Authors: Lizbeth Dusseau
Tags: #Fiction, #Erotica
The Surrender of Lady Charlotte
A Pink Flamingo Publications Ebook Publication
All rights reserved
Copyright ©1999 Lizbeth Dusseau
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
without prior written permission from the publisher.
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Pink Flamingo Publications
P.O. Box 632
Richland, MI 49083
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Charlotte – (pronounced
Sir Malcolm Castile, Charlotte’s father –
Ruler of a tiny realm outside Ilusia
Lord Mountbane, Of Ilusia’s northern Province
Sir Tristan, Nobleman of Mountbane's realm
Mistress Gwnyth, Tristan’s wife
Leonas, a young knight of Mountbane’s realm
Rosaura, Leonas’ betrothed
Tibor, Mountbane’s doctor
Harrow and Sir Ellemore, Mountbane’s advisors
Caius, keeper of the dungeon
Loria, Caius’ beloved slave
Lena & Jontile, the flirts
A devilish sort of morning in the tiny land outside Ilusia… the dank, insipid air seemed to suck the marrow from the bones, the breath from wanting nostrils, and life from a desperate spirit.
Eighteenth birthdays are not always spent in such a vapid wasteland—especially in a landscape as fragrantly lush as this one. But then, most young maids of eighteen do not have their lives capriciously twisted by scoundrel knights and blackguard kin; without warning, their youth turned sour for ancient customs conceived by restless, fearful minds.
In this sad business, Sir Malcolm Castile acted on survival instinct, looking foremost to escape assimilation and loss of title at the fist and sword of a more virile and righteous country. His precarious position on the borderlands of Ilusia had made him a victim, always wary of attack, willing to capitulate to terms no man should accept. Yet, ancient vows so deeply rooted in the guts of this disjoined piece of earth require nothing less than submission to the Lords of Ilusia.
On the eve of his daughter Charlotte’s birthday, when the noblemen and their servants from across the great mountain breached the border—as though on a casual walk through the countryside—no one raised their fist in anger, drew a sword to stop their pilgrimage, or even lifted an eyebrow in disdain. This was simply history perpetuating its stranglehold on another generation of disenfranchised souls—time doesn’t cease, nor does tradition. As the party made its way to Castile’s manor, peasant ladies rubbed their soiled clothes against the rocks; their men with muscles gleaming, hauled firewood for the night; and their children played games with annoying chatter as they ran wildly through the dust. Only a few young maids—with more reason than others to take note of this curious rite—tittered with their friends about the fate of their noble sister. Some glowed with deep-seated envy; others quaked in fear; and still others spoke with a bit of defiance on their lips, as though they might be brave enough to taunt their unwelcome invaders.
“Ah, Charlotte! You look so pretty today!” Sir Malcolm Castile declared. His face was flushed with pride and excitement—and just a trace of dread. But he harbored his fears well and none would show in front of his unknowing daughter.
“You say we have visitors?” she inquired, as she ran a brush through her splendid locks of flaxen hair. Her emerald eyes gleamed beneath her pale arched brows, brightening a pinkish complexion often prone to burn in the sun. Simply lustrous now, her skin, her cheeks, her whole body seemed to radiate warmth and generous love. Charlotte Castile was a fully formed woman with a generously endowed body, even at her young age—all the better, her doting father decided.
“Yes, my dear, our guests will show themselves shortly in my private chambers.”
“Yes, you will greet them with a curtsy and a polite demeanor.”
“Of course, Father.” She looked on him with concern. Mind you, nothing overt crossed his brow that would give away his worry. But eighteen years coddled in this house by an indulgent parent had taught her a good deal about the man’s subtle moods. She knew she was her father’s favorite of his six children—though the reason had never been explained. She could be headstrong and intemperate—a cunning and willful twin of her deceased mother. While her sisters Lara, Comille and Justina were far more nurturing of their father’s melancholy, Charlotte played upon his fascination with her likeness to his dead Miriam.
What a great gift Charlotte had been! What a prize to savor eighteen years! And what a handsome offering she would make for the demanding prince of Ilusia! Mountbane would raise his glass in tribute seeing what beauteous perfection he’d won. Would there be favors for Castile’s small domain because of this? Sir Malcolm’s holdings were never so safe as now—with his daughter about to storm Mountbane’s halls with her teaming charms, making half the great Lord’s holdings hers, and so his—Sir Malcolm Castile’s. What victory! What a small price for peace!
“But why, Father, would we greet these gentlemen in private?”
“A private matter that will soon be public.”
