Copyright 2009 by EC
EC's Erotic Art & Fiction - http://www.ecgraphicarts.com/
(Warnings: erotic discipline, sex between adults, medical fetish, public nudity, harsh police interrogation)
Chapter 16 – The Prime Minister’s Dilemma
The Sunday evening before Criminal # 101025 was to be transferred Spokeswoman Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna sat alone in her office. She watched the news, catching a glimpse of her former host sister and future nemesis as she attended a dedication ceremony with her husband, the Grand Duke. Also present was the country’s Prime Minister, along with the country’s first lady, as they celebrated the opening of an important bridge in the northeastern part of Danubia. The ceremony marked an important event for the country, because the new bridge would cross a canyon and cut travel time between the eastern city of Rika Chorna and the country’s northern border by more than an hour.
In spite of the importance of her husband and her father, it was Grand Duchess Anyia who commanded the adoration among the local residents. The crowds surged towards her as she passed out flowers to all of the children within her reach. She did not hesitate to kiss any child who came up to her. The flowers were significant for those receiving them, because each had a ribbon tied to it that contained a Church blessing. Yes, the lovely Grand Duchess…so young…smiling so kindly with her arms full of flowers…surrounded by crowds of happy and well-behaved children…while her husband and her father stood in the background chatting with the bridge’s engineers. It was a pleasant event and a flawless photo-op, a happy moment for a nation that was moving forward in the world. And, as the news commentator noted, the bridge already was paid for. No money needed to be borrowed to build it, so all tolls would go directly to local schools and road repairs. A totally satisfying moment for the country, epitomized by the country’s lovely young Duchess.
Kim wondered how long the illusion could last, how long before Anyia’s split existence caught up with her, and more importantly, with her father’s government. There was no question that Anyia was very good at what she did; the act she presented to common citizens was perfect. There were times it seemed she really did embody the soul of a nation obsessed with tradition and yet confidently finding its proper place in the world and among its neighbors in Europe. There were times even Kim felt convinced, but she knew Anyia well enough to know that ultimately it couldn’t last. Not with the direction she was moving.
Kim turned off the television and buried her face in her hands. The Grand Duchess Anyia that the public knew was not the one the Spokeswoman knew. Anyia smiled much less in private. The way she carried herself was very different. Her voice was different. The way she talked to people was different. The kind expressions and tender kisses for cheering school children were absent in the Royal Residence. The Anyia that Kim had to deal with was not the pleasant girl passing out flowers on that bridge. She was very, very different in private.
Kim picked up her desk phone, but then remembered she had forgotten something very important. Because she faced taking action against another person, her faith required her to pray. She would seek the guidance of the Ancients, of the ancestral spirits that watched over the ancient land of Danubia. She understood that she was being forced to do something that easily could expose her to false visions of The Destroyer and the very thought of that terrified her.
She got on her knees and closed her eyes:
“Oh Creator and the spirits of those who came before me…I wish to speak the truth…let me speak with honesty…I ask of you to keep the Destroyer’s visions from entering my thoughts and speech…to protect those to whom I wish to speak…I ask of you…to let me speak with humility…but to use my words to bear honest witness to the time in which you have placed my life…If any evil from my actions should befall anyone…please let it fall on me alone. That is what I ask of you…Oh Creator and the spirits of those who came before me.”
Once she finished praying, Kim took a deep breath and dialed the private line of the residence of Prime Minister Vladim Dukov. He picked up, on a phone that was exclusively for family members and a few of his most trusted advisors. With a shaky voice, the Spokeswoman told the nation’s Prime Minister that she needed to talk to him and the first lady about his daughter, and talk to them in private.
Kim left the Central Police Station and crossed the Central Plaza. She entered the National Parliament Building and a minute later was standing in the reception area of the Prime Minister’s Office. Vladim and Maritza arrived a few moments later, brought over in a police van. A pair of cops escorted them, which was the only security they needed or wanted. As demanded by protocol, Kim snapped to attention and saluted. The First Couple saluted back before inviting the Spokeswoman into the back office.
Kim’s hands shook, because she didn’t know how to begin. Indeed, even if you are close to him, just how do you tell a Prime Minister that you think the country’s Grand Duchess, who just happens to be his daughter, is demented and should not be allowed a Royal courtesy that is an 800-year old tradition? Finally the Spokeswoman began to speak.
“Prime Minister, I…I need to ask if you remember my client, Criminal # 101025?”
“The Colombian girl?”
“Yes Prime Minister. The Colombian girl.”
“Indeed, Kimberly, I do remember her. If I am not mistaken, she is the criminal that you have chosen to keep at the house of my brother.”
“…and the one who, if I might add, you represented admirably during trial. I was very impressed when I reviewed that case, by how well you defended her interests.”
“I suppose, sir…yes...thank you.”
“…and the one my brother has fallen in love with.”
Kim’s face went pale and her heart pounded.
“Yes sir…the criminal that Merchant Victor has fallen in love with.”
“Is that what you wish to discuss with me, Kimberly?”
“No sir, I’ve got a different problem. I…the problem is that...Anyia…the Grand Duchess…Grand Duchess Anyia…wants my client to go to the Royal House…take her out of Victor’s house…transfer custody…and take her tomorrow…and I…I don’t think she ought to go.”
The Prime Minister and his wife exchanged glances. Maritza tightened her lips.
“She should not go because of my brother, or because of Anyia?”
“Because of Anyia, sir…and the whole Royal House. I don’t think that’s where she ought to go.”
“…and the issue of my brother is of no concern to you?”
“Not at this time, Prime Minister…I’m not worried about that right now.”
"You will understand, Kimberly, that I am indeed concerned about my brother's behavior. What he is doing is not appropriate at all."
"I...I understand that, sir. If...I...if Merchant Dukov were my only problem I'd be trying to address it right now...but...the Grand Duchess is what I'm worried about. I don't want her to have custody of Criminal # 101025. I really don't think she should have custody of any criminals and I think the ones she already has ought to be taken out of her house and turned back over to the Ministry. She may be your daughter, sir, but I believe her soul is damaged and she's not suited to hold custody over anyone, and I don't want my client to live under her control."
Kim shook and went pale, because she it had not been her intention to express her opinion so forcefully.
Dukov exchanged glances with Maritza, but stayed silent for a moment trying to think how to respond. Finally he sat back and tapped his fingertips together as he answered. "You will understand that I am indeed aware of the situation in my daughter's house. The guards assigned to protect the Royal Residence are required to report anything unbecoming and I have heard many unpleasant things about my daughter and my son-in-law. You will understand that I am distressed about my daughter's behavior, and I feel that is an unfortunate reflection upon myself."
Kim interrupted: "No sir, it's not a reflection on you, really it isn't."
Dukov gave his guest a harsh look: "Kimberly, you must accept that if Maritza and I brought Anyia into the world and nurtured her, ultimately we are responsible for what she does." The Prime Minister continued, "You will understand that my position, and my ability to moderate Anyia's behavior, is compromised by a clause in the Constitution of 1780. You will understand that the Grand Duke reserves the right to adjourn Parliament. By tradition that is a mere formality, never to be exercised. However, my daughter has threatened to ask her husband to do just that, dismiss the government and rule by decree. Such an action would precipitate a constitutional crisis. In theory I would not be allowed to serve as Prime Minister until the crisis is resolved, and if I do attempt to serve, my administration would be illegal. You will understand to what extent this nation's enemies would be pleased with such a development."
"But would the Grand Duke actually do such a thing? Dismiss your government?"
"If Anyia tells him to, he would."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that, Kimberly. Just like that. I know her...I know both of them, and I know she's capable of doing such a thing...on nothing more than a whim..."
Dukov and Maritza exchanged glances again, and she nodded slightly. The Prime Minister continued, "You are aware that my daughter's thinking is detached from reality. Her Path in Life is to serve the nation, but her belief is that the nation's Path in Life is to serve her. That includes all of us: Criminal # 101025, you, and even myself and my ministers. According to her thinking the very purpose of our existence is to serve her. She exercises emotional control over the Grand Duke that I do not understand, but that control is such that he will do her bidding."
"Even if it destroys the government…"
"What about changing the Constitution and getting rid of that part about the Grand Duke dismissing Parliament?"
Dukov smiled sadly.
"To change the Constitution requires a unanimous vote in the Parliament, approval by all of the nation's provincial governors, and a signature by the Grand Duke. There is no possibility that such a thing could happen. You will understand that, at my daughter's urging, our monarch has expressed a desire to reassert the role of the Royal House as the supreme secular authority in Danubia, not see it diminished. Among other things, Anyia has expressed that she wishes to have the country's name changed back to "the Grand Duchy of Upper Danubia". I am convinced such an action would defy reality and damage this country's reputation among its neighbors. That is an example of what she wants that concerns me."
"But...so...you're just trapped? You can't do anything?"
"I did not say that, Kimberly. I did not say that I have no intention of countering my daughter and her husband, and I do believe the Creator has enlightened me concerning what I must do. My hope is that I can resolve the conflict with my daughter with minimal harm to her, to my son-in-law, and to the nation. But I also am aware that I must exercise restraint, and I cannot counter her as quickly as I would like."
Noting that Kim was increasingly confused by what he was saying, Dukov decided he needed to get to the point. "Earlier today I was visited by a Priestess from the Temple of the Ancients. I believe you know her; she is the custodian of your sister and of your friend Jason Schmidt. She also is the mentor of your client. She described to me the conversation she had with Criminal # 101025. She also related to me a vision of enlightenment that the Creator provided her last night. The Priestess explained that when the moment comes for me to confront Anyia and my son-in-law, I will have the backing of the Church. However, for the Clergy to take sides in such a dispute, there must be clear evidence that one side is following the will of the Creator and the other side is following the will of the Destroyer. The Priestess must have such proof before she or her superiors can take any action to assist me. But once I have their support, no one, not even the Grand Duke, will be able to act against orders issued by the Clergy.
“You will understand that the Danubian Church normally refrains from interference in the affairs of the government. The Clergy fully understand the corrupting influence that politics invariably has on people of authority, and they have no desire to sully their relationship with the Realm of the Ancients by mixing with those of us who lust for power and material wealth. And yet, in times of extreme moral crisis, the Clergy can arbitrate. The Priestess expressed to me that she believes my conflict with my daughter and my son in law presents such a crisis. When the time is right, she and her superiors will confront the Grand Duke and tell him that his household will no longer enjoy the blessing of the Church unless he and my daughter desist from their ambitions. Should the Grand Duke not comply, the Church has the authority to abrogate his title. It is an authority the Church has used very sparingly. The deposing of a monarch has happened only three times in this nation’s history, but those three incidences serve as an important reminder to the Royal Family that they must be humble in their service to the nation. Anyia has failed to uphold the burden the Creator has placed upon her, so the Clergy will need to remind her.
“Thus, the issue will be resolved...quietly and with minimal risk to the nation. But to exercise such extreme authority, the Clergy must first feel justified, and I understand their concern. They cannot act unless they have firm proof concerning Anyia's troubles. So in my confrontation with my daughter I must exercise restraint until the proper moment arrives. I must leave that decision in the hands of the Creator.
"You are concerned about your client's well-being. I am concerned about your client's well-being as well. I wish I could allay the unpleasantness that awaits her, but her Priestess believes it is her Path in Life to serve the nation by living in the presence of my daughter. The Priestess believes that even before she boarded the plane in Panama, the Creator chose her for the task she is about to undertake. Once the Creator is satisfied her task is completed, Criminal # 101025 will leave the Royal Residence. She will return to your custody and re-enter the house of my brother."
Kim took a deep breath. "So...did she pray with you...the Priestess, I mean?"
"Yes. She prayed with me, actually with both me and Maritza. She also obligated us to be present at the Temple of the Ancients every Sunday for the ringing of the Sunset bell. We are to assist with the ringing of the bell, and then we will consult with her about the situation with my daughter. We are obligated to do that every Sunday until our troubles have been resolved."
Dukov paused, and his wife spoke next. "Kimberly, we would be honored if you could come with us, every Sunday when we go to the Temple. It is appropriate that you pray on behalf of your client, just as we must pray on behalf of our daughter."
"I would be very happy to accompany you, Historian Orskt-Dukovna."
Kim left the Parliament Building with a heavy heart, because the gravity of what was going on with Anyia was far more serious than she could have imagined. However, at least one of her fears was resolved; the worry that the Prime Minister would not take her seriously. It was obvious he took the threat from his daughter very seriously.
Kim struggled not to feel hatred towards Grand Duchess Anyia. Her behavior was completely odious, but given the circumstances under which she became Grand Duchess, it was not surprising that she would see herself the way she did. If only she could have had the chance to train for her job as the Crown Princess for several years under the old Grand Duchess, probably she would have been alright. Sadly, she never had any opportunity to prepare for the position into which she had married. Her lack of maturity left her vulnerable to the false visions of the Destroyer. Really, how much could she be blamed?
Compounding Anyia's delusional behavior was the obvious personal weakness of the Grand Duke, who seemed to be an even more helpless figurehead than his father. The Grand Duke was a handsome and dashing man, but in reality he was nothing more than an amateur sportsman. If he was not riding his horses or playing golf or mountain climbing or playing soccer, he was restless and bored with life. He escaped to his various activities, leaving Anyia in charge. He adored his wife, in part because she was so supportive of his life of leisure. A deadly combination...a malleable weak-willed monarch and a megalomaniac wife. How many times in history did such a combination wreck a country?
Marie Antoinette...yes, thought Kim, that comparison is appropriate...or worse yet, a better comparison would have been Czar Nicolas II and Alexandra...
The Spokeswoman shuddered at the thought of what could happen. Things in Danubia could go terribly wrong, thanks to Anyia.
The next morning Kim and Carmen passed by Merchant Victor Dukov's house to take Criminal # 101025 to the Central Courthouse. Victor could not bring himself to watching the official transfer ceremony, nor did he have any desire to risk a confrontation with the Grand Duchess and her staff. Therefore he and Maria Elena agreed that they should say goodbye at the house and she would depart with her Spokeswoman alone. Cecilia Sanchez also would go, to perform her duties as Maria Elena's translator one last time.
Maria Elena and Victor Dukov gave each other one long last kiss while the other three women nervously stood by. The couple no longer was concerned about what the others thought, given that they were going to be separated anyway. Victor squeezed Maria Elena's hand a final time and she walked off his property without looking back. The others caught up with her on the street and with that four women, two of them naked with collars and two of them dressed in fine linen, walked to the trolley stop.
When they arrived at the Central Courthouse, they noticed a minivan from the Royal House parked in front. Seeing that van dashed Maria Elena’s last hope, a vague thought that maybe the Royal Family would simply forget and not bother to send anyone to pick her up.
There was to be a brief ceremony to celebrate the transition of custody. In the past such a transition was an important event in a criminal's life; the abandonment of a harsh sentence of heavy physical labor and periodic switchings in exchange for one that was clean, relatively easy, and for a criminal, honorable. Maria Elena and her companions saw her transfer as precisely the opposite; a productive life forsaken for a much harsher one under an abusive Mistress. It certainly was nothing to celebrate.
The two Lords were present, still wearing their ridiculous hats with those huge feathers. Accompanying them was a doctor from the Royal House. One of the Lords was holding a Royal House collar while the other was holding a chain and shackles. The thought of being shackled terrified Maria Elena, but tradition mandated that a criminal being transferred to the Royal House had to be restrained while en route to her new life.
With Cecilia standing and Carmen kneeling off to the side of the room, Kim led her client before the judge. She motioned with her fingertips for Maria Elena to kneel and place her head on the floor. She ordered her client to arch her back and spread her legs, to fully display her genitalia, which unfortunately was part of protocol for a criminal being transferred.
The judge entered the courtroom. Immediately everyone saluted and shouted "Doc-doc Danube!" Maria Elena trembled slightly, but otherwise remained silent. The judge addressed Kim. "Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna. This court understands that you wish to honor Criminal # 101025 by nominating her to serve in the house of the Grand Duke of Danubia?"
Bristling with resentment that the judge was implying that she was the one who had suggested the transfer, Kim struggled to respond: "Yes, Your Honor. I wish to nominate my client for service in the house of the Grand Duke."
"Lords! Please step forward!"
The two Lords stepped forward.
"Do you accept the nomination of Criminal # 101025 to serve in the house of the Grand Duke?
"Yes, Your Honor! The Royal House gladly accepts this criminal into the midst of those privileged to serve the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess!"
"Very well. Lords, you will examine the criminal, and if she suits the needs of the Royal Household, you may take custody of her."
The Lords and the doctor approached Maria Elena and ordered her to stand up. The doctor gave her a very quick examination, making sure that no teeth were missing, no bones were broken, that her sight and hearing were normal, and that her heart rate was healthy. The doctor ordered her to bend over and gave her a quick rectal exam, in full view of the trial judge and everyone else in the courtroom. Finally the medical examiner spread her vagina and looked inside to ensure that she was free from venereal disease and infection. Later Maria Elena would learn that the medical inspection simply was part of the transfer ceremony protocol, because much more thorough exam would be conducted at the clinic in the Royal Residence. The courtroom examination used to be much more important for choosing a healthy servant, but now was nothing more than yet another public humiliation to endure. The doctor turned to his companions:
"Criminal # 101025 appears to be in suitable physical condition to serve the Grand Duchess, Lords."
"Excellent. Your Honor, please inform Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna that the Royal House will accept transfer of the criminal."
The judge then asked the Spokeswoman for the documents that the Lords had forced her to sign a few days before, along with Maria Elena's criminal record. He removed the papers from their Ministry of Justice folder and put them into a leather case marked with the Royal Family logo. He handed the paperwork to the Lord who was holding the shackles.
The next step in the transfer was changing Maria Elena's collar. She was wearing a Ministry of Justice collar, which no longer was valid because no longer did she belong to the Ministry of Justice. The collar had to be taken off and replaced with a collar marking her as property of the Royal Family.
Cecilia was called forward to instruct the criminal what she needed to do to have the Ministry of Justice collar taken off without risking injury. The collar was an extremely sturdy device that had a permanent latch. The collar was designed to last indefinitely and be impossible to take off without a special collar extractor. The extractor was a scary-looking device that looked like an enormous pair of pliers with a multitude of clamps and levers. Once the extractor was attached to the collar, it first shot a firing pin into the latch to break it, and then gripped around the collar's edges to force it open. The criminal had to kneel facing a meter-high metal post and hold onto hand grips while the collar technician mounted the extractor. The key moment was when the firing pin was launched; because the criminal had to stay perfectly still to ensure a direct hit and a clean break of the latch. Most criminals had no problem carefully following the instructions and staying still during the firing, because to remove the collar meant the end of their sentence.
