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Chained Vengeance (Clare Seven)


Chained Vengeance by Clare Seven

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Elenna was a mercenary, one of the best. Her days as a prisoner in the Riverwake Tower were long behind her, and yet still the horrific memories came back to her. Now, some of those memories returned more vividly than ever, as she took on a seemingly impossible assignment from the Duke of Pylar. Was it really possible for her to free one of the women on a slave galley? She would have to become a prisoner on the galley, her only advantage over any other prisoner being that she could free herself from her chains, and then only when she had identified the prisoner she needed to find and planned an escape. Until then, it was inevitable she would suffer horribly…

Product type: EBook    Published by: Strict Publishing Intl.    Published: 11 / 2015

No. words: 31300

Style: Historical Bondage/BDSM, Bondage/BDSM and Horror

Available Formats: Palm  MobiPocket (MOBI)  EPUB  Sony Reader (LRF)  PDF  MS Reader  This book has a format which can be downloaded to Kindle


Excerpt

“You have some knowledge of the galleys?”
Madame Tremaine’s voice snapped Elenna back into reality.
“I…” she looked across at Pylar. “No. I’ve never been a galley slave, if that’s what you mean.”
She saw the look that Tremaine gave Pylar then, understanding fully that Pylar had given her a full discourse of how he found her.
“But you were a prisoner, and a thief, so you know of… living in poor conditions and how merciless it must be.”
“I’ve seen my fair share of prisons, and rotted in chains a while, aye,” she remarked, looking across at Pylar herself. “Can’t say I’ve suffered as an oar slave, though I’ve seen women that have.” She lowered her voice as she said it.
“Ah, I see. Then you know what it can do to a woman. One who was condemned to some years then.”
Elenna’s eyes narrowed. What exactly was this noblewoman driving at?
“I have seen what the cruelties of forced, hard labour and the depredations of lash… and cock… can do,” she said, wondering if she might get a reaction from Lady Tremaine at her overt use of crudity. Instead, she heard a sharp intake of breath from Pylar. Lady Tremaine merely smiled.
“All the more reason then that you might help me, us, in a mission that needs to be accomplished.”
Pylar cleared his throat, expectant that the foremost thought in Elenna’s mind might soon be voiced.
“The reward, would be something that you might find to your liking,” he said, joining the conversation.”
“I’m not sure, my Lord. There’s quite a bit that I do not have that I might like.”
Pylar laughed, his shaking jowls helping the break the tension that had somehow developed over talk of galley slaves and condemned women.
“Do this thing,” he said, “and I will grant you land, and a title, and you will never have to fear capture, torture or imprisonment again. You might live… and love, as you choose.”
For the first time, and contrary to her training, she flinched. It was plain for all to see, that the statement had hit home. Pylar, of course, had realised exactly what might trip the deep set emotions of her past. She had loved a few men, though her and Pylar’s relationship had been… distant. She had known, of course, that he loved her but had chosen status over lowering his social sights to that of a gifted thief in his employ. He still held deep affection for her, she could tell, and, of course, he knew of the men that she had loved and yet had had to leave because of the dangerous nature of her work and the fact that they might become embroiled in the intrigue, thievery and violence to which she had become accustomed under the duke’s employ. But peerage? Nobility? At least she would free. Would she miss the life of danger that she had come to know? She doubted it.
“My Duke knows ever what it is that my mind sees in my preferred future, at least as I grow older,” she said.
“Indeed. You… always said that it was freedom through wealth that appealed to you most, as is the case with most,” he said sadly.
“Yet my Lord… my Lady,” she doffed her head curtly, “have not informed me as to the nature of this mission.”
Lady Tremaine nodded, spreading the goblets across the drawing of the galley in order to point out certain facets of its construction.
“It concerns my idiot brother,” she said. She sighed as if to accentuate her words.
“My brother is Lord Telmar of Brek. You probably haven’t heard of him. No matter. He is, to put it bluntly, an idiot.”
Elenna nodded politely. In reality she had heard of Mercenary Captain Telmar. His sister’s description was completely accurate.
“He has… had a mistress. A woman not of the nobility – a baker’s wife, in fact.”
Elenna raised one eyebrow quizzically, though felt sure that she knew where this was going.
