Shadow of the Sun

2. Endoxa

by dietsoda

Tags: #cw:noncon #cw:sexual_assault #D/s #f/f #pov:bottom #sub:female #bondage #bratty_sub #dom:female #fantasy #sadomasochism
See spoiler tags : #exhibitionism #humiliation #transformation

story wide cws for violence, non con, intense angst, and pretentious flowery language. i realized i don’t have a great handle on what’s sexy or not in my writing, so lmk if you think things are hot!

Leaves fly and spin around me as I walk across the noble quarter, following the winding road through sparse woodlands broken up by imposing manors. It’s a journey I know well, and one made quite pleasant by the morning light and distant smell of burning leaves. From time to time there’s even a break in the trees where I can stop and gaze down at the rest of Niol, the city sprawling down the hill and hugging the river of the same name. When I was a young girl, I’d peer down at this same exact view and wonder about the lives of those below. I pictured idyllic homes filled with happy families, one of whom would pluck me from my distant parents and harsh schooling to live among them. An absurd fantasy—the middle-class merchants and artisans down there are the only people somehow more neurotic and dysfunctional than the nobility. Thankfully, I abandoned such foolish hopes soon after to embrace my political career.

“We must continue, Miss,” states the automata behind me in a steady monotone. Two of them are serving as my ‘escort’ for this morning’s outing; one male and one female, both dark-haired with similar facial features. I’ve been consistently distracted by their perfectly chiseled nude bodies, drinking in their sculpted limbs and well-defined abdomens. Had I not seen my former allies mind-wiped and transformed into beings just like them, I would presume them to be animated stone. They walk in perfect lockstep, stare blankly off into the distance, and react to no stimuli unless explicitly ordered to. I suspect their presence here today is not to protect me or prevent escape, but rather to signify my place—automata rarely leave the royal palace, and when they do it is explicitly for lewd purposes. The same is true of me now, I suppose. Best not to dwell on that particular thought.

“I’m going, you stupid machine.” I tear my gaze away from their statue-like beauty and continue onward, my coattails gently flapping in the breeze. Lewdness has been inescapable recently, much to my frustration. Ever since my tantru…my fight with Helena three days ago, Her Majesty has been particularly distant. She’s constantly off working or staying with Her consort and locks me alone in Her chambers while She’s gone to while away the hours. I was relieved at first, enjoying a break from the royal palace’s prying eyes and fingers. And then Her Majesty’s wickedness began to reveal itself once more. On the first day, I was occasionally distracted by lascivious imaginings. On the second day, I spent hours on end touching myself and craving the embrace of another. On the third day, I was trembling all over and unable to string two thoughts together for want of passion. That night, when I finally broke and begged Helena for any intimacy at all, Her response was curt:

“I’ll schedule you some playtime with Francine.” 

The promise of touch and brisk Autumn air are the only things keeping me sane now—even so, one of my hands occasionally goes rogue and drifts down between my legs. I’d have the automata see to me properly, but I discovered early into my transformation that they cannot satiate the curse. Francine will have to suffice. I’m almost there anyways, I just have to take this last bend and pass Tiern manor, then I’ll—

My feet lock up, nearly sending me sprawling forward onto my face. Don’t, Veronica. There’s nothing to see there. I plant my feet on the intersection between the main road and a smaller path, wracked by indecision. You’ll only make yourself miserable. I bolt toward my childhood home, winding and weaving around the rocks and roots I memorized so long ago. The thrill of returning soars within me, dampened only by the knowledge of what I’ll find. Stop right there. Turn around. Focus on the present. My pace slows as I reach the clearing where Tiern manor sits. Weakling. 

Of course, no warm nostalgia awaits, no friendly greetings or welcoming hearths. I knew it wouldn’t; knew I’d only find my inheritance of grim memories and a dilapidated home. Yet whenever I visit, I never focus on what’s actually in front of me—my thoughts are trapped in what once was, dwelling on the day I faced the judgment of the throne. 

Everything was too much. The Queen’s magic buzzed through my veins, igniting nerves and focusing my senses to a painful degree. I cringed at the booms and shrieks of the carriage wheels, at the blinding radiance of the mid-afternoon sun, and at the scraping and scratching of clothes against my skin. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to never wake up. 

