VIOLENT/NON-CONSENSUAL SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: It is a story portraying a Conqueror/slave relationship, so it would appear non-consensual at first. As for sexual violence, there are scenes (In parts 3 and 4) which are detailed and graphic, and may not suite some readers.
Other Disclaimers: See Part 1
SPECIAL THANKS : My humble most ardent gratitude to the excellent, most brilliant Beta readers nancyjean and alexandriaruth , whom I can't thank enough.
Comments & Feedback : MOST WELCOMED – The more you write me, the quicker I post.
The Conqueror was sitting at her desk inside her tent at the outskirts of Cyra. Two oil lanterns gave off a soft orange glow. Outside everything was quiet, aside from an owl hooting in the distance. Troops of her Imperial Gourd were sleeping in their bedrolls around the campfires and the night guards patrolled the parameter. She reached for the letter carrying the Queen's seal first, and traced the grooves in the red wax with her fingertips. After opening it, she brought it to her nose to see if she could catch the familiar fragrance of her wife she so longed for.
My Lord, my Lion,
I thank you my Lord, for trusting your Realm in my unworthy hands. Although, I wish you were here to grant me the benefit of your wisdom. I'm but a poor substitute for my Lord and I often meet with Chin's ambassador to the Realm who provides me with fine and trustworthy council. I am sure my Lord would be pleased to learn that he has sent for Princess Lao-Ling's personal healer to attend me until after I have given birth.
I am glad to say matters of state do not trouble me greatly. Most issues aren't urgent and will keep until after my Lord has returned.
My Lord's province, Egypt wished to negotiate the price of grain and raise it again. I am glad to report that my Lord's governor of Egypt reconsidered after I informed him that we would consider raising the prices for grapes and wine in return. It was agreed upon that the price of grain would be secured for the next two years at the current rate.
I hope that you're successful in your mission, my Lord. I cannot understand what madness possessed nobleman Perous. What would behoove him to resort to violently rebel against you and incite your subjects to revolt against you as well, my Lord? I know not. Surely he must know that he doesn't stand a prayer against my Lord and that there can only be one outcome, his inevitable demise. I cannot help but wondering whether there is another aspect to these recent events that is unknown to me yet.
I also wish to thank you, my Lord, for the hospice you've built in Macedonia as a gift to me as promised. It was reported to me that it is very large and very ingeniously built. Also, that it is endowed with beds and other furniture and with the best tools of a healer's trade, including healing herbs from all around the world. It is a monument to my Lord's infinite generosity. I have yet to visit it although I am anxious to witness it with my own eyes, but I thought it ill advised and imprudent to travel to Macedonia in my condition.
I wish to put my Lord's concern to rest and let you know that I'm well taken care of, both I and our child growing inside of me are well and in good health. My belly grows with each day that passes and I wish my Lord could be here to see it.
Although my Lord's absence has not been long yet, the want of your presence means that I cannot take pleasure in anything until I hear from my Lord. Time hangs heavily. Admiration and passion compels me to desire your presence every moment of the agonizing long days. I wait longing for your safe and triumphant return to my arms and my bed, my Lion.
Your true, obedient wife and servant,
When she finished reading the letter, the Conqueror took a quill and wrote a letter to her Queen as well. When she was done, she sent for the courier .
Since the Conqueror's departure, the Queen was consumed by longings for her Lord's return. Since their wedding, the Conqueror and the Queen never slept apart, and like any cherished thing it was easy to get used to and hard to do without. Now, with the Conqueror at Cyra, sleeping in their bed made the Queen miss her Lord even more and so she'd rather sleep in her own bedchamber at her suite. Nevertheless, each and every night she would lie naked in their Imperial bed even though it made her feel immensely alone, in the hopes that that night would be the night her Lord would finally return to her.
As she lay in their bed and rubbed oil over her growing belly to keep her skin from starching and hanging loose after she gave birth, a knock on the door pulled her out of her ritual. Knowing it wasn't her Lord, for the latter would not knock on the door before entering, she got up and covered herself with her light nightgown.
“Enter,” she called.
