Naughty Bard Tales: Cinder-elle and the Magic Nipple Clamps
by Cecily Hawkins
Disclaimer: The characters of the Xenaverse are not mine, and they probably thank the gods for that. This story contains same-sex romatic and sexual relationships, as well as a sprinkling of BDSM, but only in fun. Thanks also to Auntie Devorah and tsunami, for the inspiration. Mars&Moon readership seems to be dropping off, so I'm taking a little break from them to do other things...
Once upon a time there was a lovely young girl named Gabrielle who lived in a fine house with her two stepsisters, their parents having tragically perished some years earlier. (Perishment being very common in those days, particularly among villagers who were overheard critiquing the Queen's fashion sense.) And Gabrielle was a very sweet girl who tried hard to be kind and obedient, but she was constantly faced with obstacles, mostly in the form of her older stepsister.
Now, while Gabrielle was a sweet-tempered lass with softly-curving figure and flowing honey-blond hair with just a few hints of red, her stepsister Callisto was an impatient and unforgiving woman of angular face and stick-thin body whose white-blond hair was kept in a tight braid. And while Gabrielle was most often seen wearing a soft, loose peasant blouse and long skirt, Callisto dressed exclusively in tight black studded leather. (The astute reader will wonder about the other stepsister. Well, yes, there was a third sister, but she was obsessed with bad poetry and given to remaining curled up in her room with a pile of perfume-stained scrolls, where she remained entirely oblivious to the events of this story. If you really want to know, her name was Lila, and she eventually married the Queen's interior decorator, had two children, and founded a religion praising her favorite bard, all of the followers of which tragically perished in a flood ten years later. Which only goes to show you that I was right about the perishment.)
After the demise of their parents, Callisto had taken charge of the household and the directing of tasks that needed to be done. Since Lila was fairly useless for that kind of thing, and doing it herself would ruin the point of being in charge, this generally meant ordering Gabrielle around, and gleefully carrying out punishments when the other girl failed to live up to her commands. She was particularly fond of floggers, Wartenburg wheels, ice cubes, and enormous dripping candles. (And there had been an accident with the candle once that required Gabrielle to sport a new haircut and the nickname of "Cinders" for a while.) But worst (or perhaps best) of all were the wondrous and terrible Magic Nipple Clamps.
No human alive had ever seen their like (and the dead ones weren't talking). Gold-encrusted antiques, they appeared to be. But appearance was not the most important thing that set them apart from ordinary nipple clamps, no no. They were *magic*. They knew precisely when to tighten and loosen themselves for maximum effect, and could be trusted to keep their wearer gasping for breath until Callisto said the Magic Word to make them lose their grip. Nothing else could remove them (and oh, how Gabrielle had tried!).
One day, when good little Gabrielle was laboring to complete the household chores, whimpering under the cruel attentions of the Magic Nipple Clamps, her stepsister Callisto met an unfortunate, if not quite tragic, end in the village. (While there are rumors that this end was hastened by a large rock and a well-aimed slingshot, the witnesses of the event report that in truth, Callisto's dress sense was unfavorably compared to that of the Queen, and she was outraged enough that she perished in a fit of apoplexy. Or so they say.) The tragedy mounted when the villagers carted Callisto's body home in a wheelbarrow and Gabrielle was met with the horrible sight - her despised, beloved stepsister, dead as Vanilla Ice's popularity, and she'd taken the Magic Word with her!
But Gabrielle was, after all, a gentle, patient, and responsible girl. She calmly took control of the funeral arrangements and the household management (which strangely seemed much easier now), all the while suffering quietly under the pinch of the Magic Nipple Clamps. And they were, after all, magic; they never tightened so hard and so long that permanent damage was done to her tender flesh, only a continuing pain. But night after night Gabrielle applied soap and butter and lard and heat and anything she could think of to loosen their grip on her, and they resisted every effort to be removed. It seemed that she was doomed to wear the Magic Nipple Clamps forever.
After about a month of their cruel attentions, Gabrielle had adapted to the point of almost being able to ignore their pinching. It was at this point that the invitation arrived. The Prince (who was not blessed with the Queen's fashion sense) was inviting all unmarried young women of the kingdom to a ball held in his honor, from which he would choose a bride. Good little Gabrielle, of course, didn't think for a moment of how to lure the Prince's attention. Her concern was for something more sensitive. Surely, she thought, the Prince must have a personal wizard on hand who can release these... unpleasant clamps! (For Gabrielle was far too nice to even think a stronger word than "unpleasant".)