As Criminal # 101025 knelt to have her Ministry of Justice collar removed, there was no joy felt by either her or her Spokeswoman. As much as she hated the drab metal device, she knew that she would grow to hate its successor much more. She closed her eyes and held her breath as she waited for the firing pin to snap the latch. A second later she felt the cool air of the courtroom on her neck as her collar was taken off, but she knew that feeling would only be momentary. She remained kneeling with her hands gripping the post while the collar technician placed a decorated brass and silver collar around her neck and latched it in place. It was much more attractive than the Ministry collar, but Maria Elena would have given anything not to be wearing it.
With tears running down her cheeks, the Colombian stood up and knelt in front of the Lords. Now it was official. Criminal # 101025 was property of the Royal House. The Lords ordered her to stand up and assume the prisoner's stance while they put metal cuffs on her wrists and ankles. They latched her hands behind her back and attached a short chain to her leg cuffs that forced her to walk with very short steps. Finally, a Lord attached a metal chain to the loop in her new collar. He gave it a sharp tug to let the criminal know that she needed to follow him out of the building and into the waiting minivan.
Thus, naked, collared, shackled, and leashed, Maria Elena Rodriguez-Torres was ready to be delivered to her new custodian.
Chapter 17 – The Royal Estate
As she exited the main chamber of the Central Courthouse, Criminal # 101025 cast a final forlorn look over her shoulder at her former Spokeswoman and her former housemate. That moment was just as she had envisioned, but she could not have foreseen how jealous the Royal House was of any contact between its property and the outside world. The moment Maria Elena's escorts had her outside the main door, they covered her head with a cloth bag. One of them snarled into her ear:
"Since you like looking around so much at things that don't concern you, we're taking that privilege away from you. Your eyes and what you gaze upon belong to your mistress every bit as much as the rest of you. Anything in this world that is not focused on her is of no interest to you."
Suddenly the prisoner felt a horrific jolt on her shoulder, a surge of electricity from a handheld electronic zapper.
"That was the lowest setting. The next time you disobey me, I will turn it to the maximum and use it between your legs. I will hold it there and I might just keep it there until you die. Do you understand me?"
A terrified sob welled up from the hooded criminal, but she forced herself to respond: "Yes, my Lord."
Maria Elena expected to be taken to the Royal House immediately and to deal with whatever the Grand Duchess had in store for her. However, she felt the minivan turn off onto a dirt road and drive several kilometers over some small hills. When the vehicle stopped and one of the Lords pulled off the bag from the prisoner's head, she noticed that she was in an isolated part of the countryside, with no house or any other building in sight. The Lords took off the prisoner's manacles and gave her a drink of water. They forced her to kneel in the posture of submission, on her knees and elbows with her legs spread wide and her back arched, to place her genitalia in full view. The humiliation was overwhelming, but the menacing sight of the zapper kept her focused on the need to obey without question, whatever the Lords wanted from her.
The two officials unpacked some camera equipment. The prisoner realized that before going to the Royal Residence, she would be subjected to a photography session. At first she was not particularly worried, because she had become used to being naked anyway and there are many things in life that are worse than having one's picture taken.
The Lords had her pose for hundreds of photos. She walked along the road, sat on rocks, crouched next to a stream, strolled though some woods, and ran across a field. Some of the shots were modest and others forced her to lewdly display herself. After two hours the Lords seemed satisfied with their collection and ordered the naked male servant to serve Maria Elena a large cup of cold water. She drank greedily. The Lords ordered the servant to refill her cup. When she took the cup a second time, the young man gave her a strange pleading look, as though he were trying to tell her something or issue a warning with his eyes. He dared not speak, but Maria Elena was under the impression he was trying to signal her not to take the second cup. That was strange...why wouldn't he want her to have water on a hot summer day?
The Lords ordered Maria Elena to kneel and for the servant to unbraid her hair. The prisoner gasped, because even she knew that for a man to see a woman with unbraided hair was a serious violation of Danubian protocol. She imagined, quite rightly, that for a man to unbraid a woman's hair was an even worse insult that just seeing her with her hair loose. One of the Lords sensuously ran his fingers through the captive's hair and touched her face. The male servant, horribly embarrassed and thoroughly dishonored by having to touch a woman with unbraided hair, knelt with his head touching the ground.
Maria Elena shook with terror. She knew enough about Danubian culture to understand she had been subjected to several very serious insults, before ever setting foot in the Royal House. A thought passed through her mind; that perhaps the Lords wouldn't be taking her to the Royal house at all, that instead they were going to use her for their own pleasure and then dispose of her. The terrified, humiliated look of her fellow servant was not reassuring.
As the sun rose in the sky and became hot, the Lords forced Maria Elena to repeat everything she had done in the morning, including posing for hundreds of additional pictures as she moved about the countryside. Later she realized that they wanted two full sets of photos, one with her hair still braided and the other with her hair loose. Some of the final poses forced her to lewdly expose herself with the hot sun shining directly on her vagina or bottom.
Among the images she had to pose for was a series of pictures walking along a creek and holding several peeled willow switches. She had to touch herself with the implements and look seductively into the camera...to implore the viewer to take the switches out of her hand and to use them on her uncovered body.
As the afternoon wore on, Maria Elena was hot, but her captors made sure she had plenty to drink. Several times she felt the male servant was silently imploring her not to accept any more. Strange he would do that, considering the weather and how good that cold water tasted. When the Lords finally were satisfied they had enough pictures, they packed up their cameras, refilled a large thermos with additional cold water, and pressed their captive to drink even more. Maria Elena no longer was thirsty, but the Lord insisted. When she tried to shake her head, he touched his zapper to one of her bare nipples. The meaning was clear: You will drink, slave, whether you want to or not.
As she struggled to swallow a full liter of cold water, Maria Elena suddenly realized she needed to go to the bathroom. She had not relieved herself since the transfer ceremony and since then already had drunk at least three liters. Now that she was aware that she badly needed to pee, she felt with dread the new water working its way into her stomach, fully knowing that within a few minutes she would be in real agony if the Lords did not allow her to use a toilet. Then she understood that her captors had plied her with water on purpose. They had no intention of letting her use a toilet.
Shaking with terror and her bladder already starting to ache, the prisoner knelt in the proper position while the two Lords ran their fingertips around her bottom, massaging her vagina and teasing her clit. They dared not have sex with the captive, at least not before the Grand Duchess saw her, but that did not mean they didn't have plans to violate her in the future.
The Lords shackled and hooded Maria Elena for a short bumpy ride to Royal Residence. Every jolt, no matter how small, sent spasms of pain through the helpless captive. During the ride, one of her custodians fondled her breasts and painfully pinched her nipples.
Finally the van arrived and Anyia's newest toy was ready for delivery. Dressed in a fine silk dress and wearing a diamond crown, she imperiously strode out to the driveway, carrying a switch. A small two-pronged whip was attached to her belt, an item she found especially useful for "breaking in" new servants. Following the Grand Duchess were her other living possessions, young human beings that had been turned over to her as personal property. As always, they were silent, naked, and extremely careful not to do anything that might set off their owner's temper.
By the time Maria Elena stepped out of the van her bladder felt like it was going to explode. The pain and pressure were unbelievable, forcing tears into her eyes and sweat to trickle down her cheeks. The girl's world was reduced to her bladder...If only someone would let her go to the bathroom...if only...
The Lords forced the Colombian into a kneeling position and took off her shackles and hood. Now she was completely naked and unencumbered except for her collar. Trembling with terror and pain, Maria Elena knelt forward...trying as hard as she could to assume a correct position in spite of the mounting crisis in her bladder. The Grand Duchess walked around her new servant, gently kicking her in the same way a car owner in the US might kick a tire. Anyia pushed her switch into Maria Elena's hair, flipped it a little, and then tapped her shoulder. Suddenly she twisted back and laid a fearsome blow across the servant's shoulders. Maria Elena screamed. The Grand Duchess grabbed a fist-full of her captive's hair and violently shook her.
"What's the meaning of this? Why did you choose to insult the Royal House...to insult me...by coming here with a tangle of obscene, dishonored hair? How dare you do this to the Crown! How dare you!"
Before Maria Elena had a chance to respond or even react, Anyia snapped her fingers. Two security guards grabbed the new servant and forced her into a standing position. The Grand Duchess tightened her lips and laid several fearsome slaps across the captive's face. She grabbed Maria Elena's thick black hair and pulled hard on it, as she landed several more cruel slaps. By then the Colombian was bleeding from her nose, her lip was cut, and the entire left side of her face was swelling. The Grand Duchess pulled out her whip and ordered her guards to toss the captive to the ground so she could flog her. Maria Elena tripped as she fell. At that instant her bladder gave out and a torrent of bright yellow liquid gushed onto the ground. The other servants stared in horrified silence as their newest companion knelt in an ever-expanding pool of her own urine. The Lords smiled knowingly as the Grand Duchess went white with shock and rage. Anyia's mood worsened when she noticed that the hem of her expensive dress had fallen into the puddle and now was stained yellow. The Duchess shrieked with disgust and trembled with fury. Never before had a servant so thoroughly dishonored herself in her Divine Presence.
Maria Elena sobbed with despair, because she knew that her disgrace in the eyes of the Grand Duchess and the other servants was absolute. What she felt was not so much fear, but a humiliation that went beyond anything words could have described. It did not matter, not to her, not to Anyia, and not to anyone else in the household, that the Lords were the ones responsible for her condition. Maria Elena was the one who was at fault.
The Grand Duchess was insane with anger. In barely coherent shrieks she yelled at the guards to chain the Colombian so she could be properly flogged. Still sobbing from terror and reeking of urine, Maria Elena was roughly grabbed by the guards. The men put cuffs around her wrists and ankles before dragging her to a whipping post that was set up in the middle of the courtyard. They attached her wrists to a loop in the wood before stepping back to allow Anyia to punish her.
The other servants remained immobile, kneeling and looking straight ahead. They were as still as statues, and betrayed no emotion in their expressions. The Grand Duchess, meanwhile, was gritting her teeth with rage at the insult. It never occurred to her to ask why Maria Elena’s hair was unbraided or why her bladder was so full. In the mind of the Grand Duchess, the newest servant had not bothered to properly prepare for her transfer and had affronted her new mistress on purpose. She did not notice the smirking expressions of her two Lords, and even had she noticed, she would have thought nothing of it. The fact they were the ones at fault for the servant’s condition was of no concern to Anyia. The only thing that mattered to the Grand Duchess was the criminal’s unbraided hair and the huge puddle of piss contaminating her courtyard. It was a deliberate affront that needed to be severely punished.
Anyia pulled hard on Maria Elena’s hair and jerked her head back and forth several times. She screamed at a naked servant holding several whips to bring them forward so she could make a selection. She grabbed the one closest to her, a short whip with several tails. By shear luck it was the lightest implement of the selection. In spite of her rage, the Grand Duchess would not be able to break her servant’s skin, no matter how long she flogged her victim.
Maria Elena was thoroughly terrified. She was shaking from fear and had completely lost control of her bladder. Urine continued to dribble down her legs and pooled at her feet, further enraging the Grand Duchess. Anyia slashed hard across the criminal’s back several times, criss-crossing her olive skin with small reddish welts. The sting was terrifying, and Maria Elena, whose resistance already was worn down by the treatment she had suffered under the Lords, screamed and sobbed pitifully.
Anyia punished out of sheer rage. There was nothing calculated or controlled about the way she was whipping the Colombian. She spent a long time flogging the criminal’s back and shoulders until her skin was raw, then moved to flogging her bottom and thighs. Maria Elena twisted to avoid the blows, but one of the Lords turned on his zapper and jammed it between her thighs to force her to keep her bottom sticking out.
The Lord turned out to be every bit as sadistic as the Grand Duchess. He used a high setting and zapped the servant on her vagina. Maria Elena screamed and flailed helplessly as the Lord sought out the most sensitive spot to land the shocks. Maria Elena desperately wanted to pass out, but the Lord made sure the device’s setting was not quite enough to make her faint. Finally the criminal managed to get her feet back on the ground and arched her back. The Lord held the zapper in front, ready to shock her again if she tried to avoid the blows from Anyia’s whip.
Anyia spent an eternity belaboring the Colombian’s bottom and the backs of her thighs. She hit hard and quickly followed up with a back-hand stroke…over and over and over. Maria Elena continued to tremble, scream, and cry, but with the zapper menacing her vagina, she dared not move forward. Anyia wore herself out…by the time she was satisfied that she had flogged her servant’s bottom enough, sweat was pouring down her face and she was breathing heavily.
Anyia ordered the guards to turn Maria Elena around so she could whip her legs from the front. The Lord assisting her took the liberty to zap the servant several more times. The guards hooked the victim’s ankles to rings in the ground to force her legs apart. Yes indeed, Anyia would hit her…there…
The Grand Duchess struck Maria Elena many times across the thighs, but she had worn herself out and her strength was ebbing. She weakly struck Maria Elena between the legs, flicking the whip’s tails on the girl’s exposed vulva, but not as hard as she would have liked. Finally she was done. She finished with a couple of strokes across Maria Elena’s breasts and tossed the whip to the ground. She turned to the two Lords and her guards:
“Take this dishonored piece of filth and put her in the pillory. I want her to have time to think about what she’s done to me and what a true disgrace she is. I’ll decide what to do with her tomorrow.”
“Yes, your graciousness.”
By the time Anyia finished flogging her, Maria Elena was beyond crying. She hung limply from her cuffs in pain that she could not have imagined. Her entire body stung horribly, she felt the burns where she had been shocked, and to make matters worse, she had pulled a muscle in her shoulder when the Lord had shocked her between the legs.
The guards unhooked the prisoner from the whipping post and dragged her across the courtyard to a pillory. A Danubian pillory was different from the ones used in England and Colonial North America. It consisted of two thick wooden posts that were about 5 meters high connected on the top by a wooden crossbar that was about 2 meters wide. About a meter and a half from the ground small platforms for the criminal’s feet were attached to the posts, along with chains to secure the ankles. Two additional sets of chains and cuffs hung from the crossbar, which were used to secure the criminal’s wrists.
In traditional Danubian society criminals were always stripped naked before being pilloried, usually before the formal reading of the charges and the sentence. A person being punished stood with a foot on each platform, which forced the legs to be widely spread and the genitalia to be prominently displayed. The criminal’s wrists were secured to the chains attached to the crossbeam, forcing the arms to be spread as well. The chains were drawn tight to prevent the criminal from moving very much, leaving the limbs completely spread and the body totally exposed. The criminal was not suspended; most of the weight was concentrated on the foot platforms, but after several hours of standing immobilized in an uncomfortable position the muscle cramps became unbearable.
The Danubian pillory was a traditional form of public punishment commonly used in villages and small towns for offenses considered too minor for a formal collaring. Petty criminals normally were pilloried on Market Day, placed on display in the town square for about eight hours. If the Grand Duke’s officials felt the criminal’s family shared any blame for their relative’s behavior, parents or siblings could be sentenced to having to kneel next to the pillory as a way to dishonor the entire family. The pillory was a very harsh punishment for a society obsessed with honor and protocol.
Pillories were phased out after the Second World War and became little more than objects of historical curiosity and tourist attractions. However, one of the changes Anyia brought to the Royal Residence was to re-introduce the pillory as a way to punish her servants. As soon as the Royal house carpenters had built the Grand Duchess the pillory she ordered, she gleefully started putting it to use. As offended as she was by the newest addition to her collection, it would be nice to see that Colombian stretched on the pillory, her body covered in whip-marks, and her face full of tears. Yes indeed…that is what that pathetic creature deserved for so completely dishonoring herself.
The other servants continued to kneel quietly while the two Lords forced Maria Elena up a small ladder so her feet could be placed on the small platforms. When the criminal’s feet were attached to the ankle chains, the two Lords attached the cuffs on her wrists to the chains hanging from the crossbeam. Once the length of the chains was properly adjusted, the criminal stood with her arms and legs spread and her body completely on display. She winced in pain from the pulled muscle iand the throbbing welts that covered her body. Anyia and the Lords looked at her with satisfied expressions, while the other servants continued staring straight ahead, seemingly oblivious to her plight.
After a few minutes Anyia turned around and the two Lords fell in behind her. The servants immediately placed their heads on the ground as the Royals made their way back towards the main entrance to the house. Two servants ran ahead to open the doors, while the others quickly got up and followed their mistress.
Maria Elena was left alone in the courtyard, her body still stretched tight and immobilized on the pillory. She felt absolute despair, but at the moment she was in too much pain and discomfort to really think about anything other than her current situation. She still was in shock over how badly her first day with the Grand Duchess had started and how horribly she was being treated. Yes, she had known her new owner was a cruel and evil person, but it never dawned on Maria Elena that the Grand Duchess could be as bad as this. And those two Lords…it was obvious they had the confidence of Anyia because they were every bit as bad as she was.
Several hours passed. Groups of ordinary workers and gardeners from the Estate passed by when their shifts ended, many of them stopping to take a look at the Grand Duchess’ newest acquisition. Their reactions varied: some of the workers looked at her with curiosity, others clearly enjoyed seeing her predicament, and others felt sorry for her. Maria Elena’s despair and humiliation intensified, because she found having ordinary workers see her exposed on the pillory much more embarrassing than having the Grand Duchess and her servants see her. The workers were just normal people, and the criminal knew that in their eyes she had been turned into a freak. As the hours wore on and the daylight faded, the prisoner’s discomfort slowly became agony. She desperately needed to move her arms and legs. As the courtyard became dark, she hung her head and quietly cried.
Shortly after dinner, one of the Lords approached the prisoner, accompanied by two naked female servants. He shined a large flashlight into Maria Elena’s face and addressed her:
“Criminal # 101025. I’d imagine you’d like to be let down from there, wouldn’t you?”
Maria Elena didn’t answer, fearing that whatever she said would make her situation worse. The Lord immediately pulled out his zapper and touched it to the criminal’s vagina. As the electricity surged through her body she screamed and jolted. Even when the Lord took the device away and turned it off, his victim continued to cry and shake violently.
“Criminal # 101025. When you are asked a question, you will answer. Do you understand me?”
Between sobs, Maria Elena managed to say “yes my Lord.”
“Very well then. I would like to ask you again, I’d imagine you’d like to be let down, wouldn’t you?”
As fearful as she was of that Lord and what he might do to her, Maria Elena figured that with him she’d not be any worse off than she was at the moment. Besides, her muscles were so cramped that she couldn’t see how she could stand being on the pillory much longer. Still sobbing, she answered:
“Yes my Lord. I’d like you to let me down.”
“Oh really? You are asking me to do you a favor, then.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Why do you want to be let down?”
Maria Elena didn’t have the vocabulary in Danubian to explain that her muscles were cramping and she couldn’t take being immobilized much longer. All she could say was:
“My body…bad…bad feeling…please…”
“Ahhh…poor girl…so you find this painful?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“But this is only what you deserve. You dishonored yourself before the Grand Duchess today. You insulted her with your behavior and your failure to control your bodily functions, and now you are experiencing the consequences of your shortcomings.”
The Lord shined the flashlight in the criminal’s eyes, temporarily blinding her.