“The woman is called Sylvie Goras. She is pretty enough, though unremarkable in her own way. The issue, however, is that my brother found himself caught by his mistress’s husband. There was, of course, little that the man could do to a nobleman, no matter how minor. Arlosian law, however, does state that there is much that can be done, in relation to his wife.”
Tremaine cleared her throat, as if dismissing any latent emotion that might play into the words that might follow.
“Her husband is also the guild head in the city – the official guild head, of course, notwithstanding the influence your thieves’ guild might have.” Elenna smothered the smile that was starting to emerge at the naïve slight.
“He had her tried within the full extent of the law. She was stripped naked and put in chains as an adulteress, imprisoned and tried. She then received public beating and humiliation – forty strokes of the cane on the soles of the feet. Horrible, I’m sure you’ll agree, though her husband – a man who clearly had little feeling for her, used his influence and the full rigours of the law against his former wife.”
Elenna nodded in understanding. “She was condemned to the galley?” she added.
“Yes, she was. Ten years at the oar. Life, on reflection, might have been a mercy. Ten years gives one the hope of release, yet is so long that death in chains is more likely.”
“What age is she?” Elenna asked.
“She was over forty summers. My brother’s… predilections, are never predictable.”
“I see.” This time she clamped her teeth tightly against the anger that was emerging – and yet she was normally so in control of her emotions. Damned noblemen and their machinations – and now an innocent woman toiled in chains.
“And so where do I come in, Milady, and these drawings of the ship?”
She watched them pause before continuing.
“One does not simply walk onto a prison hulk and hope to rescue galley slaves,” she said purposefully.
“No, Elenna,” Pylar said. “We were hoping that you might have some ideas in that regard.”
All three of them gazed at the plans of the ship, the parchment a sickly yellow in the dancing light of the candles.
“I can see that you have questions,” Tremaine said. “Let me attempt to answer them.
“My brother… is the heir to our father’s domain. This, some would say unfortunately, places him in a position where his decisions regarding matters for the western alliance, permit him to curry favour. There are limits, however,” she sighed, as if in exasperation, “yet he has refused to comply with what would become a critical vote in the council chambers unless this request is met.”
Elenna almost laughed. “So his sexual proclivities must be sated before he plays politics with, well, if you’ll excuse my term, Milady, those who ‘you’ would wish to manipulate?”
Tremaine’s smile was forced in response, as she nodded slowly.
The discourse that followed was somewhat informal, especially when one considered that it was with a former thief – to all intents and purposes a criminal who might find herself condemned to the galley herself, or worse, had she been caught in some of the regions and principalities within which she had worked. Elenna tried not to think of such things as she discussed aspects of the galley design.
“The fact is that you don’t know where this woman is chained; at which bench she pulls the oar. Look, you can see how the oar benches are fashioned. There are three tiers– the women sitting on the curved wooden ribs that make up the shape of the hull. They’re scarcely benches at all.”
She paused, her mind wandering to consider just what it would be like to sit chained in the hellish hold. She could see how the drawing outlined a catwalk that traversed the length of the lower deck – the rowing deck, from stern to prow. She shuddered as she imagined overseers with whips who would walk the raised area, savagely whipping those women who either did not keep sufficient rhythm, or who they simply wanted to be cruel to.
“We can give you a description. In fact, my brother commissioned a portrait to be painted.”
Tremaine snapped her fingers as a guard moved to one side and lifted a rolled-up length of canvas, unfurling it further down the table.
The artist had rendered a suitably detailed piece, even if the apprehension on the woman’s face showed through in his reproduction of her. She seemed strong; perhaps as Tremaine had alluded to, being to wife of the city’s guild baker, she had conceivably seen a life of labour and drudgery, helping her husband at all hours of the day and night. It was little wonder that the attraction of a minor noble, no matter how unseemly, would have seemed a better option for her.
She also noted that the woman in the portrait was nude. There was a birthmark under her right breast, which made her quite distinctive however.
“You note the birthmark. It’s how you might recognise her,” Tremaine added.
“Aye, she’ll have been branded on that breast – her years of service. A large ten.”
