Chapter 24 and 25 of Priestess by Rue Raven

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Priestess Chapter 24 – Aliera’s Atonement
The room was silent. Goran watched Aliera as she pushed the food around her plate. Neither of them had eaten much of the evening meal. He took a deep breath – it was time.

Aliera glanced up as Goran pushed his chair back. She was already pale, her hands trembling a little. She pushed her chair back and stood up also, chin high, determined to be brave.

Goran’s jaw was set. This was going to be a punishment for them both. Moving with deliberation he set a chair in centre of the room. He didn’t want to use the bedroom for this – that was to be a place of refuge and comfort, not punishment. He placed the chair carefully as if that was the most important thing in the world. Then he unlaced his leather jerkin, removing it with far more care than usual. The jerkin was placed on the table. He took time over the unlacing of his fine linen shirt, undoing each cuff before slipping the shirt over his head. The shirt joined the leather vest on the table. Goran flexed his arms as he stood stripped to the waist, the light gleaming off the brown skin sliding over rock-hard muscle. He was still wearing the leather breeches and knee-high boots that were his everyday uniform, his heavy leather swordbelt slung around his hips. Beside the table Aliera stood still and small in her white silk shift, the gold belt of her office gleaming at her waist.

Goran went back to the chair, checking its position, making tiny adjustments until he had no more excuses to delay.

Aliera was silent, watching and waiting. She’d never been punished, not in her whole life. Knowing the Offering was in her future wiped out all punishments for minor childhood transgressions – and she was usually a good, biddable child anyway. She never needed to throw tantrums or whine for what she wanted, it was all given to her when she smiled and looked so tiny and fragile. Then there was the Offering – but that was her fate, it was privilege, not punishment. And she’d had Goran to see her through it – she was able to cling to his support and strength.

And now he had to punish her for something she’d done, something so stupid that she didn’t even deserve him any more. She’d hurt her family, and shamed them too. Her mother and great-aunt were being punished for failing her, but it was all Aliera’s fault. She’d been foolish and selfish and thoughtless, and….

…and she’d made Goran angry. He was angry with her. And he was going to punish her. And she deserved it.

But afterwards he’d forgive her, he’d said so. She had to cling to that – at the end, there’d be forgiveness.

But first there would be punishment.

She watched as Goran set the chair, so carefully. And then turned to face her, “It’s time.”

She had to be brave. She deserved this, she had to be brave.

Aliera held her chin high and tried to stop the trembling as she walked towards the chair.

She faced Goran, it took all her strength to meet his eyes. She’d rehearsed the words in her head, but it was still so hard to force them out; “I know that I deserve to be punished. I have disgraced my position and my family. And – and I let you down. That’s the worst. And I’m so sorry. I – please – please punish me as I deserve….” She managed to choke out the words, her voice trembling dangerously as she finished. “And afterwards – forgive me please, I’m so sorry….” Her voice trailed away, “Forgive me…. after…. don’t be angry any more….”

She couldn’t go on, she stood shaking, her eyes pleading for that promise of forgiveness.

Goran swept her into his arms, holding her tight to his chest. Aliera’s hands clutched at him, desperate for reassurance. They clung to each other wordlessly, taking and giving comfort.

Finally Goran stirred, “I’m not angry with you.” Not now, not any more. She was home, she was safe, she was in his arms. His anger was no longer for her. Aliera huddled against him, drawing strength from his calm words.

He held her until the trembling stopped. “Are you alright now?”

She nodded, still holding him tightly.

“Are you ready?”

One of the hardest things she ever had to do was to let go of him and step back. All she wanted was to be in his arms forever. Her skin ached for his touch. “I’m ready.”

“Good girl.”

He could forgive her, without the punishment.

He could hold her again, and love her, and….. No. This had to be done, for her sake. He had to give Aliera her atonement, so that she could forgive herself.

He had to do this quickly, while his willpower drove him on.

Goran sat down, and reached for her. In a moment he had Aliera over his knees, her robe up over her back and her bottom bared and ready. He scissored one leg over hers, to hold her in place. Softly he stroked her back for a few moments, to give her time to adjust to her new position, then tapped the small of her back, “Hand.”

Aliera reached her right hand back. As he touched her wrist she turned her hand a little so that she could grasp his wrist at the same time as he took hers. This link would give her the strength she needed.

Her bottom was bared and ready for punishment. Exposed and helpless. Goran stroked her cheeks, so pale and smooth and perfect. He had to do this, and it had to be real punishment.

It was punishment for them both.

Goran’s huge right hand raised, then paused a moment. His jaw set, he firmed his grip on her wrist, then brought his hand slapping down cruelly hard on the full centre of her right cheek.

