“A victory,” I mutter to myself, in triumphant disbelief. “Perhaps, a turning point…”
Princess Valeria, refined high-born lady, witty conversationalist, popular socialite, scourge of the downtrodden… and the public bearer of the Mandate. Next in line to the throne. Scion of the all-highest monarchy I’ve been fighting against my entire adult life. A crowned head to-be.
The heir to the Kingdom, captured at last, and in my hands.
“Has she been secured?” I ask my second in command, Lorena, quickly snapping out of the reverie, letting my old professionalism return. “Are you sure?”
“Affirmative, Supreme War Chief,” Lorena says, her green eyes afire with the fierce pride of a people that refuses to be broken. “I’ve taken care of all the usual procedures, Irmgard. Trust me. We’ve got the bitch.”
“And the Mandate?”
“Not yet,” Lorena responds, her eyes narrowing discontently. “But wherever it is located, or however it looks like, she’s in no position to use it. Still, best be careful, just in case.”
I allow myself a moment of muted, grateful stupor – and then a hysterical bout of laughter. We’ve done it. Our order, the Black Hand, will go down in the annals of history because of this feat. “Comrades,” I say to the room full of guards, “the future of the revolution changes today. Our march to victory beckons.”
The group around me nods in understanding. Some faces are barely able to contain their excitement, others are darkened with a terrible resolve. What they have in common – they are all women. These are our ways in the Don, and always have been. Men till the soil and protect the homes, while women fight.
Most women, that is.
As I make my way down the hallways of our underground bunker, the ventilation fans spinning heavily overhead, I consider that Valeria hasn’t had to fight once in her entire life. Some royal women of course do become army officers, in time – usually in ceremonial positions only, with rare exceptions. But by no means all of them do, and Valeria has always preferred rubbing elbows with the nobility instead.
Gorging herself on decadence and fattening luxury, while the people starved. I rue how used I am to the cramps of a hungry stomach. I’ve come so far, from orphaned street urchin to legendary leader of a dreaded order and a nation-wide rebellion, but the pangs of cold and hunger… my oldest comrades… they’ve never left me.
I shake my head. I must clear my mind, stay focused. She might not be a trained fighter, but the princess is still dangerous. Only two people in the kingdom carry a physical token representing the Mandate of Heaven.
They call it that, but I doubt heaven has anything to do with it. The Mandate is some sort of… power. Manifestation of a king or queen’s divine right to rule, the all-highest would have you believe. But the truth is far more horrifying. It is a blunt instrument of coercion and enthrallment, a vehicle of tyranny.
The bearers are not omnipotent, but when imbued into an object, the Mandate grants the wearer an aura of commanding charisma… and, in exceptionally gifted individuals, more worrying persuasive abilities. I’ve seen it happen myself.
One of the assassins we sent after the queen was begging her to be allowed to become her gardener halfway into her mission.
No one knows where the Mandate comes from, but it’s the backbone of the monarchy. And if princess Valeria has one of only two specimens in the world, well… securing that might even be more valuable than securing the princess.
At last, with a sense of fateful anticipation and a nod to the two guards posted by the door, I make my way into the interrogation room, Lorena in tow.
I shoot her a furtive, private smile. We’re going to win this war. I can feel it.
The door closes behind me with a thud. My eyes take a moment to adjust to the dimness, and before me, bound to a chair behind a desk, is the princess.
Valeria is beautiful, breath-takingly so. Most members of the royal family are. Her skin is unblemished – she hasn’t had to toil the fields endlessly under the sun, hasn’t known the bite of the cold. I bet her hands and feet are uncallused and smooth. Her straight brown hair cascades over her shoulders with effortless beauty. Even in captivity, she looks better than I ever have a single day of my life.
I take note of her fur coat and shoes, thrown unceremoniously in a heap on the ground, by a corner of the room. The princess is shivering in her trousers and blouse, and her naked feet are pressed into the cold concrete underneath.
“All-Highest,” I say, in a mocking bow that elicits a cruel fit of laughter out of Lorena. The princess doesn’t look scared – she contemplates me with cold, calculating blue eyes.
