“I just need you to tell me the names. Tell me and spare yourself.”

“Never!” Her proud eyes glared at me.

“You can’t hold out, you know,” I warned her. “Everyone breaks sooner or later.”

“Bah! Better men than you have failed!” Her chin, with just a tiny hint of dimple, raised itself as if daring me to try.

Her slim wrists tugged tentatively against her bonds; she might as well have pulled against a bridge abutment.

I noticed what might be a slight looseness in the strap on her left wrist. She tried to jerk free as I went to adjust it, but I was ready for her. I pulled the strap tighter by another hole, tucked in the post.

I stood there beside her, holding the end of the strap in my fingers, its tip just barely into the keeper loop.

“Should I pretend to leave the strap loose?” I mused aloud. “Give you false hope by not tucking it in properly?”

For just an instant, I saw a flicker of optimism in her eyes before she realized I was toying with her. Anger replaced it.

“My father is the Lord Chancellor! He will have you flayed alive for this!” she growled.

I kept my voice flat. “Your father the ex-Chancellor lies shackled in the next cell by order of the Empress herself.”

I saw a flash of fear in her dark eyes, again quickly replaced by anger.

“He will hear your cries,” I informed her. “Indeed, I do hope you do not give in too quickly, girl. Sustained screams from this cell will aid the Grand Inquisitor in his personal interrogation of your traitorous sire.”

I smiled, ran a hand slowly over her naked torso. Her skin was flawless, stretched tight by her spread-eagled position.

“Promise me you won’t give in too soon?” I whispered.

“Damn you!” she whispered back. “You’ll burn in Hell for what you do here!”

“Perhaps,” I said softly, my hand cupping first one young breast and then the other, “But you, pretty blossom, will be there to watch it.”

I thumbed a soft brown nipple, watched a shudder run over her body.

I stood back to survey the scene. The heavy candles arranged around the room flickered in an errant draft.

The girl’s slender form was bound to an X-shaped frame of wrist-thick black iron pipes. Horizontal and waist-high, its legs were securely fastened to the floor. A fairly small red leather pad supported the small of her back; another supported her head.

Padded U-shaped rests covered in the same leather were mounted at the ends of each limb of the cross. Thick leather straps held the girl’s wrists and ankles securely fastened to the rests and spread very wide. Her waist and head were unsecured.

Hanging on the wall beside the frame was an array of matching red leather belts of various sizes, instantly available should I have cause to further restrain her. For the moment, I left them there, preferring the almost-total access her present bonds gave me to every area of her youthful body.

“You know you will submit sooner or later, girl,” I said. “Your name was whispered to the Empress as one deep within in the Cabal’s membership. You have in your pretty head the identity of the other nobles involved in this profane conspiracy.”

I trailed one forefinger lightly along one collarbone, down her chest, between her young breasts. She shivered at the sensation.

“Why not spare yourself all this unpleasantness?” I asked.

She just glared at me.

“No?” I smiled at her. “So be it.” I lightly flicked one nipple with a fingernail, watched the rage rise in her eyes.

“Tomorrow, wench, you are to appear in public; today there can be no whips, no hot irons or…” I stopped, let her imagination bring up the worst.

“Today,” I smiled, “you will endure other… methods.”

Her head turned as I waved my hand towards the tray of implements positioned beside her cross.

I lifted them, one by one, presenting them to her gaze. She understood how most of them would be applied and another shudder ran along her slender flanks.

“You know what I need, woman. The Empress has charged me to determine the names of the other members of your treason. Just say their names and all this will be… unnecessary.”

“You’d let me go, just like that?”

“Hardly,” I smiled, grimly. “You could hardly expect that of her Most Regal Majesty, could you? But who knows – if you are cooperative, maybe your sentence will be only a closely-supervised exile. At worst,” and I stressed the word heavily, “you would receive a quick, painless, dignified execution, one suited to your noble rank.”

I stared down at her, pinched one nipple, just a little. “There are far worse fates awaiting a traitor, particularly one as delectable as yourself.” I pinched the other one a little harder, just enough to make my point, let go.

A tear trickled out of the corner of one eye, but she shook her head.

“So be it,” I said.

I selected a light blindfold. Of simple design, it consisted of nothing more than two black leather eye patches with red satin padding on the inside and connecting ties of soft red ribbon.