Aliera couldn’t stop the yelp of dismay – she’d been expecting an easier start. She could feel the handprint glowing on her cheek – it was burning already, after only one stroke. Goran’s huge hand covered most of the fullest part of her cheek in one blow – hard, relentless, thorough.

Then his hand fell again, in exactly the same place. She was expecting it to be the other side, and this intensifying of the burning on her poor cheek had her yelping again.

Three more times his hand fell in that same agonised spot, the red handprint blazing now.

Her breath was already catching on the first sob when he started on her left cheek. Five more ringing slaps, setting her squirming and crying out louder.

Then he shifted her forward a little over his thigh, ready for his attention to her lower cheeks. Goran was a methodical man, he kept to his pattern – five on the right lower cheek had Aliera crying out louder now, despite her determination to take it well. Then five on the left.

He paused a moment, as she whimpered and tried to catch her breath. The pink was blooming on her cheeks now, she could feel every inch of skin burning.

Then he began on the tender tops of her thighs, and the squealing started. Five each at the very top, then five more just below that. Now she was burning from the top of her cheeks to mid-thigh.

Without pause he repeated the whole process, sending Aliera into a frenzy of wriggling and wailing. She was pinned so that she couldn’t escape and couldn’t evade, but she wasn’t able to be still no matter how she tried.

The room echoed with the fierce slapping, each one followed by a yelping cry, growing more agonised as he worked his way lower. Aliera’s whole universe had shrunk to her searing rear, she was blind and deaf, all senses focussed on the building fire. He had to be finished, it had to be soon…. Each time he reached the lower part of her thighs she’d pray in desperation, then wail in torment as the next lick of fire fell high on her cheeks, to start the process again.

Goran closed his ears to the sounds of pain. He had a task to complete, and he’d do it with relentless precision. He had to make her as red and sore as she needed to be. It was his duty. He watched as the tender bottom over his lap turned from pink to red, then crimson. Almost done, this part was nearly over.

He raised his hand for one last circuit, harder and slower, turning crimson to the necessary dark, angry red. Then he paused.

It was some time before Aliera realised he’d stopped – the fire kept building. She was limp and sobbing now, babbling sorry promises and contrition. Small shudders kept running through her, as she tried to deal with the fire.

At last the sobs fell to soft whimpering. Goran sat in silence, one hand resting on her burning rear. Then his hand raised again, and started slapping down. It was just as hard as before, but faster now, a rain of fire peppering her cheeks. High, low, right, centre, left, no pattern to it. No warning, no way to prepare, the slaps fell so fast that she couldn’t feel each one, just a biting fire that seemed to go on forever. Goran’s hand was as hard – and almost as large – as a shovel, all the power of his massive arm and shoulder focussed on one tiny target.

Aliera was crying in one long desperate wail when his hand finally stilled again. Now the red blooming on her cheeks was underscored with a darker shadow, a tinge of purple that promised a reminder for days to come. It was a long while before she quieted this time. At last he stood up, bringing her to her feet, then gently slipped the robe from her body. “You won’t need this for the next part.”

Aliera’s hands flew to her outraged cheeks, but he captured her wrists and held them in front of her, “Not yet. Now, time for a break.” He led her to a corner of the room, placing her with her nose to the wall, hands on her head, “We’ll let it set for a while, before the rest.”

He gripped her shoulder for a moment before he stepped back, almost wincing at the sight of her deep red bottom and thighs.

He could stop now.

But later, when she thought about it, when this first rush of fire had settled, she wouldn’t feel that he’d punished her properly, not just a handspanking, not even one as intense as the last fifteen minutes.

There had to be more.

Goran moved quietly, making preparations, then stood back and waited.

He’d been a soldier all his adult life. Sentry duty was second nature. Now he stood five paces behind his bride, still and silent, listening to the tiny whimpers she tried to hold back, watching as she wriggled on the spot, every now and then giving her bottom a small shake as if she thought she could shake the terrible burning away, put out the fire and end the angry throbbing. The pale skin of her naked body gleamed alabaster, except for the furiously blushing crimson from hips to mid-thigh.

Aliera didn’t know if Goran was still in the room, she couldn’t hear him and didn’t dare turn round or speak. She set her teeth and tried to be still and silent. She had to be brave, there would be more coming, she deserved a terrible punishment for what she’d done. She’d sobbed and cried out, she’d wriggled and squirmed – but she hadn’t begged him to stop. She’d taken it all – so far – and she hadn’t broken. She clung to that thought as the fire still raged on her cheeks and thighs. She’d made it so far. She had to hold on.

But it hurt so much. She prayed for courage to take whatever was coming.

Fifteen minutes later Goran stirred, “It’s time. Come here.”

