The Boy-Toy Wife

7. In Which a Warning is Issued

by gargulec

Tags: #cw:noncon #D/s #dom:female #f/f #humiliation #pov:bottom #sub:female #bondage #f/nb #fantasy

"What is this stench, young lady?"

Headache smashed on the inside of Miria's skull, coming in waves set to the rhythm of pulsating nausea. She curled under the covers, straining to keep her eyes shut, even as the cold voice thundered above her.


She mumbled something incoherent. The voice drilling into her ears was the Hofmeisterin, and there was no avoiding facing her, not when her words trembled with disappointment. In a futile gesture, she pushed her head deeper into the warm pillow. She did not feel awake, anyway, but more as if the short sleep had vomited her out.   

"You reek like a distillery!"

Someone abruptly pulled the sheets from above Miria. Cool air smashed into her, jolting her back into a semblance of lucidity, right into gloved hands grabbing her by her shoulders and forcing her into an upright position. She heaved, buffeted by another crash of nausea, the taste of bile and rust filling her mouth. Another pair of hands fixed a pillow behind her to help her sit. Tentatively, she managed a lousy kind of steadiness.

"Look at me."

Reluctantly, she obeyed. The room was mercifully dark, the dull morning outside gingerly filtering through half-covered windows. In the dim light, the Hofmeisterin loomed positively spectral: a gaunt figure in funeral white, flanked by a pair of lesser, subservient wraiths. But she did not come to claim Miria's soul; rather, she took one look in the boy-toy wife's face and sighed like a hissing serpent.

"Mariś," she commanded, "find Doctor Iżek and ask him to fix up a dose of the morning cure."

She did not turn as she spoke, continuing to scourge Miria with her eyes the entire time. The maid hurried out of the room, each click of her polished shoes like a hammer banging right next to the boy-toy wife's ear. She winced, and tried to rub the headache away. It did not help. What had even happened to her? She tried to count the drinks she’d had last night, but her memory only served her choppy impressions of hands digging into her skin, and of a dangerously sweet sense of shame.

"I should have a word with the cellar master. He should know better than that."

Miria rubbed her eyes, trying to get the hazy images out. What was the Hofmeisterin even talking about? Her face pursed into a deep frown in an effort to recall the last time she had crossed her paths with the bony, liver-spotted gnome of a man who served as the Lady Governor's wine keeper, but nothing came up. Only more headache.

"Do not even think of giving me that look! Did you think your little escapade would go unnoticed?"

Fear lanced through the hangover haze. Miria bolted upright, the Hofmeisterin's disapproving glare filling her vision, tiny tendrils of panic creeping at the edges. She had been seen. She had been seen. Her stomach knotted on itself, squeezing out a fresh serving of bile right into her mouth.

"Shit," she mouthed.


The slap that followed barely even stung, nor was it supposed to. Even the Hofmeisterin was not allowed to dispense that kind of discipline to one of the Lady Governor's wives, sixth or not. The hand on Miria's cheek was merely meant to get her attention for the inevitable tirade. She looked away, bracing for the worst.

"You disappoint me, young lady. You stink and speak like a dockworker. Do you not know that nights are for sleep, not for rambling about the palace, looking for a bottle? Like a lout!"

The head servant punctuated the last point with a finger jab right at the middle of Miria's chest. But when the boy-toy wife reeled, it was not from the blow, but rather sheer relief. Her muscles went slack, tension releasing at once: they had no idea she had sneaked out. She slumped back onto the bed, only now feeling the cold sweat gluing her nightgown to her skin.

"And whiskey?" the Hofmeisterin continued. "It is a men's drink! Can you imagine the Lady Governor asking for her wife, and having her," she delivered that word with enough stress to crack stone, "stinking like some common thug? How many times do I have to say it? You are no longer a boy, and you will stop behaving like one!"

Her tone dropped into a cadence that was well familiar to Miria: the impatiently slow delivery of a frustrated teacher, one demanding attention, but no longer expecting results. But unlike before, the words found a fresh sort of purchase in Miria; she listened on, her thoughts wandering back to memories of the night prior that were finally starting to coalesce into something solid. She had not been a boy last night, or at least not the kind that the Hofmeisterin was trying to breed out of her. Agnes the beautician, hunched to the head servant's side, offered her a sympathetic smile; but really, there was no need.

