Barbarienne Episode 2:
"Slaves of the Churmuk!"
Put a sword in my hand and confront me with a murderous she-demon, and I know what I'm doing... something I'd proved only the previous day. However, put me in my favourite tavern with two old friends and my new more-than-friend Memree, and there's a problem. I find that I'm blushing from my toes to the tips of my ears.
"--and then she put the rope right through, tugged it unmercifully tight, and tied it to the belt at the back," Memree was telling my friends, and the neighbouring tables, in a tone more often used to discuss the merits of the local beers and hostelries. "I couldn't move an inch, and then she started kissing my neck..."
I sank a little lower in my chair, trying to suppress a grin, and checking my pocket just in case I had had the foresight to pop a ball-gag in there.
"Of course, I began jerking and wriggling, as much as I could, and Charol threw herself on top of me, naked as a new-born, kissing and licking down towards my poor titties. I was hot and wet, and she was too, I could feel it on my thigh... and then she got up, pulled the sheet up over me, put her clothes back on, and went out again - long enough for me to fall asleep."
Memree paused for a quick drink, and smiled at Delinda and Ashil. Along with her slave Loji, Del runs her own shop, supplying slave restraints and related items, and as usual was dressed to advertise, in a shiny red leather leotard cut high at the thighs, plus matching gloves, boots and choker. As ever, one of her breasts was bared, to show a golden ring piercing the nipple, with a short, delicate chain clipped to it, ending in a pair of tiny bells. Ashil was dressed more conservatively, in woven trousers, shirt, and a chunky sweater. He'd been wearing a permanent grin ever since Memree had got onto what seemed to be her favourite subject, too.
"You always were an enthusiastic one, Charol", he commented, moving closer to Memree, who was wearing one of my spare leotards, a spare pair of my long boots, and a tightly buckled white leather belt. She shuffled away from him and closer to me, without appearing to notice.
"Unless you've been sneaking in while I'm asleep, we've only shared a bed three times, Ashil", I pointed out. "Four if you count last midwinter, when you fell asleep while unlacing your shoes, and stayed comatose until well into the following afternoon, snoring like a donkey."
"I feel we should count that, considering the novel way you finally woke me up". He grinned. "But this evening, it's strictly business I've got in mind -- a very lucrative mission that you are absolutely perfect for."
He went into details. It was a rescue job, basically: Kreston, the heir to the Sommersley estates, had got himself captured by the Churmuk, a nomadic tribe of female warriors, and, while a large ransom had been offered, they seemed to prefer to keep him as a trophy. "Anyway", he concluded. "I can't go in there, but you can...and take your new friend with you, if you like."
"The Churmuk don't welcome men", I agreed, "except as work-slaves -- but a female warrior and her girl-companion could claim their hospitality."
"To be convincing, Memree should pretend to be your slave", Delinda contributed. "Besides, she looks so good in the gear."
"That is true."
"I wouldn't be any trouble", Memree said quickly. "I'll be a help, you'll see."
"Well..." I pretended to be less than entirely persuaded.
"I could be a very convincing slavegirl", Memree said, sounding excited at the idea. "It would be an adventure."
"And it would give me an excellent excuse to gag you again, sera", I added, putting my arm around her shoulders. She nestled against me, and I found myself utterly convinced that I should take her with me. "On the other hand, Delinda would be very happy to lend you a bed for the few days the mission will take...?"
Memree pretended to consider the suggestion; the bed was liable to have various chains attached, I was sure, or even stocks for ankles and wrists/neck, leaving her body vulnerable to levels of hospitality seldom encountered outside a slavedealer's. "I'd worry about you too much", she said at last.
The guard Torner had returned Lord Restormel's body to his widow, for a small conideration, and her chamberlain had brought my agreed fee round straight away; Lady Restormel hadn't wanted to see me, and I didn't blame her. Memree and I had gone to Delinda's shop, and got a generous amount of credit in return for the metal gag and its key, plus a few of the less unpleasant small items from Atzmon's tower. After that, I'd treated Memree to the best and largest meal she could remember... not that that was saying much.
It was strange; Memree knew nothing about her past, though apart from her own personal history, she was obviously perfectly well-informed and educated. Atzmon had made a few claims during our fight, which suggested that, before Atzmon's experimental spell involving her and Marius Restormel, she had been unexceptional, perhaps not very bright at all... perhaps a kitchen drudge in the castle. Memree seemed to have shrugged this possibility off, and had no interest in her past there at all -- "Only in our future, m'sera!"
We got back to my room... to our room now, I supposed. A package wrapped in tissue paper was on the bed, probably delivered by Delinda's slavegirl Loji, and Memree made straight for it, until I grabbed her round the waist from behind.
"What is it, boss -- oooh!" I let my hands steal upwards, and breathed in the scent of her hair, felt her body warm against mine.
"Not so fast, neighbour", I told her, gently moving her over to one side. "You get those clothes off, and use the garde-robe, and then we'll find out together, eh?"
I stripped down to my own leotard, draping my leather jacket and gloves over the back of a chair, hanging the sword-belt on its hook, and putting my boots, plus the pair Memree shed, in their cupboard. By the time I turned around, Memree was standing at attention, naked as the day I found her, looking very mock-serious.
"Troop ready for inspection, captain!"
I gazed at her with all the icy profesionalism of the old aristo captain Ashil and I had served under a few years back, and stalked round her slowly, taking in every soft, pink detail. "Well,
these need polishing", I said, and pushed her back onto the bed, diving down on top of her.
"Hey", she said, through a fit of giggles and trying to ignore the way I was kissing an earlobe. "The parcel... you said we'd open it..."
I moved to one side, and raised myself on one elbow, just looking at her. Memree smiled, and opened her lips, rubbed her leg against mine. "What do you say, minx?"
I didn't move a muscle, just waited.
I smiled, and moved to begin unfolding the tissue paper. Memree lay there, watching. "It's leather -- I can smell that much."
"And it's from Delinda, using up some of our credit", I told her, holding up a white leather corset with buckles, laces, D-rings, and a couple of fine-wrought chains hanging down, leading to leather-padded metal wrist-cuffs. "Kneel up, and let's check that it fits you."
