After a luxurient night spent wrapped around the peach skinned body of Naphtalie, the men were surprised to awaken and find her missing. Three things were disturbing about that. Firstly, how in the three kingdoms had she gotten up out of bed without either of them knowing? Secondly, both he and Gavin were now in the bed together alone and naked, which was not a desirable situation at all. Thirdly, where on earth was she since her gown and stays still lay spread over the chaise lounge by the window – her pearl studded silver slippers cast aside similarly.
They blinked at each other, then abruptly rolled over, to sit on opposite sides of the bed.
‘Where do you think she is? Said Gavin, avoiding his gaze and hastily pulling on his breeches.
Ryleigh stared hard at his deerskin boots that he was struggling to lace since his workworn hands had not yet caught up with the rest of his fully awake body. ‘Somewhere, where clothes aren’t required?’ he ventured, pursing his lips in concentration.
‘So likely t’will be the bath or another bed then.’
They knew which of those options was the most likely. So they set about visiting the chambers of the most likely candidates, strategically opting to leave her cousin Sophia’s till last. They were right to do so. For, from within the room of stallion number two, or Daniel as he was commonly known as to kith and kin, they could hear sounds of a most concupiscent nature.
‘Shall we just leave them to it?’ suggested Gavin, realising from the noise that the Queen had the other three stallions with her.
‘Indeed we will not.’
Ryleigh boldly rapped the door. The cacophony of moaning and grunting halted. After several moments the door creaked open and Daniel peered around the door.
‘What do you want?’ he said brusquely.
‘We’re here to make sure her Majesty is alright,’ said Gavin. ‘We awoke to find her gone.’
Daniel laughed. ‘Did you really? Well, she’s perfectly alright now. Utterly perfect. At least some of us can do our job properly.’
Before they could form a fitting response he slammed the door in their faces, to return to what they could only imagine was a three way airtighting of the Queen.
Ryleigh turned and strode down the hall snarling at everything in his path. ‘Impudent whelp. He’ll regret that.’
Gavin, trotted after him. ‘What shall we do?’
Ryleigh puffed out his chest as was his habit when beset by high emotion. ‘Fuck her better than the rest, that’s what. The first chance we get. Whatever she asks, we will do. Without hesitation.’
These words made a huge impression upon Gavin. When she and her cousin joined the rest of the entourage for the short journey into Jarlsgard later that morning, he wondered what secrets she hid beneath the great black hooded cape she wore. He watched her closely. Did the seed of the three other stallions linger still inside her womanhood only to drip out like candle wax down her thighs as they rode? Was their skin furled like tiny parchment scrolls beneath her nails, from the raking and scoring of their flesh as they copulated? Was her pussy reddened and tender from the triune rutting, her rose coloured pearl raw and overserviced? His member stiffened at these heated imaginings and as he subtly adjusted his throbbing shaft, he told himself that he would verily take Ryleigh’s advice. The first chance he got he would distinguish himself from the rest of them both inside the bedroom and out. His time would come, he thought to himself, he would make damn sure of it.
When they arrived at the tournament a half hour later, all was revealed as to what lay under the sinister black cape. Laced tightly to her lithesome body was a full suit of obsidian polished leather. On her elbows, shoulders, torso and thighs, filigree armour of the lightest, finest quality sheathed her. She sat grandly in an ornate golden throne having already been divested of her cape by her ladies. To her left and right the Seed Bearers watched the way the leather molded to her hips and ass as she took her place in their midst. The Queen never looked at them directly but they knew she knew their eyes were upon her. They could tell by the mischievous tilt to her lips. All that was forgotten though when the Master of the Tournament took his place in the arena below.
‘My Queen,’ he bellowed, bowing deeply then spreading his arms wide. ‘And the Queen’s much beloved people. I do welcome you all to this year’s illustrious games held in honour of our late King, King Torsten the Great.’
The crowd numbering many thousands cheered and Naphtalie nodded her head in appreciation at this mention of her father.
‘In a time honoured tradition many centuries old, it is customary that the ruler of Centenium host the national games every ten years, here in the beautiful city of Jarlsgard,’ he continued. ‘Over the course of the next three days, we shall see bravery and skill the like of which you will be hard pressed to observe outside of the battlefield. Contenders from all over the kingdom will compete for various prizes the ultimate of which will be made known by the Queen herself on the last day.’
‘Today’s games shall begin with a display of falconry, followed by a jousting tournament. Later in the day there is to be axe throwing, stone carrying and unarmed combat. But before we commence the tournament, the Queen’s cavalry wish to honour her Majesty with a display of their own. I give you ladies and gentlemen…The Vactorian Guard!’
The crowd roared and through open gates a stream of ornately presented horses and their riders strutted out. Heads held proudly they trotted animatedly to the deafening beat of the drums. Upon their backs their masters saluted the Queen bare chested, tanned and oiled. After one full circuit of the arena, the heavily tattooed General came to a stop in front of the Queen’s enclosure and spoke to all those present.
