For You I Suffer
The intense closeness I'd felt with my baron, caused by my selfless actions of the night before, proved to be nothing more than my own foolish longings; a dream that faded away with the coming of the dawn. I was awakened by the motion of the bed as Heero arose. I stretched and yawned, feeling much like a pampered cat, and opened my eyes to gain my first morning glimpse of him. The smile that had begun to imprint itself on my lips died before it could gain strength as I saw his determined, impatient expression.
This morning beget no gentle words or kisses. Instead I was prompted to bathe and dress him as quickly as I might. There was no time for the lingering caresses I wished to bestow. The baron was completely focused on the negotiations that would take place that day between Calderash and Slaburry. The delegates were due to arrive that afternoon and he was eager to prepare.
A moment hadn't passed before I was alone, gazing at the accursed door that separated me from my liege. He had left me behind and I was utterly bereft. For the first time since I had arrived at Windshire, I was completely alone. How quickly I had become dependant upon those that controlled and commanded me. Left to my own devises, I was like an anchorless vessel, drifting aimlessly to and fro. I had a moment of pause when I found myself at the baron's wardrobe, fingering the lifeless garments and trying to catch some hint of his scent.
As did occur every time I had a moment to think, I once again questioned my presence in this place. It was simple enough to allow myself to be carried along by the whirlwind of emotions and experiences that assailed me at every turn. But why did I remain through the occasional pain and the ever present humiliation?
Of course, I had given the baron my word that I would be his humble slave, subject to his every whim. But was that enough of an excuse? Surely, if I asked to be released from my bondage, I would not be held prisoner. One thing I had come to understand over the past few days was that it was my willing surrender that made my subjugation so exquisite. Chains would only degrade and mar the true nature of the experience.
So why did I linger? I had wandered through the sitting room and back into the marbled bath chamber. There, I found my answer in a lock of hair. I was running my fingers over the baron's brush, absently picking out several soft strands of dark brown silk. When even this remote contact filled me with a sense of purpose, of peace, my doubts were silenced. The only question that remained was how I had come to love this enigmatic man so much in such a short time?
I was rescued from the further contemplation of my heart by the appearance of Helen. I was comforted by her brisk, motherly ways and, before long, was ready to face the day. I noticed, then, that I felt a bit strange, as if I were pinning for something. That's when I realized that I had been left unadorned in Heero's haste. My accoutrements remained in the bed chamber where they had been liberated the night before.
When Helen and I stepped into the sitting room, Quatre was there, waiting. I was surprisingly consoled to see the collar, clamps, and rings in his hands. I stepped over to him and knelt at his feet, the gesture one of respect rather than the adoration I reserved for my baron.
"Ah, good morning, Duo. Helen, how are you?"
"Well, my lord," she replied. "Will you be needing me further, sir?"
Quatre placed a fond hand on my head. "No, I think we'll be able to manage on our own. I have a treat for our lovely Duo and I'm sure he's anxious to learn what awaits him."
Helen chuckled and I shuddered. Anxious? Perhaps, although it was likely not the type of eagerness to which my trainer was referring. The maid left us with a final farewell.
The blond man lifted my chin with the gentle pressure of his fingers. He must have noticed the hesitancy in my gaze for he stoked my cheek. "Don't worry, pretty one. Whatever happens I know you'll perform wonderfully."
I decided that I liked the endearment. Unlike the intense yearning I felt for Heero, Quatre instilled in me a sense of being protected and cherished. For him I felt the close affection of friendship. I stood at his urging, shivering deliciously as my fetters were reattached. As always, my cock responded with embarrassing quickness to the enforced touch of my trainer's hand. He only smiled at the growing flush in my cheeks.
A ring of the bell pull brought breakfast. We shared the hearty meal, Quatre sitting on the settee while I lounged on the floor beside him. Having gone hours without any serious taxations of my mind, I easily questioned his plans for me.
"What are we doing today, my lord? Will... Will the baron have need of me?" My tone was disgustingly hopeful.
Several strands of blond hair fell endearingly over his brow as he shook his head. "No. I'm afraid that the baron will be in talks all day with Lord Zechs and the trade representatives from Slaburry. It will be a tough negotiation."