She got up on her knees, and I wrapped the firm leather around her. "Part of your costume for our mission", I remarked, though we were both well aware that I'd ordered this some hours before we'd seen Ashil.
Like the previous day's borrowed corset, it supported her breasts in under-cups, rather than hiding them. Memree's breasts were already a good size, but the uplift made them look good enough to eat. I began to lace the back, from the top, pulling the white leather thongs nice and tight. Unlike before, this one went down to her waist, and just an inch more. Her normal waist was slender, but this would take three inches off it. I finished the lacing in a big bow, and did up the buckles as well, tightening things a little more. Memree, who'd been silent, drew in a breath, and gave a wriggle. "At least I can't wear that bondage belt with this."
Gently, I brought her hands back behind her, and clicked the cuffs around her wrists. They were exactly the right size.
"You don't need it, see? This corset has the same type of tubing, if slightly shorter, built in behind these eyelet-holes." And of course right at the back was a little gap, through which I could reach the chain. I put a finger in, and pulled the chain out, drawing her wrists back. She resisted, tested my strength, but only for a moment. I pushed the chain underneath her, grabbed it with my other hand, and hauled it up, to hook it over two special studs a little over an inch apart. "There, everything's under control."
She pulled a little, to test it, and the delicate, silvery chains each side of her vaginal lips shifted slightly, and settled. "Well, I'm under control, anyway", she said, with a certain degree of satisfaction.
I produced matching ankle-cuffs, linked by about eighteen inches of a sturdier chain, and captured Memree's ankles. "You know, I find it slightly frightening how much I'm enjoying this", I told her.
"Well, I think you're horrid, and I'm going to scream and yell for help, in a minute or two, unless you can think of any way to stop me, somehow." She was looking at the next item that had been revealed, which was the wide white leather posture collar and head harness, complete with blinkers (or blinders)...now with a ball-gag included, though only buckled in on one side.
"Now, how could I stop you?" The collar laced up behind, and Memree held her neck straight while I got it properly positioned. "Let me think." Once the collar was properly secured, I started getting the straps right; luckily I'd harnessed a horse a few hundred times in my life, and this wasn't much different.
At last I reached the ball-gag, hanging loose down her chin. "Ah, I'm starting to get an idea of how I might save my reputation, I think."
After last night -- you must be joking." She turned to face me. "But give me a kiss first, my captivating barbarienne..."
Our lips met, very gently at first. Then I grabbed her head, and pressed my mouth hard on hers, pushed my tongue forward, stroked it along hers, and generally enjoyed myself. My hands wandered down over her shoulders, and soon we were both lying down pressed together, rubbing, moaning...
Reluctantly I broke contact, and picked up the ball-gag's open buckle. "That should keep you happy, neighbour."
"You're a sex-mad beast", Memree told me contentedly. "I guess we must be made for each other."
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"Just remember, if anybody else but you, or maybe Delinda following your instructions, tried to do this, I'd bite their throats out." And she opened her mouth to accept the gag, which was soon buckled into place.
I stood up, and Memree watched as I slowly pulled off my leotard, now with a rather obvious damp patch. I carefully used an unaffected bit to dry myself, and chucked it gently over her head. She let it stay there for a moment, and then shook it off, and managed to move herself so that her head rested on it.
She gave a grunt and a wriggle as I leant over her to unclip the blinkers, then watched as I used a little padlock to lock the two ankle-cuffs directly together, and then started to shake her head in negation as I produced the leather hood, with its nostril holes only.
I held it by her face, loosely laced ready for tghtening in place, and let her sniff the rich leather, and practice her very cutest wide-eyed look, before slipping it on, carefully aligning the nose. I drew the lace tight, then fastened the buckles, and looked down on my handiwork, Memree lying helpless on the bed before me.
I put a finger between her swolled lower lips, and she twisted, pushed herself at me. "Well, I'd better get dressed again, and go and get the full details of our little mission off Ashil," I said cheerfully, withdrawing my finger and wiping it along her thigh.
"It may take a while, but try and wait up for me, will you...?"
It was early in the morning of the third day of our trip. The sun was starting to burn the dew off the moors, an effect closer to a steam-bath than a real mist. Our horse, Hengist, was busy on the local foliage, while Memree fetched some water from the stream nearby, and I folded up our tent.
I was in my usual outfit in those days of leotard, boots and short leather jacket, plus belt and sword, with a sweater borrowed from Ashil under the jacket to combat the early chill. Memree wore a slightly bigger, baggier sweater as well, plus sturdy calf-high walking boots. We were inside the possible range of Churmuk patrols now, so Memree's dress would have to be authentic - but that could wait until our first rest stop of the day. There was no need for her to freeze.
"I don't know how you could have forgotten to pack a second sleeping bag", she said cheerfully, as she carefully doused our small breakfast fire.
"Sorry about that, kitten", I smiled. "But we don't want to overburden Hengist, do we."
"I know it saves confusion about whose hands are whose, but wouldn't it have been simpler to tie my hands behind my back, not behind yours...?"
I shrugged. "Humour me", I said.
"What's this Kreston man like, anyway?"
"A conceited little twerp - unless shovelling ox-shit for the Churmuk for the past few moons has improved his character."
"The heir to riches, anyway." The fire was out, and cold; I began to replace the turf we'd cut away last night, while Memree finished packing Hengist's saddle bags. "You want to make a play for him?"
"Not me, mistress. Just curious about why the Churmuk won't ransom him."
"Well, it can't be his sparkling conversation."
We walked off, leading Hengist. Memree had ridden him most of the previous afternoon, and had some new sensitive areas to prove it - to go with the blisters her new boots had started earlier.
The mist burnt off, revealing the scrub and moorland, the low distant hills. The world smelt fresh and green, a gentle breeze brushed past us. The road we were following was hardly more than a path, obviously not used by carts this year and precious few horses. If the Churmuk were ranging this way, wise men made a long detour; being captured by warrior women might sound like a sex fantasy, but they worked their slaves hard, and any reproductive activity was as carefully restrained and supervised as a farmer putting a prize stallion to a favourite mare.
"Time for a rest, chief?"