Aliera turned to see him standing beside the chair again. She gritted her teeth and moved to him, trying not to wince at each step. She didn’t notice for a moment that there was a difference, until Goran reached to guide her behind the chair instead of in front of it. Then she noticed that a pillow from their bedroom had been placed over the back of the chair.

Before she had time to realise the significance of this, Goran took her by the hips and raised her to bend her over the back of the chair.

Aliera clutched at the seat of the chair, trying to find her balance. Her toes barely brushed the floor.

“Elbows on the seat. Forearms flat on the seat too. Grip the front.” Goran’s voice was distant and unemotional. Every muscle was tense with the effort of directing her like this.

Aliera was in position, bent almost double, her bottom high and exposed and totally defenceless. She closed her eyes tight shut and tried to block off all thought, tried to stop the frantic speculation in her mind.

There was a soft sound. It took a moment to identify it, then she realised what it was.

The buckle of his swordbelt.

Aliera felt an icy chill shiver down her spine as she listened to the buckle being undone, the belt slowly slid from his hips. Then the creak of the leather as his scabbard was slid along and off the end, the sword in its heavy scabbard laid gently on the table.

Goran’s swordbelt was heavy leather, wide as a man’s palm, two thick layers sewn together to make what was at the moment a formidable implement for punishment. He took hold of the buckle and wrapped some of the belt around his hand, until he was satisfied with the length. Then he walked to her left side.

“You were lost for six days.”

Aliera was silent, small shudders running through her.

“Six.”

Goran raised his arm, then took a deep breath and forced his arm to swing down fast and hard, the belt cracking loudly across Aliera’s lower cheeks, just where bottom and thigh meet. The tip of the belt bit ferociously hard into the soft skin of her right cheek.

A shrill scream rang through the room.

A white line glowed through the dark red of her punished bottom, then it flushed pink, then red, then a cruelly dark crimson.

“That was one.” Goran kept his voice steady with an effort. Then he walked to her other side and raised his arm again.

Aliera’s feet kicked up after that searing strike, he waited until she stilled.

The belt flew down, landing in exactly the same place. Her scream this time tailed off into miserable sobs.

“That was two.”

Goran walked back to her left. He had to do this, he had to keep the rhythm. Aliera needed this to be finished. He raised his arm.

The sobbing was louder after her scream this time. Her head flew up as her feet kicked high and wide.

“That was three.” The dark stripe across her lower cheeks was blue-purple now as each stroke of the belt fell along the same line. She would feel this for many days to come.

Goran went to her right side again. It was so hard to do this. And it was his fault, not hers. He should have known she needed him, he should have realised she was desperately alone.

The belt fell.

“That was four.”

She was still shrieking as he walked to her left again. Her toes drummed on the floor. It took much longer now for her to regain control.

He envied her. Two more blows with this belt, a few days of discomfort, and she was forgiven, it was all over. He’d carry the blame for the rest of his life, he’d always know the taste of bitter failure. He raised the belt and struck that agonised line of fire again.

Her scream was shrill and terrible. Her arms flailed thin air, legs kicking out. She was almost screaming too much to cry any longer.

“That was five.”

The greatest task his king had asked of him, and he failed. The one person he loved more than anyone in the world, and he’d abandoned her when she needed him. These blows were punishing him more than her, he’d always remember that she’d had to suffer this pain because of him. Every blow was lacerating his soul, an ache that would take far longer to heal than the bruises he could see on Aliera’s cheeks.

The final walk. The final time his belt was raised.

Goran was still, he had to force himself to punish her again. His face was wet with tears as he struggled with his own pain.

The final time he had to take the belt to her. The final time he raised it.

The final excruciating time it fell.

And the final scream.

“That was six.”

The belt clattered to the floor.

Aliera screamed again as he raised her from the chair, as her swollen cheeks moved. Goran lifted her in his arms so gently, so carefully, and strode towards the bedroom.

Aliera clung to him, choking on the sobs. Finally she could speak again, “Is it over? Is it done? Please, is it over?”

Goran held her close, his face buried in her hair, “It’s done. No more.”

Aliera lifted her face to his, capturing his lips in a soft kiss. Her face was wet against his, their tears mingling. “I’m forgiven?”

“Forgiven. Totally. You’ve paid in full.”

And so had he. But he’d go on paying forever, the memories would never leave him.

“You love me?”

“Always.”

Goran moved to lay Aliera on the bed but she clutched at him, protesting.

“I want to soothe the pain for you. I have some lotion….”

“I only want you.”

Goran sat on the bed, then stretched out on his back with Aliera lying full-length on top of him. She started to push away, “Wait, I’ll squash you!”