“Mmh,” she says at last. “The Supreme War Chief, in the flesh. Good… I like redheads. And those combat boots certainly make you look all grown-up and fearsome. A scary monster, lurking the night?”
“I see my reputation precedes me,” again mocking her with my parody of pathetic aristocratic affectations.
“I wouldn’t be so cocky if I were you. In the stories, the monsters never win.”
Lorena and I exchange an amused glance, then sit before the princess on the far side of the desk, plaintively cracking our knuckles.
“So,” the princess says with uncharacteristic mirth. “Which one’s the bad cop?”
Lorena slams a gloved hand on the table. “Both.”
“What she said,” I add, throwing a feral smirk at the princess. She may feign calm now, but by the time we’re through with her, she’ll learn how the real world works. What it’s like to fight for the right to live another day.
“There’s a bunch of information we want out of you,” I say, “but there’s no reason why your stay here needs to be unpleasant, All-Highest.” I smile to myself at the mocking tone I use for her title. “Cooperate, and we’ll prove ourselves hosts worthy of the royal palace.”
“Ha,” Valeria says, throwing her head back. “The only way you’d ever be worthy of the palace is as cleaning wenches. It’d be the kindest fate for the likes of gutter rats like you. It probably beats execution, but I’m feeling generous. I’ll grant you a chance to serve me loyally… if you beg.”
I refuse to dignify her classist filth with an answer. I lean forward, meeting the princess’ gaze. “One chance,” I say. “One chance to do this the easy way. Where’s the Mandate?”
We don’t know what object she has decided to imbue with the power, but there are limits that narrow her possible choices. In order to work, the object has to be worn, and it has to be some kind of mineral, or rock. Even then, not all metals will work – the golden toe ring adorning her right foot, for example, is unsuitable. Gold won’t carry the Mandate. I dismiss it as harmless.
Every other bit of jewellery she wore has been carefully removed and examined, particularly her topaz and obsidian earrings. No sign of the mandate so far.
“Let me see your teeth,” I add, before she has a chance to respond to my offer. After a moment’s pause, she flashes me her brightest smile. It makes her look like a hungry shark.
I shake my head in disappointment. Not there, then.
“Scared of a little glittering rock?” Valeria asks, giggling. “You should be. You don’t know half of what that thing is capable of… Supreme War Chief.”
She matches me in mockery, which irks me. Alright, spoilt bratty girl, it’s time you got a lesson in how the real world works.
“Suit yourself,” I say, standing up, reaching with my hands to the overhead lamp I’ve had mounted specifically for our interrogation sessions.
When it blares to life, the light is searing. Shining directly into the princess’s eyes, it forces her to shield her face as best she can, the buzz of the light bulb echoing ominously.
I lean forward, into the light, my face as close to Valeria’s as I dare.
“Something’s… not… right…”
The feminine voice reaching my ears is so distant, so deformed by lust, so laced with exhaustion, that it takes me a moment to recognise it.
Lorena. She must be right, of course… I’ve been thinking much the same, of course, only… I can’t quite string the thoughts together. Not really. If only the other feminine voice, the one that keeps droning on and on in the background, could shut up…
It’s curious that we never thought to remove Valeria’s toe ring. Of course it’s made of gold, rendering it harmless. Just a pretty ring, adorned by elegant, black words written as if to mimick handwriting.
Of course we didn’t remove it. It can’t hurt us. Deep down, in my very bones, I know it would never hurt us. I’ve been stealing glances at it, and at Valeria’s foot beneath the desk, throughout the entire interrogation… precisely because I know it’s safe to do so.
"Not at all," Valeria says, her voice seemingly coming from every direction at once. “Everything is just where it ought to be. As it is on Earth…” The tittering of her cruel laughter hurts my ears so much that I cradle my head in my hands, leaning against the wall for balance. “So it must be in Heaven.”
Lorena is visibly swaying by now, and I feel like I am, too. A soft, honeyed morass is enveloping my brain, dragging me down, down, into the depths… Throughout the interrogation, this energy has been building in the air, like a gravitational pull. It’s only growing stronger.