The sun had climbed well up the sky while I'd been brooding on the wonders of nature; I nodded, and tied Hengist's bridle to a small tree, tilted well to the side by the prevailing wind. Hengist tried a few leaves, and found them acceptable.
I handed the waterflask to Memree. "We could be under observation from any time now, so full slave etiquette, my love, or we're in deep trouble. And I think it's warm enough now to get you properly dressed, yes?
She pulled off the sweater, to stand dressed in boots and the shiny metal collar Del had provided. "That nice warm corset, is it, mistress?"
I dug into a saddlebag, which clinked and chinked very evocatively. "No, you'll have to keep those tits up under your own power, my girl."
I showed her a good ten-foot length of fine chain. "Remember that rope-tie I found you in?"
"You're going to remind me anyway, aren't you."
I draped the middle bit across the back of her neck, bringing both ends forward over her shoulders, and then brought them back under her arms, to cross at the middle of her back, where I clipped the chain together. Both ends continued down and across, and came back to her front at waist level, then dived through her crotch, and out at the back, where they circled each wrist - I used a couple more clips there, since chain could be more subject to slippage than rope. The chains wound round her thighs to the front, then ducked under her again, going straight up her back to the original crossing-place, where I secured them to the clip, after adjusting it to get it exactly at waist height. There was just enough left to come forward around her waist, where I used a small padlock.
"Not bad", I commented, as she gracefully turned round to model the effect. "But let's see if we can lighten Hengist's burden just a little more, shall we?"
"Well, since you put it like that, how can I refuse?"
I wound some more chain around above and below her breasts, and secured it, and then used another little padlock to draw the two strands together, between her breasts; this caused a small grunt of disapproval, and didn't look too comfortable, either. Next came ankle-cuffs and a hobble-chain, followed finally by a gag, also kept in place by chain. This one wasn't a soft rubber ball, though, keeping her mouth open; it was more pear-shaped, filling her mouth more comprehensively.
I sipped from the waterflask, and then packed it away. Memree stood waiting, watching me closely. I smiled, and kissed her lightly on the cheek, then patted her bottom. "Come on, slave - we've still got a lot of walking to do!"
One moment we were alone, walking through a shallow, scrubby valley and thinking about a lunch stop, and the next moment we were surrounded. My fieldcraft isn't bad, for a town-based girl, but I'd heard nothing - now suddenly two Churmuk warriors stood in front of us, and another two behind.
"You stand on Churmuk land, intruder. I am Natella, chief warrior of the blue faction", the taller woman in front of us said. She had blonde hair, and wore a metal headband with a blue star embedded in it at the front; otherwise, all four women were dressed the same, with short plate-mail kilts, sturdy calf-length boots, and shiny metal breastplates, which appeared to have been individually made to follow every contour of what was underneath - the effect was of naked breasts transformed into brass, which was a little offputting at first. "Your name, woman?"
"I am Charol", I told her, consciously keeping my hand off the hilt of my sword, and ignoring the crossbow bolt one of the women had aimed at my navel. "I was hoping to claim Churmuk hospitality for myself and my slave."
Natella stepped forward, looking less than friendly, and drew her sword from its sheath in a way that she must have practiced, with a flourish. "Our wagons are for warriors", she informed me, clearly confident that that wasn't a role a non-Churmuk woman could aspire to. "To be guest rather than captive, you must prove yourself!"
I gave her my friendliest smile. "With pleasure, sera - if you will give me a moment to prepare."
I led Memree to one side, and knelt her on the grass. "Keep your back straight, and watch," I told her. "It's just as well you're gagged, I don't want any distractions."
One of the Churmuk warriors moved to stand next to Memree, and stroked her hair, which I took to be a good sign. I gave her a nod of thanks, and drew my sword slowly, turning to face my adversary. "Now I'm at your service, Natella."
Our swords crossed lightly, a mere formality. I held mine a little low, not using its balance properly, and Natella smiled. "We have few guests, Charol - but many captives."
"Sounds like a fun place to visit." She lunged, and I parried, letting her blade scrape along mine hard enough to strike sparks. We clashed again, and I twisted my blade, tapping her lightly on the breastplate before retreating. "How far do we need to take this, warrior?"
"Not far" - and she lunged again. I stepped aside, but she stopped short, and our blades clashed again.
"Nicely done, sera", I said in a suitably friendly manner, moving back as she regained her balance.
"You are a worthy opponent, I think," she began - and high-kicked me in the stomach. I began to fold, and lost my hold on my sword. She gave a little yell of victory, and I had to roll aside as the sword came down where my neck had been - kept rolling, to get clear.
"It looks like captivity for you and your pet, then!"
I sat back, leaning on one arm, and watched as she picked up my sword, and walked forward confidently. I put my weight onto that arm, tensed - and, when the range was right, kicked both my legs out at her, catching her just below the breast-plate and generally giving her what she'd given me, only with added interest. Both swords went flying - she hit the ground butt first, and very nearly bounced. Before she'd managed a new breath, I'd got my sword to her throat, my face close to hers.
"My compliments on an excellent match, sera," I said, with a warmth that was not entirely genuine. "Are we finished now?"
Our eyes met. This was one unhappy lady, but to show her feelings would make matters worse, before her sisters-in-arms. "Put your weapons aside, warriors", she said at last. "Charol and her chain-girl are guests of our clan, and under the protection of the Churmuk."
It was mid-afternoon when we topped a rise and could see the Churmuk camp spread out before us. They'd obviously been there a while, and intended to stay some time longer. Wide pathways radiated from a large and ornately decorated central tent - or perhaps pavilion would be a more appropriate word for such an impressive creation. Between the paths, each in its own grassy patch, were the covered wooden wagons the Churmuk used as homes, while outside a circular roadway there were corrals for horses, oxen, and a few sheep, plus a few fairly large huts or cabins.
The warrior who'd stood beside Memree during the fight had stayed with her during our walk, helping her when the ground was uneven; she seemed to have adopted her. That one was called Fran; the other two, who stayed closer to Natella, were Jerri and Talia. Natella in turn stayed close to me, and I led Hengist.
Closer to, the muddiness of the paths became apparent, and the muddiness of the small, naked girl-children at play. The wagons were brightly and intricately painted, generally... though the one we were approaching was painted a solid blue.