The reprimand continued in its usual pace until interrupted by the creaking of the door, and an overpowering, earthen smell. Mariś returned, cradling in her hands a steaming, clay mug. When its contents rolled down Miria's throat, she almost choked on their rotten sickness. For a moment the world went dark, but the maid was ready: she caught her before slid off the bed, and helped her wash the medicine down with half a jug of water. Within a few pained breaths, something unknotted inside Miria; colour returned to the world, seeping into the empty space where the ache resided. She inhaled, no longer sick—merely tired.

"Now," the Hofmeisterin declared after Miria pulled herself back up, "it is only natural to mourn, and I cannot fault you for that. However, a lady would not become drunk with grief…"

With lucidity returning, so came the rest of the last night: blood money among spent playing cards, and the smug streak in Koshei's voice, accusing the Lady Governor of selling her own wife. Soon after the desperate hope for this to be a lie exploded back, followed by doubt, crawling like an insect up her skin.

"...and furthermore, a boy-toy especially must not allow herself to be incapacitated…"

But what if? The thought, unbidden, unwanted, nonetheless refused to leave, clamping down on Miria's mind like a pair of steel tongs. What if? What if the Lady Governor, the beautiful demonic woman she wanted nothing more but to be with—whom she wanted to belong to, heart, body, and soul—could throw her beloved to Veznian brutes just to excuse a bloody purge? She tried not to consider it, but all her thoughts spiraled irresistibly towards that one question, and the horrifying absence of an answer behind it. What if Ambros was marked to die, just so that countless other Leshite men could be made to hang, in the name of the demonic law? What—

The slap—again gentle, again only a reminder—came as a reprieve. Miria blinked to see the Hofmeisterin leaning over her, preparing for yet another tirade.

"I asked you a question," she stated coldly.

"I am sorry," she lied back on reflex. "I am still a bit sick."

The head servant seized her with suspicion in her eye, and with a pained sigh, decided to accept the excuse.

"I want you," she repeated, uttering each word very carefully, as if talking to a slow child or a cow, "to tell me why a boy-toy such as you must never allow herself to be indisposed without her lady wife's explicit permission?"

Such questions usually had the same answer, so Miria bent herself in contrition and tried it out.

"Because it is unladylike?"       

The Hofmeisterin sighed again, and something in her gave up.

"That as well," she explained, stepping back. "But also because your role is to be always available for the Lady Governor's service. What if she called for you this morning, while you were stewing in the stench of booze, and barely able to walk? You must remember what you are here for!"

Miria nodded, brushing aside yet another pair of consoling glances from the maids. Truth be told, even now, even through her worry and exhaustion, the image that the Hofmeisterin painted spread a hungry kind of warmth inside her; the places where Koshei's hands had grabbed her burned with want for different fingers on them, brick-red, black-tipped. And this desire meant something else, something as absolute as the fact that she could not allow Ambros to die: she needed to know if Visza's blood stained the touch she so longed for. She needed to know, and fast. But how? How was she to ask, to find out? 

The idea that came to her peeled off the ornate cover of a book left by her bed, red and orange with painted infernal flames. A Complete Catechism of Want for Human Wives, the title read. For a split-second, she hesitated; but she had already defied the Lady Governor's express orders. In no world could what she was about to suggest be more damning. In fact, it could even pass as pious. If only it did not also expose her to the risk of refusal.

"I hope you will remember it this time," the Hofmeisterin said. "Are you ready for your toilettes?"

"Yes," Miria nodded again, eyes still on the Catechism. She swallowed, and tried to speak, stumbling over the first word—but after that cleared from her mouth, the rest fell out like a bursting dam. "Please—please relay to my lady wife that I wish for nothing more but to show her my devotion tonight, by helping her mourn as the Want demands!"

The grey line of the Hofmeisterin's eyebrow rose a full inch, quickly followed by a suspicious frown. Miria's heart sank instantly, the boy-toy wife utterly terrified of the thing she had just proposed. She watched the old servant's frown deepen, flanked by expressions of shock on Mariś and Agnes' faces.

"Lady Governor has requested the Third Wife's presence in her bedchamber tonight, and it is unlikely they will want a spare…"   

Miria followed after her heart, sagging instantly. Of course, another wife had the bed. Of course, another had the ear. Of course…


She looked up, the word the first time something said by the Hofmeisterin had given her a genuine shot of hope.

"...this is the time to be wanton. I will bring this plea to the Lady Governor's ear shortly. And on the off-chance there is a need, Agnes, please make the young lady presentable."

