Beauty's Release - By A. N. Roquelaure & Anne Rice
Sold on the village auction block at dawn, Tristan soon found himself tethered and harnessed to the carriage of a handsome young Master, Nicolas, the Queen’s Chronicler. And Beauty, put to work in Mistress Lockley’s Inn, became the plaything of the Captain of the Guard, the Inn’s chief lodger.
But within days of their separation and sale, Beauty and Tristan were both seduced by the iron discipline of the village. The sweet terrors of the Place of Public Punishment, the Punishment Shop, the Farm and the Stable, the Soldiers’ Night at the Inn enflamed them as well as frightening them, causing them to forget their former selves utterly.
Even the harsh judgment of the runaway slave, Prince Laurent, his body bound to a Punishment Cross for exhibit, only served to tantalize them.
And, as Beauty gloried in chastisements at last equal to her spirit, Tristan became hopelessly enamored of his new Master.
Yet no sooner had the pair met and confided their shameless happiness to each other than a band of powerful enemy soldiers attacked the village, kidnapping Beauty and Tristan along with other choice slaves, including Prince Laurent, to be taken by sea to the land of a new Master, the Sultan.
Within hours of the attack, the stolen Princes and Princesses learned that they would not be ransomed. By agreement between their sovereigns, they had been condemned to serve in the Sultan’s palace until such time as they would be safely returned to their Queen for further judgment.
Kept in long, rectangular golden cages in the hold of the Sultan’s ship, the slaves accepted their new destiny.
As our story continues, it is night on the quiet vessel and the long voyage is nearing its close.
And Prince Laurent is alone with his thoughts about his slavery....
LAURENT: CAPTIVES AT SEA
But something had changed. As soon as I opened my eyes, I knew we were close to land. Even in the shadowy silence of the cabin, I could smell the living things of the land.
And so the journey is coming to an end, I thought. And we will finally know what awaits us in this new captivity in which we are destined to be even lower, and more abject, than before.
I was as relieved as I was frightened, as curious as I was filled with dread.
And by the light of the one night lantern, I saw Tristan lying awake, his face tense as he peered into the darkness. He too knew that the voyage was almost ended.
The naked Princesses still slept, however, looking like exotic beasts in their golden cages. The piquant little Beauty was a yellow flame in the gloom, Rosalynd’s curly black hair draped her white back to the curve of her plump little buttocks. And above, the long, delicate-boned Elena lay on her back, her straight brown hair combed out over her pillow.
Lovely flesh, these three, our tender fellow prisoners: Beauty’s rounded little arms and legs begging to be pinched as she lay snuggled in her sheets; Elena’s head thrown back in the total abandon of sleep, her long slender legs wide apart, one knee against the bars of the cage; Rosalynd turned on her side as I looked at her, her large breasts falling gently forward, nipples darkly pink and erect.
And to my far right the black-haired Dmitri, vying with the blond Tristan in muscular beauty, Dmitri’s face oddly cold in slumber, though by day he was often the kindest and most accepting of us all. We Princes, caged as securely as the women, probably looked no more human, no less exotic.
And each of us wore the stiff little covering of gold mesh between our legs, forbidding us the slightest examination of our own hungry organs.
We had come to know each other very well during the long nights at sea when our guards were not near enough to hear our whispers. And in our quiet hours of thinking and dreaming, perhaps we had come to better know ourselves.
“Do you feel it, Laurent?” Tristan whispered. “We are near to the shore.”
Tristan was the anxious one, the one who grieved for his lost Master, Nicolas, yet watched everything around him.
“Yes,” I answered under my breath, with a little glance at him. Flash of his blue eye. “It can’t be long.”
“I only hope ...”
“Yes?” I said again. “What is there to hope for, Tristan?”
“... that they don’t separate us.”
I didn’t answer. I lay back and closed my eyes. What did it matter to talk about it when soon all things would be revealed? And we could do