Pylar canted his head, though Tremaine never caught his gaze.
“You know something of these things?”
“I was never a galley slave, if that’s what you mean,” she said slowly, “though I’ve seen what happens to women there. She might even live for ten years in that hell, though the woman that emerges from chains will not be the same person.”
“All the more reason why my brother wants… would like to have her rescued.”
“And with his voice in court, you might achieve more of your… aims, Milady?”
She nodded imperceptibly, as Elenna realised that she had not only perhaps gone too far, but had also hit the mark with regard to her own part in all of this. Tremaine could have had her taken away, stripped and chained in some dank dungeon, then publicly whipped in the town square, for her words, yet Elenna knew that Pylar’s influence was too great, and in addition, they needed her to rescue her brother’s mistress.
“It won’t be easy getting onboard,” she said, looking at Pylar this time.
“No, Elenna. That is why I employ the best,” he smiled.
She could sense Tremaine’s displeasure as their eyes locked. In fact, she knew that Tremaine’s permission for this little mission to continue was dictated more by the requirement for her brother’s compliance in whatever political negotiations they were to be a party to. She would undoubtedly have preferred not to have her husband once more have contact with a woman who appeared, at least on the surface, to be a former lover.
She simply smiled back at him.
“There is one way.” Tremaine interrupted the moment.
“Yes, there is,” Elenna echoed, tracing a finger along the galley deck.
Tremaine continued, “Obviously there would be difficulties inherent in your getting onboard, in your current guise, then getting the woman unlocked from her chains, in the midst of other chained women, then getting off the ship again.”
“Of course,” Elenna remarked. Tremaine had clearly seen the issue. It was all very well getting onboard. She could swim in the vile waters near Arlos, board the vessel, slip past the guards – all without incident. Once she got to the galley deck, however, there would be hundreds of women, all locked in chains, all wanting to be freed, and all clamouring for said freedom. It would be difficult to firstly find the baker’s wife, and then nigh impossible to free her without incident.
“Our issue is that we have no agents aboard the vessel. It is run by the guild of prisons, who are…” she sighed, “somewhat difficult to deal with. Port Gaol is one thing, but this prison hulk, quite another. They take their incarceration of prisoners quite seriously in Arlos.
“Though, as I say, we can get you onboard.”
“Aye,” Elenna remarked, slowly looking up, “as a slave.”
Tremaine nodded, realising that the other woman had been thinking along the same lines. It was Pylar who had been seemingly slower on the uptake.
“What? I don’t understand? Elenna would be a slave? A galley slave?”
“It’s the only manner in which she might gain easy access to the prison hulk and, indeed, determine where the baker’s wife is chained, before escaping.”
“Wait. These things are designed to be inescapable for prisoners. Isn’t that the whole point?” Pylar grunted, exasperated, as if only he could see the obvious flaw in the plan that both women seemed to be agreeing upon.
“Yes, my love.” The words seemed forced as Tremaine uttered them. Elenna was reminded of how a marriage of convenience might sound. “But as you have pointed out, you know Elenna of old, and how effective she can be.”
Elenna nodded. “You know if anyone can be put in chains as a galley slave and escape, I can… my Lord.”
“Yes, my… Elenna.” He cast a furtive glance at Tremaine as he said it. “You… imagine that you can escape?” he said.
“For my freedom, for nobility, a chance at a real life? Yes, I think I can.” She had not meant to say the words, to let the mask of emotionless impassivity that she had been taught to put up, slip so easily – yet she had done it, and both Tremaine and Pylar had noted it. She realised as she saw the impact of her words that even the guards had noticed that moment of honest clarity!


Author Information

Clare Seven comes from one of the remoter parts of the United Kingdom. She writes erotic fiction, often involving dark, dank dungeons and exploring the relationship between pain and pleasure. Her scenarios are often wicked and, at times, downright terrifying, although she claims that many of her ideas come from the twisted fantasies of her ex-boyfriends rather than from her own imagination or experiences.

When she is not writing or dreaming up new and ever more devious plots for her novels, Clare is a management account and spends her spare time training and taking part in triathlon events.

 

Publisher Information

Publishers of erotic and mainstream literature.


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