What washed over Miria as the beautician ferried her off to the washroom was not exactly happiness—but it was a kind of a hope, underpinned with an eerie sense that the boy-toy wife could not exactly name, but which felt like it mattered. And sure enough, it did not last: as on every morning, it did not survive the sight of her naked reflection in the bathroom's mirror, dissolving instead into the sticky, familiar vulnerability. Dark thoughts followed, only sometimes interrupted by the physical unpleasantries of Agnes and Mariś' hands trying to make something out of her body. It helped that they handled her like a rag-doll, to be washed, wrung, and prepared for play; she could go limp and still be carried through to the end, when the beautician slid a size three plug up her back, and then moved to apply a delicate rouge to her cheeks, to hide the exhausted pallor.

At the end, she found herself back in her room, smelling lightly of soap and a drip of lilac perfume rubbed behind the ear. The maids left, with the unspoken, but clear expectation that Miria would not; that instead of heading for breakfast, she should sit in her modest, white dress, and wait for the Hofmeisterin to return with the Lady Governor's decision. This meant that she was, for the time being, alone with her thoughts: the bitter mixture of being certain that she was going to be refused and desperately hopeful that she was going to be wanted.

The gifted cameo waited on the night-stand, polished sardonyx gleaming even in the morning's dim light. It rested heavily in Miria's hands; she turned it around a few times, letting her fingers trace out the shape of the scene impressed on one side, and the word carved into the other. Mine. How much she wanted it to be true—unless, of course, this did not mean love. Not even the ratcheting tension of waiting could keep her mind from that notion for long. The second wife was also the Lady Governor's, dearly beloved—and fully possessed. Miria's mother had cried when the marriage contract was signed, cried over a son she thought she was losing—and Miria resented her for that. But what if she knew better than her what that ink on parchment really meant: a life given away whole, to be dispensed with as one wishes?

She put the jewel back, and instead reached for the Catechism, starting again to thumb through its pages. The book was beautiful, printed on silken paper, and with hand-painted illustrations to demonstrate each point of the infernal teachings. It was the First Wife's gift to the newly-weds, and one that Miria had always been grateful for. Its rich descriptions of the wifely hierarchies and their duties—the first, the priestess; the second, the consort; the third, the arms-bearer—brought a feeling of belonging and order. She could find herself inside, painted as this deliciously slender figure with her crotch enclosed in a gilded chastity cage, and read about the boy-toy, the amusement wife, the one taken for pleasure. She distinctly remembered how aroused it made her to take in the details of her role for the first time, how she lay in bed, stroking herself to those words and the fantasies they carried. The charm had barely worn off since, only the wife-medicine making such play markedly more difficult. Now, however, something changed; she flipped from page to page, wondering about where the need for this book came from. The title stressed that it was For Humans, not the old blood of Dis, but those coming under Her Infernal Majesty's scepter. Like the kingdom once known as Leshia, now the Lowlands Province. A wife, be her first, second, or fifth, the page she was on read, right next to an image of three women keenly before their devil wife, backs bent in full submission, owes her lady wife absolute respect, and absolute surrender

Perhaps, Miria thought, she was too quick to ignore the warnings that the episcopacy issued regarding the nature of demons and their desires. She shut the book, no longer trying to shake the image of the Lady Governor arranging Visza's brutal death. It should terrify her, to the full extent that the word allowed: the idea that she could belong—that she could owe her all—to a monster like that. But if there was fear, it still was not enough to sever the bonds of wanting. She could let her mind linger on the notion that the human wives to the Lady Governor were nothing but tools to be used to the breaking point, if so needed—and still long for her hands, still long to be hers

No, if there was a fear in her right now it was that the door to her room would stay closed, that no one would come to fetch her, that once again she would prove to be the less wanted one. And was it not a virtue? Had the same priests that preached against the temptations of the infernal Want not asserted, time after time, that love heedless of one's life is the font of overwhelming grace? Maybe she learned from them better than either of them had ever suspected. With a smile at the edge of defeat, she pinned the cameo to her dress' high collar.

She only needed to make sure that Ambros was going to make it out safely.

In a small blessing, the agonizing uncertainty of her wait did not last much longer. A few short knocks on the door announced the news, and before she could even open, a servant that Miria did not recognize entered, head politely bowed. The sixth wife's body tensed, already bracing itself for the refusal.

"The Lady Governor," the servant announced, her sulfuric yellow eyes hinting at more than just a drop of infernal blood, "conveys her gratitude for your eagerness, and requests that you join her in her study…"

Miria slackened, the tension in her releasing to a sense of stunned, but joyous disbelief. She looked at the servant as if she could kiss her right there, and found her smiling impishly back.  