“Majesty,” said Satrina as she entered, “Forgive the intrusion at such a late hour, but a letter for you has arrived from the Lord Conqueror and I thought you wouldn't want to wait till morning.”
"Thank you so very much, Satrina. You did well coming here."
With trembling hands the Queen opened the letter carrying the Conqueror's seal and as her eyes recognized her Lord's handwriting she failed to notice Satrina had left the Imperial suite.
I am very pleased to learn that both you and our child are doing ever so well and that such a capable Queen rules the Realm. Your wonderful letter has afforded me much needed peace of mind.
Soon after my arrival to Cyra, I addressed our subjects and gave them my word that I would not hold a grudge against them. I would not seek revenge on those who would lay down their weapons and stifle their unjust and illegitimate rebellion against us. My heralds carried that message throughout the province. I am pleased to say that most of our subjects in Cyra, as I suspected remained true and loyal to us. Most of those who were disloyal laid down their arms and abandoned all notion of mutiny.
The Imperial Guard under my command fought against those who maintained their traitorous stance. It was nothing short of a bloodbath, for mine are trained warriors and Perous' followers were mostly misguided civilians and a handful of mercenaries. It was with grave heart that I struck the former down. Mutiny is infectious. I had to put a swift and decisive end to it before it spread to other provinces like a plague.
How clever you are, my sweet Gabrielle. Perous never thought he could overpower me on the battlefield and succeed where great nations such as Britannia, Gaul and Persia failed. As I suspected before leaving Corinth , he used the people of Cyra as a distraction from his main goal. He hired a few notorious assassins to kill me.
Your tactic of delaying him afforded me much needed time to apprehend those who were commissioned to do the deed and before I arrived at Cyra the threat had already been lifted.
I didn't tell you beforehand because I didn't wish to upset or worry you.
Perous is still at large but he is close within my grasp. I wager he didn't design this plan on his own. He is not that smart or sly, merely a skillful administrator. I distinctly sense the presence of an unseen hand that is moving Perous like a game piece on a board. He had help to be sure, but from who has yet to be revealed.
As for the hospice, you needn't thank me. It is I who need to thank you for asking me to build it. I give you my word that we shall visit it after the birth of our child.
I have never written a letter to a wife waiting for my return from the battlefield. I have neither your talent for words nor your poetic soul, so please forgive this glorified warrior for this inadequate correspondence. I will tell you this, never before have I desired to return home from the battlefield as much as I desire to now.
I will return to you before long, dear wife.
Tears of joy and relief streamed down the expecting Queen and she kissed her Lord's seal upon the letter and began to read it over and over again.
A couple of days later, just before noon, two of the Queen's ladies in waiting, Lady Satrina and Lady Messalina, attended the Queen in the Imperial chambers.
"Your Majesty, may I speak freely?" asked Lady Messalina as she fastened the clasp of the necklace around the Queen's neck.
"Please do," replied the Queen.
"I've heard rumors… perhaps, I shouldn't say anything…"
Lady Satrina pricked her ears and couldn't shake the feeling that something foreboding was about to occur.
The Queen shared Lady Satrina's feeling and immediately sealed her features, and outwardly exhibited her perfected indifference. "What rumors?"
"The Lord Conqueror has taken some young lass to her bed… She was seen entering the Imperial tent by the Conqueror's orders."
The Queen felt her heart sinking inside her chest.
"We mustn't pay heed to such vicious and immaterial rumors," she said with an even tone of voice and furthered away from Lady Messalina. "Thank you Messalina, you may take your leave now."
When only the Queen and Lady Satrina remained in the Imperial chambers, the Queen suddenly felt a sharp internal pain in her lower abdomen. She felt her legs giving out from under her, utterly alarmed at the notion that there was something terribly wrong with either her or the child. A gripping terror started gnawing at her that she might miscarry or even worse.
Lady Satrina rushed to her Queen's aid and supported her, but the Queen already had regained her composure and signaled to her that there was no cause for concern.
"I'm so sorry, your Majesty," was all Satrina could offer to console her Queen, dear friend and benefactor, as she guided her slowly to bed.