"This is your guest wagon, sister," Natella told us, breaking a silence that had lasted some minutes. "I'll leave Fran to show you and your girl the ropes."
Well, for Memree it might make a change from chains. The other women left, and Fran helped us unload Hengist, and stow everything inside. The wagon itself was surprisingly roomy, with a heap of cushions in one corner, some neatly folded blankets, a wooden chest fastened against one wall, a broom of bound twigs on the floor, and a slave-whip lodged on two hooks behind the door.
I unclipped Memree's chains, and let her unwind them, leaving her wearing just her gag, collar and ankle-hobble. She carefully coiled up the chain, and hung it from an empty hook on one side-wall.
"The chest holds guesting-clothes, and things suitable for your girl, too", Fran told me, watching Memree inspect our new quarters.
"Oh, I've some things for her in the saddlebags, Fran."
"If we leave her to sort things out, I'll take you round the camp, and we can get your horse stabled, too."
I unbuckled one saddlebag, and pulled out the leather belt Memree had worn before, complete with wrist-cuffs and chains. Fran watched as I locked Memree into it, leaving the chains loose.
"You get this place spotless, or I dust your bottom for you, understand?"
Memree nodded, then moved to stand by the broom.
"She's a pretty little thing, sera -- is she a war-prize?"
"No, just a slave", I told Fran, fingering around Memree's breasts, where the chain had left some temporary red indentations.
"A morsel like her would bring a high price, I'm sure."
"Oh, she's a wilful, disobedient little baggage -- more trouble than she's worth, sometimes." I tweaked her nipples lightly, then turned away, following Fran down the four wooden steps to the ground, and closed the door behind me.
Fran untied Hengist. "Still...she could look quite stunning this evening at our feast, if she's displayed as your trophy?"
We began to walk away from the wagon. "That would make a good impression, you think?"
"A memorable one", she assured me. "Especially with you as her captor."
I let the compliment hang in the air. I'd known that Memree might be an object of sexual desire here, among all these warrior women, but I'd not thought that I myself might be in that category. Despite Memree's eager tutoring of recent nights, this made me feel a little uneasy.
"If you've no suitable clothes, I can lend you some", Fran added. "And I could be your escort, if you like...?"
Well, I'd already annoyed Natella, by not letting her vanquish and probably enslave me; it seemed a good idea to encourage an ally here as well. It wasn't as if Ashil had managed to produce much information about how the Churmuk conducted their affairs, in any sense of the word. "Well", I told her, doing my best to sound enthusiastic about the idea, "Memree has told me how much she likes dressing up."
My tour of the encampment didn't take long. We left Hengist at the stables, and walked round the outer ring. The oxen were smelly, the sheep looked bored, and we saw a group of male slaves who looked thin, muddy, and too tired to appreciate the shapeliness of their escort. They had heavy fetters on their ankles, and equally sturdy chains hobbling them.
"If these are the only men in camp, surrounded by beautiful women, I'd have expected them to look a bit happier", I commented.
"They're off-limits to all free warriors", Fran told me. "And it's weeks until the next trade-fair, where we get a chance to associate with suitable men."
"No chance of borrowing one for the night - not that they look very exciting to me, that is." It seemed unlikely, but it would be an ideal way to talk to Kreston... though he didn't appear to be in this particular bunch.
"It's not worth the risk -- get caught and any of us would be sold to a male to be used as a baby machine", Fran said. "And you could hardly expect one of them to keep quiet about it, could you."
The only slaves in the main encampment were female ones, usually dressed in rags or less, carrying water, laundry, food, or whatever was needed. Some weren't even chained; as long as the horses were well-guarded, there was nowhere they could go.
A group of Churmuk warriors was in one paddock, practicing swordwork. "Do you want to join in?" Fran gestured to the gateway.
"One good swordfight a day is enough for me, I think," I told her. "Besides, I think we should go back and check on Memree."
"Let's get something to eat first, then we can take her a plate too."
Fran led the way to where about half an ox was being roasted on a spit over an open fire. An older warrior was in charge, and cut us thick, juicy slices onto simple metal plates. The meat smelled gorgeous, which reminded me how long it had been since my breakfast. Risking scorched fingers, I picked up my top slice and took a healthy bite, then nodded my appreciation enthusiastically.
The warrior smiled, and added another piece to my plate. "A healthy appetite -- that's what I like to see, sister", she commented.
We walked off, chewing. Fresh air and woodsmoke had worked their magic on meat that, if served in a tavern, I'd have eaten without comment. As it was, this counted as the highlight of the day so far.
I was first to climb the steps to the wagon, and open its door -- to find it no tidier than we'd left it, with Memree asleep on the cushions, in her gag, belt and chains. Half-curled and naked, she looked extremely cute, but this didn't stop me from a surge of anger. What did she think she was playing at?
"You little skiver", I said, and she woke up -- but not quickly enough to get to her feet before I'd reached her. I held her on her knees, and unlocked her gag, pulling it gently out of her mouth. "This place is a mess -- and I find you asleep! I warned you, girl."
"I'm sorry, mistress... I just meant to rest for a moment, but--"
I put my hand over her mouth to silence her. "You'd better help me hold her, Fran."
"With pleasure." I got the feeling Fran was not just being polite when she said that!
I sat down on the cushions, and positioned Memree across my lap, warm and anxious. "Now, I believe I said something about dusting your bottom for you...?"
"Yes, mistress", she said quietly, pressing against me and wriggling slightly.
"Hold her legs, would you, Fran -- don't let the minx squirm too much."
"And not another word, Memree..."
I don't think Memree believed the first stroke, but I was angry with her for her disobedience -- and the way she lay helpless across me called for a strong reaction, too. It stung my hand, and her bottom quivered and bucked. She gasped, and tried to struggle, but was in no position to do anything to protect herself.
I kept going. She wiggled, she wriggled, she positively danced on my lap. I concentrated on one cheek, then the other, bringing a nice healthy blush to them. My hand was starting to hurt, now, and Memree was yelping and gasping -- we were all breathing heavily now, including Fran.
"And one more..." I put all my remaining energy into it, and Memree squawked and bucked one last time. I took my other hand off her back, and Fran let her legs go. Fran stood up, and Memree got onto her knees.
