Dannia stretched languidly before hopping out of the bed and padding over the floor to the washing stand with its basin and jug of water. As she made her way over the furs and skins that lay on the floor she spied herself in the full length mirror on the wall. When I say a full length mirror I mean naturally full length for a human but Dannia isn’t a human she’s a Halfling, a Hobbit, a Brownie or any of the number of names used to call her race.
She was fairly typical for a Halfling standing three foot seven from her somewhat wide and hairy feet to the shock of scarlet hair on her head. Unlike the other small people races, the Dwarfs and Gnomes, she was in perfect proportion save for her feet that is. A small rounded backside and wide hips framed the equally scarlet forest that nestled neatly trimmed between her legs and lay beneath the narrow waist and perfectly rounded small bust. Dannia’s face was round and florid with a cheerful demeanour that had a vampish naughty cast to it. Dannia was an exotic beast and that was no lie as any observer who would have been watching her as she struck sultry poses in the mirror would have to agree.
She sighed and reached between her legs and slowly, carefully pulled out a piece of sheep’s small intestine that was tightly tied at the far end out of her privates.
“I’m going to have to make sure this is cleaned and re-sterilised before I can use it again lover boy.” Her voice was husky and had the natural sultry sound of the Francs with it’s dropped H’s. Holding it carefully with the tips of her fingers she lowered it into the open box on the table before shutting it and secreting it somewhere in the vicinity of her crutch before pulling out a set of stygian black leathers from the same place and laying them out on the chair.
She turned and looked at the figure lying still in the rumpled bed, a pool of blood developing around his head. Dannia could almost feel sorry for him. As it had turned out he wasn’t a bad sort of man or for that fact a bad lover as he had been very attentive to her needs and to be honest she couldn’t totally blame him for playing away as his wife was a vicious spiteful harridan. But as she was paying the piper she could dictate the tune and the hit was going to be lucrative so there was no option really. The hit turned out to be easy. Dannia posed as a somewhat exotic goodtime girl that had been sent to his room that he had taken in the inn by the local brothel he used. When he had came in Dannia was lying naked seductively semi covered by a pair of skins on the bed licking her fingers with come hither eyes. So the game had begun that would end in his demise. She was riding on top of him when he reached a shuddering climax his mouth open gasping for the breath that was to be his last as Dannia plunged the hidden knife up through his soft palate and into his brain killing him instantly. Dannia was strangely satisfied that his last moments in life were full of joy and pleasure and not fear and pain it appealed to her somewhat warped sense of justice and her art.
Now dressed in the black leathers she pulled up over her head the hood and finally the gauze over the lower part of her face leaving only an icy pair of blue grey eyes looking out.
On silent feet with the grace of a cat she crossed the room and exited via the window she had entered by and up on to the roof above. Satisfied that no one had seen her enter or leave she made her way along the roof and away into the growing darkness of the evening. She had an appointment to keep.
A little later she was crouched in the dark on a windowsill of a disused building waiting for her client. To say Dannia was good at the job was an understatement as was displayed by the fact she had done three hits in one day all requiring different techniques and skills. You take the first one, the one commissioned by the client Dannia was waiting for now, that required some acting skills to set it up and the fact it left a foul taste in the mouth was nothing to do with her skills but more to do with the target.
The client, a young woman not much younger than Dannia in respect to their species age, was once a pupil at the rather elite and expensive Pottergate Academy for Girls down in the meadow by the river. The story the girl had told her as Dannia crouched on this same windowsill last night didn’t interest her until the child took off her dress and showed her the horrendous scars on her bust, back and buttocks from the savage beatings the Headmistress had given her when she was blindfolded in the woman’s study. Dannia took the commission readily, a price was agreed and information passed over and questions answered. Apparently these acts of discipline were common place and given out liberally to any child that was deemed to have infringed one of the myriad petty rules. Even the younger teachers were not exempt if it was thought they were being too lenient on the girls. No one dared to complain as the Headmistress and the Matron were highly regarded by the clergy for producing such good subservient women who were perfect brides and courtesans for the many aged earls and dukes in the area. It was deemed a good way to obtain patronage and the money that went with it. And this town of Perry ran on patronage and all the corruption that went with it.
