King Bancroft didn’t know when to stop. Something inside me told me that he didn’t even want to stop. He continued to derive sadistic pleasure from my body, by torturing me in one way or the other. I didn’t know how much more of this I could take; I was close to my breaking point.
“You are so strong, Hildred. If I were in your place, I would’ve surrendered to Lord Bancroft already,” Ethel commented.
“I can’t take it anymore, Ethel. Lord Bancroft is going to kill me.” I moaned, trying my best to breathe through my bruised ribs. I failed to understand why Lord Bancroft wanted me when I refused to obey him. There were almost a hundred women present in this harem, he could pick anybody he desired, and they were far more obedient than I could ever be.
“No, he will not kill you. Your life is precious to him, dear friend. Do not think so negatively about the great lord. He just wants everyone to know that you belong to him, so that no one dares to bother you,” she argued. Why couldn’t she see the evil that was lord Bancroft? Could she not see the anguish I was harboring because of him?
“Do not be blind when it comes to the King, Ethel. He is cruel and you know it; my broken body is evidence of that fact.” A sob broke through me as pain rippled through my body. “I want to die, Ethel.”
“Do you think Lord Bancroft might be testing you?” Oh God, why did she have to come up with the most bizarre explanations?
“Why would he do that? There is no reason for him to do that,” I argued.
“Maybe he prefers his women to be strong.” She shrugged.
“Ethel, please stop. I’m already in so much pain; do not try to justify his heinous acts, I can’t handle it,” I pleaded. “I want to sleep.” There was little I could do with a broken body, anyway. Sleep was the only thing that helped pass the time and made me forget about the impending nightmare, at least for a little while.
“Forgive me, Hildred, for I have been the most inconsiderate. Of course, you must rest. Would you like something to eat?” She asked, quickly getting up from my bed.
I shook my head. “I do not have the strength to eat. So don’t bring anything for me.”
“But you must eat, Hildred. Lord Bancroft would be cross if he finds out that you are refusing proper nutrition,” she argued.
“I refuse to concern myself with what Lord Bancroft wishes. I do not care if I die due to lack of food. I just desire peace now, nothing else.” I told her before turning my head to the other side, dismissing her.
“Lord Bancroft hurts you more when he is angry, and you not eating will evoke his ire,” she stated before I heard her walking away.
Tears of fear and agony pooled in my eyes and fell down. Why couldn’t Lord Bancroft forget about me? What did I do to deserve this? I made sure to say my prayers every chance I got, and I tried my best to be good to people. So then why was God punishing me? And that too by the hands of a king.
I wished there was some way I could get out of here. I wanted to go somewhere far away, where King Bancroft couldn’t catch me. Perhaps I could find a nice farmer and marry him. We would have children who would run in the fields, screaming and laughing. I didn’t want a cruel King to rule my life. I wanted to rule my own life.
Even though I was nothing but a common whore, I always wished to be more in life. I wanted to be a seamstress. I longed to design beautiful dresses for queens and princesses. I did not wish to be an object of desire for men.
But my mother was a common whore, who died by the hands of a cruel man; one who failed to control his bloodthirst and ended up killing my mother. Once she was gone, the rest of the women in this harem took it upon themselves to raise me. And when a girl was born in a harem, she was nothing but a common whore. That was all she could ever be.
However, I wanted to be more. I loved dresses and spent hours dreaming about creating extravagant dresses for the ladies of the Kingdom. I didn’t care if I never found a suitor and was labeled as a spinster. Dresses was all I cared about.
One day. One day I will get out. I thought to myself as I attempted to ignore the pain seeping in my bones. Men only wanted one thing from a woman, after that they seldom cared for her existence. Dresses, however, were important. People cared about dresses, much more than they did about human beings at times. There were a couple of girls here who were obsessed with pretty dresses and often fantasized about being princesses. They were young, of course, but their innocence made me smile. If I ever became a seamstress, I would be sure to make some dresses for the young girls.
Right now you have a King to worry about.
My inner voice had the gift of reminding me of my place. I appreciated that voice usually, but I loathed it at this very moment. My body now bored the marks of Lord Bancroft, and no matter what happened, I would never forget about them. I was sure the scars on my body would never go away, forever reminding me of the man who claimed me as his.
The sound of the harem doors opening had me stiffening. And when the girls scurried into their respective corners I knew it was none other than Lord Bancroft who had arrived. What would he do to me now? Was today my last day in this world? Would I never get to make a dress?
I didn’t bother looking up at him as he arrived and sat down on my bed. He was going to do whatever he desired, there was no point in acknowledging his presence.
Despite the fact that I was trying to ignore his presence, my body shrank into itself when he caressed my face with the back of his hand. I couldn’t help my survival instincts from kicking in and fear to paralyze me as the man who claimed me touched me.
“How do you feel?” He asked, his voice soft.
“I feel well, my Lord.” Was telling him the truth really necessary? I didn’t think so.
“Lying will only get you punished, little nymph,” Lord Bancroft stated, stroking my hair.
“If you already know the truth, why do you ask me?” I still hadn’t looked at him. I didn’t want those arresting green eyes to take control of my entire being.
“Because I wish to hear the truth from your lips,” came his reply.
“And how will that be of benefit to you, my Lord?” I questioned.
“Are you unaware of the basic manners of looking at the person you are addressing, Hildred?” I could sense that he was displeased, and I didn’t know why that made me happy. It was like I was asking to be punished, which I truly didn’t want.
“No, my Lord.” I refused to look at him.