He held her tighter, “You weigh nothing at all. Lie still, this way you won’t put any weight on the sore places.”

Aliera snuggled against him with a sigh of contentment.

“It still hurts.”

“It’s meant to.”

“I won’t be able to sit down for DAYS.”

“Good. We can stay like this.”

They lay skin to skin, breathing in harmony. Tiny sobs still shook her frame every few moments as the throbbing slowly subsided.

“I thought you didn’t want me. I thought…” her voice was a tiny thread now, “…I thought I’d done something wrong at the Offering. I thought I wasn’t brave enough….”

Goran’s lips brushed her forehead, the only part they could reach right now, “You were wonderful at the Offering. I couldn’t believe how strong you were. I was so proud of you. But I thought you wouldn’t want me near you for a long time.”

“I wanted you so badly.”

Her words sliced into his heart. Goran’s hold tightened. He was never letting her down again. “I wanted you too.”

Aliera snuggled back down against his chest. Her breathing was steadier now, the pain was settling down as a dull, aching, intolerable agonising throbbing. She’d learn to live with it. At least it was over.

“When I was little you were so nice to me. Why did you stop liking me?”

“I didn’t stop liking you. You grew into a beautiful young woman, and I started loving you.”

“But then why did you stop talking to me? You avoided me.”

“I’m a peasant, the son of peasants. You were the king’s daughter, about to become High Priestess. I thought it was hopeless.”

“And then Father chose you for me. My father is a very smart man.”

“He is indeed.”

Aliera trailed soft kisses across his chest, “Don’t ever freeze me out again. Please. I can’t stand it.”

Goran’s fingers traced down her spine, “I’ll going to keep you very hot indeed. Now and forever.”

Tiny touches and soft wrigglings. The calm after the storm is always precious.

Goran took hold of Aliera’s waist and slid her up his body until they were nose to nose, then reached one long arm out and grasped the pot of lotion, opening it carefully. He slowly started to spread the lotion over her hot skin. Aliera gasped, then relaxed as the cool touch eased the still-searing pain.

As Goran’s hands made lazy circles around her cheeks Aliera kissed the tip of his nose, then found his lips. Lip to lip, tongue to tongue they enjoyed that small sweet invasion. Goran’s hands ran down her thighs, spreading the lotion, then slowly worked higher again. Aliera slid her legs apart, wriggling her bottom against his hand in invitation.

Fingertips trailed down the crease between her cheeks, dipping lower as she gasped and then pushed back against him. His fingers left trails of fire across her skin, but the throbbing and the heat was building in a different place now. She moaned at each teasing touch, wriggling to invite those wonderful fingers to explore further.

He was setting her on fire again, but this time she was desperate for more.

Goran kept stroking and teasing as Aliera pressed tiny kisses across his face, his throat, his lips. She nibbled at his ear, ticking at it with her tongue as his fingers tickled deeper, sending shivers along every nerve.

Goran fumbled with his breeches, freeing his shaft to stand erect.

Aliera slid her knees down until they were on the bed, now she was straddling him. She pushed back against his hand, spread wide and inviting. As she rocked back she felt his shaft brush her swollen cheeks, then as she wriggled it touched her slick secret heat.

Aliera rocked on her knees, sliding up and down his body. She trailed her lips along his throat and down his chest, leaning so that she could suck at each perfect nipple. Then she slid up his body again, slowly, her breasts caressing his firm chest as she moved. Goran grasped her hips, lifting her until the tip of his shaft teased at those eager lips. He grinned as she struggled against his hold, trying to push down onto him, “Ready? Sure? This will hurt you – you’re very sore from your punishment.”

“I don’t CARE. Please – please NOW!”

Slowly, teasingly he lowered her a little then raised her again as she growled and grabbed at his shoulders.

Aliera loved the sweet stretching, the pleasure/pain as he invaded her, opening her to his thrusts.

Again and again, a little further each time, he raised and lowered her until at last he slid deep inside her. Aliera gasped as her sore cheeks rested against him, then moaned as she began to rock forward and back, riding him, loving the feel of his deep invasion.

He could feel her, tight and warm and eager, gripping him as he slid into her. His hips lifted as he thrust deeply.

Now the heat was rising again, she was riding him faster, harder, her cheeks slapping down into him, the pain pushing the pleasure higher. Goran held her tightly, keeping the rhythm going, thrusting deep into her silken heat. Their moans mingled as deep, throaty grunting, animal passion now. And still the heat was building in them both, almost unbearable, shudders as running through them as the sensations intensified towards a wild climax.

Their bodies were tense now, every muscle tight as the energy built up before the wonderful explosion of release.