Perry was a city with delusions of superiority and grandeur far above the reality of its narrow smoky streets and its brothels and gambling dens.
Dannia shifted to ease the nascent clamp in her left leg. The girl was late and Dannia hoped she hadn’t foolishly reneged on the agreement though in her heart she was sure she hadn’t after all she had found out how the child had got the money.
It had been dawn on the first day of school at the academy this morning when Dannia had dropped on a thin cable to the floor of the hallway wearing nothing but a rough course blue dress with a red and yellow quartered shield on its front. It was the young girl Alison’s first year dress that with a few alterations fitted Dannia perfectly. Once down her first stop was the large hall where the rest of the school was collected to hear a speech of welcome by the Headmistress to the new girls, the first years. Dannia carefully pushed the large door open a fraction and peered in. The Headmistress was speaking.
“I am sure you will all agree with me that this school is based on discipline on total obedience of the rules. So lets us greet the new girls in our traditional way.” The teachers all had either a leather strap or cane in their hands and all bar the Matron and the Headmistress looked decidedly uncomfortable. Dannia’s stomach churned at what she saw next as one by one the ten year old first years were brought up onto the stage and flogged and caned on their backs and buttocks by the reluctant teachers before the matron splayed their legs ready for the Headmistress to spank their privates whilst cajoling the girls to never play with themselves as self pleasure was a sin. As if young girls of ten understood any of it in their tearful state.
Dannia slipped away down the corridor to the Headmistresses office on the floor above silent anger chilling her heart. The lock on the door wasn’t trapped and was pretty easy to open which didn’t surprise Dannia after all if you are held in such fear no one is going to be foolish enough to break in are they, well no one save an assassin in a little girls clothes.
The room had a high vaulted ceiling crisscrossed with wooden beams from which a chandelier on a chain hung. Dannia grinned before lowering it on its chain. Working swiftly she created a noose that dangled under the chandelier from the chain and returned it to the ceiling.
A swift search of the room turned up no sign of the tools of torture that Alison had described to her which puzzled Dannia for a moment until she spied a few light scratch marks in front of the bookcase on the far wall. It didn’t take her long to find the mechanism to open it up to expose the small room behind, a room full of pain inflicting equipment and punishment whips that could grace any past torture chamber. Satisfied she sat down to wait.
Dannia was starting to wonder how many she could be punishing a half hour later when the woman hadn’t appeared. Then suddenly she heard noise just outside the door and went into action. And pretended to play with herself?
The door opened and the Headmistress entered catching sight of Dannia making a clumsy attempt to hide what she was doing.
“Why are you here child?” Her voice was cruel and high pitched.
“I was caught pleasuring myself Miss and was put in here to wait for you Miss.” Inwardly she cringed at having to crawl to this woman but it was necessary for it to work and she was determined this would be no clean kill. “I don’t know why? It’s so lovely Miss.” Her hand went up her dress while her other one gripped her boob.
“Stop that this instant child. Don’t you know it’s a sin for a woman to feel sexual pleasure?” The woman was red in the face and a bead of sweat formed on her lip as Dannia began panting and writhing on the chair. “You must be subservient to your husband, your Lord and Master, only he must get pleasure from the sex act.”
“Haven’t you ever done it Miss? I’m sure you must have It’s so lovely.” Dannia slowly removed her dress to reveal her naked body. “Do you want me to do it to you?” She swung herself off the chair and erotically made her way over to the woman who had now backed up to the bookshelf and was fumbling at the mechanism to open it. Dannia slid her hands under the woman’s dress and felt the bare naked flesh beneath. The woman was protesting but at the same time making no attempt to push her off. Dannia glided behind her mounted some of the shelves and undid the ties to the woman’s dress before pulling it down in one swift movement making sure she triggered the mechanism to open the doorway to the hidden room up as if by accident. Swinging around to the front she continued to seduce and inflame the woman.
