353: Piercing Questions

on February 17, 2009 in Book 13

In Which Caron Needles Mackenzie

“Mackenzie… I really think we should have talked about that,” Amaranth said.

The use of my full first name gave me a little pause, but I’d made my decision. I wanted this to be just as serious as a collar was, in a more intimate and private way.

An ordinary piercing? I’d probably manage to lose that out on the field, or in the shower, or something. I didn’t know how easy it was for them to come undone on their own, but this was me… I’d find a way. The binding spell was functional and it was symbolic.

Amaranth could put a collar on me later, but this would give her a tiny leash on some part of my anatomy… a leash that only she could hold and only she could release.

“It’s my choice,” I said. “We’ll get the jewelry, and we’ll have fun at the club, and we’ll even make a little money.”

I remembered the creepy leather guy saying I would be a natural for that sort of thing. If it wasn’t entirely horrible, this could solve my cashflow problem.

“Excellent,” Caron said. “Let’s get you decked out. Where do you want to start?”

“Yes, well, we’ll get to that,” Amaranth said. “First, would you mind loaning us a blindfold, for the duration of our shopping? I’d like to be able to make a selection in secret.”

“Only if you don’t mind me loaning you a pair of leather cuffs,” Caron said. “Hey, like I said… I got eyes. I’m going to be thinking about this until Saturday.”

Amaranth looked at me, and I nodded. If I wasn’t going to trust that Caron wasn’t just going to throw me in shackles and drag me out of the shop, I would have left. The money Mercy was offering for me was too much for her to ignore, but she seemed to have her own sense of logic and honor that she wouldn’t break in pursuing it. It was knowing that fact that had allowed me to take her up on her offer, which was essentially a bet that I would have wussed out on going to the club. She might have been right, but me noticing the default clause meant that not going was no longer the path of least resistance.

“Alright,” Caron said, and she hurried into the backroom with the piece of paper and came back with a black and red silk blindfold and a pair of leather cuffs, and another sheet of paper. “Just fill out your name and address… I need that if you go back on me, anyway… and sign the bottom. This gives me consent to pierce you and saying you understand that all body jewelry sales are final at the time of application… that way we won’t have to interrupt the flow later.”

Amaranth took the paper from her before I could take it. She read it over, then handed it to me. I looked it over carefully twice just to make sure there were no hidden tricks, and then signed. She then handed the accoutrements to Amaranth, who administered them to me, binding my eyes first and then putting my hands behind my back.

This made balance a little iffy, so I allowed myself to be led around by Amaranth’s hand on my elbow while she discussed different options with Caron. Caron was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but always couched her discussion of whatever Amaranth was showing her in terms that conveyed as little as possible about what they were holding, and she discussed me in terms that were distant and depersonalizing.

“This would look good on the tits,” she said of something.

“The tits”, “the clit”… “the” was not exactly as bad as “its”, but it was certainly not “hers“, either.

I decided I didn’t really care for the word “tits” much. I appreciated Amaranth’s preferred term, “breasts”, so much more. It was, for lack of a better term, a womanizing word… a word that conveyed a sense of female personhood. “Tits”, in Caron’s mouth… or the mouth of somebody like Gabe, and probably many other people who used it… was depersonalizing in a way I didn’t like.

It was depersonal depersonalization. Not “You are my love, and I will treat you like an object so you can revel in how much you enjoy being mine.” but “Oh, hey. Woman. That means you’ve got a pair of these things. I’d rather deal with them than you.”

It would have been an uncomfortable, squirmy situation, but Amaranth’s hand was on me constantly, touching my shoulder or pinching or teasing at likely insertion sites. In the end, I tuned out the conversation and focused on her, her touch and her voice… not necessarily her words.

So I was kind of caught of guard when she suddenly said, loudly and definitively, “Okay!”

“Let’s bring her over to the stool,” Caron said. “Unless you need to unbind her and check with her.”

“I don’t think we need to?” Amaranth said, making it a question and pausing after she said it. I said nothing. I was in this all the way.

They took me over to a low seat with a hard back and Caron strapped me to it, with a leather strap across my stomach, one below my breasts, and one above. They pinched and squeezed them together so that they stuck out. I had an inkling of what was coming next, and while it was miles above anything down below, I started to feel all kinds of second thoughts. This was going to hurt.

“Oh!” Amaranth said. “She’s invulnerable!”

Right. That was that. Body jewelry sales were final at time of insertion. If Caron couldn’t deliver, the deal was off.

“Don’t worry,” Caron said. “The needle’s enchanted for an easy and clean penetration.”

This was going to hurt. This was insane. Nipples weren’t meant to be impaled like marshmallows on a stick, or meat on a skewer, or… or… nipples with metal rammed through them. This was going to hurt. Why had I decided to bet my ass, so to speak, for the dubious privilege of having metal rammed through me? And had I mentioned that this was going to hurt?

It hurt.

Oh, fuck did it hurt. Caron’s piercing stool and its restraints must have been enchanted within an inch of their lives, because they held when I thought I was going to break.