“You will understand, and you will admit, that it was entirely your fault that you chose to show up with your hair undone. No one undid your braids; that was a decision you took upon yourself. As for losing control of your bladder, you pissed intentionally as a direct affront to the Grand Duchess, because obviously you did not understand the need to show proper respect. The flogging and being pilloried were the natural and proper results of your disgraceful and disrespectful behavior towards your Mistress. You are entirely to blame for your own predicament, and it will be up to you to make amends to both us and to your Mistress.”
It was at that moment that Maria Elena broke. All she wanted was to be let down, to have nothing more than the freedom to move her arms and legs and get the circulation going again and get rid of that agonizing cramping. The Lord would have his way with her.
“I’m sorry, my Lord. I’m sorry I’m such a bad servant.”
“To say you’re sorry is very easy when one is in the situation you are in. You understand that words have no meaning.”
The Lord paused as Maria Elena continued to cry.
“If I let you down, Criminal # 101025, what will you do in response?”
“I will obey you, my Lord…I will do whatever you want.”
“Oh really? And what about your Mistress?”
“I will try to please her, my Lord.”
“Excellent. Maybe you will learn what it is to be a servant after-all. Do whatever I want, that’s what you are saying, Criminal # 101025?”
“Yes, my Lord. Whatever you want.”
“You see…that should have been your attitude from the beginning. If only you had the correct attitude this afternoon, you wouldn’t be where you are now, would you?”
“No, my Lord. It’s all my fault.”
The official turned to his servants and ordered them to unhook the criminal’s cuffs. A guard joined the group to catch the prisoner as she fell, knowing that there was no way she had the strength to remain standing once her arms were released. As she fell off the pillory, the man caught her and lowered her to the ground. He spat on her and walked off. Maria Elena moved weakly, trying to get the circulation going in her arms. The Lord turned to his servants:
“Pick her up and take her to the washroom.”
The two female servants grabbed Maria Elena’s arms and led their semi-conscious companion to a small tiled room that contained a metal platform and several showerheads and hoses. The women washed off their fellow servant, thoroughly soaping her body and massaging her arms and legs. The Lord stood watching with his arms crossed.
The two servants obeyed. Both of them pushed their fingers into Maria Elena’s vagina and opened it up. Each touched her clitoris. One of the women then raised Maria Elena’s legs while the other inserted a soapy finger into her bottom. The women continued to hold Maria Elena with her legs up and a finger in her bottom while the Lord approached her:
“You will understand that you have no honor. You are dishonored and I want you to remember that every moment of your life. You are dishonored. Do you understand me?”
Maria Elena sobbed: “Yes, my Lord.”
“Say it. I need to hear you say it.”
“I am dishonored, my Lord.”
The two servants dried off the Colombian, who by that time had started to recover from her ordeal on the pillory. The Lord ordered the women to take her to another small room that contained various sets of chains and cuffs, as well as several strange-looking pieces of furniture. The servants pulled out an item that looked halfway between a bench and a small table. There were four sets of cuffs attached to the surface, along with a much larger ring to immobilize the subject’s waist. Maria Elena was ordered to get on her elbows and knees and position herself so her waist could be restrained along with her limbs. Once she was in position, she was lewdly exposed. The Lord massaged the criminal’s welt-covered bottom and commented:
“This is called the ‘dog’ position. It is a position suitable only for dogs, which is what you are. You will understand that you are not a human being…in spite of what the Ministry of Justice might have told you. You are property…in the same way that a dog is property. The Mistress can hang you tomorrow and throw your body in the trash if she so desires. A good dog, one that doesn’t want to be euthanized, will obey her master or her mistress at all times.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
With that one of the female servants dabbed some jelly into Maria Elena’s vagina and bottom-hole, pushing her finger in to make sure both were properly lubricated. Meanwhile the Lord began undressing. Maria Elena looked back with horror, noticing he was very erect.
“Dogs like this. They like sex. That’s why they’re dogs.”
As the two naked servants knelt facing the wall, the Lord positioned himself behind Maria Elena, grabbed her hips, and forced his way into her. He pushed hard against her welt-covered backside with vigorous thrusts. Maria Elena closed her eyes and whimpered, unable to believe what was happening to her. After what seemed to be an eternity, she felt the man’s penis pumping semen into her body, and then felt it slowly going limp. He pulled out and grabbed her hair.
“Thank me, dog. Thank me by barking like the bitch in heat you are.”
Maria Elena could only sob. The Lord let go of her hair and pulled a very heavy belt from his pants. He struck hard across her exposed bottom. Maria Elena screamed as the belt tore into her already battered backside.
“You heard what I told you to do, bitch. Now do it. Bark.”
Maria Elena, shaking violently and still crying, managed to let out a weak bark. The Lord struck her hard across the bottom a second time.
“You know what you need to do, dog. Do it.”
The prisoner managed to bark much louder. This time the Lord was satisfied. He traced her bottom-hole with his finger and began masturbating himself. Within a couple of minutes he was hard again and ready to enter his victim a second time. He positioned himself and pushed in, this time boring into Maria Elena’s intestines. She grunted with discomfort and humiliation as her tormentor thrust into her over and over. Finally she felt his penis throbbing and going limp, but her intestines still ached and her bottom-hole felt raw from the newest intrusion.
The Lord ordered his servants to clean up Maria Elena a second time. They took her down from the bondage table and returned her to the wash room. The Colombian did not resist when the two young women soaped her crotch and massaged her with their fingers, nor did she react when she felt a fingertip vigorously rubbing soap into her sore bottom. The women rinsed her off and dried her. They helped her into a kneeling position before assuming kneeling positions themselves.
Criminal # 101025 trembled as she knelt and tears continued to roll down her cheeks. She was a classic picture of absolute submission. At that moment she realized how truly awful her new life would be. Hatred welled up inside her, not only towards the woman who had enslaved her and the man who had raped and sodomized her, but also towards the other servants. As she was being beaten and humiliated they didn’t even have the decency to react. From her two companions there was no reaction either. She hated them, as undoubtedly they hated her and they hated each other. Among Anyia’s servants there was no friendship or solidarity, nothing but selfish silence.
Noting that Maria Elena was very weak, her custodian rightly assumed that she needed to have something to eat. He ordered one of his servants to go to the kitchen and bring something to eat. She quickly returned with a plate of food, a mixture of potatoes and meat that she placed on the floor. Maria Elena, who had not had anything to eat all day, looked longingly at the meal. The Lord tapped her body with a switch.
“You may eat, servant. You are not to touch the food with your hands, because as the Grand Duchess’s property you have not yet earned that privilege. But you are granted my permission to eat.”
With difficulty Maria Elena got on her hands and knees and dipped her face into the food. Eating like an animal was yet another humiliation, but she was so hungry that she didn’t care. Already she had lost any semblance of self-respect.
The Lord contemplated Criminal # 101025 with deep satisfaction, knowing that she would make a good addition to the Royal Household. Already her spirit was broken and it was obvious she would do what she was told. She would be properly trained and become like the others, a silent slave whose only Path in Life was to serve and provide pleasure to her superiors. With any luck at all the Grand Duchess would quickly tire of her, and he would be able to take the exotic-looking girl for himself. He already owned several other cast-off servants, a direct benefit of being one of only two Lords who had the complete confidence of the Grand Duchess.
The Lord’s desire to take Maria Elena for himself did have a direct benefit for her. Had he not wanted her he simply would have put her back into the pillory and left her there until the next morning. However, because he had his eye on the new servant, he wanted to keep her in good physical condition, as well as make her psychologically dependent on him. He shackled her and took her to a small room that had a sink with a toothbrush and washcloth, a toilet, and a small bed.
“You will understand that I brought you to this room by choice. The Grand Duchess authorized me to keep you in the pillory until dawn, but it was my decision to bring you here instead. It is by my choice that you will sleep here, even though what you deserve is the pillory. My choice. Do you understand me, dog-bitch?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
The Lord put out his foot.
“Show me your gratitude.”
Maria Elena understood what he wanted. She needed to kiss his foot. It was the ultimate degradation, even worse than being raped or having to eat with no hands out of a bowl. However, the pillory loomed in the criminal’s mind and the idea of having to endure several more hours of agony with her arms stretched and her legs spread filled her with horror. She was genuinely grateful to be taken down and allowed to eat and sleep. She would do what was necessary to avoid the pillory. She kissed the man’s shoe.
“Thank you, my Lord.”
“Good. Clean your face and brush your teeth. Tomorrow you will receive the honor of serving the Grand Duchess.”
With that the Lord closed the door and bolted it from the outside. Maria Elena did as she was told, brushing her teeth and washing her face. Then she lay on the mattress, so exhausted and worn out she barely could move.
Just 24 hours before Maria Elena had been in the house of her lover. She still had her self-respect and pride in herself. She had her friends, her love, her modest life, and the simple freedoms that made her life worthwhile. Most of all, she felt that she could control how she felt and what she thought.
Now all that was gone.
Dog. Bitch. Dog-bitch. That was indeed what she had become, within just 24 hours. She had been broken, and now was willing to degrade herself for a bowl of food, a bed, or the privilege of not being whipped or tormented. Her life would be one of fear, silence, and isolation; the same as all of the other servants in the Royal House. Not only would she be subjected to suffering, she would be subjected to a solitude she couldn’t even have imagined before entering the hellish mansion in which she now was imprisoned. She had lost everything that made her life worthwhile, her friends, her lover, her job, even the right to speak. Her reality was her maniacal owner and the man who had raped her, humiliated her, and called her a dog.
Now she knew what enslavement truly meant. The life she had, all of her relations and her loves, now seemed part of another reality, a sweet dream from which she had woken up.
To have a broken soul…to be possessed by the Destroyer…for the first time Maria Elena felt she understood the meaning of her life. The Destroyer had taken over her world and pulled her into the abyss. She did not see how she could ever escape.
Chapter 18 – Property without honor
The next morning Maria Elena woke to the sound of the bolt that secured her cell door being unlocked. Immediately she scrambled to her knees and put her head on the floor, just in time to be in position for when the door opened. She was not surprised to see the Lord, the man who had both raped her but also rescued her from spending the entire night in the pillory. With him was one of the naked servants who had accompanied him the night before. The young woman was carrying a pair of wrist cuffs.
Maria Elena stood up and placed her hands behind her back to allow her fellow servant to restrain her hands. The Lord’s servant then brought in a plate of oatmeal and an apple to place on the floor. With a slight gesture of her hand she indicated that Maria Elena needed to kneel. She quickly assumed a kneeling position as well, staring straight ahead. The Lord addressed the newest servant:
"Very well, dog. Show your gratitude with a nice loud bark, and then you may have your food."
Maria Elena choked back her tears and barked as loud as she could.
"Good dog. You may eat."
Maria Elena leaned forward and buried her face in the oatmeal. Her hands were behind her back so she had trouble keeping her balance. The Lord grabbed her hair to help steady her, and with great difficulty she managed to position her mouth to be able to eat. With rude sounds she sucked at the plate's contents, licking and slurping the oatmeal as though she truly were an animal. She had to finish the plate, and by the time she was done her face was covered with food. The Lord kicked her and told her what a disgusting sight she was. The other young woman took a wet washrag and cleaned off her face.
Eating the apple was even worse. Maria Elena had to push the piece of fruit against the wall and only with great difficulty managed to take a small bite. With her legs spread to steady herself, she pushed her face against the fruit over and over, in an effort to find a spot where she could sink in her teeth and take a bite. She was desperate to finish, because the Lord was standing over her with his zapper and lecturing her about wasting food. Finally, after a horrendous struggle Criminal # 101025 managed to eat the majority of the apple, or at least enough to satisfy the Lord. Maria Elena had to pick up the core with her teeth and drop it into a trash can.
The Lord's servant held a large glass of water to Maria Elena's mouth and forced her to drink. She drank very reluctantly, remembering the awful experience from the day before, but with the zapper only centimeters away from her body, she knew that she had no choice. Finally the Lord allowed her to stand up and ordered his servant to brush the prisoner's teeth.
The Lord and his servant led the newcomer back to the washroom. By then the dreaded pressure in her bladder was building, because she did not have time to go to the toilet when she was woken up. The Lord led Maria Elena to a tiled section of floor with a small hole in the middle.
"I need to house-train you. Bark if you need to piss."
The criminal's voice cracked as she let out a bark.
"Very well, dog. You have spoken so I am giving you the privilege of pissing. You may kiss my shoe in gratitude."
Maria Elena did as she was told, before squatting over the hole. With her hands behind her back she had great difficulty maintaining her balance. The Lord was standing in front of her with his zapper. A small red light indicated the device was turned on and fully charged. Trembling from the awkward position and from absolute terror and humiliation, Maria Elena managed to relax and empty her bladder, in plain view of the Lord.
"A good dog, one that does not want to be euthanized, pisses on demand."
The Lord ordered his attendant to take off the cuffs from the newcomer's wrists. He then ordered her to get on her hands and knees and to spread her legs. The servant took a tube of lubricant, dabbed some on the Colombian's waiting bottom-hole, and gently massaged it in. She pushed her finger up Maria Elena's rectum and moved it back and forth while the Lord continued to watch. Tears welled up in the other servant’s eyes, and Maria Elena trembled with fear and humiliation. She knew that in Danubian society what was happening was a very severe insult for both women.
The Lord pointed to the side of the room, where a full enema bottle was hanging on a movable pole. The servant withdrew her finger from Maria Elena's bottom. She knelt and touched her head to the floor before getting up to retrieve it. She moved the assembly to where the Colombian was waiting on her hands and knees. The servant silently pushed the nozzle into her companion's rectum. She looked at her owner, silently asking him if she should open the clip that sealed off the tube. He nodded and with that Maria Elena felt her intestines fill with warm water. As soon as the bottle had completely drained, the Lord's servant immediately withdrew the nozzle and removed the enema equipment to clean it. Maria Elena quietly remained in position as the pressure began building in her guts and she waited for her companion to return. Meanwhile the Lord slowly walked around his captive, tapping his zapper to threaten her.
By the time her fellow servant returned, the pressure in Maria Elena's intestines was becoming unbearable. The Lord commented:
"You know Criminal # 101025, the most dishonorable thing a woman can do is defecate in front others, especially in front of a man of high stature. A woman who does such a thing is truly nothing more than an animal. But then, that is all that you are, isn't it? An animal...a piece of property. You see, the idea that you are a human being is an illusion, and a rather stupid illusion at that. You are dishonored...like I told you last night. You are completely dishonored."
Maria Elena grunted in agony as tears poured down her checks.
"I...I am dishonored, my Lord."
"Good dog. Position yourself over the hole, and I will allow you to relieve yourself."
Maria Elena was desperate. She did as she was told, squatting over the hole and releasing the contents of her intestines with a loud splashing noise. The Lord did not take his eyes off her the entire time. The pain in her guts subsided, but humiliation and anguish swept over her. She could not look at either the Lord or her fellow servant.
The next ordeal was for the prisoner to be bathed so she could be formally presented to the Royal Couple. The Lord addressed the other woman:
"Clean her up."
A second female servant entered the washroom and together the pair soaped and rinsed-off the Colombian. They paid special attention to her bottom and vagina, fondling the newcomer to further humiliate and degrade her. The pair washed Maria Elena's hair and combed it, but because she was in such disgrace, the Colombian would not be granted the privilege of having her hair braided. Until the Grand Duchess granted permission, Criminal # 101025 would have to endure her life at the Royal Residence with her hair loosened.
A few minutes later the Lord led a shacked and trembling Maria Elena into the Great Hall, where the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of the Republic of Danubia were seated. The couple sat in matching thrones. A red carpet led from the thrones back to the room's main entrance. As usual, kneeling along the sides of the carpet were naked servants, young men and women, collared and absolutely still and silent.
As the Lord led his terrified captive to the Royal Couple, Maria Elena noticed a big difference in their expressions. The Grand Duchess clearly was eager to take control of her newest servant. her newest piece of property, her newest toy. Her face reflected arrogance, cruelty, and lust. The Grand Duke's face reflected nothing more than boredom. He always had to be present for the formal introduction of a new household servant out of protocol, but clearly was irritated at being pulled off the Royal Golf Course just to satisfy his wife's latest whim.
By tradition, a criminal honored to serve in the house of the Royal Family always was formally presented to the Grand Duke. The new servant officially became his property, and it was up to the ruler to assign a task. There was some ceremony involved, but in reality the Grand Duke simply handed each new servant over to his wife and it was up to her to decide what to do with them. That was the case with Maria Elena. The Grand Duke looked at her welt-covered body and terrified expression with indifference while she knelt at his feet. He stood up, hooked his finger into the ring of her collar, and dragged her in front of his wife.
“Love of my life and Grand Mistress of Danubia, I present you with the gift of human service. Take this prisoner, and train her to suit your needs. She is yours, my Precious.”
“Thank you, my Lord and Grand Master of the Danubian people. With humility and gratitude I will accept this gift that you have bestowed upon me.”
With that Anyia kissed her husband’s hand and took hold of the ring in Maria Elena’s collar. Now it was official, the prisoner was the personal property of the Grand Duchess.
The Grand Duke then stood up, along with the three most attractive naked women in the room. Most of the servants formally belonged to Anyia, but on three occasions the Duke had kept a new female servant for himself. Everyone in the Royal Residence knew that those three women were extraordinarily lucky. Yes, the Grand Duke's personal servants did have to provide him with sexual favors and do things such as carry his golf clubs, but to serve the Grand Duke was infinitely better than having to serve the Grand Duchess. Once he selected a servant he treated her well, gave her plenty of food and rest, and never did he beat anyone. If a servant displeased him, he simply threatened to turn her back over to his wife, and that threat was enough to keep them very obedient.
The Grand Duke departed with his small escort. The three women huddled close behind him, knowing that he was the only person who stood between them and a life of humiliation and terror under the Grand Duchess and the two Lords in whom she confided.
Anyia attached a leash to Maria Elena’s collar while the prisoner knelt and trembled. She was fully expecting another whipping or being returned to the pillory. However, Anyia had moved beyond her temper tantrum from the day before. Instead, she was livid over the horrific lack of respect that two male servants had displayed towards the household and towards the rules that, in her divine wisdom, she had established for the benefit of everyone in the residence. The offense was that the two servants had been caught talking to each other. Talking among the servants was strictly forbidden. They could communicate with a simple sign language, but to use their voices was a serious breach of the rules Anyia had imposed on the servants shortly after she became Grand Duchess. Such disgraceful behavior could only be atoned for by assuring that the perpetrators understood the true meaning of being dishonored.
The two disgraced young men lay on their stomachs on the floor with their feet cuffed together and their hands behind their backs. Both young men were typical-looking Danubians, of average stature and with brown hair and brown eyes. The other servants knelt in absolute silence while Anyia paced the room angrily, yanking the leash as Maria Elena tried to keep up with her. The Grand Duchess was screaming in Danubian, berating the entire group about their total lack of respect for the Royal Couple and their disdain for Royal Tradition. Maria Elena could only understand part of what her owner was saying, but she could tell that Anyia was spewing threats ranging from daily floggings for everyone in the room to being left in the pillory for several days.