“Have you ever been punished? I have. My brothers used to blindfold me and tie my hands around my back and punish me.” Dannia breathed in her ear. “I see you have toys shall we play, I’d like that. Would you like to be blindfolded and punished?”
The woman moaned that she would as Dannia teased her nipples.
Making sure not to let up on the touches of the erogenous zones and kisses she was administering she eventually had the woman blindfolded her arms tightly tied behind her back standing on the chair with the chain noose loose around her neck. Dannia had no liking for the task ahead but was determined to visit ten fold the punishment that had been meted out on Alison and the other poor girls.
The whip cracked against the woman skin cutting a thin line across her back that dribbled a little blood before a cane cracked against her buttocks.
“How do you like being on the receiving end for once Miss.” Dannia purred.
“Don’t stop, harder child harder.” The woman moaned. Dannia couldn’t believe it the woman was actually getting some macabre kick out of it.
Dannia hit her harder and harder even caning the woman’s breasts but instead of it being a punishment it was actually heightening her excitement even when she was forced on tiptoes by the tightening chain around her neck restricting her breathing.
Dannia looked at her with disgust as the woman squeezed her legs together and peed herself, moaning in joy. She kicked the chair away angrily and crossed to the desk pulling out two sheets of paper from her groin as she went. When I say her groin perhaps I should explain. Near her privates on the upper inner thigh was a strange bloodless open cut which was anything but, it was the dimensional altering entrance to the invisible “Bag of Holding Many Things”, which unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, was permanently attached to her skin. It was from there that the two letters came. One was written by the Headmistress the other by the Matron.
As the woman twitched and trashed about as the chain slowly choked her Dannia calmly sat down at the desk in the corner, opened the inkwell and proceeded to forge two letters using those she had retrieved from her pouch as a guide. Using her left hand since the Headmistress was left handed she wrote a letter to the Matron asking for her to come to her office. Using cryptic terms but at the same time making it plain she implied that it was time for the Headmistresses punishment. Using the other hand Dannia forged a reply stating that the Matron was eager to comply with the task as it was only fitting she should since her role was the care of all the souls in the school. Again though it was couched in careful wordings it was evident that severe punishment was what was being suggested.
Dannia carefully sealed and then broke the seal of the letters before dropping the supposed reply with other letters on the floor to suggest the desk had been used for more than writing.
Dannia checked the now finally still body hanging from the ceiling satisfying herself of the woman’s demise before helping herself to a small cane and a pair of hand manacles from the small torture chamber and getting dressed.
“Well” She thought. “No harm in trying it is there.”
She disabled the locking mechanism on the hidden room’s bookcase door so it wouldn’t shut properly before silently leaving the room. At the point where she had entered the building she recovered the thin rope and climbed up into the ceiling carefully pulling the rope up after her. After a few minutes of shimmying along the beams unseen and crawling through the roof space she was finally looking down into the Matrons room where as her client had predicted she was fast asleep in her morning sleep. Dannia dropped herself down on the rope silently and with out disturbing the snoring woman hid the incriminating letter under her pillow and on a shelf behind a book she laid the manacles. Within scan seconds she had gone as if she had never been.
A quarter of an hour later the Captain of the Guard under the misapprehension that they were sheltering a notorious thief arrived. The Headmistress’s body was found by a couple of girls that had been sent to fetch her. Quickly things snowballed and as the letters and hand restrains were found and having no alibi the Matron was arrested and taken away to a real torture chamber to get a confession. Dannia found out much later that the woman had lasted three days before finally confessing to it which was ironic as for one she hadn’t, before being reportedly taken out and hung, drawn and quartered unseen save for a few witnesses in the prison quadrangle. Apparently nearly all the girls had confessed to being subject to abuse both physical and mental resulting in the school being shut and several teachers being either imprisoned or exiled.
Another job well done as far as Dannia was concerned.
As Dannia eased herself on the narrow ledge she heard the distinctive sound of the young woman’s shoes clonking on the cobbles. Dannia slipped the voice distorted disk into her mouth and waited for the nervous girl to stop looking around to see if she was followed.
“We’re alone I’ve already checked.” Dannia hissed in a deep voice from the dark. “The commission has been completed, have you brought the payment?”