“It gives me no pleasure to make you see this.” The Queen’s voice stabbed into my ears like a pair of drills. “But I do have to make an example of you; otherwise, there’d be more assassins after me tomorrow.”

The carriage door swung open and a pair of royal guards pulled me out, letting me drop to the dirt below. I didn’t bother trying to stand, lacking both the strength to rise and the will to try. Instead, I squinted and realized in horror where I was: home. 

Queen Helena gracefully exited behind me, then turned and spoke to a nearby crowd of stony-faced nobles. “Thank you for coming, Lords and Ladies of Arlunn, especially after such an arduous day of trials and sentences. I have brought you here to witness the absolute end of the Tiern conspiracy. In many ways, today is a victory—the just and wise tradition of Arlunn’s monarchy triumphing over those who care for nothing but power.” If my throat wasn’t so dry and my lungs weren’t so strained for breath, I would have howled with laughter. “But today is also a somber occasion. Though we vanquished the traitors, we should not revel in their demise; instead, we must recommit ourselves to preserving the unity and stability of our kingdom.”

I felt the ground quake beneath my prone form as two dozen royal guards marched forward, weapons in hand. They fanned out around the perimeter of the manor and stood at attention. This was the true event—the action that would speak far louder than Her Majesty’s words. 

“To that end, I am officially disbanding House Tiern.” She absently waved a hand, and a spectral force drew me onto my feet as if I were a marionette and it held my strings. “Save for Veronica here, who is my responsibility, all former members of the Tiern clan are hereby sentenced to permanent exile.” Queen Helena nodded in the direction of the guard, and they began. I tried to close my eyes and hunch my shoulders, hoping to block out the horrific sights and sounds of glass shattering and wood splintering. But the phantasmal presence kept my eyelids open and made me watch every single second.

The raid was fast and chaotic, with guards diving through windows and breaking open doors to force their way inside. I caught glimpses of them tearing rooms apart in their search for valuables, documents, and members of my family. It didn’t take long. Soon the guards re-emerged with their bounty in tow. Harrison and Dane looked resigned, Alice was fuming, and Juniper, the younglings, and the servants all shared a look of wide-eyed terror. Several other carriages navigated around the crowd to meet them, and the guard began ushering them inside. Chances were good that I’d never see any of them again—this was likely my final chance to say goodbye. But no words came to me. I didn’t know which to use, or if they wanted me to speak at all. And so our last interaction was determined by my sister Alice instead, who caught my eye before she left and yelled across the clearing:

“Look, Veronica! Look around, and see where your ambition has gotten us.”

“We must continue, Miss.” A sex robot interrupting a memory of my former life is poetic, in a miserable sort of way. At least focusing on my dislike of the present is easier than dwelling on the past. I turn around and growl at the automata.

“Go fuck yourself.” 

“Command accepted.” The two of them reach for their cocks. 

Ignore previous command, you gods-damned hunks of meat.”

“Ignoring previous command.” Their hands return to their sides. “We must continue, miss.” 

“Yes, yes. I’m aware.” I glance back at the husk of a manor one more time. Get over it. Sentimentality is not a weakness you can afford. My fists clench, and I stand up a little bit straighter. “Lead the way.”

I force my lingering emotions down and follow the automata, absently ogling their full asses and feeling a nervous fluttering in my chest as the home of House Melia comes into sight. Once an old wooden lodge, the family has expanded the manor so many times that it’s now one of the largest buildings in the city. Each wing reflects the architectural trends of the decade when it was built, meaning the mansion as a whole is a mess of eclectic and haphazard styles. The effect suits the enigmatic House Melia—they manage most shipping along the river Niol, and are always the first to indulge in new exotic and bizarre fashions and hobbies. For such a family, Francine’s fascination with whips and chains is merely one oddity out of many. 

As we approach what I believe to be the main entrance, I huff in frustration as I realize I can’t reach the door knocker without standing on my toes. “Knock on the door, meathead.” 

“Command accepted.” The automata knock three times in perfect tempo. The door swings open almost immediately, revealing the Melia manor’s tall and wide butler. 

“Greetings! How may I—oh, it’s you.” His expression sours. “Lady Francine is waiting for you in the basement. Do try not to get anything too…wet.” 