Holding it by the end of one tie, I trailed it slowly up her torso. I flipped it back and forth to show both colours against her pale skin.

Her face filled with a mix of fury and defiant scorn.

I dragged the other tie slowly between her young breasts, circled it around one nipple, then the other. I could see them growing firm at the sensation.

“Ah, you like that.” I chuckled.

“Bastard!” she hissed.

“Maybe,” I admitted, cheerfully. “Maybe. But today I’m the bastard who has both your fate and your body in his hands. And will tomorrow, too. And for however long it takes to get the information the Empress wants. Meanwhile, wench, which colour looks better against your skin, do you think?”

I walked down to by her right foot, and reversed one of the eye patches so that she had both black leather and red satin facing her. Holding the two patches, I began to slowly drag their edges around her toes. Her feet jumped and bounced within their straps, trying to escape. She giggled just a little, regained control.

I slowly began to draw them, side by side, up along her leg.

She twisted underneath the gentle sensation, her eyes flicking back and forth between my face and the slowly-moving pads making her soft skin tingle.

While she continued to jerk and heave, she didn’t laugh until I had reached her breasts. Then a soft giggle escaped, turning quickly into a loud series of snorts.

The snorts turned to hoots of laughter when I began to tease her now-protruding nipples with the pads. Despite my success, I didn’t linger there; rather, I kept them moving slowly down off their curves, over her upper chest towards her neck.

I knew that she would attempt to bite the blindfold if I was foolish enough to bring it within reach of her teeth. Instead, I stepped around to behind her head and swiftly put it in place, firmly knotting the ties behind her neck. I checked for fit and stepped back.

“Blindfolding.” I remarked, professorially. “It heightens the subject’s sense of helplessness, increases the sense of dread, for one can never know or anticipate what is going to happen next.”

“Now,” I said softly. “I wonder what is next? Where to start on such a lovely… subject?”

Again I let my fingertips drift lightly over her breasts. She shivered under my touch.

I turned to the tray and picked up a flask of warmed oil scented with essential scents, primarily musk and patchouli, aromas calculated to work directly on the female subconscious, heightening receptiveness and sensation.

“Listen, girl.” I advised her, “It would be a shame for you not to appreciate my… efforts to the fullest. We’re going to try to make your skin more sensitive.”

I poured a line of oil down one shin, over her instep and onto the toes of that foot. I could see her nostrils twitch at the scent. For just a moment, there was a fleeting smile on her face, instantly replaced by a look of puzzlement. How could something smelling so nice be part of…?

I gently rubbed the sweet oil into her skin with my hands, paying particular attention to her toes and soles, before going around to the other side of the iron frame to repeat the process with her other leg.

“Soft skin is far more sensitive, more receptive,” I said. “Even yours can be made softer.”

She squirmed at the sensation of my hands on her fair body, tugged at the restraints.

I continued to oil her legs, including their backsides to the greatest extent possible. I poured a small pool into her navel, spreading it around with my palms. I tried not to tickle; my intent was more long-term.

I slid an oily palm over her smooth mound, felt its plump pad shift and roll beneath my hand. I turned and the girl’s body twitched as my slick finger slid between her lower lips, gently traced her opening.

“I’ll have your manhood for this indignity!” her voice grated.

“The Empress will have your head for your treason, wench – if you are lucky. Meanwhile, as you well know, anything is permitted Her inquisitors in the course of their duties.”

As I spoke, my finger slid deeper into her, my thumb rolled oil over her soft pearl. The sound of her breath hissing in filled the room as her naked figure below me twisted, limbs pulling for the release only her surrender could provide.

I left her sex and moved up her body, pouring more oil onto her chest and softly, patiently working it into the skin of her breasts. Her head shook from side to side as I circled her now-stiff nipples with my thumbs, softly squeezed her soft orbs, encouraging her already-soft skin to absorb more of the softening oil.

Up her shoulders, over her armpits, along her arms, I softly stroked the oil into her young body.

“Damn you! And your thrice-damned Empress too!” she hissed.

“That will look well in my report to her,” I remarked dryly.

With a last few gentle strokes, I rubbed the last of the oil under her chin, behind her ears.

I wiped the excess oil off my hands and pondered my next step. I wanted to give the oil a few minutes to soak in.