"…as soon as you are properly fitted."

The tugging in Miria's groin, and the pink flushing her cheeks, were anything but innocent. She had only been taken to the fitting room once before, for her wedding night. Excitement, only barely tinged with anxiety, filled her as she followed the half-demon servant through the white-draped corridors. For a few sweet moments, the thought of the murder, and her brother's peril was purged from her mind, replaced by the memories that smelled of leather and caoutchouc, and emerged from black cupboards ornamented with scenes of infernal revelry.

The room waited for her right opposite to the Lady Governor's study, the door concealed flush in the hardwood boiseries. It was an ingenious little trick, really, one more of the costly wonders that the last king of Leshia had so favoured. The servant pushed at a carved peacock's tail and gave it a quarter-turn; in response, the entire panel folded inwards, opening a narrow passage into a hellfire-lit room, and closing quietly behind them.

The first thing Miria saw when stepping inside was the colourful fresco decorating the vaulted ceiling: satyrs lurched in a chase after a throng of nymphs, a reminder from the time the room served to conceal the old king's trysts from the queen consort's prying eyes. The second was the familiar, broad back and chestnut curls of the fourth wife. The servant in front of Miria paused in apprehensive surprise; for her own, Czewa remained fully focused on a cabinet full of heirloom whips.

"Do not mind me," she waved them off.

Seated in a small chair in the center of the room, Miria nonetheless could not help herself but to keep trying to steal a peek at whatever it was that the fourth wife was up to. She rocked to the sides, trying to get a better angle to see whatever Czewa was trying to find among the Lady Governor's collection. One of those glances had to finally catch her attention; she looked briefly over her shoulders, her eyes settling on the small pile of gear being readied next to Miria, and then on the blush still lingering on the boy-toy wife's cheeks.

"Oh, it's you," she said cooly, and shut the cabinet. "I'll take it from here, Noa. You can leave."

The servant hesitated; Czewa made a shooing gesture.

"I will get her fitted," she declared, glancing at the pile. "Don't worry, I know what she likes."

Noa bowed, and withdrew with only a quiet acknowledgment on her way out. For a moment, the fitting room remained silent but for the wet crackle of the hellfire lamp. Miria shifted nervously, suddenly uncomfortable under the tall woman's heavy gaze. Of all the wives, she knew her the least, and understood even less. But then, Czewa smiled, and some of that distance closed.

"So," she asked, "how was your night out in the city?"

Of course Stava told her. They were close, after all. Miria sighed slightly, lips pursed, trying to to think up an answer without getting too worried—or revealing too much.

"Oh, don't fret," the fourth wife shrugged, "I'm not telling anyone. Just curious. I actually do admire the chutzpah, sneaking out like that. Wouldn't have expected it out of you."

If this was a compliment, it sure did not feel as one. There was something unpleasant in Czewa's voice, a barb that Miria could not fully locate, only get caught on. Still, she remembered the promise she had traded to the fifth wife. She swallowed, and tried for a measure of honesty.

"I wanted to see my family," she said meekly, in the same tone that had worked such wonders with the groundskeeper Mihasz. "I'm worried about them."

"Really?" Czewa's eyebrow arched, giving her face an even sharper, angular look.

She gave doubt time to drill into the boy-toy wife, instead turning to the gear Noa prepared before leaving, and starting to slowly flip through its unfamiliar, enticing leather shapes. However sour the sudden nervousness was, Miria could not shake the deeper arousal still waiting under its surface, and the sweet expectation that she would be seeing the Lady Governor soon. Probably—unless it turned out that Czewa had some other ideas. But she would not deign to defy her lady wife, would she?

"You know, I would have never guessed you care so much about them," the fourth wife finally broke the uncomfortable silence. She let her voice go completely here, down to an utterly unfeminine rumble. "You never talk about them."

"I don't talk much in general."

Czewa laughed, the sound strangely warm for all of her cool.

"True, true," she lifted her hands palms out in an universal gesture of yielding the point. "But didn't your dad sell you here for, what was it, trade concessions?"

The question fell from her mouth with false lightness, and at first it almost slipped past Miria's defenses. She sagged briefly, a bitter taste in her mouth—but one that quickly gave way to a mounting frustration. Everybody, it seemed, kept assuming she went into the infernal embrace out of coercion and violence; so much so that some nights, she could not help but start doubting her own desire. And yet, right now, all she wanted was to be free from this conversation, and in the Lady Governor's embrace. Her face hardened.