Aliera threw her head back and howled as the sensations burst inside her, convulsing with the waves of pure pleasure. Together they let the sensations take them until Aliera collapsed onto him, exhausted.

They clutched at each other, holding tight as the last shudders shook them.

At last their breathing was peaceful. Aliera whimpered a little as her punished rear reminded her that she wouldn’t be sitting down for some time. Goran hugged her tighter, then reached for the lotion again.

“I love you.” Her voice was calm now, contented.

“I love you too.” It was so good to say it. He’d make sure to say it every day from now on. A dozen times over.

“I’m so glad it’s all finished. The punishment, I mean, not – not the other that we did – just now. I mean, I don’t want that to be over – or, at least, I’d like to do it again. A lot. But not just now, I mean, not….” She giggled, “You know what I mean.”

“I know.”

But it wasn’t over. Not yet. Not for him. Tomorrow he and Borlan would decide the fate of Lord Kevan. Goran’s hands stilled for a moment as he thought of that grim decision. Only then would it be over.

Tomorrow.

But tonight Aliera was in his arms, and she needed him, and wanted him. And he needed to hold her and breathe her sweet scent and know that she was home, and safe, and his.

Tonight was their time. Tomorrow would arrive soon enough.

 

Priestess Chapter 25: Final Decision
Goran woke like a soldier, instantly alert.

But this wasn’t hard ground by a campfire, the morning of another battle. This was soft bed, silken sheets – and a beautiful warm armful of rosy-pink skin and tousled blonde hair.

He lay there, breathing the scent of her, loving to wake that way. It felt like a bubble of pure joy rising up and bursting inside him, knowing he’d be waking like this for the rest of their lives. He hugged her close, watching her stir, seeing her eyes open.

Aliera smiled, and snuggled against his chest, “Good morning husband.”

“Good morning wife.”

They kissed, to celebrate their mutual recognition.

A soft clatter in the outer room heralded the arrival of Aliera’s handmaidens bringing them food to break their fast. Goran pulled the sheet over Aliera’s nakedness and slid out of bed, “Wait here, I’ll get our morning meal.” He settled his clothes and went to the outer room to forage.

When he returned with a tray of food Aliera tried to sit up – then flipped over onto her stomach with a yelp, “I’m still sore!”

“Good. That’ll teach you not to go running off with boatloads of strange men in the future.”

She glared at him, reminding Goran of a pouting kitten. He settled back on the bed, grinning at her, “Food first.”

Aliera lay on her side to eat, wondering what would come second.

They fed each other small titbits, laughed at nothing, gloried in simply being together. Aliera tickled his legs with her toes – she just needed to be touching him. After they’d eaten Goran slid the tray to the floor and sighed happily as he pulled his wife onto his chest, “Now, time to say ‘Good Morning’ properly.” He feathered kisses across her skin, his hands sliding down her back to trail softly over her sore cheeks, then to move between her parted thighs.

Aliera gasped at his tickling touch, “Ohhh yes I like that. And I’d like to do what we did last night – but not the spanking part. I NEVER want to do that again!”

“I never want to do it again. Don’t ever earn another punishment like that – I couldn’t stand it.”

Aliera hid her face in his shoulder, then kissed his throat and nibbled at his ear, “Never!”

Goran hugged her again, then patted her bottom gently, “Now, we both have to get moving, we have work to do. But this evening – this evening will be wonderful. I promise.” He kissed her again then slid from the bed and stretched, then wandered into the other room to search for his shirt and jerkin. And swordbelt.

Aliera lay face down and sulked, “But – I want you with me.”

Goran came back to her side, fully dressed now, ready to face his duties for the day. He stripped the sheet from the bed and surveyed her pale skin, highlighted by still-red cheeks and thighs. “Work first. I’ll be back this evening, and I promise we’ll do the most wonderful things together. AFTER our work is done. Now MOVE it young lady!” He landed a light smack on her sore cheeks, grinning at her outraged squeak.

Aliera glared at his broad back as he swaggered from the room. Men! She pouted again – but it’s not much fun with nobody there to see it – then sighed and carefully got up, rubbed her aching bottom and reached for a white silk robe.

She was just tying the gold belt when Tiarna sailed into the room and dropped a bundle of clothes onto the bed, “Good morning dear. Here, you’ll be needing these.”

Aliera looked at the clothes heaped on the bed, and then realised her aunt was wearing the same – the everyday plain blue gown and white apron worn by every full priestess, for her daily duties. “But – my white silk…” Ever since the Offering she’d dressed in the simple white silk shift, gold belt and gold sandals of the High Priestess. She’d become accustomed to being naked except for that thin covering – the Goddess liked them to dress simply for the ceremonies – less distractions meant they could focus on the importance of the ceremonies and devotions.