I looked at the instrument tray and, selected a Wartenberg wheel, a coin-sized free-spinning wheel studded with close-set sharp pins mounted at the end of a pencil-length handle. Stepping between her legs, I crouched down and ran it, very lightly, down the sole of one foot.

“No!” she shouted. “Stop it!”

“Only you have the ability to stop it,” I said, carefully rolling the wheel up one sole and down the other.

She began to shake, obviously repressing the inevitable laughter.

Keeling between her legs, I looked up towards her face, saw her biting her lower lip. Then I noticed a small drop of fluid oozing from between her lower lips.

Excellent. She was proving an excellent subject, exceedingly sensitive to stimulation.

I continued to play the bottoms of her feet with the wheel, pausing, turning, making sudden changes in direction. Each shift was met with a twisting of her feet and, eventually, bursts of laughter.

“NO! Quit!” she shouted.

“Just say their names,” I said. “Tell me.”

Leaning forward, I ran my fingertips lightly along her flanks, starting at her armpits and trailing slowly down towards her waist.

The girl exploded into laughter. Her full breasts wobbled and shimmied as she attempted to evade my gentle, remorseless stokes.

“No, no!” she shouted. Her protests trailed off into a high scream.

I lifted my hands, softly stroked her nipples as she gasped for breath.

“Stop that!” she cried, “You can’t do that!”

I didn’t bother to reply. Instead, I trailed my fingernails lightly over first one flawless inner thigh, then the other. They quivered beneath my touch.

“No!” she cried.

“No? Just wait and see,” I said.

I lowered my hands to behind her knees, softly massaged her skin. The girl exploded in laughter, screamed loud enough to hurt my ears. “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” Her legs jerked and strained against the straps holding them in place.

“Puzzling. All I am doing is running my fingertips over you. That’s not painful, yet you are screaming and jumping around.”

“Stop it!”

I let my voice grow hard. “Just say their names, traitor.”

I dug my fingers into her flesh, prodded for nerves and her laughter took off again, higher this time. Her legs twisted and jerked under my hands as she tried to escape.


“I didn’t hear you,” I said.

“Please stop! Please!” Her white breasts shook, shook in the candlelight.

“I didn’t catch that,” I teased.

I stopped, stepped to the foot of the frame. The girl was gasping, panting. Shivers ran up and down her torso.

With one hand, I started running my fingers between the toes of her one foot and stroked the soles of her foot with my other. Her hair whipped around her as her head thrashed from side to side. Peals of laughter exploded from her.

“Please, oh please!” Stop!”

I didn’t stop. Instead, I picked up a large, stiff feather in one hand and a soft make-up brush in the other. Stepping up to one side, I began to tease and torment first her armpits and then along her ribs.

The girl’s shrieks became frantic. Again and again she jerked against her bonds. Again and again she pleaded with me to halt, just for a moment.

I paused, leaned over to her ear and whispered, “It’s a pity you can’t see it coming, isn’t it? No chance to prepare, no chance to get ready to resist.”

I lifted my head back a little and began to tease around the form of one breast with the feather, firm strokes with its tip circling inwards towards the nipple. I dropped the brush back on the tray and tucked the fingers of my free hand under one ear to tickle her there. Her body bounced up and down on the frame; her head moved in an attempt to catch my hand with the angle of her jaw.

It was a pointless effort. She yelled in torment as I shifted my tickling to under her chin. She begged, pleaded with me.

I switched the feather from one breast to the other, this time concentrating on her taut nipple. Picking up the brush again, I began to stroke up and down the inside of her upper arms. She howled in a spasm of laughter.

“Pleeeeease!” she begged me.

Again I growled, “Say their names! Tell me! In the name of the Empress, say it!”

“No!” she cried out between clenched teeth, her courage equalled only by her beauty.

I stopped, dropped the feather on the tray, continued to tease her nipples with the soft brush.

“It’s amazing how weak you are,” I mocked. “Brought to this state with nothing more than the gentlest touches. This is nothing, girl! How long do you think you can possibly hold out?”

“Although I must admit,” I said, firmly cupping one breast in my hand, “You make a very pleasing subject.” I squeezed, firmly but gently, truly enjoying its soft feel. “Perhaps the Empress might gift you to me after your trial.”