"But I thought Slaburry was willing to help relieve us from the devastation of the drought?" I bent towards my dish of milk, careful to hold my hair out of the way. Though I had many other things to consume my thoughts, I was mildly curious about the proposed treaty.
Quatre laughed ruefully. "Yes, they are prepared to offer assistance, but our two kingdoms have been at odds for too long for cooperation to given easily. The late baron and the Slaburry king were never able to find civil footing with each other. Their enmity has caused much grief; however, when Heero came into power, he was quick to show that any bad feelings passed away with his father. Now, a renewal of relations is imminent, although our former rivals will make him work for any agreements, if only for form's sake."
Again, I was amazed by what Heero had been able to accomplish in his year of tenure as the Baron of Calderash. The improving conditions of the country and the forging of connections with other kingdoms was a testament to his political savvy. My reverence for his acumen only heightened my adulation of him.
When breakfast was done and the dishes were cleared, Quatre bade me to rise. He reaffixed my tether and led me to the main door. I realized that my previous question had gone unanswered.
"My lord, where are we going if not to the baron?"
My trainer smiled with no small amount of self-pleasure. "Heero has finally granted my request. Today, Duo, I take you to the village."
After days in the shadowy confines of the castle, the brilliance of the sun nearly blinded me. I squinted painfully against the bright rays, trembling as the warmth touched my skin. The full implications of my situation had not yet penetrated my understanding. No longer was I to be kept in isolated splendor within the imposing manse. I was about to be thrust with loving cruelty into the world.
I stood docilely in the courtyard where servants maintained the grounds and grooms exercised magnificent equines. I waited while Quatre spoke to a stable hand, feeling my nakedness keenly under the uninitiated gazes of those observing me. Although the nobles and the castle attendants had become accustomed to my presence, these folk had never before seen the spectacle of my naked self. The weight of their amazed stares pressed upon me, a sensation I had forgotten in my complacency.
Finally, my handler returned to my side, accompanied by aforesaid groomsman. The man didn't speak, his steady gaze taking my measure with an experience eye. Then, he was gone and I glanced askance at the smiling blond.
"Rather than taking a horse into the village, Duo, I decided that you would nicely fill that role. It's not far and you will look stunning once you're properly outfitted."
I felt my brow furrow in perplexed confusion. 'Fill that role?' What, on earth, did he mean by that?
The stable hand returned with a strange assortment of objects. In his hand, he carried a complex arrangement of leather harnesses, the underside of each strap being suspiciously lined with soft fur. Apart from these, he held a separate length of leather that was bifurcated by a small, narrow cylinder of tanned hide. Finally, he drug behind him a rather handsome equipage, light-weight and large enough for only a single rider.
Looking back, I never fail to be amused at the willful ignorance I affected at every turn. I blinked at the man, remaining blissfully unenlightened even as he fitted the first of the fur-lined straps across my chest. Another strapped was placed parallel to the first, though slightly lower, and both where fastened low on my back by a single, large metal loop.
The bands were then connected in the front by two sturdy straps fitted vertically between them. To these were affixed four more restraints, two to the top strap and the other two to the bottom. The first two were laid over my shoulders and contained two smaller metal rings that rested against my shoulder blades.
The bottom two were pulled between my legs, which is when I noticed that these straps had been modified with large holes that fit over each other to create a single opening. Through this, my cock was summarily thrust to stand out prominently against the dark leather. The wide straps were then run up the convenient furrow of my ass, exposing my hidden flesh whilst, at the same time, concealing my increased vulnerability.
Finally, all of the loose ends were affixed to the metal loop lying cooling against the burning flesh of my back. My hands were pulled behind me and my wrists were bound to the large ring with a small strap. My chest, adorned with the gleaming, golden clasp, thrust out proudly.
The stable hand pulled up the carriage while I stood thus trussed, staring wide-eyed at my trainer. Of course, by that time, the meaning of his comment had become painfully clear to me. I fought the urge to pull away when the metal loops were hooked to corresponding attachments on the equipage. My unfettered hair was left to hang safely between me and the coach. The groom had handed the open-ended length of leather to Quatre and, now, he approached me.