Pain nearly blinded me when King Bancroft gripped my jaw with his hand and forced me to look at him. This would add another layer of bruises. I could hear death knocking on my door. But did I dare open it?
“Here is a little rule for you, my stubborn nymph. Every time you speak to me, you look me in the eyes unless I tell you otherwise, is that clear?” He said. Those stunning green eyes flashed with fury; I wasn’t sure whether to be terrified or to surrender myself to the magic held within the green irises.
“If I do that, will you promise not to hurt me?” I enquired.
“Do you think you have the right to be making any sort of demand?” Why did he always make me feel so helpless? I was well aware of my worth in this world, but King Bancroft truly showed me reality every time he mentioned the fact that I was nothing but a common whore.
“Forgive me, my Lord. I will not make this mistake again.” Even though I wanted to cry, I forced my emotions back until he left.
“This is the first time you’ve accepted my order without talking back to me. I must say, this is a pleasing development,” he remarked, before caressing a bruise on my neck. “Have I truly broken that spirit?”
When I didn’t reply, King Bancroft pressed his lips to mine, kissing me until I was dizzy with the lack of air. Perhaps fighting him was not the right choice. He seemed to be calmer when I didn’t question him.
“Perhaps I shall take you down to the room I asked Aboloft to prepare for you.” My hackles rose upon his words. What was he going to do? I couldn’t handle any more torture. I would beg him if I had to, but I wouldn’t let him hurt me.
“Please, my Lord. Spare me today, for I am unable to move from this bed,” I said.
“Is that so?” His hand slipped under my dress and I winced when he touched my injured ribs. “And what will you do if I deny your request?”
“What can a common whore do, my Lord?” I responded.
“Oh? So you finally understand your place?”
I didn’t know what was happening to me. I wasn’t one to accept defeat easily. But the pain in my body was excruciating, and I wanted peace from it all. One day, I wanted him to leave me be for one day, was that too much to wish for?
“Yes, my Lord. I hope you can forgive me for my mistakes.” Peace. I was doing all this for peace.
“So, now you know that you belong to me and accept my rule over your being?” I was ready to give him just about anything he wanted from me.
“That is a reality I can no longer deny, my Lord.” I told him.
“It is a reality you never should’ve denied, little nymph,” he stated.
“I am aware of my ignorance, my Lord. I hope you can forgive me.” There was no use fighting him. He was the one in power, not me. If only I had understood this fact sooner, then my body wouldn’t be in such immense agony.
“If you finally accept your mistakes then I shall not punish you. However, if you dare disobey me again then I will not hesitate to remind you of your place.” He told me.
“I understand, my Lord,” I responded, my eyes downcast.
“I’m pleased to hear that, nymph of mine.” He kissed me after that, his lips gently gliding over mine, taking me by surprise. I never knew King Bancroft could be gentle. I always considered him to be a harsh, cruel ruler. Was it possible that there was a gentle human inside him?
I moaned when he dipped his fingers in my heat, giving me pleasure which only he had the power to give. His tongue parted my lips and entered swiftly, taking control of my mouth, while his fingers moved in and out of me, making me yearn for more of him. I shouldn’t want this. I shouldn’t want him, but there was little I could do when it came to ignoring my body’s desires.
“You will tell me how many men have had you. And then you will watch me kill each of them one by one,” he whispered over my lips before taking control of them once again.
“I don’t know,” I whispered. No matter how hard I tried to recall, I just couldn’t remember how many men were there.
“How many do you know?” He asked, removing his fingers from inside me and cupping the side of my face gently. “Give me a number.”
“Five, perhaps,” I said, wanting him to talk about something else.
“That number is too small. I knew there were more.” Was he going to punish me for something I did not know of?
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I tried to remember but I just can’t.”
“It’s okay, do not fear, my little nymph. You will remember soon enough. I will accept this number for now, but I do want you to think on it; try to recall how many men there were in total,” he commanded.
“What will you do to them, my Lord?” Suddenly I was afraid for those men. I didn’t want them to be hurt because of me.
“What I promised you. They will not live to see the next few days. Right now you must rest, tomorrow I will come and ask you the names of those men…”
“My Lord, I do not know their names. Those men do not consider us worthy enough to tell us their names,” I replied.
King Bancroft sighed and I knew he was frustrated. “Can you describe them to me if I ask you to?”
I bit my lip and thought about the men who dared to take what wasn’t given to them willingly. “Yes, my Lord. I can recall a few details, but nothing completely.”
Lord Bancroft kissed my forehead. He was much more gentle now that I wasn’t arguing with him. “Keep thinking about them. The more detail you can describe them with, the easier it will be to find them.”
I nodded. “I shall try, my Lord.” If I was able to remember all those men, I would still ask Lord Bancroft not to kill them. I didn’t want anyone to die because of me.
“Good girl.” He kissed my lips. “Now close your eyes. I will stay with you until you fall asleep. Then I shall come tomorrow.”
How could he expect me to sleep with him sitting down beside me? Gentle or not, he terrified me and I couldn’t calm down while he was here. He needed to leave.
“I will sleep after you leave, my Lord. I am sure you have more important things to do than waste your time with a common whore,” I said.
“Close your eyes, Hildred. I won’t repeat myself.” His command had me sighing in frustration and closing my eyes. As soon as he started massaging my head, I could feel sleep taking over my body. The last thing I remember before I slipped into darkness were the words of the man who was responsible for breaking me…
“Sweet dreams, my fiery nymph.”