It had snatched her whilst she looked out over the castle battlements at sunset. The rush of mighty wings, an intake of breath and then it’s claws wrapped around her waist and pulling her free. In the air, she kicked and screamed, writhing in it’s inexorable grip. It flew through the night and when it landed, she looked around and saw that she was far from home.
The tower itself was carved from a single piece of obsidian, and the door ahead of her had been left open. She looked up into the dragon’s eyes, each the size of a shield and glowing with a bronze light and began to whimper.
‘Please, I am Princess Dawn, daughter of King Patrick, you must release me.’
It shook it’s head and raised a claw, pointing to the doorway.
It’s voice was a slow bank of chill fog, implacable and certain. It flapped it’s wings for emphasis, and the force of them moved her forward. She bowed her head and went inside. Surely she would be rescued. Her value was in her position, her identity. She had been good and pious all her life, and now this, to be swept up by an imposing monster? No, she told herself, she would wait for rescue.
She walked through the door into a bedchamber far larger than the one that she had enjoyed in her father’s castle. A large four poster bed, swathed with thick fur blankets, a table, chairs and hangings of black silk that moved with the breeze. A roaring fire had been set in the hearth and when she looked around, the door to the chamber closed with a definitive thud.
Dawn curled up onto the bed, brought her knees to her chest and wept herself to sleep.
She awoke to the smell of fresh bacon, pancakes, eggs and a fresh carafe of coffee set on the table, served on sterling silver. During her sleep, a bath had been set in front of the fire, and she blinked in disbelief at the speed of such an arrangement.
Dawn was a pragmatic woman, so she ate and found the food cooked to perfection. It would be the first time that she had bathed without a servant to attend, but she found a pleasure in letting the hot water induce a pleasurable lassitude to her. She knew that such hospitality was seldom offered without caveat, but there was no nobility in suffering undue torment. When she had eaten and bathed, changed back into her dress, the door opened and servants attended to clear the table and remove the bath. They smiled at her, with open, ruddy pleasant expressions but they did not speak to her or answer her questions.
She was alone, when the door opened again.
He stood in the doorway, broad across the chest and shoulders, a scrub of dark beard and his head shaved to a fine gleam. At his right hip was a sheathed blade, and he looked at her with naked interest. It was the eyes that gave him away, the same colour and intention of expression.
‘How are you human?’ Dawn said.
He chuckled and walked inside, closing the door behind him.
‘We speak the language of magic, changing form is one of the first things we learn. Diplomacy necessitates familiarity, your highness.’
Dawn’s hands curled into fists as she looked around her.
‘And this, is diplomacy to you?’
He gave her a frank stare and continued to walk towards her.
‘This is observation, taken to it’s logical conclusion. I am here to make you an offer.’
She moved back towards the bed. His voice was even, calm and a small smile alighted across his face.
‘The only offer you should be making is when I can go home. I’m not someone to be swept off and held. I’m a good girl.’
He shook his head and continued to smile.
‘I know you. I’ve sat on banks of clouds and watched you sleep. I’ve seen into the thoughts you have when it’s late and you cannot sleep. I ask for one night of obedience and then, if you choose, I will take you home without so much as a hair out of place.’
Her stomach lurched, pulled towards the truth of his words like a fish hook taking purchase inside her. Dragons were bastions of ancient knowledge, and to see inside a mind was an action as simple as opening a drape. Her heart began to race but she held it inside her. She had spent her entire life doing it, so one more time would not hurt.
‘You’ll take me home, afterwards?’
Her voice had softened, leavened by a possibility that she could not define. He nodded.
‘That is, afterwards, if you want to.’
She closed her eyes and considered it. What torments would she have to endure, and what if they knew the truth of her? If they were the bright flares of hidden pleasure that were set in the sky of her heart’s deepest desires. She gave a nod.
He said that he would return for her at sunset and left her without ceremony. She laid back on the bed, clean and with a full belly, but her thoughts writhed over one another, fearing and anticipating the nature of his request until she fell asleep. She would bear it, in order to go home again.
He stood at the end of the bed when you awoke. The room had been festooned with candles and he stood there, with his chest bare, the muscles in his arms and shoulders looking like plates underneath his tanned skin. He had hair on his chest and stomach, thick corded forearms and rough, blunt hands. His eyes were kind though, and when he whispered your name, a shiver of anticipation undulated through you.
He tells you to stand in front of him. Your legs quiver but you keep yourself from whimpering as you obey his command. He runs his right hand down your side, gripping the material in his fist before he tears it from your body with both hands, like it’s made from paper. The warm air caresses your skin, your nipples harden and you observe how the imposition of his command excites you. He throws the dress down, and you go to cover yourself but he grabs your wrists and places your hands down by your side.