“Um. Okay.” I have no clue how to talk to servants anymore. The clear and rigid guidelines of social class no longer apply so cleanly to me—the position of Her Majesty’s Favorite Mouth offers no rank or honorifics. For their part, servants usually regard me with pity or contempt, depending on how much I screamed at them in the emotionally…tumultuous weeks following my transformation. The butler was one such victim of my perhaps maybe somewhat misguided anger, and he clearly hasn’t gotten over it. His genuine and honest distaste is refreshing after a lifetime among the nobility. Still, that doesn’t mean I want to stand around and chat. “Uh…bye.” I slip past him and head for the cellar, automata in tow.

I know Francine is down there the moment I open the door, as the clinking of metal and the smell of well-oiled leather rise to meet me. The air is thick not only with the scent but also with the confidence and presence of someone truly in their element. This is her domain, and I descend into it at my own peril, my heart beating faster and harder with each step down the narrow staircase. The room always looks different when I first come down, before the adrenaline and endorphins have tunneled my vision and sharpened the cellar’s dull color palette. Devoid of pain and fear, the basement resembles not a cabaret of sinful delights but a mere artisan’s workshop—various tools sit on shelves and tables, while cabinets and opened crates store finished projects and raw materials. Unlike an artisan’s workplace, though, everything is designed explicitly to make people like me groan, yelp, and squeal: Metal hooks attached to lengths of chain. Polished and pristine tawses and crops. Ropes of various textures and widths. Elaborate devices to restrain the body and take away control. Everything a woman deprived of sensation could ever want and far, far more.

“Well, if it isn’t my favorite little screamer.” Francine leans over a workbench in the far corner, carefully repairing what looks to be a cat o’ nine tails. She glances up to see me and my escort. “And with spare parts, no less. Hello, little Ronnie. I’ve heard you’re in quite the state.”

I suck in a deep breath and march over to her, arms akimbo. Let’s get this over with. “Listen, Francine. You know what I’m here for, and I know you’re happy to provide. So how about we skip all the games and power plays and just get down to it?” If I can’t claim power in this situation—and one look at the equipment nearby very clearly indicates I can’t—then I can at least be her equal. There’s far less indignity in that.

“That’s an interesting offer.” The royal spymaster pushes herself away from the bench, turning to look down at me. Her look is casual but sharp: a simple gray tunic, white tights, curly blonde hair pulled back, and a pair of spectacles on her thin nose. Before I can react, she grabs my arm and pulls me forward until I’m flush against her. “But I do rather enjoy our games.”

I crane my neck up and frown, resisting the tingle running down my spine as well as its demand that I tangle our legs together and bury my face in her chest. “Well obviously, I—mmnnaahh!” My articulate and well-thought-out reply is cut off by a desperate, staccato mewl as she runs the back of her hand along my neck and the tingling becomes far too pleasant to bear.

Francine’s eyes widen, her self-assuredness briefly subdued by genuine surprise. “Veronica?”

“Yesss…” Her hand continues, brushing from the tip of my ear down to the top of my collarbone and back. The repeated sensation vibrates into my skull, rattling around in my mind and crowding out my thoughts with rapturous sensation. 

“Gods, what did She do to you?”

“I—hnng—doesn’t matter. I just—aah!—this. More like this,” I manage to stammer out despite my tenuous hold on language, balling up the front of her tunic in my fists.

“Hmm…” Francine strokes her chin with her free hand, looking up and away as if lost in thought. “Alright. Strip.” She steps away and begins gathering her tools, chuckling when I whine after her withdrawing hand. I watch her for a few moments longer, the lingering warmth on my neck proving a formidable distraction until she gives me an expectant look. I blush, then put my shaking fingers and horny mind to the task of removing my slightly-too-large coat and sturdy boots (exceptions to my normal wardrobe—apparently Helena wants me not-frostbitten more than she wants me scantily clad). Beneath is another piece of absurd minimalist fashion, an azure blue dress with more slit than skirt and a neckline so low it flirts with my navel.