Anyia only stopped when the two Lords who enjoyed her confidence entered the room. Behind them a group of naked women struggled to carry a heavy wooden table through the door. When she saw that the table had several sets of straps bolted to its surface, Maria Elena realized what it was. Except for being wooden instead of metal, it looked exactly like the table she had been switched on following her trial. She cringed, thinking that the young men were going to be punished. Yes, indeed, they were going to be switched, but Anyia and her Lords would not be satisfied with merely inflicting physical pain on their victims. Before their switchings, they would be dishonored.
The Lords placed a hard pillow in the middle of the table and secured it with buckles. Then they grabbed one of the prostrate servants and forced him onto the table, lying face up with the pillow under his hips. Once his wrists and ankles were restrained, the pillow forced him to arch his pelvis and placed his penis and testicles on lewd display. One of the Lords casually groped him as a prelude to the horrific humiliation about to be imposed on him and his unfortunate companion.
The Lords turned their attention to the other servant. They grabbed him and forced him to stand next to the table. They uncuffed his hands, but left his feet shackled so he could not move. Then both officials grabbed cattle prods and turned the devices to their maximum setting.
“Since you like making love-talk to each other, we will grant you that privilege, the honor of making love in front of us. Criminal # 100934, you will arouse Criminal # 100833. You will touch him with your hands, and you will caress and love him until he is hard. When he ejaculates, you will allow him to expend into your mouth, and you will make sure no mess is left behind.”
In spite of their training to not betray emotion, Maria Elena could tell that both young men were mortified at what they were being forced to do. They were being ordered to degrade themselves in the worst way a Danubian man could be degraded. She was aware that in Danubian culture there was nothing more dishonorable for a man than to have his genitals touched by another man. Kim and Cecilia had emphasized the extent to which all Danubians (especially men) were totally paranoid at the thought of having their bodies being touched by someone of the same sex. It was a taboo with a severity particular to Danubian culture.
Maria Elena was about to witness something worse than a simple touching, because the two servants would be forced to perform a homosexual act in front of a room full of other people; fellow servants, several guards, three members of the country’s nobility, and a camera that had been set up to record their degradation. And yet they would do their best to comply with what they were being ordered to do, because they knew that if they failed, their families would be brought to the Royal Residence to see what loathsome and dishonored creatures they had become.
Criminal # 100934 started massaging Criminal # 100833’s upper thighs and stomach, slowly working towards his penis and testicles. As he began to fondle his companion’s penis, it wasn’t too long before Criminal # 100833 began to get hard, in spite of the overwhelming humiliation he was enduring. As she watched with both horror and fascination, Maria Elena wondered how many times those two servants had been forced to perform on each other or on other male servants. Then a more terrifying thought entered her mind…if Anyia was forcing her male servants to have sex with each other in front of an audience, there was no reason to assume she wouldn’t force her female servants to do the exact same thing. She glanced with terror at the other naked kneeling women, wondering which one would be the first her owner would force her to have sex with.
Tears formed in Criminal # 100934’s eyes as he placed his mouth over his companion’s penis. He started sucking as he continued to stroke the shaft. Criminal # 100833 closed his eyes and ejaculated, desperate to simply get the experience over with. As he struggled to swallow the semen in his mouth, Criminal # 100934 coughed and gagged. Suddenly he screamed and fell on the floor. The two Lords plunged their cattle prods at him, eliciting more agonized screams.
“You left a mess, you disgusting pervert! You defied orders and you left a mess!”
Anyia spoke next.
“That dishonored beast! Take him to the whipping post! I’ll deal with him!
With that two guards dragged the sobbing criminal out to the courtyard, while Anyia screamed at another male servant to bring her whips. Meanwhile, Criminal # 100833 remained strapped to the table, absolutely silent. With Anyia’s ire directed towards the unfortunate Criminal # 100934, he knew that it was quite possible that he would avoid any further punishment over the talking incident. Anyia was as capricious as she was vicious. If she exhausted herself flogging Criminal 100934, then it was probable she would forget all about punishing Criminal # 100833 and at some point later in the day a guard would let him up from the table and he would quietly return to his duties.
While the other servants knelt in the courtyard, the Grand Duchess of Danubia flogged Criminal # 100934. He screamed pitifully as the whip crossed his body over and over. She concentrated on his bottom and upper back, but she struck everywhere from his calves to his shoulders. It seemed she couldn’t get enough of beating him, and the two Lords were all too happy to give him an occasional shock in the testicles with one of their zappers. Finally Anyia stopped flogging, simply because she was too exhausted to continue. By the time she dropped her whip, her victim was covered with horrific welts, some of which were bleeding.
“Put him in the pillory.”
The Lords glanced at each other. Maria Elena could tell their mood had changed and that they became concerned about punishing Criminal # 100934 any further. The two officials had been willing participants in the servant’s punishment, but never before had they seen Anyia flog to the point of drawing blood. They knew that he needed a chance to recover and that putting him in the pillory in his condition was not a good idea.
“What are you waiting for? Put that dishonored creature in the pillory.”
As reluctant as the Lords were to do anything further to their victim, they were not about to argue with the Grand Duchess in front of the other servants. They ordered the guards to unchain Criminal # 100934 from the whipping post and put him in the pillory.
Once he was chained, the young man hung limply. The Lords became even more concerned about his condition. They knew that they would have to somehow divert the attention of the Grand Duchess as quickly as possible, so they could get Criminal # 100934 down and have him taken to the infirmary of the Royal Residence. They did not really feel sorry for him, but they knew that a death among the Royal Servants was something they needed to avoid. A death was one thing that eventually would get out, and that would cause a scandal for the Royal Household.
The Lord that had raped Maria Elena the night before quietly spoke to the Grand Duchess, suggesting that she try out her newest servant.
“She is a lovely girl, your Graciousness, and you know what they say about women from the tropics. I’m sure she is eager to please you.”
Anyia tightened her grip on the leash holding Maria Elena’s collar.
“Yes, I suppose so. I guess after what I’ve just been through, I deserve a little pleasure.”
“Yes, your Graciousness. You’ve had a difficult day so far. Why not take a break and enjoy yourself? Lord Vidmarkt and I will handle the household. Go and relax with the new servant, my Lady. I will send Criminal # 100504 to assist.”
The Lord whistled in the direction of one of the female servants, an attractive blond girl who did not look Danubian. Criminal # 100504 immediately stood up, walked over to the Lord, and knelt at his feet.
“You will help Criminal # 101025 fulfill her Path in Life to provide pleasure to the Grand Duchess.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
With that the Lord led his mistress and the two servants to the Royal Bed Chamber. As soon as they were out of sight, Lord Vidmarkt ordered the guards to take Criminal # 100934 down from the pillory and to get him to the infirmary for medical attention. He clearly was in bad shape because he was not able to walk unassisted. Once he was safely on one of the beds, a Royal nurse cleaned and disinfected the cuts. The nurse tended to her duties in silence. Whatever opinions she had about the latest Royal whipping she would keep to herself. As with everyone else in the Royal Residence, the nurse understood that her first duty to the Grand Duchess was silence.
As he studied the bloodied backside of the young servant, worry swept over Lord Vidmarkt. Up until now the entire adventure with Anyia had been a lot of fun and had brought many personal benefits for both him and his best friend. But everything has it limits and today it was obvious the Grand Duchess had failed to understand that. Assuming that Criminal # 100934 escaped any permanent injury, it was likely the incident would pass without scandal, but…what about the next time?
Anyia and her two servants entered the Royal Bed Chamber alone. The Lord who had escorted them left them at the door and closed it as he departed. In spite of the fact he was one of her best friends, he had no desire to entangle himself in a personal affair with the Grand Duchess. He cared for her, and in a way loved her, but he did not want his relationship with Anyia to be anything other than platonic. Anyhow, he did not need her, because he already had a wife, a paramour who was a free civilian, and several female slaves that he had taken as gifts from the Royal Family. Anyia often became bored with her servants after a short time, but out of principle she never returned anyone to the Ministry of Justice. Instead she reassigned cast-off servants to her friends, essentially giving them away as personal slaves.
The room was large and sumptuous, decorated with curtains and rugs that matched those used in the throne room. Along with several finely crafted dressers and wardrobes, the chamber boasted the largest bed Maria Elena had ever seen.
Without saying anything, Criminal # 100504 taught Criminal # 101025 what she needed to do through example. The Grand Duchess sat on small padded bench so she could be undressed. Criminal # 100504 undid the clasps holding Anyia’s dress and allowed it to fall, leaving her naked from the waist up. She oiled the monarch’s shoulders and massaged her upper body. The Grand Duchess was sore from the workout she had received while flogging Criminal # 100934, so her tired muscles were due for a good rub-down. Maria Elena watched and then had to take over rubbing Anyia’s shoulders. Criminal # 101025 moved in front of her Mistress to rub her sore arms and kiss her breasts. After a few moments Anyia started to become aroused. Criminal # 101025 then motioned to Maria Elena that the two servants needed to switch places; that Maria Elena needed to kiss Anyia’s breasts while she returned to massaging the Grand Duchess’s shoulders. Maria Elena complied and began sucking on Anyia’s nipples. It was the very first time in her life that she had ever touched another woman and definitely it was not something she felt comfortable doing.
Criminal # 100504 motioned to the newcomer that she needed to return to massaging Anyia’s shoulders so that the Grand Duchess could be completely undressed. The young woman knelt at her Mistress’s feet to take off her shoes. Anyia then lifted up slightly to allow her servant to pull down her dress. She was not wearing any underwear, but she did have several expensive pieces of jewelry that needed to be taken off as well. Maria Elena looked at the elaborate possessions coming off the Grand Duchess, reflecting that any one of those items could have paid her living expenses in Spain or anywhere else for the rest of her life. How ironic that Anyia, who was only three years older than Maria Elena, should have so much in her life while everyone around her had so little.
Once she was completely naked, Anyia moved to a massage table to receive her rub-down from the two servants. Maria Elena had never given a massage before, but she quickly learned from watching Criminal # 100504. The massage consisted of two parts, a relaxing massage for Anyia’s muscles along her entire backside, and then an erotic massage on her front that would get her ready to have sex. The daily massage and sex were important parts of Anyia’s routine. Normally she alternated between having sex with male servants and female servants, because each gave her a type of satisfaction that the other was not able to provide.
Criminal # 100504 rightly assumed that her companion would have absolutely no idea what she needed to do when the moment came to sexually satisfy the Grand Duchess, so she quietly showed the newcomer what was needed to stimulate the Mistress. She continued the relaxing part of the massage on Anyia’s thighs and arms, but once she moved to her Mistress’s torso the massage became more erotic. She lightly ran her fingertips over Anyia’s breasts and stomach before gently rubbing and touching the insides of her thighs. As a well-trained servant, she was expected to know when Anyia was ready to be touched on her vagina, when her labia would be caressed, when it was time to touch her clitoris, or when it was time to insert a finger inside. She knew that misjudging Anyia’s desires would result in a whipping, so it was very important that she understood the hints and body language coming from her Mistress.
Maria Elena watched in fascinated horror as Criminal # 100504 stuck her face between Anyia’s thighs and began kissing and licking her crotch. The Colombian, meanwhile, stood on the other side of the Grand Duchess, massaging her shoulders and breasts. A worse indignity awaited her, because Criminal # 100504 signaled that Anyia needed to be kissed. A simple kiss, but for Maria Elena the thought of kissing someone she feared and hated was almost unbearable. However, she did as she was instructed, leaning down to kiss her tormentor on the lips.
Anyia climaxed as soon as Criminal # 100504 started licking her clitoris. Her body tensed up and she grabbed Maria Elena’s hair as she gasped with pleasure. It was a bizarre sight for the Columbian, because never before had she touched another woman and certainly she had never seen another woman have an orgasm in real life. She was relieved to see the Grand Duchess satisfied.
However, Criminal # 100504 knew better. She knew that her Mistress was not yet finished. The dirty part was saved for Criminal # 101025. Criminal # 100504 placed a large hard pillow on the bed. The pillow had an unusual shape, because it was triangular. One side gently sloped down, whereas the other side was at almost 90 degrees to the surface of the bed. Anyia lay over the pillow, spreading her legs and completely exposing her bottom. Criminal # 100504 pointed at Anyia’s waiting anus. Her expression and gestures clearly stated “This part is yours, Criminal # 101025.”
Faced with the prospect of another whipping, Maria Elena reluctantly approached Anyia’s waiting backside. She cringed with disgust at what she was being forced to do; perform oral sex on the sphincter of the Grand Duchess of Danubia. She would have to kiss and lick her Mistress’s anus, and undoubtedly stick in her tongue. The awful part of the task was that Anyia had spent the morning wearing herself out exercising, and thus her bottom was not particularly clean. It would be up to her servant, Criminal # 101025 to clean her.
Maria Elena grabbed Anyia’s sweaty bottom and massaged the muscles of her backside. She spread her Mistress slightly and without any further hesitation stuck her tongue directly into the Duchess’s anus. She tried not to gag at the unpleasant taste and smell, thinking that if she could just get through the first part, the experience would not be so bad once Anyia was cleaner. She ran her tongue in a circle around her owner’s sphincter and then kissed the entire area surrounding her back entrance. As she was doing all that, Criminal 100504 kissed Anyia on the lips and massaged her shoulders. It wasn’t long before the Grand Duchess climaxed for a second time. Maria Elena was hugely relieved, because she was tired out and did not think she could have continued licking Anyia’s bottom much longer.
While the two criminals had been arousing the Grand Duchess, another criminal had silently entered the grand bathroom and ran a large tub of hot water for the monarch. Knowing that the bath was waiting, Criminal 100504 signaled to her companion to assist the Grand Duchess to the bathroom. Anyia sat on the toilet to empty her intestines, and it was up to her servants to clean her up. Maria Elena did not understand why a perfectly healthy 22-year-old woman couldn’t go into the bathroom unassisted, but she realized the custom must have been part of the rules of Royal Protocol.
The three women settled into a tub as large as a hot tub, complete with bubble-bath. The massaging and rubbing of the Grand Duchess continued throughout her bath. While Criminal # 101025 kissed Anyia’s soapy breasts and shoulders, Criminal # 100504 dipped her head under the water to stimulate the Mistress’s clitoris. Maria Elena was amazed at how long her companion could hold her breath and stay under water. Anyia climaxed for a third time, which left her relaxed and in a pleasant mood. The two servants helped her get out, dried her off, and accompanied her to the main bedroom to dress her. And with that the Grand Duchess’s morning had concluded, because now it was time for lunch.
Because Maria Elena had not yet earned the privilege to serve at the Royal Couple’s table, she missed the midday meal. Instead of going to the Royal Dining Room, Maria Elena spent the hour with her other tormentor, the Lord who had his eyes on her. He chained her and took her to the discipline room. He strapped her to the “copulation platform” as it was called, and spent the entire lunch hour raping and sodomizing her. He was displeased with the lack of enthusiasm when she was told to bark, as well as her lack of willingness to fulfill her function to present her body for the pleasure of her Masters. The result of her disrespectful behavior was several vicious swats with a very heavy belt that left cruel marks over the welts from the whipping she had received the day before.
Once again Maria Elena had to tell her tormentor how dishonored she was, and that honor was something she could never have because she was nothing but a beast, a pathetic barking dog. By the middle of her second day she believed what she was saying, that she truly was nothing more than a dishonored beast. She lost all interest in talking to her fellow servants, because undoubtedly they too saw her as nothing more than a dishonored beast.
Maria Elena began her formal training as a servant the afternoon of her second day at the Royal Residence. She was in considerable physical discomfort, because her body still hurt from the whipping she had received the day before. Her sphincter was raw and burned the Lord’s attentions, her mouth was sore from having performed oral sex on the Grand Duchess, and on top of everything else, she was hungry from not having eaten since breakfast. None of that mattered to anyone in the Royal Residence. Criminal # 101025 was a servant, and thus it was her duty to serve, regardless of her physical condition. Her silent trainer, Criminal # 100504, took her to the kitchen to show her how to serve tea. There was much more to learn than just bringing tea to the Grand Duchess, because servants had to know how to watch for signals that the Grand Duchess wanted her cup taken away or to be served something else. Maria Elena also needed to know about kneeling. Normally servants knelt upright so they could see if the Mistress needed anything, but when they were being spoken to they needed to kneel forward, placing their hands above their heads and placing their foreheads on the ground. Kneeling forward was the ultimate gesture of humility, because servants in that position had to spread their knees and arch their backs to completely display their backsides and genitalia. Criminal # 100504 made sure that Maria Elena understood the kneeling forward position by demonstrating it.
Another task Criminal # 101025 needed to learn was moving in unison with the other servants. The servants often dropped to their knees as a group and stood up as a group. Before entering the household Maria Elena had wondered how the servants were able to coordinate their movements. The way it was done was for all the servants to watch the servant kneeling immediately to the right side of the Duchess and follow whatever that person was doing. The servants closest to Anyia usually were the ones who had been with her the longest and the ones in whom she had placed the most trust.
Following several hours of training, Criminal # 100504 led Criminal # 101025 to a room in the basement containing several pieces of exercise equipment. In spite of her fatigue, hunger, and soreness, Maria Elena had to spend time on the treadmill and doing leg lifts. Criminal # 100504 knew that the trainee’s back and bottom were in no condition for her to perform sit-ups or bench presses, but she did have to practice push-ups, which she did very badly. Maria Elena was not in good shape at that moment, but it was clear that would have to change if the Grand Duchess were to be pleased.
By the time she was finished exercising, the Colombian was extremely thirsty. Criminal # 100504 casually placed a large bowl of water on the floor. The new servant was so thirsty that she no longer cared about degrading herself by drinking water on all fours. She positioned herself according to slave protocol, spreading her legs and lewdly exposing herself to anyone standing behind her. She drank desperately, coughing whenever water went up her nose, but finally she managed to empty the bowl and consume most of the water. She felt better, but suddenly the memory of those two Lords and her full bladder came back to her. She wondered if yet more humiliation awaited her.
Shortly before sunset, the Grand Duke returned to the Royal Residence from a day on the Royal Golf Course, accompanied by his three female servants. One of the women carried the Duke’s golf clubs while the others followed closely behind. The Duke’s servants kept their eyes forward, not exchanging glances with anyone else in the household. Maria Elena noticed that Duke’s servants always stayed as close to him as possible and refused to have anything to do with the others. They were the lucky ones, the three women who did not have to deal with the Grand Duchess. Maria Elena suspected that the Grand Duke’s women feared that if they ever were separated from him, Anyia would grab them and their luck would run out.