"You look wonderful, just as I knew you would." He looked at me thoroughly with a critical eye. "Hmm, I'm afraid the road, though well maintained, will be too rough on your bare feet. Simon, please fetch a suitable pair of boots."
The footwear was retrieved posthaste and I was stuffed into the first proper item of clothing I'd worn in some days. Although, the boots couldn't be said to be tame. Oh, they were sensible enough, flat-heeled and comfortable. But, the dark, highly-polished leather rose just above each knee, leaving the pale skin of my thighs enticingly exposed. The effect was most decadent and I would have looked less wanton had I been left unclothed as before.
The groom stepped to the side and I took a tentative step forward. The stability of the harness and the feather-light material of the coach made the task of pulling it rather effortless. I was used to physical labor and had no fear of the work I was being asked to perform. However, I did find myself resentful of being relegated to the position of a beast of burden. My equality to the baron's dog was a bit easier to bear since I knew it meant I was cherished as only a beloved pet could be.
The rod of hide was placed between my teeth - a bit, what else! - and Quatre took his place on the carriage, the structure dipping only slightly under his slender weight. He flipped the straps passing on either side of my up and down quickly, indicating that I should go.
'At least he decided to dispense with a riding crop,' I thought as I heaved forward, the leather surrounding my cock rubbing against it maddeningly. The memories of my time with Lady Relena and her friends was still painfully fresh in my mind and I had no desire to renew my acquaintance with the stiff length of leather. The lower straps pressed against the outer edge of the wooden dildo, the pressure of the bands driving it deeper with every step.
In this manner, I brought Quatre from the castle, led surely by his skillful manipulation of the bit. Once we were away from the courtyard, passing through the portcullis, we found ourselves traversing an open plain. The forest of Furuiki defined the southern and western borders of Windshire and we headed away from the morning sun and towards the distant shadow of green.
My trainer seemed content to enjoy the air and was silent as we traveled along. The hard-packed dirt of the road, marred occasionally by sharp stones, making me grateful for the boots, led the way towards our destination. The thought of the village and its populous loomed before me but, for now, there was a gratifying lack of people. The plain held no cultivated fields and seemed to be only a place to get away from the pressures of society and to enjoy a bit of nature.
Buoyed by the brief respite from curious, caressing eyes, I broke into a trot, relishing the freshness of the morning and the opportunity to drive away the effects my recent indolence. I was a farmer, accustomed to working outdoors for hours at a time and I hadn't realized how I'd missed the simple pleasure of corporeal exertion. Quatre laughed in response to my spirited venture.
The grassland was flat, a small, winding river cutting through the herbatious expanse. I was concentrating so intently on a bird flying above us, trying to ignore the accurse leather tormenting my member, that I almost missed the cessation of Quatre's muteness.
"There, Duo, can you see it?"
'It' was a column of smoke, a sign of impending civilization. The village was upon me and I was not at all prepared. I briefly considered turning to the side and fleeing into the grass but the bridle kept me firmly on the path.
As we rounded a bend in the road, the source of the vapor came into view. It was a modest cottage fronted on the far side by a freshly plowed field. The farmer standing in the midst of the pasture began to wave before he saw that it was no ordinary horse pulling the carriage past his home. His gesture of welcome became an jaw-popping gawk and I had the first hint of what the town held in store for me.
The first farm gave way to several more in rapid succession, the reaction of every witness coming with predictable regularity, until I suddenly heard the click of my boots against the cobblestones of a proper street. At last, we had reached the village.
There were more people swarming the streets than I had expected. My sole experience with towns was limited to the humble precincts of Fashel and the overwhelming sprawl of Pholan. This place, called Bochan I learned shortly, lay somewhere in between those two extremes. While not nearly as populous as Pholan, the village made Fashel look like nothing more that the outpost it was.
The citizens were a mixture of refinement and commonness. Wealthy merchants glanced at me with an air of bored sophistication, letting their eyes linger with an raptness that belied their nonchalance. Modest farmers and shopkeepers stared with frank startlement at the naked man posing as a well-trussed equine. And, worse yet, an alarming number of slack-jawed youths, many even young than myself, began to follow in our wake like an awed guard of honor.
