Be aware… there are a few dragons.
“Lord Fowler! Lord Fowler! We’ve got them!” hollered the mud plastered rider who dropped from the saddle like a sack of rocks.
Lord Fowler opened a window and looked out into the courtyard where the man stood yelling. “Got who?” he called down.
“Lord Kress’ and Darkwing’s men! Found the slaver convoy. They’re returning even as we speak!” hollered the man.
“Good. Bring them into the hall and we’ll get them settled as quickly as possible when they arrive,” said Lord Fowler. He closed the window and headed for the room where Raven and Justin were recovering. It had been nearly a week since they’d been rescued.
“What was all that noise?” Justin asked as Lord Fowler entered the room.
“A messenger. He’d come to tell us that the men have been found. I’ll let you know as soon as we have them here.”
“Good,” said Raven. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, wrapped in a soft robe. Rachel sat next to him. “I’m going to need that cane fairly soon.”
“Walking eh?” asked Lord Fowler.
“Yes, Henry. I’m a bit slower than I’d rather be and still off balance. Horace is a right handed bastard and my left side took more damage.”
Lord Fowler nodded. “I’ll have the canes brought up for both of you,” he said. “Now rest and we will see to that bastard in a few days.” He walked out of the room and down to make preparations with Lord Hawkness.
Late the next night, wagons pulled into the courtyard. Lords Fowler and Hawkness met the men and helped them bring in the ex-slaves. After a chance at a bath, a full meal and basic medical treatment, the men fell asleep in beds rather than cages for the first night in ages.
George awoke confused as to where he was. Looking around, he saw the other men who’d been with him in the slave convoy. All of them were snoring or drooling on their pillows. George looked around for a chamberpot. When he didn’t find one, he went looking for the bathing room. Off the room with the baths, he found the loo. When he was finished, he walked around for a bit. It felt so good to be free. No collar, no chains and that bastard Horace and his henchmen were locked in one of their own cages. Jeffery, Lord Fowler’s son said that there would be a fit punishment for Horace. One of the men had joked about killing him, but then realized it would never be enough to erase the horrors he put so many through over the years. He stood at the edge of the second story hall, where there was a bit of a balcony that allowed people to see into the inner courtyard below. The sun was just rising and the sky was pale.
“Is that you George?” a feminine voice asked.
George turned to see Rachel standing there in a nightgown and shawl. “Rachel!” he cried softly. Rachel ran over to him and quickly wrapped her arms around him gently. He held on to her tightly and tried not to sob.
“Oh George, I’m so glad they found you. Rosie was worried half to death. She’s okay, but we must send word that you’re okay to the manor,” Rachel said.
“Yes, we must. Is…is Lord Darkwing alright?”
“He’s healing. Horace tortured him and Lord Kress. Come, Raven will be delighted to see you. When you came in, he was fast asleep and I refused to let anyone wake either man,” said Rachel as she took his hand and pulled him along the corridor. She opened the door quietly and saw that both men were still asleep. She motioned for George to be quiet and then the two of them moved to Raven’s bedside.
“Raven,” Rachel whispered. “Raven, wake up.”
Raven rolled, opened his eyes, blinked and then cried out as he saw George. “Good God man! I never thought I’d see you again!”
“Nor I you,” said George. The two men hugged regardless of the pain of various injuries.
“Who’s making all that noise?” asked a sleepy Lord Kress.
“George and Raven,” said Rachel.
Lord Kress blinked, looked at George and a smile broke out on his face. “Are the rest of the men here?”
“Yes, M’lord. Most are still asleep. I needed… um… And on the way back, ran into Rachel,” said George.
Lord Kress smiled and then snuggled back into the bed. Raven and George talked while Rachel went for hot tea and some bread for the men. When she came back, they were talking quietly and she sat the food down next to them, carrying some over to Lord Kress.
“Thank you Rachel.”
“You’re welcome Justin. Will Horace receive his punishment soon?”
“Oh yes. I believe Raven and George were discussing tomorrow as the date,” Justin said.
Raven and Justin walked downstairs slowly. Rachel was on one side of Raven. George and Lord Fowler helped Lord Kress. They moved out into the courtyard where the ‘trial’ for the slavers was being held. Hundreds of men stood filling the courtyard. Benches held men who had been slaves less than a week ago and fifteen men were caged next to a table and a post driven into the ground. Raven and Kress sat in padded chairs at the center of the seating area with other lords that had been at the assembly. Once they were seated, Raven asked Rachel to go back into the house. She balked at first, and then realized she was the only woman present and left.
Lord Hawkness and Lord Fowler stood next to the table. Lord Hawkness raised his hand for silence. “We all know what transpired after our vote in the Assembly a few weeks ago. Horace, former slaver dared to kidnap two lords and some of their retainers. He took Lord Kress and Lord Darkwing and their retainers hostage. At the same time, Horace’s men attacked several manor houses. Lord Kress has lost his manor to fire along with several tenants, possessions, livestock and the income that would have been generated. Lord Darkwing’s manor has fire damage, loss of several tenants, some livestock and income. Lord Fowler has lost a son, his barns, crops, and several tenants. Others amongst us have lost crops, and livestock. The losses have been in the 100,000’s of marks.”
“And then there is the treatment of the men who were kidnapped by Horace and his men,” said Lord Fowler. “Now, you all know what I use to do. I was no better than Horace except that I have the word ‘lord’ in front of my name. I saw a new way to do business, and while it hurt my pocket book, it has saved my sanity. However, no matter the loss of marks for my pocket, I would not have stooped to what Horace chose to do. He treated the men, some twenty in all, like you would the worst criminal. They were beaten, whipped, branded and sold. Then once the retainers were sold, he turned his attentions on the two lords.” Fowler paused, took a deep breath and then moved to where Raven and Justin sat.