Tiarna’s voice was brisk, “The white silk is fine for special ceremonies. But this is what every priestess wears when she has work to do, and we have a very busy day ahead. Now, it’s time you put on your knickers and undershift and hose, and got dressed properly, and then we’re going to sit down and decide how we’re going to share our duties. It’s time I gave you a great deal more to do around here.” Tiarna paused for a moment, and rubbed her bottom gently, remembering last night, “Well, maybe we’ll stand up and decide. Now get a move on, girl, we have so much to do. What with more and more new trainees streaming through our gates every day, and now the freed slaves to care for, we’re bursting at the seams. And we have to send teams to the new territories, Borlan’s gifted some of those conquered lands to the Goddess, we’ll have to set up new temples as well as hospitals and schools, and get the farms in order before winter….”

Tiarna rattled on happily as Aliera dressed and brushed her hair. A priestess, especially a High Priestess, has many duties to perform. And from now on the load would be halved. Brenn would make sure of it.

Goran had duties to perform also, but his were far less pleasant. He walked with Borlan along the pathway between Palace and prison, deep in thought. The king’s face was set, “Well, I’ve told you the possibilities. As the wronged husband you have the right to decide his fate. I’ll accept whatever you choose. I’ll be happy when this whole miserable matter is finished.”

Goran nodded, seeing no need for words.

In grim silence they went through the forbidding gates, then descended the narrow stairs to the deepest, most secure dungeons. Ordinary prisoners were kept in the cells above, awaiting their fate. But certain inmates rated different accommodation.

Few prisoners stayed there long, it was more of a holding facility. There was no value in prisoners sitting comfortably in their cells while the farms had to produce food for them so most prisoners were only held until sentencing. For minor crimes they might receive a flogging, or be sentenced to work on a prison farm for a time – at least they’d help feed themselves that way. Richer prisoners may have to pay a heavy fine, even to lose all of their property, depending on the scale of their crimes. Repeat offenders could become Branded slaves. Serious offenders may be sent to the King’s mines – that was usually a one-way trip. Even more serious offences could end with execution, in a variety of ways depending on the crime and the level of vengeance desired. Most prisoners waited miserably in their cells until they knew their fate.

Lord Kevan was in the dungeon.

He’d been readied for their visit, shackled to the wall, arms stretched out high and wide.

He didn’t look like the handsome, charismatic young lord now. His clothes were crumpled and dirty, his bright hair lank and grubby, grime streaked his face. Only his eyes were the same, gleaming pale blue, fixed on the opening door. This was not how a young lord with grand dreams expected to finish.

Some of his cohorts had decided to do their army service. Others had tried to talk their way out of it, or to run. The worst of them were on their way to the mines; Borlan was disgusted that they’d disgraced their noble names and wanted to cleanse his kingdom. They’d end their days in the mines and others would think twice before they fell into such self-indulgence and weakness.

But for Lord Kevan there would be a very special punishment. Life, death, torture, a miserable existence in the mines, or worse – it would all happen at Goran’s word. Kevan watched the two men stride grimly into the stinking cell.

They surveyed each other in silence. Kevan broke first, “I never planned to take her with me. She came to see me of her own free will.” There was no response, “I never touched her. She pursued ME.” The silence lengthened. “I – I deserve better treatment than this – I have noble blood….”

Borlan waited until the desperate defence stopped. When he spoke his voice was dangerously quiet, “The Captive slaves were freed, not that you care, I suppose. All the young women you and your friends kidnapped and abused. The property of their former owners was sold, and the money divided between all the freed slaves. It’s enough for each girl to have a fair dowry, if she ever takes a man again, or to set her up with a small farm or a business so that she’s able to support herself.” He began to pace the length of the cell, and back, his nervous energy seeking release, “Some of them have gone home already. Some have decided to stay in the city for a time, they can’t face their families right now, maybe not ever. Some will never leave the hospital – they’ll never recover from the things you did to them.” He stopped to glare at the sorry specimen hanging on the wall.

Goran stirred, “And some will recover, but it will be a long process. They’ve chosen to stay at a place near the city while their minds and bodies heal. You should know it, it’s a lodge that used to belong to you. It’s where you used to torture and brutalise those girls, ‘training’ you called it. The slave pens are still there, and a collection of hooks and chains and assorted implements. Just as you left them. And now those victims of yours will be living there. But this time they’ll be in charge. And they’ll have something to do to pass the time.” He paused, looking dispassionately at Kevan, “You.”

