Dannia sat in the coach despondently her manacled hands and feet stretched out in front of her. It wasn’t that she couldn’t get out of them in mere moments that had lowered her spirits or the fact that two heavy weight female guards sat opposite her taunting her it was the fact that all their planning had gone astray in the first moments. What made it all so galling was the fact that everything at the camp had gone so well previously.
The day broke with a clear sky and a slight chill to the air on fourth day as Dannia and the others finished their daily ablutions before the tap on the door and role call.
“How is the map going girls?” Hattie asked as she dried her now slim body.
“We have nearly finished but we could do with some more detail on what’s north of here.” Michelle called as she pulled over her head the coarse sacking dress.
“I’ll try and move today’s conversation with Caroline around to it if I can but I just wish I understood why she gave us this key.” Hattie wondered.
“I’m going to chat up that old man at the tannery again and see if I can get more information about the sand bars in the river.” Bella informed her.
They were all cheerful despite the depredations and were making jokes at each others expense as they washed. They felt positive because now they didn’t feel at the whim of their captors but actually doing something.
They were all dressed and ready when Caroline gave her usual rap on the door before entering. But this time a short squat man followed her carrying wood on his shoulders.
“Listen scum these are the last of the bed boards.” Caroline positively snarled at them like a rabid beast. “When I come back in tomorrow morning I do not expect to see them still there, the old boards you can use for the stove. Do I make myself clear?!”
“Yes guard.” Hattie replied fearfully as the rattan cane waved dangerously close to her nose.
“Very well you have five minutes then I expect you outside lined up and silent.” Her rattan cane flicked out with a crack almost but not quite hitting Dannia who flinched away with a natural start.
The man dropped his load, stared at the women, before spitting on the floor and making his way out. Caroline hesitated long enough to mouth to Hattie the word sorry and then she was gone too.
“Are you all right Angel?” Beatrix rushed over to the stunned halfling raging. “What’s wrong with the woman has she gone totally mad!”
“I’m fine.” Dannia told her exhaling with relief. “She didn’t even touch me though I felt the breeze she was that close.”
“She put on an act for the carpenter.” Hattie told them. “Come on all of you let’s get these boards tided up and get outside for her. She is risking her life to help us so let’s help her. Oh dear I think I’m last again.”
“If you keep being last we’ll start thinking you enjoy it.” Dannia told her with a twinkle in her eye.
Later as they climbed their way to the Tannery Caroline dropped once again into her chatty informative style.
“Holy Sister may I have a word please?” She asked politely.
“Certainly Guard Caroline but can young Alice join us as she is thinking of taking Holy Orders when we are eventually returned home.” Beatrix paused significantly. “We are going to go back home aren’t we?”
“I hope and pray that you will safely reach your homes very soon.” Caroline sounded totally sincere in her wish. “Permission granted.”
For the whole of the rest of the journey the two women spoke of theology and who their Gods were and the myths behind them, that is until they were in sight of the tannery.
“I have a light sailing skiff moored in boat house number nine you know. On an eight day I’d try and go sailing, mind you it should be crewed by six people but I can manage her on my own. I have even some light armour and weapons stored on it just in case I meet up with brigands on the inlet sea. It’s locked up of course to dissuade thieves but I have it ready to sail as soon as the tide is right. I like to relock the doors so I get some peace and quiet before I set sail otherwise all the other boat owners pop their heads in for a chat and before you know it your time has gone.” Caroline said in a strange detached fashion as if she was talking to herself rather than to the two women.
“I’ll miss her.” She added quietly. “She’s called New Hope.”
“I’m sure she will be well cared for.” Beatrix said enigmatically before asking for permission to joint the rest of the women for the final entrance to the tannery court yard.
“Yes permission granted but if I was going to my little ship I’d not take the north path as it leads over a treeless hill I’d go the west path as I love walking through the woods.”
The two women returned to the others in time to be led in.
It was during the afternoon break that the lieutenant appeared though it wasn’t till later when Dannia was collecting the urine buckets that they got time to be together.
“It is all arranged my darling Angel.” He said after kissing and hugging her. “I will be escorting you to the châteaux on eight day once there my father, the Imperator, will view you before I take you away to get dressed and be prepared for one of the officers.”
“No I won’t do it!” Dannia said in a panicky voice. “I will not be violated by a fat sweaty pervert I want you!”