Once the Duke and his servants had cleaned up from their outing, it was time for dinner. The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess sat together at a huge table in the very elaborate Royal Dining Room while the servants knelt along the wall. Each servant had a specific task assigned for the dinner, for example the wine was brought and served by a young man and the salad was dished out by two women, one of whom was Criminal # 100504. Each servant knew his or her duty and each one moved on cue. Maria Elena’s task would be at the end, helping to clean up. She had not yet earned the privilege of serving food.
As she knelt and tried to keep her eyes facing forward, Maria Elena noticed something that she found very strange. At the dinner table it was obvious the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess cared for each other. She had not noticed very much interaction between them earlier in the day, but at meal they conversed, joked, and held hands. Around the Grand Duke, Anyia’s behavior seemed much more “normal” than when she was alone with her servants.
In spite of her fear and hatred of the Grand Duchess, Maria Elena felt very uneasy when Anyia and the Grand Duke left the Royal Dining Room alone. The Duke’s three women scurried out together, eager to lock themselves up in their chamber and get away from the other servants as quickly as possible. The others tidied up the dining area.
Maria Elena was about to grab a bottle of window cleaner when the Lord showed up with a leash. He hooked it to her collar and gave it a quick jerk. She quickly let go of the bottle and knelt at his feet. Without saying anything, another servant brought two partially-consumed plates of food, the same plates from which the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess had been eating. It was apparent that the Lord expected Maria Elena to eat their leftovers. He took off his belt, doubled it, and touched it to her chin.
“A good dog is allowed to eat from the Master’s table. So are you a good dog? Speak!”
Trembling with fear and tears welling up in her eyes, Maria Elena let out a loud bark.
“Excellent. You may be nothing but a dishonored animal, but at least you know how to show gratitude. Now, eat.”
Maria Elena pushed her face into the food, eating just like a dog. Fortunately the meal was simple Danubian meat pasta and cooked vegetables, so it was relatively easy to get into her mouth. Had she been forced to eat meat off a bone without using her hands she would have been forced to do something nearly impossible. The probable result would have been a beating. Still, the humiliation of having to eat on all fours with her thighs spread and her backside on full display to everyone in the room was unbearable. Her meal concluded with a large bowl of water. She was horribly thirsty, so she drank greedily, even though water constantly got into her nose and made her cough.
Once she was finished drinking, the Lord ordered the servant to help with the final part of the cleanup. No one made any effort to communicate with her; it seemed that all the other servants were trying to avoid her. As she worked, she noticed that she needed to go to the bathroom and that the pressure in her bladder was rapidly building. She realized that she probably would not be able to relieve herself without some new embarrassment. Sure enough, as soon as she was done with her chores, the Lord and one of his Danubian servants took her outside to the lawn of the Royal Residence. She was leashed and her master told her that he was taking his dog for a walk. Indeed he was, because soon the pressure in her bladder forced her to ask for permission to squat.
“Does my doggie have to go pottie? Good dog. Now bark if you have to go.”
Maria Elena barked.
“Very well dishonored doggie, you may go.”
He ordered her to squat in the grass and still holding the leash, shined a flashlight at her. In spite of her humiliation, she managed to relax her bladder and a torrent of urine poured out of her. When she was finished, Maria Elena knew better than to rise without permission. Sure enough, the Lord handed some toilet paper to his silent servant. She immediately stepped over to Maria Elena, placed her hand on her shoulder to steady her, and with her other hand reached between her legs to dry her off.
“Put your finger in her vagina and make sure she is dry.”
The servant complied and rubbed her bare finger along Maria Elena’s vulva, but both women were mortified at the insult.
“She is dry, my Lord.”
A few minutes later the Lord and the two women accompanying him had returned to the room containing the “copulation platform”. The other servant buckled Maria Elena’s restraints so that, for the third time in just two days, she was immobilized on her elbows and knees with her bottom spread and her genitalia lewdly on display. The Lord took several pictures of her with a digital camera, then undressed. He handed each item of clothing to his servant, who took the articles and quickly folded them. He stepped back to masturbate himself while his servant rubbed lubricant into Maria Elena’s vagina and anus. As soon as she was finished and Criminal # 101025 was lubricated for sex, the Lord grabbed the restrained servant by the hips and thrust into her as hard as he could.
The other servant turned to kneel facing the wall, but the Lord ordered her to stand and watch. She obeyed, trying as best she could to remain expressionless. Maria Elena did not know it at the time, but in Danubian culture to watch other people have sex was considered an extremely dishonorable act. The Lord was dishonoring Maria Elena by raping and sodomizing her, but he also was dishonoring his other servant by ordering her to watch instead of allowing her to turn away.
When he finished pumping semen into her vagina, the Lord paused a few minutes while he groped Maria Elena’s thighs and bottom. The other servant knelt and her master put his wet penis into her mouth. She was obviously very disgusted at the thought of having to taste the sex of two other people. Maria Elena already knew that performing oral sex was another practice that was considered dishonorable in Danubia. As soon as he spent his remaining semen into the other servant’s mouth, he slapped her. He then ordered the two women into the washroom and instructed them to bathe each other. Neither could touch her own body; all washing had to be done by the other. Of course, the two servants had to pay special attention to each other’s crotches.
“I shall smell both of you when you are finished. If there is even a hint of stench, I will flog you both. Then I will have you flip a coin to see which one of you will spend the night in the pillory.”
Maria Elena realized that the Lord was obsessed with dishonoring women by making them humiliate themselves. He was not as quick to flog a Royal Servant as was Anyia, but he tortured them in a different manner through continuous sexual insults and by doing everything he could to destroy any hint of self-respect.
There was a final humiliation for Maria Elena’s fellow servant. The Lord ordered her to kneel and Maria Elena to undo her braids. The woman had held up well throughout the evening, but having her braids undone broke her spirit. As Maria Elena finished with her companion’s hair and ran her fingers through to straighten it out, tears rolled down the Danubian woman’s cheeks.
“Why are you crying? I’m sure you realize that you don’t deserve to have braided hair. Braided hair is a privilege only for women who have honor.”
With that the Lord locked up the two servants in the tiny cell where Maria Elena had slept alone the night before. As he closed the door, he commented:
“That mattress is large enough for dishonored women who wish to lie together; as I am sure you two sexual deviants wish to do.”
Once the door was closed and bolted, Maria Elena thought about whispering to her cellmate about making an arrangement to take turns sleeping on the mattress. However, it turned out that was not necessary. Her Danubian companion knelt in the corner, facing away from her, crying. She stayed in that position for hours, not moving and not responding, just crying. Maria Elena didn’t know what else to do, other than get onto the mattress and try to sleep. She was so exhausted that not even the other woman’s crying could keep her awake.
She drifted into slumber, dreaming of another time when, as a young teenager, she was walking along a foggy mountain road that led through endless forests and coffee fields. She was 14 at the time, on a church retreat. Jose Pablo had been there, along with other friends with whom she had long since lost contact. Yes, when she was 14, everything was so intense, and she knew that she and the others would be friends forever. Five years…five years had come and gone since that church trip.
Maria Elena Rodriguez-Torres not able to appreciate that moment at the time, but remembering it as an adult, she realized those misty mountains was one place she could have found peace if she had not been such a fool with her choices and wasted her life. Whatever joy she had on that misty road; the pleasant environment, her friends and companions, and Jose Pablo, had long since vanished.
Chapter 19 - Two conspiracies
Maria Elena woke up the next morning a bit disoriented after dreaming about her more pleasant experiences in Colombia. At first she didn't recognize where she was. Then she looked down at her cellmate, who was sleeping on the floor with her back facing the rest of the room. She sat up and immediately felt the welts and bruises that covered her backside and the burning soreness in her vagina and sphincter. She winced as she shifted on the mattress, and then noticed a spot of blood on the sheet, a reminder of the rough treatment she had received the day before.
She again glanced at her cellmate, finding it hard to believe her forlorn companion would have been capable of sleeping on a bare tile floor. She wasn't sure what to do. She wanted to tell the young Danubian to get up and lie on the mattress, but didn't dare because she knew that any spoken conversation could get them both in huge trouble. Finally she simply decided to use the toilet and wash her hands, hoping that the noise would be sufficient. The Danubian did wake up, with an expression of despair combined with sad resignation to her fate. She was completely withdrawn and did not want to look Maria Elena in the face. It was obvious that besides being depressed, she also was stiff and sore from having slept on the ground.
Maria Elena pointed at the toilet and then turned to face the wall so the Danubian could relieve herself. The cell door opened shortly afterwards. Of course, the man standing at the door was her tormenter. Both servants immediately fell to their knees.
The man put two plates of food on the floor, kicked both servants several times, and ordered them to eat. Maria Elena noticed that the Danubian had glanced at her with total hatred. As she nervously put her mouth into the food and tried to eat, she remembered having seen her cellmate eating normally the day before. She knew that eating with utensils was a privilege that came only when a servant had completed training. It also was a privilege that could be taken away at any moment if a servant was in disgrace. According to the logic of the household, the Danubian was in disgrace because of her association with Criminal # 101025, even though that association had been forced upon her. It was a cruel psychological trick that forced the servants to blame each other for their misfortunes instead of blaming the Grand Duchess and her entourage.
Maria Elena shot back an angry look, resentful that she was being hated for something she had no control over.
Criminal # 101025 began her regular routine on the second full day she was at the Royal Residence. She spent much more of her time in silent training, learning how to serve food and drinks, practicing kneeling and standing for long periods of time, and coordinating her movements with the other servants. The Royal Servants had to rise and kneel in unison, walk a precise distance from the others, and establish a pace of walking as a group that was choreographed as a single clean movement.
Between Wednesday and Saturday, Maria Elena saw very little of the Grand Duchess except at dinnertime, and even less of the Grand Duke and his three servants. The Grand Duchess had satisfied her curiosity about the Colombian and no longer had any particular interest in her. Eventually, when the Duchess got bored, Criminal # 101025 would be called back into her room for another round of sex, or a bath, or a massage. However, the Duchess had numerous other servants and liked to rotate them. From the beginning it was obvious that Maria Elena would not be one of her favorites.
Not seeing much of her official owner was of little consolation, because Maria Elena's other tormentor, the Lord who was training her, was a constant presence in her life. From the moment she got up until the moment she went to bed, he was with her. His fascination with making her behave like a dog did not dissipate. He delighted in forcing her to go to the bathroom with him closely watching. Her hair remained loosened and her bottom remained covered with fresh welts from his belt. He was constantly slapping her across the face when she stood and kicking her when she was kneeling. All the while he insulted her and forced other servants to dishonor themselves by touching her. He also told her that she had very little to look forward to, because it already was obvious that the Grand Duchess was bored with her and soon enough she would be turned over to him permanently.
Because the Lord held Maria Elena in such low regard, he was not particularly concerned about allowing her to see details of his life that he would have wanted to keep secret from anyone not wearing a collar. For example, he made her watch while he went to the bathroom, forced her to cut his toenails and put medicine on a planter's wart, pull hairs out of a mole on his back, and help him change his clothes. More importantly, he had a tendency to leave papers around that she could see. The documents were written in Danubian or English, but she could make out a few things, such as evidence of money transfers and correspondence with numerous foreign companies.
The official's lack of caution with his servants was even more evident when he met with various associates. It was obvious he had numerous financial dealings and was ambitious about international investments and purchases. He always seemed to be on the phone talking in Danubian or English about money. Because Maria Elena spoke both languages very badly and was nothing more than dishonored property anyway, he was not worried about having her present when he was talking about very sensitive topics.
During most afternoons the two Lords hosted business meetings at a small administrative building that was separate from the main residence of the Royal Family, but still part of the property's compound. Several naked servants knelt in the room, ready to serve tea or to present themselves as foot-rests. If anyone in the room wanted to put up his feet, a servant was expected to get on her elbows and knees and present her back as a cushion. On Friday afternoon the Lords met with a group of businessmen from the US and Brazil. The men were a very sinister-looking group with briefcases full of documents. Most of the documents were in English, but some of them were in Portuguese. The discussion drifted from English to Portuguese and back, with various translations for the US members of the group who did not speak the language of Brazil. As Maria Elena knelt with the heals of a foreigner's shoes digging into her back, she listened to the Portuguese portion of the conversation, hoping to get a clue when the gathering would end and she could get out of her uncomfortable position.
The meeting meandered on, without any hope for the kneeling servants that they would be relieved of being used as human foot-rests anytime soon. However, Maria Elena listened with increasing interest to what the Danubian Lords and their guests were talking about. From what she could understand, the men were representatives of the US conglomerate Mega-Town Associates. Apparently the Brazilians worked for a division that was in charge of Mega-Town's lumber and wood products processing operations. Folders and documents casually set on the floor within the Colombian's field of vision confirmed that all the foreigners in the room were working for Mega-Town. That struck her as very strange, because she knew that the Danubian government officially had declared war on Mega-Town Associates and anyone helping the company automatically would be prosecuted for treason. It was a capital offense for any Danubian citizen to associate with an employee from Mega-Town Associates, and it also was a capital offense for any employee of Mega-Town Associates to enter Danubian territory. All of the men in the room were risking their lives if the guests were indeed representatives of Mega-Town.
Because she spoke Spanish, Maria Elena understood about half of what was being said in Portuguese. The men talked about the Grand Duchess in detail, concentrating on her relationship with her husband and to what extent she could influence his decisions. The Lords were convinced that the Grand Duke was so disinterested in anything having to do with Danubia or the government that out of sheer laziness he would comply with whatever Anyia told him to do. That presented Mega-Town with the opportunity it needed to move against Vladim Dukov's government, because with a simple Royal Decree the troublesome Prime Minister could be put out of office. One of the US visitors commented:
"This is unreal. Four years ago we lost 20 billion dollars trying to take out that fucker, and you're telling us that we can do the exact same thing with a Royal Decree?"
"Yes my friend, that is what I am telling you. All we need is the word of the Grand Duke. He will listen to the Grand Duchess. The Grand Duchess will listen to us. It is that simple. It is that simple because the people of this country love the Grand Duchess and they love the Royal Family. There will be no argument, and the government of Vladim Dukov will be dissolved with a simple stroke of a pen. You see my friends, it is tradition."
That comment was followed by a long discussion about setting up a new government and what role the two Lords would have in the project. Maria Elena understood only a tiny bit of what was said, but she understood that the two Lords would take total control of the government, financed by Mega-Town money. In exchange, they would grant exclusive concessions to Mega-Town allowing the corporation to take complete control of Danubia's natural resources. There were a lot of jokes and laughter, followed by drinks.
Maria Elena was appalled by what was about to happen; that those two hideous Lords were about to become the new leaders of the country. She was not as concerned about the fate of Danubia as she was about her own situation. Danubia she didn't care about, but there truly would be no escape from her horrid life if those two were successful in their plotting with the business leaders.
And the plotters most definitely would be successful, because the people who control the most money are automatically successful. That was what life had always taught Maria Elena Rodriguez-Torres. She saw no reason why this time would be any different.
Criminal # 101025 had lost any hope that she could ever escape from the distorted world into which the Grand Duchess had buried her and the other Royal Servants. She knew that her former Spokeswoman had no control over her. She despaired that her lover could do anything to extract her. As for the Prime Minister, it was apparent that his kindliness was totally deceptive, because has he wanted to stop the transfer, he could have done so. She was at the Grand Duchess’s residence because he had allowed it. Anyhow, the Prime Minister didn’t matter, because he would be out of office soon enough.
What Maria Elena had forgotten, however, was her conversation with the Priestess from the Temple of the Ancients. The Priestess certainly had not forgotten about the young Colombian, nor had she forgotten about the prospect of talking to her about what was going on in the Royal Residence. All of the Clergy's previous efforts to talk to Anyia's servants had been frustrated, but this time the Priestess had made sure that the permission to see a new servant for a confession and counseling was legally binding. She fully suspected that Anyia's assistants would "lose" the letter that had gone to the Royal Residence with the criminal's transfer papers and assume there would be no proof remaining that the Church had any claim to be able to talk with her. Several other such letters had disappeared and the Church, because it had trusted the Royal Household, did not make copies. Well, this time would be different. Not only had the Priestess retained the original with the stamps and signatures, but she had scanned it in color to create a duplicate that looked identical to the original. She turned over the scanned copy to the Royal Household to let Anyia's assistants think that, once again, the Royal Household had in its possession the only proof the Church had the right to talk to one of Anyia's servants. Undoubtedly that paper would be "lost", but unknown to Anyia and her staff, the original letter was still in the possession of the Church.
The day after Maria Elena had gone to the Royal Residence, the Priestess and her superior, Grand Prophet # 4, spoke with Prime Minister Vladim Dukov about authenticating the document. Dukov called in witnesses, including Jason Schmidt, Cecilia Sanchez, and Cynthia Lee, to verify the Priestess's claim that Criminal # 101025 had indeed requested the right to confess to a member of the Danubian Clergy. He personally drafted a letter to the Chief of Police of Danube City, granting him authority to enforce the order from the Danubian Church that Criminal # 101025 was to be escorted to a neutral location, out of earshot of anyone associated with the Royal Couple, so she could speak with her spiritual counselor. An official Church order superseded any order given by the Grand Duke.
To make absolutely sure the Church's edict would be enforced, Dukov presented it at a meeting of his ministers, most of who were perplexed that he would make such a move against his own daughter and son-in-law. However, under the Danubian Constitution approval by the Cabinet was needed to make sure the Grand Duke could not delay by appealing to the full Parliament. On Sunday the Priestess would travel to the Royal Residence and speak with Maria Elena. If the Grand Duchess dared turn her away, she would return an hour later with an armed escort and the legal documents needed to enforce the edict. Dukov's letter included another condition, that Director Cecilia Sanchez would accompany the Priestess as a translator and witness.
Dukov already was thinking past the anticipated confrontation with his daughter. On Friday afternoon he called Spokeswoman Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna and instructed her to draft a formal request that the custody of Criminal # 101025 be transferred back to the Ministry of Justice. The request was post-dated to Sunday the day of the planned visit by the Priestess, in anticipation that the Church would find grounds to terminate Anyia's custody arrangement. The Priestess would have to add her signature to the document, but Dukov was convinced that after talking to the criminal her approval would be guaranteed.
Kim drafted the letter as ordered and was about to walk it over to the Parliament Building, when she heard a knock on the door to her inner office. When she opened, she was shocked to see the Prime Minister standing alone, waiting to be let in as though he were any ordinary citizen or criminal. She immediately saluted him, and he sadly saluted back.
Kim could tell that Dukov was extremely depressed. He said nothing as he sat in one of her guest chairs. While the Spokeswoman prepared him some tea, he quietly read the draft of her letter. For a long time he sat quietly, sipping his cup. Finally he made a very strange request:
"Kimberly, I wish to ask a favor of you. I would like to sit at my old desk for a few minutes."
"Of course, Prime Minister."
Once Dukov had moved behind the desk that Kim now used, he again sat quietly. After a few moments he commented: "You know, when I sat at this desk and this was where I pursued my Path in Life, everything made sense to me. My life...it made sense...but that was a long time ago, wasn't it, Kimberly?"