‘To this monarch of our lands…to this generous, strong, intelligent, beautiful human, I have pledged my very life. All of us have within my ranks. And we would do so again without equivocation. We are privileged and honoured to serve a Queen of this calibre and to have her in our presence today. Long live the Queen!’
Once again those gathered voiced their approval as did Queen Naphtalie who descended the steps to offer him her hand which he took gently in his giant paws and kissed. A horn sounded and the cavalry turned abruptly to disappear through the doors from whence they had come.
‘Who was that?’ murmured Gavin to Jared.
‘Magnus,’ was Jared’s terse one word response.
That told him all he needed to know when noted alongside the Queen’s elated countenance.
As entertaining as the games were, the Queen was greatly fatigued upon arriving back at the seat of her cousin the Countess of Drabensgudt. She retired to her chambers very quickly after dining, taking Daniel and his stable mate Henryx with her, much to Gavin’s annoyance.
Partway through the night, Gavin found himself awoken by a commotion. From beneath his door he could see the light of many lanterns and hear the sound of feet and voices.
‘What is it?’ he asked, standing in his night shift.
‘The stables are on fire and the Queen’s horse is in there!’ shouted a young lad over his shoulder.
Quick as a flash, Gavin threw on his clothes and raced down the now darkened hall. Once outside, it was easy to ascertain the location. Smoke billowed everywhere, an orange glow pulsing like a beacon to the frantic cries of both horse and man. Buckets of water were passed from man to man. Some poor soul deep within the stables was at the zenith of that line and it was his job to toss the usually half empty bucket onto the blaze and then send it back the other way.
‘How many horses are in there?’ yelled Gareth to a nearby stable hand.
‘Fuck! Are there any empty stables at all?’
‘Och yes. About five.’
Gavin grabbed him by the collar and dragged him over to the back of the burning building.
‘Show me where,’ he said. ‘Show me where beyond these walls, the stables that are empty.’
‘Well, I cannot be certain…’
‘Do your best then. It is the Queen’s favourite horse, a gift from her dead father that is at stake.’
The stable hand pointed out where he thought three unoccupied stables lay beyond the walls and Gavin heaped rocks to mark the location.
‘Right!’ he shouted. ‘Go and get the heaviest cart you can find. Load it with a few bags of grain. Get two horses from the other stable block and meet me at the top of that hill.’
He pointed to the hill just behind the stables. The boy coughed.
‘Do you understand?’
‘Then go! Hurry!’
The boy fled and returned what seemed an awfully long time later with a heavy horse drawn cart outlined by the moon and smoke on top of the hill.
‘Right. You take one of the horses and go. I will keep the other,’ he told the boy, eyeing with a thankful heart the three sacks of wheat he had put in the back..
‘Sir, what you plan is very dangerous…’
‘Danger to the self is not to be considered when it comes to protecting the Queen and all that is hers,’ Gavin called out. The boy nodded as Gavin climbed into the cart and took over the reins.
‘God speed Sir!’ shouted the boy.
Gavin, horse and cart hurtled down the hill, bouncing over every bump and hillock. It was a fine line between generating enough speed to breach the stable wall and over turning the cart. Somehow they managed though. Leaving it to the last possible minute, Gavin leaned forward and sliced the tack that fastened the horse to the cart. With a brutal slap to it’s rear end it bolted and galloped away leaving him and the cart heading full tilt towards the area the stable hand had earlier outlined. Knowing that his body weight would add to the momentum, he leapt off with only seconds to spare as the cart ploughed into the wall with a terrifying crash. At the sound of it, men came running and discovered Gavin lying dazed by the wrecked cart and demolished wall.
‘Go…Get the horses out,’ he murmured.
‘C’mon lads! Do as he says!’
Like ants they marched inside stepping over the rubble while others dragged aside the cart. Within seconds the first horses emerged, snorting softly at the welcome fresh air. Gavin stood to his feet as Nekisha, the Queen’s white thoroughbred was brought out to safety.
‘I’ll take her,’ said Gavin. He petted her muzzle and stroked away the soot, examining her for burns or injury. She seemed unharmed.
Together they walked to the front of the still burning stables where a sudden cry allerted him to the presence of the Queen.
‘Nekisha! My girl! You are saved!’ she cried, running to take her from Gavin. Seemingly unaware of his heroics, she took her equine companion to a nearby trough to drink. After several minutes of murmuring, stroking and patting while Nekisha drank the Queen looked up at Gavin and beckoned him to her.
‘I know what you did for me and Nekisha this night. The stable boy who helped you came running along and told all.’
‘Twas nothing, my lady.’
‘To me it’s everything. This beautiful girl was a gift from my father, the King,’ she said, patting the horse’s ivory neck. ‘And as a reward for your bravery, I have decided I will be yours alone for one night only. My gratitude in exchange for your loyalty. My pleasure made subservient to yours in the privacy of my bed.’
‘I don’t know what to say my Queen.’
‘I suggest you say nothing. To anyone. This matter is between us only. Only you will know that the Queen submitted to the gratification of another. Only you and I will know what transpires.’
Gavin dropped to one knee, head bowed. ‘I had best make plans then swiftly my lady, for I intend it to be the most filthy of secrets.’