The lieutenant looked panicky at her outburst fervently hoping no one had heard her.
“No you won’t be my love. When you leave that room and go to the officer you will be with me. There is a door that leads down the back stairs where there will be two horses waiting for us. You will sit behind me on mine covered up by my long riding cloak as I leave as if returning to the camp. Once over the border into Alsace you can come out of hiding and ride your own horse.” He kissed her again. “Do you think I’d let anyone hurt you that way.”
Dannia pulled off her shift and entwined her naked body around him smothering him in passionate kisses.
“Take me now!” She whispered urgently into his ear. “Don’t leave me a virgin, I need you, I love you, I want you inside me.”
The officer had to physically unwrap her off his body as he assured her that now was not the time, but soon, very soon they would cement their love for each other. With that he left leaving Dannia to get dressed and pick up the buckets again with a sinking feeling in her stomach. That dread that Angel would die flooded through her once again as she realised that she was no longer the Dannia she was when she first came to Perry, and that frightened her.
The feeling stayed with her all day and that night as she lay on her bunk she wept quietly before joining Fran in her bunk. The need for physical contact was strong as was the need for comfort, a feeling that was relatively alien to Dannia.
The next day was the same as before but as they neared the tannery Dannia asked a question that had been niggling at the back of her mind.
“Caroline what do your people do with women who love women and men who love men?” Dannia asked cautiously unsure of the woman’s reaction.
“Why do you ask Angel?” Caroline asked quietly.
“I know some folk like that in our capital city and they are really nice people.” She said with studied innocence.
“In our country the woman of the village or street would help their men drive the evil from the women’s bodies and impregnate them with good seed, before the women whip them to drive out the last of the evil.” She paused significantly before continuing. “The men would be castrated and hung with their genitals in their mouths as a warning to others.” Again she paused. “As my brother was, my whole family had to publicly disown him.”
Dannia was horrified. How could a nation who supposedly represented purity be so cruel to their own people, so blinkered in their view? If they reached Perry the whole city would be put to the sword for their hedonistic ways.
Later as Caroline went to relieve herself in one of the buckets, Dannia, who had followed and hid herself in the rafters before slipped the voice changer into her mouth, spoke to her.
“Ah my child at last I can reach you.” Caroline who was in mid squat started and almost knocked over the bucket? “Your doubts keep clouding your mind stopping me from reaching you.”
If she though it was odd for her God to speak to her when she was at her toilet she didn’t show it.
“I have no doubts over you my Lord God only in my ability to achieve what you desire.” She said as she tried to adjust herself.
“I have no doubts about you my child. How many converts have we? I can hear many voices in prayer.” The question was relevant as she wanted the maximum disruption to give her friends the best chance of escape.
“Fourteen in total, my Lord, most are young ones but three are aged and will be of little use in battle but have give oaths to assist however they can.” Caroline told the invisible Dannia in some obvious discomfort from the strong desire to urinate.
“Do not be so dismissive of the elderly my Paladin, they may hold the key to success in their wisdom and experience. At the midnight hour you will rise up and sweep away the unbelievers and release those you have sinned against. Now go and prepare yourself as I go to do the same. I fear this will be the last time I will be able to speak to you, but keep the faith burning strong in you heart. Goodbye sweet Paladin.” The last was spoken as if the God was departing.
“I will obey my God. I will show that you were right to have faith in me.” Caroline said fervently as at last she had a chance to relieve herself.
Soon seventh day had arrived and the first inklings of disaster began to loom.
It seemed odd not having to go to the tannery and to be honest the absence of activity only made the nerves worse. If they were working it would have taken their minds of what they were going to do the following night but as it was tempers flared and petty issues took on huge proportions in the confined area of the hut.
It was midmorning when, during such a flare-up, Caroline knocked and entered the hut with some unwelcome news.
“Ladies calm down; I will not have this in my hut!” She stood at the entrance to the hut shuffling uneasily from foot to foot. Recognising her discomfort the women fell silent. “The hut is ready for inspection Commander, lieutenant.”
The guard stood aside to allow the Commandant of the camp to enter. Up close the women’s disfigurement made Dannia’s stomach churn with revulsion and she struggled not to retch.
The Commandant looked over the woman with utter contempt and revulsion as the lieutenant followed her in.