“Guards…” I try to shout, but my voice comes out weak and feeble. Besides, what could they do to help me? Wouldn’t they feel the pull, too?
"That’s the natural order of things," Valeria continues, her voice like a melody. “You’re such fools for not seeing it. You bagged yourselves a princess and thought this such a wondrous coup! Think, Irmgard! Why am I princess? Is it just my birthright? Or is it because of this?"
Valeria suddenly throws her chair back, making it crash into the ground. Her hands are free, which leaves me confused and stupefied. How… when?
But before I can push through the morass of my mind, tackle her to the ground and tie her again, she slams her right foot atop the desk. The toe ring glimmers like a diamond in the harsh interrogation light, increasing the contrast with the black lettering. Funny, I think to myself. So funny. That almost looks like…
"Obsidian…" I whisper. It is a dreadful word, and with it, the last vestiges of resistance leave my lips. What an odd way to lose, I tell myself. I’ve seen a hundred battles, and more bullets have flown just past me than I could count… and this is how I fall?
“Correct,” the princess says, favouring me once more with her predatory grin. “Though you are quite slow. I suppose it can’t be helped. You servants are all the same.”
“I serve… no-one…” I try to say, through gritted teeth, but the truth is, now that the full might of the Mandate is radiating around me, I feel its intensity like the glare of a hateful star. The heat is searing and intense, the power is absolutely overwhelming to my senses. My knees buckle, hitting the concrete below so hard that I grimace in pain…
But I don’t shout. No, that would alert the guards, and that would make the ring very unhappy…
I notice with stupor that Lorena is still fighting to stay afoot, while I’ve already been reduced to my knees, panting and fumbling on all fours like a dog. That drives a spear of embarassment and shame right through my heart. I’ve been carrying the entire weight of this rebellion on my shoulders. How can I fall first?
How dare I?
"You’re brave and determined, I’ll give you that,” Valeria says. “But so is the bear in the forest. And yet in the end, civilization always wins over the wild beast. You too, Irmgard, Lorena… you can be slain. Or you can be tamed, if you can convince me to keep you.”
"Tamed..." I say, drool escaping my lips. My strength leaves me with the air needed to say the word. It sounds so wrong, so all-encompassing, so… delicious… weakness of mind and body, unresponsiveness of the muscles. A neck, freely offered to a yoke. Pride, reduced to dust. Fierce independence, given up for obedience. Victory, swapped for humiliation.
God, why is it so thrilling? Why does it go straight to my sex?
Valeria snaps her fingers, pointing imperiously to her foot on the desk. That’s when Lorena falls. She buckles to her knees, folding herself in a slavish position before the desk… and she kisses the ring.
Then, her lips move to the soft skin of Valeria’s foot, and the smooching sounds of kisses fill the room – while my heart fills with terror…
“You wanted an interrogation,” Valeria says. Her eyes aren’t on Lorena. They’re on me, drilling into mine so hard that they make me squirm. Lorena is just in the way, but me? No, she wants me. The rebel leader, the great heroine, brought low and vanquished, turned into her personal, tamed, domesticated little pet…
“You’re going to tell me everything,” the princess says. “Your safehouses, the names of every member of your order, every piece of equipment. I will take it all away from you. And then, I’ll decide whether you’re in for a beheading… or for a life of enthrallment in the royal palace.” The princess shrugs. “Either way, I’ll have taken your mind away. Haha!”
“Yes, All-Highest,” I say, devastated by the sound of my own treasonous words, squirming in desperate arousal and panting fatigue at having to endure the timeless glare of the Mandate. I feel like I know even less about this power than we did before we captured the princess, but there are two things I know for sure.
One is that the Mandate has nothing to do with Heaven. This thing is evil, and on some level I feel like it hates us, that it’s animated by a cosmic hatred beyond time for everything that is strong and free. It knows exactly what strings to pull to break us, to disassemble our very selves and make us the puppets of our own worst instincts.