"It does seem like it's been a long time, Prime Minister Dukov."
Dukov responded another strange request. "Kimberly, I do not wish to hear ‘Prime Minister’ for a few minutes. I would be grateful if you could call me Spokesman Dukov, just for now, just until we leave this office. Spokesman Dukov...that is what I wish to be called. I wish that...because in my dreams and fantasies...it is what I still am...a simple Spokesman...and not...what I am now...a man who works in the most dishonored profession there is...a profession that is even lower than that of a career criminal...dishonored..."
"Prime...I mean Spokesman...you're not dishonored...no one is saying that about you..."
"Kimberly...to be a politician is to live in dishonor...to be a politician is to live in duplicity, to operate in secret, to distort reality to achieve questionable goals...to plot...to conspire...and now I must conspire against my own daughter. What father would do such a thing...other than a father who is a politician and the father of a public figure such as my daughter? Who other, than a dishonored politician?"
"But...Spokesman...it's your daughter who's...doing all that stuff...not you...you didn't do anything...and...all you're doing is just trying to stop her."
"Kimberly, consider this. Had I not become Prime Minister...had I continued my life as a humble public employee...and had Anyia not met the Grand Duke...she would have not become what she is now. She would be in college...or married...and leading an ordinary honorable life. If only I had not become Prime Minister..."
"Maybe…but, Spokesman...you had to become Prime Minister...you didn't have any choice. What would have happened to Danubia if you hadn't been here to lead us?"
"I...I don't know Kimberly. I don't know what would have happened..."
"I can tell you, Spokesman Dukov. We'd have had logging companies in here right now clearing out our forests. We'd be building a super-highway with our own money to make a bunch of foreigners happy. Danube City would be full of foreign cars and all polluted. Everyone would be in debt so we could import junk from China. Our criminals would all be locked up in jail instead of working. We would still be having border problems with our neighbors instead of peace. We would have become just another dependency of Mega-Town Associates, and they'd be even more in control of the world than they are now. We wouldn't be producing anything and everyone would be going out of business and everyone would be unemployed and the country would be broke. That's what would have happened if you hadn't been elected. There is nothing dishonorable about anything you've done. Nothing. You've fought with honor and you've saved the country."
Dukov remained silent.
"This is just another fight, Spokesman. That's all it is...just one more thing you have to do for Danubia. Get Anyia under control."
"Not just Anyia. The Grand Duke as well. He has dishonored himself every bit as much as she has. If there were any justice in this world, both of them would go before this nation's courts and both of them would be condemned to 'Life without Honor'."
Kim was shocked. "'Life without Honor'? You'd actually do that to them?"
"That is what would be fair, Kimberly. A 'Life without Honor' is what should happen to a person who squanders something as precious as the trust our people have in the Crown. When the moment comes for me to confront my daughter, I will tell her that what she truly deserves is a life of serving the pigs. But, I have talked this issue over with the Clergy, and we have decided what would be best for the Royal Family, for the Crown, and for the Danubian people. I suppose that what is best for our people is not that everyone is punished justly, but instead that we resolve this incident with as little stress to our nation as possible. That means that Anyia and her husband will be spared the punishment they truly deserve. They will live out their lives with their current titles, and the nation will continue to look upon them as our monarchs and the guardians of our traditions. However, I will assure that Anyia, and the Dukes and Duchesses who come after her, never again will be in a position to disrupt the peace of our society."
Dukov held out a copy of the Danubian Constitution with a series of typewritten amendments.
"You will notice that the role of the Grand Duke will change under this proposal. The Grand Duke will become a public employee and will have to answer to Parliament. The Crown will become a public service position, with a contract and responsibilities. Failure to uphold that contract will result in dismissal. The Duke's ability to interfere with the affairs of Parliament will be abolished and, as I've stated, the Royal Family will become public servants, no better than someone like my son Vladik, or yourself."
Dukov turned the page: "Here I am proposing that all Royal Estate lands will become part of our National Park System. The Royal Family will retain an advisory role in the maintenance of those properties, but ultimately they will become public domain. Even the Royal Residence will become property of the National Park System. The members of the Royal Family will have the right to nothing except their regular salary and benefits. The household staff on all properties occupied by the Royal Family will be employees of the National Park Service and will not be under the orders of the Royal Family members. The right to hold custody over collared criminals will disappear."
Kim looked over the proposals. She knew enough of Danubia's history to understand the significance of what was about to happen. The Danubian Crown had ceded power to the Parliament over several centuries, always with the idea that if they made limited concessions at the moment, the nobility would not have to make deeper ones in the future. The process started in 1780, with further concessions by the Crown in 1895, 1946, and 1972. The concessions followed a time of crisis or change, but always resulted in further reduction of the real power exercised by the Grand Duke. After the reform of 1972, the Royal Family had managed to maintain the formal right to dissolve Parliament and to retain control of all its properties. Now, a new crisis had arisen thanks to the Grand Duchess, and the result would be a final set of reforms that would turn the Royal Family into ordinary civilians.
Kim had little doubt that the Grand Duke would go along with the Prime Minister's reforms. The Prime Minister's investigators had obtained information that could lead to serious charges against the Royal Couple. The Grand Duke really had little choice because the only alternative was for him and the Grand Duchess to face trial for the mistreatment of their servants. The charges would include rape, assault, human trafficking, prostitution on an unwilling person, forced pornography, violation of a position of public trust, and the violation of the integrity of personal honor. The scandal would shock Danubia and destroy the entire legacy of the Danubian nobility. There was no way the Grand Duke would be willing to dishonor his ancestors. However much he wanted to placate Grand Duchess Anyia, ultimately the reputation and perceived honor of the Royal Family would come first. Besides, the Grand Duke really cared little about exercising power. If he could continue undisturbed with his various leisure activities he would be content with his life. The problem would be dealing with Anyia.
A few minutes later Prime Minister Vladim Dukov and Spokeswoman Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna decided to go for a walk. Dusk was settling over the city and already the streets were becoming quiet as the government employees left for the day. Without thinking about where they were going or what they were doing, eventually Kim and Dukov ended up in front of the Temple of the Ancients. They passed through the building and emerged into the forested park behind the Old Temple, into the holiest land of the nation, the spot where Danubia began thousands of years before. The weight of all that history pressed down upon them.
Kim suddenly felt the irresistible urge to do something extremely strange, given that she was a public employee walking with the nation's leader. She grabbed his hand. He was surprised, but did not resist. She felt driven as she led him through the darkness to a bench near the river. It was the exact spot where she had been arrested almost a decade before. She knelt on the ground, precisely where she had been smoking marijuana when Officer Malka Chorno spotted her and pulled out her revolver. The Prime Minister knelt beside her.
"You know Spokesman Dukov; every time I come here it seems that something significant happens to me and to those I care about. The first time I was here, I got arrested. A year later I came back and Officer Chorno ended up losing her badge. I came back a year after that, and made up with my sister. I came back again and made up with Malka Chorno. I came here again with her, and her husband found her sister's body."
"Yes Kimberly, indeed...an interesting coincidence, if that is what it is."
Kim took a deep breath and continued:
"Spokesman, that is why I needed you to come here, so I can do something significant with you. I want to tell you that...you are the most important person in my life. Not my parents, not my sister, not my husband, not my friend Eloisa. None of them comes close to meaning to me what you mean to me. None of them comes even close to what you have done for me. I owe you my life. I want you to understand that."
Dukov pondered Kim's confession of her feelings towards him. Finally he responded, "Kimberly, you will understand that my Path in Life as a Spokesman for the Criminal was to do for all of my clients precisely what I did for you. That was my calling."
"But you didn't see me as different? Unique in some way?"
"I did, Kimberly. Very much. That I cannot deny. Yes, you were one of many clients, but from the moment I saw you kneeling in my office, I knew that you were special and that because of you my life was about to change. That I did understand."
Kim was not sure how to respond. She was thinking about asking whether or not Dukov felt that her presence in the house might have had an impact on Anyia's behavior, but before she could think of how to put that thought into words, he continued, "Kimberly, you feel that you owe me a debt. That is what you are expressing to me, is that not so?"
"Yes, Spokesman. I guess that's what I'm trying to say."
"Very well, Kimberly. Then there is something I wish to burden you with. I will tell you something that I have told no one other than Maritza."
"You will understand that it was during the Fall Equinox the year after you finished your sentence. It was when my son participated in the Day of the Dead procession with Criminal # 98946. That night, the dead chose to speak to me, and I witnessed something that haunts me to this day. After all this time, I still have nightmares about it. It remains in my mind constantly. Every time I sign a law, or sit with my cabinet, or negotiate a treaty I think about it."
"A vision, Spokesman Dukov?"
"Yes, Kimberly. A vision of what you alluded to when we were conversing in our office. I had a vision and this is what I saw. I witnessed the death of our nation, the end of Danubia. Not only the demise itself, but also how that demise was to transpire. It wasn't just the end that I saw, but also the changes and events that led up to it.”
A frightening change came over the Prime Minister’s expression. He was trembling and clenching his fists. Sweat trickled down his face. It was obvious that he was tormented, but he forced himself to speak.
“I saw what would become of our country if we ever were to submit to corporatist globalization. I…I saw Danubia as an impoverished, polluted, deforested wasteland. Danube City’s historical buildings were torn down and its smoky streets jammed with cars. I watched as street gangs roamed freely, attacking at random. I saw desperate pensioners as they stood outside the dilapidated Parliament Building clamoring for what little the government could provide them in food relief. I walked through the plazas and parks. They were full of drug addicts, and the hospitals full of AIDS patients. Billboards and advertising for foreign products filled the landscape, but from all the closed stores and factories it was obvious our people no longer were producing anything, not even food. As my mind traveled through my vision of our country, it seemed the only industries doing well were casinos and sex tourism. That was what I saw, Kimberly.”
“In other words, what we’ve managed to avoid so far, thanks to your government.”
Dukov nodded. “What I saw was what you mentioned, but then an even more frightening scene filled my mind. My soul was carried east to the recently deforested mountains of Rika Chorna province. I watched as heavy rains washed vast amounts of mud from nearby hills into the Rika Chorna Reservoir. Suddenly, huge landslides plunged into the lake, breaking the dam and sending floodwaters downstream. The wall of water annihilated provincial capitols and many villages. Then it completely leveled Danube City. My last vision was of a Danubian flag floating in muddy water, among thousands of corpses. I caught a fleeting glimpse of King Vladik's empty throne, and then I came back to the Realm of the Living.”
Kim said nothing while she waited for the Prime Minister to calm down. He took a deep breath and concluded:
"To this day I do not know if what I saw is an event that is about to transpire, or an event that could transpire if I do not work to prevent it. The Creator has not revealed that to me yet. But I can tell you that flood was real, as real as us kneeling together at this moment, here in the darkness. I could feel the raindrops on my face...I could smell the river...I could hear the screams of the dying. I watched the Danubian people die as a nation. When I looked back upon that event, I understood that our death really did not come with the flood. Before our people died, everything that was good and worthwhile about Danubia already had passed into memory. The society that vanished in the flood was but a shell of its former self."
Finally, Kim felt that she could respond.
"You know Spokesman, when I was marching the year before, I also saw something. I knew what was going to happen to you, but I was afraid to say anything because I didn’t want to spoil it. I saw you a bit older, speaking in the Central Plaza to thousands of cheering people. I realized that the Creator had something much greater in store for you that just being a Spokesman."
"I do not believe that being a politician is greater than being a Spokesman, Kimberly."
"Then…I’d think that must be the reason why the Creator made you the Prime Minister. Precisely because the Creator knew it wouldn't go to your head."
Dukov felt uneasy with the compliment and decided to change the subject. "Kimberly, you will understand that I am determined to remove your Colombian client from my daughter's house. I regret that she had to go there at all, in the same way that I regret that the other servants have gone there. My hope is that the dishonorable treatment they are receiving will cease by next week. If you wish to take my hands, we can make a request of the Creator. We should ask that by this day next week Criminal # 101025 will be returned to your custody and again will sleep in the house of my brother."
For a very long time Vladim Dukov and Kimberly Annette Lee-Dolkivna held hands and prayed. The request was simple, that the Ministry of Justice would find justification to remove Criminal # 101025 from the household of the Grand Duchess. After they finished praying, the former Spokesman and his former client walked to the river's edge to contemplate the moon and its reflection on the water. They stood quietly for a very long time, not saying anything because they both understood that words were not needed.
Finally they left the shoreline and walked back through the woods to the Temple. As they passed through the main chamber, Kim saw the Priestess to whom her client would confess within a couple of days. The two women exchanged glances and at that moment Kim knew that her prayer with the Prime Minister would be answered.
Chapter 20 – The Downfall of the Duchess
Program Director Cecilia Sanchez spent the following day with her normal routine. On Saturdays she always met with her students to receive updates on their studies and how they were handling life in Danubia. The majority seemed to be adjusting well, and as for the few who were having problems, those problems were routine and manageable. There was no reason for Cecilia to feel uneasy that day.
However Cecilia did feel uneasy, a feeling which only increased every time she met with one of the 13 students who were wearing a collar on behalf of Maria Elena. Earlier in the week she had lied to the group, allowing them to assume that their friend would be better off in the Royal Residence than she possibly could be at the university. She showed them old reports and articles that talked about how well Royal Servants had been treated under the old Grand Duchess and the rulers who had come before her. She had wanted no further trouble from her students, so she deceived them by telling them that Maria Elena was fine in her new home.
Carmen’s counseling session was almost at the end of her schedule, and out of the collared group she was the last. By the time Carmen came in for her appointment Cecilia was so guilt-ridden that she could not look her student in the face. Carmen looked at her director, wondering if she was going to be sick. "Are you OK? You look bad."
“Yeah…yeah. Truth is I must have eaten something…don’t feel good at all…” Great. Now she was compounding lies with yet more lies, something that was considered highly dishonorable in Danubian society. She figured that she would tell Carmen the truth after Maria Elena was returned to the Ministry of Justice, but her motivation for waiting was purely selfish. What she wanted was to avoid any further public spectacles from her students and thus avoid any further headaches for herself. She knew what she needed to do, simply tell Carmen what really was happening and also tell her that it was likely Maria Elena would be extracted the very next day. But to do something like that was not in Cecilia’s character. She was by nature a secretive person who always felt that the less people knew about her affairs, the better.
When Carmen left, Cecilia decided to cancel the remaining appointments. She repeated what she had said to Carmen, that she was feeling ill. She stepped outside into the cool late summer air. At first she thought about going home, but she could not face Victor and the sight of Maria Elena’s empty room. Instead she decided to walk in the direction of the campus Temple, which was an old church that was being used by the university. She knew that her fiancé Jason would be there, working on a routine maintenance project with several other students who were performing Public Penance.
Jason was not scheduled to get off work for several more hours. However, the Priest overseeing the maintenance crew took one look at Cecilia and knew that she needed him much more than the Church needed him. He released Jason and told him to return on time the following day. Jason knelt, touched his head to the ground, and said goodbye to his superior.
Cecilia had a hard time putting into words what was bothering her so much. For several minutes she spoke incoherently about Carmen and other protesters. She hardly expected her fiancé to understand what was going on. She looked at Jason’s youthful innocent face, assuming that the person listening to her was the same naïve freshman she had seen standing in the hallway of the second floor of Huntington Hall five years before. However, she had underestimated him, because during his four years in Danubia he had studied under the Priestess and had taken the teachings of the Danubian Church very seriously. As a result of his efforts, he had acquired insight and understanding about life that few people from the US would ever experience. It wasn’t long before he gently cut off Cecilia and bluntly asked her:
“You feel guilty about all the lies you told this week, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I ‘spose. I ‘spose that’s it.”
“Or maybe it’s not just the lies, Cecilia. Maybe it’s that you told all those lies because you were just worried about protecting yourself, trying to save yourself some embarrassment?”
Cecilia became defensive: “I was doin’ it for the program. I don’t want Carmen doin’ a bunch of shit that’s gonna embarrass the university that…”
“…and so you thought lying was the best way to handle it? You never thought that if you took the time to explain, in detail, what’s really going on, that Maria Elena is in the Royal Household because it’s her Path in Life to go there, that she had to go there so the Prime Minister could get the other servants out…that maybe Carmen might not have reacted the way you thought she’d react?”
“Carmen would’ve wanted to protest. I just wanted to shut her up.”
“You know that for a fact? Did you ask her?”
“No. I didn’t ask her. I just knew she was gonna stir up shit and I don’t need it. I don’t need her shit, Jason.”
“So it all comes back to you, doesn’t it? You don’t need her shit. You don't want to be embarrassed. So you dishonored yourself by deceiving her and all the others wearing collars. Next week they’re gonna know the truth, and the Church is gonna know the truth. Next week everyone's gonna see you for what you are.”
Cecilia angrily turned away. Tears welled up in her eyes.
“Look. If you’re gonna insult me, then you can go fuck yourself. I don’t need you.”
“I’m not insulting you, Cecilia. I’m just telling you that you’ve dug yourself into a very big hole with your students. You lied to them, and next week they’re gonna know that you lied to them. And I’d bet they’ll figure out real fast that you lied to protect yourself, even though you keep talking about protecting the exchange program, which is total bullshit. You dishonored yourself by lying to people who are wearing Church collars, to people who trusted you as their leader. The relationship you might have had with them is now broken, because once you break trust, you’re dishonored and you can’t fix that.”
Cecilia was horrified to hear her normally docile fiancé speak to her with such cold confidence, as though he were a Priest who had spent decades in the Temple. The worst part of it was that she knew he was right. However, she couldn’t bear hearing such a harsh assessment from Jason. Her reaction was typical of her when she felt cornered, she counter-attacked. She tore off her engagement jewelry and threw it at him.
“Call me dishonored? Then you can take this shit and you can shove it up your ass, Jason!”
Jason said nothing, which infuriated Cecilia even more. Not knowing what else to say, she stormed off, assuming that she had just broken off their relationship. Jason calmly picked up the engagement necklace and hair-piece. It took him a few seconds to spot her ring, almost buried in the grass. He did not follow her and he did not try to shout anything after her. The truth was that Cecilia had indeed dishonored herself by lying to Carmen and the others, and she needed to understand that before she could attempt to repair the damage. He simply had told her the same thing that any Priest or Priestess would have told her. It was not his Path in Life to try to comfort her, because all that would accomplish would be to prolong her own self-deception. He loved her too much to tell her that her behavior was acceptable or that everything was going to be fine, when it wasn’t.
Cecilia walked about 100 meters and stopped. She was totally horrified…how could that have happened? Jason…he was the only man she had ever loved…five years they had been together…and now…it was over…gone…just because she was pissed at him…
She looked back. He was calmly standing right where she had left him. He had not chased after her, but he had not walked off either. He was still there, if she wanted to go back to him. But that decision would be hers to make. She would have to return to him. He would not be coming after her.