It took a moment for Kevan to realise what he meant, “You can’t – but – me? I -”

Goran stepped closer, “You will be kept in a slave pen. And every day you’ll be led out for training, just as you did to them. Every day they’ll redden you, and blister you, and pierce and brand and humiliate you and demand you perform for them. And they have knives ready. I understand they’ve planned some very special surgery for you. Then there’s the nettles, the red hot irons, the piercing tongs. The clamps and chains and whips and plugs and bridles. Every day. For as long as it takes for them to feel whole again. One of those young women was your bedmate for ten years. I understand she’s determined that you’ll last at least that long. When they finally finish with you, if there’s anything left, you’ll go to the mines.”

Kevan was shaking now, remembering all the years of ‘training’ sessions he’d put young women through, “You can’t do this to me you stinking peasant! I have noble blood!”

Borlan stepped forward, his voice a low growl, “You’ve been stripped of your titles. And your family has disowned you. You are nothing. But Goran has higher titles than you ever held, and he earned them through years of service.”

Kevan was desperate now, “I didn’t DO anything to that stupid girl! She came on the boat of her own free will! I never touched her!”

“You slapped her.” Goran’s voice was cold.

“I – what? Well, yes, maybe I gave her a little reminder to show better manners. Nothing serious – women need – they need to be kept in their place – but I didn’t touch her in any other way – just one little slap….”

“Which hand?”

“I hardly even – what? Which – what? Hand?”

“I assume it was the right one.” There was a hissing sound as Goran drew his sword and swung it so fast that it was a blur.

Kevan swung in the chains, his eyes wide in shock and horror as he watched his right hand twitching on the floor of his cell. Blood spattered widely from the stump of his flailing wrist.

Borlan stepped to the door and called in the guards, “Bring the hot irons. We need this cauterised.” Men rushed to obey their king.

Kevan was still screaming as the two men left the dungeons. Borlan glanced at Goran, “His life was yours. You could have killed him.”

“I’m not feeling that generous.”

They walked on.

“I wonder how long he’ll last.” Borlan’s good nature was coming back now that the unpleasantness of the day was over.

“Probably a long time. Those women have a great many scores to settle.”

For the rest of the day Palace and Temple hummed with hard work and quiet attention to duty. Sometimes the most mundane work is a relief.

The evening observances had just concluded when Goran returned to the Temple. He’d found time to shower and change into fresh clothes in his old quarters at the barracks – he didn’t want to take any touch of the prison home with him.

Aliera hurried into the main room, then paused at the sight of him, “Oh!” For a moment he seemed to loom so large. Then she laughed and ran into his arms, “I missed you today!”

Strong arms closed around her, “I missed you too.”

They stood for a long moment, arms locked around each other, then a tiny voice, “Is he…. is he dead?”

“No.”

“What will happen to him?”

“He’s been exiled. He’ll live in a place in the country.”

Aliera knew better than to ask more. She’d thought Kevan was in love with her, she’d thought she loved him. He’d killed all of that on the deck of the ship. But even so, somehow she still cared what happened to him. And she didn’t want Goran to be the one to take his life, even though it was his right. She knew Goran wouldn’t lie to her, she also knew he wasn’t telling her everything. But it was enough. She sighed and hugged him even closer.

“Now, I promised you a wonderful evening. Come with me.” Goran led her to the bedroom.

When they were in the bedroom, Goran pointed to the mat by the bed, “Stand there. Keep still.”

And slowly, careful as any handmaiden, he undressed her. Piece by piece he stripped her clothes away until she stood naked and perfect. Then he kissed her lips, her throat, and the pink rosebuds of her nipples.

“Now it’s your turn. Undress me.”

Aliera’s hands suddenly felt all thumbs. She fumbled with the buckle of his swordbelt, remembering terrible moments from last night as the buckle jingled and released. She undid the laces of his jerkin, sliding it from his shoulders, and then oh so carefully undid the buttons of his shirt. It joined his jerkin on the floor.

Stripped to the waist now, his skin gleamed in the lamplight.

At her gesture Goran sat on the bed while Aliera pulled his boots off. And then he stood up again while she knelt in front of him and began to unlace his leather breeches. She peeled them down slowly, freeing the shaft that was already swollen and erect.

This was the first time she’d had a chance to properly study this particular part of Goran’s anatomy so closely. Aliera reached out to touch the tip softly, and run her fingers along the shaft. She stroked it again, then leaned forward and kissed the tip. She felt a shiver running through him at that, so with a little smile she leaned to kiss again, then ran her tongue around the tip, and along the shaft.

Goran took a deep breath then leaned down and picked up his teasing bride and stepped to the bed. He sat on the edge of the bed, and Aliera snuggled against him, “Now what are we going to do? This is a wonderful evening.”

“Now we’re going to do this.” And Aliera found herself turned face down over his strong thighs.

“Wait – NO!” She started to struggle, “I haven’t done anything wrong! Please, Goran, no please!”