Quatre's presence in the carriage acted like some magical shield that kept me separate from the growing crowd. But nothing could stop their words from reaching my ears.
"You've heard, of course, that the Calderash barons keeps pleasure slaves," one merchant explained to her companion. "They are subjected to the most delicious debauchery for the pleasure of the baron and his nobles. The old baron kept two, the last one was most lovely but never let his slaves out of the castle. It seems the young baron is a much more generous sort." I felt the merchant's eyes caress my naked flesh.
"However," she continued, "I've never seen a male pressed into such duty. This one seems a most remarkable specimen. Just look at all of that magnificent hair! Perhaps I can finagle us an invitation to see him up close. The baron's procurer of tapestries owes me a favor..."
That explained the amazed stares I'd been receiving. The startled reactions had puzzled me a bit. I knew that I couldn't be the first pleasure slave the villagers had ever seen. The Calderash baron had kept the tradition of their forbearers for centuries. But, evidently, it had been a long while since one such as I had made an appearance within the town and many, even the older denizens, had never before witnessed such an exhibition.
"Well, I'll be. Have you ever seen anything like it, Maggie?" The grizzled farmer turned to his equally frazzled wife. "That boy is as naked as the day he was born!"
"I heard a rumor from Celia. You know, she cooks up at the castle. Well, she told me that the young baron has done like his father and taken up some boy as a vassal to offer him..." The woman broke off and leaned closer to her husband's ear just we were passing by. "To offer him 'special service,'" she finished on a loud whisper.
'Special service,' indeed. If only she knew, the old biddy.
The younger members of my entourage were more silent, or more tongue-tied, as it were. They trailed after us, eyes wide with seeming innocence, but I could see the devilment behind their blank stares. Of everyone, it was they of which I most wished to be rid. Who knew was mischief lurked within their simple minds?
Quatre directed me to an apothecary, a sign denoting the purpose of the shop swinging from a chain in the late-morning breeze.
"I have to stop here for a moment," he explained. "There is a special type of lotion I am partial towards for soothing my skin after shaving. It is only sold at this store so I'm forced to patronize the druggist once a month or so."
He stepped from the coach and walked around to face me. "You can wait out here for me. It seems as though you've gathered quite a group of admirers." He glanced over his shoulder at the pack of young men and women who had gathered at the front of the store. "Why don't you meet them while I take care of my business inside."
There was a pleading look that I had perfected as a child, which had been often used against my parents, and later Hilde, with great effect. I summoned the full power of that beseeching visage and turned it on my handler. But, while he did look at me a moment with blinking hesitancy, in the end, he merely smiled and patted my face.
Grappling with my failure, I debated the efficacy, and attendant humiliation, of trying to run from him and those congregating around us. But I quickly abandoned the pointless contemplation. Not only would I not escape from this fate but I would bring unbearable shame upon the baron.
There were clearly some in the village who knew about the Calderash barons' practice of keeping a pleasure slave. What would they think if I was publicly rebellious? They would likely assume that Heero was a weak leader if he couldn't even control his own servants. Though I didn't care about my own mortification, I refused to open the baron to that sort of denigration.
So, I stood pliably as Quatre unfettered me from the carriage and loosed my hands, though he left the leather strap dangling from one of my wrists. He led me to the very door of the shop, turning me until I stood beneath a low-hanging support beam. A metal hook was embedded in the painted plank of wood and my hands were retied and thrown over the curved end of the crook.
The beam, though not uncomfortably high, was elevated enough so that I required to stand nearly on the tips of my toes. As it was, my body, still fitted with the leather harness, was left beautifully exposed, stretched to its limits, every muscle and sinew on perfect display.
My handler smiled at the result and patted me dotingly on my posterior, which was lifted and tightened by the awkwardness of my posture. Then, he walked away, disappearing into the cool dimness of the apothecary.
There I stood, the sun beaming directly overhead, announcing the rare treat that was being proffered. My shoulders ached, my calves burned, and the unshackle mob pushed forward until all light was lost to my sight.