They said she came out of the Halls of Hell, riding a midnight-black mare whose hooves thundered across the kingdom bringing terror, fire and the sword. They said she was a succubus, child of Lilith, a fiend in human form who ate the innocent in their beds and hacked the heads off the valiant men who opposed her. They said that she led an army of ten thousand flesh-eating monsters from Hades across the bloody battlefields of Europe. They said her name was Ravenna and that flocks of Ravens followed in her wake, feeding on the eyes of the fallen.
They said a whole lot of superstitious nonsense, thought Duke Giacomo. Only the last had any real truth in it. Ravens did flock after her rampaging band, she fed them regularly and forbade her men to chase them off. He supposed it added to her air of arcane devilry or some such. Her name wasn't really Ravenna, it was Bianca, but she did in fact hail from a small village on the outskirts of the town of Ravenna itself. She wasn't a queen of Hell, she was a talented tactician who had somehow parleyed, backstabbed, and when all else had failed, fought her miserable band of mercenaries from a ragamuffin band into one of the most unpredictable, rapacious and strangely well-disciplined band of mercenaries in all Europe.
But for all her genius as a tactician, as a strategist she wasn't worth shit.
That's why it was she who was being brought in front of the Duke in chains, having been trapped by ambush as she and her men scouted out the lay of the land around the castle.
He could see the pride in her face as she was dragged in in irons. She stood and glared at him. He signed to his men, had her thrown to the ground at his feet.
"I don't expect you to curtsey, my dear."
She snarled at him.
"But given my rank you ought to have at least inclined your head."
The Duke spoke once more.
"I can see that you do not take your predicament seriously. Perhaps you expect to be ransomed, as is the custom for captured officers? Perhaps stripped of warhorse and harness?"
She glared at him defiantly, spoke no word.
"Or perhaps you believe that Paolo or one of your other sergeants will carry out your plan to gain entrance to my wine cellars and gain access?"
She looked slightly less sure of herself.
The Duke stood up from his throne. He threw back the black velvet that had covered the seat. Beneath the plinth where he had sat lay the severed heads of three men. Paolo, Antonio and Jacob. Her three chief sergeants. Only David was missing.
She gasped, and for the first time met the Duke's eyes with less than total certainty.
"I am afraid, my dear Bianca, that their reign of terror- and yours- had ended. Your tactics were faultless, and were you not such a blood-thirsty bitch I would have offered you a position on my council. But your lack the strategic overview. I see you retain some hope still, as you do not see David's head with the others. That is because..."
David, her sergeant, her lover, stepped forth from the shadows.
"That is because he was never your man. He was, and will remain his Duke's man." David's voice contained all the cruelty she had admired of him in battle. But now it was aimed at her.
"Thank you David, you may return to your usual position. I am sure this little holiday as a mercenary has taught you many useful tricks and tips- share it about with the other officers of the household guard, if you would? And your reward, of course, is already with your bankers. A hundred gold florins, and as we agreed your debts are also cancelled. Thank you. You may go."
David bowed to his Duke and returned to the shadows from whence he came.
"You see, my dear girl, your army was annihilated. I believe not one man escaped alive. There will be no rescue, no ransom. And as for you, I think it is time that you realised that you are, and always have been, a little girl playing at being a warrior."
The guards stepped forward and lifted Bianca to her feet. She barely resisted as they hoisted her wrists skywards and began to remove her harness.
They stripped her armour from her in stony silence that was worse than the laughs and jibes for which she had braced herself. At the Duke's order, she was undressed by a female duenna behind screens, washed and bathed and perfumed. She was dressed again in a plain Cathay satin slip that was in itself worth almost as much as the harness they had removed.
She had expected to be treated as a captured warrior, perhaps tortured to reveal battle plans and details of her employers' schemes. Instead she was treated as if she were a young maiden brought into the castle to serve. For that was exactly what the Duke had in mind for her. Her crimes and defiance had earned her a painful execution- but she would be executed, not as the warrior queen, but as a broken, tamed, submissive sex slave.
The guards gathered around her, leering and jeering at her. Somehow she felt more naked in the feminine satin slip than she would have done without any covering at all. The guards began to joke about her, about the uses she would be put to, how she compared with the penny whores down in the town. They started placing bets on how long it would be before she would be begging them to service her, if only to hold off the tortures for a brief, sweet moment... she felt tears of shame rise at the corner of her eyes. But she was not broken yet!
The torturer pulled down her virginal white satin slip to expose her breasts. The torturer wasted no time in putting a slave-ring through one of her nipples, to mark her as a low fuck-slave to be led around by tugs on her sensitive titties. He bound her in rope and let the guards pleasure themselves in the corridor outside, the torrent of verbal taunts match only by the torrents flowing from their manhoods as they masturbated to the sight of the haughty warrior queen being humbled.
For a brief while, the torturer hung her from her wrists and ankles and mastrubated over her helpless form himself. But such a position would wrench limbs and tear tendons if allowed to go on for too long, so when he had completed his discharge he released her to a less damaging, but no less humiliating treatment. She laughed to see how she shied away from every drop spat by the men before her, and told her that there were far worse things to feel landing upon her skin...
The torturer stripped her of her remaining clothes, shoved a rough hand at the entrance to her pussy. He laughed again as she closed her legs to shy away, and informed her that he would return in a few hours and that her attitude would doubtless have improved by then. Then he chained her under a candelabra, lit the candles, left the cell and locked the door behind him.
Now there was no-one to even hear her screams as the first drops of wax began to fall.
Second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour... she lost track of time, the racing beat of her heart the only sound in the dreadful pauses between the drips, between the screams... in no time at all she was screaming and screaming in madness, the pain was bad but the waiting for the pain was intolerable!
From his hidden vantage, the torturer smiled. She was broken. Another hour, or two, would make no difference. Her resistance was gone. He could let her go now, end her torment. It would be just the same, she would be no more and no less pliable after more torture.
He undid the lacings on his codpiece and settled back into his chair. There was no need to let her suffer for another second. But the torturer had no mercy in him, and she was a very beautiful victim...