"Have you anything to say to me, slavegirl?"
"I -- thank you, mistress. Please forgive me for being so stupid."
"And aren't you going to thank Fran for helping you to keep still?"
Memree turned towards Fran, smiling shyly. "Thank you, mistress."
I let a note of sharpness enter my voice. "And?"
Memree gave me a quick glance, wide-eyed, then hugged Fran round the waist, and carefully kissed one metal breast, then the other, before sitting back on her heels, and lowering her eyes modestly.
"She... Your slave is well-trained."
"She can give that impression, when she wants to", I remarked, retrieving the third plate of meat, and relaxing into the cushions. Fran picked up the other plates, which we'd emptied, and made for the door. She looked back at us, with me casually nibbling at the meat, and Memree kneeling by my side, and smiled.
"I'll be back at nightfall", she said, and left.
Memree waited until she was out of earshot. "Mistress is a beast", she commented.
"Have you any objections -- or do you want some lunch, slavegirl?"
Memree carefully sat down next to me, on a suitably plump pillow. "A nice, kind, generous beast", she said. "And the ideal mistress for a deserving, hungry slavegirl like me."
I pulled in her wrist-chains at the back, pulled the double chain under her, through and up on either side of her labia, to be securely clipped to the belt's front. She gave me no resistance, and settled back with a sigh, her wrists helplessly pinned. I took another bite of meat, to get the slice down to a manageable size, and then delicately lowered it into her eager mouth, still warm and juicy.
"I saw one group of male work-slaves, but not Kreston", I told her as she chewed. "It seems they're all off-limits to us girls."
"Ashil's plan is a bit vague", Memree said. "We find him, set up a diversion, open that magical message-flask, and Ashil and his men come galloping to meet us, as we, including Kreston, hopefully come galloping out."
"Yeah", I replied, tearing another hunk of meat in half and stuffing it between her lips. "I get the feeling he wasn't telling us everything -- but he's reliable, particularly with us being his only hope of getting the reward money."
I continued to feed my companion, letting her lick the juices from my fingers rather more than was strictly necessary. She lay back, put her head in my lap, a picture of serenity, and I felt a warm rush of affection for this strange woman without a past, this beautiful blonde who took so easily to chains and straps... my chains and straps. The last of the meat vanished; I wiped a finger around the plate to catch the last of the juices, then let her suck my finger clean... and then wiped my finger dry on her breast, earning a most attractive wiggle and a smile.
I picked up Memree's gag, and began to wipe it clean, and she watched, happy and relaxed. "Do you think Fran dashed off to take a cold shower?"
I considered this for a moment, and giggled. "She won't wash that breastplate for a month", I commented. "But that was a little bit over the top, wasn't it?"
"Well, you obviously wanted me to do something", Memree said with a grin. "And her boots were a bit too dusty to be the objects of my affections..."
"If all the Churmuk are like her, my main problem will be turning down offers to buy my sexy little slavegirl", I told her, getting ready to plug the gag back in.
"That - and turning down offers to take my place", Memree concluded, and then opened her mouth, to let me slip the gag into position. In it went, and I locked the chain behind her head, then stroked her hair, and sighed. Somehow, I knew that this interlude was the calm before the storm; a time of sunshine, but with a subtle menace to the light, a colour-shift that warned of thunder, lightning, and pelting rain to come.
I don't usually sleep in the afternoon, and when I do I never dream, as far as I can remember, but that time was the exception. I was hunting, with a long tribal spear, and it was night, but there were lights, and noise, and suddenly I knew that I was also being hunted. A flash of lightning showed me a figure in full armour, with a spear twice as long as mine. It was a woman, and as she turned away from the sudden glare it seemed for a moment that it was--
"--to get ready, sister", Fran's voice said loudly and cheerfully. It was almost dark now, and she put a lantern on one wall, and lit another which was already hanging in the wagon. I was lying back on the cushions, the place still as untidy as ever, with Memree's head in my lap, my hand in her hair, only gradually coming awake. This was not the way I usually behaved -- how had she even unlatched the door without me coming instantly alert and ready for trouble?
Fran was already dressed for the evening's entertainment, in her shiny metal breastplate, a pair of knee-high boots that also looked like metal, but were presumably specially-treated leather, and a matching belt, wide and tight with an ornate buckle at the front. Her panties seemed to have no sides to them -- instead, her modesty was preserved by a single strip of a shiny black fabric attached by two hooks to the belt at the front and, rather narrower by then, by one hook at the back. She smiled slightly nervously as Memree and I took in the ensemble.
"Well, you look stunning", I told her appreciatively. "But what have you got for me?"
The clothing the Churmuk keep for guests, and I suppose for themselves too, must be one of their more valuable treasure hoards; I stripped off, and let Fran wrap me in a "T" shape of black leather, which made a wrap around my waist, laced at the back. The down-piece dangled at the front, until Fran pulled it back and through, up under the back of the wrap, and let the free end dangle a few inches down over it. As it moulded and settled, the final result was slightly more sexy than Fran's belt-and-attachment. Next came a pair of matching boots, of black leather so thin they were more like long stockings with soles on the feet, and so tight a fit that they stayed up perfectly. And of course there were matching gloves.
Thankfully, a tunic came next -- I don't mind flaunting my breasts, but I do like to keep my back covered from my neck to just above my waist, due to some old scars I'd rather not go into. This tunic was made of crisp white linen, and was just long enough to show an inch or so of skin above the leather wrap. As an aid to ventilation, the front was held together, or apart, by five fine six-inch chains, making it usefully tight at breast level, and nicely loose below.
"I take it that the feast area is well-heated", I commented, adjusting the tunic's arms, which ended at the elbows, covering a few inches of glove.
"How does it feel?"
"Almost indecently sexy, and I love it", I assured her, then turned to Memree, who had been watching carefully. "If we both look this good, let's not bother with my cute little accessory -- let's just hood her for the night, and head on out!"
Memree gave a sneezing little snort; there may have been a grimace in there somewhere, but since the plug-gag extended her face about as far as it wished to go, it was hard to be sure.