She knew that she had to go back. Without Jason her life really had no meaning, but to go back to him would be the hardest thing she could imagine doing. To go back would be to admit that she was wrong. She took a deep breath, summoned her courage, and slowly retraced her steps. As she got closer she could see him quietly holding her engagement jewelry in his hands. So, all along he had known she couldn’t leave.
He waited until she was within arms’ length before holding up her hair-piece. She stood quietly as he worked it back into her hair. After her engagement necklace and ring were safely restored to their proper places on her body, he announced:
“I’m taking you to the Temple. Then you’re gonna need to go over to Carmen’s place and tell her what’s really going on.”
The Priestess was at her usual post in the Temple of the Ancients when Jason Schmidt brought in his forlorn-looking fiancé. As usual, he was completely naked and she was wearing a simple one-piece dress that was typical of what young Danubian women wore during the summer. As he had over the past four years, he knelt and put his head on the ground, rising when she gave him permission. Cecilia simply knelt upright, staring ahead with sad glassy eyes.
The Priestess had seen Cecilia and Jason together and separately many times over the past four years, so she knew both of them very well. What was interesting to her was that Jason had changed so much, while Cecilia had changed so little. The Priestess knew why. Jason had been performing Public Penance almost the entire time he had been in Danubia, while Cecilia had not. From the beginning it was obvious that Jason desperately wanted to free himself from the burdens he carried from his past. He understood what he needed to do, and he was willing to take any measure he or the Priestess felt was necessary for him to achieve that freedom. The most important part of the break from his past was his collar. Officially he might have declared himself property of the Danubian Church, but in doing so he had liberated his soul from all of the guilt and burdens he had brought with him from the US. He never could have experienced such freedom had he not accepted the collar.
Cecilia Sanchez’s concerns always were much more worldly. She was a competent and skilled program director, a good student, and a dedicated caretaker for Victor Dukov and her nephew Pedro. She had learned a lot during her time in Danubia, but unlike Jason, her character had not undergone any real changes. After four years of being in Danubia, she was exactly the same person she had been in the US, while Jason had grown and had become totally different. The Priestess could see that so clearly that she wondered how it was possible that Cecilia could be so blind to what had happened to her partner.
Even before she began speaking, the Priestess knew that Cecilia had come to her to confess something she had done wrong, at the insistence of her fiancé. She also could tell that what Cecilia was about to do would be very difficult for her. The Priestess decided not to immediately address whatever it was that was bothering Cecilia, but instead talk about what was going to happen the following day. Even though the stated purpose of the trip would be to obtain a simple confession and counseling for Criminal # 101025, everyone involved in the affair knew that the real purpose would be to find the legal justification needed to get Maria Elena and the other Royal Servants away from the Grand Duchess and her predatory assistants.
The Priestess had her sources within the Royal Household, so she also knew about the strange meetings between Anyia’s two Lords and mysterious groups of visiting foreigners. She momentarily let down her guard when she commented, “The Creator has enlightened me that our task may be much more important than merely addressing what is going on within the Royal Household among the servants. It is not my Path in Life to make idle speculation about the people I work with and the tasks I must accomplish. I have access to information. I am fully aware of what is going on in that house, a dwelling that has become a refuge for the Destroyer. For that reason, I have asked the Prime Minister to accompany me, along with his son Vladik. The father and the brother of the Grand Duchess will be witnesses to her full disgrace.”
The Priestess turned to Cecilia: “The Destroyer has been very active in the life of your friend. You must understand that tomorrow you will be speaking to a person who will be traumatized by what has happened to her. You must summon your strength and not be shocked when you see her.”
Cecilia understood that the moment had come for her to confess her own problem. In just a few sentences she related that she had lied to her students about Maria Elena’s situation to keep them from protesting and causing her embarrassment. As a result, the following week she faced being dishonored when Carmen and the others found out that their program director had deceived them about their friend’s situation. She concluded by saying she was deeply sorry for what she had done.
Cecilia expected the Priestess to give her an angry lecture about the evil of lying, but all she said was:
“You are kneeling here before me, so to me that means you are aware of the dangers of deceit. You understand what you did; you broke trust. I need not say anything more about that. I do know what you must do to minimize the damage you have done, and to regain the confidence of your students. But before I tell you what I believe you should do, I would like to comment about something, something about your country that has always troubled me.”
“What’s that, Priestess?”
“You Americans have a custom that strikes me as very strange. A few minutes ago you used the word ‘sorry’ to express how you felt about the betrayal against the trust of your students. It is not a word I took seriously because I have heard it too often from the people of your country. You are always saying “sorry” for things, for things both trivial and significant. I understand that “sorry” is even posted on signs and recorded telephone messages. If one feels remorse over something one has done, how is it possible to express such sentiment on a piece of paper or a recorded device? How is such a thing possible?”
“I…it’s just kinda the way we do things, Priestess. I guess…so people won’t be mad…”
“So, in your country, people normally say ‘sorry’ when they want a problem they have created to disappear, for a wrong they have committed to be forgotten. But not to actually correct that wrong through their own initiative. Is that not so?”
“Yes, Priestess. That is so.”
“I asked you the question because I expect you to understand that the American word ‘sorry’ is a concept with no meaning. You would do well to abolish ‘sorry’ from your vocabulary and thoughts. There is no point in expressing remorse if that expression is not supported by action to remedy what you have done. Do you understand that?”
“The Creator does not forget, Cecilia Sanchez. A problem will not disappear unless you take specific action to correct what you have done.”
Cecilia cringed slightly, because she knew what was coming. She already knew she would have to put on a Temple collar and perform Public Penance. Wearing her collar, she would have to go over to Carmen’s house and confess what she had done. As difficult as it would be to appear in front of Carmen and her host family naked, approaching her while performing Public Penance would solve one problem for Cecilia. She would not have to try to find any words to apologize, because the collar would do that for her. All she needed to do was tell her student what had happened. Under the traditions of Danubian culture, because Cecilia was collared, it would be Carmen’s responsibility to forgive her.
Cecilia stood up and the Priestess put her hands around her throat to measure her neck size. She wrote a number down on a small piece of paper and handed it to a Temple attendant.
Cecilia knelt. The Priestess looked at her severely.
“Before we go to the firepit and before I ask you to surrender that dress you are wearing, I wish to make you understand something important. My impression is that you expect that I would allow you to perform Public Penance for a short time, as I have allowed for your students. You hope to properly express remorse for your deceptions, and then after the equinox, to resume your life as it has been up to today. That is your hope, is it not?”
Cecilia hesitated in answering, because that was indeed what she was expecting.
“Speak, Cecilia Sanchez. Answer my question.”
“Yes, Priestess…that is…kinda what I was hoping.”
“Then I want you to understand the condition of your Penance will differ from that of your fiancé. He is wearing the collar of his own free will. After knowing him for four years, I trust that he has the maturity of the spirit to determine for himself when it is best to ask for release from his Penance. I do not believe that you have such maturity of spirit. Therefore I anticipate the Creator will communicate to me about the length of your Penance, not to you. If you accept the collar, you will wear it for a long time, not just a few weeks. The winter will come and the cold wind will punish your exposed body. Everyone in your life will see you, day after day, week after week, month after month, in your condition of Penance. It will be up to the Creator to enlighten me when you are to be released, and you are not to inquire about being released until that moment comes. Do you understand me?”
Cecilia was horrified. She had come to the Temple simply wanting to get her problem with Carmen and the other students resolved. What Jason had told her really seemed to make sense: just display remorse by being collared and tell the truth about what she did and what her motivations were for doing so. She would be naked for a few days, participate in the Day of the Dead ceremonies, and then she would get dressed and everything would be fine…or so she had thought…
To the Priestess however, Cecilia’s deception was the manifestation of a much deeper problem in her soul. Cecilia Sanchez obviously suffered from an over-developed concept of self-worth that could only be addressed through a lengthy time of Public Penance that had no fixed date for ending. The first thing Cecilia would have to surrender was the idea that she controlled her own future. She would remain collared for a long time; months, maybe years, maybe the rest of her life. She had to accept that reality and in doing so submit to the Will of the Creator.
“You will come, Cecilia Sanchez. You will come and you will submit.”
Cecilia followed the Priestess to the back of the Temple, with Jason trailing behind. The trio emerged onto the large platform in the rear and approached a circular fire-pit. Cecilia felt a pang of regret about the dress she was wearing, because it would be torn and burnt as part of the age-old ceremony submitting to Public Penance. Cecilia and Jason knelt as the Priestess took two items from a Temple attendant. One of the items was a small knife; the other was the collar that Cecilia would be wearing within a few minutes.
Cecilia stood as the Priestess quickly slit her dress down the front. The Priestess nodded to Jason, quietly ordering him to pull the ruined article of clothing off his fiancé’s body. Another quick slash cut Cecilia’s panties, which Jason picked up. He handed both pieces of clothing to Cecilia. The Priestess prayed for a moment before ordering Cecilia to toss the ruined articles of clothing in the fire-pit. There was a flash as the burning coals consumed the cloth.
Cecilia also had to take off her shoes. A Temple attendant took them away. Unlike clothing, shoes were not tossed in the fire-pit, but still they were permanently surrendered to the Church. If the shoes were in good condition they were given to people who could not afford to buy new footwear.
Cecilia knelt and held the collar in front of her, contemplating the pending surrender of her freedom. She felt totally helpless, much more so than the first time she performed Penance four years before. She began crying as the Priestess placed her hands on her shoulders. A few minutes later the collar was locked on her neck.
Cecilia Sanchez had two tasks to accomplish upon receiving her collar. The first was to go to Carmen’s house and explain what had happened with Maria Elena. Cecilia was extremely downcast as she confessed. Not only was she admitting to behaving dishonorably, but also the lack of clothing completely took away her self-confidence. She felt very vulnerable and exposed, even though Carmen was just as naked as she was. Carmen quietly accepted Cecilia’s explanation. When the director finished, her student had a question:
“I was just kinda curious…how long are you gonna keep your collar?”
“I…I’m not sure. The Priestess said I wasn’t ‘sposed to ask about it…how long, I mean. I’ll have to wait until she says I can take it off.”
“Then I’m gonna keep mine, as long as you have to keep yours.”
Cecilia tried to hold back her tears.
“Carmen, I don’t want you to do that. You’ve got your own life to live. I fucked up…that’s what the Priestess told me. That’s not your problem.”
“You fucked up. But you’re trying to fix it. That’s what matters. So I will keep my collar as long as you have yours, and I will tell her that. The Priestess, I mean…”
Cecilia had to return to the Temple. The Priestess released Jason, but flatly announced that Cecilia would not be going home that night. Instead the two women took a trolley to the outer edge of Danube City. They got off at the very last stop and in the darkness walked several blocks to the last row of houses. Cecilia was terrified, being alone with the intimidating Clergy-woman. When they passed the last house of the Priestess stopped. Cecilia immediately knelt. The Priestess then did something that totally shocked the American: she pulled her dress over her head, exposing her statuesque figure.
“Rise, Cecilia Sanchez. Rise and fold my dress. We will walk, and you will carry my garment.”
Cecilia did as she was told. She took the dress that was the Priestess’s only worldly possession. Once the dress was folded, the Priestess showed Cecilia how to use the sash to properly tie it into a small bundle. With the dress safely folded, the two naked women set out walking in the direction of the Royal Residence along the dark road. Adhering to Church protocol, Cecilia followed about five meters behind the Priestess.
They spent the entire night walking in silence. At daybreak they stopped at a small Temple where they were greeted by two Priests. The Priestess put on her dress and prayed while Cecilia was allowed a breakfast of buttered bread and blackberry punch. Her feet were sore and raw from being without shoes, and she was desperately tired after having spent the entire night walking. However, there was no indication there would be any rest.
The Priestess took a satchel of papers from her fellow-Clergy members, tapped Cecilia on the shoulder, and took off her dress for a second time. She handed her garment to the American. The two Priests approached Cecilia, stripped off their robes and also handed them to her to fold and carry. Cecilia would have to carry their hats as well. Cecilia later learned that it was common for Clergy members to strip off their garments if they had to walk long distances, and it was also common for Temple attendants or persons performing Public Penance to assist by carrying the clothing. The vestments were expensive and the Clergy members were expected to conserve them as much as possible. From the point of view of the Church, it did not make any sense for a Priest or Priestess to walk on a dusty road in Temple clothing, so the garments had to be taken off and carried.
Following ancient protocol the three naked Clergy members and their attendant continued their silent trek towards the Royal Residence. They walked in single file along the quiet road as the sun came up and the mist lifted from the countryside.
As Cecilia continued on her painful and tiring journey with her Priestess, Officer Vladik Dukov put on his police uniform. He kissed his wife goodbye before getting into a police van that he had signed out from the National Police motorpool the night before. He drove downtown to pick up his police partner before he retrieved his parents from the Prime Minister’s residence. The van stopped at the Temple of the Ancients to pick up Grand Prophet # 4. On their way out of town, the van stopped one final time, at the house of Spokeswoman Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna.
Within a few minutes, Vladik covered the same route that Cecilia and the Priestess had spent the entire night traversing on foot. They approached the front gate of the Royal Residence, where the three Clergy members were waiting with their exhausted attendant.
The Clergy members had put their garments back on and quietly standing by the roadside. Cecilia was kneeling. Everyone stepped out of the van and knelt, including the Grand Prophet. The Priestess, because she was the one leading the group, remained standing.
“Oh Creator. We have come to you seeking the truth. We ask only the truth. We seek only the truth. You know what is in our hearts. We ask that we may proceed with humility, but also with the strength of will to carry out this tasking.”
The group knelt forward, touched their heads on the ground, and knelt upright. The Priestess continued:
“I ask something specific of you, Oh Creator. I ask you to speak to us through Criminal # 101025, the woman who was formally known as the Colombian Maria Elena Rodriguez-Torres. I ask that you speak to us through her, and that once you have spoken to us through her, you safely deliver her into our hands. That is my request, Oh Creator.”
The group knelt forward a second time, and then stood up.
The Priestess took the satchel, pulled out a copy of the letter granting permission to speak to Criminal # 101025, and with Cecilia walked up to the guardpost. She introduced herself to the guards. Cecilia expected an argument, but the bewildered gatekeepers immediately opened the gates to allow the group to pass.
Cecilia quickly realized the operation had been carefully planned and had the support from several people working inside the Royal Residence. Two uniformed guards quickly showed up and saluted Officer Dukov and the Prime Minister. They led the Prime Minister, his wife, his son, and his son’s partner to the courtyard, pointing to a badly beaten young man hanging in the pillory. Vladik took several pictures for evidence before ordering the servant to be taken down and moved to the infirmary. As was typical, the punished servant had been left there all night.
Meanwhile, the Clergy members entered the Royal Residence along with Kim and Cecilia. Naked servants and uniformed staff rushed into the main hallway to see what was going on. The servants immediately knelt, but guards ran up to the group with their pistols drawn. The Priestess calmly passed out copies of the order allowing her to see Criminal # 101025 for a confession. The Priestess stated:
“I will pass unimpeded. If any of you wishes to shoot me, I challenge you to do so. I will fall, as any human will fall. But then the world will clearly see which Master you serve.”
The guards looked at the four Clergy members, then exchanged frightened glances with each other. Suddenly they holstered their weapons and knelt. Vladik and his partner entered the room leading several more guards.
“All guards, rise! Under the authority of the National Police of the Republic of Danubia, you are deputized to serve under the orders of this nation’s Prime Minister! You will do his bidding!
The guards turned towards Vladim Dukov, who was just entering the room. The men saluted the Prime Minister. He saluted back.
“Secure this property immediately! I want no one to leave! I also expect that you will detain anyone attempting to enter! I am placing my trust in you, and I expect you not to fail in your duty to the nation!”
Cecilia was dumbfounded by how quickly and how thoroughly the Royal Guards switched sides. They were not stupid; they knew the game was up. It was obvious the Prime Minister and the Clergy had defeated the Royal Couple, because otherwise they would not have dared set foot on the Royal Estate with such audacity. What certainly helped the Prime Minister was the presence of Grand Prophet # 4. To oppose the Prophet was to oppose the Church.
The Priestess turned to a couple of the trembling naked Royal Servants.
“Where is Criminal # 101025?”
One of the Royal Servants, the tall German girl with the tattoo on her ankle, pointed towards the holding cells. The Priestess did not wait. She ordered Kim, Cecilia, and two Royal Guards to accompany her. With the others trailing behind, she quickly strode down a corridor, turned a corner, and descended a flight of old stone stairs.
The Priestess and her four companions quietly opened a very thick wooden door leading to the main basement hallway. As soon as the door was open they could hear a broken human voice attempting to bark.
“Speak, you foul dishonored creature! Speak!”
There was another weak bark, followed by a vicious crack of the belt.
The Priestess silently pointed at the cell door, ordering one of the guards to open it. He snuck a key into the door, and quickly pulled it open.
The scene shocked the Spokeswoman and Cecilia, but it was typical of what Maria Elena had been enduring over the past week. She was strapped to the copulation table, her body covered with fresh welts. She was bleeding at the lip from having been slapped several times. Her hair was undone and her dark eyes full of tears.
The Lord’s other servant was quietly kneeling, but she also had been slapped several times and, like Maria Elena, her hair had been undone. She looked up, bewildered, as soon as the door opened.
The Lord was naked as well. He struggled to pull on his pants and screamed at the guards:
“What is the meaning of this? What is that Priestess doing, violating the sanctity of Royal Household? What is she doing on this property? Remove her, immediately!”
One of the guards responded, “My Lord, the Prime Minister of Danubia is upstairs, along with Grand Prophet # 4. We escorted the Priestess and the Spokeswoman to this room at their behest.”
“What is this madness? You are Royal Guards! Your duty is to serve the Grand Duchess! I order you to arrest those women! They have invaded…”
“My Lord, we will not. We are no longer under your orders. We are serving under the National Police, with the blessing of the Church.”
The Priestess held up a copy of the Criminal #101025’s confession letter. “Lord, do you recognize this document?”
The Lord went pale, but quickly denied ever having seen it. The Priestess commented, “Lord, you are a dishonored liar. You have indeed seen several documents similar to this one, documents we sent with servants that have been called upon to live in the Royal Residence. All of those documents disappeared. We of the Clergy tired of the tendency your staff has for losing things that are important to us, so this time we took the liberty of making copies. That is what justified my coming here today with my translator. This woman will be released, and I will hear her confession and counsel her. You will adhere to your duty, just as I will adhere to mine.”
The two guards pulled out their pistols and pointed them at the still incredulous Royal Official, “You will do as the Priestess has ordered, my Lord. You will allow the criminal to be counseled by the Clergy.”
The Priestess stood straight, with her hard eyes tearing into Anyia’s confidant. The full wrath of the Church was in her expression. “Let me repeat what I just told you Lord, in case you missed it. You are a dishonored liar.”