“Ah what a docile subservient group you are.” Her voice was as sweet and sticky as molasses. “And for that reason I have a special treat in store for you.” Dannia shivered at the thought of what it could mean. “Tonight the guards are going to have a party at which you will be the guests of honour.” She grinned with malice. “They will certainly enjoy their last day in the camp before joining the main army in glorious battle. You little one!” She barked pointing a burnt finger without a fingernail at Dannia. “You will be travelling to the châteaux to entertain the officers and when they have finished with you you’ll be returned to the camp to join your friends.”
“Why has the celebrations been brought forward Commander?” The Lieutenant asked with a worried look on his face.
“Because tomorrow the camp will be cleared and the remaining workers that cannot be used in the war golems will be slaughtered. An act I look forward to with relish. I have had to suffer the sight of the scum long enough. The only exception will be the magic users whose violent death, I have been told, will be too dangerous apparently. They will be walled in and allowed to starve to death.” She smiled a deaths head smile at Hattie. “You my Lady Mayor will serve every guard tonight since you have dared to hold yourself above the others. It is only fitting.”
The women turned to Caroline.
“See to it that the women are washed, shorn and dressed appropriately for tonight Caroline, but I’m afraid you won’t get your chance to enjoy the, shall we say, fun. You and your section shall take on guard duty as a reward for producing such an un-entertaining servile group of women.”
She turned and breezed out leaving Caroline just enough time to utter fiercely before following.
“When I return this evening I shall expect total silence and I don’t want to see any of you!”
After they had left pandemonium broke out as the women realised that this would in all probability be their last days of life.
“Silence!” Hattie roared. The women obeyed with alacrity. “I don’t know about you but I have no intension of servicing the whole guard, we go tonight. Caroline has told us to hide before she comes to collect us so she can report our ‘Escape’.”
“But we don’t know when she’ll come?” Beatrix asked sensibly.
“Then it’s going to be a long cramped evening.” Hattie informed them with a tight smile. “Fran take first watch. The rest of you check your equipment. Angel, try and get away from the châteaux as quickly as you can and meet us either at the boat house or back at La Mer. Good luck child.”
Fran was in tears as she waited patiently for her turn to wish Dannia good luck.
The two women embraced and sobbed as they tried to reassure each other.
“Don’t worry about me I’ll be fine.” Dannia told her lover. “As soon as I can I’ll lose him and get back to you. I love you Fran and want to spend my life with you.”
“I love you too.” Fran told her through her tears. “Just come back to me safe Angel, just be safe.”
Dannia’s emotions were in turmoil as fear and anger fought with the love she felt for Fran, Simieon so far away and the Lieutenant who by rights should be her enemy.
Later they were taken to bathe and be checked for nits before being shorn once more. Strangely Dannia was spared the rasp of the razor over her head and had her hair washed and styled instead, what there was of it, before being made to dress up in a short school girls dress and tabard. The guards were not gentle and spent most of the time haranguing and cursing them when they weren’t giving graphic pornographic accounts of what was expected of them at the night’s revelries.
It was sometime later as evening approached that things took another turn for the worse.
There was a rap at the door before being opened a mere crack.
“Ladies could you assemble outside please as quick as you can but make sure your clean and tidy first.” Caroline’s voice floated through in a hoarse whisper.
If Caroline was fearful of what she would see by opening the door wide she needn’t have worried as Bella who was on watch duty had spotted her and had given the inmates of the hut plenty of time to hide the evidence of their nefarious activities.
“We understand Caroline.” Hattie called back and true to her word a clean group of occupants filed out to line up neatly outside.
The Commander with the Lieutenant and a gaggle of guards in tow matched over and inspected them critically with a disgusted look on the unmarked half of her face.
“Caroline has suggested that you will look more appealing to the guards if you were dressed in clothes other than your shifts, and the Lieutenant here agreed so much against my better judgement I’m providing you with garments.” She signalled to one of the guards to come forward. Over his arm laid numerous garments, fabric and sewing aids which he passed over to Beatrix with a surly snarl and strangely a brief wink.
Beatrix politely thanked the guard carefully making sure her face didn’t show any reaction to what she hoped was a secret sign and not some form of signal of lechery.
The Commander cocked a finger in Dannia’s direction.
“You come here?” Dannia after a moment’s hesitation stepped forward. “You’re going up to the Chateaux now.”