“Yes I have.” The startled girl said looking around for the owner of the voice. “Have you brought proof that it has been carried out.”
“I have no need to bring proof you will hear soon enough.”
The girl nodded.
“Do you want to count the money?” She asked with a shiver.
“No. Because if you have cheated on me you know you will be dead by sunrise.” Dannia’s distorted voice became menacing. “The dress and letters are on the barrel I advise you to burn them tonight. Put the payment on there in their place.”
The girl readily complied.
“Now take back half of the fee.” Dannia ordered the baffled young woman. “I know how you raised the money. Alison, you don’t have to sell your body to the night. Don’t ever sell your body again, you’re worth more than that, I will know if you do and believe me you won’t want me to visit if you do. If you need work and money go to the Temple of Huron. The priest there will help.”
The girl was shaking and beginning to cry.
It was only by luck that Dannia had spied the girl fearfully selling herself in Spear Street to a drunken Lascar, and she was determined to stop the girl going down that road if she could.
“Now go girl but remember what I said.”
She fled without any further comment being needed.
Dannia thankfully removed the voice distorter which though effective always left a foul metallic taste in her mouth. She collected her fee and was gone racing over the roofs like a black shadow toward her next client.
The second commission had come though the guild apparently a small time extortioner from a well to do family had foolishly picked on the wrong target, one of the several minor crime lords and he wasn’t happy. The guild didn’t stop freelancing but tried to control it by using a system of licenses so only the best could participate, which at the moment meant that Dannia and a smooth operator called, melodramatically, ‘Nocturne’ were the only ones. It wasn’t unusual for the Guild to call on their services and this was one such time.
The Crime Lord, as they liked to call themselves, wanted the man dead but in such a way as to implicate his local rival a beautiful buxom blonde with a heart of ice call Blondwin who was encroaching on his prostitution and drug rackets.
After a week’s careful study Dannia noticed that the man everyday at noon galloped his horse down a lane of lime trees in the woods on his heavily guarded estate. Dannia had had no problem avoiding the guards and their massive hounds and was soon up in the canopy of one of the trees preparing a rather nasty trap. An hour later right on queue he came thundering down the track and tripped the counterweight that sprung the trap. A thin wire flashed up at his lowered head height and impacted with his throat cutting off his head in one swift movement. The horse with the body spouting blood galloped on as the head bounced along the track to land in a bush. Dannia with a smile of pride at a job well done pulled in the wire and collected all the paraphernalia attached to it. Once satisfied she lowered herself to the woods floor and scampered across to where the head lay.
“Sorry about this but you really should have checked up on who your target really was.” Dannia picked it up and jammed it neck first on a branch so it looked less like an accident as if having your head cut off could ever look like an accident. She prized open the mouth and left a curl of blond hair and a rose jammed in his teeth, the calling card of Blondwin if you could call it that. Well satisfied she left having caught the horse and with a smack to its rump sent it careering toward where she knew a group of guards were hold up out of the wind.
She didn’t expect Blondwin to survive long once the victim’s daddy found the evidence she even half expected to be hired to do the job which would be a little ironic.
Dannia had reached her clients house and had slipped inside unseen to wait. Ten minutes later the blousy woman entered the dark room her face plastered with makeup in a macabre attempt to look beautiful which had failed totally.
“The contract has been carried out.” Dannia whispered in the dark.
“So the bastard got what he deserved at last.” The woman nodded to herself. “Good! Now his estate will come to me instead of those mealy mouthed do-gooders that we sired. He was only going to pass this new will to the legislator for approval making me destitute. No way was I going to let him do that.” Her voice was shrill as she brandished the will in her hand. To be honest Dannia couldn’t care less she just wanted her fee and to go home and get changed for a night out with her Halfling husband Simieon. “They’d only waste it all on charitable works whereas I intend to spend it on me. He wouldn’t let me have any now I’ve got it all.”
“Have you the fee?” Dannia asked curtly taking an instant dislike to the woman.