“And what is that?” her curiosity peaked along with her inquisitive brows. Her pink lips showed just half a smile—a measured and thoughtful one as her intuition attempted to discern the truth.
“Your marriage, Charlotte,” her father stated with a pleasant grin.
“What!” She could not have been more aghast—at least her outward appearance betrayed that idea.
“Yes, your marriage,” Sir Malcolm confirmed in a voice as constant as the pillars of oak that held his walls proudly. “The days are ripe for it,” he went on in a softer vein. “Your younger sister, Lara, is already betrothed to Sir Rodney. And now it is your time as well. You have but one duty in your life—to make a marriage that will magnify the fortunes of your kinsmen, and leave a legacy to your progeny. In that regard, I have fashioned a union that will give honor to this household. You cannot reject it at this juncture.”
Charlotte was reluctant to agree. “Oh, if you’ve made a miserable match for me, Father, I will take lovers,” she scowled, turning what had been a pretty smile into a wretched looking expression—though one that reminded Castile of her mother. The furious ache in his heart would not subside. “Or, perhaps,” she stopped her scowling, “I’ll not take your gentleman at all.” She swept around him haughtily. “At the very least, I’ll need to spend some time with this knave to decide if I desire him.”
“Certainly, my darling,” he said in a most placating voice—any real objection from this stubborn child needed to be softly answered as a tantrum could impede his plans.
“And why wouldn’t you have told me before now?” she twirled around declaring, the ribbon of gold on the bottom of her skirts shone like the sun as it rippled in the light.
Castile’s inspection of his daughter almost stripped off her clothes it was so purposely executed. Taking note of the shapely figure of a woman—breasts resplendently pouring from the bodice of her deep cut gown, and hips that flared into the pert but abundant pillows of her ass, gracing the air as she walked; how could a man see anything but a creature ripe to be plucked from maidenhood and made a woman bound by the obvious carnal passions she so ardently manifest? “Ah, Charlotte, you must have guessed by now. Eighteen? You are so… so ready.”
She sighed dolefully in reply, “Perhaps.”
“I see the lust in you, my dearest one. I cannot harbor you forever in my tiny fiefdom. Better you should go to the nobleman who’s earned the right to have you.”
the right?” she snapped off arrogantly.
“My, yes. He and his predecessors have protected my lands for years. I can think of no more apt tribute in this dangerous world than to offer him the finest of my female offspring.”
“You sound as though I were property.”
“Indeed,” he reminded her gently. “Not so much property, but a prized jewel.” His eyes lit in wonder as he spoke this truth, then his expression changed growing more pensive and somber. “You will go with them quietly, Charlotte. The pain of your refusal would weigh so heavily on me, I could hardly bear it.” He looked to her for some response and when there was none, went on, “But I would bear it. That is a father’s task, to bring his daughters to good marriages, or have them disappear in the holy orders, unspent women.” Castile worked hard at his convincing. “Ah! If he is a sour man, then take your lovers. Frolic behind arcane doors, spirit your passions away with as many sturdy bucks as you like. You can have your stable boys, your penniless riffraff, your silly princes. But you’ll have your title, too, and power with a husband who carries the fate of your ancestors’ land in his iron grip. Love him if you will. Hate him if you like. But accept the winds of destiny with grace. There is no purer act that a woman can perform than this one. Accept this union graciously, my darling. You bring honor to me, to my fathers, and, yes, your poor mother. She would have wanted this excellent alliance.”
Charlotte was visibly moved by his passion. The reality of her present circumstance could not have been more profoundly stated. But how it bit like a mad dog at her ankles!
She should run from this like she would run from that mad dog. But instead, she would walk calmly, head bowed, behind her father to his private quarters and receive the gift of her uncommon birthright. What she’d give now to be one of the tittering maids attending the gardens, or selling wine, or cloth or cheese in the market!
Sir Malcolm’s quarters were hardly small. His drawing room easily accommodated the contingent of noblemen and their servants from Ilusia’s northern province. This tiny hamlet was too far from Lord Nor’s eye to be bothered with by this sovereign ruler. Governed by the powerful Mountbane, Nor had nothing to fear at his borders. This remote realm kept the fierce warrior Mountbane content. That he seemed to have little desire to conquer lands beyond his was another reason to leave the man and his passions alone. Once every two years, Nor would appear at the northern fortress for several days of revelry and leave more sure than ever that Mountbane was no threat to his absolute dominion over all the territories in Ilusia. This lusty leader was too taken with his carnal passions, which like an opiate engaged his senses in the real business of living.