"As you wish", Fran said. "But it is too early to go yet -- so let's dress her up in the gear I've brought along, anyway..."
I stripped Memree to her collar, making sure she kissed her gag once I'd removed it, then took her and a bucket outside for a pee, while Fran unpacked and smoothed out what she had brought. This was white leather, and probably even more expensive than my outfit.
I sat back and watched, as Fran began work. She started with a delicate-looking chain around Memree's waist; it had no separate lock, one of the chain-links itself opened and closed if properly manipulated. Next came stocking-boots like mine, only white, and each of these was clipped to three suspender-chains to link it tautly to the belt-chain. Long white gloves, next, and fine chain bracelets at wrist and elbow, which Fran linked with tiny padlocks to the waist-chain (level with her elbows) and the outside suspender-chains (level with her wrists), so that Memree's arms were kept straight at her sides.
"Well", Fran said, "I could use a lot more chain on her, capture her breasts and part her pussy for her, but I don't think I can top this for effect." She stood aside. "This one would look stunning, even in clothes."
I nodded my agreement, gazing at my helpless companion and feeling rather warm and moist myself in sympathy. "We'd better take a gag, to use later", I said, getting to my feet.
Fran was getting a final item out of the pack she'd brought. "I agree", she said. "Some girls look silly in them, but somehow it only enhances your girl's desirability."
She held up the last piece of white leather; it was a hood, lacing up the back, with large, stylized eye-holes. "We'll just put this on her for our entrance", she said, putting it around Memree's head and beginning to tighten the laces. The effect was rather erotic, and very fascinating. The fine leather moulded itself to every contour; lines of thick stitching simulated arched eyebrows, and the lively, alert eyes revealed through the twin holes dominated the otherwise empty face. I suppose there were small nostril holes to breathe through, but they weren't visible.
I clipped a chain leash to Memree's collar, and we were ready.
"She looks really splendid, doesn't she?" Fran adjusted the hood very slightly, and stroked its leather gently, lingeringly.
"Makes me wish I were a man", I replied. "Then there'd be no risk of me being dressed up like that."
"I'm not sure 'dressed' is quite the word, Mistress", came the comment from behind the white leather, rather muffled.
"True -- but nobody asked for your opinion, did they?" I patted her flank for emphasis. "Come on, then, my love - best foot forward!"
"Well", Fran said quietly, "at this moment I almost envy her."
The feast was held in the central pavilion, of course, with the ground smothered in carpets, rugs, and cushions of every possible colour. The only Churmuk in full uniform and with weapons flanked the entrance; the rest lounged about in breastplate and trousers, breastplate and panties, leotards with or without breastplates...there were even a couple of mannish shirts to be seen. There were no chairs, except a throne intricately carved from a white wood. The tribe's First Speaker sat there, grey-haired yet still handsome, wearing her breastplate over a long black dress. She was flanked by two strikingly beautiful naked slavegirls, each with her leash tied to an arm of the throne. They knelt, backs straight; the First Speaker was idly stroking the brunette's hair. In front of the throne was an open area, with only a large plain carpet on the ground. To its right was Natella, sitting on some cushions, in her breastplate and a very small pair of leather panties, with a naked girl lying at her feet -- naked except for a studded leather collar, and matching leather cuffs joined by a short chain, that is.
We stood just inside the entrance, taking in the scene -- and letting the scene take us in, too. Slavegirls were hurrying about with pitchers of wine, platters of meat, and baskets of bread; they were generally naked, except for occasional straps of leather and lengths of chain. I noticed Natella, and nudged Fran.
"That 'slavegirl' with Natella... wasn't she from her squad this morning?" I kept my voice low, and left a confident smile on my face, breathing in the various perfumes. Whoever was selling bottled fragrances to this tribe was doing a roaring trade, unless it all came from a recently sacked caravan.
"Perhaps it's her night off", came from behind the thin layer of white leather, and I swear Memree's eyes sparkled mischievously in the lamplight.
Fran ignored us, waiting for every warrior to notice our arrival. Swiftly, talk faltered, and she took a deep breath, and announced "The Lady Charol, warrior and adventurer, and captor to her lovely and loving trophy-slave Memree!" She pulled the bow securing the lacing loose, tugged the hood's two sides apart, and pulled it away, to reveal my blonde's hair and face. We walked forward in the brief silence, which was soon broken by clapping, usually of one hand on the thigh. A number of warriors stood, as we passed, and shook my hand as they stated their names, none of which I can remember now. Fran got hugged in a sisterly way a few times, while Memree tended to get lightly stroked on her flank or behind. As an entrance, I've seldom experienced better.
We stopped in front of the throne. Fran knelt, and I followed her example, while helping Memree to retain her balance doing likewise.
"First Speaker", Fran said, "I present Charol, and her trophy-slave."
The woman gazed at us calmly, before allowing her face to soften into a slight smile. "We welcome thee, Charol, to the Churmuk", she said in a strong, clear voice. "Our wagons are thine."
"Thank you, m'sera", I replied. "Your people do us great honour."
We got to our feet, as the noises of conversation and catering returned to their previous levels. A harpist began to play. Fran led us to a well-cushioned space at the edge of the central open area, and we all three sat down. We'd hardly settled before a flurry of slavegirls surrounded us, with food and drink. Fran helped herself to a goblet, and drank deeply.
I let Memree sip some of my wine, holding the goblet to her lips, and spoke quietly. "Are any of the other slave-types just warriors dressed up, like Natella's little friend?"
"That's Jerri", she replied. "And no, I don't think so... though she looks so different like that."
"It could be the result of a private wager -- or it could mean that Natella is planning mischief", I said. "She may not have liked me beating her in combat."
"That is possible, certainly", Fran replied, picking up her goblet again. "I must concede that she isn't the most forgiving, easy-going person I know."
I fed myself and Memree with chunks of spicy meat in rich gravy, and scraps of bread dipped in the juices, and just settled back to enjoy the evening; there was nothing else to be done.
Since we were at the edge of the open central space, we had a fine view of the entertainments, which grew wilder as the evening progressed. There was singing, juggling, knife-throwing, absolutely frenzied acrobatics and dancing, and by the time of full darkness outside, some prettty serious-seeming wrestling.