Francine takes a moment to look me up and down, then breaks out into a shark-like grin and claps her hands. “Good! That shall do. Automata, lift her arms up straight above her head. Higher…so she’s on the balls of her feet. There.” Muscular hands position me according to their orders. The royal spymaster swoops behind me and slips leather cuffs onto my forearms, securing the bracers together with a chain looped through a metal ring in the ceiling. “Now step back. There! You look lovely, Veronica. Like a true lady of the court.” The chain is short enough that I have to keep my heels in the air and strong enough that I can hardly budge my arms. She runs her fingers down my sides and grabs my waist. I thrust my ass back at her on instinct, and for a moment she indulges and grinds up against me in a fully clothed mimicry of coitus. My moans grow deeper and lower.

This part is never easy—in the heat of the moment, I can justify whatever I like as merely coping with the pain. But before? When I can feel my sex grow hot and wet at her clear mockery and my restricted movement? The insult to my pride is far too much, and I lash out to try and restore the balance.

“I hate you,” I sneer, trying to look tough in my admittedly very non-threatening position.

The noblewoman makes her way back around to my front and cocks her head to the side. “Oh?”

“You’re a semi-competent sycophant who failed upward, and now you think you’re better than me? I’ve already accomplished more than you ever will.” The insult is hollow—a barb born of petulance without venom or wit. It fails to bother Francine or address the churning shame within me. 

“Very clever, dear. Now, spread your legs. We’re almost done.” She slaps each of my thighs until I adopt a wider stance, having to perch higher on my tip-toes to compensate for the lost height. Lady Francine kneels down in front of me and quickly attaches metal cuffs to each of my ankles, then adds a straight metal bar between them which forces me to maintain my uncomfortable posture. “Excellent. Now, I’m afraid I’ll have to step out for the afternoon; there’s a great deal of work that demands my attention.”

What?” My stomach drops into a bottomless abyss of dread. 

Automata, pleasure her for five minutes every half hour until I return. Be gentle.” Francine’s last words are whispered into my ear from behind. “Beg for me. Beg, and I’ll reconsider.” 

I need her. I need her around me and inside me, and a few brief syllables won’t stop me from satisfying that longing. Besides, there’s only the two of us down here—there are greater embarrassments. 

“Please, Francine. Please hurt me, fuck me, touch me, please!” It’s not so hard once I get started. Speaking the words brings on the nervous fluttering I felt standing before the manor, now mixed far more thoroughly with potent arousal.

Francine giggles. “Aww. You really thought that would work? I hold all the cards, darling. You. Have. Nothing.” I hear her walk up the stairs and close the cellar door.

“No, no, NO! That’s not how this is supposed to work! Helena told me—She said you would play with me!” All across my body, muscles tense in indignation at how absolutely unfair this is. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to think of some way out, but the automata have walked over and oh gods, one rolls my nipple between their index finger and thumb with a feather touch, while the other kneels down and strokes the inside of my thigh, and their combined efforts smother any fledgling plan far before it ever leaves the nest. Shame fuels the fires in my loins and chest alike, the former clenching from lust while the latter clenches from sheer rage. I scream out to Francine, the manor, and the heavens above: “I won’t be treated this way. I simply won’t! I will return to the palace and tell Helena of your betrayal here today. Yes, betrayal! I’ll make sure She has your head, you miserable dull-witted sadistic—hnngAAaah!” 

Every jerk or shift of my body emphasizes the dilemma of tension between my arms and toes—when I lose my balance or can’t stand the soreness in my feet, I swing from the ceiling hook, all my weight carried by my shoulders. When they inevitably ache and protest, I have to stand higher on my toes to relieve the constant pull. And when my anger spins out of control once more, I rapidly cycle between the two, straining and jerking against my bonds. Were I alone and at peace, the bondage would be a tiresome but manageable exercise. But I’m not.

“...I hate you, you stupid fucking…oh gods don’t stop, don’t you dare fucking stop…” The soft caresses of the automata are programmed with absolute expertise and seem to have been specifically crafted to deplete my sanity. One will kiss me while the other suckles at my breast; one will rub their palm over my sex in slow circles while the other nibbles my earlobe. Their maneuvers are always varied, always drive me wild, and can never be remotely close to enough. Even if they had me for the entire day, the curse would make sure of that—as it is, my five minutes with them every half hour is like a drop of water in a puddle of molten steel. And when they withdraw from their worship, leaving only slight trails of saliva in their wake, I continue to shudder and buck my hips even as I scream at them some more. “You’re unfit to be footstools; I’m surprised they didn’t make you into fucking dog food given how useless you are!”