He looks at you and his full lips curve into a smile. You have agreed to obey him and yet there is a gentility to him that surprises you. He caresses your cheek with his fingers, whispers how beautiful you are and that his wish is to free you of your obligations, to have no more responsibility than the symphony of your nerves and emotions, conducted by his authority.
He snatches a handful of your hair in a firm grip and turns you around, pushes you so that your shoulders rest against the bed. With his other hand, he places your wrists at the small of your back and holds them in one hand. His strength is inexorable, you buck against him but he holds you firm and whispers for you to stop struggling or he will have to discipline you.
On impulse, you buck again.
He moves his hand from your hair and brings it down hard on your left buttock. The pain flares up, making you gasp but the warmth afterwards is soothing. He does it again, and you grunt in reaction.
Are you going to do as you’re told?
You lift your head and shake it.
You will disobey him.
He cracks his hand against your other buttock. You give a choked cry, arching your back and raising your backside. Go on, you think, oh mighty beast. You cannot break me.
His unspoken reply is a second blow that brings tears to your eyes. You wrestle but he clamps his hand and you’re stuck, a butterfly upon a wheel as he strikes you again. Your breath comes in harsh bursts, and you feel the snapping tingle of your nerves as the pain ebbs away to a trance state. He continues, alternating between each buttock with precise, knowing blows until you can feel the skin exuding a low, terrible warmth. You sag against the bed, hiding your face so that he cannot see your tears. His hand comes up and grabs your head. He wants to see what he has done to you.
He pushes your thighs apart, tells you in a gruff voice, to hold still and then strokes the moist, tender skin between your thighs. The tip of his thumb parts you there, and eases forward. You are drenched with the oil of your arousal, and he moves his thumb back and forth with a cruel deliberation.
Are you going to be a good girl for me?
You shake your head again. Defiance as theatre, you must be tested if you are to fall into this freedom. He knows, as do you that the struggle is part of the release. He pulls his thumb away and you nearly vault upwards when he smacks his hand against you there. Agonised, electric delight surges through your veins and you cry out, despite yourself. You feel his fingers at the corner of your mouth and he tells you to take them in your mouth and hold them there. You refuse and he shoves them there. With an unbidden eagerness, you suck on them, hold them between your lips and teeth as he smacks you there again. Your eyes roll back in your head with the force of it but it is beyond anything you have imagined.
Within his actions, there is a care that you have never known before.
He does it twice before he removes the fingers from your mouth and tells you to remain still. He walks away and you hear the creak of a hinge moving. He comes back and there is the soft caress of rope around your wrists, a constriction that makes you sigh with an emotion too large to articulate. He robs and gifts you with each action, each demonstration of his bright and beautifully terrible will.
He parts your buttocks with his thumb and forefinger, and rubs a tingling, slick salve with a nonchalant expertise that makes you gasp. He massages it into the tight ring of muscle, careful strokes that make you chime with the tingling pressure of it. You give yourself over to it entirely and when you feel the slow, deliberate insertion of a smooth, round peg, it is all you can do not to scream with delight. He pats it in place and steps away. He murmurs something appreciative and then strokes the small of your back, telling you what a good girl you are. The pressure is not uncomfortable, a prelude to a fullness that you have never managed with your own private exploration. His breathing deepens and you raise your back to meet his gentle, rewarding strokes.
His fingertips move to either side of your clitoris, tugging it forward with the deliberate pressure of control and alternating with a circular, massaging motion that makes you convulse. It is at that this point, that he leans over and whispers that you cannot achieve release until he gives you permission. It takes a tremendous act of will not to cry out at the unfairness of this, but you take a deep breath and try. Your act of defiance is met with a riposte of a finger eased inside you. Between the peg, the finger and the motions of his other hand, you are lost to it. You swear at him, using tears as your defence but he continues and reiterates that you must ask his permission.
You do so, and he tells you no.
The sweet fire of futility, fuelled by the fullness of the alternating sensations sweeps aside your defiance and it is with a mighty roar that you welcome the defeat, the blissful failure of your body released into the ether. You die and resurrect between heartbeats, insensible to everything but the tender authority of his beastly touch. If he had bathed you in his breath-flame, then his tears, you would not have died as beautifully complete as you do here. The pain and the pleasure are absolute, and you buck against him, lost entirely but found in the same thought.
You spasm and flush with it for a long time. He holds his fingers in place until you settle and then, with a care that is as powerful as the forceful blows he struck against your flesh, he unties your wrists, removes the peg and pulls you up into his arms and rests your head against his chest.
You have made your decision before the night is over.
When the knight arrived at the obsidian tower, a sheaf of well-intended poetry tucked into his saddlebag and his sword sharp enough to cleave a hair in two, he found it empty. In the chamber, he noted the heady perfume of a woman’s flesh and the faint, charred odour of a tended fire. It is to his failure, that he does not equate the two.