Once we'd finished eating, I gave Memree a final sip of wine, and then got out her gag; on her best slavegirl behaviour, she eagerly took it into her mouth, and leaned forward to let me fasten it in place. The lights were lower, now, and after we'd watched a particularly uninhibited set of dancers, I found that Memree was not only lying across my lap and having her hair stroked by me -- she was lying across Fran as well, getting her rump stroked. Who was supposed to be in charge of whom? If one of us stopped, head or bottom would rise up to nudge the idle hand back into action.
The wrestling bouts each involved two naked Churmuk warriors, flesh gleaming with oil, with the First Speaker herself calling out the scoring from the throne. It was obviously skilful, and sexy in its way; I was impressed by the lack of emnity involved, except in the final bout, which was obviously a grudge match, with some serious hair-pulling, a knee-to-breast blow that made me cringe in sympathy, and a double strangle-hold that was only broken in the end by Natella's intervention.
"Those two meant it, didn't they, Fran?"
"The old romantic triangle", she told me. "Slenna's playing them both for suckers...aah, now what's Natella up to?"
Natella stood in the circle, waiting for conversation to die down. "My sisters, tonight our entertainment has been top-class, in honour of our First Speaker and our guest, m'sera Charol. Do you think it fair if we ask Charol to take part in tonight's climax?"
I looked at Fran, questioningly. She shrugged. It looked as if this was the pay-off to Natella's plotting, but what could we do about it?
"Charol is a mighty warrior", she went on, "and her slavegirl is beautiful, loyal, and I'm sure skilful. How better to celebrate than in a friendly bout of rope-and-tie, against myself and my own shameless nymph...?"
This suggestion was met with applause, cheers, and cries of support -- after all the wine I'd consumed, I nearly joined in too, but turned to Fran for some explanation. "What the Hel is 'rope-and-tie', neighbour?"
Fran looked less than enthusiastic. "Warriors compete, to see who can capture and immobilise a slave more quickly." She made a face. "They use each other's slaves, of course."
"That doesn't seem too bad... but let me guess, Natella's your champion at it."
"Well, actually, no..."
I stood up, moved into the ring. A few extra lamps were being lit around it, and it looked almost welcoming to my slightly wine-befuddled brain. "This seems a fine way to make my own small contribution to an excellent evening", I announced loudly, to much applause.
Natella moved over to me, and we shook hands. "Since you are our guest, I think you should go first -- it will give your slavegirl an example to follow."
Of course, I could have done with such an example as well, but I smiled and nodded in agreement, before returning to Fran, who still looked less than happy.
Fran removed my tunic, on the grounds that it might be a hindrance, and folded it neatly. "You and your target, Jerri, should both stay inside the ring", she told me. "You are given a rope, and you must tie her wrists together behind her, and her ankles. First Speaker will time you by her pulse... oh, and the tie must remain secure for a further twenty beats. You aren't supposed to knock your target out -- this is wrestling, not boxing."
"Sounds fine to me", I said, as somebody handed me the rope in question. "But if Natella isn't your local champion, Fran, who is?"
Fran crouched down by Memree, and began removing her chains. "Why, Jerri is."
I felt sick, as I moved forward. Jerri, now without her wrist-cuffs, came forward too, with a confident smile, escorted by Natella.
"Thy challenge is bravely accepted, Natella", First Speaker announced. "You must now state the prize for this contest, for the loser to forfeit."
Natella glared at me briefly, and then smiled. "A weight of gold, m'sera, or the tied lovely -- loser's choice, of course."
Oh dear. Whatever the Churmuk called a 'weight' of gold would be more than I'd got in my purse, for certain. A tiny, booze-fortified voice suggested that I had become infatuated with Memree, and to have her taken away might, in the long run, be a good thing... but, much more than that, I did fancy my chances.
"If that is all you can afford, dear warrior -- I accept your terms!"
First Speaker nodded calmly. "The slave must remain inside the circle, but the warrior need not -- though retreating delays the victory. On my word, brave Charol... begin!"
I lunged for Jerri, who sidestepped. I'd been drinking, and she hadn't... it showed. But perhaps she thought I was more inebriated than I was... I caught her, and we grappled, me holding tightly to the rope. I wondered for an instant how the rules would cover her roping me instead...
The whole tent was in uproar, as Jerri wriggled and writhed, trying to get free, but at last I looped the rope around her wrists, and, as if underwater, slowly tied a knot, with her wrists crossed, and took the rope around the other way for good measure, then tripped her onto the carpet, hard enough to bounce, pulled her feet back roughly, and roped them too, so that they almost touched her hands. I yanked the knot unmercifully tight, then stood back, panting.
The further twenty beats seemed to take an hour, but at last, despite Jerri's full strength, First Speaker stood. "The ties are secure", she said firmly. Elapsed time, 97 beats."
I staggered back to my cushion, where Fran was giving Memree her final preparations. All her chains were off, but she still wore her boots, gloves, and collar.
Fran removed Memree's gag, and looked across at me, with a reasonably encouraging smile. "A fair time, in the circumstances", she said.
"Mistress, can you hood me, please? It will give my face some protection."
Fran and I looked at each other, and we both nodded. Natella was in this to win, and pulling hair or an ear, or scratching, would not be beneath her. We slipped the white leather hood on, and Fran began to lace it up.
Natella came over. "You're hooding her?" Her voice carried to the whole tent. "What trickery is this, sera?"
"No trickery, neighbour." My voice was equally loud, and if anything a little more patronising. "I'm afraid she bites, and I'd hate you to come to any harm."
By the time the laughter had died down, Memree was ready -- and looking just slightly sinister in the big-eyed, mouthless hood. She walked to the middle of the ring, beside Natella, and gave a slight bow towards First Speaker.
"Art thou ready, slave Memree?"
"I am, m'sera."
"On my word, noble Natella... Begin!"
Natella moved like a striking scorpion, and managed to grab Memree's wrist and pull her forward. Memree didn't resist, but went with the pull, diving under Natella's hand and managing to break the hold. She nearly left the circle, but managed to stop and make a crouching turn. Natella tried to put the rope over Memree's head, but Memree grabbed it and pulled... they both nearly fell. Natella yanked the rope free one-handed, and threw a punch at Memree's jaw, which missed... but a sweeping kick to Memree's shin connected, and Memree fell, with Natella diving on top of her, looping the rope around one wrist.
