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The Elegance Network: Browsing Jewel - The Messenger
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Jewel Evans
Jewel - The Messenger

Duke Reynard's castle was a good month's ride from the Palace, but royal messengers could commandeer fresh horses at every inn and require board at every noble's manor house, so she had made it in eighteen days. Of course, the messenger knew that the message wasn't really all that urgent, just the Queen demanding presents and jewels from her least favorite Duke, but it pleased her that the royal command could make knights of the realm give way to her on the road even for a trivial message like that. What she didn't know was that she was the fifth messenger to come this way this summer, and everyone was getting pretty sick of the royal messengers and the Queen's whims. Duke Raynard was not noted for his patience.

She arrived at the Duke's castle to a fairly frosty reception. The Seneschal showed her all due courtesy, but didn't exactly jump up to summon his master to answer the message. He informed her that he would deliver the message, because his grace was on the tourney field. Since the message hadn't been marked as for the Duke's eyes only, she had no real reason to object. He showed her into an antechamber where he said she could await his grace's reply. So there she sat. It wasn't exactly a dripping dungeon, but it was hardly opulent, either. And it was boring.

She got up to complain (she was good at complaining). To her surprise, she found that the door was locked. Her shouts drew no response. Suddenly the room looked a lot less like an empty antechamber and a lot more like a dripping dungeon with a few rugs and chairs strewn about to disguise its true nature.

The door burst open. She got up to register her strongest protests about her shabby treatment, but the men who charged in were not courtiers or nobles. They were common soldiers, and very rough ones at that. They seized her, stuffed a bit in her mouth as if she was an animal, then trussed her up and threw her to the ground. Her outraged protests turned to screams as they stripped her. Soldiers on dungeon duty didn't often get such a beautiful prisoner to play with.

Afterwards, they collared her and led her out to the Duke. She fought every step of the way.

The Duke's guards pulled the struggling Queen's Messenger over to a sinister black chopping block. She began to panic. Surely the Duke wouldn't actually decapitate a Royal Messenger and risk the displeasure of the Queen? Her fears were made worse when the Duke spoke.

"Pull her britches down, and fasten her to the block. I have a use for that ass."

He walked behind her, muttered something about handing him the bottle. She struggled but the straps binding her to the block were very strong. When she felt something cold, wet and sharp touch her back she screamed into her gag. For a moment she thought he meant to slice her open with a knife... then she realized that he was making strokes upon her back. He paused to dip the quill back into the inkpot, then proceeded to scribe his message on the back of the messenger.

Finally, he spoke to her directly.

"My dear, you have made a real plague of yourself these last few months. Your mistress has set you and her other messengers up above her nobles, and we are no willing to accede to the vain and willful demands of a spoilt brat. You will convey our reply to her latest proclamation back to her with my regards. But first, my seneschal has reminded me that I ought to establish the providence of the message in order that there be no mistake. You may inform her that she may go to Hades. Daughter! My seal!" And searing agony landed upon her exposed backside as he dripped molten sealing wax all over her posterior! The Duke's daughter's slender fingers pressed the ducal seal firmly into the soft wax. The Duke ordered the messenger to be strapped over her horse and led back to the Queen. Then he went to arm himself for the coming civil war.

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