Franchesca followed this mysterious man to find there was indeed a fine carriage awaiting. Holding the door open for her and taking hold of her hand he helped help her inside. Once they were seated, he rapped on the top for the driver to go.
“May I see your face now?” She asked fluttering her eyelashes.
“If you wouldn’t mind waiting until we reach my home, I would be truly grateful senora.”
Franchesca thought this was somewhat unusual but it was after all worth two hundred soldi and who was she to turn down such an offer. Not really caring what he looked like, perhaps he was scarred and didn’t want anyone to see his face. She could work with that.
It took forty-five minutes to reach his home, her mouth dropping open at the expensive two story residence. Franchesca smiled to herself, this man definitely had money to own such a fine home. When the carriage came to a stop, he quickly alighted and offered his hand to help her down. Following him into the house the marble floors and crystal chandelier did not fail to pass her attention, a very fine house indeed. He led her along a hallway to a set of stairs, without a word he descended. Franchesca thought his quietness and the fact that they were not taking the stairs up to a possible bedroom was strange. Who was she to question though, perhaps his bedroom was in the basement, she shrugged her shoulders and followed him, it would all be worth it in the morning.
When he stopped at the bottom of the stairs he said. “I thought you would like some refreshments before we start.” He turned before she could answer and walked with confident strides down a dimly lit hallway to a door at the end.
Standing aside so she can pass Franchesca entered a small room with just a table and two chairs in the centre. On the table was a bottle of wine, and a plate of sweetmeats, well isn’t this romantic. Making her way to the table she removed her cloak which he took and hung up behind the door, removing his own at the same time.
She sat at the table but gasped when he turned, and Franchesca could finally see his face.
“I know you…your Cesare Borgia the Pope’s son.” Franchesca started to rise. She had heard about him and none of it was good. None of the working girls would have anything to do with him, he was known as a sadist leaving some of the girls scarred and terrorized for life.
He grabbed her wrist. “I’m afraid it is too late for you to leave. You will sit down, and you will have a drink with me.” His eyes held a wicked gleam and his smile, she thought was more like that of the devil than someone looking to spend a sensual night with her, sending a river of ice shooting down her back.
Franchesca drank slowly not taking her eyes from him, he was handsome, but his reputation preceded him. Before finishing the last few mouthfuls of wine, he painfully grabbed her by the elbow pulling her up from the seat, dragging her to a door at the other side of the room. Opening it he pushed her through it locking it behind them.
Her eyes went wide, her body began to shake. The stone room was full of torture equipment. A rack stood to the left and on the walls were a variety of lashes, knives and other implements neatly laid on shelves, there was only one use for such weapons, and that was to cause pain. A large wheel stood on the right with hand and ankle holds of rope.
Dragging her to the wheel he tied her hands outstretched above her head pleading with him that she wasn’t into this sort of engagement. She tried to fight him off and wriggle free, but Cesare was much stronger. He spread her feet and tied them at the bottom, saying not a word.
“Please don’t hurt me, please Cesare I will do anything you ask but please don’t hurt me.”
He laughed then proceeded to cut her clothes off with a blade. Franchesca was terrified, she wasn’t into torture and never did so with her clients.
Suddenly a banging came at the door. Franchesca immediately thought someone had come to her rescue. Tied to a wheel with not a stitch of clothing covering her body. The room was cold caused goosebumps to erupt over her body.
Cesare walked casually to the door and let two hooded men in, it looked like one of them could be her Antonius, please let it be him. She hoped he had come to save her. Pulling the hoods off their heads, neither one was him, sickness swirled in her stomach, these two she had never seen before.
One leaned close to Cesare whispering to him, the other scanned her naked body with lust in his eyes. The three of them came to stand in front of her.
Franchesca wasn’t going to be intimidated at their eyes lingering over her.
“Franchesca where is the half pendant that Henricus gave you?”
The question caught her by surprise, it was the last thing she expected he would ask. So that was what this was all about. The ugly little half pendant that was no doubt only worth the silver, if it was melted down. But what if it wasn’t, the fact that Cesare was asking for it now, there had to be something more to the pendant.
She had given it to Fiora, so for the time being it was safe from him. When she got out of this, no matter what they did to her, she would recover it and find out just what it was and how valuable it was.
“I don’t know anything about any pendant, Henricus didn’t give it to me.” She replied defiantly.