“If you think I’m going to waste money paying you you’ve another thought coming. Thanks for carrying it out, but clear off I have no intension of paying you. I’m not going to waste a single mark on the likes of you. Did you hang him or stab him by the way, no that’s too swift, did you poison him that would be better more painful death I think?”
Dannia detached herself from the wall and beckoned the woman across.
“Come here I will describe it to you.” She said in a whispered voice.
The woman crossed over and stooped over Dannia to catch what she was going to say next.
“You see I screwed him to death because he couldn’t face doing it with you. Oh and by the way.” The silver knife Dannia had purloined from the kitchen earlier was thrust deep into the woman’s chest straight into her heart.
“I don’t like being taken for a fool.” Dannia added twisting the knife viciously. The woman gasped and fell to the floor.
Dannia was annoyed not only at the woman but at herself, the whole thing smacked of un-professionalism which would never do. Working quickly she checked the woman over to make sure she had expired smiling to herself in approval that the strike angle gave the appearance of self administration. At least that would be one thing less to worry about. After a few moments more she had gone leaving no evidence of her ever being there with the household a little, well actually somewhat, lighter fiscally.
After cleaning up back at their apartment Dannia got dressed in a narrow waisted brocade dress that barely kept her breasts in check it had such a low neckline, on her head was a small conical hat with a lace veil affair hanging from its apex, ready to join Simieon at a private party in the merchant’s quarter.
Outside and not wishing to get her dress covered in mud she beckoned a pair of serfs with a closed in chair affair suspended from their shoulders by strange wooden yolks over, it was a somewhat down market sedan chair but beggars couldn’t be choosers as far as Dannia was concerned, though she did wonder if the two scrawny men had the strength to carry her. She needn’t have worried as they were more than capable and were soon running smoothly and quite rapidly to her destination, the entertainment rooms of the Guild of Chandlers on Saline Street. As the building loomed into view Dannia couldn’t help but admire the classical portico and bronze statues by the large double doors it was just a shame that the rest of the building didn’t live up to the splendid facade being really just a oversized log cabin with a red slate roof. Dannia had been inside many times in her unofficial capacity but this would be her first time officially and for some obscure reason that made her nervous.
She disembarked and paid the men remembering to give them a small tip so they would be eager to take her again but not so big that they thought she was a soft touch, and crossed to the intricately carved doors where one of her fellow troopers stood guard.
“Hello Tommy.” She said briskly. “I’m here to join Simieon could you let us in please.”
“Certainly Danny.” Tommy was the only one who could get away with calling her that with out getting his throat cut. She actually liked the young lad who was as cheeky as she was and when out in the field could make her convulse with laughter on the cold damp nights. Dannia, Simieon and Tommy et al were attached to the militia as scouts and guards and when they weren’t doing that they acted as bodyguards and night watchmen for the good citizens of the town.
“Quiet tonight?” She asked as he opened the door for her.
“It should be it’s a somewhat discreet do.” He said tapping the side of his nose. “Simieon is up in the gallery overlooking the main hall. Take the main staircase and turn left at the top and take the first right door.” He told her.
“Thanks Tommy.” She called over her shoulder as she entered putting on the ornate eye mask Simieon insisted she wore, Dannia thought it was stupid after all her height would give her away.
“See you and Simieon later.” He called back shutting the door.
The stair was a grand sweeping affair with a heavy carved wooden rail that Dannia was grateful for as she mounted the human sized stair risers. As she got closer to the doors she could hear a caterwauling sound of obscure music from within. She opened the door and slid in to find herself on a gallery balcony overlooking a large hall below which was full of tables and chairs arranged around a large open space in the middle where a heavily cloaked and masked woman stood.
If she though her height would give her away she was very much mistaken as children dressed in adult clothes and plastered in makeup passed to and fro among the watching crowds carrying little trays of nibbles. The sight of them made her very uneasy.
She spied Simieon standing without a mask looking stern by a table of food by a pillar against the balcony rail.
“What is this Simieon my love some form of Masque Ball where we all take our masks of at midnight?” She asked picking up as strawberry and eating it seductively.