“Hush – calm down. You’re not in trouble.”

“But you’re going to spank me – I don’t want to be punished. I’m still sore from last night, please Goran, please don’t!”

He rubbed her back slowly, “I promised you a wonderful night. And this won’t be punishment, I promise. Do you trust me?”

“Do I – what? Well, yes, but I don’t want to be spanked.”

“Trust me. Now relax. Come on little one, relax.” One hand stroked her back, the other hand ran up and down her thighs.

Aliera whimpered but stopped struggling.

Goran kept on stroking her gently, on hand now running softly over her still-blushing cheeks, “Is it still very sore?”

“It hurts too much to sit down. And – it prickles.”

“I can fix that. Now, trust me, and you’ll be fine.” He kept on stroking her bottom, then ran his fingernails lightly across the welted cheeks. Then he lifted his hand and gently smacked it down.

Aliera stiffened and squealed.

“Now come on, that didn’t hurt, did it?”

“N-no, but – I don’t want it to hurt.”

“It won’t.” He smacked again, just enough to give a little sting. Aliera lay tense over his lap.

“Please…”

Again and again he smacked, so gently, then rubbed softly, then smacked again. Aliera started to squirm a little, but the tension left as she relaxed. And began to enjoy it.

Goran smacked her cheeks and thighs until they blushed a bright pink. After every volley of smacks he stroked and teased the hot skin, running his fingers or fingernails across her warm flesh.

Soon Aliera was moaning softly, little shivers of pleasure running through her. She wriggled a little more to lift her bottom eagerly, sliding her thighs apart invitingly. “Please….” She was asking for something different now. “Please…”

The smacks were a little harder now. Goran’s other hand reached down, stroking her soft skin, then reaching under her to explore her secret places. He tickled her as his other hand smacked down.

Aliera was squirming more now, caught between two lovely sensations. Heat rising everywhere – waves of pleasure building on each other. She raised her bottom for wonderful tingling smacks, then ground down on his other, teasing hand, eager for that wonderful touch. “More!”

Goran smacked a little harder, his other hand busy, the fingertips brushing her sweet secret places and just trailing over the precious pearl nestling there. Aliera wriggled more, desperate to urge those fingers deeper. “More! Harder! THERE!”

He smacked and stroked until she was in a frenzy, crying out for more, harder, MORE.

And then he lay her on the bed and loomed over her, leaning down to kiss her thighs, trailing up until his tongue was teasing at that slick, eager, swollen pearl again. Aliera screamed for release, but he kept her on the edge until she was almost mindless with need.

And then he moved again, the tip of his shaft nudging at that eager entrance. Aliera reached for him, clutching at his arms as he entered her in one swift thrust. She welcomed that sweet invasion, crying out in pleasure as he pulled back then thrust again.

They began that wonderful rhythm, pounding against each other. This was fast, intense, a wild animal rhythm thrusting against each other. The heat, the tension, the incredible need for release was overwhelming.

Their slick skins slid across each other, their bodies gleaming with sweat. Aliera clutched at his shoulders, lifting her hips to grind against him, then crying out as he thrust into her, her sore cheeks pounding on the rough blanket. Every thrust sent a new wave through her, so many sensations running along every nerve. She was pleading now, desperate to fill an need she couldn’t name, frantic for release.

When the climax took them it wracked her with convulsions stronger than she’d known before. Aliera threw her head back and screamed as it shook her again and again, then collapsed back on the bed, clutching desperately at Goran, the only security in that endless moment of wild sensation.

They held each other as the waves built and broke within them, for one perfect moment they moved and thought as one.

Total release, total pleasure.

Finally the world was still and silent again. They lay skin to skin, breathing in harmony, until at last Aliera stirred, mumbling softly, “My bottom hurts.”

Goran laughed and rolled over onto his back, taking her with him to lie on top of him, “Better now?”

“It prickles.”

He reached down to stroke the heated skin. She pouted for a few moments, then snuggled against him, “A TINY bit better now. I think you should be very nice to me to make up for it.”

“I’ve just been VERY nice indeed. What more do you want, woman?”

“I’m hungry.”

Goran’s laugh shook her until she slid off his chest, “I suppose I’ll have to feed you then.” He went to fetch the tray of food the handmaidens had left in the main room.

He’d feed her, then spank her and love her again.

Every night for the rest of their lives.

The End

 

Would you like more Rue Raven? Here’s your chance, she has a delicious new book out called Paying His Price. I just finished reading it and can you say hot?

Spankingly delicious panty melting sex and spanks with a dash of intrigue and danger thrown in for good measure. If you like spanking and a good story you don’t want to miss this one!

Buy Link:

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