hardened. He sucked, teased and nibbled as Aliera began to shiver and moan. His fingertips were trailing across her stomach, running down the smooth skin as his mouth moved to the other nipple.
Aliera stiffened and gasped as his gentle fingers reached her pussy, feeling the teasing touch as he trailed his fingers across the full lips lightly. She began to move, trying to follow that touch despite the pain as her raw cheeks rubbed across the sheets. Goran teased her more now, little nibbles and touches to her breasts, her pussy, her mouth.
Then Goran moved away, reaching out for a pitcher of cool water left for him by the attendants. He dipped a cloth into the water and trailed it over her body, watching as the trickles of water ran across her warm skin. Aliera gasped at the sudden cold, then relaxed as the cool water ran between her breasts, along her stomach and into the building heat of her pussy.
As she twisted and moaned Goran leaned over her again, his mouth moving lower, circling her navel and trailing across her smooth skin until he reached that eager pussy. He licked the full lips as she parted her legs in wordless invitation. The pain was merging with pleasure now, waves of sensation driving her higher and higher, she writhed in desperation, begging for release. He licked deeper, then his tongue found the little bud nestled within the moist lips. He began to lick and suck until Aliera arched in a long cry of release, then he swiftly moved to hold her hips and plunge his shaft deep inside her.
Aliera was lost in the sensations now. Pleasure and pain were one, she and Goran were one, there were no more borders or boundaries. She arched beneath him, muscles straining, as huge shuddering convulsions took her. The two of them moved together, moved in total harmony, they clung together inside their small private universe.
And then finally they slipped into an exhausted doze.
Around them the celebrations went on. Fire-eaters, food sellers, whores, cat-jugglers, stilt-walkers and pickpockets all made themselves busy. The citizens cheered, spanked, made love, bought hot sausages on a stick, and placed their own offerings around the stage. Soon the stage was surrounded by a growing ring of gold as coins, bright jewellery and small golden images of the goddess in her many forms were laid reverently around the sleeping couple.
King Borlan and Queen Merila retired behind the curtains at the back of their pavilion, Borlan felt the need to console his wife. She always cried at weddings.
Tiarna beckoned Brenn to join her in the Temple pavilion. He hadn’t been officially presented as her consort, but she felt the need for a little consorting now. And rules were relaxed on this night.
In the temple enclosure many of the younger novices could be heard squealing with excitement as they stripped off their robes and spanked each other in a frenzy of religious fervour. Some of the novices jumped over the silken ropes and dodged naked through the crowd, taking turns to smack each other’s rosy bottoms as they ran. People smiled indulgently to see the young ones so involved in the ceremony.
Many of the lords and ladies were holding private parties in their pavilions, some more private than others. The night of the Offering had its own special customs, not practised for two generations but not forgotten. Lord Pendlebury, a real traditionalist, had decided to have a good old-fashioned orgy for thirty of his closest friends. He was having a marvellous time until he realised he was making love to his own wife. Luckily no-one noticed, such a blunder could ruin him socially.
Lord Jernan, even more of a traditionalist than Pendlebury, lined up his five daughters and had the servants spank them all until their bottoms glowed. Then he left them bent over, red bottoms on display. In less than half an hour eight prospective suitors had approached him. A man with five daughters sees any social event as a good chance to find sons-in-law. And marriages made on this night were blessed by the Goddess. Also, and more importantly, one large wedding is cheaper than five.
In a nearby tent the Dowager Duchess of Trell exhausted all three of her official lovers and the servants had to hurry out to buy, beg or borrow more. Luckily a contingent of Palace guards were nearby.
Lord Kevan shifted restlessly. He’d had all of the slaves in Sieldro’s pavilion, he’d whipped most of them, and now he needed more. Girls these days had no stamina. He sent his servants to go out and collect some whores, stressing that he wanted them young, with long pale blonde hair.
Aliera stirred. The pain still throbbed, but somehow it seemed to be at a distance. The memory of that wonderful, shattering climax blunted those other memories, of the spankings and the way she’d been displayed to all eyes. She was aware of warmth beside her, warm velvet skin under her hands. She opened her eyes and looked at the man sleeping beside her. To her he’d always just been Goran. Goran who mended her dolls and brought her pretty trinkets when he came back from his campaigns. Then suddenly Goran who looked at her so disapprovingly after she’d fallen in love with Kevan. At the thought of Kevan she moved uncomfortably for a moment, she’d thought she was so in love with him, but now she could barely remember his pretty words. But Goran – she’d thought of him as a friend, then as a critic of her actions, but she’d never seen him as a man. Now she really looked, at the broad chest, the strong arms, the warm skin burned a deep brown by years of training in the hot sun.
Aliera reached out and touched his chest gently. He didn’t stir. She stroked the warm skin, hesitating then gently tweaking one dark nipple. As her hand moved lower his huge shaft stirred and then grew erect. She glanced up, to see Goran watching her.
“You can touch, you can explore. Whatever you want. We belong to each other now.”
Aliera smiled a little, still shy of this man who was so familiar but somehow a stranger. Hesitantly she stroked his chest again, then leaned over and sucked on one nipple. Goran shivered for a moment, but stayed still and quiet. Aliera leaned further to bite gently at the other nipple, then rested her head on his chest as she stroked the taut muscles of his belly. Her hand moved lower, then she touched his shaft with one soft fingertip. Goran shivered again, and bit back a soft moan.
Aliera ran her fingertip up and down the shaft, then stretched her hand to circle it. She was fascinated by this – this strange object – that had given her so much pleasure. She leaned down to gently kiss the tip, then took it into her mouth as her hand descended to cup his balls, squeezing them a little as she tongued the tip of the shaft. Then she sat back to see if he’d made any reaction to her exploration.
Goran’s eyes were half-closed, the muscles of his throat standing out. He watched her steadily, determined to keep control as she accustomed herself to him. Aliera smiled again, this time Goran was delighted to see more than a shadow of her old cheeky grin, he’d missed that mischievous sparkle. He started to sit up but Aliera pushed his shoulders back down. Then slowly, wincing a little, she straddled his hips and carefully guided his shaft into her eager, spread pussy lips as she lowered herself onto him. He filled her so completely, she could feel the stretching inside as her body accommodated him.
Aliera winced again as her throbbing cheeks touched him, then the pain was forgotten as she began to move up and down, falling into a rhythm. Goran reached up to fondle her proud nipples, then slid his hands down to her hips, moving his own in harmony with hers. She rested her hands on his strong arms, feeling the muscles move under the skin.
As the first light of dawn touched the stage, Aliera the new High Priestess threw her head back and howled as the waves of golden sensation took them, riding her Consort until she collapsed on his chest, both of them sated with bliss and suddenly, deliciously drowsy again.
The Offering was over.