The wrist was secured, now, the knot tied while Natella used her weight to pin Memree. She then lifted her -- and kneed her in the stomach before pushing her down flat, and capturing the second wrist. Memree was panting hoarsely, and trying to get free, but she was on her front, with Natella's knee in her back now -- and both her legs bent back, the rope around them.
It had been a struggle, I'm sure a much harder one than Natella had expected, but Memree was trussed now, arms and legs helpless behind her, as Natella moved free, and turnd to First Speaker. "I have her", she said triumphantly, and glanced over at me. I rose to my feet, very angry with the way that Natella had fought... but Fran put a restraining hand on my arm.
"Thy time is 74 beats, though the slave fought thee well, and with courage", First Speaker said, still looking at Memree, who was jerking and struggling like a mad thing. The tie had to remain effective for at least twenty heartbeats after its victim had been caught... and that time wasn't over yet!
Natella and I both watched as Memree strained and tugged. "Seven beats to go... five..."
Were the leather gloves a help or a hindrance? They saved Memree from rubbing her wrists raw, but mightn't the ropes slip across sweaty skin more easily than across even well-polished, supple white leather?
Natella's smile was wider now, as she watched. But did the knot slip an inch? Certainly Memree was straining, sweat gleaming on her back.
Free! An arm was out of its captivity, the glove scraped and torn across the back of Memree's hand. First Speaker stood, with a faint smile. "The slave has freed herself, Natella, and just inside the time allowed."
"But it was less than..."
I moved to help Memree, who'd already extricated her other arm. I crouched, and untied her ankles. Natella's protest had faded to nothing under First Speaker's gaze. She'd been bested, but -- well, what was a little gold to the leader of many a Churmuk raiding-party?
I helped Memree to her feet, and turned to Natella. "A close contest", I told her graciously. "it's your choice, but I do hope you present me with your slave -- she might help me keep this one under control, which as you've seen is not always easy."
Natella glared at me, and then transferred her gaze to Jerri, obviously seeing if she could shift the blame for losing onto her partner. Jerri turned pale at the prospect of a career change from warrior to slave.
"I..." Natella gave a little cough, and tried again, with a rather unconvincing forced smile. "I do see your problem, Memree is obviously a handful... but no, it's my choice, and I choose to offer you gold, sera Charol."
"As you wish."
I unlaced the hood; Memree's face was damp, and a glowing deep pink from her exertions. I kissed her on the mouth, and she pressed herself against me in a very enthusiastic way...
The entertainment was over, now, and the warriors of the Churmuk were getting carefully to their feet, while slavegirls removed dishes and goblets, collected cushions, and generally began to clean up the pavilion. The door-flaps were tied back, and the colder night air was encouraging everybody to move. Some of the lamps were being dowsed; Natella and Jerri left without any further words, for me or for each other, and First Speaker and her two body-slaves walked off to their own door. I've never known such an elaborate evening to finish so suddenly.
Fran joined us, putting a blanket around Memree's sweaty nakedness. I put one arm around Memree, and the other around Fran, and we set out for the guest wagon.
We all three went in, and Fran lit the lamp for us while I peeled Memree out of her boots and gloves, and folded up the blanket she'd been draped with. "Well, if Natella didn't dislike us before tonight", I began...
"Now there's money on it", Fran continued. "But I don't see there's anything she can do now -- you both impressed First Speaker, and she is the woman who has the final word around here."
"As well as the first one", I said absently. "I'm sorry about the glove." I held out the one that had got torn in Memree's struggle for freedom. "Maybe Natella should buy a new one."
Fran smiled. "Maybe. But I'd better be off, I expect you two have plans for the rest of the evening."
"Plans?" I gazed at Memree, who was sitting back on some cushions, naked. "Perhaps I have, at that... I think I'll truss her up until she can't even wriggle, and then fool around with the pinker bits."
Memree got to her feet, and approached Fran, eyes lowered. "Thank you for your support, Mistress", she said, and then hugged her tight and kissed her full on the lips for what seemed an excessively long time, while Fran almost automatically embraced her too. Memree's feet were together; I crouched and buckled a strap tight around her ankles.
Still hugging, Memree broke off the kiss, and looked straight into Fran's face. "You'd better go, or you'll end up strapped to me all night", she said with a smile which suggested that this was not entirely a warning.
Fran backed off, a little short of breath, and noticed the ankles-strap, and that I had gathered Memree's wrists behind her and was winding a long strip of leather around them.
"I... I'll see you both in the morning", she said, and left.
We waited a moment, until the door was closed and Fran's steps had receded, while I drew the strip of leather on around Memree's waist, and tied it securely at the front, trapping her hands in the small of her back.
"Another cold shower for the poor girl?"
Memree gave an exaggerated pout. We were standing facing each other now. "Well, I thought she deserved some reward for all her help this evening, and since my companion is an untutored barbarienne with the manners of a flea..."
I pushed her backwards, so that she fell into the heap of cushions and, grabbing a ball-gag, leapt on top of her. I tried to push the ball into her mouth, and she twisted and ducked, trying to avoid her just deserts. She started to laugh, and so did I, and then I decided it would be easier to find her mouth with mine. The kiss was long, and deep, and full of meaning... at last I broke away, and tenderly, without any resistance, put the gag into position.
"The manners of a flea, eh? We'll discuss that in more detail in the morning, my pet", I told her gently, a hand on her breast for emphasis. She practised her wide-eyed, helpless and innocent look, and I bent forward again to kiss the line of her jaw, her neck...
Open up!" The door crashed open, and three armoured Churmuk came in, weapons drawn. "Don't move, outlander!"
"You're under arrest -- for the murder of our First Speaker!"
They grabbed me, wrenched my arms behind me. What had happened? This was no joke, they meant this in earnest. I was roped and tied, and carried out into the night, leaving Memree behind, tied and helpless.
Whatever was going to happen next, it didn't look as if I'd be playing an active part in it, at least for a while. But Memree will be able to take up the story, if you have a little patience...