“Come now my lady we know that he did, what have you done with it. We didn’t find it on Henricus’ body or the two that you sent to dispose of him, by the way they are all dead, and it wasn’t in your room.” He smiled like a fox gaining entry to a hen house.
Her first thought was of Antonius, surely, they didn’t kill him, that would be such a loss. Not that she had any affection for him, he had been good to her and helping with anything she needed, including disposing of clients no longer worth her time.
Cesare turned to the two men still scanning Franchesca’s body. “Signore do either one of you have an adversity with the necessary means needed of extracting information from this whore?” The two men shook their heads, not taking their eyes from her, both with smiles on their faces, one with rotten and broken teeth.
“Please Cesare, don’t do this, I can’t go back to work with marks or cuts on me, please. It’s the only way I know how to make a living.” She begged again. Franchesca didn’t mind begging, she was a good actress.
Cesare looked at her seriously before stepping towards her and running the back of his knuckles down the side of her face. He had one job to do and that was to get the half pendant and some woman who wore it. How the two had become separated he didn’t much care about. He had though been promised an increase of tenfold to his army and guaranteed that he would win a war that was coming with France.
He would show his father that he was the mightier of his sons bringing the wealth of what the French had to offer and lay it at his father’s feet. The only problem he had though was that he really enjoyed torture. Turning his head back to Franchesca, a glint of joy in his eyes of all the possible things he could do to her.
“My dear signora you don’t have to worry. Tell me where the pendant is?” Franchesca shook her head to another wicked smile crossing his face as if he was happy, she wasn’t giving him the information he wanted.
“Signora, there is no need to scream, no one can hear you anyway. You are such an evil minx, how many men have you had killed because you tired of them?” Cesare said in a bored tone. He noticed the two men beside him were drooling, oh yes, they liked to torture as well, he could tell.
“Is this why you are doing this because I had a few evil men disposed of. Did I offend you in some way, was one of those men a friend or relative? If so, I am sorry I didn’t know. Please Cesare you don’t want to hurt me.”
Cesare laughed. “It is not just because you are evil, I enjoy this, I appreciation assisting a person in reaching their ultimate pain level and using my…instruments in the process.” He said sweeping his arm around the room, his smile growing more devious. “But I need to know where the pendant is and where the person is that it came from.” Again, Franchesca shook her head, convinced he would do her no real harm. She might come away with a few lashes and cuts, but it would be worth it in the long run, he would let her go in the morning. Not happy with the idea of having to take on the other two men, it wasn’t the first time she had to make sacrifices.
Franchesca wasn’t into tortured but it was obvious that the pendant must be something extremely valuable. When this was all over, she would get it back, and then have Cesare dealt with, along with these two perverted friends of his.
“Cesare I can pay you…I have money put away. I will give you everything I have…please Cesare.” Franchesca sobbed and pleaded, knowing with most men they couldn’t deal with a woman crying, and either left or attempted consoling, she was hoping that Cesare was one of those men.
Cesare ignored her and motioned to one of the men, who produced a scarf from inside his cloak. He tied it around Franchesca’s mouth, gagging her, then ran his hands down her neck to her breast, squeezing hard, before running his hand down her stomach to the apex of her thigh, grasping her harder, causing a muffled shriek from her, before stepping to the side.
Franchesca suddenly realised that there was a possibility that Cesare might mean to kill her. Fear clutched her stomach, there had to be a way out of this, even if it meant she would tell him where the pendant was. Screaming through the gag she tried to tell him, but her voice was just a garble.
Cesare went to the wall of lashes and blades taking down a lash from the wall that had a dozen leads, each holding a small metal ball at the end.
He stood in front of Franchesca, his grin spreading across his face. Her eyes widened with terror, her head shaking eyeing in panic at the lash he held. He was indeed going to hurt her and badly. Shrieked into the gag to tell him where he could find the pendant, he shook his head still grinning at her, Holy mother she had left it far too late.
“Since you can’t give me the information I need.” Franchesca bobbed her head frantically hoping he would remove her gag so she could give him the information he wanted. “I’m afraid that you won’t be leaving this place with a few marks and cuts.” He looked at the other two men, they nodded at him. “I’m afraid you won’t be leaving this place senora…alive.”
Cesare didn’t care if the witch Aoife had offered him more power, a bigger army or success with a war with France. Nothing was going to stop him from having a little fun. He would deal with finding the pendant later, feeling confident with the resources he had he could still find it without Franchesca, now though it was time for some entertainment.