“I will take her Commander.” The Lieutenant drawled with a disinterested air. “I’m going up to the Chateaux to see my father the Imperator.”
“No you will not! You, my nephew, will be checking over the War Golems and Mutts tonight ready for deployment at first light. Your father has given you the special honour of being in the first wave of assault troops just in front of the War Golems.” She grinned vilely at the thought.
“Let me take her Madam I would love to see her squirm.” Caroline said with obvious relish. “To see her scream for mercy would be a joy. She dared to plead she was one of the little people and if I had my way I would stretch her to a normal height.”
“I’m sure you would but have you forgotten you and your troop are the guard tonight besides the Lieutenant needs troops to command.” The woman laughed with an evil cackle. “And you and yours are it.”
She turned to a massive ugly guard behind her.
“Shackle her and take her to the coach outside the gates, my elite bodyguards will take her from there.” She turned back to the others. “Dismissed!”
The heavy weight guard shackled her arms and legs before lifting her over his shoulder and carried her away.
As they approached the gates out of the compound he whispered quietly.
“Girl I have arranged the manacles to come apart to a downward left sharp tug. May God watch over you?”
“Thank you. May God watch over you too?” She gasped as she was carefully lowered to the ground in front of a carriage with an impressive crest on it. “Look after my friends.”
“We will try.” He muttered before yelling. “Cargo for the Châteaux!”
Two massive female guards came round and bundled her into the wagon before climbing in to sit in front of her.
The Chateaux itself was quite impressive locked away as it was behind the thick curtain walls. Minaret towers grew up from each of its six corners to tower over the low two floored central building with its three floor entrance. Everywhere on the building where heraldic shields and gargoyles, tributes to the stone masons skill, while one wing had splendid stain glass windows surrounded by statues of angels.
Dannia was hauled out of the wagon unceremoniously and made to hobble round the hexagonal building to a side door where a woman wearing over the top makeup and gaudy paste jewellery was waiting.
“This Colonel Standartens toy?” Her voice has hard and devoid of emotion.
“We don’t know who she’s for we just deliver the firth.” One of the women growled back.
“Not what I expected but she’ll do.” The women said grudgingly grabbing Dannia by the chin and turning her face first one way then the other. “Take her to room six, then leave. I’ll call you if I need you.”
Room six was surprisingly comfortable with a four poster double bed, curtains on the windows, rugs and animal skins on the floor and even a small garderobe room in the corner. A dresser and a small dressing table sat beneath a narrow window opposite beside which hung a full length mirror. Dannia followed the instruction given her by the guard back at the camp and dropped the loosened manacles quietly to the floor. She crossed to the window and peered out. Though the window was narrow it shouldn’t cause her much of a worry if she wanted to escape that way, it wasn’t barred or locked. The wall outside was covered with a form of creeper which, if it could bear her weight, would give her access to the roof or the ground.
As she pulled back she caught sight of herself in the mirror. The diminutive shape that stared back at her was gaunt with short red hair cut in a bob dressed in a virgins white smoke and scarlet tabard. The worse thing of all was the tearful haunted eyes. All vestiges of Dannia had gone, no longer was there a grown woman sure of herself reflected in the mirror all there was, was a frightened child beginning to weep as she waited to be raped..
“Stop it, pull yourself together.” She admonished herself trying vainly to stop the tears. Taking a deep breath she turned away from the mirror and crossed to the small dressing table and began slowly applying the perfumes and make up to her face.
When the hard faced Madam returned she found Dannia staring deep into the mirror at the image of a healthy looking school girl with what looked like a jewelled hair slide holding back the hair from her left ear and two closed feathered fans from her leg pouch in her dainty painted nailed hands.
“Well done girl, you look much better.” The woman examined her critically. “Major Else will be here shortly and you are to obey his every command. Entertain him and get him to relax and drink the wine that way you may be saved the indignity of having sex with the fat oaf. Are you a virgin?”
Dannia nodded silently.
“Poor child of all creatures to lose your virginity to.” She reached into her pocket and passed over a small vial of white powder. “If he gets frisky put this in his wine it’ll put a damper on his ardour, but not to early as it’s bitter and he’ll taste it, wait till he’s drunk and then do it. I wish I could do more child, good luck.”