The shock of hearing a member of the Danubian Clergy calling him the worst thing a person could be called in Danubia momentarily stunned the Lord. Before he could react, the Priestess ordered the guards to grab him and push him into a holding cell, the very same cell where Maria Elena had been kept. Meanwhile, Kim ordered Cecilia and the other servant to unbuckle Criminal # 101025’s bonds and help her off the table.
The Priestess led her entourage towards the exit, minus one guard who would remain behind to secure the area and keep the Lord from attempting to escape from his holding cell. Kim was enormously relieved that Maria Elena was in such bad condition; because there was no doubt that the Priestess had plenty of justification to transfer custody back to the Ministry of Justice. Maria Elena had endured a week of horror, but it now was over and she would have the rest of her life to recover.
The main hallway of the Royal Residence was empty except for a couple of deputized Royal Guards. The guards told the Priestess that the Prime Minister had ordered everyone to assemble in the throne room. When the group entered the ornate chamber, it was obvious that the Prime Minister was completely in control. The Royal Servants were quietly kneeling in formation along one side of the room, while the uniformed members of the household staff where standing on the other side of the room, opposite the servants. It was clear that many of the regular staff were angry or upset but, like the guards, they fully understood it would be foolish to oppose the Prime Minister if he had the support of the Church.
Kim and the Priestess saluted the Prime Minister, who saluted back. Kim motioned for Maria Elena and the other servant to kneel. When Cecilia remained standing, Kim snapped, “You too, Cecilia. You’re collared, so get on your knees.”
Embarrassment swept over Cecilia, because she had totally forgotten that she was naked and collared…and here she was, in front of the nation’s Prime Minister. Of course, Cecilia’s state of undress was the least of his concerns at the moment, but that did not make her feel any better. She knelt with the two servants; feeling totally exposed and remembering that the Priestess had told her she would be collared indefinitely.
At that moment Vladik and his police partner entered the room with the Grand Duchess, followed by four deputized Royal Guards and three additional Royal Servants. Anyia was completely naked, because her brother had pulled her out of bed. Her hands were cuffed behind her back, totally exposing her attractive body. The Grand Duchess was livid with rage and struggled viciously as she was brought into the throne room. When she saw that her entire staff had been assembled in the chamber she screamed:
“What are you dishonored creatures waiting for? Kill them! Kill them! Don’t you see what they’re doing to my Divine Honor? KILL THEM!”
The staff was terrified. Their instincts told them that they needed to rush to the aid of their Mistress, but a quick glance from Grand Prophet # 4 let them know they needed to stay silent.
Vladim and Maritza Dukov quickly tired of listening to their daughter screaming that they needed to be killed. The Prime Minister ordered his son to take the Grand Duchess outside and chain her to the whipping post. “She can scream all she wants out there. Once she calms down we’ll bring her back inside and I will talk to her.”
Maritza accompanied the two cops as they took the Grand Duchess outside and chained her. Her arms were immobilized above her head and her feet were spread and chained to the ground. She was chained facing the post, leaving her backside exposed and totally vulnerable. She was incredulous over what was happening to her and still did not realize that now she was as helpless as any of the servants she had flogged over the time she had worn her crown. Undeterred, she screamed with blind rage and continued to hurl insults and threats.
Anyia’s distant shouting in the courtyard reminded the Priestess that she had not yet taken care of Maria Elena’s confession. That confession was extremely important, because it was to be the justification for the Church’s authorization for Vladim Dukov to move against the Royal Family and occupy their estate. Already the day was not going according to plan, because originally it had been the intention of the Church that the servants would be removed from the Royal Estate before any action was taken against the Grand Duchess.
The criminal still was in shock over the treatment she had received from the Lord and her sudden rescue. The Priestess instructed Cecilia to tell Maria Elena that she would need to calm down as quickly as possible so she could confess and be counseled. Cecilia added, “Whether or not we can get you out of here depends on how badly you’ve been treated. If you haven’t been treated badly enough, we’re gonna have to leave without you. So make sure you tell the Priestess, in as much detail as you can remember, what they did to you over the past week.”
What Cecilia had told Maria Elena was a stretch of the truth, because it was obvious that even without a formal statement she had been treated atrociously. The Priestess walked in on her at the moment she was being raped, which was enough justification for an immediate transfer of custody. However, Cecilia wanted to be sure that Maria Elena shared whatever salacious information she had on the Duchess, partly to justify the release of the other servants and partly to make sure the Lord could be formally prosecuted.
Maria Elena tearfully nodded. One of the accompanying Priests found a small reception room with a thick door that could be locked. Although the original plan had been to council Maria Elena off-site, the Priestess decided that there was no time to move the servant and that her statement needed to be taken immediately. She ordered Kim, Cecilia, and the Priest to accompany her and serve as witnesses. She ordered Cecilia to bring a pitcher of water and a glass. Although by that time Cecilia was about to collapse from fatigue, she knelt, placed her head on the floor, and then rose to go to the kitchen to get water for Maria Elena.
Cecilia entered the room and knelt with the water in front of Maria Elena, who was sitting on an elaborately carved wooden chair. The punished servant gratefully took the glass and emptied it. It was the first time in a week she had not been forced to drink out of a bowl.
The Priestess spoke and Cecilia translated. “The Creator asks only one thing of you, that you tell me of you experiences over the past week in this house. You must tell me what has happened to you. No detail is too trivial. Something that you think is small may turn out to be extremely significant.”
Maria Elena sadly nodded. Under normal circumstances the Priestess would have chided her for nodding instead of answering properly, but she knew that protocol was not something to worry about at the moment. She ordered Cecilia to take a seat. Then she knelt in front of Maria Elena and took her hands. The other Priest and the Spokeswoman sat on a sofa with notebooks and pens, because they would be serving as official witnesses.
The Priestess began by getting Maria Elena to talk about what was happening the moment she was rescued. Within a few minutes the complete story of the Lord’s cruelty and debauchery had been documented. Kim realized that there easily was enough information in Criminal # 101025’s statement to press charges against the Lord for sexual abuse. Additionally, there were other potential witnesses, the other servants with whom she had been forced to humiliate herself.
The Priestess moved on to the first day Maria Elena was in the Royal Residence and her treatment at the hands of Anyia. The Priestess was especially interested in hearing about the incident with the two male servants and the fact one had been forced to perform oral sex on the other, on the direct orders of the Grand Duchess. Kim knew that there was plenty in that incident alone which would allow charges to be filed against Anyia, and the Colombian had witnessed several other incidents that were only slightly less perverted.
The conversation moved onto the more trivial details of life in the Royal Household. Even in the most mundane activities of daily life at the Royal Residence, Anyia’s utter contempt for her servants was clearly evident.
Maria Elena’s portrayal of the Grand Duke was much more neutral. The Grand Duke was totally detached from what his wife was doing, eager to go out with his three servants and play golf, or polo, or play soccer with the Royal Guards. Undoubtedly he was at least vaguely aware of what Anyia was doing with the other servants, but he did nothing to rein her in. He was very attached to her and did not want to offend her, but more importantly, his mind was lazy and he had no desire for any confrontations. However, she never had seen him act abusively towards a servant, which was why those three favored women so desperately stuck close to him.
The Priestess then sought information about the various meetings between Anyia’s assistants and their business associates. She allowed Maria Elena to go at her own pace, because she knew the meetings were far more important for the future of Danubia than anything else Maria Elena had witnessed. The Priestess extracted, in minute detail, everything the servant had seen that proved the connection between the two Lords and Mega-Town Associates. She teased out of the girl’s shattered memory physical descriptions of the visitors and even some names. As she desperately copied Maria Elena’s statements into her notebook, Kim was amazed at how skillfully the Priestess conducted the interview and extracted information.
Kim had expected the interview to end with lengthy prayers, but the Priestess kept that part of the confession brief. There would be plenty of time to pray later. Instead she asked her superior, Grand Prophet # 4, to enter the reception room. With him present, she signed the document that officially sanctioned the return of Criminal # 101025’s custody to the Ministry of Justice. Kim put a metal tag on the ring in Maria Elena’s collar which had the Ministry of Justice emblem on it. Cecilia explained to Maria Elena that, as of that moment, Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna was her provisional custodian. The custodianship would become permanent during a court hearing the next day.
Maria Elena was surprised that she did not feel much emotion at that moment. She would have expected to be elated, or angry, or vengeful, or…something. But she really felt very little because she was exhausted and psychologically drained. The only thing in her mind was that it was extremely important not to get separated from Kim or Cecilia. Until the actually left the Royal Residence, the promise of transfer would remain only that, dream based on a promise.
Kim decided to send Cecilia and Maria Elena to the infirmary so they could get some rest. It was obvious that Maria Elena was terrified of being separated from Kim, but the Spokeswoman and the Priestess had an extremely busy day ahead of them. Cecilia entered the infirmary and immediate collapsed on one of the medical beds. Maria Elena sat next to her sleeping translator. She was terrified of being seized and pulled away from Cecilia. If it had been possible, she would have chained their collars together to make sure one could not be moved without the other. She waited, curled up on the foot of the bed with her arms around her knees, for the final order that would take her away from the mansion where she had spent the most hellish week of her life.
Criminal # 101025’s statement had been taken, but now Spokeswoman Lee-Dolkivna had to obtain corroborating statements from other Royal Servants. She and the Priestess had planned to transfer all of the servants from the Royal Residence based on the initial testimony of her client, but she could not remove them as a group; she had to interview them one by one and the Priestess had to sign release documents one by one. That meant a total of 30 interviews. The local Temple helped out by sending over five additional Priests and Priestesses to help with the confessions and taking statements. The Clergy members would work in two-person teams, one conducting the interview and the other transcribing. If there was anything of legal interest for the Ministry of Justice, Kim would have to be called in.
Dukov was concerned about the paltry representation by the Ministry of Justice at the Royal House; just one Spokeswoman and a few police officers. However, he wanted to keep the affair as quiet as possible and transfer the servants quickly before any scandal broke out. The following day they would be returned to their former Spokespersons and more detailed statements could be taken later in the week. At the moment the only issue that concerned the Prime Minister was obtaining Church sanction to dispossess his daughter of her slaves.
The Clergy members stood in front of the kneeling servants and explained that they had come to take confessions. Several of the servants had wanted to confess for months, but to their dismay had never seen a member of the Clergy. The Priestess told the criminals what had happened, that the Royal Household kept “losing” the confession requests, and used the lack of documentation as an excuse to turn away Clergy members that had shown up at the gate. Then she held up a copy of Criminal # 101025’s letter and explained how the Church finally had outwitted the Grand Duchess and her advisors. When she asked which servants wanted to confess first, 20 of them raised their hands.
Prime Minister Dukov took a deep breath. There was no doubt his daughter’s reign of terror was finished. As he looked at the forlorn group of servants, anger swept over him at that thought that his own daughter had been capable of treating people entrusted to her in such a despicable manner. He remembered what he had said to Kim, that for the good of the nation and the tradition of the Royal Family she would escape the punishment she truly deserved, Life without Honor. However, she would pay for her crimes; he and the Clergy would see to that.
While the Clergy members collected confessions and statements, Anyia remained chained to the whipping post in the courtyard. She screamed insults and threats at her captors, still indignant that she was immobilized naked to the same post where she had so often beaten her servants.
The young woman’s mother and brother stood by, sadly watching her. Maritza finally tired of the spectacle and decided to attempt to get her daughter to calm down by reasoning with her. All Anyia had to do was be quiet and stop threatening everyone, and she would uncuffed and released. Maritza approached her and placed her hand on the younger woman’s shoulder.
“Anyia…Anyia…please…you must stop this nonsense. I assure you that…”
At that instant the Grand Duchess made a mistake that considerably added to her troubles. She spat at her mother. As soon as she felt the spit hit her cheek, the last of Maritza’s patience vanished.
“Vladik, please remove your belt and pass it to me. Your sister has sufficiently dishonored herself and our family name.”
The officer did as his mother requested. He took off his heavy leather belt, removed the various police items that were attached to it, and passed it to Maritza. She calmly doubled the implement, tapped it to Anyia’s bottom, and struck hard. There was a tremendous CRACK and an enraged scream coming from the Grand Duchess.
“No daughter of mine will spit at me, Anyia! I do not care what title you have! I do not care that you are an adult! You remain my daughter and I am not to be dishonored in such a manner by the child I carried in my womb!”
With that Maritza struck hard a second time. The Grand Duchess pulled hard on her chains, as though she expected that her title would force them to give way. However, the whipping post and the belt did not care about Anyia’s title. The cuffs held her as tightly as they held her servants and the leather stung just as viciously. There was nothing more for her to do but scream. Unfortunately for her, she foolishly continued hurling insults at her mother and tried to spit at her again.
“You are the one who is restrained, my daughter. Not me. Spitting in your circumstances is quite stupid, but I guess I raised a stupid child.” Maritza struck again, laying a third cruel welt across Anyia’s bottom. The helpless Grand Duchess screamed, but this time the scream was from pain, not rage.
“Anyia, throughout your adolescence your father and I were patient with you. We treated you with restraint and kindness, even though you were a willful, selfish, and difficult child. We believed that kindness was a trait that we could pass along to you, because your father and I had so little of it in our lives when we were young. Obviously, we were mistaken.”
Anyia screamed and sobbed, while her mother continued: “You chose not to pay attention to the lessons we tried to teach you. You left our household and turned into a person whose behavior far exceeds the simple definition of dishonorable.”
“You chose the Dark Path, my daughter. The Creator gave you everything you possibly could have wanted, and the only thing you did with all those gifts was to squander them and trample them.”
Maritza had no desire to stop flogging her daughter anytime soon. She was a patient woman, but she harbored nearly a decade of resentment, disgust, and anger at Anyia’s behavior. Even so, she would have stayed her hand, because the only reason Anyia was chained to the whipping post was to keep her under control and force her to calm down. No one had planned to inflict corporal punishment on her, but Anyia had done two foolish things. The first was screaming at the Royal Guards to kill Prime Minister Dukov and the others. It was a terrible shock to Maritza to realize that Anyia would have been perfectly capable of murdering her own parents and brother, had the guards acquiesced. However, what finally broke Maritza’s patience was the spit. To spit upon her own mother was the ultimate insult, the ultimate statement Anyia could have given to show how little regard she had for her parents.
“My child, you will suffer for spitting on me. I will make you regret that, just as I will make you regret trying to kill me. You will learn all about regret, Anyia.”
While Anyia screamed and let out a pitiful cry, Maritza turned to Vladik.
“Bring the Royal Household staff. Bring everyone in this household who is not in confession so they can bear witness to what is happening to their Mistress. Remind them that under the rules of the Crown, no one may raise a hand against a member of the Royal Family except a relative. I am this girl’s mother; therefore I am within my rights and my obligations to punish her.”
A few minutes later, almost everyone from the Royal Household, staff, servants and guards, had entered the courtyard to watch the Grand Duchess being punished by her mother. Anyia wailed with despair and humiliation, but she no longer tried to threaten anyone. Her imperious façade broke; she ceased being the Grand Duchess and returned to being Anyia Dukov. She became nothing more than a dishonored young woman who had insulted her mother and was being punished for her misdeeds. Everyone present clearly saw the change in their Mistress.
Anyia cried every time her mother struck her, but no longer did she threaten anyone. She realized that the others no longer saw her as Divine and that no one was coming to her aid. Her mystique had been broken, broken by her own parents. The only reality in her life now was the belt and the pain tearing into her bottom…and the sobs and tears rolling down her cheeks.
Vladim Dukov came into the courtyard just as Maritza was finishing their daughter’s punishment. The young woman’s bottom was deep red and very swollen. Maritza quietly handed the belt to Vladik, who put it back on. Anyia continued to sob while Vladik put his police gear back onto his belt.
Maritza touched her daughter on the shoulder for a second time:
“Anyia…I’d like to release you from your punishment. It is very painful to me to see you like this. But I need to know if you are ready to change your behavior. You have no right to threaten me, or your father, or your brother. And you certainly had no right to threaten and abuse those who tried to serve you.”
Anyia continued crying, but tried to nod. Maritiza continued, “My daughter, a period of your life has come to an end. I want to loosen your bonds, but you have to understand that your Path in Life has changed. You must acknowledge that before I release you. Now…are you ready to be released?”
“Very well, my child…I will let you down from the whipping post.”
Maritza unhooked Anyia’s cuffs. The broken young woman no longer was restrained, but she had to remain standing in front of her household. She was naked, her bottom covered with painful welts, and her face covered with tears. The servants saw their former Mistress as they had seen each other after their beatings. The only difference was that, unlike the whippings administered to her servants, Anyia’s punishment was well-deserved.
A few minutes later a city bus that had been commandeered by the Ministry of Justice pulled up in front of the Royal Residence to take away the former Royal Servants. They would be transported to the Central Police Station and kept overnight in holding cells. The following day they would be formally transferred, re-collared with Ministry collars, and turned over to their Spokespersons to resume their lives as ordinary criminals. They would not speak about their ordeal to anyone outside the Ministry of Justice, for a very simple reason. Dukov announced that as long as they all stayed quiet about had gone on in the Royal Residence, their scheduled judicial switchings would be cancelled for the remainder of their sentences.
Once the bus departed, Vladim Dukov addressed the uniformed staff. “I want this whipping post taken down and disassembled. I also want the pillory taken down. Take the lumber back to the carpenter’s shop and see if it can be re-used for something more productive.”
Maritza took her stricken daughter to a small guest room in the Royal Residence and ordered a guard to lock both her and the Grand Duchess inside the room. Maritza would take charge watching over Anyia until her situation was resolved. Anyia did not resist. She quietly let her mother take her into the small room where she would be kept as a prisoner. She asked if she could have a dress, but Maritza replied, “My daughter; a dress is not something you should be concerned about right now. I doubt you will ever wear clothing again.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was busy talking on the phone with various police officers. The Grand Duke was on a hike and still needed to located and brought back to the Royal Residence. The second Lord assisting Anyia also needed to be located and detained, along with the Mega-Town executives. Later Dukov would need to figure out what to do with the salaried staff of the Royal Residence. Resolving custody of the Royal Servants and locking up Anyia was only the beginning.
While he waited for his police officers to return his calls, the Prime Minister entered the throne room with the Priestess. The ornate chamber was now totally empty. The two officials contemplated the thrones, especially the one that had been used by Anyia.
“They’ve been with us so long, Priestess…ever since the Epoch of the Ancients…the same family…3,000 years…in their time they were heroes, they were considered Divine…and now…what has become of all that…an empty house…a dishonored girl locked up in a room with her mother…a couple of treasonous Lords who will face the firing squad…and a disinterested man on a hike. This is how 3,000 years will conclude…”
“Everything comes to an end, Prime Minister. Three years or 3,000 years…long or short…In the end it doesn’t matter. Ultimately it is the Destroyer who is tasked to bring closure to all…to all life, to all material goods, and to all dreams. The Destroyer concludes everything. You were a fool to think the Royal Family would be any different. You are also a fool to take blame upon yourself.”
End of part 4