The room stirred as Castile entered with his daughter at his heels.
She was a proud one. The six in Mountbane’s retinue eyed Charlotte’s efforts amusedly knowing that the harsh sting of truth would soon crush that pride before it would be rebuilt—in their Lord’s image. Such an exhilarating rush of power it would be to take a woman—nay, still a girl—of such prestige and naivete, and transform her into a worthy subject for an Ilusian sovereign!
She would be a challenge, certainly. They could see her arrogance billow like a cloud about her robust body. Just as they feared, her doltish father had hardly prepared her for what changes lay before her. Then, too, if she’d come meekly, they would have been astounded. No man wishes for himself anything but vitality in his daughters, and so, that is what they breed into them from birth. If Sir Malcolm had been smart, he would have contemplated her fate more keenly, and given her a disposition more suited to the task of service that would be required of her in her new home.
Just as well for them, however, this would be an enjoyable diversion until they deposited this chattel in their master’s hands.
“Castile,” Harrow bowed obsequiously with his smile dripping off his lips.
“Oh, this cannot be,” Charlotte cried, turning away from the wizened face of this hunchback elder.
“Ah, no, my love,” her father rushed in, “Mountbane has sent his emissaries to bring you back to Ilusia.”
She breathed more easily now.
“She will be inspected and properly shackled before we leave,” Harrow continued.
“Shackled!” Charlotte drew away, only to find her father’s long arm reach about her waist and draw her in.
“Shall you quiet your daughter, or shall I?” Harrow inquired.
“My dear, this is customary in such matters. A husband of Mountbane’s stature deserves a virgin.”
“He would inspect me so?” She blanched in fear.
“Tibor is quite gentle, so I’m told.” The old man turned to one of his companions, the doctor stepping forward as a dutiful servant. “I see no need to tarry.”
“No, sir, and I assure you that my daughter is as pure as fresh snow on Mount Elb.”
“Of course, kind gentleman. But, we have a duty to our master.”
Castile bowed as he pushed Charlotte forward into the hands of two burly men—these two not dressed in the fine array of the gnarled Harrow, or even the more sedate and scholarly clothes of Doctor Tibor. Each was clad in rough brown pants, held at the waist by belts of thick animal hide. Their hefty arms fit into sleeveless leather jerkins, which, for their broad and hairless chests could not be closed. Their beefy legs seemed rooted in their black boots, which, in turn, were planted squarely on the smooth floor beneath their feet. Charlotte, daughter of Sir Malcom Castile, was no more than a feathery flower in their fists.
Grabbing her by the arms, they led her to an oaken dining table in Castile’s quarters, laying her back against the surface as she struggled uselessly against their grit.
“I shall quit you, sirs, until your inspection is over,” Sir Malcolm announced. “I fear I am too soft on this one. Please, do your duty.”
“Father!” Charlotte shouted as she watched him leave. “Father, come back here now.”
“Hush!” The decaying nobleman, Harrow, pressed his face toward hers so closely that she could feel his breath on her cheek and smell something retched in that stench. “Your first duty, daughter of Castile, property of Mountbane, is to obey,” he wagged a finger toward her eyes. “You do anything else, you will be severely punished. You follow my order, this examination will be brief.”
Charlotte settled just so the foul man would pull away. And so he did; though she was hardly happy about the next ten minutes of humiliation. She’d heard about such dastardly rituals, conducted by the ancients—no doubt to satisfy their prurient lusts. But never, never would she have believed that her fate would one day find her lying prone on her father’s table, her skirt being raised by cold hands, and a second pair of hands yanking down the only slip of cloth protecting her personal treasure from the eyes of these gawking men. She turned her head to the side and closed her eyes, pretending she was elsewhere—in a meadow, wading in a mountain steam, anywhere but in the midst of this horror. Yet, there was little she could do to ignore the feel of the day’s wind on her exposed vulva where her Venus mound was being thoroughly examined.
With Charlotte’s skirts tossed above her navel and stripped of her underclothes, she was prepared for Tibor. The soft bush of hair at the helm of her female portal glowed warmly, even as the trace of her perfume lifted into the musky air.
“Part her thighs,” Harrow ordered, motioning to another pair of men to his left and right. These two had not the bulk of the brutes who held the woman in her place—nor were they as crudely dressed—still, their task was as malevolent. Striding forward they each grabbed one of Charlotte’s thighs and pulled it wide, bending it as they did. The effect alarmed the girl to tears as she contemplated the embarrassing exposure. Rent apart, her feminine privates were no longer private at all, but on display before this gazing company of witnesses.