She kissed Dannia on both cheeks and then she turned and left the room without stopping to look back.
Dannia didn’t have to wait long before the major and his hulking great body guard entered the room with the madam.
“Does she meet with your approval major?” The madam asked as she signalled Dannia to turn 360 degrees on the spot. “She’s quite special wouldn’t you say?”
She had called the major fat but he was more than that he was obese and the loose cerise robe did nothing to hide this fact or his ardour.
“Yes she will do the pair of you may leave us. Tambour you will guard the door. I don’t want to be disturbed by anyone save the Imperator.” The Madam signalled to the two servants loitering in the doorway with trays of wine and pastries to come in and deposit their wares upon the low table she had pulled up before the low couch.
“You have done well Madam Bevier I only hope she will entertain as well as her looks suggest.”
“I’m sure she will.” Giving Dannia a knowing look she and the others left the pair of them alone.
“Would you like some wine Major?” Dannia said demurely with a curtsy.
“Yes poor me some girl. What is your name girl?” He leered at her as if trying to see beneath her clothes to her naked flesh beneath.
“Angelica Major, my friends call me “Pettit Angel” little angel.” Her hands were shaking as she poured the sweet red wine.
“Well little Angel when I have finished with you they will have to think of a different name for you. Something like Little Whore.” He laughed cruelly. “Take off your clothes girl I hunger for the flesh beneath.”
He undid his robe to reveal the pox ridden white flesh beneath and his huge erect member.
He laughed again on seeing Dannia’s reaction.
“When you arouse me it will be twice the size. It will be interesting to see if it will exit your mouth when you mount me.” His demeanour and voice changed in a flash as he pulled out a vicious riding crop from his belt. “But first I think a little discipline and humility is called for. I said get undressed.” The whip crashed down on to the table with a fearsome crack.
“Yes sir but the Madam has told me to entertain you and she has taught me a special dance. May I show you sir?” She asked nervously.
“A dance you say? Very well ‘Little Whore’ dance for me but swiftly now as I ache to impale you on my fleshy sword.” He stroked his ever increasing member with semi shut eyes and it was then that she realised that the Major had taken some drug, some philtre to increase his prowess.
Rapidly she retreated to the small room that enclosed the toilet area and picked up the two feather fans.
Pale and still shaking she removed her clothes and with a deep breath she prepared to begin.
What the Major saw was totally different.
A shapely naked leg appeared and curled around the door frame, stroking the wood suggestively before being replaced by a naked arm holding an open fan that fluttered like a birds wing a moment only to vanish once more.
Then two fans appeared fluttering as if in flight and as they were lowered Dannia’s face was revealed framed in their edges like some exotic bird. Slowly, sensually she began to move and gyrate allowing brief flashes of her naked body before being covered once again.
The mayor lay there salivating the girth of his two foot member had swollen to the width of her arm as he stroked it absentmindedly.
Faster and faster did Dannia dance exposing more and more flesh but for shorter and shorter lengths of time. A glimpse of part of a breast or a section of buttock only served to inflame him more.
“Come here girl I want you know!” He commanded. “Mount me!”
Dannia swung closer and closer until she could brush the fan tips over his face and then she lifted them up to her shoulders to form angels fluttering wings her arms crossed under her chin exposing her naked body, the light of the guttering candles glinting of the razor sharp metal frame work.
The major drooled and reached out toward her.
“I will enter every orifice of yours and I will not stop until I have split you apart.” He moaned in ecstasy.
Something clicked within Dannia, all the fear, all the humiliation and pain roared through her and turned in to white hot hate and anger.
The fans slashed down their specially prepared metal edges slicing through the man’s neck just above and below the Adams apple. Blood bubbled out and pour into his lap where he stared at it stupidly for a moment before opening his mouth in an attempt to cry out for help. Dannia furled the fans as she leapt up into the air twisted and drove down plunging them through the staring eyes deep into the brain cavity itself. He died instantly before rolling off the couch and on to the floor.
Dannia looked down at her blood splattered body a moment before staggering back to the little washroom and throwing up down the small toilet. There was no surge of adrenaline, no rampant desire, just anger and fear.
She wash the blood off her body and still wet ran over to the exit from the room. She swung it open with great force and called to the bodyguard lounging by the door in a panicked breathless voice.