“I’ll kill you in your sleep should that happen!”

“I doubt it,” I chuckled. I wiggled a fingertip in her navel for an instant. She exploded in laughter. I stopped, ran a finger the length of her sex.

“I think it would be worth the risk.”

“I’ll kill you!” she screamed in her anger.

“I think I will ask Her,” I chuckled again. “It’s not often that one such as I is privileged enough to possess such a fine concubine.”

She sagged, lay still under my roving hand, perhaps trying to shield herself in dignity.

I knew the cure for that.

Her dignity exploded in shrieks and howls of laughter as my fingers danced on her ribs. She shrieked and threw her body back and forth against the frame. I paused for a moment.

“How curious,” I remarked. “I’ve just had an image of that musician at the concert last year, the one sponsored by – of all people – your traitorous father. Remember it?”

I fluttered my fingers up and down her ribs, halted this time just before her twitching body erupted again in laughter.

“Remember it?” I said, tapping a finger here and there – enough to keep her from recovering. “There was a foppish musician there, one playing…”

Here I again danced my fingers across her ribs, not stopping when she began to cry out again.

“… THE SPINET!” I shouted over her yells.

I stopped again. I picked up the makeup brush, teased her nipples as I continued.

“You were there, once-so-proud mademoiselle. You were sitting by your father, wearing much jewellery and a deep-cut red dress, if I recall. How jealous all the women were of your position and finery.”

I tapped three fingers on her by-now incredibly-sensitive ribs – slowly, one at a time. Then again.

She squirmed at my caress, hissed.

“I wonder how many of them would be jealous of you now?” I mocked. With that, I set my fingers ‘playing’ her ribs, harder, faster. Up and down over her soft flesh they roamed, bouncing, prodding.

“Please, oh please, NO!” she shrieked.


I stopped.

“Oh, God,” she gasped, her chest rising and falling. “Please, no more. I beg you – no more.”

“What was that? More? You want more? You’re enjoying this?”

Her body tossed and jerked in her distress as I dug my fingers and thumbs into her waist, wiggling them. Her cries echoed across the room.

“Oh dear!” I chuckled. “Don’t tell me I’ve found a traitor who actually likes this? The Empress will be so displeased.” My fingers and thumbs shifted up and down her side.

She started to choke and I stopped for a moment. She gasped, fought for control.

I hardened my voice. “How far you have fallen, wench! Your family is disgraced; your father’s heart must be tearing itself apart at this shame. How he must be feeling at hearing you!”

I again dug searching fingers into her waist. Her screams redoubled. It took all my strength to maintain my grip, such was her heaving efforts to dislodge my hands. My fingertips moved up and down, felling the firm muscles within pulse and shake under them.

I stopped, leaned over her body. “The names, girl?”

She shook her head. “Never!”

“Time to extend our examination, then,” I said.

I walked to the corner, returned with two iron stands of about the same height as the frame. On each was mounted a device of my own invention, a small electric motor turning a simple wooden disc about the size of a saucer. Around the rims of the discs protruded dozens of feathers, sticking out like spokes on a rimless wheel. A simple dial would allow me to control the rotation.

The axles were deliberately skewed – drilled at an angle, so to speak. Instead of the feather strokes always being in the same place, they would drift from side to side over the bottoms of her feet.

I placed one wheel by each of her feet, feathers pressing against her soles.

“How quickly things change for us,” I remarked as I made some final adjustments. “Yesterday, you were the favorite daughter of the all-powerful Chancellor. People took off their hats and bowed as your carriage passed through the streets. Mothers named their daughters after you.”

I stood, took up the control in one hand.

“And now…”

I adjusted the control and the two feathered wheels began spinning., very slowly. She jerked at the first sensation.

I took her blindfolded head in my hands, leaned in, spoke just loud enough for her to hear. “And now, you’re just one more traitor awaiting her inevitable sorry end.”

As I stepped back and increased the speed, she began to laugh hysterically.

“No! Stop it!” she shouted. “NO!”

I increased the speed still more. She jerked, writhed, yanked against her bonds. Her laughter became continuous, almost frantic.

“STOP!” she cried. “Pleeease!”

“Speak, girl. Let me stop all this for you. I can. I will. Just say the names.”