“You are spoiled,” he intoned. “You will be punished. You will be shamed. You will make your atonement in the eyes of the very people you betrayed, and they will be the ones to determine if you are ever worthy to take the throne.”
How could she argue with a god? His power was without limit. He could slay her with a single look. Aya trembled and lowered her eyes and made all the shows of submission she had so carefully learned when under the king’s tyranny.
“I would ask you one thing, Kazriel.”
“What is that?”
“If you believe in my guilt, put it to the people first. The ones who I was supposed to have protected. See if they believe I am guilty.”
Kazriel scooped the princess up under his arm and carried her from the chamber of justice, down the steps of the castle and into the marketplace. It was quiet, for all activity had ceased at the shaking of the earth, but here and there faces were peering out, wondering what was happening to the nobles.
“Citizens! Come forth and judge your princess! Be she innocent, or be she guilty?”
Swung down onto her feet, Aya did her best to right herself and compose her features. The peasants now leaking out of the dark corners of stalls and shanties came with curiosity written on their faces, and reverence besides. They evidently had no problem believing that the guardian of all had risen from his slumber, captured the princess, and brought her before them. They almost seemed to expect it.
“Guilty!” they cried out.
Oh, god. They hated her. Aya was shocked. She had been told over and over that she was beloved of the people, but finding herself among them, it would seem they were not so fond of her after all.
“Tell me again! The princess who has lived in the castle all this time, is she guilty of crimes against the people? Or should she be spared the penalties of failure at her station?”
“Guilty!” they cried out louder.
Kazriel looked down at her from his great height. “This does not bode well for you, Princess.”
Aya shook her head. “I don’t care what they say. I did my best.”
“Guilty! She is guilty!”
The crowd was becoming a rabble, their volume and vicious voices making her tremble and press back against the guardian who had taken her to task.
“I didn’t know! It wasn’t my fault…” She stammered excuses, but it was too late. Kazriel had taken a rope from a nearby stall and was wrapping it around her wrists. In short order, Aya, princess of all Norvangir found herself tied to a wooden pole, her arms above her head, her thin gown doing nothing to hide her figure from the ferocious eyes of the crowd.
The so-called guardian, celestial being, mythical legend stood behind her, a length of leather in his hand. The crowd was furnishing him with myriad items to use upon her flesh, for they seemed to know what was going to happen before she did.
“The princess will be whipped!” Kazriel declared. “This is only the beginning of the atonement she will make to you, the true people of my lands. My children, you should have been safe and cherished, but the crown failed you. Now you will have the satisfaction of seeing the princess pay for her crimes against you.”
This was not fair. It was not her fault. Aya shouted that at the top of her lungs, but her objections were wiped away when the two-inch-thick lash of leather landed across her bottom with a wicked whipping motion.
She screamed and cursed Kazriel’s name, her fury more pronounced than her sorrow. This was not her fault, and these peasants, they had certainly never done anything to free themselves, whining curs that they were, nothing more than baying dogs to a brutal being who did not deserve to be worshipped by a beetle, let alone a royal.
“You are nothing!” she screamed as the leather bit twice, thrice, each time finding the curve of her bottom with accuracy. Kazriel had to bend and crouch low with every stroke to reach her lower curves, his arm rippling, his entire being focused on disciplining the rebellious princess who did not accept any blame for the actions of the tyrant king.
“I was as much a victim as any of you!”
“A victim who grew rich on the sacrifices of human flesh made regularly on her account. How much blood was spilled, Aya?”
She expected her cry to bring even more pain, but Kazriel dropped the lash and pulled her body from the ropes, handling her as if she were nothing more than a rag doll.
Aya found herself pushed back against the post, her hands held above her head, her legs spread by Kazriel’s great foot. Her thigh was cupped by his large hand, his fingers sliding up toward her sex.
Her tender pulsing flesh was on fire. The pain of the leather’s welts left her sensitive, and now the great beast was heading for an even softer part of her body. She wanted to think that he would not touch her there, not in front of this great crowd, but she knew Kazriel was capable of anything.