“Come quick something is wrong with the major I think it’s his heart.” The man was galvanised into action pushing pass Dannia to get into the room.
As soon as he entered Dannia leaped onto his back clamped his mouth shut and pulled the jewelled handled knife out of its hair slide sheath and plunged it into his neck upward into his brain. She rode his body as it collapsed to the floor summersaulting off just at the last moment. She landed with perfect precision and balance outside of the growing pool of blood. Swiftly she dressed and slipped out of the room closing the door behind her. She turned and ran straight into a massive female guard that had turned the corner. A hand clamped over her mouth as she was swept of her feet and carried away to a room further down the hall.
“Dannia it is me Helena, yes. Simieon and me have come to save you.” A heavily accented voice whispered, a voice she thought she’d never hear again.
Tears flowing freely down her cheeks she hugged the Amazon woman as if she was trying to crush her mighty frame. Gently the young woman knelt putting Dannia back on the floor and gently hugged her back.
In the room two guards sat in their chairs their heads slightly askew.
“I had to silence them as they had spotted Simieon.” Helena explained.
“Simieon is here?” Dannia couldn’t believe it after all this time they had come for her.
“Hello darling long time no see.” That voice swept away all doubt, all confusion from Dannia’s heart as she ran into her husbands arms.
When she had recovered enough they explained what had happened. Having not received his usual monthly message from Dannia Simieon had ridden to La Mer to find the devastation and crow picked bodies but that wasn’t all he had found.
“Louisa’s friend the mage from the tower was curled up in the basement of the town hall barely alive but she managed to explain what had happened before she died. The wild magic took out the whole building when she went I only just got out in time. When I got back to Perry I bumped straight into Helena and Peter. With their help I put together a group to help me come and get you. But it took weeks living of the land before we found the camp where you were being held. Sorry it took me so long.” He told her breathlessly.
“It doesn’t matter you’re here and that is all that matters.” She kissed his cheek almost willing him to carry her off to safety but she had to do one thing first. “Who have you with you.”
“We would have taken you out of the camp there and then if it wasn’t for the number of guards everywhere.” He prevaricated.
“Who came with you Simieon?” She persisted.
“Well there’s Helena, Peter and Ludwig who moaned the whole way of course. Tommy Engle, Joan Gabon, Mike Flanagan, Pierre and Franc Deplore, Geodes De-ath.”
“He’s gone and done it then? What a show off.” Dannia laughed kissing her husband once again. George Delaney wanted to show of to the local girls by adopting a dramatic name, one he felt reflected his profession, and came up with as far as Dannia was concerned the most preposterous one going. “Who else, I know you’re holding out on me?”
Simieon grimaced and said quietly.
“What! You brought mad Mary here she’ll kill everyone, once she starts she doesn’t know when to stop.” Dannia shuddered. “Look what happened last time we ended up having to defend ourselves from her for five minutes before she calmed down.”
“We will take you out to the others yes. They are waiting in the woods no.” Helena told her.
“No not quite yet I’ve a piece of business to complete first.” Dannia sounded calm but she was anything but her stomach churned and bile bit at her throat.
“Dannia you can’t seriously want to finish the job not after what you’ve been through.” Simieon was frantic with worry but Dannia silenced him with a single finger to his lips.
“Get the others and have them raid this place. The new emperors military command is here enjoying themselves remove them and there will be no war, no more killing.”
The Emperor sat sipping his chilled wine as he poured over the crude map on the table. Crude it maybe but it was accurate enough to highlight the main areas of possible military resistance. His primary tactic was simple and that was to destroy three garrison towns using the War Golems and slave troops first. Both units were expendable and with the field of fear that the Golems exuded is should guarantee total confusion. His bastard son would lead them in but he will already be dead by his hand and strapped to his horse, another victim of war. The Emperor considered for a fleeting moment having a statue done of him but thought better of it after all, he mused, there’s no point giving anyone a focus for their discontent.
A knock at the door broke through his reverie.
“Come in!” He called leaning back tiredly in his chair. He would be glad to be away from this place, it may be a political necessity to keep his high command on his side but feeding their perversions but that didn’t mean he had to take part in them himself.
A small child like figure entered carrying a tray with a bottle of wine and a plate of meat on it.
“Sorry your highness but the Major sent me with this as a gift to you.” Dannia gave a respectable curtsy.