“These two men, while not saints, did not deserve the rough treatment they were handed.” Fowler had to pause while the ripple of laughter over the two lords being called saints died down. “After being starved, although it didn’t hurt Lord Kress here that much,” he said as he smiled. “However, each man was whipped, beaten and threatened with castration. You saw how long it took both men to walk down here this morning. They’ve been healing for over a week and are still as weak as a newborn. Lord Darkwing here is lucky he has any flesh left on his back. Lord Kress is going to be fortunate to tussle with a maid let alone his wife for weeks, as the whip was not a kind lover.”
Once more, a mixture of laughter combined with calls for punishment bounced around the courtyard.
“Today we are here to punish these men who have broken the law. For damage, destruction and mayhem alone, they deserve death. Instead, the Assembly met last night and have decided on a fit punishment for this crime,” said Fowler.
“The men who worked for Horace, will receive fifty lashes, be castrated and hamstrung and then sold to the galley ships. Horace… will face a different punishment, but will be made to witness his men’s punishment first,” said Lord Hawkness. He listened to the murmurs run through the crowd and watched men agree to this with nods of heads and huzzahs. He and Lord Fowler stood back as the first man was tied to the post and lashed. The men working the whips and later on the knife were Lord Fowler’s remaining sons. Big burly men, who’d done this work for years.
Once the first man was lashed, the next one was attached to the post while the first was tied spread eagle to the table. It was an odd table with a split up the middle that matched the man’s spread legs. Once the man was tied, the smaller of Lord Fowler’s sons stepped into that split. He had a knife and a small brazier. The first cut was to the right ankle. He cut the tendons and then stuck the knife in the brazier for a moment. Then he applied the hot knife to the wound to cauterize it. As the screams of the new slave died down, the man moved up to grasp the balls of the man. In a swift motion, he grabbed, yanked and sliced the underside of the ball sac. The testicles were popped out, cut off and tossed in a bucket. Then the knife was heated and the wound cauterized. He was done in less than five minutes with the whole thing.
“Reminds me of castrating pigs,” said Justin to Raven.
“Yes, but pigs make less noise,” replied Raven.
The remark brought hesitant laughter from those around the two lords. It took longer for the slaves to be lashed than castrated. As each one was done, he was loaded into a wagon that had a cage over the top of the wooden bed. It was the same wagon that they had hauled the retainers off in to be sold. When it was filled, A man drove it off to the docks where a galley awaited their new rowers.
Finally, it was Horace’s turn. He fought being tied to the post. He yelled and cursed until Lord Fowler’s son gagged him. He received fifty lashes front and back. After a bucket of saltwater was tossed over him, he was tied to the table. Instead of Lord Fowler’s son, a man came up from the crowd of men. He had a roll of tools, which proved to be a set of very sharp knives, needles and cat gut. He turned to address the crowd.
“Today we will see a pig turned into a trollop. There are those places, deep in the dark recesses of the docks where men have certain tastes. Tastes developed on ships and in deep mines where there are only men. From time to time, I am called upon to provide them with ‘women’. This is to be this lucky individual’s fate. In time, he will loose his fur. What remains will grow softer, and his breasts will plump up just enough to satisfy even the roughest sailor. He might even grow to like it enough that they will let him off of his chain,” said the doctor.
Laughter echoed around the courtyard as the doctor began his work. After shaving Horace’s face, he then shaved Horace’s balls. He made a neat slit down the center, and dropped the testicles in the bucket with the others. He waited a moment for Horace to stop writhing. Then he swiftly cut the foreskin off of the rather small penis and exposed some of the underskin. He then placed the small cock so that it lay in the space where the balls had been moments before. Taking a needle threaded with cat gut, he tacked the little penis in place so that the opening was almost directly between Horace’s legs. Then he stitched the skin of the ball sac over the penis, with a small valley which echoed the nether lips of a woman. With a very fine knife, he cauterized the wound around the stitches. Putting his instruments down, he turned to the crowd and bowed.
“May I present Henrietta, the newest whore of the docks biggest brothel,” he said.
There were thunderous applause from the men gathered there. Lords Darkwing and Kress teetered to a stand as they clapped.
“Your plan worked out well,” laughed Justin as he leaned towards Raven.
“I thought so. Now for the fun.”
Henrietta was taken off the table, had another bucket of water dumped over him and then was dried off with a rough towel. Then Lord Fowler’s sons ‘helped’ Henrietta dress in a chemise, corset, blouse and kirtel. All in bright reds and yellows. Every time Henrietta fought, she was smacked on the ass with the handle of the whip. Last of all, rouge was applied to her face.
The laughter was so loud, no one heard the wagon roll into the courtyard. Out of it came a huge man with a set of manacles in his hands. “Lord Hawkness! Where’s my doxy?” called the man.
“Ah Ranulf! You are just in time. She’s right here. I can almost guarantee she’s a virgin too,” laughed Lord Hawkness. That brought laughter from all the men in the courtyard.
“Well then. That will fetch me a nice fee from the first one that uses her. How long till she’s healed enough to use?”
“Give it a week or so as long as it is kept clean,” said the doctor.
Ranulf nodded. It wasn’t the first of the doctor’s creations he’d had. “Come on bitch, or I’ll plug you!” said Ranulf as he manacled Henrietta and hauled her to the wagon as if she weighed nothing.
“Plug?” asked Justin.
“A wooden dowel up the ass to stretch the muscles,” whispered Lord Fowler who was standing between Justin and Raven.
“Oh gods!” winced Justin.
“Oh yes. Just wait until Henrietta gets his first customer. We’ll hear the scream from the docks,” smiled Lord Fowler. The other men smiled. Then Lord Hawkness’ men helped Raven and Justin back to their rooms.