The immediate problem that presented itself was what to wear. Clothing was very important at a royal ball, particularly if one did not with to lose one's head to the Queen's displeasure. Somehow she guessed that neither her own comfortable and loose clothing nor Callisto's leathers would be appropriate. (As for Lila, she had last been seen wearing an imitation toga made out of her bedsheet. Forget about Lila. She's not important.) And while Gabrielle had been doing a good enough job managing the house that she was not in danger of starving, she did not have enough extra gold to buy a fancy new dress. Then it occurred to her that Callisto's collection of contraptions might be of value to someone! (Although of course she did not wish to speculate what that someone might use them for.) A transaction with the blacksmith later, she was on the market for a wardrobe.
Unfortunately, it seemed that every maiden in the kingdom had been shopping before her. The only thing she could find left on the racks was a sheer chartreuse slip edged with white lacy frills that would barely cover her heaving assets. The merchant assured her that she would be a great hit at the ball wearing it, especially considering the Queen's appreciation for chartreuse. But Gabrielle's main concern was those horrid, horrid Magic Nipple Clamps. (Being faced with standing in front of royalty wearing nothing but lingerie was enough to make her think slightly more unkind words.) Under such thin fabric, they would surely be visible! Still, there was no other choice.
The night of the ball came, and Gabrielle proceeded nervously to the palace, her padded bosom bouncing with every step. The Magic Nipple Clamps did not take kindly to being encased in soft wadding, and were especially fierce to her poor tender flesh, but Gabrielle had had much experience in bearing the pain.
The ballroom was filled with ladies in endless miles of fuchsia velvet and golden bells and everything else that suited the Queen's pleasure. (Ladies whose attire did not meet the Queen's standards had been turned away at the gate. Gabrielle had passed easily.) Amidst the sea of tastelessness, the Prince in his reserved dark blue stood out like virgin's blood on a clean bedsheet. And much to Gabrielle's surprise, he was headed right for her.
Although she initially attempted to resist his advances or at least to turn the line of questioning to the possibility of locating a wizard or doctor in the palace, Gabrielle soon found herself liking the fresh-faced Prince Perdicus, and she consented to step outside with him for a brief stroll in the night air. All seemed to be going well between the couple until the clouds above chose the moment to unleash a torrent of cold water. Gabrielle's pitiful coverings were plastered and pulled against the swollen nipples and their dreadful burden, the Magic Nipple Clamps. At the sight of their outline under the fabric, the Prince reacted with horror, saying that he could never be associated with such a deviant young woman, and retreated to the shelter of the ballroom. (Or perhaps first to change out of his wet clothes.) Poor Gabrielle, left wet and rejected with rain-chilled nipples throbbing at the touch of their oppressors, burst into tears and ran for the palace gates.
It was then that the dark and daring Xena, chief of the palace guard, chanced to look up from her patrol and catch brief sight of the fleeing maiden, her body so clearly outlined by the insufficient and clinging wet garment, her hair so charmingly blown by wind and rain, her face so unfortunately obscured by dark and distance. And in that single flash of clarity she fell most helplessly in love with the mysterious young woman and was overwhelmed with the need to know more about her (like, for instance, who she was and what she actually looked like). "Wait!" she called out. "Wait!"
But Gabrielle, if she heard the words, only ran the harder.
"In the name of Ares, stop!" Xena yelled, taking up pursuit.
Gabrielle gasped at a sudden nearly unbearable surge of pain from her nipples, but she would not halt in her flight. She ran with all the might of a girl used to being tormented in various creative ways if she could not do her chores in a specified amount of time, and she easily left Xena behind. It was not until she was safe at home that she realised what she had miraculously left behind her.
Xena stood alone, in the rain, holding the two golden implements in her palm, the only precious reminders of the mysterious girl she had lost in the night. Even if I have to go door to door, she thought, I must find the owner of these nipple clamps!
And that, of course, was precisely what she did. Faced with such a handsome and commanding woman, with dark hair and flashing blue eyes, and obviously in search of love, or at least a hot date, any number of young village girls tried to claim the items as lost earrings. One was even so foolish as to grab them and try to fasten them to her ears. Thankfully, the Magic Nipple Clamps *were* magic and knew what body part they were intended for, saving Xena from the unpleasant situation of needing to remove the girl's ears to get them back, since she didn't know about the Magic Word yet.
At last she came to the house of the three sisters (well, all right, two now, and one doesn't count, so that only leaves one to answer the door). Gabrielle was dressed in her casual peasant clothing, looking little like the chartreuse vision of the night of the ball, and of course she had never really seen Xena before, so the identification was not immediate. But when she was presented with the menacing sight of the Magic Nipple Clamps, Gabrielle instinctively cried out and clutched her breasts, which ached with remembered pain. That was how Xena knew she had found the right girl.
From that point on, true love worked its usual wonders, Gabrielle moved in with Xena, and they lived long and happy lives together, avoiding tragic perishment until a ripe old age. And if fervent invocations of the name of Ares were occasionally heard from their quarters, then, well, what of it?
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