“No it isn’t!” He snapped angrily. “Madam Dolour has two of her girls here with Nancy and Cockerel to assist with the entertainment. That’s Nancy down there ready to get her kit off. There she goes.” He said disgustedly pointing at the prostitute.
Dannia watched with fascination as the junoesque woman had her cloak taken off and began to gyrate to the music. With consummate skill the woman removed her clothes piece by piece but always just avoiding being seen by virtue of two large feather fans that she manipulated so artfully around her body. Dannia watched avidly taking mental notes as Simieon snorted beside her. The brief glimpses of the woman’s body were certainly inflaming the crowed who cheered at every brief flash, then suddenly it was over as the fans were dropped and she stood there in all her glory. Dannia had noticed that almost all the watching crowed down in the hall with out exception were also attired in long robes, but not for long, soon Nancy was the centre of attention of three well hung naked young men. A strange silent bidding war by hand signals had taken place first before they approached her and carried her to a cleared table at the side of the room. Another woman had taken her place in the centre of the room and dropped her robe to display a slim nude body underneath.
“Another of Dolour’s girls?” She asked.
“No the other two are serving drinks look.” He pointed to a pair of naked young women circulating with trays of wine goblets. They skilfully avoided grouping hands as a nude woman led the naked lady in the centre away.
“It’s an orgy.” Dannia breathed a wicked glint in her eyes. “And the masks stop them knowing who they are going with.” She chuckled evilly. “Imagine if your partner turned out to be your lazy good for nothing husband.”
Simieon had seen the wicked glint in his wife’s eyes.
“Don’t even think it my girl.”
“Oh spoilsport!” She moaned with a grin before adding. “When do you finish tonight mon sher?”
“Midnight thankfully that’s when Brigit and the heavies come on to deal with any drunks, which with the way they are knocking it back is a foregone conclusion, the women probably.” Simieon replied.
“I’ll go and have a chat with Cockerel, where is he do you know?”
“Yes but you won’t like it.” Simieon grumbled.
“Just tell me darling.” Dannia said nibbling his ear.
“Alright since you wanted to know he’s in that side room over there, being buggered by a group of fat sods. Happy now?”
Dannia wasn’t bothered, after all Cockerel was a prostitute like Nancy but she must admit she thought he entertained women not men. She left Simieon and found her way down to the hall proper and wandered around watching the coupling going on around her and with her usual light fingered skills picked up the odd object here and there including taking off a woman’s necklace while she was otherwise engaged in another woman’s crutch. She had spent an hour down there successfully avoiding approaches from the sweaty party goers when she spied something that made her sick to her stomach. One of the little girls was stripped naked and lay in a woman’s arms her face and body covered in intense makeup her tiny nipples rouged whilst the woman abused her with her hand while an equally painted boy tried to have sex with her. Dannia’s knife appeared momentarily in her hand as if by instinct before she recovered and made it vanish once more.
“Did they get the children from Dolour’s as well?” She asked Simieon angrily when she rejoined him a few minutes later.
“You saw then?” His wife nodded. “I don’t know where the children come from or whether their parents are here but I know that Dolour’s isn’t involved. At least I don’t think so it’s just not her style.” He put his arm around his wife’s shoulder and led her to the door out of the balcony. “Let’s go home love Brigit’s early thank goodness.” He nodded toward a colossal muscle bound woman who was coming down the balcony to where they stood.
“Dannia my sweet, Simieon said you might be coming. How are you?” The woman knelt and gently hugged her.
“Fine Bridge but I’ve decided this just isn’t my cup of java.” Dannia grimaced.
“Not mine either but they pay well, I just hope they haven’t the animals this time. If you think this is bad wait till after midnight when they start punishing each other and torturing the slaves.” There was no relish in the woman’s voice just disgust. “.One of the women last time challenged one of Dolour’s best prostitutes to a contest and beat her by having sex one hundred and fifty times. And to think this lot rule the city.”
“I’d rather not.” Said Dannia as Simieon led her away as the woman in the corner began peeing on the boy making him drink it while all the while cackling with laughter.
She’d seen enough of the vile underside of the city this day.