And that was just the first one.

Once the second one was in place and the fire had subsided a bit, what I could feel the most was the coldness of the metal inside my throbbing tips. That was something I hadn’t counted on.

The weight was also more than I’d expected. It felt like pendants were hanging from them.

“I used the dwarven/ogre needle just to be sure it’d go through on the first try,” Caron said. I could hear the grin in her voice. “Why draw it out, I figure?”

“Thank you, Caron,” Amaranth said sardonically. Her hands brushed my face and then she tugged the ends of the blindfold and slipped it off of me. “Do you want to come see a mirror, baby?” I started to glance down, but she caught my chin with her hand and said, “I want you to see it all at once.”

“Okay,” I said weakly. “Yes, ma’am.”

They got me out of the chair, leaving my hands bound, and toddled me over to a full length mirror. The piercings were clearly part of a set, but they weren’t identical. One of them, the left one, looked like a padlock, shaped like a heart. The shackle of the lock was the part that was actually running through my nipple.

The other piece, the one in my right nipple, was a barbell shaped like a key, with the handle on one end and the toothy part on the other. Shaped like? It probably was the key. Not only did it require a release word to undo the piercings, but I’d have to literally unlock the heart to remove it.

Pain, cold, and unaccustomed weight aside, I smiled at my image. Amaranth undid my arm bindings, and I fingered the bottom of the heart, gently.

It was perfect.

I was also a little taken aback at how not huge the piercings were. They felt huge, like I was wearing big Khersentide ornaments, like they were the size of the Egg of Khersis pin Amaranth had self-pierced with back on the first day of school. They were small, though… like cute little charms.

“Right, so that’s it,” Caron said, handing stuff to Amaranth. “Here’s a care pamphlet… stay away from magical healing, use only local treatments if you need to. If you swallow a healing potion before those have healed up naturally, it’s going to get ugly. Use this vial to clean them… I don’t know if half-demons have to worry about infection but I’m going to say to do it anyway, the instructions are in there… and here’s your sample of hairlessness. That jar is meant to be single-use, but it’s intended for much larger area of application, so you should be able to get a month or two out of it. It’s not spelled out in the terms of the transaction, but please use it before Saturday. I don’t like bush. And remember, all body jewelry sales are final.”

“Right,” I said. “So now we just have to pay for them on Saturday.” I had a sudden horrifying thought. “Um… is there admission at the club?” I asked, thinking I might have to indebt myself further to somebody, or sell Feejee’s gift.

“Baby, that’s one reason why we should have talked about it,” Amaranth said. “Don’t think I don’t appreciate what you did, but don’t think you’re going to get off easily for that stunt.”

“I hope she doesn’t,” Caron said. “But no, there isn’t… not for the Veil party.”

“Good,” I said.

“You just need an invitation,” Caron said. She was grinning. “They won’t let you in without one.”

“So, how do I get one?” I asked.

“Well, that’s not easy,” she said. “In fact, it’s close to impossible, if you don’t anybody who’s a member.”

Shit.

“Would you get us some invitations, please?” Amaranth asked.

Fuck!” Caron said, punching the stone wall with her fist. It left her knuckles scraped and tinged with red, but she immediately turned, grinning sheepishly and said, “I mean, sure, of course I will.”

“Wait, we just have to ask?” I said. “You’re not under some kind of spell that makes you act like this, are you?”

“No,” she said.

“Then why bother setting up a trick like that and just let me out of it because we ask nicely?” I asked.

“Baby, don’t argue,” Amaranth said. “Seriously… just don’t.”

“No, keep arguing. I have an open mind. I can be persuaded,” Caron said.

“I’m just trying to understand,” I said. “Is this a joke to you?”

“No… but seriously, I’m not sure you could conceive of how much money I’d get for you. That’s hard to ignore… impossible. But I’m not the sort of person who goes around looking for people to enslave, so I’m not going to entrap you without a way out,” Caron said. “I think it’s horribly dishonest to set up that kind of trap without any kind of warning or solution… that way, if you end up falling into it, it’s at least as much your fault as it is mine. My honor wouldn’t let me just take advantage of you.”

“But your honor has no problems with you selling me to Mercy if I do fall for it,” I said. “Nice.”

“Wait, you know you’re on Mercy’s menu and you still wandered into an off-bazaar shop and signed that paper?” Caron said.

“Mercy doesn’t want to eat me,” I said.

“Oh, I agree… but with the kind of money she has lined up, she’s clearly got somebody on the line who wants you badly, and she’s not in the labor market,” Caron said. “Maybe I should rethink helping you with the invitations… if you want to end up on a serving platter, who am I to get in the way?”

“That’s an admirable attitude, but really, she doesn’t,” Amaranth said. “I promise. When can we get the invitations?”

“I’ll have them sent to you,” she said. “I have your address.”

“Let me give you mine,” Amaranth said, giving me a look. “Mack’s kind of terrible with the little details of things like that.”