The second thing I know is… that I’m unable to resist it. I stare emptily into the aura of the ring, letting my independent self sink into it forever, while the princess begins to voice her questions and instructions. Subjugated and defeated, I let my conqueror’s words make their way into my pliable mind…
Valeria’s left foot hooks behind my neck, pulling me closer. The right foot – the one bearing the toe ring, and the mandate - slaps against my cheeks, and the mere touch of the ring is enough to make me spasm and convulse in desperate pleasure. Every muscle in my body spasms and contracts, every neuron misfires, and my perception drowns in its engulfing sea of starfire.
It’s for the best. The more I concentrate on the Mandate, the less I hear the ruckus taking place all around me, as the bunker is stormed room by room, my fighters defeated and slain, or captured by the All-Highest’s elite guard.
The Order is crashing down in flames around me, and all I can do is kneel at the princess’ feet, letting them explore every nook and cranny of my face as she has her way with me.
I look up with my tremulous, pleading eyes – not the eyes of a warrior, but those of a harmless doe. A harem plaything. A serving girl, a handmaiden, the wench I will become if Valeria decides to let me live. My eyes are a muted plea for a mercy I know will never come.
The princely toes sneak past my lips, and I start bobbing my head up and down, pushing my tongue between the toes, letting the rich, pungent scent of her foot sweat slither up my nostrils. I get a shock of pure electricity every time my lips brush against the ring.
The obsidian makes my lips feel like they’ve grown a second clit. It’s such an intense, lancing sensation that my feeble commoner brain cannot describe it. How could I ever bear weapons in revolt against a creature capable of giving such pleasure? If Valeria can do this to me, then she deserves to reign. She deserves to rule forever.
I’m being foot-fucked into a social place more befitting of my station, a captive to the princess, and her expression as she marvels at the extent of my nullification is something to behold. Her smile looks genuine this time. She’s so happy to see me grovel at her feet…
“Irmgard, my silly little girl, you needn’t worry,” Valeria tells me. I shoot her a pleading look, continuing my enthusiastic ministrations as I try to impale myself deeper and deeper on her toes, so I can feel the touch of the ring more fully and more often.
“Of course I’m going to let you live,” Valeria says, one foot pushing me deeper onto the other, and I shiver in desperate bliss as the ring stimulates my clittified lips to the point that my eyes roll back into my skull. “I was never going to do otherwise. What fun would that be? I want you to bear witness as I systematically dismantle everything you’ve ever built in life.”
Tears begin to form in my eyes, and not just from the facefucking I’m getting at Valeria’s feet, no. It’s because it feels like her ring-adorned toes are a battering ram, blasting my life to pieces with each new strike. Foot goes in, a bit of my life goes out. Foot goes in…
Valeria’s eyes loom large above me as she considers my snivelling, worm-like performance. “I want you to be there and watch at my coronation. I want you to be there and watch as your fighters are put into irons and locked away forever. I want you to bear witness as your officers are executed in public… yes, even Lorena.”
As she says the last bit, my lips seal around the toe ring… and Valeria’s foot keeps me pinned in place, plunging downward as far as possible. The continuous contact with the Mandate completely fries my brain. I think I hear the fttzzzs and pops go off as my higher thinking begins to shut down…
“You’ll be there for it all. You’ll suffer through every single bit of humiliating reminder of the extent of your defeat. And after each instance, you’ll fall to your knees and worship my feet for hours on end, to thank me. That’s what you’ll be telling me, too. Thanks, All-Highest, for destroying the Order. Thanks, All-Highest, for ruling so wisely over your people. Thanks, All-Highest, for taking Lorena away from me…”
As I throw myself deeper into the deepthroating of her feet, the baneful radiation of the Mandate shines on me, brighter than ever. And I know that I will do every single thing Valeria is asking.
Because she truly does have a divine right to rule… and I have a divine rule to serve, no matter the consequences.
I accept my defeat and my vanquishment, my place in the history books as the woman who betrayed her rebellion and lost it all, the palace footslut that spent the rest of her days in intimate acquaintance with the All-Highest’s own soles. This is how things were always meant to be. This is why the royals rule, and we wormlike humans serve.
I look up adoringly at my princess, my queen-to-be, as the onset of a catastrophic climax begins to build in my sex, and the ring strips away the last vestiges of my independence. And I know this is her victory.
And my turning point.