Lady Satrina carefully helped the distressed Queen to bed. The Queen placed a gentle hand over her lady's forearm and said, "Do not be sorry for me, dear Satrina. I have many reasons to be happy."
But Satrina couldn't bring herself to feign a smile. "Rest now, Majesty. I shall fetch the healer then stay here with you until he comes."
"Promise me something," the Queen took her devoted friend's hand in hers, making it harder on the latter to refuse her anything. "If anything should happen to me…"
"Majesty, nothing is going to happen to you." Lady Satrina did her best not to exhibit the resurface of previous panic from moments before, and intentionally shut her mind to the possibility that she should suffer the loss of her beloved Queen and friend.
"If anything should happen to me, be a comfort to my Lord."
"A comfort?" questioned the Conqueror's former body slave, though she understood the meaning of the Queen's words only too well.
"If you are so inclined…" rasped the Queen.
"Majesty, if Gods forbid anything should happen to you, there isn't a woman or anything else on earth that would be of any comfort to the Lord Conqueror," Lady Satrina said with ardent conviction.
But the Queen remained steadfast in her view. "That is very kind of you to say… Nevertheless, promise me…"
"I promise, Majesty," lady Satrina finally gave in.
"You mustn't speak to anyone about what happened here. If rumors from Cyra reach the palace then surely rumors can find their way from here to Crya, and I don't wish to disturb or distract my Lord," said the Queen to her trusted subject.
After receiving word from sources regarding Perous' whereabouts, the Conqueror left camp alone to confront him. As reported, she found him hiding in an abandoned barn at the outskirts of Cyra dressed as a peasant. He appeared weary and frightened. It was evident that he hadn't bathed in days.
"Majesty," Perous said when he saw his Sovereign standing at the entrance with her sword unsheathed.
"Was it worth it?" the Conqueror asked.
"I acted foolishly, your Majesty. I beg you for mercy," he pleaded.
"Kneel when I speak to you," the Conqueror's voice roared and he immediately fell to his knees before her.
"I only wished to return to your Majesty's good graces," he went on to explain his actions while kneeling down in the mud, but his words fell on deaf ears.
"Name your accomplices!"
"On my life, I don't know, Majesty. After I had been stripped of my position as your Majesty's governor to Cyra, I began to receive anonymous letters to my place of abode egging me on to claim back what I had lost. The letters were left during the night along with a few purses of gold that enabled me to put the plan suggested in the letters in motion. On my wife's and children's lives, if I knew who it was that had written the letters I would tell your Majesty."
The Conqueror knew that lying demands greater effort to maintain concentration and consolidation of mind, and intimidation proved to be highly conducive to truth telling, or at the very least, bad lying. Therefore, she was confidant he had spoken the truth when she saw him kneeling in a puddle of his own urine with his trousers stinking wet with it.
"Your little adventure took me away from my pregnant wife and deprived her of my presence. I will tell you this, it's not that she's an unworthy Queen; it is you, her inferior, who is unworthy of her." The Conqueror sneered as she sheathed her sword, drew out a dagger from her leather boot and launched it into the ground before him.
"I was too proud and extremely foolish, your Majesty."
"It is peculiar that your disrespect towards her Majesty the Queen vexed me more than your rebellion against me. Knowing that unlike ours, her heart is good and pure. She wouldn't want blood to be shed in her honor, not even yours. I will grant you a noble death in spite of the fact that clearly, you don't deserve it. Open your stomach," the Conqueror said and pointed down at the dagger, which was imbedded up to the hilt in the urine soaked ground.
"Thank you, your Majesty. I hope that your Majesty would forgive any trespasses I've committed against you Majesty and the gracious Queen," he said, then took the dagger and did as his Master commanded .
When his gurgling ceased and Perous lay dead on the ground in a pool of his own blood and piss, the Conqueror tied his body to her mare. Thinking her subjects needed to see with their own eyes the consequences of defying her she headed back to camp.
Meanwhile, in northern Greece , in a desolated tavern on the border between two of the Realm's provinces, Philippi and Macedonia , Nobleman Verosus and Nobleman Marton shared a pitcher of cold domestic ale.