“Oh, is she?” Caron said. “It’s her responsibility to pay, so I think I’d better…”

“Caron, knock it off!” somebody yelled from behind the curtain… a female voice, slightly hoarse or creaky.

“Do you understand what we could do with…” Caron started to yell back.

“Just knock it off!” the woman repeated. “Seriously, leave them alone!”

Caron sighed.

“Damn,” she said. “I guess I’m going to have to stop angling for you. I’d never have a minute’s peace… though, that just might be worth… eh. It’s not like I was going to succeed anyway. I’m still sending the invitations to you, though,” she said. “It’s a long shot, but I’ll take it. The odds can’t be worse than the lottery, right?”

“Yeah, good luck with that,” I said.

“Let’s get you dressed and get you out of here,” Amaranth said, pulling me back towards my clothes.

“You might want to skip the bra for now,” Caron said. “And I’d put the first application of the cleansing elixir on before you get her dressed. It’ll do a little for the pain, though they’ll be tender and sensitive for a while. Don’t tug on them, don’t play with them, don’t mess with them.”

“Thank you,” Amaranth said, tersely. I think she preferred to be done with Caron, and I couldn’t blame her. She cleaned my piercings and helped me dress, and then we hurried out of the shop as soon as Caron had the door open.

It was raining outside, but we didn’t hesitate before running for the bazaar. Running with weights attached to fresh wounds on the ends of your breasts? Not the most pleasant thing in the world. I put up with it, though.

We stopped under an awning once we were in the public marketplace.

“Steff didn’t say anything about that place being dangerous when she took us there,” Amaranth said.

“Steff plays with life-stealing daggers,” I said. “I love her… but… Caron’s right. Her judgment isn’t something we should trust.”

“Let’s go back to campus,” Amaranth said. “We’ll figure out our costumes tomorrow.”

“Okay,” I agreed.

“Is there anything else you need while we’re here?”

“I can’t think of a thing,” I said, and we headed back for the coaches.


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8 Responses to “353: Piercing Questions”

  1. Jackie says:

    get a Staff, You moron.

    Current score: 6
    • Daezed says:

      She even has a cool mirror with reminder settings… But alas, like me, always forgets to make use of her memory aids.

      Current score: 1
  2. Jack V says:

    The first time I read Tales of Mu I thought this was the bit where they were most stupid, because they had the least overwhelming reason to go through with it. It’s entirely in character for 18-year-olds in general and Mack and Amy in particular, but I wished they’d thought to do the performance first, and then come back for the piercing and jewelry _after_ they’d earned it (or that they’d bargained for the right to return it — they could be in the same bind if someone had stolen it, but they’d have good reason to _hope_ it would be ok).

    Current score: 3
    • zeel says:

      Really, though should have at least insisted on a clause that allowed them to pay full price by the same deadline – a mark up even – if necessary. Mackenzie does have an unbreakable gold chain that’s probably worth more than enough.

      Reading a performance for jewelry isn’t such a bad idea, so long as you have a reasonable emergency backup option.

      Current score: 0
  3. Anthony says:

    Interesting example of Caron as Lawful Neutral. She makes quite the contrast to Mercy’s rather terrifyinng Lawful Evil…

    Current score: 6
  4. Daezed says:

    I found this one more interesting on this read through, as I got my nipples pierced about 9 months ago. The feeling of heaviness and how much more aware I was of my nipples afterward was much like Mackenzie’s experience, but in my case at least, it didn’t hurt very much at all. I think my tongue actually hurt more, all in all.

    I DO wish we had the kind of healing they have available… ‘localized’… as they can take a year or more to heal on their own in our universe… lol.

    Current score: 0
  5. nobody says:

    My paranoia would be useful in that type of contract.
    The terms I would have required
    1) Caron is required to get them into the party & on stage by 11:00 pm
    2) Failure to provide access to either party or stage by specified time nullifies penalties for Mackenzie.
    3) Caron is required to check for confirmation of attendance from Mackenzie & Amaranth in person between 7-8 pm the day of payment.
    4) Failure to accomplish term 3 results in same cancelation of penalties as term 2. In addition Caron will suffer a penalty of being lit on for at least 20 seconds.

    The more severe penalty on 4 being due to it requiring Caron specifically failing or actively breaking terms by her own fault.
    The fire could be lit by anybody, not just Mackenzie because I would make sure to enforce the penalty myself.

    Current score: 1
  6. Athena says:

    “An ordinary piercing? I’d probably manage to lose that out on the field, or in the shower, or something. I didn’t know how easy it was for them to come undone on their own, but this was me… I’d find a way.”

    *God yes*. Well, in some ways not at all – the kinds of piercings used to do the piercing are very sturdy. I can’t actually take my current ones off at all. Buuuuut on the other hand I did have to specifically buy a pair of piercing earrings because I had something like ten pairs of earrings with, like, three butterflies between them.

    Me and regular earrings just don’t end well.

    Current score: 0