"I wanted to be here," she said, quietly, but as firmly as she could manage.

Czewa's other eyebrow joined the arch, a look of bemused incredulity plain in her harsh features.

"Is that so? Let's get you ready for your wish, then."

Neither of them said anything for a while. The fourth wife picked through the readied gear, and knelt in front of Miria. She hiked her skirt above the knee, and carefully began to attach soft, leather pads to her shins, strapping them tightly on the inside of the boy-toy's legs. She had cold fingers, though far from clammy; still, they were enough to make Miria shiver. The sensation was not entirely unpleasant, however, and after the initial shudder, she found herself breathing deeply at each buckled strap, the pressure and softness at her flesh reassuring in ways she did not need to fully understand. She closed her eyes, and imagined herself on her knees; the woman towering above her had features that were at once the Lady Governor's, Luna's, and Czewa's.

She did not see, then, but rather felt when the fourth wife finished with the pads, and next grabbed her by the wrist. Sternly, but not painfully, she made her close her hand into a fist, and then started to wrap it up with long strips of fabric, until instead of fingers, Miria had a balled-up stump, ready to be encased in a tight, leather mitt. The shape of what was to be expected of her started to solidify, and she yielded to the sweetness of the idea, smiling; she offered her other hand to Czewa, eager to have it bound too.

Finally, the fourth wife reached for her foot, bending it straight, as to climb on the tip of her toe. Miria held it that way, letting Czewa work a tall boot up her leg; it was less high-heeled as much as heel-only, and when it was laced up, it left her foot locked extended into a knife-point, leaving the boy-toy to doubt whether she could stand on it, let alone walk. She lifted her other leg, exhaling a wistful breath every time Czewa tightened the laces up.

"You're leaning into it," she heard the fourth wife speak, ice melting from her voice.

Miria opened her eyes, to admire her now-stubby arms and useless legs. In a way, it was powerlessness; in another, she saw the edge taken off Czewa's face, replaced by unexpected softness. For a fleeting second, she could almost imagine herself as beautiful. Buoyed by the pleasure of the moment, she broke out of her own thoughts, and realized what the fourth wife was attempting to do. She let her explain, however, instead fixing her eyes on Czewa's large hands. She had been powerful, once, and the strength continued even through the changes wrought by the wife-medicine.

"I thought you were simply pliant," she continued, in the same thawing puzzlement. "But you're offering yourself up. How your body yields under touch… And your smile!"

She stood up, and retreated to one of the cabinets, only to return with a polished, silver collar in her hand, a small brass ring in front catching all the orange and old reflections of the soaring hellfire.

"You want it," she stated, as if amazed she had not noticed it sooner. 

"I do," Miria hushed, short on breath. "Her, too."

Something dark flashed through the fourth wife's face, but she said nothing. The collar cinched around Miria's neck, Czewa tightening the nut fastening it until it sat flush against the skin, its presence deliciously unyielding every time she breathed or swallowed. The fourth wife's hand lingered for a moment longer, brushing alongside the surface of the cameo, now sitting right in the middle of the collar's ring.

"That's a very pretty stone," she muttered, grabbing a short leash. "Let's get you to her."

She helped Mira stand up, her arm wrapped around the sixth wife's arms so that she could balance on the knife-points of her boots and carefully, step by precarious step, make her way out of the fitting room and into the empty corridor in front of the Lady Governor's study. Even then, by the time she made it there, her feet were already aching and legs beginning to shake; but as Czewa guided her slowly down to the floor, and onto her padded knees, she noted with elation how this was not going to be a problem. She was not meant to walk. She lifted her bound hands up, imagining them to be some animal's paws; Czewa shook her head.

"Incredible," she whistled, finally clipping the leash to the collar—and then, bringing its handle to Miria's mouth.

The boy-toy wife realized instantly what she was expected to do, grabbing the lead between her teeth. The taste of leather filled her mouth, and the world shrunk to the sheer, focused pull of desire.

"She'll love it," Czewa whispered into her ear. "But, Miria?"

She turned her head away from the door, leash firmly in mouth; in the moment, she could not care less about how silly this had to look.

"Be careful. You would not be the first wife to suffer for wanting from demons what they never give to men."

Before Miria could ask, or even consider what those words meant, Czewa opened the door for her, and then it was too late to think.

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