I don’t know how long I stayed like that. I lost track of the number of times the automata touched me at around three or four, and my mind was far too busy roiling in fury to maintain any sense of time. Eventually, even that roiling stopped and I was left dangling on my own at what felt like the bottom of the world. The automata would periodically rouse me, coaxing out quiet high-pitched whines and sporadic thrusts, but otherwise my movements and emotions were as numbed as my toes. When Francine finally opens the cellar door and descends the stairs, she finds me entirely deflated with my head bowed low.

“Ignore previous command,” she murmurs to the automata, strolling over to me with a curious gleam in her eyes.

“Ignoring previous command.” 

She holds my chin and gently lifts it up until we make eye contact; there, she searches my face and finds something that seems to satisfy her. I watch bleary-eyed while she removes my wrist and ankle cuffs, leaving me free to collapse on the floor in exhaustion. “I hope I’ve made my point clear.” 

“…m’huh?” I don’t bother looking up, enjoying the privilege of relaxing all my muscles at once.

Francine kneels down next to me and places a hand on one of my weary shoulders. “Tell me: Why did Helena punish you?” 

“Because she wanted to.” 

The spymaster scoffs, then quickly composes herself. “Perhaps. But what was the reason she gave you?”

“I got mad and yelled at her.” 

“Correct. And when you came here, what happened?” Francine’s hand begins to pat my shoulder. It feels nice.

“You left me here to suffer.” 

“Because?”

“…because I got mad and yelled at you.” I wince at the words, embarrassed at my now-obvious mistake.

“I can’t imagine Her Majesty wants your willful streak gone, and I certainly don’t either. But if you don’t learn to control yourself…” Her patting turns into a tight squeeze. “Your time here will only grow more and more unpleasant. Understood?”

I nod. She’s right, unfortunately—in my new role, pride and stubbornness are obstacles instead of boons. I should have realized that far sooner. 

“Good. In that case, now that we’ve gotten some of your excess energy out, we can proceed to my actual plan for today.” Francine stands and returns to her workbench, pulling out what looks like a relatively soft and delicate leather crop. “Don’t worry, we’ll start slowly—I know you’ve already been through quite a bit.” 

Though my arms wobble and a part of me wants to lunge at her and start biting, I sit up and listen attentively.

“Excellent. Now, today we’ll be going through three poses: Sit, Present, and Crawl. Repeat back to me.” 

“Sit, Present, and Crawl.” My voice cracks on the first syllable. 

“Good! Now, I’m aware Queen Helena may have taught you something similar, but…” 

For the next hour or so, Francine teaches me the specifics of each posture, has me practice getting in and out of each, and then runs me through complex sequences of all three. Being tired is actually a benefit for such a simple task; I’ve no energy to think, so I simply obey. And every time my work pleases Lady Francine, the noblewoman rewards me with nails across my back, a hand cupping my ass, lips sucking at my neck, and a dozen other physical delights. The effect is remarkably calming, and by the time our session ends I’m open, receptive, and veering dangerously close to demure. When she offers to let me come upstairs and kneel beside her while she works, all I offer is a meek nod and a hand squeeze. 

Whether my timidity is born of pain avoidance or affectionate submission, I’m too emotionally worn down to worry about the difference. Eventually I break my kneel and lean against the arm of Francine’s chair, but she’s focused on her paperwork and doesn’t seem to mind. She’s cute like this, her face scrunching up with concentration or confusion from time to time as she sorts through various documents. Once, while focusing intensely on what looks like a letter, the royal spymaster addresses me once more.

“Veronica? Are you still my obedient girl?” 

“Yes, Lady Francine.” There’s almost no hesitation before I reply. Almost.

“Tell me, how familiar are you with Duke Berinni?” 

The question throws me for a moment, and I shift uneasily as I piece together an answer. “The crown has all my notes, my Lady. Whatever information I have, so do you.”

Francine nods, then returns to her work. An absent hand trails away from the paper to run through my hair, and I enjoy its pleasant path—until suddenly, its grip tightens. “Obedient girls don’t lie, Veronica.” Technically, I wasn’t lying. All of my crucial information was contained in the notes; it was just buried beneath a hidden cipher the crown had never even noticed. I still recognize her point—clear deceptions like that one are an insult to her intelligence.