His palm cupped her pussy, his fingers rubbing her gown against her sex. It came away wet, the fabric sticking to lower lips that were sticky with a shameful discharge of desire she did not understand.
Aya’s body had been something of a mystery to her. She had known about the simple act of reproduction, but more than that, nothing. No man was permitted to touch her, of course, and none had risked the ire of Vengar to attempt to deflower her. She was a virgin, touched for the very first time in front of a baying crowd of filthy peasants.
Nothing about this should have been arousing to her. She had been shamed, whipped, lectured, punished. She had been blamed for more than she could bear. She should have been in tears, but when the guardian’s fingers slipped along her gown-clad slit, she felt a ripple of pure pleasure pass through her body. The tone of her gasp changed, and with it, so did the energy of the crowd. Perhaps the crowd did not love her, maybe the hatred of all things royal was too powerful for that, but it did not change the connection between the princess and the people. Her arousal was evident, and when Kazriel repeated the motion across her sex, not a man or woman missed the way her nipples rose under the sheer fabric of the gown, which now made the display almost more obscene than it would have been if she had been entirely naked.
“I don’t deserve this,” Aya moaned.
“You deserve this and much more.” Kazriel grasped the fabric of her skirt and tore it away from her in one rough motion, baring her sex to the world.
The crown princess of Kazriel, exposed in such a manner, had never been seen before in all the history of the world, but what could anybody do? Even if there were supporters among the angry crowd, the authority that held her there could not be contravened and there were many who believed she deserved this.
His fingers returned to the virginal flesh, stroking and teasing, pinching the soft wet bud of her clitoris so she bucked and writhed, her gasps carrying across the marketplace.
Flushed with intense shame, Aya knew she would never be the same after this. Kazriel was not merely punishing her, he was defiling not only her body, but the crown itself. Not one of the spectators who saw her now would ever respect her the way they had done before. This story would spread all over the land, and instead of drawings of her pretty face, it would be lewd sketches of her sex that spread from hand to hand in the taverns, stimulating men to spill their seed on the ink and paper as if it were the princess’ own flesh.
“You belong to the people,” Kazriel declared. “All of you. Your mind. Your body.”
For a frightening moment, she thought he might bind her to the pole and let the crowd have their way with her. It was certainly only his divine protection that stopped her from being taken there and then by a dozen cocks. She could see them in the hands of many of the men who crowded about her. The women had been pressed to the back, and only men were now allowed at the front, the strongest and most brutal of them stroking their angry thick rods at the sight of her.
“Kazriel… please…” She looked at the guardian with wide eyes. Why was she still so wet? Why was her body responding with this traitorous wetness that made his fingers slide back and forth along her sex with such ease?
“Please, what, Princess? Leave you to what justice you deserve? Your artificial innocence has no place here. That tender little hymen of yours deserves to be torn from you.” He pushed the tip of his finger inside her to emphasize the point, her outer lips gripping the end of his digit in the most lewd way possible.
“You are my guardian too,” she whimpered.
Something in her voice seemed to reach him. He did not stop touching her though. He held her there in place, keeping her on display. Her elegance was renowned, but what elegance was left in the writhing wretch who panted, begging for the most carnal of release?
Out of the corner of her eyes, Aya saw that she had a new audience. The nobles had come to gather on the other side of the market, not just the men, who reacted much the same way the peasants did, but the noble ladies too. Some of them covered their eyes and shied away, some cowering at the notion it might be their bodies bared for the public gaze, their secrets stolen, their vulnerabilities made utterly, devastatingly known to anyone who might look. But some of them turned back and sneaked little glances, some even brimmed with something like jealousy.
“I am your guardian,” Kazriel murmured, pulling his finger from her all too willing sex.
The shame did not come from what he had done to her; it came from the knowledge that she would have allowed it, spread herself for it. If he had chosen to mount her like a bitch there in the square, she would have welcomed him.
He did not. He released her hands and he pulled her over his shoulder, carrying her red-bottomed, wet pussy on display all the way back to her chambers.
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