“What on earth does he expect me to do with you?” He sighed wearily. “Don’t stand there like a wet weekend come in child and shut the door.” He eyed up Dannia and gave a slight smile. “So my sister sent you up from the camp to satisfy the major’s taste did she and did you satisfy him “Angel”. Yes that was it “Angel”.
“Yes my Lord I believe so I didn’t hear any word of complaint.” She put the plate down beside the map. “Would you like some wine sir?”
He indicated that he would.
“Look at this Angel.” He said pointing at the map. “Soon all of this will be part of my empire, swept clean of vice, of debauched scum a new power shall rise up built on purity. I will route out those dabbling in the infernal arts and my sister will head the inquisition torturing all who stand in our, my way.” He eyes were glazed as his voice rose as he ranted.
“Look sir that’s my home.” Dannia pointed at a spot on the coast.
“What?” The emperor bent down to look straight onto Dannia’s upward thrusting knife. He slumped back a puzzled expression on his face as if he couldn’t believe he could be hurt.
“Because of you my daughter is dead, because of you a hundred young girls will never know the pleasure of love and because of you the people of La Mer are dead.” Each word was punctuated by a stab into his chest. “May hell burn you forever?”
She plunged the knife into his forehead killing him instantly.
Once more there was no feeling of elation or desire just a cold sick feeling in the pit of her stomach as the sound of cries and death filled the corridors and rooms. Her mind drifted back to Perry the day she was poisoned.
Alison had practically carried Dannia into the Temple of Huron she was so weak. Dannia was delirious by this stage and barely aware of what was going on except the need to pass on the boxes of ‘Nocturnes’ doctored calling cards.
“We’ve got them Dannia.” Simieon was frantic. “Let the healers deal with you darling.”
All the local temples and churches had sent priests and priestesses to the temple to report on the success at moving the girls out of Perry to places of safety. Dannia was to find out later that the excuses used for taking them was that they were going to recreation camps to get over their traumas.
Over the next five days with Dannia’s life hanging in the balance the healers worked in shifts to save her. It was three weeks later that Father Peter and the lawyer Marcelo visited.
“Dannia our friend here has a house by the sea at La Mer and has kindly offered it as a place for you to recuperate.” Father Peter was putting a show of good humour and confidence but Dannia could see right through it to the concern beneath. “I know the priestess there and she’s an excellent healer it would be perfect. I’ll giver her strict instructions on your continued treatment so you needn’t worry about it being interrupted.”
“I suggest you use the name Angelica Du Pont just in case there are some other agents around who may wish you harm. If you agree I can have new documents and letters of mark made for you and Simieon.” His voice was clipped and assured. “Father, may I have a word with Dannia and Simieon alone for a moment please?”
“Why yes certainly. I have to prepare my instructions. I’ll be in the office if you should need me.”
After he had left the lawyers voice became more urgent.
“Simieon, Dannia I think you have already guessed that I’m more than a junior lawyer at the ruling council. I’m Henri Deseed the high councils spy master and I was at the party of La Sade collecting evidence about his guests. I suspected that he was involved in the child trafficking and that he was blackmailing some of his guests.” He looked apologetically at the two Halflings. “I’m sorry I deceived you but it was important to keep up the pretence. Dannia you were right about ‘Nocturne’ and the school being in the pay of an external source and my spies have found out whom? The new General of the mountain folk has designs on a spring invasion after the snows have melted and set up the school to destabilise us as you worked out. I want to hire you both to assassinate him.”
“You are joking because of him Dannia nearly died.” Simieon was furious at the suggestion.
“I will do it for the sake of our daughter and the girls.” Dannia croaked. “We owe her that much Simieon we need to deliver justice.”
“Good. You will find him in a Châteaux a few days ride from La Mer in the fourth month, from what my spies tell me he intends it to be his base of operations. We can not survive if he succeeds in beginning his invasion. He will butcher thousands to prove his strength and I will do anything, pay anything to avoid that. Perry made be a city steeped in its own filth but it is my city and I’ll be buggered if I’ll let anyone take it with out a fight!!”
“I will destroy his chances now go now as I am tired and want to sleep.”
Dannia shook herself out of her revelry and looked at the Generals body laying there in a pool of blood and whispered.
“I am the same as you Carder but not anymore, not anymore.” With that she turned and slipped out of the door.