“Sorry, my Lady. Old habit. Duke Berinni…well…” The duke was one of southern Arlunn’s main power brokers; he had likely learned about whatever was going on along the border. “…we were never in direct conflict, so I never had to focus my efforts on him. But I picked up rumors and scraps along the way; some more fruitful than others.” Talking business in a negligee while sitting beneath my former rival is disconcerting, to say the least. It reminds me of my bondage dilemma in the basement—if I sink lower, I’m pulled down from the top. If I reach higher, then I’m unable to sit back and rest. 

“Don’t bother with tales of petty tax fraud or corruption; I want access to the genius of Lady Veronica Tiern.” I blush at her obvious flattery. 

“Last I checked, he was moving a lot of money around for a big project—I was never clear on the details. If you want proof, send someone to his winter home in Niol and have them search the groundskeeper’s quarters. There, you’ll find a log of transactions. The numbers in it are all legitimate; you have to take a knife to the spine of the book and pull out the papers stuffed inside the cover for the real evidence.”

Francine stares at me for a long moment, seeking any indication that I’m full of shit and not finding a single one. She shakes her head. “Gods, Ronnie. How did you learn that?”

I shrug. “Groundskeeper liked whiskey and talking. Harlon had one of his men watch the house after catching wind of something odd.” A flash of recognition crosses my mind. “I think he might be one of the automata in your basement, actually. Huh.” 

“Well, consider me impressed. I’ll have someone look into it. And if it bears fruit—“

“It will,” I interject.

“—then I’d be happy to pick your brain some more, if you don’t mind. I imagine you probably miss court life; I certainly would. Maybe this can be the next best thing.” Francine shakes her head, smiling to herself. “Maybe this’ll teach the bastard.” 

A strange weight settles in my stomach, a writhing knot different from the rising tension of anger or the demanding warmth of lust. It’s guilt and indecision wrapped around the shell of who I once was, and it only grows tighter and more complex as the day progresses and I return to the royal palace, carried by one of the automata. Perhaps…perhaps there is a world where Francine and I can work together. She does seem to respect me in her own way, and I haven’t been able to discuss current affairs with someone intelligent for a long time.

Helena’s in our chambers when I get back, sitting still while a lady-in-waiting braids her hair. Seeing Her makes the knot twist harder on itself. 

She offers a reserved smile. “Hello, sweetness. Did you enjoy your time with Francine?” 

Seeing her happy sparks unexpected joy, and I can’t help but offer my own smile in return. Maybe I can live with the knot for now; make do with its redundancies and contradictions. “Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you for organizing it.” I take a deep, shuddering breath and step off what feels like a sheer cliff edge. “I’m sorry for my conduct the other day, my Queen. I was absolutely in the wrong, and I assure you it will not happen again.” I enter the ‘present’ position, my chin high, back arched, and hands resting on my waist.

Though I can barely hear it across the room, the sound impacts me to my very core: Queen Helena lets out a tiny gasp. My wounded pride is suddenly reinvigorated, albeit in a more saccharine form. Her Royal Highness waves off Her ladies in waiting, then beckons me closer. “Crawl.” 

I get down on my hands and knees to obey, shuffling over to Her while never breaking my reverent gaze. When I arrive, She pulls me up onto her lap and plants kisses all over my face and the top of my head, and I glow from the affection. Her embrace feels like the cure to any ailment I could ever have—any tension or unease remaining from my days without touch dissolves away in Her familiar warmth and smell. Above all, I am awash with a powerful sense of belonging and contentment, like She is necessary to complete me. A girl could get addicted to such a feeling. I think I already am. 

“Such a beautiful and docile thing. And once you’re fully trained…I have such lovely plans for you, sweetness.” I don’t doubt Her for a moment. Sitting in Her arms, I know the future belongs to Her. I know that my Queen and Her loyal spymaster can manage any crisis and conquer any foe—rebel factions, upstart nobles, even the Order of Sun Gloria themselves. Helena and Francine will stay on top, and I’ll be below and beside them receiving affection and praise.

Unless someone were to feed them false information, of course. Then anything could happen.

tune in next time when narco-imperialist quasi-omniscient space ferns arrive to fix everyone’s problems (hehe jk)

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