"My sources tell me that the Conqueror quelled the mutiny in Cyra," Nobleman Verosus, the Conqueror's governor to Philippi , informed his fellow nobleman.
"Of course she did. There was never any doubt that the Conqueror would," replied the Conqueror's grey-haired governor to the neighboring province. "The people of Cyra love the Conqueror and love the Queen even more, for they perceive her as one of their own, a commoner."
"Then what was the point of all this? We both departed with a substantial sum to finance Perous' doomed adventure," Nobleman Verosus said in anger and slammed his mug onto the table.
Nobleman Marton chuckled when he saw his partner so livid. "Calm yourself, brother, Perous isn't the primary pawn in this game."
"Who, then? Explain yourself. There is nothing I detest more than losing my hard earned fortune."
"The only source of power women have in this world, except for the Conqueror obviously, lays between two things only, their legs. One of the Queen's ladies in waiting, Lady Messalina, has a young daughter," Nobleman Marton spewed the word 'Queen' like venom out of his mouth, "…A pretty young thing with golden hair, just like the Conqueror's fancies, and as we speak said daughter is making her way into the Conqueror's tent." He didn't conceal his self-contentment as he rubbed his fat belly.
"I don't understand," Nobleman Verosus insisted.
"Of course you don't. My source in Cyra divulged the details of Perous' whereabouts to the Conqueror and I trust the Conqueror is probably on route by now, if she hasn't killed Perous already. When she returns to her tent after full victory is cajoled, she'll be riddled with battle-lust. With the Queen far away and pregnant, she is bound to take Lady Messalina's daughter and word of it will reach the Queen in Corinth ." Nobleman Marton rubbed his hands together in satisfaction.
"What of it?"
"Lady Messalina told me that the Queen seems to bear great love for the Conqueror. To quote her, ‘When in the Conqueror's presence, she lights up like a summer sun in Africa .' How pathetic is that, I ask you!?”
Nobleman Verosus nodded his head in agreement.
Nobleman Marton continued, “When the Queen finds out about the infidelity… Well, you know what pregnant women are like… discord between the Queen and her Lord is guaranteed and the Queen's fall from grace will soon follow."
The barmaid served the noblemen a couple of roasted chickens with onions they had ordered. Nobleman Marton was the first to reach for the platter. He tore one of the bird's legs and ripped the flesh straight from the bone with his teeth.
"What makes you so sure that the Conqueror would take the nubile daughter of Lady Messalina?"
"It's in the Conqueror's nature," he answered while his mouth was busy masticating the meat. "I fought alongside her years ago. I've seen what the Conqueror is like when she returns after victory is achieved… It's like the war is following her still, like some parasite is in her blood and her tent becomes a secondary battle-zone. She always used to have some wretched lass at her disposal. Let me tell you, brother… the sounds that usually emanate from her tent used to chill the blood in my veins and invoke pity for the poor soul even in a heart such as mine."
Nobleman Verosus burst into laughter and refilled his partner's mug to the brim.
"How did you manage to persuade Lady Messalina to subject her daughter to such horror and disgrace?" asked Nobleman Verosus.
"A year ago, I was most fortunate to discover that Lady Messalina had, shall we say illicit dalliances behind her husband's back. Fact is, she was engaged in feverish fornications with several men. She sacrificed her daughter to keep her secret from reaching her husband and provider."
"You extorted her…"
"Naturally," confirmed Nobleman Marton.
"You are one cold fish," Nobleman Verosus shook his head.
"With Lady Messalina's daughter available to the Conqueror and with her stunning looks, the Conqueror might discard the Queen and take a liking to Lady Messalina's daughter. She'll be by far more easily manipulated than the current ruling harlot on account of what I hold over her mother's head."
"So the mutiny…?" asked Nobleman Verosus.
"A ruse, just for the purpose of boiling the Conqueror's blood with lust…" smirked Nobleman Marton.
"You are a fiend, my friend, I'll grant you that. Perous… what a sad dog," concluded Nobleman Verosus. " He still doesn't know it was us who sent him the letters and purses, does he?"
"Honestly, do you peg me for a fool?!"
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